The Peace on Earth Film Festival, four days of free screenings and discussions at Chicago Cultural Center, kicks off tonight with an evening of short documentaries, hosted by Jerome McDonnell of WBEZ’s Worldview. Our festival roundup is here. Also in this week’s issue, Ben Sachs has four stars for In a Foreign Land, a story of Spanish immigrants in Scotland, directed by Iciar Bollain (Take My Eyes), and measured praise for It Follows, a John Carpenter-style horror indie about teens menaced by a slow-moving, shape-shifting demon.
New movies reviewed this week include: Danny Collins, with Al Pacino as an aging rock star who makes a new start after receiving a letter written to him decades earlier by John Lennon; The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the second installment in the young-adult SF franchise; The Gunman, starring Sean Penn as a guilt-ridden hit man in Africa; An Honest Liar, which profiles acclaimed musician and psychic debunker James Randi; Horse Money, the latest from Portuguese director Pedro Costa (Colossal Youth); The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape culture on college campuses, by the producer and director of The Invisible War; Seymour: An Introduction, Ethan Hawke’s documentary portrait of piano instructor Seymour Bernstein; Spring, a low-budget horror movie set on the southern coast of Italy; and Tip Top, starring Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Kiberlain as French cops investigating the death of an Algerian police informant.
Best bets for repertory: Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s 5 Broken Cameras, Tuesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Lisa Cholodenko’s High Art (1998), Saturday afternoon at University of Chicago Doc Films; and the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935), Saturday and Sunday morning at Music Box.
Don’t miss these special events: The Divine Feminine, short films about “the feminine body of color,” Friday at Black Cinema House; Festival du Film Francophone, a trio of French-language features, Saturday afternoon at Alliance Francaise; Gameboarding: Rise of the Indies, a documentary about indie video-game developers, next Thursday at Lincoln Hall; the Indie Horror Film Festival, screening shocker shorts Friday though Sunday at Carl Schurz High School; Jennifer Reeder presenting her experimental shorts on Tuesday at Nightingale; Juggernaut Film Festival, a program of indie SF shorts, Saturday at Chicago Filmmakers; and Tales of the Grim Sleeper, the latest tabloid documentary from Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney), Tuesday at Music Box, with Broomfield dropping in via Skype.