By J.R. Jones

What follows is a selective list of commercial releases scheduled for the fall. Opening dates are subject to change.



The Brave One

Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) directed this revenge drama with Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard.


The Jane Austen Book Club

Adaptation of the novel by Karen Joy Fowler about six Austen fans.


Into the Wild

Sean Penn directed this drama adapted from Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book about an upper-middle-class young man who abandoned his possessions and disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness.



Lust, Caution

The latest from director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), this is a World War II spy thriller set in Shanghai.

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson returns with a story of three estranged brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman) making a train trip across India.

Grace Is Gone

John Cusack stars as a widower who has to tell his kids that mommy was killed in Iraq.


Dan in Real Life

Steve Carell stars as a widowed man who falls for his brother’s girlfriend. With Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Cate Blanchett returns to the role that made her a star, reuniting with director Shekhar Kapur for this sequel to Elizabeth (1998).


Biopic of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis, based on a book by his wife, Deborah Curtis.


Gone Baby Gone

Ben Affleck makes his directing debut with this crime story adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).


Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) makes his U.S. directing debut with this tale of a CIA analyst who witnes-ses a secret interrogation. With Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, and Alan Arkin.



The Kite Runner

Adaptation of the Khaled Hosseini novel, about an Afghan man who returns home from California to help a friend.


No Country for Old Men

The Coen brothers directed this story of hunters who stumble upon dead bodies, a heroin stash, and $2 million. Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel; with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Woody Harrelson.


I’m Not There

Todd Haynes’s biography of Bob Dylan, with multiple actors–including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Gere–portraying the musician at various stages of his life.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

What follows is a list of scheduled art-house and repertory screenings and runs that piqued my interest. For a selection of new commercial releases, see the accompanying list by J.R. Jones. Most of Chicago’s alternative venues are more reliable than studios and their promotional machines about sticking to their schedules–at least once they’re printed. Still, the following list is both incomplete and selective, and titles and dates are subject to change.



Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman | Gene Siskel Film Center

A highly personal and audacious six-hour documentary miniseries by and about filmmaker Jennifer Fox, with Fox in attendance at screenings of each two-hour segment. | Through 9/18

In the Shadow of the Moon |

Music Box

A documentary about the Apollo space program, produced by Ron Howard.

Noriko’s Dinner Table |

Facets Cinematheque

Japanese poet and director Sion Sono’s 2005 spin-off of his controversial suicide-porn cult item of a few years earlier, Suicide Club. | Through 9/20.

Vanaja | Gene Siskel Film Center

This Indian feature deals with the sexual awakening of a lower-caste 15-year-old girl who wants to master kuchuipudi, a traditional dance of South India associated with the rich. | Through 9/20


The Story of Three Loves |

Gene Siskel Film Center

If you’re wondering why I selected this opulent Technicolor, three-part MGM sketch film of 1953 for my weekly lecture series, “The Great Transition: World Cinema of the 1950s,” turn up and I’ll do my best to explain.


Chicago, My Town: Portraits From the Margins |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

Chicago Film Archives’ Nancy Watrous curated this selection of 16-millimeter films shot in Chicago in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. | Also 9/21


Czech Dream | Facets Cinematheque

Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak’s satirical Czech comedy (2004) explores contemporary media scams. | Through 9/27

The Devil Came on Horseback |

Music Box

Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern’s celebrated documentary about the ongoing crisis in Darfur, prompted by photographs taken there by former marine captain Brian Steidle.

Helvetica | Gene Siskel Film Center

This popular British documentary about the past half century of graphic design, praised in these pages this past summer by J.R. Jones, is back for a return engagement. | Through 9/27


Brother Orchid |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

Edward G. Robinson, a gangster on the run, winds up in a mona-stery learning how to become a monk and grow flowers in this unconventional Warners item from 1940, showing with a Tweetie Pie cartoon.

Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors | Gene Siskel Film Center

Sergei Paradjanov’s intoxicating 1964 folkloric feature, set in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and screening in a new print today, 9/23, and 9/27, is what gave this Georgian-born filmmaker his first international exposure.


