Screen Junkies » project nim Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 05 Dec 2014 19:25:26 +0000 en hourly 1 What’s Playing This Weekend: July 8 Fri, 08 Jul 2011 18:49:20 +0000 Col. Longshanks Killing bosses and Kevin James visiting T.G.I. Fridays with a gorilla.

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This weekend marks one of the only weekends this summer that won’t be invaded by superheros, aliens, or gigantic morphing robots. It will however welcome the return of Kevin James in a kids movie. But don’t fret! There are other options available to you. An air-conditioned theater can still be your sanctuary.

So, what’s playing this weekend?

Horrible Bosses

There's Funny Stuff In 'Horrible Bosses' Red Band

Horrible Bosses follows three guys with varying degrees of ineptness as they try to murder their employers. I often wish I had to bear the burden of Jennifer Aniston‘s relentless sexual harassment.

With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 76%, you can walk in feeling fairly confident that Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day will deliver a fair amount of laughs.

Best Review

Takes a thin premise and milks it for all its worth, riding a witty script and super-strong cast to comedic glory.

Stephen Silver – Patch

Worst Review

Look at how crazy is the craziness we are doing for you. Isn’t it crazy? the movie shouts, and the more it does, the less you’ll laugh.

Kyle Smith – New York Post

Our Recommendation

If you’re a fan of the actors, and like a dark comedy that doesn’t get so dark you feel uncomfortable, then give Horrible Bosses a shot. Jennifer Aniston also has a real whorish mouth in it. She’s come a long way since Friends.

The zookeeper

Trailer For Kevin James’ ‘The Zookeeper’: Nothing Matters Anymore

Kevin James plays a zookeeper who can talk to animals. Ugh. The animals help him try to win a girl back who’s too much of a bitch to even deserve their efforts. Ugh.

Judging by the 13% it’s currently receiving on Rotten Tomatoes, you should avoid this movie like Kevin James should avoid trans fats. And yes, I know fat jokes are easy, but that doesn’t make them any less funny.

Best Review

James is appealing enough to make it work – just barely.

Chris Hewitt – St Paul Pioneer Press

Worst Review

Offensive to women, men, children, parents, WASPs, Asians, African-Americans, animals and zookeepers … a movie with no conceivable audience.

Steven D. Greydanus – Decent Films Guide

Our Recommendation

If your kid desires to see this one, drop him or her off at the theater with a crisp $10 bill, make your way over to the nearest strip club for their extensive buffet, and return ninety minutes later not feeling like you want to end your life.

The Ward

‘The Ward’ Trailer Might Hurt A Little

A thriller centered on a woman stuck in a looney bin who is being terrorized by a ghost. So is she crazy, or is there really a pain in the ass poltergeist making her appear that way?

The film’s rating of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes would indicate that this isn’t John Carpenter’s best work since Halloween.

Best Review

Basically, this is a ghost story merged with a slasher film and sealed with Shutter Island twist. But at least Carpenter the spook-meister knows how to goose you.

Owen Gleiberman – Entertainment Weekly

Worst Review

Continues the painful decline of a director who seems more nostalgic for past glories than excited about new ideas.

Jeannette Catsoulis – New York Times

Our Recommendation

Re-watch Halloween and The Thing.

Project Nim

About a chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. So basically, the reverse of Tarzan.

Critics are loving this documentary, granting it a 95% thus far.

Best Review

“Project Nim” is practically irresistible. The story keeps getting odder and richer and more complicated.

Michael Phillips – Chicago Tribune

Worst Review

Another singular case exploited and expanded to look ordinary.

Chris Cabin –

Our Recommendation

How can a movie starring a cute baby monkey be bad? It can’t be, damnit.

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Sundance Review: Project Nim Fri, 21 Jan 2011 16:42:16 +0000 Fred Topel For opening night of Sundance, there were only a few selections. I chose the one with a monkey.

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For opening night of Sundance, there were only a few selections. I chose the one with a monkey. How could you go wrong with a monkey? Project Nim turned out to be an expose on the most scientifically unsound experiment of the ‘70s.

Professor Herb Terrace of Columbia had the idea that you could raise a chimpanzee in a human environment and teach it to talk. Seems reasonable. Now we know chimps can sign, but this was 1973. Everything about Herbs’s [the film refers to everyone by first name] experiment was designed to fail, and he was completely corrupt.

First they rip little Nim from his mommy’s cradle, as they had done with SIX of her previous babies. So it’s already flawed. That’s not a natural adoption. They’re stealing a baby and sneaking him into another home.

The first “mother” to Nim was Stephanie LaForge. She didn’t discipline him at all, let Nim run around the house and mess up her husband’s stuff. She let Nim fondle her and even breastfed him! There’s an archival photo of it, but it’s over her sweater. She refused to record data. She just wanted a baby monkey. Also, she and Herb did it together before she married Wer LaForge.

So Terrace hires Laura to be Nim’s teacher. At least in school, he can have a positive influence. Nim basically gets caught in a custody battle between Laura and Stephanie. Laura and Herb take Nim away from Stephanie and move him to a big estate, with such an open space that it’s basically like the wild. Herb hooks up with Laura too.

Basically the only positive thing about Herb is that he took good home movies, so we have footage of everything. Director James Marsh makes this compelling history extra dramatic, not just incorporating archival footage and present day interviews. He also stages tasteful re-enactments of Nim’s more violent reactions, usually from the outside of a window or doorway so you see the aftermath. Also his silent interstitial shots of the interviewees staring into the camera as he dollies away were powerful.

Project Nim is ultimately a tragic story. The scientists screwed Nim up so bad he wasn’t any good back in the chimp habitat, let alone the wild. There are plenty of hard to watch scenes including some horrific medical footage, but mainly just the inevitable of this is a wild animal. He’ll learn to ask for a bathroo break, but then he’ll rip your face off. I was worried for the cat they let him play with. The humans made a decision, but a domestic cat doesn’t know how dangerous a chimpanzee is.

It ends on a reasonably happy note. If you’re thinking the worst, it’s not that bad. Ultimately they do the best they can for this victim they screwed with. What you’re left with is not “Aww, look at the monkey!” but rather “God damn, ‘70s hippie scientists were messed up.”

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