Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, June 24

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RIP Haskell Wexler

Chicago-born filmmaker Haskell Wexler, best known for writing and directing Medium Cool, passed away Sunday. He was 93.

Zero Weeks Off

When filmmaker Ky Dickens had her daughter, her day job wouldn't give her paid maternity leave. So she's making a documentary about it. DNAinfo talks with her about the project, which is unfortunately falling short on its Kickstarter campaign with only a few hours left to go.

The Hunger Awakens

If you're seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens tonight, Dennis Lee and the A.V. Club have your dinner menu.

You Should Almost Be There

The Kartemquin documentary Almost There, about outsider artist Peter Anton, is screening at the Siskel Film Center Dec. 11-17, with different members of the crew doing Q&As after each showing. Attend the Saturday screening to hear GB's own David Schalliol and Co-Director/Cinematographer Aaron Wickenden discuss shooting the film.

Chi-Raq Debuts to Mixed Reviews

Spike Lee's satire Chi-Raq is finally out in theaters and Amazon On Demand today, and if its reception from critics is any indication, you'll either love it or hate it. Our own Steve at the Movies liked it, while the Stranger's Ijeoma Oluo really hated it.

The NYTimes' review is more mixed, but also seems to think Chicago is a literal hellscape, "where sidewalks are washed with blood, and human hearts beat to the rhythm of gunfire." So take that with a grain of salt.

Inside the Corncobs

Take a video tour of Marina City with the BBC and one of its residents, MAS Studio's Iker Gil.

The Next South Side Movie

While the city begins to absorb Chi-Raq, news about Barbershop: The Next Cut, set to come out April 15, is starting to percolate.

Tone Deaf

"We Gotta Do Better," a song penned for the Spike Lee movie Chiraq is getting criticism for its lyric "we're the only race that shoots and kills themselves" (among others). Have a listen for yourselves.

On the Rails

Ryan J. Bolger takes a A Ride In The City. [via]

Chicago also makes a very brief appearance in Tom Harman video of an Amtrak ride from NYC to San Francisco. [via]

Get Them to the Greek

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Chi-Raq, the first trailer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is out. The film premieres March 25, 2016.

"We Gotta Do Better"

Spike Lee released the first single, "WGDB," from the Chi-Raq soundtrack. Performed by Kevon Carter, it's possibly more controversial than the trailer.

Meanwhile, TouchVision talks with Chi-Raq actor Jay Washington about the controversy surrounding the film.

Making McCallister History

James Hughes, son of John Hughes, wrote an oral history of Home Alone.

Finding Beauty at the Davis

Renovations have begun on Lincoln Square's Davis Theater, and they're already revealing unknown hidden splendor.

Kickstart a Film

Two very different video projects -- a documentary about women and online harassment and season 2 of "Cooking with Drag Queens" -- are days away from their deadlines and featured on GB's curated Kickstarter page. And a third, a documentary about paid family leave, is just getting started.

Symphonic Home Invasion

Speaking of seasonal traditions, the CSO will perform live accompaniment three screenings of Home Alone in December. The film is 25 years old this year (and may actually be a slasher film in disguise). Tickets are going fast.

"This is an Emergency"

The first trailer for Spike Lee's Chi-Raq is out, giving a good sense of how Chicago's violence provides setting to the Greek play Lysistrata. It hits theaters on Dec. 4.

CHI-RAQ Trailer from 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks on Vimeo.

Disney's Dark Side

This Thursday, the unauthorized documentary The Dark Side of Disney and a rough cut of the new short documentary Keep Moving Forward will screen at the Logan Theatre. The films deal with different aspects of Disney fandom, including obsession and therapy. A Q&A with filmmaker Philip B. Swift and some of the films' subjects will follow the screening. Tickets are $15.

Lose Your Virginity, One Way or Another

The film How to Lose Your Virginity is screening next Monday. And on a completely different note, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is playing at the Music Box and the Rocky Horror Review is back at Mayne Stage on Halloween.

"This is my opinion."

Spike Lee gave an in-depth interview to Chicago magazine about his new film Chi-Raq and Mayor Emanuel's attempt at "bullying" him.

Celuloid Stars

Just in time for opening night of the Chicago International Film Festival, NewCity has released its Film 50 ranking of the city's movers and shakers in the industry. (Read Steve Prokopy's interview with Programming Director Mimi Plauché in A/C!)

Kicking Off a Film Fest

Kickstarter is holding its first-ever Kickstarter Film Festival on Oct. 15, featuring films big and small. See it locally at the Music Box.

The Grid: Circus School at Aloft Loft (360°)

"Circus School at Aloft Loft," the newest 360° installment in our documentary film series, The Grid, goes up in the air with adult circus performers and enthusiasts.

Delaying Grace

The Chicago International Film Festival pulled the Aretha Franklin documentary Saving Grace from its lineup after Franklin sued to stop its premiere at another festival.

South Side Seen

The documentary Takin Place takes a candid look at life in South Chicago.

Takin' Place - Trailer from Cyrus Dowlatshahi on Vimeo.

Cabrini & Community

The new documentary 70 Acres in Chicago chronicles the journey of former Cabrini Green residents after the public housing community was demolished.

Cap Anachronism

A White Sox hat sported by Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton uses the "Sox" logo that didn't exist in 1986.


Kartemquin's Justine Nagan will take the helm of PBS's documentary series "POV."

Devilish Plans

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese will reunite to make a Devil in the White City movie, with DiCaprio signed on to play serial killer H.H. Holmes.

Chicago at Night

Photographer Jeff Johnson shares somewhat eerie film footage of downtown Chicago in 1940, shot by his grandfather.

Candyman and Cabrini

Scrappers Film Group (which is behind The Grid) takes a look at the connections between fear and public housing in the horror film Candyman, which was filmed at Cabrini-Green while it was still standing.


