Archives for posts with tag: James Franco

You watch “True Story” (2015) with the expectation that there’s going to be the typical true-crime plot twist, even though it’s so obvious that there isn’t going to be one. Instead, you get a character study of a disgraced journalist (Jonah Hill) and an accused murderer (James Franco) and the bizarre relationship that develops between them. Which is sort of like the bizarre relationship you have with the plot, wanting to believe in something that you know isn’t there. Because it makes for a better story? You went in wanting to understand a killer. You ended up understanding the writer.

A movie like “City by the Sea” (2002) makes you wonder whether there’s such a thing as free will. Some people are born into a shitstorm. Others have it thrust upon them. Some escape it and create a new life, only to have the shitstorm come roaring back when they least expect it. How you deal with things are your choice, but your choices are often so limited by circumstance that they aren’t choices at all. This is a gritty, gripping cop movie and human drama inside a hollowed-out skeleton of Long Beach, N.Y., that can’t help but whisper “Detroit.”