In an obvious stroke of marketing synchronicity, it’s no coincidence that James Franco’s and Anne Hathaway’s recent films are being released on DVD/Blu-ray this week, just a few days after the duo hosted Hollywood’s biggest yearly extravaganza of pomp and self-congratulation.
While the pair struggled to successfully host the Oscars (though I’m not sure their underwhelming efforts were entirely their fault), each of their just-released films — Franco in 127 Hours, Hathaway in Love & Other Drugs — shows off why they should have no problem keeping their day jobs.
Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is essentially a one-man show, as Franco fearlessly and compellingly reenacts the harrowing true-life story of hiker Aron Ralston. (Perhaps Boyle banned weed from the set?) And for those who want proof of Franco’s range, check out Howl (released in a lushly rendered DVD/Blu-ray package a few months back by discerning distributor Oscilloscope), which looks at the experiences that influenced and fueled Allen Ginsberg’s enduring masterpiece, “Howl.” Franco inhabits the Beat icon with near seamless ease, in many ways besting his better-known turn in 127 Hours.
Taken together, the two films reveal a guy who needs to work more often as an actor instead of spreading himself thin with various academic hijinks or hosting garish, self-important awards shows.