• Howl
    2 minutes 42 seconds
    Added: Jul 15, 2010


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Howl Reviews

Page 1 of 6
Anne Thompson
Thompson on Hollywood

An ambitious and admirable film from documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Howl is inspiring, frustrating, and compelling. But finally, it doesn't come together.

Full Review Source: Thompson on Hollywood | Original Score: C

September 24, 2010
Charlie Lyne
Ultra Culture

Howl is one of the most artless art films ever made.

Full Review Source: Ultra Culture

October 26, 2010
Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman attracted Hollywood talent, had an epic poem and a classic culture clash as their subject and still produced a corpse from it.

Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Original Score: 1.5/4

January 15, 2013
Graham Young
Birmingham Post

A docu-drama which has 'aren't we a clever little art house production' tattooed through every frame.

Full Review Source: Birmingham Post | Original Score: 2/5

April 6, 2011
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's well-crafted, but I wish the film showed us an additional dimension or two of the central figure, who once said the great challenge in writing, any kind of writing, is "to write the same way you are."

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2010
Lynden Barber

The film's jigsaw construction initially lends an air of freshness and unpredictability, but as the film moves forward the lack of any overarching thematic structure or emotional dynamism becomes a problem.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/5

March 10, 2011
Adam Lippe

Did Friedman and Epstein not notice that by having Franco reveal the meaning of each word and phrase, they're just as bad as the district attorney who filed the case?

Full Review Source:

September 12, 2010
Clint O'Connor
Cleveland Plain Dealer

You can attach many labels to Howl. Cinematically Enthralling is not one of them. Too bad, because James Franco is excellent.

Full Review Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer | Original Score: B-

October 29, 2010
Drew McWeeny

The end result is dramatically inert, a showcase for James Franco's technically adept but entirely unilluminating impression of Allen Ginsberg.

Full Review Source: HitFix

January 22, 2010
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

The poem "Howl" is a great work of the imagination, but the movie is oddly unimaginative.

Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Original Score: 2/4

October 15, 2010
Dan Callahan
House Next Door

Like one of those ghastly Vanity Fair black and white photo spreads where hot young actors dress up and pose as bygone icons.

Full Review Source: House Next Door

February 23, 2011
Lauren Wissot
Slant Magazine

Like the counterculture icon that penned the poem that serves as the title to Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's film, Howl is one odd bird.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2/4

September 26, 2010
Tricia Olszewski
Washington City Paper

Though there's nothing really wrong with Franco's performance, there's not much right about it, either. It just lies there, and its inertia inevitably renders the film a big meh.

Full Review Source: Washington City Paper

October 28, 2010
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Admirable if fundamentally academic.

Full Review Source: Variety

January 3, 2011
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Milk meets Pink Floyd the Wall. Says everything it has to say in the first 20 minutes, then keeps repeating itself.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

January 23, 2010
Peter Sobczynski

An ambitious but flawed misfire.

Full Review Source:

October 1, 2010
Anthony Quinn

There are ways to put poetry on the screen, but this drama-documentary about the Beat versifier Allen Ginsberg fails to find them.

Full Review Source: Independent | Original Score: 2/5

February 25, 2011
Erik Childress

It's a mixture of styles that may have worked well if concentrated on one over another. Instead the subject matter struggles to find a distinct voice.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 2/4

January 31, 2010
Kent Turner
School Library Journal

Unfortunately, films like Howl come closer to fluffy biopic than topical docudrama

Full Review Source: School Library Journal | Original Score: 2/4

September 25, 2010
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Splendid as Franco's literal characterization and overheated line readings can be, art director Eric Drooker's literal-minded animated interpretation of "Howl" are as sodden as a cold latke -- as well as a distraction.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 21, 2010
Page 1 of 6
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