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Chronicle Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 06/01/2012 @ 10:06
Subject: Film

Total films seen in 2011: 500
Total films seen this week: 1
Films seen in the last week: Road House, Batman: Under The Red Hood, Strictly Sinatra, Red Road, The Valley of Gwangi

FILM OF THE WEEK: Mother and Child

Top Ten Films of 2012
It is, of course, never too early for a top ten list, so here's my
list of the top ten films of 2012 so far. By my own spurious,
made-up-on-the-spot rule (“A film has to play for at least a week in
the year for which it's eligible”), The Artist is 2012 for me, though
most critics had it as a 2011 film. I've seen it twice now and it's
just as wonderful the second time round.

The other films are all films I saw at festivals last year, with the proviso that they have confirmed cinema releases for this year (I'm slightly shaky on Damsels in Distress in that regard, but I'm fairly confident, so it stays). Most of them will already be familiar to most people after their
festival buzz (I've already reviewed seven of them – see links below)
but the others, like Alma Har'el's breath-takingly beautiful
documentary-musical hybrid Bombay Beach or South African closeted
homosexual drama Beauty (which really needs to retain its original
title, Skoonheid) are well worth seeking out.

Anyway, if I see ten films this year that are better than this lot, it will be a very good year for film indeed.

1. The Artist
2. Shame
3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
4. Young Adult
5. The Boy With A Bike
6. Bombay Beach
7. Wild Bill
8. The Descendants
9. Damsels in Distress
10. Beauty (Skoonheid)

Oh, and the as-yet-without-a-distributor film I most hope gets a
release this year: Arrugas, which is based on the graphic novel by Paco Roca and was the best film I saw at San Sebastian last year.

Films I Am Dying To See: Chronicle
I am going to come right out and say it: I am not yet tired of “found
footage” movies. I really enjoyed Paranormal Activity 3 and A Walk In
The Woods (as yet unreleased but hopefully out later in the year) was
one of the best films I saw at FrightFest last year. I only really
object to them when there's no compellingly obvious reason for them to be found footage – as much as I loved TrollHunter, for example, I
thought the film would have worked just as well as a “proper” film.

Chronicle is probably closer to Cloverfield in concept though – taking the idea of blockbuster-style events unfolding via found footage. In this case, the idea is breathtakingly simple: three teenagers (“no stars, just talent”, to quote one of my favourite lines from The Player) acquire superpowers and initially just use them for goofing around and playing Jackass-style practical jokes (hence the videocamera). However, one of them forgets the old Spider-Man adage that “with great power comes great responsibility” and starts to let the power go to his head. Needless to say, he's the telekinetic one, so some bad shit goes down.

Actually, looking at the trailer again, it's possible that they all have the same powers (super-strength, invulnerability, telekinesis, flight?), which might make things interesting. Anyway, I love the idea and this looks like it could succeed where Heroes failed – it's certainly a very clever blend of the superhero and found footage thriller genres. I particularly like the cool shot of one of them either flying or being telekinetically hurled into the air at 1m35s and the money shot of all the police cars being moved away towards the end. It opens here relatively soon (1st Feburary) and there's a Facebook page if you like that sort of thing. I can't wait.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only one new entry this week, with just US drama Mother and Child
(starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington) making it
into the top ten. I'll also put in a good word for sports comedy/drama Goon, which I liked a lot – I read somewhere that it has cult movie potential and I think I agree with that. It's definitely a film that's destined to have a long life on DVD, particularly amongst ice hockey fans.

Actually, an odd thing happened this week – when I sat down to write the reviews I thought I'd be giving everything three stars (to be fair, there are only three new films out) but I ended up dropping one down to two (Streep's performance aside, I didn't really like The Iron Lady) and upgrading Mother and Child to four (largely because it's stayed with me more than I initially expected it to). I wavered on Goon (it's essentially a three and a half or a “good three” - there are good threes and bad threes) but in the end decided to leave it at three, as I felt the plot was ultimately a little slight. It's worth noting, too, that if you still haven't seen Snowtown, this is the week to do it (at the Odeon Panton Street), as it's entered its second run and is likely to disappear soon.

There are no new interviews this week, sadly, but you can still read
our exclusive interview with Dreams of a Life director Carol Morley,
our press conference interviews with Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jnr,
Jude Law and Noomi Rapace
for Sherlock Holmes 2, our exclusive
interview with Mark Williams (aka Arthur Weasley) for the DVD of the
final Harry Potter film, our press conference interviews with
Hugo director Martin Scorsese and Hugo actors Asa Butterfield, Chloe
Grace Moretz and Ben Kingsley
, our exclusive interview with
Terence Davies for The Deep Blue Sea, our exclusive interview
with Snowtown star Daniel Henshall.

Come back next week for interviews with the cast and crew of War Horse and, if the Interview Gods are smiling, Paul Bettany for Margin Call.

1. The Artist
2. Margaret
3. Moneyball
4. My Week With Marilyn
5. Snowtown
6. Dreams of a Life
7. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
8. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
9. We Need To Talk About Kevin
10. Mother and Child

DVD of the Week: Kill List (out now, RRP £15.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is British horror Kill List, co-written
and directed by Down Terrace director Ben Wheatley. The film stars
Neil Maskell as Jay, an unemployed ex-soldier suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder, who's under pressure to provide for
his wife Shel (MyAnna Buring) and their young son Sam (Harry Simpson). When Jay's best friend and fellow veteran Gal (Michael Smiley) offers him some lucrative work as a hitman (not for the first time), he jumps at the chance, even when their sinister client (Struan Rodger) insists he sign the contract in blood. However, as Jay and Gal work their way through their “kill list”, it gradually becomes apparent that something very, very strange is going on.

Neil Maskell is terrific as Jay, delivering a compelling, intriguingly layered performance that draws you deep into the story; he also generates strong chemistry with both his co-stars. Similarly, Buring is superb as fierce tempered Shel, while Down Terrace scene stealer Michael Smiley brings welcome notes of dark humour as Gal; their dialogue is often laugh-out-loud funny. Down Terrace was widely praised for seamlessly blending Mike Leigh-style domestic bickering with a British gangster movie and Wheatley pulls off a similar trick here, fusing hitman thrillers, Alan Clarke-style socio-realist commentary and classic horror films. In addition, the script is brilliantly structured, ensuring that repeated viewings of the film will reap rich rewards.

This is a brilliantly directed, genuinely scary British horror film that will really get under your skin. It also confirms writer-director Ben Wheatley as one of the most exciting British directors working today. Highly recommended.

The decent extras package includes: a commentary with director Ben Wheatley and writer Amy Jump; a commentary with actors Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring and Michael Smiley; a seven minute Making Of featurette, an interview with Ben Wheatley; an interview with Neil Maskell and MyAnna Buring; an interview with producers Claire Jones
and Andrew Starke; and the trailer.


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