Have a hearty helping of Hardy this week with our review of Far From the Madding Crowd, starring Carey Mulligan as an eligible young woman besieged by prospective husbands. Ben Sachs takes a look at The D Train, starring Jack Black as a former high school loser now organizing a class reunion and James Marsden as the old classmate he hopes might ignite the party. But whatever you do, don’t miss the riotously funny British import Queen and Country, screening one week only at Gene Siskel Film Center. Directed by John Boorman (Point Blank, Deliverance), it’s a sequel to his earlier autobiographical feature Hope and Glory (1987; also screening this week) and a wild service comedy that ranks alongside M*A*S*H and Stripes.
Check out our new reviews of: About Elly, an excellent 2009 domestic drama from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi that preceded his Oscar-winning A Separation; Aspen, Frederick Wiseman’s 1991 documentary about wealthy visitors to the Colorado town and the working-class people who service them; Black Souls, an Italian crime saga with a strong Godfather flavor; Heaven Adores You, a documentary profile of the sorrowful indie-rock balladeer Elliott Smith; Noble, a documentary profile of the charismatic human rights activist Christina Noble; Roar, the notorious Tippi Hedren drama from 1981 that starred her own collection of lions and tigers; and Welcome to Me, a pleasantly weird comedy starring Kristen Wiig as a mentally ill woman who wins the lottery and launches her own TV talk show. The last of these opens tonight at Music Box with appearances by director Shira Piven and costar Joan Cusack.
Best bets for repertory: Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight (1966), Wednesday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981), Thursday at Doc; Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai (1998), Saturday and Wednesday at Film Center; Hope and Glory (1987), Saturday and Tuesday at Film Center; Edward S. Curtis’s In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), Saturday at Music Box with live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott; Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997), Saturday and Thursday at Film Center; Alexander Korda’s That Hamilton Woman (1942), Monday at Doc; and Frank Tashlin’s Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), Sunday at Doc.
Don’t forget these special events: CineYouth Festival, through this weekend at Columbia College Film Row Cinema; Dyke Delicious May Shorts, Saturday at Chicago Filmmakers; For Educational Purposes Only, Saturday at Washington Park Arts Incubator; Sing-A-Long Mamma Mia, Sunday at Music Box for Mother’s Day; Sonic Celluloid, Friday at Northwestern University Block Museum of Art; and, on Wednesday at the Logan, the Chicago Underground Film Festival opening-night program, with the German-Filipino coproduction Ruined Heart; check out next week’s issue for our festival roundup.