A great big thanks to Davy for helping me out last week. Extra credit since I gave him about a day's notice. At least it was an easy week for him to cover. The last week of the year always brings out very little as the studios have all shot their wads for the Christmas shoppers and they’ve not yet had time to recharge for the new year.
This week brings us quite a few things I’m finding interesting though most of it was found to be disappointing by critics and audiences alike. Still there’s a lot of it and that’s more than we usually get for the first week of releases of the year. So lets get talking about it.
Sicario is a little crime thriller that slipped in and out of theaters mostly unnoticed last spring but will hopefully get more attention on home video. It stars Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin as parts of a government task force sent to bring down a Mexican drug cartel. I’d never heard of it until I started writing this post. Investigating it, I find that it did actually make a small profit, but I don’t recall seeing a single trailer, poster or even the tiniest bit of hype about it.
Looking at the reviews, they’ve mostly been positive. It's got a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's also right up my alley with those actors and that story. All of this easily makes it my pick of the week, even while I’m scratching my head as to how I missed it. I hope it's worth the internal hype I’m now giving it and as I say, I hope it does well on video and maybe becomes a cult flick. Unfortunately with it getting released now, it's not likely to garner much attention now either. But maybe I’ll be wrong. Or maybe people will find it on cable. If it'sany good. Maybe I’m hoping for something that this movie doesn’t deserve. Maybe I’m just weirded out that something with those actors and with a story right in my wheelhouse completely slipped out of my radar.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
The Walk: In 1974, a French high-wire artist crossed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on a thin little wire. Actually, he crossed it eight different times and performed up there for 45 minutes. He was the subject of the 2008 documentary Man on a Wire and is now featured in this film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ben Kingsley. Word on the street is you are better off watching the documentary though.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: Whose better prepared to deal with zombies than a bunch of boy scouts?
The Complete Lady Snowblood (Criterion Collection): Two Japanese revenge flicks that helped inspire Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies.
True Detective: The Complete Second Season: How the folks that made the first season of this HBO anthology series (which I count as some of the best TV ever) could so thoroughly screw up the second season is beyond me. I dunno, they say the finale makes the drag of everything that comes before it somewhat worth it. If I can ever make it that far I’ll let you know if they are right.
Experimenter: In 1961, Stanley Milligram did a series of behavioral experiments wherein people believed they were shocking other people in a nearby room. There were told to continually shock them at increasing levels of intensity even to point that might kill them. Still, many of them continued pressing the button they believed was causing others to be severely hurt. It became a very famous and controversial experiment. This film fictionalizes Milligram’s life and looks at those experiments. It stars Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, Taryn Manning and John Leguizamo. Sounds fun.
Shanghai: Terrible looking spy drama starring John Cusack and Chow Yun-Fat. Still, I’ll probably see it only because I lived in Shanghai and it's always fun watching movies set in exotic places you’ve visited.
Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime: Season 1: Yet another series based upon Christie characters. This time the heroes are beekeepers, so that’s new. I’m always good for some traditional murder mysteries and Chrisie does them best.
The Visit: A found-footage horror film by M. Night Shyamalan. There is nothing in that sentence that in any way excites me. And yet it's actually gotten decent reviews and the trailers make it look quite frightening. Maybe Mr. Shyamalan is finally staging the comeback I’ve always hoped he’d get.
The Green Inferno: Eli Roth’s take on the cannibals in the jungle genre. You can read Davy’s full review here.
Deathgasm: New Zealand comedy horror about a couple of heavy metal fans who accidentally summon a demon. Could either be hilariously wonderful or really terrible. I’m willing to find out.
Fantômas: 5-Film Collection: Kino Lobber have collected these early French films about an assassin on the streets of Paris.