Buried Ryan Reynolds stars as a U.S. contractor in Iraq who’s attacked by insurgents and wakes up buried inside a coffin with only a lighter and a cell phone.

Catfish A young man meets an attractive woman on Facebook and arrives unannounced at her Michigan farm in this documentary by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, described as a “reality thriller.”

Chicago Architecture in Motion Short films documenting the city’s architectural past, among them Conrad O. Nelson’s Halsted Street (1934), Jack Behrend’s Equitable Building: Time Lapse (circa 1960s), and Beverly Willis’s Girl Is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright (2009). The program repeats Saturday, September 25, at Chicago Filmmakers.  Chicago Architecture Foundation

Colin This ultra-low-budget horror movie from the UK tells the story of a zombie outbreak from the perspective of one of the undead.  Facets Cinematheque

Enter the Void French director Gaspar Noe has kept a pretty low profile since his 2002 drama Irreversible, notorious for its brutal nine-minute anal rape scene. This new feature is about a drug dealer who’s shot to death and spends the rest of the movie as a spirit pledged to protect his grown sister in Tokyo.

The Fearmakers Dana Andrew returns home from war to find his Washington, D.C., advertising agency lousy with communists. This 1958 thriller screens as part of the Music Box’s retrospective on director Jacques Tourneur.  Music Box

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno Clouzot, the director of such French intrigues as Diabolique and The Wages of Fear, suffered a heart attack in 1964 that forced him to abandon his international production L’Enfer. This documentary by Serge Bromberg reconstructs the film using completed footage and interviews with members of the cast and crew.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Jack Goes Boating Brought together by a blind date, two misfits (Amy Ryan and Philip Seymour Hoffman) hit it off, even as the couple who brought them together (John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega) grapple with issues in their marriage. Hoffman makes his directing debut, adapting a play by Bob Glaudini.

Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole A 3-D animation based on the children’s books by Kathryn Lasky.

Never Let Me Go The outstanding British actor Andrew Garfield—recently chosen to replace Tobey Maguire in the Spider-Man franchise—stars along with Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley in this feature, adapted by Alex Garland from the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day).

Prince of Broadway An illegal immigrant (Prince Adu) who sells knockoffs of designer apparel near the Flatiron Building in lower Manhattan is saddled with a toddler by his ex-girlfriend, who claims the boy is his son.

The Romantics Galt Niederhoffer adapted her own novel about various romantic conflicts in the runup to a wedding; the cast includes Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman, Candice Bergen, and Elijah Wood.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Released from prison, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) gets into the financial services racket and discovers that greed is better than ever. Oliver Stone wrote and directed this sequel to his 1987 blockbuster; with Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, and Josh Brolin.

Valley of the Dolls Patty Duke introduces this revival of her 1967 trash classic, adapted from the Jacqueline Susann potboiler.  Music Box

You Again A young woman (Kristin Bell) decides to take action after she realizes her brother is about to marry her high school nemesis. The supporting cast for this comedy includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Kristin Chenoweth.


Rosa Menkman: Glitched Dutch artist Rosa Menkman presents selected videos and a real-time performance, both showcasing “visual artifacts created by accidents in digital media.”  Gene Siskel Film Center



Ed Gein: The Musical The notorious serial killer finally gets the musical he deserves. Sounds pretty bad, but could it be any worse than Nine?  Music Box

Enemies of the People Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath and British documentary maker Rob Lemkin collaborated on this film about the decade-long genocide perpetrated by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge—which claimed the lives of Sambath’s family.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Facets Fright School Facets Cinematheque’s popular “night school” series—midnight screenings of cult films, each with a scholarly introduction—resumes with William Castle’s gimmick-laden 1960 hit 13 Ghosts. Additional films screening through October include the eerie cult favorite Carnival of Souls (1962), the Spanish “nunsploitation” shocker Satanico Pandemonium (1975), the delirious Japanese horror comedy House (1977), the banned German feature Nekromantik (1987), and Tom Savini’s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead.  Facets Cinematheque

Festival of Films From Iran Running through October, the 21st annual festival includes new work by such contemporary Iranian filmmakers as Tahmineh Milani (Cease Fire), Mohammad Rasoulof (Iron Island), and Darius Mehrjui (Hamoon).  Gene Siskel Film Center

A Film Unfinished This documentary by Yael Hersonski combines footage from a Nazi-produced film about the Warsaw Ghetto and present-day interviews with ghetto survivors as well as one of the original cameramen.

Five Easy Pieces A 40th-anniversary engagement of Bob Rafelson’s zeitgeist-defining classic about a rich kid (Jack Nicholson) who throws it all away to work on an oil rig.  Facets Cinematheque

Freakonomics A screen adaptation of the best-selling book by “rogue economist” Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner, with segments by Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), Seth Gordon (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight), Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp).

