Most biopics or films based on real events take judicious liberties with the subjects and incidents they are portraying for dramatic or comedic effect, the makers of Howl instead stuck strictly to the source material. And for good reason as the film focuses on both one of the most dramatic pieces of poetry to come out of the 20th century, but also the controversy surrounding its publication in 1956. The publisher of the work, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books, was brought to trial on obscenity charges after 500+ copies of the book coming in to the country from the printers were seized.
Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friedman, co-directors of Howl who are also responsible for the peerless documentaries The Times Of Harvey Milk and The Celluloid Closet, take a non-fiction approach to bringing the poem and the trial to screen. They use actors for all the parts in the film, most notably James Franco who embodies the voice and diction of the late Allen Ginsberg, but all the dialog is taken from transcripts of the trial, and an interview with the poet from the same year.
These computer generated animations were real pioneers in the art form-“Toy Story” being the first full length CGI film and spawned an entire new industry in Hollywood with its success. The films have become classics of the genre, with “Toy Story 2” being just as successful as the original. Now the animation seems a bit dated , with the humans far from realistic and the lacking of some details that are part of the genre today with computer advancements.
Part of their success was the writing of the stories and the talented voice cast of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and other famous celebrities in the toy roles. Joan Cusack makes Jesse the Cowgirl a terrific new character in TS2. John Lasseter, than at Pixar, contributed to the high quality of the production in a number of ways, earning a special Oscar for his work.
These Blu-Ray discs (sold separately) come with a DVD copy but curiously do not come with a digital copy, as in other Disney Blu-Ray releases. Extras include features on the development of each story, interviews with cast members, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs, and each release also contains a sneak preview of the upcoming Toy Story 3.
If you are a fan of Pixar, celebrate the release of these classics on Blu-Ray.
As the cover states, “Matt Damon is The Informant”, a sly comedy with another brilliant performance from Damon. Having conquered the action thriller, Damon turns to witty comedy in this true tale of Mark Whitacre, the highest ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history. Whitacre contacts the FBI about price fixing in the corn industry, which sends in FBI agent (Scott Bakula) to investigate. Bakula convinces Whitacre to start recording the deals that are to be made but soon discovers there is a lot more to the story then Whitacre has told him. The comedy of this film builds as we discover bit by bit what Whitacre and others are up to. The comedy is subtle but witty and this film will stand up to more than a few viewings. Continue reading
While it is refreshing to see “The Simpsons” come to Blu-Ray, Fox makes a big mistake by this sets lack of extras. Continue reading
This computer animated feature , based on a very popular children’s book has a talented cast and is a great family film. Continue reading
‘Sopranos’ fans should not hesitate to make the upgrade to Blu-ray. Continue reading
“A Very Sunny Christmas” is an amusing holiday special. Continue reading
Disney again pushes the Blu-Ray format forward with the release of Walt’s first, full length animated feature. Continue reading