Spike Lee's Chi-Raq definitely has a hyphen, and will be the first-ever film backed by Amazon when it hits theaters early next year.

Cutting the Action

While film boosters and incubators like Stage 18 hope to build a "new Hollywood" in Chicago, reductions in the tax cuts given to media makers means there are less incentives to come here.

Lights, Camera, Chiraq

Get a peek behind the scenes of Spike Lee's new movie.

The Dissolve Fades to Black

Film criticism site The Dissolve is shutting down.

Drones of Summer

Get a glimpse of Chicago's signature sights from the air with the latest drone video from Soaring Badger Productions.

Chicago: A Bird's Eye View VII - Summer in the City from Soaring Badger Productions on Vimeo.

Beyond Blockbuster

Local video stores may have outlasted Blockbuster, but they still need to get creative (and usually offer porn) to make ends meet.

Saying "Goodbye" to Arkansas Red

For the last 30 years, Arkansas Red hosted "The Blues Excursion" on WHPK. His final show was last weekend. Relive the experience through last summer's video profile on The Grid.

Cinema in the New Age

Lincoln Square's Davis Theater, which is almost 100 years old, will be getting a $4 million makeover that includes new seats and a restaurant.

Chiraq in Town

Spike Lee's film "Chriaq" begins filming in Wicker Park and the South Side today.

Talking 360° Video

If you watched The Grid's recent 360° videos and wanted to know how the immersive videos were made with six synchronized cameras, head over to A/C to read an interview about the process, and see the rig in action.

Three 360° Videos from The Grid

Today GB's documentary video series, The Grid, features three 360° videos shot with a special six-camera rig. The videos, which let you point the "camera" in any direction, are about the April 28th demonstration at the CPD headquarters, droning in the Chicago Park District and the Art Institute's recent MFA show.

Spike Lee Defends "Chiraq"

Director Spike Lee, Fr. Michael Pfleger, parents of murdered children and John Cusak defended the name of Lee's movie Chiraq -- which is apparently going to be a musical comedy based on the ancient Greek play Lysistrata -- at a press conference today. Rivet Radio has the full press conference.

The City at Night, Again

Videographer Max Wilson made a sequel to his wildly popular timelapse video of Chicago at night from 2013.

Chicago Timelapse Project, Windy City Nights II from Max Wilson on Vimeo.

Want to Be in Chiraq?

There's an open casting call for Spike Lee's upcoming Chiraq film this weekend in Englewood. See 4 Star Casting's Facebook page for details.

Be Kind, Rewind

Odd Obsession, a 10 year old specialty video rental store, is getting ready to move -- and is calling on customers to return $25,000 in missing and stolen movies and pay late fees.

The Critics' Picks

The third annual Chicago Critics Film Festival starts this Friday for a week run at the Music Box Theatre. Our own critic, Steve Prokopy, previewed the festivities in his latest column.

Don't You, Forget About Me

When your school is used as a location for an iconic '80s film, you find the strangest things in filing cabinets — like a first draft script of The Breakfast Club. Good to know the administration had the good sense to green light that little gem.

Festival Season is Upon Us

The City's new Lake FX Summet & Expo starts today, as does CIMMFest. The Chicago Latino Film Festival is ongoing, and Bacon Fest starts tomorrow. Oh, and there's also the Chicago Palestine Film Festival and HUMP! Film Festival this weekend. Whew!

The Past in HD

Film colorist Jeff Altman shares footage captured by his grandfather, a Chicago cop, over decades of traveling the world with a 16mm film camera.

The #chicagoGirl on Film

Chicago college student Alaa Basatneh talked with Channel 5 about her efforts to support the Syrian revolution and the documentary about her. #chicagoGirl screens at the Family of Woman Film Festival at the Wilmette Theatre tonight.

Do the Chiraq Thing

Spike Lee is reportedly going to direct Chiraq the movie, possibly casting Kanye West, Common, and Jeremy Piven in the project.

Stunt Man

If someone jumps out of a window, gets lit on fire, or otherwise risks bodily harm for a movie or TV show filmed in Illinois, Rick LeFevour was probably behind it.

Hanks for the Memories

International Tom Hanks Day grew from a movie marathon with friends to an annual charity event attracting hundreds of fans and the endorsement of the star himself.

State Takebacks

Gov. Rauner ordered TV and movie studio Cinespace to return $10 million given to it by the Quinn administration shortly before Rauner won the election.

Chance the Actor

Chance the Rapper stars in a short film called Mr. Happy, as a man who decides to commit suicide, in a sense, by hiring a hitman to kill him.

It goes without saying, but there're some graphic scenes in this one.

Marty & the Dead?

Contrary to the Daily Beast's report, Martin Scorcese is not filming a documentary of the Grateful Dead's final show at Soldier Field this summer.

Four and a Half Kilometers of Roses

The MCA produced a short documentary about the life and work of Colombian artist Doris Salcedo, whose work is currently on exhibition.

Talk with the Media

PBS and a bunch of other independent and public media groups will be in Chicago on March 23 to host a public forum to "set priorities and share ideas around strengthening viewership, distribution, and community engagement of independent film." Check out the report from San Francisco to get a sense of what to expect, if you go.

Chicago and the Women's Movement

The Reader interviews Chicago women featured in the feminist documentary She's Beautiful When She's Angry, at the Music Box this week.

The Breastfast Club?

In John Hughes: A Life in Film, it's revealed that a Hughes cut a sexist nude scene out of The Breakfast Club because the female leads complained -- and the replacement scene nearly starred Rick Moranis.

Never Been Magikist

@TheHashtagGame's #ChicagoAMovie hashtag on Twitter last night was a lot of fun.

Don't You Forget About Them

Diablo Cody and other writers reflect on the impact of the Breakfast Club 30 years after the teen classic's release.

