Posts Tagged ‘12 Monkeys’

Such a great assault on the brain, Terry Gilliam returns to confront the audience with either time travel or madness.  The performances clinch the deal.  This is probably Bruce Willis’ best work, ever, and possibly Brad Pitt as well.

Some films are so off the wall, unexpected and anti-formulaic, that they become the best loved of all.  Brazil is like that, a film that studio suits won’t understand, ever, and yet change people’s lives upon viewing them.  With 12 Monkeys, we saw things that we hadn’t seen before, and the jigsaw puzzle pieces fit together so well it felt like an elevated level of existence, where more is possible.

Combining science fiction, romantic notions and pure brain damage, Gilliam managed to tell a story that nobody expected.  It’s the whole greater than the sum of its parts thing that defies explanation.


The aesthetics are pure cinema.  This looks like film, like classic film, beautiful hypnotic images often with ultra wide lenses distorting reality in the service of emotion.  Some films remind me how movies are supposed to look, in a perfect world.  This is clearly one of them.  Gilliam, Kubrick and Jean Paul Jenet just always capture a lush cinematic image quality that mesmerizes, unlike a lot of the video camera produced imagery today.  The noir lighting, lenses and film stocks define, for me, what movies have been and should be.  They’re like the gold standard to aspire to.

The Hamster Factor is on the Bonus Features of the 12 Monkeys DVD:


Terry Gilliam’s documentary about shooting 12 Monkeys.




This is a great making-of documentary, and so I’m promoting it to the Featured section, so it sticks around a little longer.


Okay, Doom and Gloomers—

With It’s a Disaster set to release on DVD momentarily, The End and World War Z imminent, and us already living in Zombieland surrounded by The Walking Dead, why do I even persist?

Don’t answer that.

I want to talk about a little Canadian movie called Last Night (1998) that no one saw, but I really loved.  I’m so happy that Hollywood didn’t choose to remake and shit all over this indie.  Last Night is an end of the world tale that worked for its simplicity and plain, straightforward truth. No special-effect laden Melancholia about it, just two people facing the end and struggling for a human connection before their time is up.


Might as well mention some other apocalyptic films to keep this thing going.

Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain bends your brain in multiple epochs. It’s so bold, unconventional and visually mesmerizing that it sticks with you for a long time afterward.


Blindness is José Saramago’s tale of a world instantly rendered blind.  Complete anarchy and panic, and then the banding together as the blind lead the blind to atrocities and war for resources.  A disturbing powerful film that is filmed exceptionally well for its modest budget.


12 Monkeys, not a small film, but when Terry Gilliam does the apocalypse I’m there.  Like The Fountain, 12 Monkeys doesn’t restrict itself to one era.  It jumps back and forth pre-apocalypse to post.  It’s such a twisted unconventional tale though, and one of Gilliam’s best in my opinion.  How easy it is to destroy a world.


And of course, who needs zombies when you have The Humungous?