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-
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT... James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg in Howl (JoJo Whilden)
Starring: James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker; Starring: Jon Hamm; Director: Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein; Author: Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein; Runtime (in minutes): 90; MPAA Rating: Unrated; Distributor: Oscilloscope Pictures
Posted January 17 2015 — 2:22 PM EST
- Casting Net: Courtney Love, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito join James Franco's 'The Long Home'
- Nicki Minaj joins 'Barbershop 3' cast
- 'Forever' sneak peek: John Noble puts Henry to a test he nearly fails
- 'Late Show' sneak peek: President Obama, David Letterman make retirement plans
- 'The Flash': Iris confronts Barry with the truth
- Jada Pinkett Smith on Fish Mooney's fate as 'Gotham' wraps season 1
- Orlando Jones exits 'Sleepy Hollow'
- 'Pitch Perfect 2' costume designer's fashion notes
- Mourning after: Best TV episodes after a key character died
- NSYNC hair, revisited on 'It's Gonna Be May' meme day
- 'Outlander' sweats details so Lallybroch feels like home
- 'Grey's Anatomy': How 10 characters/actors exited the show
- Britney Spears, Orlando Bloom, Solange & More!