Roadtripping with John Hughes

Bookmark this for warmer weather: roadtrip maps to locations in John Hughes movies, from Ferris Bueller to Home Alone to Weird Science.

Walah on the Corner

"Walah's Corner Store" profiles an Englewood store and its owner, highlighting the importance of immigrant-run businesses in under-served communities.

Chicago's Oscar Night

Chicago did pretty well at the Academy Awards last night. Ida, which is distributed by Music Box Films, won Best Foreign Language Film; Chicago-born Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood; Chicago-born Common won Best Original Song with John Legend for "Glory" from Selma; and Chicago-born author and screenwriter Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. On the other hand, Finding Vivian Maier did not win Best Documentary.

Oh, and Oprah got an Oscar, too.

Faded to Black

Chicago's silent film industry boomed in the 1910s until filmmakers headed west and made Hollywood the movie mecca it is today.

For Austin

For Grace, the documentary about the making of Chef Curtis Duffy's restaurant, is screening at the SXSW Music Festival in March.

The Eastland Disaster on Film

The first-known film footage of the Eastland Disaster was recently discovered in a Dutch news reel from 1916 by a UIC grad student. [via]

The Eastland portion begins at 1:10.
Laatste bioscoop wereldberichten

Tweet This Movie

The F This Movie Twitter film festival is this Saturday starting at noon. Follow along at @fthismovie and #fthismoviefest.

Schools Closing Film Opening

The School Project (previously) debuted a new documentary yesterday at the Logan Center for the Arts at UofC. Chicago Public Schools: Closed is the second of a six-part series.

Beal, Streets & Memphis

Chicago-born musician Willis Earl Beal presents the premiere of Memphis, a film he wrote, directed and stars in, on Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Portage Theater. He'll do a Q&A and perform music from the film after the screening. Tickets are $7.

Finding Life Itself

Slate's Dana Stevens says Finding Vivian Maier was the worst documentary she saw last year, despite its Oscar nomination. Meanwhile, speculation still swirls as to why Life Itself didn't get nominated.

Oscar's Choice

While Finding Vivian Maier was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category, Life Itself, the film about Roger Ebert, was not.

Almost There Almost Here

The new Kartemquin documentary Almost There makes its Chicago premiere this Saturday, Jan. 10 at the Siskel Film Center.

Critics' Top Picks

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced nominations for its 2014 film awards, with Birdman receiving nine nominations and The Grand Budapest Hotel receiving eight.

The Grid: Arkansas Red and His Listeners

"Arkansas Red and His Listeners," the newest installment in our documentary film series, The Grid, listens in with Arkansas Red as he DJs his 30-year-old show, "The Blues Excursion" on WHPK.

Going for Gold

Life Itself and Finding Vivian Maier are among 15 documentaries in the running for an Oscar.

Organic Beauty

Filmmakers Jordan Olshansky and Jason Stanfield spent time with artist Bruce Riley in his studio, watching him paint with resin.

A Summer of Promise

Filmmaker Ifé Olatunji presents a snapshot of three young girls' experiences going to school at South Shore Fine Arts Academy, and their mothers' hopes for their future. [via]

Relighting the Patio

The Patio Theater is back in business after the current owners reached a lease and management deal with Eddie Carranza -- the oft-embattled owner of the Congress and Portage theaters. The first new event will be a holiday sketch comedy show on Dec. 4.

Batman v. Superman v. Unseasonably Cold Weather

It's not exactly the best time for the cast and crew of superhero flick Batman v. Superman to be filming exterior footage, but that's fall in Chicago for you! Several streets in Uptown are already closed, and will be until Friday. Let's hope those super and bat suits are well insulated.

Pure Chicago Cityporn

Once again, photographer Eric Hines shows that the city is beautiful in time lapse.

Cityscape Chicago II from Eric Hines on Vimeo.

Scare Local

The Chicago Reader has some suggestions for the best horror films shot and set in Chicago.

Get to Know Nelson

A new documentary, Algren: The Movie, delves into the life of one of Chicago's greatest authors. It's screening at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Science Spoilers

Scientists will weigh in on the science behind sci-fi movies like Jurassic Park and Jaws as part of a partnership between the Music Box and the Field Museum.

Screen Stars

NewCity's Film 50 brings together the most influential people in Chicago's burgeoning film industry, from powerhouse producers to up-and-coming directors and documentarians.

A Year in 3-Second Bites

Joyland Films has been working on a series called How We Got Here, summarizing each month of 2014 by shooting three seconds of footage every day.

How We Got Here - Part I from Joyland on Vimeo.

Don't Forget Your Cape

Parts of the city will be turned into Metropolis for the filming of the new Batman vs. Superman movie starting in November.

Encased Meats on Film

Brothers Nick and Christopher Markos are making a documentary about the final weeks ofHot Doug's. Say hi if you're in line over the next (gulp) two weeks.

Feeding Odd Obsessions

Chicagoist looks at how Odd Obsession Movies manages to thrive while video rental chains like Blockbuster were killed by Redbox and video streaming. (From the GB archives, here's a profile of Odd Obsession from 2004, when it was new.)

Protecting the Pollinators

The short documentary The Pollinators covers the role of native plants in keeping pollinating insects alive.

You Killed the Bricks

A Swedish LEGO enthusiast built a recreation of the Ferris Bueller's Day Off scene in which Cameron sends his dad's Ferrari through the window.

There was also another Ferris Bueller scene and one from The Blues Brothers in the annual competition.

The City by Drone

Colin Hinkle shot two beautiful short aerial videos of Chicago using a drone.

Bucket Boys Documentary Seeks Crowdfunding

Chicago-based filmmakers Jarrell and Jerome Lucas launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Bucket, a feature length documentary that "captures the life of many, of the hundreds of bucket boys on Chicago's south-side." The campaign ends today and has already raised $7,500 of their $25,000 goal.

Not a Man, a Way of Life

New shit has come to light! Lebowski Fest is returning to Chicago October 17-18.

