If you’ve never sampled the European Union Film Festival at Gene Siskel Film Festival, you’re missing out on some of the best international cinema to roll through Chicago all year. It doesn’t stop for long, either, before rolling off again—none of the films screen more than twice, and while a handful might return to town later in commercial release, most of them never screen here again. We’ve got reviews of six features this week, with more to follow through March. Also in this week’s issue, Ben Sachs recommends the new Liam Neeson action flick, Non-Stop.
Check out our new reviews of: Adult World, starring John Cusack as a down-and-out poet and Emma Roberts as his biggest fan; Close Quarters, a locally produced comedy set in a coffee shop; Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a documentary profile of the venerable Broadway actress; The Lunchbox, an Indian rom-com about a widower and an unhappy wife corresponding through notes tucked in a lunchbox; Son of God, a life of Christ digested from the History Channel series The Bible; and 300: Rise of an Empire, massing its troops against you even as we speak.
Best bets for repertory: Werner Herzog’s The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Thursday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale (2002), Wednesday at Doc; George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story (1938), Monday at Doc; Carlos Reygadas’s Silent Light (2007), Sunday at Doc; Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd (2007), Friday and Sunday at Doc; and Robert Rossen’s Body and Soul (1947), screening Saturday afternoon at Block Museum with a talk afterward by author and New York Times columnist J. Hoberman.
This year’s Chicago Irish Film Festival continues through Saturday with a closing-night program at the Music Box, though most of the remaining screenings are at Society for Arts. And the Chicago Cultural Center hosts free screenings all this week for the Peace on Earth Film Festival, offering documentaries and dramas about “peace, nonviolence, social justice, and an eco-balanced world.”