This Week in Movies
What to watch: A heartbreaking documentary and a pulse-pounding Brazilian actionfilm on Austin screens
As we excitedly look forward to the fast-approaching Sundance 2012, films that premiered at this year's festival are still appearing on Austin screens. With more chilly and potenitally wet weather in store for this weekend, why not check out a heartbreaking documentary about nature vs. nuture or a Brazilian action film about deep-seeded corruption?
This Weekend at Violet Crown
James Marsh, director of the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire, returns with a new film that generated enormous amounts of buzz at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Project Nim chornicles an ethically-questionable experiment that took place in the 70s that saw behaviroal psychologist Professor Herbert Terrace take a baby chip from his mother and place him in human households. The expermient was meant to determine the language capabilities of a primate raised exlusively amongst humans. Through incredible archival footage and some choice reenactments, Marsh examines all aspects of the experiments — from its uncertain successes to its unquestionable failures — and unflinichingly lays out the story of a confused animal taken from home to home and ultimately puninshed for being itself. That there's a human core to Project Nim is a testament to Marsh's masterful filmmaking. It's a deeply sad film for sure, but rightly questions audience's views on the creatures with which we share our planet. As an added bonus, according to a recent Austin Film Society alert: "Primatologist Bob Ingersoll, featured in the film, will be IN ATTENDANCE for the 4:40, 7:00 and 9:20 shows on Friday (12/9) and Saturday (12/10)."
This Weekend at the Drafthouse
Fantastic Fest brings another movie to the South Lamar screens for everyone to enjoy. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (which had its US premiere at, you guessed it, Sundance) is actually a sequel to a hit 2007 Brazilian film but, fear not, watching the first isn't necessary to follow this one. Lt. Colonel Nascimento is relieved of his duty as captain of an elite Brazilian military squad after a botched attempt to quell a prison riot. His team's actions puts him in the crosshairs of a human rights activits named Fraga. Nascimento is posted as the secretary of security where he becomes aware of the massive spread of corruption within the police and political systems. The actions he must take to set the system straight put his allegiances in line with Fraga's. This Brazilian action-drama is superbly scripted and features action sequences filmed with a deft touch. It's the film to see to get your blood and brain jucies flowing this weekend.
Beyond the Weekend
Appearing once a Drafthouse calendar (every two months) is the fringe series Video Hate Squad. The screenings, presented by Max Dropout of VHS Summer, are projected onto the Ritz's giant screen from a VCR on stage. All movies screened at this series can only be found on VHS. For Decmeber, Video Hate Squad has whipped out the big guns, a holiday movie so perplexingly scripted and so awesomely executed it's a yuletide tradition amongst gutter-trash cinema aficanodas. Elves stars Dan Haggerty (the Grizzly Adams) as a Vietnam vet turned deparment store Santa who jumps into action when the locals are attacked by evil evles. These aren't just regular evil elves, though, these sex-crazed creatures were created by the Nazi's to store and spread the master race sperm. The movie is wilder than anything you may have in your head right now and you can see it on its only exisiting format for $1 on Sunday (12/11)!