When are we to be held accountable for the way we react to what's on screen, and how much of our reaction is to be blamed on the director's failure to communicate clearly? For this we look to the new 'Evil Dead,' 'Tyler Perry's Temptation,' 'The Host' and 'Spring Breakers' -- four very different movies, but all with something in common.
Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers' is the outlaw fantasy of four college girls (or maybe just two of them) behaving very, very badly with guns and bikinis and one delightfully trashy white rapper. But the most crucial takeaway from the film isn't satire of primitive American debauchery -- instead it's how we want to perceive these women and why the agency they have over their lives and bodies feels too fantastical to believe.
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.