Kickstart Your Week

A documentary on bucket boys, upgrading 826CHI's Boring Store, a "Cooking with Drag Queens" video series, and a comic about warring woodland creatures are some of the projects currently funding on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

The Bat Signal Returns to the Chicago Skyline

Although most of the filming is happening in Detroit, a major stunt in the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film is being shot in Chicago in October.

Mistakes, I've Made a Few

So often we come to regret our greatest contributions to society. Like Nathan Rabin regrets coming up with "manic pixie dream girl" back in 2007.

A Monster Movie We Can All Get Behind

A 5-year-old boy named Maddex filmed his own version of "Godzilla" downtown, with over a hundred extras and even Mayor Emanuel coming out for the effort organized by the Make-A-Wish project.

Patio for Sale

The Patio Theater is now for sale for $3 million. Former GB contributor Gordon McAlpin reported on the classic film house's reopening in 2011.

Putting Roger's Life on Film

GB film critic Steve Prokopy interviewed Chaz Ebert and Steve James about the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, currently playing at the Landmark Century Centre. Read Steve's review of the film in A/C.

The Best Summer Blockbusters

The Dissolve counts down the 50 best summer blockbusters of all time. Here's 50-31, 30-11 and the top 10.

United States of X: Scary Movie Edition

Halloween represents Illinois on the horror movie map of the US. [via]

Freddy's Back

Robert Eglund is dressing up as Freddy Krueger for the first time in more than a decade at Flashback Weekend. For $365, you can get your picture taken with him, with proceeds benefiting the Midway Drive-In in Dixon's digital conversion.

Jupiter Delaying

Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis' sci-fi epic that was to be one of several Chicago-set films released this year, has been pushed back to February 2015 from its original July 18 release date.

Ebert on Film

Life Itself, the documentary about Roger Ebert, debuts in Chicago July 4. The official trailer was released yesterday.

Life Itself: Official Trailer (2014) from Kartemquin Films on Vimeo.

Terrible is Great!

The Reader finds checks in on what Everything is Terrible! has been up to lately.

Love & Money

Harrison Martin and Bret Hamilton interviewed people in River North/Gold Coast and Pilsen to get their thoughts about love and capitalism. [via]

Love and Capitalism from Harrison Martin on Vimeo.

Get to Know the Chicago Imagists

The group behind the new film Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists just published an online archive of material about Chicago Imagism. The interactive archive includes everything from rarely seen artwork to personal correspondence to new interviews conducted with artists, scholars and collectors.

Maxwell Street, 1964

And This is Free is a documentary of Maxwell Street in its hey day, made by Mike Shea. [via]

Never Too Old to Rock

Students at Marquette University created a short documentary about Tribune rock critic (and Marquette alumnus) Greg Kot. [via]

Mr. Reliable

Vocativ named the Reader's J.R. Jones the "Most Reliable" movie critic in the U.S., saying his rating of a movie is usually closer to the average of all MetaCritic reviews than any other critic in the country. [via]

Caught in the Mouse Trap

Brooklyn-based poet Shane Romero produced Mouse Trap, a short film addressed to Li'l Mouse, a 14-year-old rapper from the South Side. Romero spoke with the Chicago Bureau about the film and its inspiration. [via]

Back Amazing Grace

Melissa Pierce is making a documentary about pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper, and is currently fundraising on IndieGoGo to make it happen.

Who's Saint Millie?

Ernest Wilkins and RedEye are producing a documentary series on Saint Millie, a rapper from the West Side trying to break through. The first five episodes are online.

Dateline: Chicago

British Pathé, one of the original newsreel companies, just put 85,000 videos up on YouTube -- including quite a few of Chicago. [via]

You're Either In, Or You're Stressed Out

A new documentary explores the joy and "dark side" of applying and acceptance to Whitney Young Magnet HS.

Central Standard: On Education

The team behind GB's The Grid has teamed up with WTTW for a nine-week web series about education in the Chicago region. The first video in the series introduces the five middle school students who will be followed while they wrestle with the transition to high school.

Patio Theater to Close in April

DNAinfo's story on the closing of the historic theater cites construction/maintenance issues. Read our story (and see the great photos) about the Patio's return in 2011.

Malört Face on Film

This Story Will Never End: Jeppson's Malört Documentary, by Fire Engine Red Films, tells the story of the beloved and maligned bitter liquor. It's due out this summer. [via]

Finding a Film

Speaking of films, the documentary Finding Vivian Maier opens this weekend at the Landmark Century Centre.

We've written extensively about Vivian Maier's discovery and the copyright questions surrounding her work.

Film Fests

For movies, you've got options this weekend: the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago Festival of Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film and Chicago Latino Film Festival.

The Great American City

Jackpot in the West Productions provides a little midweek inspiration. [via]

In Frankie Knuckles' House

Media Burn just posted some great archival video by Phil Ranstrom from the opening of Frankie Knuckles' club, the Power House. Jump to 2:55 to hear the first of Frankie Knuckles' interview segments, and then to 6:38 to see a pretty amazing performance by J.M. Silk.

The Freedom Trilogy

Film critic Matt Fagerholm proposes a set of three films that gives a picture of Civil War America that is "greater than the sum of its parts."

Don't You Forget About Me

The day that the iconic North shore teen drama "The Breakfast Club" took place celebrates its thirtieth anniversary today.

United States of X: Hollywood Disaster Edition

Chicago has been destroyed a number of times by Hollywood, according to a disaster movie map from the Concourse. (Thanks, Dee!)

"Straight Outta...Chicago"

Tomorrow, from 11am to 4pm, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios is holding an open casting call for the upcoming feature film Straight Outta Compton, a biopic on the hit '90s rap group N.W.A. Casting directors are looking for African American males, late teens to late 20s, for the roles of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and group founder, the late Eazy-E. For more information, call 773-521-8000.

