This week’s issue features our annual fall arts roundup, and we’ve got previews of several movies rolling through town between now and Thanksgiving: Julius Caesar, a rarely screened indie adapted from the Shakespeare play, shot in 1950 on various Chicago locations and starring a young Charlton Heston; Rosewater, Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, about the Iranian imprisonment of Canadian reporter Maziar Bahari during the disputed 2009 elections; Blonde Crazy, a James Cagney classic screening as part of Jonathan Rosenbaum’s ongoing lecture series about transgressive American comedies; short works by the British avant-gardist John Smith, screening at Gene Siskel Film Center, Northwestern Block Museum of Art, and University of Chicago Film Studies Center, with Smith attending; Foxcatcher, a true-crime story starring Steve Carell and directed by Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball); Gone Girl, adapted by David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network) from the best-selling mystery novel; White Bird in a Blizzard, the latest from indie dazzler Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, Kaboom); and The Zero Theorem, a sci-fi fantasy about a neurotic computer programmer, directed by Terry Gilliam (Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys).
In the movie section proper we’ve got reviews of Finding Fela, a documentary profile of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti by the politically inclined Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) and The Homestretch, a new documentary about homeless teenagers, produced by the venerable local outfit Kartemquin Films. We recommend Abuse of Weakness, Catherine Breillat’s confessional drama about her 2004 stroke and her subsequent involvement with a notorious confidence man, and The Drop, a backstreets suspense drama starring Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini in his final big-screen performance. And we’ve also got reviews of Code Black, a documentary about ER doctors at the Los Angeles County Hospital; Gringo Trails, about Western tourists shitting all over exotic third world locales; If Only, a Filipino drama about a big wedding that goes awry; and Intercat ’69, a collection of short films about felines, screening at Chicago Filmmakers.
Best bets for repertory: Howard Hawks’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Friday and Tuesday at Film Center, and Guy Hamilton’s Goldfinger (1964), next Thursday (9/18) at the Pickwick in Park Ridge. That same night brings the opening of the Chicago Asian Film Festival and Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival; the latter kicks off at Music Box with the rom-com Boy Meets Girl, which we’ll review next week as part of our Reeling coverage.