New on Home Video: The Other James Franco

Trying to pin down who, exactly, James Franco is can be daunting. But then again, it may also go a long way to explaining why he's currently such a hot property in Hollywood.

He took a lot for heat for the too-cool apathy he showed in hosting the Oscars this past weekend, a stance that was highlighted by co-host Anne Hathaway’s boundless energy, but the gig itself may be more to blame for that than Franco. Hosting is a thankless task (just ask seasoned comedy vets like Jon Stewart or David Letterman) that is tough to do much with. Even if, like Franco, you have absolutely no problem dressing as Marilyn Monroe.

But for a true taste of Franco in his element, check out the movie that earned him the Best Actor nomination in the first place: "127 Hours," new to DVD and Blu-ray today.

The film is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber who in 2003, went hiking in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, where he eventually finds himself at the bottom of a narrow canyon, with his armed pinned under a boulder.
Over the course of the next 127 hours he videotapes a diary of his ordeal, drinks his own urine and finally comes to the realization that his only chance for survival is to break and then saw off his own arm.

Every frame of "127 Hours" is riveting thanks to director Danny Boyle's unparalleled storytelling abilities and Franco's performance, one that ricochets from emotional peak to valley in a hair's breadth. It becomes obvious why Franco has been so at ease flipping between drama ("Milk"), goofball comedy ("Pineapple Express") and even action movie villain ("Spider-Man 2").

Equal measures heartbreaking and exhilarating. The simplest moments, like a sliver of sunshine or a dropped object, earn gasps and whimpers from viewers, while the film's climatic scene, one met with cries and shouts, is viscerally tangible. Boyle calls the film, "an action movie with a guy who can't move."

The new Blu-ray and DVD versions of “127 Hours” include commentary from Director/Co-Screenwriter Danny Boyle, Producer Christian Colson and Co-Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy - and Boyle praises Franco's technique throughiyt. There are some deleted scenes (including an alternate ending), featurettes about actual events that led to Ralston’s rescue and the collaboration between Franco and Boyle, as well a digital copy of the film.

And absolutely no musical numbers.

Also Out This Week

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Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould - Director's Cut
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Love and Other Drugs
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Bambi (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
If you don't know about Bambi, you probably don't care, this new edition comes with featurettes and deleted scenes. Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, watch the trailer

Daughters of Darkness
This 1971 Belgian horror film finds a pair of newlyweds in an all but empty hotel where they run across a mysterious Hungarian countess who grows increasingly obsessed with them. In French with English subtitles. Now available on Blu-ray

Michael Jordan to the Max
Follow Michael Jordan on and off the court as he leads the Chicago Bulls to their sixth and final NBA title. Be warned, it's only 46 minutes. Now available on Blu-ray, watch a clip

Out of Sight
George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez star in director Steven Soderbergh's cat-and-mouse romcom about an escaped prisoner and the U.S. Marshal trying to bring him in--a great film. Now available on Blu-ray, watch the trailer

Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy

Just in time to get you stoked for "On Stranger Tides," here's the first three chapters of the adventures of Capt. Jack Sparrow. Now available on Blu-ray

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