Still Funemployed for Now

Video podcast Funemployed is wrapping up its third and final season. Tune in on Mondays for new episodes.

Not Even His Ghost?

Despite the passing of Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters III is apparently still happening, with a reworked script that doesn't include Egon. Well, not alive, anyway.

Wes Anderson Kingdom

The Music Box is showing all of Wes Anderson's films starting Friday, and the man himself will be in town to present a preview screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel on Saturday. It's free; RSVP opens at noon Tuesday.

Follow Along at Home

Film blog F This Movie hosts its third annual F This Movie All-Twitter Film Festival this Saturday, Feb. 15 at noon.

Paper Film

NewCity is making a movie -- it just doesn't know which one yet. Maybe it's yours.

Mr. Incredible, Defender of Chicago

Was The Incredibles set in Chicago? Eowyn Smith, the creator of this map of Disney & Pixar implied locales, thinks so. [via]


Working in Film

Chicago is the best big city to live and work in as a filmmaker in 2014, according to Moviemaker Magazine. Oddly, it didn't even rate in 2013.

"Life Itself is better than that."

Kartemquin Films' Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself premiered at Sundance this weekend. The Trib's Michael Phillips gave it three and a half stars. Chaz Ebert discusses seeing the film for the first time.

A Blockbuster Year

2013 was another record year for film and TV in Chicago; six full-time TV series and three feature films films were produced here, thanks in part to the expansion of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.

Hoop Dreams at 20

The Dissolve has posted an extensive oral history of Hoop Dreams, with recollections from the filmmakers and the subjects of the documentary.

Chicago in the Movies in the Parks

The Park District is looking for locally produced, Chicago-focused independent features, documentaries and shorts for Chicago On Screen, a new series that will be part of Movies in the Parks this summer. If you've got something to submit, here's the application form [PDF].

Use Your Thumbs

One person will get the chance to be a movie critic for a day, if they win the prize promised by the Indiegogo campaign raising money for the Roger Ebert documentary "Life Itself."

The Play vs. the Movie

Chris Jones vents about the controversy over whether it's necessary to have seen the play August: Osage County to effectively review the movie. (Read Steve at the Movies' review here.

Authentic Chicago on Film

Esquire picks the 10 most authentic Chicago movies, leaving out Ferris Bueller's Day Off and My Best Friend's Wedding because "they're really just two-hour advertisements crafted for the Chicago Office of Tourism and don't depict what it's like to be a true Chicagoan." [via]

The Best Worst Film Festival

Tickets for B-Fest, the annual 24-hour b-movie festival at Northwestern, went on sale last night. Keep an eye on the fest's website for lineup details for Jan. 24-25, and check out Mitch O'Connell's poster.

Protest on FIlm

Cicero March, a short documentary of a 1966 civil rights protest in Cicero, was accepted into the National Film Registry.

Time for a Movie

If you're finding you have a little extra time on your hands, spend a couple hours at the Music Box, which is running a weeklong series of epic films beginning on Christmas Day with The Great Escape.

Dhoom Goes the Dynamite

The Chicago-based Bollywood blockbuster Dhoom 3 is out in theaters around the world today -- including a showing at AMC River East.

Holidays on Film

Bryan Smith confesses his love for cheesy holiday movies in Chicago magazine. Not necessarily cheesy, but there are a few Christmas movie opportunities coming up.

The Patio Theater shows It's a Wonderful Life for free on Saturday, the Northwest Chicago Film Society presents Preston Sturges' 1944 film The Miracle of Morgan's Creek at the Gene Siskel Film Center Sunday, and Double Door screens Bad Santa and Die Hard on Monday night.

Humping in Chicago

The HUMP! Film Festival, Seattle's annual amateur porno film festival founded by Dan Savage, is coming to the Music Box in February. Tickets are on sale now.

Dueling Worsts

Interesting to see the similarities and differences between the "worst films of 2013" lists between the AV Club and the Dissolve.

Jake and Elwood LEGO

Bricktease recreated the shopping mall chase from The Blues Brothers in LEGO. [via]

Here's how it was made:

Help Crowdfund Life Itself

Kartemquin Films and director Steve James have been working on a documentary about Roger Ebert, titled Life Itself after one of his memoirs. They've launched an IndieGoGo campaign to fund post-production.

LIFE ITSELF - uniting a community of Roger Ebert fans from Kartemquin Films on Vimeo.

30 Going On 85

The Music Box Theatre is celebrating its 30th anniversary with big plans, including a possible expansion, and a two-week-long bash (don't feel left out, you're invited too).

Mint Pitfall Harry in Original Package

Dan Polydoris made custom action figures for classic Activision videogames as a present for himself on his birthday. [via]

The Vanishing Neighborhoods of Chicago's (Real and Imagined) Past

If you like urban history and film, you may want to check out tonight's event at Comfort Station. Preservation Chicago, the Chicago Film Archives and Kartemquin Films are teaming up to present three Chicago films about community change in the 1960s in 1970s in their original 16mm glory.

Belushi on Belushi as Belushi

If anyone should play John Belushi in the upcoming biopic, it should be his nephew Robert Belushi, says Jim Belushi -- not Emile Hirsch.

A Divergent Chicago

A new trailer for Divergent, the first in what could be a series of based on a science-fiction novel series set in Chicago, debuted yesterday.

#chicagoGirl Works to #FreeSyria

A new documentary chronicles the role of a young girl living in the suburbs of Chicago in helping to organize the Syrian revolution through social networks.

'#chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes On A Dictator' from The Playlist on Vimeo.

Letts Makes More than One Thing Clear

Tracy Letts talks with Daily Beast about "Homeland," August: Osage County, Hollywood's obsession with the Oscars and more.

