127 Hours

Spoiler Alert, he cuts off his arm.

127 Hours stars Freaks and Geeks’ very own James Franco. He quickly became famous in one of the most successful film franchise in history (even the bad one) and after a small run on a soap opera, this still-rising star shines in 127 Hours.

The film is based on the true biographical events of Aron Ralston’s canyoning accident in 2003. It chronicles the events of Ralston’s journey of getting his hand trapped under a rock and freeing himself by amputating his own arm.

Wait, a guy stuck in a rock alone sounds long and boring. False. That is why the 127 Hours is so good, the film makers take advantage of that and structures the film around them it to make it a very interesting adventure. Aron’s story was widely published, so everyone already knows what happens in the end. But still, you keep questioning, “Is this when he does it?!” because they keep you in suspense for a healthy amount of time.

You are supposed to feel stuck with Aron, but the pacing of the film is perfect. Right before each time the feeling of being stuck is about to turn into boredom, you are presented with something new such being taken away from Aron and the rock completely. Aron has multiple hallucinations, flashbacks, and possible flashfowards of what he should live for. These are used to break up the film into a nicely paced story.

The cinematography of the 127 Hours was beautiful and helps the powerful story. I enjoyed the film’s pallet of strong oranges and stong blues. The blue of the sky and Aron’s hat, along with the orange rocks and Aron’s shirt, help compliment each other into stunning images. The camera is utilized to make you feel stuck along with Aron in a minor claustrophobic way. Often times a God Camera is used for going into places that are impossible to show normally. Like when the omnipotent camera goes inside of Aron’s water tube, or showing the bone inside of arms in a creative way. The editing is very unique by sometimes using a tryptic style of showing three images at once. It’s used well when showing Aron is losing his mind as it drifts to many different thoughts.

Knowing the story works this time around. The film shows the inner and outer struggle of a person, and it is a very emotional ride. Each moment of the film is strong, but the powerful ending is brought to an even higher level with the help of a song by Sigor Rós. I will admit I cried at the very end with James Franco partial of Aron’s rescue, along with seeing the real life Aron Ralston with his family.

Not only is 127 Hours nominated for Best Picture, it was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Actor. Even though I think that Colin Firth’s performance in the Kings Speech will win Best Actor this year, James Franco should still get some credit for supporting an entire film all by himself. If James Franco were a true method actor, he would have actually cut off his arm and taken home the Oscar. At least he gets his consolation prize is hosting the 83rd Academy Awards with Miss Anne Hathaway.

127 Hours is directed by Danny Boyle. Boyle also directed Slumdog Millionaire, the winner of 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 2008. And it is not just the director, both 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire share many of the same collaborators, including the cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, the composer A. R. Rahman and the producer Christian Colson.

I believe that 127 Hours was hands down the most emotionally powerful film of the year but overall it is one of my top picks of the year. It’s hard to place it, but it might be my second favorite film of the year. I would have given it a higher rating if it would have kept its original title that was similar to last year’s Precious: “127 Hours based on the Novel Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston based on the real biographical events of Aron Ralston cutting his arm off while stuck between a rock and a hard place for 127 Hours.” Maybe that joke was too long and I should have cut it off at the arm.

5 out of 5 stars.

30 Rock Live!

30 Rock went live tonight on the set of Saturday Night Live. Now in its 5th season, NBC appears to have started having some faith in a show that just makes fun of the network. The sexy librarian Tina Fey, the crazy in real life Tracy Morgan, the oldest of the Baldwin brothers, and many others are use to doing live performances on SNL. So a live 30 Rock is a walk in the park for most of them.

The show opens with Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) making fun of the visual look of the current show since its broadcast live instead of being filmed. Even though the show is live, they did not cut any corners. The show did not lose any of its surreal and random humor, including quick cut always to past events, which featured Liz Lemon played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus due to “Seinfeld Money”. They take advantage of it being live by making fun of current events, like the Chilean Miners, and Brett Favre.

SNL alum and 30 Rock alum from season one, Rachel Dratch returns along with Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman (pronounced /spəˈtʃɛmɨn/). Also making a guest appearance was Liz Lemon’s former boyfriend, played by the mantastic Jon Hamm from Mad Men. And the only possible couple that looks more perfectly beautiful than Tina Fay and Jon Hamm, Matt Damon appears as Liz’s current boyfriend. But Bill Hader of SNL had to confess his love for Matt Damon.

If there was anything wrong with there show, there was not enough Judah Friedlander and Jack McBrayer. But all the guest stars made up for that. The cast will do the show twice, once for the east coast and once west coast. Both will be up online at NBC.com and everywhere else on the internet within hours. They do have two and a half hours to reset and get ready between the two broadcasts.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Its live and they are doing it twice.