Howl Rob Epstein (The Times of Harvey Milk) and his frequent collaborator Jeffrey Friedman wrote and directed this biopic of poet Allen Ginsberg (James Franco), focusing on the publication and obscenity prosecution of his 1957 book Howl and Other Poems. With Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels, David Strathairn, and Mary-Louise Parker.  Music Box

Kings of Pastry Documentary makers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker (The War Room) follow an international collection of 16 patissiers (including Chicago-based Jacquy Pfeiffer, cofounder of the French Pastry School) as they compete in the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. Pfeiffer and the directors will attend the first screening of this weeklong engagement.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Let Me In Cloverfield director Matt Reeves remakes the 2008 Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In, about a bullied boy who befriends a bloodthirsty girl.

The Social Network See Best Bet.

Waiting for Superman Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) takes on the U.S. education crisis in this documentary.

Films by Raoul Walsh Move over, Michael Bay—with a filmography that included The Roaring Twenties (1939), High Sierra (1942), and White Heat (1949), Raoul Walsh (1887-1980) may have been the greatest action director of all time, delivering not only thrills but indelible portaits of men hopelessly at odds with society. This monthlong retrospective includes not only the aforementioned classics but also the lesser known Sadie Thompson (1928), The Big Trail (1930), Me and My Gal (1933), Sailor’s Luck (1933), The Bowery (1933), The Man I Love (1947), and The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956).  Gene Siskel Film Center

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Woody Allen’s latest, starring Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Lucy Punch, and Naomi Watts. Sounds like the usual relationship stuff, plus there’s a fortune teller.


Chicago International Film Festival This year’s festival kicks off with a premiere screening of Stone, introduced by star Edward Norton, and continues through October 21.

Laporte, Indiana Producer Jason Bitner and director Joe Beshenkovsky attend this screening of their documentary, in which a gigantic cache of studio photographic portraits that Bitner discovered in the back room of a diner form an “accidental history” of the title town.  Gene Siskel Film Center


Citywide Student Film Showcase Chicago Filmmakers and the Cinema Culture present their third annual compilation of short works by local film school students.  Chicago Filmmakers

I Spit on Your Grave A remake of the notorious 1978 rape-revenge exploitationer.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story Talented writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar, Half Nelson) try their hand at comedy with this adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel, about a clinically depressed teenager who checks himself into an adult mental-health clinic. With Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, and Emma Roberts.

Life as We Know It Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel are named joint caregivers for an orphaned baby after their mutual friends are killed in an accident. Greg Berlanti directed this romantic comedy.

My Soul to Take Horror veteran Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) wrote and directed this chiller about a young man who suspects he’s the reincarnation of a serial killer.

Nowhere Boy A biopic chronicling the wayward youth of John Lennon (Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass), with Anne-Marie Duff as his prodigal mother and Kristin Scott Thomas as the aunt who raised him.

Psycho Happy birthday, Norman—and your mother too. A 50th-anniversary engagement of Alfred Hitchcock’s landmark horror movie.  Music Box

Secretariat This Disney drama tells the story of Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), a housewife turned horse breeder, and Secretariat, her racing champion that won the Triple Crown in 1973. With John Malkovich.

Team America: World Police Special-effects wizards the Chiodo brothers introduces this screening of the neoconservative puppet comedy (2004) by South Park creators Trey Stone and Matt Parker.  Music Box

War Don Don The war-crimes trial of Issa Sesay, a general in Sierra Leone’s civil war, is the subject of this documentary.  Facets Cinematheque

Winnebago Man Documentary maker Ben Steinbauer tracks down Winnebago pitchman Jack Rebney, whose angry outtakes from a late-80s industrial film have become a viral-video sensation.


Music Box Massacre 6 Rusty Nails returns with another 24-hour horror marathon, this one including The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Wolf Man (1941), Theater of Blood (1973), Fright Night (1985), and Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988).  Music Box


Internal Systems: Films by Coleen Fitzgibbon An alumnus of the School of the Art Institute, Fitzgibbon made a name for herself in the mid-70s with a series of avant-garde films associated with the structuralists and the no-wave scene in New York. She appears in person to present four works, all made in 1974: Internal Systems, Found Film Flashes, FM/TRCS, and Restoring Appearances to Order.  Gene Siskel Film Center


Chicago 360 V.5: Aliens in the City The latest anthology from the local film collective Split Pillow collects shorts by Daniel Ramos, Kevin Golden, Jessica Kivnik, Alex Mechlin, and Anu Rana and Laurie Little.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Inside Job Charles Ferguson, director of the muckraking Iraq war documentary No End in Sight (2007), turns his attention to the 2008 economic meltdown in the U.S.  Music Box

Jackass 3D Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, and the rest of the Jackass crew return with a new round of foolhardy stunts.

