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Howl

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James Franco, Howl | IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT... James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg in Howl
JoJo Whilden

Howl

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
90 minutes
Limited Release Date:
09/24/10
performer:
James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, Jon Hamm
director:
Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein
distributor:
Oscilloscope Pictures
author:
Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein

We gave it a B-

Allen Ginsberg’s revolutionary 1956 poem ”Howl” — a literary manifesto for the Beat Generation — gets a great reading from modern-day beatnik-star James Franco, playing the poet with bebop passion. That’s the cool part of this overloaded hybrid art-film project by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Celluloid Closet). Less cool and more effortful are Howl‘s reenactment of publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s obscenity trial (Jon Hamm plays a defense lawyer) and the labored animated images that illustrate the poem as Franco recites it. B-

See all of this week’s reviews