>One is an historical biopic, based on an English literary figure. The second one is based on the true story of a woman’s self-discovery through distant travel. The third is an action-packed blockbuster, full of special effects. Last but not least is an independent film and biopic on a 20th century poet. They are “Bright Star,” “Eat Pray Love,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “Howl,” respectively. **Spoiler Alert ** – If you haven’t seen any of these, some scenes are described below.


“Bright Star”

Only the 2nd film that I’ve seen either Abbie Cornish (“Candy,” 2006) or Ben Whishaw (“I’m Not There,” 2007) star in. However, their talents are so strong that they are definitely among my new favorites in acting. “Bright Star” itself is very beautiful, with romantic settings to compliment the story of writer John Keats and his love, Fanny Brawne. If you’re a fan of writers from Keats’ time, as well as films based on literary figures and their works, this is one for you.

“Eat Pray Love”

In this movie, Italy is my favorite destination out of the places in which writer Elizabeth Gilbert, portrayed by Julia Roberts, travels to. However, I loved seeing the cultural aspects throughout the movie because it showed something I never saw before from each place. I’ve seen a number of movies that feature Rome, yet never saw the insides of the Octavian (Augustus) catacombs in which Roberts sits and reflects as Gilbert. During her stay in India, a vibrant traditional wedding ceremony comes alive in great detail. The time in Bali shows the agricultural scenery that Gilbert bicycles through, showing how the residents’ lives are tied to the land. This movie definitely inspired my travel dreams, and I can totally relate to the “travel box.”

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”

In my opinion, the best aspects of “Prince of Persia” are the special effects and the action scenes. There is an interesting twist among rival characters because there is the leadership of a kingdom at stake. Of course, that is only a part of the story integrated into the larger part concerning the power of a treasured dagger. It is definitely worth seeing, with so much action throughout to make for exciting entertainment.

“Howl”

This was a very different movie, with scenes going back and forth between animation and live action. The animation depicted images reflecting what Allen Ginsberg wanted to say in his poem “Howl,” read in voice over by James Franco who portrays the poet. Live action includes an interview of Franco as Ginsberg in his apartment, moments of typing the poem, a reading of his poem in a smokey 1950’s coffee house and court hearings that debate the poem as a literary piece. The live action is shot in color as well as black and white film, adding to the visual variety throughout. There is a lot of content, both in words and animated imagery, that constitute the film’s rating…hence, the court hearing about the poem. However, great acting by Franco and his co-stars (David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams). During both animated scenes and live action coffee house scenes, Franco reads Ginsberg’s poem with strong expression of emotion.