A lawsuit filed against James Franco by a disgruntled university professor has been thrown out of court. Former New York University lecturer Jose Angel Santana filed a defamation lawsuit against the Spider-Man star in September (12), claiming the actor made "disparaging and inaccurate public statements" about him after receiving a poor grade in his class.
The star hit back by filing his own set of documents, asking the case to be thrown out due to free speech laws.
Justice Saliann Scarpulla, the judge presiding over the case, sided with Franco on Wednesday (10Apr13) and tossed out the lawsuit on technical grounds, according to the New York Daily News.
Jose Angel Santana filed a defamation lawsuit against the 127 Hours star in September (12), claiming he made "disparaging and inaccurate public statements" against him after receiving a poor grade in his class two years ago (10).
He dubbed Franco a "bully" for comments the actor made about him in the media. In one interview, the Spider-Man star called Santana "awful" and "a bad teacher".
The professor named NYU as a defendant, and now officials at the university have spoken out, asking a New York judge to dismiss the plaintiff's claims, stating, "The comments at issue consisted of nothing other than Franco's personal opinions regarding Santana's teaching skills... Franco's description of Santana as 'awful' does not have a precise meaning, nor... is it capable of being proven true or false."
The NYU officials insist other comments made by Franco about his former professor are little more than "rhetorical hyperbole", while heads at the university insist they cannot be held responsible for what the actor says to the media.
A statement from the school, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, reads: "Franco's comments were made in response to a reporter's question during a question-and-answer session in advance of a screening of Franco's new film.
"When considering the forum in which the comments were made, as well as the fact that Franco is a famous actor and director who has many duties and responsibilities outside the scope of his employment as an adjunct professor at NYU, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were made in the scope of his NYU employment."
It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
Jose Angel Santana took court action last year (11) against New York University (NYU), alleging he was unfairly dismissed from his job after giving the 127 Hours star a 'D' grade for cutting class.
Now he has lodged papers at Manhattan Supreme Court against the actor himself, demanding unspecified damages following comments Franco made in April (12) about his time at the university.
Santana tells the New York Post, "I didn't deserve to be on the receiving end of those falsehoods. I was outraged that someone with his attendance record at NYU had the audacity to make those statements."
Franco allegedly missed 12 of Santana's 14 filmmaking classes during his time studying at the university, but he alleges Santana is wrong to assert he was fired from the institution for giving him a low grade.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Jose Angel Santana, who taught the Spider-Man actor a filmmaking class, claims he was unfairly dismissed from his teaching job at the Manhattan university soon after handing Oscar nominee Franco a 'D' grade for missing 12 out of 14 of his Directing the Actor classes.
In legal papers obtained by TMZ.com, Santana further alleges that Franco made "several public disparaging and inaccurate statements" about his professor after claiming he had received the poor grade for an acting class.
The court documents state: "The resulting publicity ridiculed Dr Santana allegedly for giving an award-winning actor a 'D' in acting, even though the 'D' was actually in directing actors, and for abhorrent attendance."
The 58 year old is also alleging he suffered from "discrimination and harassment based upon race and color".
NYU bosses have yet to read the lawsuit allegations, but they have expressed their disdain at Santana's decision to go public with the fall-out as he attempts to win his job back.
Addressing the legal action in a statement, school officials say: "It is regrettable and disappointing to see a faculty member - former or otherwise - discuss any student's grade for the purpose of his or her personal publicity."
Jose Angel Santana, who taught the Spider-Man actor at New York University (NYU), has filed a lawsuit against the institution, claiming he was unfairly dismissed from his teaching job.
The 58 year old alleges his firing came not long after he handed the Oscar nominee a 'D' grade for allegedly missing some of his classes.
He tells the New York Post, "The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that's for sure. The university has done everything in its power to curry favour with James Franco... In my opinion, they've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes, a possession, something you can buy."
Santana has filed legal papers at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York in a bid to win his job back.
It's true Celine Dion took an extended break at the end of 1999, in part, to start a family, but for crying out loud, she's not there yet.
Celine Dion That's why the pop chanteuse is suing the National Enquirer for $20 million over a report saying she was pregnant with twins. The tabloid reported the "pregnancy" in its Feb. 1 issue, with a picture of Dion under the headline "Celine - I'm Pregnant With Twins."
"This thing has really upset me," said Dion in a statement read by her lawyer as the suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. "Since that story came out, everyone has been congratulating me and I have to keep telling them that it's not true. I only wish it was true and I hope and pray that some day it will be."
Added her attorney Martin Singer: "Not only is the news false, but the weekly gave the impression that Mme. Dion had revealed her pregnancy during an interview which, in fact, never took place".
The 31-year-old singer's suit alleges misappropriation of the right of publicity, "false light invasion of privacy", unfair competition and unfair business practices, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Dion knows the tabloid wars well. In 1998, she sued a French rag for saying she was unable to conceive a child.
Dion has said she is taking two years off from her career to spend time with husband/manager Rene Angelil, who is being treated for skin cancer.
BABY TALK: Actor Billy Baldwin and Wilson Phillips alum Chynna Phillips welcomed their first child, daughter Jamison, on Sunday night at a New York hospital, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The babe weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. Baldwin says mother and daughter are doing fine.
"I'm ecstatic," says the actor, who happily added that his wife's delivery was "easy."
Baldwin, 37, and Phillips, 32, wed in 1995.
SUPERNATURAL HONOR: How does Carlos Santana top tying Michael Jackson's Grammy record? By getting a town square built for him.
The guitarist's Mexican birthplace, Autlan de Navarro, is planning to honor him by building a square, a statue and placing his name on a local street, town officials said Monday.
``The square is in the southern part of the town, and it's almost finished,'' Autlan spokesman Marco Rodriguez told Reuters. ``We want to inaugurate it as 'Carlos Santana Plaza' in the second half of the year.''
The plaza will be decorated with a statue of Santana and other local musicians, including one of the 52-year-old rocker's father, Jose.
``Carlos himself suggested that,'' Rodriguez said. ``He wanted to have statues of other musicians, including his father.''
QUICK TAKES: Best Actress nominee Annette Bening ("American Beauty") will serve as an Oscar presenter March 26 -- provided she's not at the hospital giving birth to her fourth child. ...
Meanwhile, Oscar nominees Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore and Haley Joel Osment will be presenters at the March 12 Screen Actors Guild Awards, set to air on cable's TNT. ...
Non-Oscar contender Will Smith leads the field with four nominations going into Nickelodeon's 13th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, to be held April 15 at the Hollywood Bowl. The actor/rapper is up for favorite movie actor, favorite song, favorite male singer and favorite song for a movie -- all derived from the mostly adult-loathed "Wild Wild West." ...
OBITUARY: The widow of screen legend Gary Cooper died Feb. 18 in her New York home, it's been learned. Veronica Cooper Converse was 87. Gary Cooper died of cancer in 1961.