Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Christian Slater
KING COBRA (2016). Written and directed by Justin Kelly.

Sean (Garrett Clayton) reinvents himself as Cobra films' gay porn star "Brent Corrigan" and becomes a name in the industry. His live-in boss is Stephen (Christian Slater), who seems to have feelings for Sean that go beyond their professional relationship. When Sean falls for a younger guy, he starts wondering if he's getting enough of the profits, and decides to go out on his own. Unfortunately, Stephen has trademarked the "Brent Corrigan" name and Sean finds doors closing in his face now that he can't use that popular identity. When Sean comes up against this problem with two producer-lovers, Joe (James Franco) and Harlow (Keegan Allen), they tell him that they will "take care" of the problem. Unfortunately, they do just that ... Based on a true story, King Cobra is the second of two ill-advised gay-themed films James Franco made in 2017 (the other being the biopic I am Michael). King Cobra moves fast and is somewhat entertaining, but the characters are almost all one-dimensional and unpleasant, most of the actors make the characters more "faggy" than they need to be, and the whole project seems thrown together to take advantage of the exploitative value of the material. The performances are okay, but one doubts this will be mentioned in anybody's resume. Franco co-produced the film, no surprise there. Molly Ringwald plays Slater's sister and Alicia Silverstone is Sean's mother. The real "Sean" -- Sean Paul Lockhart -- has disavowed this movie. He has also appeared in the non-porn film Judas Kiss.

Verdict: More entertaining than Stranger By the Lake at any rate. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I like this one quite a bit more than you do, I think, Bill. It is darkly comedic and has a real edge to it, and I loved seeing the "turns" by well-known actors like Slater and Franco, and cameos by Ringwald and Silverstone. I do think Garrett H is a young budding star with a lot of presence.

I think this is one of those "new breed" films that succeed in telling a good story...another one I like that has a contemporary style (though not LGBT) is Canyons by Bret Easton Ellis, starring Lindsay Lohan. Edgy, interesting and very NOW...

William said...

Well, this one does have a better story and script than "Stranger by the Lake," I'll grant you. I didn't recognize Molly Ringwald and barely recognized Silverstone -- time marches on. I don't know if this movie is going to do much for Garrett H, but he'll undoubtedly do other things.

As always, Chris, thanks so much for your interesting comments!