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'127 Hours'

Even in the darkest hours, director Danny Boyle finds a way to inject a kind of giddy exuberance that somehow makes sense — here, it is James Franco. In a nearly flawless solo turn as a hiker forced to do the unthinkable to survive his own hubris as much as the boulder that has him hopelessly trapped, the actor embodies the essence of the human spirit. It is fierce, funny and bone-snappingly formidable. Chuck Zlotnick / Fox Searchlight
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