James Franco

The new video for Kanye West’s “Bound 2,” the final track off his latest masterpiece, Yeezus, provoked discussion and controversy. Set against self-consciously generic backdrops—horses running, Monument Valley—that you might have used when making a fake music video at a birthday party in 1992, Kanye rides a motorcycle, on which soon appears his reality-TV-famous fiancée Kim Kardashian. They proceed to copulate (on the motorcycle) while he raps lyrics not fit for a family blog post.

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Billed as “an intense, wild ride into the dark heart of celebrity,” James Franco’s novel Actors Anonymous—which comes out next month—is an intense, wild ride into the ego of James Franco. The book’s format ranges from essays to poetry to Wikipedia entries, and jumps between the perspectives of several actors in a fictional support group called “Actors Anonymous.” Somehow Franco managed to wrangle blurbs from Gary Shteyngart, Amy Hempel, and David Shields, adding to the sense of the book as performance art.

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The recent announcement that James Franco would be the subject of the next Comedy Central Roast has been met with general enthusiasm. “Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?” wondered The Atlantic Wire. “You can add ‘good sport’ to Franco’s long list of titles!” said E!

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Bikini Overkill

Harmony Korine's Dystopian Vision

Spring Breakers is lacquered with so much Hollywood gloss, it's  hard to tell what's underneath.

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Hollywood Can't Handle Gay Sex

Tinseltown supports LGBT rights everywhere but the big screen.

Tinseltown supports LGBT rights everywhere but the big screen.

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You may recollect that at the Academy Awards show last year, the hosting job went to Anne Hathaway and James Franco. She was 29 and he was 33, and there was a vague hope that they were young and hot enough to pull in the junior crowd for the television marathon. It didn’t work: Franco seemed bored, while Hathaway was trying too hard. There was no chemistry between them, and very little fun. So this year the host was going to be Eddie Murphy, but he backed off when the producer’s job was withdrawn from Eddie’s chum, Brett Ratner, on account of anti-gay remarks.

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Why is this film called Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Because 20th Century Fox, the producers (including co-writer, Rick Jaffa, and Peter Chernin), and director Rupert Wyatt are thinking sequels and franchise rights. They’ll probably get their wish: After all, the Apes model as established by Charlton Heston as the rudely enslaved master race goes back 40 years now, and movie monkey business regards the extraordinary King Kong (1933) as its founding father. But the filmmaking enterprise might attend a little more closely to the eagerness for compromise in its own narrative set-up.

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Howl Oscilloscope Pictures Letters to Father Jacob Olive Films Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have celebrated a poem. Experienced film-makers, they have made a picture dedicated to the single most famous American poem of the last hundred years, Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” The result is far from an ordinary educational tool: it is a talented attempt to transmute the sweep of the poem to the screen, along with some acquaintance with the poet. Epstein and Friedman used four approaches. Basic is the straightforward reading of sections of the poem by the actor playing Ginsberg.

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Call it the Summer of the Hybrid--and, no, I'm not talking about Priuses, for which the waiting lists are now reportedly as long as six months.

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