Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Circle of Trust #5: Howl (2010)

If your new, this is the series where I talk about the DVDs I receive as member of Oscilloscope Laboratories' Circle of Trust. To learn more about Oscilloscope, the awesome movies they distribute, and their illustrious Circle of Trust DVD club click the link above.

This time we are looking at Howl, written/adapted and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friedman, starring James Franco. Definitely my favorite film Oscilloscope has put out so far and one that will end up pretty high on my top ten list of films from this year (whenever I finally get that written out); Howl is a 3 part film that features an illustrated verison of the title poem, a re-enactment of the trial in which it was accused of being obscene material and therefore not art, and a blended in narrative/fictional interview with Franco as Alan Ginsberg (writer of the poem Howl) revealing his life and thoughts on the poem. I first saw this film back in September and rather than rehash my review of it (found here), I will simply link you to it and hope you check it out if you haven't already. The one important note I do have to add about the film itself though is that it stands up to repeat viewings, and I found it just as impact-full a second and third time. Now, onto the DVD itself.

Oscilloscope has the film available in two packages, the first a standard DVD copy and the second a blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Similar in packaging style, although a slight size difference is given to the blu-ray box, the main difference is the definition (DVD vs Blu-ray) and a few additional features on the blu-ray disc. For starts both contain a feature length audio commentary (with Franco, Epstein, and Friedman), an interesting making of featurette that goes in depth about the film and Alan Ginsberg, four research interviews with former associates of Ginsberg, and two readings of Howl (one by Ginsberg and one by Franco.) So needless to say, you are getting a jam-packed disc and the quality of the material makes it well worth the price of admission. The aforementioned blu-ray only features are a Q & A with the director's at Provincetown Film Festival and Ginsberg reading two of his other works (Sunflower Sutra and Pull My Daisy), which are neat little bonuses but not necessarily must have extras.

Not surprisingly based on my original thoughts on the film and the nice selection of features, I am giving this DVD (while I have the blu-ray combo, I recommend either one just as much depending on your player availability) 5 out of 5 stars. If your looking for how to get a hold of it or just to see the film check out the links below. It is officially out today (actually just turned 12:00 am CST while writing this paragraph.)

Buy either the Howl DVD or Blu-ray combo from Oscilloscope Labs

Add Howl to your Netflix Queue


  1. I hope Jon Hamm is given more to work with in this than he was with The Town, I want to see him do something good but he was terrible in that (not all the way his fault). This looks great and James Franco is turning out to be one of the most prolific actors of this generation, good on him for this film and I'll check it out soon.

    Also, dude, it's getting a little late for best movies of 2010 now, get on that.

  2. I haven't seen The Town but I think Hamm does a pretty good job here, actually all the actors in the courtroom scenes do pretty well with how much time they have. As for my 2010 list I usually wait to finalize it till mid to late January. Lets me see a few more films I missed during the year. Point in case, I watched Catfish today and really liked it.

  3. As long as you enjoyed Catfish I suppose we're alright then...

    Love the segment from which Catfish gets its name, btw, really liked that portion.