Trailer: James Marsh’s Project Nim

Most of the interesting openings this week are on the limited release front. Beyond that, you’re on your own.

  • Project Nim. Man on Wire director James Marsh tackles the subject of Nim, a chimpanzee raised as a human child in the hope he could be be taught to communicate with people via sign language. More accurately it sounds like Project Nim is really about the scientists who trained him and by extension ourselves. Reviews out of Sundance were fantastic and Mr. Marsh won the World Cinema Directing Award for Documentaries. Project Nim opens this week in New York. It opens in LA on July 15th with a nationwide expansion to follow. I still think they should’ve released this the same weekend as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but no one listens to me. (NY)
  • Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest. People who love the influential pioneers of alternative rap have been raving up and down about this documentary on them from actor Michael Rapaport. Check it out. Just don’t leave your wallet in El Segundo. (Limited)
  • The Sleeping Beauty. Catherine Breillat deconstructs another fairytale. If you like Breillat and you liked her Bluebeard, I’m guessing you’ll want to have a look. If you don’t, well I imagine you haven’t even finished reading this item. (Limited)

  • John Carpenter’s The Ward. I love John Carpenter’s work in his glory days from Dark Star up through Big Trouble in  Little China. Yes, I know I’m also supposed to include They Live! but I’ve just never liked that one. Anyway, it’s been a long time since he’s made a movie that really mattered and if critics are to be believed, this one doesn’t change his recent pattern. Too bad. Amber Heard plays a woman locked in a mental institution with no idea who she is or how she got there. (Limited)
  • Horrible Bosses. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day play three pals who decide to rid themselves of their horrible bosses played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston. R-rated comedy ensues. (Wide)
  • Zookeeper. Kevin James and a bunch of wisecracking CGI animals star in the cinematic equivalent of a sledgehammer blow to the testicles. A bland family-friendly comedy for people who’ve already swum up stream and spawned and are now just quietly waiting to die. (Wide)
  • Ironclad. Paul Giamatti is King John who signed the Magna Carta in 1215 but refused to abide by its laws which limited his powers as King. War between the King and some rebel barons followed with some meddling by the French for good measure (those French are always meddling, aren’t they?). Brian Cox plays one of the barons. James Purefoy, Kate Mara and Derek Jacobi co-star. Pretty good cast for an indie action-drama and the R rating boasts “strong graphic brutal battle sequences” so there’s that. (Limited)
  • The Ledge. Reviews out of Sundance were not kind and it’s currently sporting a 5% Fresh rating on the old TomatoMeter so let’s just cut to the official blurb and movie on with our lives: “One step can change a life forever in “The Ledge,” a sexy and suspenseful thriller, starring Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson and Terrence Howard. After embarking on a passionate affair with his evangelical neighbor’s wife (Tyler), Gavin (Hunnam) soon finds himself in a battle of wills that will have life or death consequences. As a non-believing atheist, Gavin is lured by her lover’s husband (Wilson) to the ledge of a high rise and told he has one hour to make a choice between his life or the one he loves. Without faith in an afterlife, will he be able to make a decision? It’s up to police officer Hollis (Howard) to save both their lives but the clock is ticking in this edge-of-your-seat film that will leave you gasping until the final frame.” Man, I got tired just cutting and pasting that thing. (Limited)
  • Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish. Oy vey! What light at yonder window breaks? No seriously. It’s a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s story in Yiddish. (NY)
  • Rapt. A powerful businessman is kidnapped. As details of his sordid lifestyle come to light, his hot wife and daughters question whether he’s worth the 50 million euros it would take to buy his freedom. Take that powerful businessman and your philandering ways! (Wed. 7/6 NY)

6 Responses to “Weekend Forecast: Step one in the coming ape takeover”

  1. Even if PROJECT NIM isn’t opening opposite the new PLANET OF THE APES movie, at least it’s coming out the same weekend at ZOOKEEPER, another movie about the wacky relationship between humans and the animals they love. So that’s something.

    I’m curious about the Tribe Called Quest movie. I don’t know what kind of director Rappaport is, but I’ve been listening to LOW END THEORY a lot lately, and I’d be interested in seeing what this movie has to say about Top, Phife, and so on.

    And sorry, but whenever I think “I left my wallet in El Segundo,” I think of Irma P. Hall. Darn those Coen brothers- even their lesser efforts stick with you.

  2. “Ironclad” sounds like Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” without Robin Hood. Don’t we already have a Shakespeare play for this?

    And yes, you are supposed to include “They Live”. May God have mercy on your bubblegum-less soul.

  3. And sorry, but whenever I think “I left my wallet in El Segundo,” I think of Irma P. Hall. Darn those Coen brothers- even their lesser efforts stick with you.

    Hahaha, good one.

  4. Would you believe me Paul if that’s exactly why I used that quote?

    Bob. Yeah, I know. Shall I just turn in my John Carpenter card now?

  5. And yes, you are supposed to include “They Live”. May God have mercy on your bubblegum-less soul.

    Ignore Rowdy Roddy Piper and the fact that this was really a brilliant episode of the Twilight Zone stretched to feature length. It should be mentioned for being the single biggest FU of its time (from a major studio!) to the rampant conformity, corruption, and narcissism of the Reagan era. Plus, the ridiculous fight scene in the alley is pure win. Include it next time.

  6. “I still think they should’ve released this the same weekend as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but no one listens to me.”

    You spoke too soon Craig!

    I saw PROJECT NIM on Saturday night and was completely blown away by it! Mr. Marsh is turning out to be quite a documentarian!

    Meanwhile I also saw PLANET OF THE APES (1968) at the Film Forum today (Sunday) where it is playing for one week in a restored print. The kids were thrilled to see it, as it’s one of their favorites!

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