What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
CHICAGO – Would you betray your cause and the rest of your family tree for the safety of your son? Such is the nightmarish question that Collette must answer in James Marsh’s tense, complex “Shadow Dancer,” a slow-burn thriller that may be a bit too slow at times but builds in power by the final reel. It is On Demand now and opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, May 31. It’s worth seeking out.
CHICAGO – James Marsh’s much talked-about documentary, “Project Nim,” is one of the saddest films of 2011, charting the mishandling of a chimpanzee by well-meaning but misguided humans. Nim Chimpsky was the simian subject of a widely publicized ’70s-era experiment created by Professor Herbert Terrace. His goal was to discover if a chimp could speak in complete sentences via sign language.
CHICAGO – Human beings are an egotistical, power-hungry species. There’s simply no way around it. And if you think any differently, watch James Marsh’s “Project Nim,” a documentary about the rampant egotism of man’s manipulation of another species. Even the urge to learn and teach that’s expressed at the beginning of “Project Nim” is just a disguise for control.
CHICAGO – Thriller fans should seek out the fascinating “Red Riding Trilogy,” a series of films with largely different casts set in different time periods that attempts to pull back the facade of peace to reveal the dark face of evil underneath. The films are not perfect but they work together to create a memorable portrait of corruption that has infected an entire country and taken more than a few victims in its grip.
CHICAGO – Where have all the true eccentrics gone? Where are all those people who achieve a Zen purpose just because the challenge is there?