• Mommy

Jennifer Aniston has collected some of the best reviews of her career playing the scarred, emotionally brittle survivor of a terrible car accident in the indie drama Cake; it screens at River East 21, and our review is here. Also in this week’s issue, Ben Sachs spotlights the best work from this year’s Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Drew Hunt takes a look at the program “Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Live Action“, and I recommend Mommy, the latest from French-Canadian wunderkind (or whatever wunderkind is in French) Xavier Dolan.

  • Black or White

More new movies reviewed this week include: Amira & Sam, with Freaks and Geeks alumnus Martin Starr going dramatic as an Iraq War veteran who falls in love with an undocumented Iraqi immigrant; Black or White, with Kevin Costner as the father of a mixed-race girl and Octavia Spencer as the girl’s grandmother, who sues for custody after the girl’s mother dies; Black Sea, a submarine adventure starring Jude Law; The Bubble, a 3-D relic about a man and a woman sealed inside a narcoleptic small town; Emptying the Skies, a documentary based on Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker story about environmental activists setting illegally trapped songbirds free; Giuseppe Makes a Movie, a documentary about the no-budget filmmaking adventures of former child star Giuseppe Andrews (Independence Day); and Still Life, a British drama starring Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky) as a London council worker who arranges burials for people who’ve been found dead and have no apparent survivors.

  • Creature From the Black Lagoon

Best bets for repertory: Jean-Luc Godard’s Les Carabiniers (1963), Saturday and Tuesday, and Masculine Feminine (1966), Saturday and Thursday, at Gene Siskel Film Center; Jack Arnold’s Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) and Wim Wenders’s Pina, both screening in 3-D at Film Center; Films by Maya Deren (1943-’45), Sunday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), with matinees Saturday and Sunday at Music Box; Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), Friday and Sunday at Doc; and Jacques Rivette’s The Nun (1966), next Thursday at Doc.

Special events this week include a screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972), with the score performed live by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Remembering Harold Washington, a collection of short works about the Chicago mayor; and “The Day After Groundhog Day”, a program of experimental shorts based on the classic Harold Ramis comedy.