Northwest Film Society Moves Downtown

Due to a broken boiler at the Patio Theater, the Northwest Chicago Film Society has moved its winter screenings to the Gene Siskel Film Center. [via]

Getting Into the House

Chicago: The Holy Land of House is a short documentary about the early days of house music. It's part of a longer project about the genre and its impact on music and culture. [via]

Feeling Festy?

Check out Steve Prokopy's suggestions for this weekend's Reeling LGBT film festival, or the Reader's guide to the 25th Polish Film Festival in America.

Ali's Awakening on Film

Chuck Sudo interviews Bill Siegel, director of the documentary The Trials of Muhammed Ali, which opens this weekend at the Music Box, Chatham 14 and ICE Lawndale.

Is the Force in You?

If you're young, attractive and athletic, you might have a chance at appearing in the next Star Wars film -- Disney is holding auditions in Chicago Nov. 14.

Your Friends & Neighbors

Meet The Chicagoans, a video series produced by Groundfire Pictures and writer Anne Ford. [via]

"Guess who's back in town..."

Speaking of Poltergeist III, there's an entire fanpage devoted to the 1988 film, in which angry spirits follow Carol Anne to the Hancock Tower.

Chicago is a Scary Place

The Geography of Horror puts 200 of the top-rated horror films on IMDb on a map, by decade -- including a couple right here in Chicago. Candyman, Child's Play and, uh, Poltergeist III didn't make the list. [via]

Chicago, City of Necessity

Lee Bey unearthed a 1961 documentary, The City of Necessity, that shows Chicago in great transition, culturally and physically.

Docs Starter

Good Pitch Chicago is bringing seven aspiring documentary filmmakers together with supportive nonprofits and funders who can make their films come true.

Celluloid Saturday

This Saturday is packed with film options. There's Home Movie Day, the Music Box of Horrors marathon and the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Not to mention the Filmless Festival.

Gotham City Pilgrims

The A.V. Club's Pop Pilgrims revisited the locations where Christopher Nolan filmed The Dark Knight, which they credit for starting a film making boom in Chicago.

The Dark Knight helped spawn a filmmaking boom in Chicago

Shaking in Your Seats

Low Carb Comedy is in the spirit of the season with a couple of trailers for upcoming horror flicks.

Funny First Timers

Six Chicago-produced comedy TV pilots selected for the New York Television Festival are playing tomorrow at the Music Box.

Save a Little Dough So You Can Watch Movies About Dough

The Chicago Food Film Festival returns Nov. 21-23 at Kendall College; tickets are on sale now, but if you get yours today (and only today), you can get a 24% discount.

Around the World in 10 Films

The Chicago International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, and Bill Stamets narrows the list down to 10 to see in the Sun-Times.

The City at Night

Max Wilson compiled more than 200,000 photographs to produce Windy City Nights, a six-minute timelapse film of our beautiful city.

Chicago Timelapse Project - Windy City Nights from Max Wilson on Vimeo.

Stars of the Silver & Smaller Screens

While the definition of "film" is changing in the YouTube era, NewCity profiles 50 leaders of Chicago's motion picture scene.

First-Person in Syria

A man from Morton Grove traveled with two Syrian friends earlier this summer to see the civil war in Syria firsthand.

Offerman Speaks!

Nick Offerman's the man around town next week. He's at the Chicago Theatre Oct. 3, then talks about his book Paddle Your Own Canoe at the Music Box Oct. 4. He's also introducing a screening of Dead Man that night.

"There's a Da Bears movie?"

There is, reveals original superfan Robert Smigel in an interview with Grantland. He cowrote the script with Bob Odenkirk, but it's obvious it'll never be made. [via]

RIP Ronn Pitts

Ronn Pitts, filmmaker and Columbia College professor, passed away Sunday. He was 76.

Kickstart, Flip & Pin

The documentary Sadermania, about a Chicago Hulk Hogan superfan who became best friends with his idol, is complete and ready to go, but music licensing and other legal fees are keeping it from distribution. Director Adam Gacka has turned to Kickstarter to make it over that last hump, and it's one of several new projects on GB's curated Kickstarter page. Take a look and lend a hand.

CIFF Schedule's Out

The Chicago International Film Festival released its full schedule for this year's fest, Oct. 10-24.

Live on the Set

Curbed has a map of the most recognizable filming locations in Chicago, of which there are many more.

Save Roeper the Aisle Seat

Richard Roeper was named Roger Ebert's replacement as lead film critic of the Sun-Times yesterday. According to Chaz Ebert, "Roger would have been thrilled."

I Can Haz Filmz?

Fueled by the Internet's inexplicable obsession with all things feline, the touring Cat Video Film Festival will make a stop in Chicago.

Two Bronze Thumbs Up

Organizers in Roger Ebert's hometown of Champaign are raising money to build a life-size statue of the critic outside the Virginia Theatre, which hosted Ebertfest for the past 15 years. [via]

Reeling in Logan Square

After a year off, the Reeling Film Festival, Chicago's international LGBT film festival, is returning this fall, with most screenings happening at the Logan Theater.

Witness the Destruction

Amateur video captures some of the more dramatic moments of Michael Bay destroying the city -- again -- for the next Transformers movie. [via]

Plus or Minus 40 to Model

Nikki Muffoletto was a plus-size model until losing 40lbs., dropping from a size 14 to an 8. In order to find work as a model, she'll need to lose another 40 or gain it back -- so she's going to make a documentary about the process of trying to drop to a size 2. You can back her on Kickstarter. (See more Chicago-based Kickstarter campaigns on GB's curated page.)

Drinking in the Movies

Drinking Buddies, opening this Friday at Landmark Century Center, was directed by Chicagoan Joe Swanberg and filmed at Revolution Brewing.

Documenting School Closures

Local filmmakers including Kartemquin Films, Siskel/Jacobs Productions, Media Process Group, and The Kindling Group have teamed up to make a documentary about the aftermath of Chicago Public School's recent decision to close 50 schools. Students with Free Spirit Media will help with post-production.

