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Sat May 19 12
Movie Night: Tribute to James Franco
Following on the heels of our Famous Directors series, this month we shift to the theme of Famous Actors by showcasing two relatively recent films by up and coming young actor James Franco. Please consider joining our retrospective on his work on Saturday, May 19.
We’ll start with one of Franco’s more well known works, 127 Hours, by famed director and winner of the 2008 Oscar for Best Picture Danny Boyle.
Summary:127 HOURS is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah.
Amazon.com has this to say about the film:
Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) is traipsing alone through Utah's Canyonlands National Park, minding his own sweet-natured, loosey-goosey business, when an errant step drops him into a crevasse. That in itself wouldn't be so bad if he hadn't managed to get his right hand stuck between a heavy boulder and the side of the cavern--a cavern that will be his grave, if he doesn't figure out how to get himself out. Danny Boyle's film of this real-life 2003 incident builds up to what we all know is going to happen: Ralston must sever his arm between his elbow and wrist, after a few long, lonely days of avoiding the idea. (Superb casual line delivery by Franco: "So I found this great tourniquet….") Because this is a film by the director of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, we can expect a barrage of visual high jinks, despite the fact that this story would seem to be a simple tale of a man stuck in the desert. Boyle deploys flashbacks and fantasies to fill up the screen, plus he gets some mileage out of Ralston's video camera--and, of course, this director can't resist juicing the soundtrack with pop tunes, from Sigur Rós to Edith Piaf to Slumdog composer A.R. Rahman. Maybe Boyle is simply hyperactive, or maybe he's really onto something about what would happen inside the mind of a man left in extremis for an extended period (who wouldn't have a few Boyle-esque hallucinations, under the circumstances?). The cumulative effect is overbearing, but Franco's performance is spirited and endearing--he makes Ralston sufficiently "of life" that you definitely don't want to see this goofball soul be lost. --Robert Horton
127 Hours earned an average Metacritic rating of 82 (universal acclaim). Check out the reviews by going to http://www.metacritic.com/movie/127-hours.
For additional information about 127 Hours, including a trailer,visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1542344/
Run time for this film is 94 minutes.
Our second film of the evening is less well known but I suspect will resonate on some level with many of us as Franco plays gay author and poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl.
Summary:James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg poet, counter-culture adventurer and chronicler of the Beat Generation. In his famously confessional, leave-nothing-out style, Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless and electrifying work of his career, the poem HOWL. Meanwhile, in a San Francisco courtroom, Howl is on trial. Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn.
A fairly positive review of the film by A.O. Scott of the New York Times can be found at http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/movies/24howl.html?ref=movies.
Howl received an average Metacritic rating of63(generally favorable reviews). Check out the reviews by going to http://www.metacritic.com/movie/howl.
For additional information about Howl, including a trailer, visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049402/.
Run time for this film is 84 minutes.
REMINDER: SPACE IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 12 PEOPLE WHO SEND ME AN RSVP.