What a surprising week of film this was. I began with one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, Daniel Craig’s return to the role of James Bond with Skyfall. Audiences and critics alike praised Skyfall, but I found myself to be in a very small minority. I loved Craig, as usual. He is a fantastic Bond. I loved the beefed up role of Judi Dench’s M, she was excellent in the film and it was nice to see her character get so much extra screen time and Javier Bardem was a delicious return to form for Bond villain, all blonde hair and effeminate menace. Even the story was one of the best Bond stories ever with some great backstory to the Bond character. Where the movie missed the boat a little for me was in the action department. This is a James Bond movie after all. And after a great opening, the action sequences were few and far between and when they did happen, they were much too brief. So it ended up being a balance of great stuff with some essential elements missing is humble opinion. Let’s see what they come up with next time.
My weekly double feature ended up being horror again this week as it somehow often does. Silent Hill Revelation is the sequel to the 2006 film Silent Hill which, although not successful at the box office, has found a comfortable cult status in the years since its release. Silent Hill Revelation picks up the story years later and has actually managed to ratchet up the atmosphere quite a bit. These are some of the coolest and creepiest visuals put to film in a long time. The story can get a little convoluted at times, but you really do visit these films for the atmosphere first and foremost, and this film has it in spades. A fun, creepy flick, plus you get Sean Bean, so automatic extra points for that alone.
I followed up Silent Hill Revelation with Mimesis ““ Night of the Living Dead. If ever a film deserved kudos for a cool idea, this would be the one. Basically a bunch of younglings find themselves trapped in a real situation that is exactly the events from George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. They aren’t sure if it is all a joke or prank of some sort, but people do tend to be actually dying. There are some great tongue in cheek moments here, and great attention to detail in terms of duplicating the horror classic. This was one hell of a fun movie with such a cool plot it just kept me invested the entire time. Tons of fun, especially for fans of Uncle George.
I managed to fit in one more double and I was truly and pleasantly surprised by both of them. First up was A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. This is a biographical film about the life of Graham Chapman, although with much made up stuff in it just for fun. The whole film is animated in at least a dozen styles, narrated by Chapman himself with characters in his life voiced by the remaining members of Monty Python. What an unusual and fascinating film. Chapman’s narration was recorded a couple years before his death in 1989. If you are expecting a typical Python film you will probably be disappointed, but I loved it. Much of it is very Python flavored, but it is really a serious reflection on growing up, dealing with fame, substance abuse, homosexuality and relationships. I found it really poignant, it was like the biography channel animated by mental patients.
I paired this up with a film that got a lot of buzz, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This film I fell in love with. The trio of main actors, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson (she of Harry Potter fame) and the incredible Ezra Miller (the Kevin we need to talk about) are all phenomenal here and tell a touching and totally relatable tale of dealing with adolescence. Great visual style, great storytelling and great acting, this is one of my favorite films of the past year. These three actors are going to go on to very big things. I love it when my week is filled with films that really spark my imagination and reinforce my love for all things movies.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday February 12, 2012
A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
Aladdin and the Death Lamp
Being Human: Season 2
Mimesis – Night of the Living Dead
Robot and Frank
That’s What She Said
The Eye of the Storm
The Man with the Iron Fists
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Weeds: Season 8
MORE FROM TORONTO FILM SCENE
- Letter from the Editor: the month we found out we knew nothing about French Canadian film
- TFS Explains: the Canada-France co-pro (or why these two countries should make more movies together)
- Meet the TFS Writers: Daniel Janvier