Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is one of the best-reviewed movies of 2014—whoops! Also in this week’s issue, Ben Sachs reviews Nightcrawler, starring a skinny Jake Gyllenhaal as an LA sociopath who finds his true calling as a videographer recording crime and accident scenes for the ten o’clock news. And we’ve got recommended reviews for CitizenFour, Laura Poitras’s fly-on-the-wall portrait of Edward Snowden in the run-up to his earth-shaking revelations about domestic surveillance of American citizens; Hellaware, a satire of New York artsy-fartsies who embrace a down-at-heels horror-rap act; and J’Accuse, Abel Gance’s 1919 silent epic about love, death, and World War I.
Check out our new reviews of: Before I Go to Sleep, starring Nicole Kidman as an amnesiac woman who wakes up every morning thinking she’s in her 20s; E-Team, a documentary about the “emergency team” fielded by Human Rights Watch to investigate and publicize war-zone atrocities; Harmontown, which follows TV writer (Community) and podcaster Dan Harmon on a U.S. tour; Horns, starring Daniel Radcliffe as a horned man who causes people to act on their worst impulses; and The X-Ray of Civilization, which collects short films from the height of the AIDS epidemic, by New York filmmakers Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner.
Best bets for repertory: Ernst Lubitsch’s Broken Lullaby (1932), Saturday and Wednesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), Friday at Symphony Center with live organ accompaniment by Cameron Carpenter; Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981), Friday at the Logan; Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander (1983), Monday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), all week at Music Box; Albert Brooks’s Modern Romance (1981), Saturday and Tuesday at Film Center, with a lecture by Jonathan Rosenbaum at the second show; Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) at Century 12/CineArts 6 and River East 21; Roberto Rossellini’s Open City (1946), all week at Film Center; and Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor (1963), Sunday at the WIP Theater, with an introduction by comedian Lee Kepraios.
Two noteworthy festivals kick off this week: Mostra V: Brazilian Film Series begins Saturday at Columbia College Film Row Cinema and continues through November 14 at various venues, and First Nations Film and Video Festival presents LaDonna Harris: Indian 101, Wednesday through next Saturday at various locations. And on Saturday at Nightingale, the Reader‘s own Ben Sachs and Cine-File contributor Kathleen Sachs introduce a program of shorts by Polish documentary maker Lukasz Konopa.