The New York Times/YouTubeJames Franco's extra-curricular activities have become so increasingly bizarre that hardly anyone bat an eyelid when he paraded around with a shirtless Seth Rogen to recreate Kanye West's video for "Bound 2" last month. Here's a look at five of his biggest oddball moments.The Justin Bieber ParodyTwo years before setting his sights on Kanye, Franco parodied another pop culture icon in the shape of Justin Bieber with a slightly creepy spoof of the teen idol's hit single, "Boyfriend," recorded with a little help from Ashley Benson. The pair then did the same for Spring Breakers co-star Selena Gomez's "Love You Like A Love Song."The Kickstarter campaignJoining the Kickstarter revolution with art duo Praxis in 2011, Franco asked fans to cough up their hard-earned cash in return for pieces of art that were completely conceived in their own imagination. Incredibly, the project dubbed the 'Museum of Non-Visible Art' inspired one woman to spend $10000 on a piece titled "Fresh Air."The New York Times videoInvited to record a one-minute video for the New York Times' 'Fourteen Actors Acting' series, a moustached Franco used the opportunity to seduce a mirror image of himself while portraying the 'chronic narcissist,' a role he then returned to while promoting his Comedy Central roast.The Candy magazine coverFranco has recently dressed as Psycho's Marion Crane and channelled his inner Cindy Sherman for various art exhibitions. But his first venture into drag – the Terry Richardson-shot cover for transgender magazine Candy which saw him pose in slicked-back hair, thick red lipstick and blue eyeshadow – remains his most striking.The Obama poemWhile most celebrity fans of Obama took to Twitter to express their feelings on his second inauguration, Franco decided to upload a typically baffling five-minute poem onto YouTube titled "Obama in Asheville" which was as unintentionally amusing as it was pretentious.
Matt Reeves' magnificent Let Me In is an Americanized adaptation of Let the Right One In a Swedish horror film which itself is based on an acclaimed novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (also Swedish). As such its setting has been moved from frigid Scandinavia to the more familiar but no less frigid Los Alamos New Mexico a town depicted as so bleak and uninviting as to provoke a lawsuit from the state’s tourism commission. Its atmosphere is particularly inhospitable to timid loners like 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) a spindly late-bloomer who suffers regular humiliations at school courtesy of a trio of pubescent sadists.
Owen’s home life isn’t much better: Dad’s gone for good pending a divorce from mom who’s an aspiring wino and something of a religious nut. He seeks refuge nightly in the solitary confines of his apartment complex courtyard where he meets and befriends Abby (Chloe Moretz) a new neighbor and apparent kindred spirit whose quirks include a penchant for walking barefoot through the snow. That along with her professed inability to recall her exact age provides Owen with the first clues that his new friend may not be entirely normal.
She is in fact a vampire. And like any vampire Abby requires blood for sustenance. But since the sight of a little girl chomping on the necks of locals is certain to raise eyebrows at Child Protective Services she entrusts the duty of procuring nourishment to her haggard elder companion (Richard Jenkins). First believed to be Abby’s father but later revealed as otherwise he (his name is never stated) trots out wearily on occasion to find a fresh young body to drain of its blood. His skills appear to be slipping in his old age (like Owen he is a mere mortal) and his sloppiness soon attracts the attention of a grizzled local cop (Elias Koteas) who has no idea how far in over his head he is. (The film is set in 1983 when the vampire-detection tools available to law enforcement officials were woefully inadequate.)
Meanwhile Abby and Owen’s relationship blossoms and notwithstanding the inevitable complications that arise in every human-vampire relationship they develop a profound and sweetly innocent bond. Still lurking in the back of our minds is the knowledge that Abby at her core is a remorseless bloodsucker and one significantly older than her pre-teen visage would have us believe. Is her affection for Owen sincere or is she merely grooming him to assume the role of her caretaker once her current one exceeds his usefulness?
There’s a great deal of manipulation at work in Let Me In both on the part of Abby and director Reeves who alternates between tugging on our heart-strings and butchering them. Abby is one of the truly great horror villains — so great in fact that I suspect many audience members won’t view her as one even as her list of mutilated victims grows. Reeves does well to preserve an element of ambiguity resisting the urge to proffer a Usual Suspects-esque denouement inviting us instead to connect the story’s dots ourselves. The film’s unique and affecting juxtaposition of tenderness and savagery combined with a slew of stellar performances makes for an experience unlike any other in recent horror-movie memory one whose effects will linger long after the closing credits have rolled.