Last Train Home Lixin Fan makes her filmmaking debut with this documentary about the annual migration of some 130 million Chinese workers back to their rural homes to celebrate the New Year.  Music Box

Objects and Personification Decibelle Music and Culture Festival (formerly Estrojam) presents short works on “trans issues and politics of the body and performance.”  Chicago Filmmakers

RED Four former top CIA agents (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren) become the agency’s top targets in this action-comedy based on the D.C. Comics series. Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife) directed.


Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema This annual festival of theatrical and TV features from Israel opens at the Chicago Cultural Center. Screenings resume on Saturday, October 23, at 600 N. Michigan, then move to Northbrook Court 14 in Northbrook from Sunday, October 24, through Sunday, October 31.

Luis Gispert: Hyperreal School of the Art Institute alumnus Luis Gispert presents a program of short films and videos as well as sculpture and photography.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Media Process Group Anniversary Retrospective Chicago filmmakers Bob Hercules and Keith Walker celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Media Process Group with a survey of their documentary features, including Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2006), Senator Obama Goes to Africa (2007), and Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger (2009), plus clips of two new releases about the Joffrey Ballet and choreographer Bill T. Jones.  Gene Siskel Fim Center


The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector Documentary maker Vikram Jayanti (I Am a Sex Addict) contrasts Spector’s classic pop records with his recent trial and conviction for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Films by Charles Chaplin The Music Box opens a two-week Chaplin retrospective, with new 35-millimeter prints of The Kid (1921), A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Limelight (1952), and A King in New York (1957).

Chicago International Children’s Film Festival The 27th annual festival presents two weekends of features and shorts programs for children ages two through 12, with screenings at Facets Cinematheque and other locations around town.

Conviction In this fact-based drama, a single mother (Hilary Swank) puts herself through law school in order to represent her brother (Sam Rockwell), who’s been wrongfully convicted of murder.

Hereafter Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort is a supernatural thriller, scripted by the brainy Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), about a blue-collar American (Matt Damon), a French journalist (Cecile de France), and a London schoolboy who are touched by death in different ways.

Not Too Otaku Josef Steiff, author of Anime and Philosophy, presents a historical survey of Japanese anime from 1974 to 1985, including works by Osamu Tezuka, Renzo Kinoshita, and Tatsuo Shimamura.  Chicago Filmmakers

Paranormal Activity 2 Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the low-budget horror smash Paranormal Activity, has moved on, handing the director’s duties to Tod Williams (The Door in the Floor). Like the first movie, the sequel uses mock surveillance footage to tell a story of demonic possession.

Saw 3D The seventh and supposedly last installment in the torture-porn franchise. With Tobin Bell.

Stone The line between lawman and lawbreaker begins to blur when a parole officer (Robert De Niro) is assigned to a scheming arsonist (Edward Norton). The screenplay for this thriller is by Angus MacLachlan, writer of the wonderful 2005 folk comedy Junebug, and the cast includes Milla Jovovich and Frances Conroy.

Tamara Drewe See Best Bet.

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding Directed by Ruth Leitman (Lipstick & Dynamite), this documentary tells the story of a Polish family in Chicago that was torn apart by the mother’s deportation. See Person to Watch.  Gene Siskel Film Center


Film Ist. A Girl & A Gun Gustav Deutsch, the Austrian “archaeologist of the cinema,” weaves together found footage into an essay on sex and violence as the prime motivating forces of the motion picture.  Gene Siskel Film Center


Under the Cement, Sediment Pablo de Ocampo, artistic director of Toronto’s Images Festival, curated and will introduce this program of short works that consider the changing urban and industrial landscape of China.  Gene Siskel Film Center


The Company Men Veteran TV producer John Wells (ER, The West Wing) makes his feature writing and directing debut with this drama about three men (Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones) forced to redefine themselves after they lose their corporate jobs.

Crazy Peter Lorre Double Feature Two Hollywood relics starring the sinister little German emigre: in Mad Love (1935), Lorre is a crazy surgeon who grafts a killer’s hands onto the arms of a concert pianist, and in The Face Behind the Mask (1941), he’s a Hungarian immigrant horribly disfigured in a fire.  Bank of America Cinema

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest The third and last feature adapted from Stieg Larsson’s best-selling “Millennium Trilogy,” about a left-wing reporter and a computer hacker who unravel various conspiracies.

