Tonight and tomorrow writer-director Andrew Bujalski will attend the 7:15 PM screening of his latest film Computer Chess at the Music Box Theatre; he’ll be joined by U. of C. computer science professor Gordon Kindlmann and his wife—documentarian and urban planner Anne Dodge—who act in the film. I recommend going to one of these screenings—as I note in this week’s midsize review, Computer Chess is a strange and heady film; it may benefit from discussion. If you can’t make one of those two shows, do try to see it at some point during its run. There’s nothing else like it in theaters, and it has a good deal to say about the social media environment we’re all trapped in.
Also in this week’s issue, I write at length about South Korean writer-director Hong Sang-soo, an SAIC graduate who’s been honored all over the world yet still has trouble getting his work screened in Chicago. Like Bujalski, Hong is a minimalist comic filmmaker who specializes in passive-aggressive, social awkwardness, and self-delusion. Should Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, which Hong premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February, play here before the end of the year, it’ll surely end up on my list of best movies of 2013, along with Computer Chess. In any case, I’ll definitely watch the movie another several times in the coming months. As I wrote in my essay, it cost $35 to order the movie from South Korea, and I intend to get my money’s worth.
This week’s Reader also contains new capsule reviews of: Don Jon, a rowdy romcom that marks Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a writer-director; I Declare War, an elusive, possibly allegorical coming-of-age movie from Canada; Inequality for All, a documentary about growing income disparity in the U.S.; Metallica: Through the Never, a visually spectacular concert movie, shot in 3-D; Mother of George, an independent drama set in Brooklyn’s west African immigrant community; Present Tense, the last film to screen in the Siskel Center’s annual series of new Turkish cinema; Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel With the World, a 1963 documentary about the great poet directed by Shirley Clarke (it screens at the Siskel on Sunday and Wednesday with Thom Andersen’s Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer); and Rush, Ron Howard’s docudrama about Formula 1 racers in the 1970s. Reviewed online but not in print is Enough Said, the latest dramatic comedy by Nicole Holofcener (Please Give), which also opens today.
As I noted yesterday, the Doc Films fall calendar begins on Monday, and it’s virtually overflowing with great repertory titles. Next week alone brings The Terence Davies Trilogy on Monday, The Great Gabbo on Tuesday, John Cassavetes’s Shadows on Wednesday, and on Thursday, Olivier Assayas’s Summer Hours and Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse. There are also good revivals elsewhere, with the Siskel screening Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders tonight and Tuesday and David Mamet’s House of Games on Saturday and Monday. The Music Box has Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 AM. The Patio Theater has two showings of The Creature From the Black Lagoon in 3-D and 35-millimeter tomorrow, not to mention Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage on Wednesday night. And also on Wednesday the Northbrook Public Library has two screenings of The Big Clock, which features some of the best production design of American film noir.