“Zeroville” began as a much-loved and deeply moving novel by Steve Erickson in 2007, which told the story of a borderline architecture student with borderline autism, cinema drunk with a tattoo of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor as they appear. in the movie “A Place in the Sun” on the back of his shaved head. Eventually, this student, who calls himself “Vikar”, gets a job in the movie industry as a set builder, tragically falling under the spell of these artificial dreams. The book itself is a new take on “A Place in the Sun”, a film that resembles Theodore Dreiser’s novel “An American Tragedy”.
In the hands of James Franco, who directed and played Vikar, the film version of “Zeroville” was completed in 2014, finally released in 2019. It was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards – Franco for Worst Director and Worst Actor , and Seth Rogen for Worst Supporting Actor. It also stars Megan Fox as Soledad Paladin – based on Soledad Miranda, a real-life pop actor and singer who has starred in several erotic thrillers directed by prolific cult director Jess Franco (no connection to James). Among these films were the erotic horror films “Count Dracula” (1970) and “Las Vampiras” (aka “Vampyros Lesbos”) (1971).
Miranda died in a car accident in Spain in 1970, when she was 27 years old.
In this case, the book is much better than the movie.
“The Courier” (PG-13, 1 hour, 52 minutes) An edgy, dark, and proficient Cold War spy drama in which a bland British businessman (Benedict Cumberbatch) is recruited by the CIA and MI -6 British in a risky partnership with a Soviet officer to uncover the intelligence necessary to avoid the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Based on a true story. With Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley, Vladimir Chuprikov; directed by Dominic Cooke.
“The World to Come” (R, 1 hour, 45 minutes) Set in the primitive frontier that is the mid-19th century American Northeast, this moody emotional journey involves two neighboring couples who not only have to cope. seclusion, deprivation, and a seemingly endless drudgery, but with a growing attraction between wives Tallie (Vanessa Kirby) and Abigail (Katherine Waterston). With Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott; directed by Mona Fastvold.
“Embattled” (R, 1 hour, 57 minutes) Emotionally and physically punishing, this realistic drama revolves around a son who, like many sons, struggles to stand out in the combative world of MMA, where his father s ‘is made known, while dealing with the life of abuse he received from this father. With Stephen Dorff, Darren Mann; directed by Nick Sarkisov.
“The Vault” (R, 1 hour, 58 minutes) Lively and endearing, this action robber is about a clever young engineer (Freddie Highmore) who, in search of adventure, joins a group of experienced thieves for his sink into an armed fortress under the Bank of Spain, believed to contain priceless lost treasure. What could possibly go wrong? With Famke Janssen, Liam Cunningham, Sam Riley; directed by Jaume Balaguero.
“Endangered Species” (R, 1 hour, 41 minutes) The initial villain of this adventure thriller is a rhino mom who, while protecting her calf, turns the vacation of a wealthy and troubled American family in Kenya into a difficult disaster to live in a wilderness with no help in sight. It is then that the leopard appears. With Rebecca Romijn, Philip Winchester, Michael Johnston, Isabel Bassett, Jerry O’Connell; directed by MJ Bassett.
“Boogie” (R, 1 hour, 30 minutes) This uneven and often boring sporting saga is nothing new to differentiate it from those which preceded it. A Chinese-American basketball player, living in Queens, is caught in a web of expectations between the hopes of his immigrant family and his dream of playing for the NBA. With Taylor Takahashi, Domenick Lombardozzi, Mike Moh; written and directed by Eddie Huang.
“Shoplifters of the World” (unrated, 1 hour, 30 minutes) Set in Denver in 1987, four dedicated fans express their shock and distress upon learning that British rock band The Smiths is no more. A good soundtrack including 20 songs from the Smiths goes a long way in making this superficial comedy watchable. With Helena Howard, Elena Kampouris, James Bloor, Thomas Lennon, Ellar Coltrane; co-written and directed by Stephen Kijak.