Showing 12 posts tagged Film

In conversation with James Franco

In case you didn’t know, James Franco’s been in and out of Vancouver over the past few weeks filming the latest Seth Rogen picture, The Interview. He’s an actor, author, scholar, director, producer, screenwriter, art curator, musician, teacher, artist – have I forgotten anything? If you happen to find yourself on a bar stool next to the guy, who can pretty much do anything, here are some conversation points:

1. The book on his bedside. The man reads. And is often snapped with a book firmly clasped in his hand. Franco recently adapted William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and also portrayed Allen Ginsberg in Howl.

2. Cats. He’s into them. So much so, that during a recent interview with Ellen Degeneres, she presented Franco with a calendar featuring his head on various bodies posing with cats.

3. Writing techniques. Franco recently published his first novel, Actors Anonymous. He’s also penned a book of short stories, Palo Alto, and frequently scrawls for such publications as Huffington Post and VICE.

4. Rapping. For his epic role as Alien in Spring Breakers, Franco studied rapper Dangeruss. They performed together on stage for the film and Franco later produced a music video for the local rapper.

5. Diverting paparazzi. He staged a series of “scandalous” scenes to bait the gossip sites into thinking they were real. Hook. Line. Sinker.

6. The evolution of the selfie and its recent declaration of Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionary. Franco’s Instagram is littered with these camera close-ups.

7. Sleep. Does he have time to do it?

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

A Haunted Halloween

Halloween seems to have lost its eerie nature amongst the superhero, fairy, and cowboy costumes that roam the streets for one night every October. But rather than dress up as your favourite character or fantasy, wouldn’t you rather infuse some scare into your night of ghouling?

Get in the spirit with chilling movies, such as American Mary (by the Vancouver-based Soska twins), The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ringu (the Japanese film that inspired The Ring), or Mama. Find an Ouija board to conjure up the dead. And while Ryan Gosling’s not all that scary, his band, Dead Man’s Bones, will leave you haunted.

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

And the beat goes on

The Beat Generation began in the late 1940s as a group of friends who refused to conform. They were a table of writers - Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs - who had grand ideas about sexuality, drugs, materialism, individualism, and life in general.

It was about being a free spirit, living a life rich with experience, seeking adventure, and embracing the different. And they wrote as though their words sang jazz.

Try some beat slang in OPUS Bar this month:

Dixie fried = drunk

Claws sharp = all knowing about everything

Quail hunting = picking up ladies

Jungled up = your living arrangements

A shape in a drape = a well-dressed person

Making the scene = in the right place at the right time

Back seat bingo = car makeouts

Last week, Kill Your Darlings, a film about Allen Ginsberg’s role in the generation as a beat poet, was released into theatres. Starring Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr, Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac, and Ben Foster as William Burroughs, the film articulates how a young man turns into a literary figure.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” ~ Allen Ginsberg


~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Ziggy Lives

Have you caught it yet? The fever. It’s infectious. With one note, one glimpse, one listen.

David Bowie fever first broke four decades ago and it’s still spreading and affecting people around the world. His music has stayed relevant throughout the disco, rock, pop, and electronic eras, and this year he released his first new album in 10 years proving his music can still go viral.

But it’s not just the music that draws people in, it’s him. His energy, sexuality, fashion, intelligence, eccentricities arouse and magnetize. Nobody is safe. All are susceptible.

This is why we love David Bowie…

1. His painted face in Labyrinth was more desired than Jennifer Connelly’s makeup amongst women of the 80s everywhere. And despite his creepy character, the sex appeal oozes out of him.


2. Bowie’s Space Oddity number made it outside earth when Chris Hatfield covered it from the International Space Station. Ziggy Stardust would be proud.


3. He reads. Volumes and volumes of books. Start checking off page turners from his top 100 list.


4. Bowie’s the subject of an exhibit that originated in London’s Victoria and Albert museum and has now made its way to Toronto’s AGO. His costumes, art work, instruments, and music are all on display for hungry fans. 


5. He’s a trained mime and he turned down a knighthood from the Queen. Need we say more?

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

A Celebration of Cinema Hits Toronto

A festival that sees hundreds of red carpets unrolled every September on Canadian soil has now come to a close. The Toronto International Film Festival, an event that shows more than 300 films, is one of the most lauded film festivals in the world – possibly even rivaling the Cannes Film Festival.

This year showed such strong cinematic stories as Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Third Person, Can a Song Save Your Life?, August: Osage County, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Enemy, and Dallas Buyers Club. A selection of films that are sure to be listed at awards shows in the coming months.

