Silver:The Chronicles of Riddick’s box office catastrophe lost Vin Diesel all the equity he’d acquired after The Fast and the Furious (having already spent a significant amount of it on the lackluster xXx, which landed in between FF 1 and Chronicles). He practically became a Hollywood pariah, forced to take on roles like Shane Wolfe in The Pacifier — the special ops stud who's a fish out of water working his new assignment as a bodyguard to a suburban family. You know, roles normally reserved for professional wrestlers trying to break into mainstream film or for action stars on the decline. It wasn’t until he slipped the shiny-white, two-sizes-too-small, Hanes V-neck back over his head and returned to the Fast and Furious franchise as Dominic Toretto did audiences start caring about him again.
So my question is this: Why go back to the role that practically sunk his career? Is it hubris? Or is it that he and writer-director David Twohy believe that they can actually recapture the simplistic terror of Riddick’s first onscreen appearance in Pitch Black, and not recycle the monotonously bloated Chronicles?
I’d like to believe it’s the former. And this trailer provides evidence that this might actually be the case.
So you're minding your own business, just trying to take in the latest installment of "Between Two Ferns," marinating in the faux-discomfort of Zach Galifianakis asking James Franco about the Jimmy Dean between his legs, when all of a sudden they throw to The Lonely Island, which debuts its new single and video right between those very same ferns. Then it gets all Harmony Korine up in there for Spring Break, all giant sombreros and slow-motion, tequila-drenched debauchery, except instead of Franco inventorying his shit and singing Britney Spears at a white piano, he's … well, we won't spoil it for you. And hey, is that Ed … no. No, we're not going to ruin it. You need to come by those unexpected tears honestly.
The Girls trade in their hoodies for ski masks this week for a chat about Spring Breakers. We all loved the film, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to talk about: its success as what director Harmony Korine has called a "pop poem," the debatable empowerment/exploitation of its Disney-factory stars, Molly's inexplicable fascination with Southern men in cornrows. While we may diverge on our interpretations of the film's morality, there's no denying that James Franco's rendition of Britney Spears's "Everytime" will go down in history as one of the greatest cinematic moments of all time. But Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez weren't the only ones trying to catch some street cred this past week — Beyoncé's strange new single had us wondering where the de facto queen of pop can go from here — and if we really needed to be reminded to "Bow Down."
In visiting the Late Show last night to promote indie sensation/coked-out-ski-mask-party docudrama Spring Breakers, star James "Alien" Franco brought up director Harmony Korine, who, the story goes, had been banned from Letterman's couch — where he had appeared a few times in the late '90s in conjunction with Kids, Gummo, and his book A Crackup at the Race Riots — because of an altercation with fellow guest Meryl Streep. Specifically, in Korine's own "a little out of it" recollection to Franco, for "pushing Meryl Streep backstage." (We will now pause for our collective, horrified reaction to someone laying hands upon Streep for any purpose other than to request a healing.)
David Brent has emerged from a decade spent in relative seclusion — during which time I assume he hung out in pajamas, Googling himself and practicing his reggae performance techniques — to appear on Ricky Gervais's new YouTube channel and pointing at people of various ethnicities and sexual orientations on Equality Street with Doc Brown for the U.K. Comic Relief special. Biddily biddily biddily biddily bong, cue the endless stream of comments arguing about racism versus satire ("It's comedy, you miserable pricks").
Free-associating on the official poster for Mad Men's sixth season: Draper crosses paths with Draper (maybe the embodiment his Dick Whitman persona?) as they head in different directions (past! Present! Future! A spring suit and a winter suit!); we have entered the fashion era of bad sheer sleeves; the moral or actual police are on to Don for either going the wrong way down Madison Avenue or for being a cad or maybe for some new secret crime yet to be unearthed; granted, this is a sketchy illustration, but I don't see a wedding ring on Don's left hand. Time to get out the magnifying glass. It's going to be a long three and a half weeks.
Welcome to the inaugural Do You Like Prince Movies? podcast. Why are we calling it that? We'll never tell. But we do like living in a world where it's OK to walk up to somebody at a party and ask that. This week we're also asking Why Does James Franco Fail to Annoy Us? What is it about Pam Grier that continues to karate-chop our hearts? And did Beck help pave the way for our current hip-hop/soul authenticity crisis? If we're being honest, only three of those questions really gets answered, but listen to the whole thing and find out which ones they are.
With an $80 million weekend, Oz the Great and Powerful scored easily the best opening weekend of the year so far. Which means GET READY for more character-specific Oz offerings. Cowardly Lion: Witch Hunter? You're next. This is good news for all sorts of people: Sam Raimi, who has yet another blockbuster success with franchise potential. James Franco, who can finance a hundred more student films about his fascination with gayness with whatever he makes off the back end. Mila Kunis, who should probably start claiming credit for that awesome interview with that British kid.
There will be no credit passed around the camp at Jack the Giant Slayer. With a $10 million second weekend that officially qualifies as a plummet, Bryan Singer's film is looking at a John Carter–like disaster.
James Franco returns to his roots this week, playing a character in a movie in which he presumably just reads his lines and acts, without any extra layers of metacommentary, irony, or self-parody. We emphasize presumably, of course — it's possible that Franco's whole career has been an elaborate work of performance art, from his breakout on the beloved, short-lived Freaks and Geeks, to the 2011 Oscars hosting debacle, to this week's seemingly innocuous Oz: The Great and Powerful. Untangling the mystery that is James Franco is a near-impossible (not to mention obnoxious) task, but we thought we'd start with a few YouTube clips.
Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton: Splitting up is not on the table for the country supercouple. Lambert says she's questioned whether her marriage to Shelton will last "a million" times. "Divorce is not an option," Lambert said. "I will fight to the death. I am a ninja." That seems like a weird thing to say about your relationship. In order to keep communication open, Lambert and Shelton "are allowed to snoop through each other's phones." Has she never heard of a burner? They never spend longer than two weeks away from each other. "We text a lot. Even if it's just sending a picture of the onion rings we're eating!" OK, that seems less weird. They bond at home, "hang out on the porch, drink beer and cook burgers." Lambert says "I think it's important as a married couple to be friends." This all feels strangely defensive. I'm rooting for Lambert (how could I not be?), so I hope things work out.
So much eyebrow-raising Hollywood casting news and project announcements, so little time. Let's get to it!
Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed he's doing Terminator 5. This isn't coming out of nowhere. There was already a money man (Oracle scion Megan Ellison, who we can thank for the existence of Zero Dark Thirty and The Master) attached to the project, as well as a pair of screenwriters (that'd be Laeta Kalogridis, best known for Shutter Island, and Patrick Lussier, best known for, uh, My Bloody Valentine 3D and Drive Angry.) Plus, Arnold's The Last Standjust flopped, and so if there was ever a right time to return to the tried-and-true, this would be it. According to reports, Schwarzenegger simply confirmed he was doing the movie, without doling out any superfluous quotes or explanation. Most impressive! He's in character already!