2013 SXSW Film Festival
James Franco might not be the best actor working in movies today, but he's almost certainly the most fearless. His choices are as unpredictable as they are gutsy. He'll try just about anything: television dramas ('Freaks & Geeks'), soap operas ('General Hospital'), comedies ('Pineapple Express'), and big blockbusters ('Spider-Man,' 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'). His latest role, in Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers,' might be his craziest and most daring to date. He plays Alien -- pronounced "A-Leen" in Franco's South Florida drawl -- a drug dealer and aspiring rapper who likes to boast that he's from another planet. Franco's performance is suitably extraterrestrial: hilarious, disturbing, deranged, poignant and endlessly quotable. In an instant classic scene, Alien shows off all his prized possessions -- machine guns and money and nunchucks and 'Scarface' DVDs on constant repeat -- while screaming "Look at my s---!" Alien's orders are superfluous; any time Franco's onscreen, you can't take your eyes off him.
A man's stress manifests itself in the form of a vicious, spiteful butt-demon (yep, really) in the horror comedy 'Milo,' and although it's packed with a fantastic cast, it doesn't quite stick the landing.
Even if you can't attend a film festival, you should always pay attention to what wins the audience awards -- those films are bound to show up further down the road and become some of your new favorite movies. The 2013 SXSW audience awards have been announced and they include a few films we've already told you about here on Screencrush!
Scott Weidemeyer (Sam Eidson) is an antisocial curmudgeon who lives with his grandmother and spends his entire week looking forward to that one night when he plays Dungeons & Dragons with his four nerd buddies. For a powerless guy like Scott, who works as a donut store delivery boy, D&D is the ultimate power fantasy: as the Game Master of the group, he creates elaborate storylines and manipulates the lives of dozens of characters. It's the place where someone who has no control over his life gets to feel in control for a change.
The very funny and very wise 'Zero Charisma' is what happens when that refuge from the real world comes under attack. When Scott's D&D group loses one of its members, he finds a replacement at the local RPG store: Miles (Garrett Graham), who, as it turns out belongs to a new breed of geek. He knows 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars,' but he has a girlfriend. His website, the oxymoronically titled GeekChic.com, gets hundreds of thousands of hits a day. He drinks and throws parties (that don't involve tabletop games). For a nerd, he actually seems kind of... cool. And his arrival in the game throws it into chaos. Scott may be the Game Master but he finds himself increasingly marginalized as his buddies look more and more to Miles for guidance, advice and friendship.
Watching Hollywood's endless parade of genre remakes, sequels and ripoffs can get pretty discouraging -- enough to convince you there's no undiscovered country left out there; that it's all been done before and filmmakers will keep repeating themselves over and over again until the end of time. Thank goodness, then, for something like 'You're Next,' which is scary and fun, and, best of all, fresh and original. It restores your faith in the future of horror movies.