While films are the main draw and purpose of the grand celebration, the 11 days are also swirling with fashion, food, and parties. From Soho House to the roof of the Thompson Toronto to the Variety Studio at Holt Renfrew, storytellers were everywhere… dancing, drinking, schmoozing, and celebrating their films.

The highlights…

  • Harvey Weinstein bought Can a Song Save Your Life? at the film’s post-premiere gala making it the most expensive party at $20 million.
  • Jason Reitman once again brought his live reading series to TIFF this year with Boogie Nights. Jesse Eisenberg played the part of Dirk Diggler. Prosthetic not in attendance.
  • Michael Fassbender dances. And dances and dances. Find him on the d-floor.
  • To raise funds for Artists for Peace and Justice, Maria Bello dived into Michael Budman’s pool fully clothed for $20,000 at the charity’s yearly lunch.
  • Some talent do TIFF in multiples… Daniel Radcliffe (Horns, The F Word, Kill Your Darlings), James Franco (Third Person, Child of God, The Director, Palo Alto), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County), and Olivia Wilde (Rush, Third Person) dominated the festival with their portfolio of films.

TIFF may be over now, but preparation for next year’s fête is already underway.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images from left to right, top to bottom: Adam Levine and Keira Knightley at Patria (via Toronto Life), Carice van Houten and Benedict Cumberbatch at Soho House (via Toronto Life), Mario Bello at Artists for Peace and Justice (via Fashion Magazine), cast of August: Osage County at Soho House (via Getty Images)

Hotels in Hollywood

Film has played an influential role on the scenarios we envision playing out in hotels. There are scenes that have made us teary eyed, lustful and desirous, pensive, or absolutely petrified. Here are some of our favourite clips filmed from the walls of a hotel.

The Tourist

The steamy dream sequence in the Danieli Hotel in Venice between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s characters ends far too soon…

Dirty Dancing

The first time this movie flashes before a girl’s starry eyes, she dreams of a summer at Kellerman’s.

Lost in Translation

Lonely woman meets lonely man and an unlikely friendship forges out of a chance meeting in a hotel bar.

The Shining

The tinkering music, the maniacal smile on Jack Nicholson’s face, and the eerily calm demeanor of Lloyd the bartender make this a pivotal scene in one of the creepiest films ever made.

28 Hotel Rooms

A salacious affair develops behind 28 doors over several years.

Thelma & Louise

This is the moment women everywhere fell for Brad Pitt as his character demonstrates to Thelma how to carry out an armed robbery.


And who can forget this memorable ball of slime who left audiences in the 80’s hoping for a ghostly encounter and an excuse to call Ghostbusters.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Legend of film: Sofia Coppola

Responsible for the fanciful scenes in Marie Antoinette, the trauma of The Virgin Suicides, Hollywood hotel living in Somewhere, and the connection of strangers in Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola has wooed us with her cinematic eye for years.

This month, she continues the affair with The Bling Ring – a tale of celebrity obsession, the extravagances of youth, and a true-life burglary gang. The real criminals stole over $3,000,000 of cash and belongings in 2008 and 2009 from the homes of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, and Megan Fox.

In case you need more reasons to love Sofia, here are a few…

1. At the tender age of fifteen, she interned with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. And went on in later years to be Marc Jacobs’ muse.

Letting everyone down would be my greatest unhappiness. ~ Marie Antoinette

2. Continuing a love of fashion, she launched a clothing line, Milkfed, with friend Stephanie Hayman, and in cooperation with Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. Stop searching… it’s only available in Japan.

The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you. ~ Lost in Translation

3. She directed Natalie Portman in a Miss Dior Cherié commercial – a short story depicting a young girl’s dreamy life.

We knew the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love, and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them. ~ The Virgin Suicides

4. She appeared in Madonna’s indulgent Deeper and Deeper video as one of the Material Girl’s friends.

For everyone, there are those moments when you have great days with someone you wouldn’t expect to. Then you have to go back to your real lives, but it makes an impression on you. ~ Sofia Coppola

5. Filmmaking is in her blood and her family tree reads like a list of Oscar nominees… Father: Francis Ford Coppola. Brother: Roman Coppola. Cousins: Nicholas Cage and Jason Schwartzman. She’s also the granddaughter of Oscar-winning composer, Carmine Coppola. One can only imagine how her young daughters will express their creativity.

Everyone in my family is in the film business; I knew I wanted to be creative and it was important in my family to be artistic. ~ Sofia Coppola

6. Making a mark as a woman in a Hollywood man’s world, she was the third female ever to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, and won Best Original Screenplay for Lost in Translation. Not to mention, her films have appeared at Cannes, Sundance, and Venice Film Festivals.

