William Faulkner

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James Franco Takes On Faulkner In 'As I Lay Dying' [Trailer & Pictures]


James Franco William Faulkner Danny McBride Ahna O'Reilly

Jim Parrack & James Franco in As I Lay DyingJim Parrack & James Franco in As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying, written, directed and starring James Franco, is aiming to become the first American movie to win the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival since 2008's Tyson documentary. Franco's movie is adapted from William Faulkner's classic American novel of the same name and stars the Oscar nominee as a son's quest to bury the body of his mother in accordance with her wishes.

Watch the As I Lay Dying Trailer!

Though the trailer hints at Franco's penchant for the avant-garde, it looks far more of a straight narrative affair then, say, Interior. Leather Bar. Franco plays the second oldest child Darl, while Tim Blake Nelson appears to do a sublime job of portraying father Anse. Danny McBride plays friend of the family Vernon Tull while Ahna O'Reilly - who's making a buzz with the Weinstein's Fruitvale - plays daughter Dewey Dell. The movie has a reasonable chance of scooping for 30,000 euro prize at Cannes, though it's safe to assume festival favorite Sofia Coppola is the frontrunner with hipster tale The Bling Ring - still, it would be a long-awaited American success. 

Continue reading: James Franco Takes On Faulkner In 'As I Lay Dying' [Trailer & Pictures]

Four Men and a Prayer Review


Weak
In Four Men and a Prayer, director John Ford doesn't have one. Saddled by Darryl Zanuck with a claptrap mystery adventure plot involving the dishonorable discharge and subsequent murder of a proud British career officer during the jewel-in-the-crown years of British colonialism and the efforts of his four sons to find the killer and exonerate their father, Ford assumes the role of Houdini. With a handsome physical production, Ford mounts an impressive sleight-of-hand, diverting prying eyes by throwing everything at the audience he can think of, anything to stay away from the actual story, which Ford doesn't want to get close enough to smell.

The nominal plot has stout-hearted Colonel Loring Leigh (C. Aubrey Smith -- who else?) kicked out of the Lancers for signing an order allowing a shipment guns to find their way into the hands of a band of Indian rebels, who end up massacring 90 men at one of those Indian passes so famous in '30s movie adventure yarns. Colonel Leigh is drummed out of the army but knows he's been set up and his signature forged. Returning to England he summons his four sons -- dim bulb Oxford student Rodney (William Henry), pompous barrister Wyatt (George Sanders), shallow ladies man/aviator Chris (David Niven), and stuffy British attache Geoffrey (Richard Greene) -- in order to show them the evidence proving he was framed by an international gun cartel. He doesn't get that far. While the boys are sipping bitters in the ante room, Colonel Leigh is shot dead in his study and the evidence removed. The press claims Leigh committed suicide from his disgrace, but the boys know better and set about to find his killer and clear his name.

Continue reading: Four Men and a Prayer Review

Drums Along The Mohawk Review


Excellent
For a beaten-down film critic as myself, the best thing about attending The New York Film Festival is not to get a jump on feature film releases that will quickly show up in local theaters a few days after their festival premieres, but to savor those obscure, febrile marvels of classic cinema that for whatever reasons (neglect, deterioration, ignorance) have been shuttled aside or locked away in film vaults to make way for the latest De Palma monstrosity, a fawning Las Vegas comic tribute documentary, or the most recent Sylvia Miles comeback film.

The New York Film Festival offered a double bill of savory morsels in this succulent vein, presided over master chef Martin Scorsese and his restoration outfit, The Film Foundation. On the bill-of-fare at The New York Film Festival were two 20th Century Fox three-strip Technicolor sweetmeats -- John Ford's Drums Along the Mohawk and John Stahl's Leave Her To Heaven.

Continue reading: Drums Along The Mohawk Review

To Have And Have Not Review


Excellent
Lauren Bacall made her nerve-wracked screen debut in the memorable Howard Hawks film To Have and Have Not, put opposite the hugely famous Humphrey Bogart in a Casablanca-esque tale of intrigue in France during WWII. Bogart's crusty fisherman and Bacall's swindling lounge singer get roped into aiding the French resistance, but the plot is ultimately a throwaway -- having none of the depth of Casablanca. Instead, To Have and Have Not owes its success to some fiery chemistry between its leads as well as amazing supporting turns by Walter Brennan and Hoagy Carmichael. The jazzy tunes played in Bacall's bar are unforgettable, too. You know how to whistle, don't you?

The Big Sleep Review


Extraordinary
There's little else I can add to what's been written about this proto-noir, one of the archetypes of the genre and a showstopper for Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who spar through a catty romance while dancing through a taut mystery that has dead bodies turning up at every turn. (Bogie is assigned to look after Bacall's kid sister, who's prone to trouble. Martha Vickers, as young Carmen, almost steals the show; pay attention to her underrated performance.) With Howard Hawks and William Faulkner in charge here, there's simply not much to complain about.

The Big Sleep Review


Extraordinary
There's little else I can add about this proto-noir, one of the archetypes of the genre and a showstopper for Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who spar through a catty romance while dancing through a taut mystery that has dead bodies turning up at every turn. (Bogie is assigned to look after Bacall's kid sister, who's prone to trouble. Martha Vickers, as young Carmen, almost steals the show; pay attention to her underrated performance.) With Howard Hawks and William Faulkner in charge here, there's simply not much to complain about.

To Have And Have Not Review


Excellent
Lauren Bacall made her nerve-wracked screen debut in the memorable Howard Hawks film To Have and Have Not, put opposite the hugely famous Humphrey Bogart in a Casablanca-esque tale of intrigue in France during WWII. Bogart's crusty fisherman and Bacall's swindling lounge singer get roped into aiding the French resistance, but the plot is ultimately a throwaway -- having none of the depth of Casablanca. Instead, To Have and Have Not owes its success to some fiery chemistry between its leads as well as amazing supporting turns by Walter Brennan and Hoagy Carmichael. The jazzy tunes played in Bacall's bar are unforgettable, too. You know how to whistle, don't you?
William Faulkner

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