Passport to Pimlico | Doc Films

The start of a weekly series devoted to England’s legendary Ealing Studio, starring Margaret Rutherford.


Foreign Correspondent |

Block Films

Northwestern’s film society launches its own ambitious retrospective–an exhaustive one devoted to Alfred Hitchcock that comprises practically most of its fall season. The 39 Steps screens 9/27 and both Lifeboat and I Confess on 9/28.

The Seven Samurai | Doc Films

Another weekly series starts, this one devoted to Akira Kurosawa, kicks off with the film that Dave Kehr has called both his best and “most Americanized” film.


Black Girl | Doc Films

Part of Doc’s Ousmane Sembene retrospective; see sidebar.


Garden of Earthly Delights |

Gene Siskel Film Center

Polish director Lech Majewski will be present to discuss his 2004 feature, a love story set in Venice, tonight and 9/30.

If I Didn’t Care | Facets Cinematheque

A thriller set in the Hamptons, directed by brothers Benjamin and Orson Cummings, with Roy Scheider playing a detective. | Through 10/4


Daughters Courageous |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

Warner Brothers’ 1939 spin-off of Four Daughters, with the same director (Michael Curtiz) and cast (including John Garfield and Claude Rains).

The Silence Before Bach |

Gene Siskel Film Center

Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella, the focus of a retrospective at the Siskel Center late last year, comes to Chicago for the first time to present his brand-new feature.

Time Regained | Gene Siskel Film Center

A revival of Raul Ruiz’s opulent Proust adaptation (1999), tonight and 10/1.



Chicago International FIlm Festival | Multiple Venues

The Chicago International Film Festival, dedicated this year to Roger Ebert, starts tonight. | Through 10/17

Mandabi | Doc Films

Screening with the short film Tauw; see sidebar.

A Mormon Maid | Doc Films

Tinted 35-millimeter print of a silent 1917 melodrama set in the 1840s, starring Mae Murry and Frank Borzage and directed by Robert Z. Leonard.


Alice Neel | Facets Cinematheque

A documentary by Andrew Neel about his grandmother, who specialized in painting portraits of downtown Manhattan art scenesters. | Through 10/11

Chicago Horror Film Festival | Portage Theater

Through 10/7 |

Half Moon | Gene Siskel Film Center

Bahman Ghobadi’s latest feature and Pourya Ararbaijani’s still more recent Unfinished Stories inaugurate the 18th Annual Festival of Films from Iran, continuing through the month. | Through 10/6.

I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With | Music Box

Chicago writer-producer-director-comic Jeff Garlin will be around this weekend to help launch his independent feature, tagged “a romantic comedy about a man’s unnatural relationship with women and food.”


The Draughtsman’s Contract | Facets Cinematheque

A new print of Peter Greenaway’s 1982 art house favorite, to be followed by his A Zed and Two Noughts on 10/7.

It Should Happen To You |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

Judy Holliday plays an ambitious New Yorker who puts her name on a billboard in Columbus Circle. George Cukor directs this comedy, and Jack Lemmon, in his screen debut, costars (1954).


What’s Going On In the Beely Circus? | Gene Siskel Film Center

A restored 1926 feature directed by and starring Harry Piel, sometimes known as the German Douglas Fairbanks.


The Hour of the Furnaces |

Doc Films

Fernando E. Solanas’s celebrated four-and-a-half-hour leftist documentary (1968) about Argentina.

The West Wittering Affair |

Facets Cinematheque

From the UK, David Scheinmann’s first feature is a romantic sex comedy about four Londoners taking a weekend in the country.


A Few Days Later | Gene Siskel Film Center

The second feature of Iranian actress Niki Karimi (One Night). | Through 10/14

Music Box Massacre III | Music Box

The third annual 24-hour mara-thon of horror films runs through tomorrow. |

Stormy Weather |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

An all-star African-American musical from 1943, featuring Lena Horne, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Fats Waller, and count-less others.


