This week I review two indie dramas about social psychologists studying control and obedience: Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter tells the story of Stanley Milgram, whose famous “electroshock” experiment in the early 60s proved that most people could be pressured into torturing an innocent person, and Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s The Stanford Prison Experiment re-creates the notorious study in which college students were cast in the roles of guards and prisoners. Also in this week’s issue, Ben Sachs reviews Taxi, the latest from Iranian troublemaker Jafar Panahi.
Check out our new capsule reviews of: The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s visionary take on the martial-arts adventure; Burnt, starring Bradley Cooper as a rock-star chef who screams at his kitchen staff and throws plates of food at the wall; Jem and the Holograms, a family-friendly drama about sisters whose viral video wins them the opportunity to tour as a rock band; The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel as the title character; Nasty Baby, the latest from Chilean writer-director Sebastian Silva (The Maid), with star Kristen Wiig in person at select shows Friday and Saturday; Our Brand Is Crisis, a fictionalized remake of the 2005 documentary about U.S. political strategists perverting a Bolivian presidential election; Suffragette, with Carey Mulligan as a young laundry worker agitating for the vote; Tokyo-Ga, Wim Wenders’s 1985 documentary about contemporary Japan; and Truth, a drama about the disputed 60 Minutes story that drove Dan Rather from CBS.
Best bets for repertory: Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Saturday and Wednesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008), Friday at Northwestern University Block Museum of Art; Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (2009), midnight Friday and Saturday at Landmark’s Century Centre; William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), Friday and Sunday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Jean Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher (1928), Friday at Southside Hub of Production with live synthesizer accompaniment; Chris Marker’s Le Joli Mai (1963), Sunday and Tuesday at Film Center; Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician (1958), Wednesday at Doc; F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922), Friday at Trinity United Methodist Church with live organ accompaniment; Fred Zinnemann’s Oklahoma! (1955), Monday at Music Box; Michael Curtiz’s The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Sunday at Doc; Victor Halperin’s White Zombie (1932), Friday and Saturday at Film Center; and Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire (1988), Saturday and Wednesday at Film Center.
Don’t forget these special events: the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema continues through Sunday, November 8, with select shows at Music Box and River East 21; the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival concludes this weekend at Facets Cinematheque and other venues; A Day’s Work, a new documentary about the exploitation of temporary workers, screens Saturday with a discussion at UIC School of Public Health; Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, runs next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Block; and First Nations Film & Video Festival comes to Northwestern University Harris Hall and other venues around town.