Documenting "Chi Raq"

Protein TV sent Will Robson-Scott to Chicago to document the violence. The result is Chi Raq, a short film and zine. [via]

Chi Raq by Will Robson-Scott from Protein® TV on Vimeo.

Filmmaking on Speed

The results of the 48 Hour Film Project, in which teams receive a character, a prop and a line of dialog and have to make a short movie around them, are screening at the Music Box tonight and Thursday. Get tickets online or at the door and enjoy a few dozen very quick films.

"I guess it's pretty serious."

What if Ferris Bueller wasn't bluffing about being sick? What if he was dead?

Silent Screams

The Music Box is showing Alfred Hitchcock's nine silent films this weekend and early next week -- with orchestral accompaniment at several screenings.

Chicago-Area Film Degree Programs Among the Best

DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern University all made The Hollywood Reporter's 2013 list of the best film schools. DePaul came in at 21 on the list, while Northwestern and Columbia placed at 13 and 14 respectively.

Ebert Adds Voices

Chaz Ebert announced today the launch of a new Twitter account, @ebertvoices, that will tweet news, so as to separate that stuff from @ebertchicago and give Chaz room to "innovate" with the account as Roger requested.

Blowin' Up Bridges

The crew for Jupiter Ascending shot an explosive scene on the Lake Street bridge over the weekend.

The action's about a minute in.

Major Meowtion Pictures

The CAT Film Festival this weekend showcases 14 films featuring felines. The same program screens at Chicago Filmmakers on Friday and South Side Projections on Saturday.

Double Feature of Destruction

Director Edgar Wright is screening a double feature of his films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz at Music Box on Aug. 2 -- and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are going to be there for the Q&A. It's already sold out, but GB's Steve "at the Movies" Prokopy is running a contest for tickets over on Ain't It Cool.

United States of X: Classic Film Edition

Time Out New York published a map and article picking iconic movies for each state; Illinois got Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Time Out Chicago points out problems with that flick, but doesn't deny it as an option.

Let's All Go to the Movie Blog

The Dissolve, Pitchfork's new film blog, launched Wednesday afternoon. Editor Scott Tobias explains what they're up to.

The Dissolve Resolving Wednesday

The Dissolve, Pitchfork's new film review site staffed by ex-AV Club writers, launches on Wednesday. Mashable has a sneak preview.

Classic Films in a Classic House

The Patio Theater and Northwest Chicago Film Society are a great match, says Michael Phillips. Now if only the AC was working.

Before a Long, Long Time Ago...

The not-quite-finished 5-25-77 tells the story of a high school wannabe filmmaker in north suburban Wadsworth, who gets an opportunity to preview Star Wars and then tries to convince all his friends to make it to the premiere. It's debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival; help get it made. [via]

Kryptonians vs. Chicago

Apparently it's not just Transformers who like to trash Chicago. The city takes a beating in Man of Steel, too.

The Grid: Botanicas de la Villita

"Botanicas de la Villita," the newest installment in our documentary film series The Grid, spends some time among the folk remedies and spiritual practices in two Little Village botanicas.

Pitchfork Cuts to Film

Pitchfork today announced The Dissolve, a new film site staffed by the AV Club veterans who left last month. Keep your eye out here.

Portage Theater Closed

The Portage Theater was closed on Friday by owner Eddy Carranza, apparently over a liquor license dispute. The Northwest Chicago Film Society has relocated upcoming screenings to the Patio and Music Box, and other film series are searching for new venues as well.

6-Second Cinema

Chicagoist talks with one of the creators of the Vine Film Festival, which is tonight at Andersonville's Upstairs Gallery.

Movie Houses in the News

Good and bad news on the theater front today. The Ramova Theater in Bridgeport may soon be renovated, and the New Regal Theater is for sale for just $100,000. Meanwhile, the beautiful Patio Theater will be forced to close for the summer due to a broken air conditioning system; the owners believed TIF-based grant was coming through for repairs, but it didn't come through.

The Parks at Night

This year's Movies in the Park schedule is out. There are also quite a few other "Night Out in the Parks" events this year, from theater to live music.

Second City to None

Arne Wossink captured a wide swath of Chicago in his camera between August 2012 and April 2013, and was nice enough to share it with the world. [via]

Dancing on Your Screen

Dances Made to Order brings dance films to you once a month, along with a challenge to make your own. The next edition debuts May 29.

Here's a taste of what it's like:

What are You Watching Online?

This week, YouTube launched its Trends Map, which breaks down viewing patterns by metropolitan area, age and gender. At time of writing, "This is Water," the new video of David Foster Wallace's 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, is number one in Chicago.

The Historic Landmark Portage Theater

The Portage Theater was awarded landmark status by City Council today. Read Dan Kelly's fantastic history of the theater in A/C.

"It's what every white boy off the lake wants."

Thirty years ago, Risky Business came out and made a star of Tom Cruise. Highland Park residents recall the film and its effect on the suburb. (Presumably the Drake Hotel and residents of Belmont Harbor were not consulted.)

Explain's Cameron's Jersey

James Hughes talks about going to hockey games with his father, filmmaker John Hughes, and his dad's soft spot the Redwings.

A.V. Club Exodus

Today was the last day for several of the A.V. Club's veteran writers, including Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson and and Genevieve Koski. They're joining recently departed writers Keith Phipps and Scott Tobias to launch an as-of-yet unnamed new media company focusing on film.

Media Burn Video Feature: Blind Arvella Gray

Today marks the first of a series of featured videos from the Media Burn Independent Video Archive. This clip is a 1978 performance by Blind Arvella Gray at the Maxwell Street Market, originally from A Tribute to Chicago Blues. Watch more from the feature on Media Burn.

Altered Music

The Reader's Ben Sachs talks with composer John Corigliano about his concert tomorrow night at the Harris Theater and composing the soundtrack to cult classic Altered States.

