REVIEW: Howl

Howl
Directed by: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman
Written by: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman (screenplay)
Starring: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, and Jeff Daniels

There’s a moment in Howl, an aesthetically pleasing rumination on the creation and subsequent censorship trial of the infamous poem by Allen Ginsberg, where one of the many expert witnesses called to the stand is asked to explain its meaning.  He remarks that you can’t be asked to translate poetry into prose.  So it goes for the rest of the movie, where co-directors and co-writers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman take the poetry of “Howl” and the prose of interviews and court trials surrounding it, and weave a film out of it.

Epstein and Friedman have an insistence  on historical accuracy from the beginning.  The filmmakers go above the call of the common “Based on a true story,” slogan and instead proclaim that all of the dialogue in this film was uttered by the people it’s attributed to.  They even go so far as to say that in that sense, it could be read like a documentary.  Once you get a glimpse of the finely arranged frames, the shifting color palettes, and the highly-stylized animation sequences, though, you’ll know it’s something else.

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REVIEW: Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya (screenplay)
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens

Remakes and graphic novel adaptations are Zack Snyder’s MO.  Lately though, with last year’s Legend of the Guardians and now Sucker Punch, he’s decided to take his over-stylized style off of the comic book page and map out novels or original material into his own wild odyssey.

Sucker Punch has Snyder’s name all over it from the get-go.  It begins with a violent slow-motion sequence of a young girl (Emily Browning) accidentally shooting her sister when she was aiming for her wicked stepfather and then being brought to a mental hospital where she will await her lobotomy.

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REVIEW: The Town

The Town
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Written by: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard (screenplay) Chuck Hogan (novel)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Chris Cooper

The Town might just be another cops and robbers tale honing Boston accents and boys with their big toy guns and cars; but then again, it might be something different, something with a little less Irish blood and brawn and a little more Ben Affleck brains.

Before Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck would have seemed like the most unlikely director. As an actor with little few roles worth remembering and as a celebrity who could have romanced a whole lot better than Jenifer Lopez, Affleck had relatively little for anyone to talk about. But as soon as his directorial debut was released in 2007, the film gained attention and respect as one of the best movies of the year, making Affleck the talk of tinsel town. Continue reading