Flick Picks 1/7/2016: Sicario, The Walk, True Detective Season 2

The first wave of new releases for 2016 is highlighted by two excellent dramas from 2015 and the second season of HBO's True Detective.


Feature Films






Sadly, the canon of films on drug trafficking and its attendant (if ineffectual) law enforcement grows as the problem stretches across decades.  The good news is that Sicario is a good addition to this genre and a good film period.  The versatile Emily Blunt plays a tough but somewhat idealistic FBI agent, assigned to a mysterious task force headed by Josh Brolin.  As with Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, the always excellent Benicio Del Toro is also present.  





Robert Zemeckis' film about the amazing high wire demonstration of Phillippe Petit between the newly-completed towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 has received good reviews, especially for its dizzying special effects.  You might grab your armrest as the film gains momentum and Petit ventures forth on that wire.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the French aerialist.  



If you're interested in the story of Philippe Petit and have not yet seen James Marsh's documentary on the subject, you simply must do so.  MAN ON WIRE was a very justifiable winner of Best Documentary Feature at the 2009 Academy Awards. 






Experimenter is the second film of 2015, along with THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT, to deal with notorious experiments that involved supervised mistreatment of people.  Michael Almereyda's Experimenter, which takes a slightly more whimsical approach than its predecessor, deals with the 1961 Milgram experiment, in which electric shocks of increasing strength were delivered to helpless subjects by normal people, who virtually always, if reluctantly, inflicted the jolts of electricity when instructed to do so.  Fascinating as ever, Peter Sarsgaard stars as Yale social psychologist Stanley Milgram.  



Also new:  Alison Brie (CommunityMad Men) and Jason Sudeikis star in the sex comedy,  SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE.  Keanu Reeves portrays as a man whose decision to open his door to two strange women backfires in a major way in KNOCK KNOCK.  There's more dystopian fun to be had in MAZE RUNNER SCORCH TRIALS, the second installment of films based on the popular young adult books by James Dashner.  Lastly, THE VISIT takes us to a place of nearly unimaginable horror:  the grandparents' house.    









The popular HBO series True Detective continues into its second season.  Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn star.  




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