DVD & Blu-ray Picks: May 2017

DVD & BLU-RAY

Tampopo – The Criterion Collection (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) / http://amzn.to/2qOwl2E

A Monster Calls (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) / http://amzn.to/2rnL5Tb

My Life As a Dog (Arrow Films) / http://amzn.to/2qp8m8N

Silence (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2pTA36i

12 Angry Men – The Criterion Collection (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) / http://amzn.to/2qti74p

La La Land (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2qOTSk7

Mad Max: Fury Road – Black and Chrome Edition (Warner Home Video) / http://amzn.to/2qpjRNU

Manchester By the Sea (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2qpkfM3

Truck Turner (Trinity Creative Partnership) / http://amzn.to/2qpr0xBi

Mulholland Drive (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2qOClIz

Kraftwerk: The Catalogue 3D (Parlophone Records) / http://amzn.to/2qtbYF6

Fahrenheit 451 (Universal Pictures) / http://amzn.to/2qpgaHR

Toni Erdmann (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2pTWfgB

Mirror (Artificial Eye) / http://amzn.to/2pWMDGN

> George Miller interview at IndieWire on the Fury Road Chrome Edition
> Roger Ebert’s Great Movies: Crimes and Misdemeanors
> Kenneth Lonergan, Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges Discuss Manchester By The Sea at AOL
> DP/30 interview with writer-director Damien Chazelle on La La Land

A Monster Calls (2016)

With just two films to his credit – The Orphanage (2007) and The Impossible (2012) – Bayona has established himself as one of most interesting filmmakers to emerge from Spain in recent years.

So this project, based on a novel by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay (from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd) was much anticipated.

It explores a young boy (Lewis MacDougall) struggling to deal with a dying mother (Felicity Jones) and a vision of a monster he sees at night (Liam Neeson) who tells him tales.

A lot rests on MacDougall’s shoulders here, being centre stage throughout, and he delivers a remarkable performance, convincing in conveying a number of emotions, spanning anger, grief, frustration and terror.

Indeed, the most affecting aspect of the film is the sense of human confusion at the brutal events life can throw our way and how complicated it can be to resolve them.

The interplay between him and his loving mother (Jones), absent father (Toby Kebbel) and strict grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is central to why most of the audience will be moved at the end.

Yet while the human plane is handled with a sensitive and subtle touch, the monster’s – rendered by a multitude of visual effects – is somehow less impactful. A curious case of more ending up as less, with a CGI character leaving too little to the imagination.

Of more note is the animated fairytale sequences, which the monster narrates. Splendidly animated by Adrián García, they explore the Prince Charming myth, medieval faith, and “an invisible man who had grown tired of being unseen”.

The flaws don’t derail A Monster Calls, which still deserves plaudits for boldly confronting dark issues inside the framework of a ‘family fantasy’.

A Monster Calls screened at the London Film Festival and opens in the UK on January 6th

> Official site for the film
> London Film Festival