Hideaway In the latest from French director François Ozon (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool), a young woman awakes in a hospital to discover that the father of her child is dead and his mother wants their baby aborted.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel And he didn’t even have to change out of his pajamas. Brigitte Berman directed this new Canadian documentary on the man who created Playboy magazine.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Max Manus This 2008 Norwegian drama tells the story of Max Manus, a member of Norway’s anti-Nazi resistance during World War II.  Gene Siskel Film Center

Monsters Giant space aliens range across northern Mexico in this sci-fi thriller.



Civil Status: The Films of Alina Rudnitskaya The Russian documentary maker presents three of her recent short works, which consider the changing cultural landscape of contemporary Russia: Civil Status (2005), Besame Mucho (2006), and Bitch Academy (2008).  Gene Siskel Film Center

Friction A teenager comes between the married couple who operate a drama camp in this feature by Cullen Hoback (Monster Camp), who based the movie on a true story and cast the principals as themselves.  Gene Siskel Film Center


Due Date In this road comedy by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), anxious father-to-be Robert Downey Jr. is forced to hitch a cross-country ride with an aspiring actor (Zach Galifianakis) in order to attend his child’s birth.

Fair Game Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star as Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson in this thriller about the Bush Administration’s outing of a CIA agent to retaliate for her husband’s journalism undercutting the case for the Iraq war. Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) directed a script adapted from memoirs by Plame and Wilson.

For Colored Girls Tyler Perry directs a star-heavy cast (Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Janet Jackson, Phylicia Rashad, Macy Gray) in a screen adaptaton of Ntozake Shange’s classic play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

Megamind The latest Dreamworks animation pits the caped superhero Metro Man (given voice by Brad Pitt) against his lifelong nemesis Megamind (Will Ferrell). The other name voice talents are Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and David Cross.

127 Hours Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) wrote and directed this fact-based story about a mountain climber (James Franco) who struggles to survive after being pinned by a boulder in a Utah canyon.

Polish Film Festival in America This year’s festival runs through Sunday, November 21, with screenings at Beverly Arts Center, Copernicus Center, Facets Cinematheque, Golf Glen, Pickwick, River East 21, and Society for Arts.

Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival The 28th annual festival runs through Sunday, November 14, at Chicago Filmmakers, Columbia College Film Row Cinema, Landmark’s Century Centre, and Music Box.

Vision From veteran German director Margarethe von Trotta (The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum) comes this biopic of the 12th-century Benedictine nun Hildegard von Bingen.  Music Box


The Bridge on the River Kwai David Lean’s 1957 war movie returns in a restored 35-millimeter print.  Music Box

Morning Glory A young television producer (Rachel McAdams) has to revive a struggling morning show, a task complicated by its feuding, high-profile anchors (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton). The serious-minded Roger Michell (Enduring Love, Changing Lanes) directed a script by light-comedy specialist Aline Brosh McKenna (27 Dresses, The Devil Wears Prada).

Skyline Sci-fi epic about a group of friends who discover that every human on earth is being pulled off the planet’s surface and into a mysterious light source in the sky. Veteran visual-effects artists Greg and Colin Strause directed.

Unstoppable Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as train conductors who have to stop a runaway train carrying dangerous liquids. Tony Scott (Man on Fire) directed; with Rosario Dawson.


After Image Experimental video work by Jake Barningham, Kyle Canterbury, and Yoel Meranda, all of whom were featured in the last Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival in June.  Chicago Filmmakers

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 1 The penultimate entry in the franchise.

The Next Three Days Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) remakes the 2007 French feature Pour Elle. Elizabeth Banks stars as a woman accused of murder; Russell Crowe is her husband, who conspires to break her out of prison.

White Material Isabelle Huppert stars as a coffee planter, living in an unnamed African nation, who’s menaced by the chaos of civil war. Clair Denis (35 Shots of Rum) directed.


Burlesque Small-town girl Christina Aguilera relocates to LA and falls under the wing of veteran burlesque dancer Cher. Stanley Tucci, Kristin Bell, and Alan Cumming costar in this musical.

Faster Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson stars as an ex-con who’s double-crossed in a heist.

The King’s Speech In this period drama, the stuttering King George VI (Colin Firth) forms a remarkable relationship with his Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Tom Hooper (The Damned United) directed; with Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce.

Love and Other Drugs Jake Gyllenhaal is a pharmaceutical salesman who falls for a Parkinson’s-afflicted Anne Hathaway. Edward Zwick (Glory) directed a script based on the memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.

Tangled Disney gives Rapunzel the princess treatment, and the voice of Mandy Moore.


Sundance Institute 2010 Shorts Program Nine short works from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Sing-a-Long Sound of Music The 1965 musical with Julie Andrews, captioned for audience participation.

Listings compiled by J.R. Jones and Olivia LaVecchia

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