Pick of the week: “The Double“ — My full review is here. Jesse Eisenberg — and Jesse Eisenberg! — star in this delightfully dark and twisty tale of a downtrodden man who finds that an exact duplicate of himself is slowly taking over his life. Director Richard Ayoade revels in visual touches that recall Terry Gilliam, but it’s really Eisenberg’s double performance that shines.
“Free the Mind” — My full review is here. This engrossing and compassionate documentary looks at research going on right here at the UW-Madison’s Center For Investigating Healthy Minds. Dr. Richard Davidson believes a troubled mind can be “rewired” with positive influences such as meditation, and has had promising results working with children and with veterans suffering from PTSD.
“The Hunted” — This 2003 film won’t make the UW-Cinematheque’s William Friedkin retrospective this fall, but it’s still a good action movie by a master of the form, as Benicio Del Toro plays a troubled vet on a killing spree, his commanding officer (Tommy Lee Jones) in hot pursuit. There’s a fantastic, almost dialogue-free chase through downtown Portland in the middle of the film that’s quintessential Friedkin.
“Hoop Dreams” — This landmark 1994 documentary by Steve James looks at two inner-city Chicago boys, following them for a few years as they chase their dreams of being pro basketball players. It is a fascinating and immersive look inside inner-city families and the challenges they face
“Vic + Flo Saw A Bear” — My full review is here. The first half of this French Canadian drama, about two lesbian ex-cons who start a new life in rural Quebec, seems like it’s shaping up to be a tender drama about acceptance. But then it takes a strange and nasty turn into noir territory that has to be seen to be believed.