That’s the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see. ~ Sofia Coppola

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider


Rain Can’t Stop Glamour at Cannes

The Festival de Cannes is a majestic ten days of remarkable films, parades of fashion, endless schmoozing, and Mediterranean sun. This year, three out of the four variables are present on the rain-splashed, umbrella-covered red carpets for films like The Great Gatsby, The Bling Ring, Behind the Candelabra, and Only God Forgives. Add a jewelry heist and a gunshot scare, and this year could be one of the most memorable festivals yet.

Galoshes may be favoured over stilettos, and duffle coats desired over frocks, but the attendees of the famous festival are still putting on brave, water-streaked faces and showing off their style prowess. Not even a torrential rain storm can stop the glitz and elegance of Cannes from adorning itself on the bodies of beauties such as Nicole Kidman, Carey Mulligan, Sofia Coppola, and Emma Watson.

We’re no stranger to rain in Vancouver so we added in some drizzle-worthy fashion for off the red carpet in Cannes (see above).

Images (from left to right, top to bottom):

Emma Watson in Chanel; Cindy Crawford in Roberto Cavalli; Nicole Kidman in Dior Couture; Carey Mulligan in Dior Couture; Tobey Maquire at The Great Gatsby premiere (Esquire); Cara Delevingne in Burberry Prorsum (Vogue UK).

Burberry Prorsum trench; DKNY coat, Rag & Bone pants; Helmut Lang jacket and pants; Sandro jacket & pants; J.Crew.

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Giving in to Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald has never been more alive. The author, like many artists, is more prolific after death than whilst he inhaled the Parisian air into his gin and jazz riddled head. This May he has successfully infected the world with Gatsby fever as the much awaited Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby is released.

The lyrical story whisks readers into a dance with decadence, excess, luxury, romance, and tragedy. The themes spin us around, dip us to the floor, and step on our toes.

Initially published in 1925, the book was, quite frankly, a failure, and didn’t receive the accolades it deserved until decades later. Deemed the “Great American Novel” and the second best English language novel in the 20th century, the book’s popularity has likely surpassed Fitzgerald’s own champagne-sparkled dreams.

If you haven’t read the novel yet, get your hands on a copy before you see the colourful adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His portrayal of Luhrmann’s Romeo stuck with us for years – we can only imagine what he will do with Jay Gatsby.

To accompany your film craze, here are some of our favourite Gatsby-isms. Try to contain your goosebumps.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


The original Gatsby manuscript.

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

A Lesson in Seduction

Seduction is a science. It’s a formula comprised of calculated and sometimes volatile elements. Biology, chemistry, geometry and psychology intertwine like pairs of long legs wrapped in white sheets. It’s also an art form – a colour-soaked brush caressing objects of desire and an improvised dance choreographed by lust.

Some of us have mastered these skills, fallen prey to them, or aspire to be one of the great seducers of time. Whichever category you fall into, it’s in your best interest to be familiar with the ways of enchantment so you can recognize it or play along with it.

Meet a few seducers from history… and then practice your art in OPUS Bar.

There’s no denying that the luminous Marilyn Monroe had the ability to twirl men around her fingertips with one demure look. She was unquestionably a beautiful woman, but the heart of her seduction lay in her playful attitude towards flirtation and sex. She exuded both in her calculated walk that vibrated across a room and sultry voice that could tickle ears like a feather. Her charming light and energy attracted troops of men, both single and married, and her effervescence lingers on even after death.

“Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Cleopatra’s secret was her power to dazzle men with grand spectacles and theatrical feats. She fed Julius Caesar and Mark Antony with exotic sights, spellbinding them into enchantment. Upon her first meeting with Caesar, she transfixed him with the art of surprise – she presented herself in his chambers rolled up in an opulent carpet on the shoulders of a merchant. Once her targeted men were sufficiently mesmerized, she would feign disinterest only to make them more persistent.

The romantic allure of Casanova reverberated around Europe in the 1700s. He wooed dissatisfied women by whispering sweet words they had never heard before. The seducer snuck in windows, hid in closets, and ran from angry husbands and fathers all in the name of what his victims would call love, but what he merely called lust. He was irresistible simply because he provided a woman with something she subconsciously felt was missing in her life.

And then there’s Jack Nicholson, a man with six children from five different women. If it weren’t for his dark sunglasses, the mischievous sparkle in his eyes could impregnate women with just one glance. Even Jennifer Lawrence fell under the 71 year old’s spell backstage at this year’s Oscars (watch the video).

“I only take Viagra when I’m with more than one woman.” ~ Jack Nicholson

~ Sandra O’Connell