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 September 25 2010 — 12:00 AM EDT
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