“Immigration in Greek Cinema” | Gene Siskel Film Center

A series that will continue in early November begins today with Nestor Matsas’s The Immigrant (1965).


Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema | Pipers Alley (other venues TBA)

Through 10/28 |

Chicago International Children’s Film Festival |

Facets Cinematheque

Through 10/28 |

The Open Road |

Gene Siskel Film Center

A restored 1926 English travelogue, shot in an early color process.

Xala | Doc Films

Ousmane Sembene’s 1974 satire from Senegal; see sidebar.


Black Book | Doc Films

In case you missed one of the most entertaining films to play in town this year, here’s your chance to catch up with Paul Verhoeven’s 2006 return to Dutch cinema.

My Kid Could Paint That |

Music Box

Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary about the celebrated four-year-old girl whose paintings, compared to Picasso’s, have sold for a fortune.


Body and Soul | LaSalle Bank

Robert Rossen’s celebrated boxing movie with John Garfield (1947), scripted by Abraham Polonsky.


10 + 4 | Gene Siskel Film Center

A new Iranian feature by Mania Akbari. | Through 10/28


Dead of Night | Doc Films

A very scary English horror anthology (1945), directed by several hands.



Camp Thiaroye | Doc Films

Ousmane Sembene codirected (with Thierno Faty Sow) this account of a wartime incident that occurred in 1944; see sidebar.

Chicago Korean Film Festival |

Doc Films

Two older Korean films on the schedule, Flower in Hell (1958) and The Marines Who Never Returned (1963), have a good buzz. | Through 11/4


Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten | Music Box.

A documentary by Julien Temple.


Polish Film Festival in America | Multiple venues

Through 11/18 |

Otto Preminger retrospective | Music Box

Expect five weekend matinees starting today and running through 12/2, half a dozen prime-time features starting 11/10 and running through 11/15, and a Sunday afternoon Preminger panel on 11/11.

You Were Never Lovelier

LaSalle Bank Cinema

Musical comedy set in Buenos Aires, starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth (1942).


Guelwaar | Doc Films

Sembene being wise and witty about tribalism and neocolonial corruption (1992); see sidebar.

Reeling: The 26th Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival |

Landmark’s Century Centre and other venues

Through 11/18 |


How Much Do You Love Me? | Gene Siskel Film Center

A new feature by Bertrand Blier with Monica Bellucci and Gerard Depardieu. | Through 11/15

It is Fine! Everything is Fine. |

Music Box

Crispin Glover presents his new feature.


Hangover Square |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

Laird Cregar plays a psychotic composer; John Brahm directs (1945).

Home for Life |

Gene Siskel Film Center

One of many restorations screening at the Siskel Center this month–a 1968 Chicago documentary about an old folks’ home by Gordon Quinn (who will be present) and Gerald Temaner.


Faat Kine | Doc Films

One of Sembene’s funniest comedies (2000), and perhaps his most affirmative; see sidebar.


Immortal Sergeant |

LaSalle Bank Cinema

An unsung Henry Fonda war picture (1941), directed by John M. Stahl.


Sing-a-Long Sound of Music |

Music Box

Now a perennial holiday ritual. | Through 11/25


The Thin Man, The Kennel Murder Case | LaSalle Bank Cinema

Two of the most popular detective movies in one double bill.


Whisky Galore! | Doc Films

Alexander Mackendrick’s 1949 comedy, showing with classic short Night Mail.


Moolaade | Doc Films

Ousmane Sembene’s last feature; see sidebar.

Block Cinema Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art | Pick-Laudati Auditorium | 40 Arts Circle Dr. | Evanston, 847-491-4000,

Facets Cinematheque 1517 W. Fullerton | 773-281-4114 |

LaSalle Bank Cinema LaSalle Bank | 4901 W. Irving Park | 312-904-9442

Music Box 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604 |

Portage Theater 4050 N. Milwaukee, 773-736-4050 |

Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State | 312-846-2800 |

University of Chicago Doc Films Max Palevsky Cinema, 1212 E. 59th | 773-702-8575 |