(James Franco, Dennis Quaid, Brian Cox, Shameik Moore, Jane Levy, Juno Temple, et al / DVD / R / 2009 / Cleopatra Entertainment - MVD Visual)
Overview: In James Franco's 'Pretenders,' life imitates deadly art as a French new wave-obsessed film student finds his muse in a mysterious actress that both he and his best friend fall in love with.
After years of sex, betrayal, and collateral damage, the three end up in a dangerous situation that leaves one of them fighting for his life.
DVD: Once again, actor James Franco steps behind the camera to bring us another imaginative tale straight from the colorful, and at most times highly trippy head of his.
Having been put together and filmed back in 2016, 'Pretenders' isn't the best film on earth, but (and by quite a long shot) it's also not the worse!
It all kicks off with an interesting ode to new wave French cinema, forming a soft-focused love triangle full of fresh faced hope, aspiring arteests, and constant chain smoking; but it all too quickly dissolves and devolves into a torrid wants-to-be-something-else mess, sadly.
In truth, the first half of the movie is pretty descent as it sets the scene, building its blocks, cementing into our heads who we should root for and who we should boo at as the film progresses.
As aspiring filmmaker, Terry (Jack Kilmer, son of Val, inheritor of stoic face and acting skill) falls for an Anna Karina lookalike in the theatre crowd whilst watching, wait for it, 'Anna Karina' on the big screen!
They meet over a crafty cigarette (obviously), but poor Terry is rather shy and desperately needs some nudging and prodding from his Casanova photographer pal Phil to get to first base.
Anyway, frenzied bed hopping ensues, feelings are viciously attacked, confusion prevails, time passes, and just when everything seems to be coming full circle for the could-have-seen-this-coming ending, we find a red herring swimming in the soup!
Again, it's a damn shame as where it was headed was at least palatable, but what it eventually spews up ie: that aforementioned "red herring" is a great letdown and worse yet, questionable re: real life (yes, I know it's a movie, but you know what I mean).
In closing, anyone fond of the French will surely be pleased with themselves pointing out the stream of referential material, but is it enough when the clumsy wrap dethrones all that throning? Probably not, sorry.
Still worth it for breakout star Jane Levy as the mysterious object d'amour, and the puzzling and super short appearance by wizened Dennis Quaid as the grumpy dad; which makes absolutely no sense at all, but there it is. [JS] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of: