Sal

Ender

The first weekend of November is hallmarked by a continuing wave of prestigious Oscar contenders and pockmarked by the chaff that studios are still dumping into a handful of contractually obligated theaters. How else do you explain Last Vegas and Dallas Buyers Club landing on the same week? Beyond those we’ve got a boy vying to be the last starfighter, a pair of biopics that look difficult to swallow and a ton of limited releases that show promise. Get up off your knees, reach for the stars, and check out the trailer-ized list of movies coming out this weekend.

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franco

James Franco‘s Sal follows actor Sal Mineo’s final hours with a fly-on-the-wall approach. In the film we see the bright young actor, played by Val Lauren, prepping a directorial feature he won’t make any compromises on. After seeing Sal, it’s easy to draw comparisons between Franco and Mineo in that regard. Franco has spent the last few years directing personal projects that are nothing if not uncompromising. Behind the camera, he’s taken on norm-defying adaptations like As I Lay Dying, the experimental recreation of lost scenes from Cruising and a documentary focused on his guest starring appearances on soap opera General Hospital.  Those projects, along with Sal, aren’t overtly commercial endeavors (as you may have noticed), but Franco’s directorial features have certainly found their audience. He works fast, and, as Franco tells us, that work ethic isn’t a matter of simply rushing through project after project. Despite being insanely busy, he sat down with me to discuss that work ethic and the prospect of making even more movies.

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Sal

From the mind of our foremost Young Actor Turned Serious Artist James Franco comes the story of another young star who tried to shed his youthful image in Hollywood – Sal Mineo. Franco’s latest directorial venture, the Mineo biopic Sal, focuses on the time after his celebrated turn in Rebel Without a Cause that set him up for a long road of typecasting. Rebel would define Mineo’s (Val Lauren) career, and his struggles to be seen as more than a pretty face, as you can see in the trailer, made his life hellish. Historical spoiler: Mineo’s story ends (and this biopic, likely), with his tragic stabbing in the alley behind his apartment at the premature age of 37. While the source material is compelling, the trailer is just awful. It looks like Franco slapped some 1950s-period accurate clothing on Lauren and his cohorts and then filmed in sketchy areas of LA when other people just conveniently weren’t around. “Everybody clear out of this theater for a couple hours, please. I owe Mr. Franco a favor.” The sound is off, too. Is this Franco trying to make a statement again or something that I’m not “getting?” Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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