If you’ve gotten a look at the Reader‘s People Issue, you may have noticed our interviews with two local film luminaries: programmer Amir George (whose Seen & Heard Music Video Showcase screens tonight at Chicago Filmmakers and tomorrow at the Empty Bottle) and writer-director Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, Kissing on the Mouth, Hannah Takes the Stairs). Back in the movie section, we’ve got a long review of John Akomfrah’s Seven Songs for Malcolm X and The Last Angel of History, screening on Sunday at Black Cinema House, and a “Reader Recommends” review for The Punk Singer, which opens tonight at Music Box.
More new releases reviewed this week: Caught in the Web, the latest from Chinese director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), in which a woman’s refusal to give up her seat on a bus turns into a national news story; Go for Sisters, the new John Sayles drama, about two old friends who get caught up in a criminal intrigue south of the Mexican border; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment in Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy, remarkably easy to find in our database because there are no other films with “smaug” in the title; The Last Days on Mars, with Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, and Olivia Williams as astronauts dealing with a strange virus on the red planet; Saving Mr. Banks, a treacly drama about the production of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins; and White Reindeer, a black comedy sure to lick the stripes off your candy cane.
Best bets for repertory: Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth (1937), Wednesday at Northbrook Public Library; Charles Chaplin’s City Lights (1931), Saturday and Wednesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (1925), noon Saturday at Music Box with live organ accompaniment; and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), screening at Music Box, River East 21, and Century 12 CineArts 6.
My younger colleagues drew a blank when I brought up Clutch Cargo, the bizarre TV cartoon that combined cheaply animated figures with live-action inserts of actors’ lips superimposed on the characters’ faces as they spoke. It used to creep me out big-time; seeing it projected on a big screen at the Music Box this afternoon may have you in therapy for years.