First up is Act of Valour, perhaps the most laughable war recruitment campaign ever committed to celluloid. Even now, half way through the year, it remains one of 2012’s very worst offerings, with its laughable blend of homoerotic macho bravado, showy jingoism and over the top action silliness. Featuring a cast of real US Navy SEALs, the whole thing plays out like a piss poor game of Call of Duty in which the player is actively encouraged to join the marines upon completion. Inexplicably, it raked in millions at the US box office. Over here it was ignored entirely and it’s your responsibility to ensure it stays that way.
Meanwhile, proving once again that the found footage genre really does need to disappear entirely, the woeful The Devil Inside also arrives on DVD to remind audiences that everything the genre could possibly want to say has already been said and done better countless times before. It does somewhat pain me to say that it’s not entirely without merit - the opening moments aren’t all that bad - it’s just the last 87 minutes that let it down completely.
On a considerably less awful note, the fantastic Being Elmo is also released this week. Constance Marks’ excellent documentary chronicling the life of Kevin Clash (aka the voice and puppeteer of everyone’s favourite Sesame Street character) is a genuine delight, striking a perfect balance between warm-hearted humour and touching poignancy. It’s one of the most uplifting films of the year thus far and if it doesn’t make you shed even the slightest tear then you’ll probably want to check your pulse.
In the family stakes, Cameron Crowe’s sappy We Bought A Zoo delivers the goods, with the charming, if mawkishly sentimental, real-life tale of Benjamin Mee, a man who, following the death of his wife, does exactly what the title implies and buys a zoo. Featuring a cracking score courtesy of Sigur Ros’ front man Jonsi, it’s a far cry from the work of Crowe’s 90s heyday, but it’s a perfectly serviceable piece of family entertainment nevertheless, and one that comes as a welcome reminder of his directorial prowess after a lengthy break.
Finally, with the release of Len Wiseman’s flashy Colin Farrell-led remake on the horizon, Studiocanal’s shiny re-release of Total Recall is a perfect excuse to revisit Arnie’s wonderfully daft and spectacularly violent visit to Mars.
It hasn’t aged all that badly, nor have the one-liners diminished in their ability to elicit belly laughs, but it’s Michael Ironside’s hammy performance as Richter that remains the personal highlight, showcasing the first of many performances in which he inexplicably loses a limb. Or two.