Lake Shore Drive to Lower Wacker to...

Zane Davis made a time-lapse video of driving around town this weekend -- and explained how he did it on Calumet Photo's blog.

The Raw Voices of Cabrini

Media Burn has digitized and published more than 60 hours of raw video footage filmed in and around Cabrini Green from 1995 to 1999 as part of Ronit Bezalel and Antonio Ferrera's Voices of Cabrini.

Robinson at Wrigley

Jackie Robinson, whose life is depicted in 42, out this weekend, made his major league debut at Wrigley Field in 1947. A snippet of film shot by a fan shows him out on the field and signing autographs. [via]

Hate Hate Hate

OK, one more Roger Ebert story. This one's from author and screenwriter Alan Zweibel, telling the story in the New Yorker of running into Ebert years after the critic gave a particularly scathing review to his film North. UPDATE: Wait, this morning Deadspin posted about Ebert's sports writing early in his career.

Your Lunchtime Diversion

Bill F*cking Murray, a video essay by Nelson Carvajal. [via]

VIDEO ESSAY: Bill Fucking Murray from Nelson Carvajal on Vimeo.

RIP Roger Ebert

Just a day after announcing a "leave of presence" to fight another bout of cancer, Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert has passed away. Here are obituaries by Neil Steinberg and Rick Kogan.

Read his 2010 interview with Esquire about surviving cancer, his own thoughts on death in Salon, his recollection of O'Rourke's bar in Granta, some of his choice quotes from over the years, Carol Felsenthal's Roger Ebert: A Life in the Movies, and perhaps pick up Enemies: A Love Story, the oral history of "Siskel and Ebert."

Watch the first episode of "Opening Soon... At A Theater Near You," Siskel and Ebert's original show on WTTW -- and of course, the classic '80s out-takes from "At the Movies":

Chicagoist shares more videos of "Roger being Roger."

There's also the 1991 Playboy interview with Siskel and Ebert (link is SFW). And take time to read 40 hilariously mean Ebert reviews -- and his tender post about his 20th anniversary with Chaz.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement honoring Ebert. Lauren Chooljian's "Year 25" project for WBEZ today features Ebert and an excerpt from his memoir, Life Itself.

Roger and Chaz Ebert did a TED Talk in 2011 about the computerized version of Roger's voice, reconstructed out of audio from his TV appearances and other recordings.

In Drive-Thru: Ebert on Food.

On Twitter:

More remembrances from Twitter at Chicagoist, WBEZ and Slate rounds up tweets from directors and actors.

Roger Moore shares a tale of getting Ebert to come to the premiere of Roger & Me at Sundance. And here's Time Out's profile of Roger and Chaz from 2008. Shia Kapos talks about what his loss means to Chicago in Crain's.

The Onion: Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As 'A Triumph'

More obituaries and remembrances: Gene Seymour on CNN; The New York Times; the New Yorker; Kenneth Turan at the LA Times; Jim DeRogatis at WBEZ; Maureen Ryan at Huffington Post; Michael Phillips and Mark Caro in the Tribune; Randy Masters, Ebert's one-time sparring partner on Intelligent Design; Roger Simon at Politico; Scott Tobias and othersat AV Club; Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago; Ben Sachs at the Reader; Scott Smith;

Monica Eng tells about her unique relationship with Ebert.

Photo by Mike McHugh

Ebert Takes a "Leave of Presence"

Film critic Roger Ebert is taking a step back from his day job reviewing and blogging for the Sun-Times and syndication, and revealed that his recent hip fracture is a recurrence of cancer. He plans to continue writing, though, both for the Sun-Times and on his own, which will relaunch with a new design April 9.

Chicago Critics Launch Film Fest

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced the first-ever Chicago Critics Film Festival, which will run April 12-14. Steve Prokopy shares more details on Ain't It Cool.

Fear & Loathing in Miami Beach

The Awl's Stuart Ross convinced his girlfriend to see Spring Breakers with him up in Evanston. It didn't go well.

Psycho Behind the Scenes

The Siskel Film Center is showing Hitchcock, the 2012 film about the filming of Psycho, and Psycho itself this weekend, and it's offering a double-feature discount for those who want to see both.

Back After These Messages

Upcoming film And Now a Word from Our Sponsor is set at least partially in an advertising firm in Chicago. It premieres May 10.

Where Were You In '63?

As part of their research for an upcoming film about the 1963 Chicago Public School boycott, Kartemquin Films has launched a new website to gather information about the people involved in the protests. If you were in the protests, or know people who were involved, have a look at Kartemquin's collection of photos to see if you can put names to the faces.

Back to Destroy the Rest of the City

The fourth installment of the Transformers saga will begin filming in Chicago as soon as next month, ReelChicago reports. That could be a little overly optimistic, the Chicago Film Office says.

The World According to Nick

Nick Offerman will be appearing at the Music Box next Saturday, March 9, for twoa special screenings of Somebody Up There Likes Me. Tickets are on sale now.

Caution: Scientists At Work

A local documentary film house, 137 Films, followed some FermiLab scientists around for a day in a new doc called Science at Work. (No need to head to the box office, either, as you can watch the film on You Tube.)

Fomenting Filmmaking

The Chicago Film Institute, a new conservatory dedicated to "educating, inspiring and championing the Chicago film and new media community," announced its launch today in the Cíbola incubator space in Pilsen.

The Grid: The Area

"The Area," the newest installment of our documentary film series, features Englewood residents who are struggling to maintain friendships and traditions while a freight yard is expanding into their neighborhood.

Last Thursday, Mayor Emanuel proposed that City Council approve the sale of 105 city owned properties to the company, Norfolk Southern, [pdf] for an average of just under $10,500 a parcel. While the press release trumpeted the creation of 300 jobs, it did not mention the remaining or displaced residents.

Vivian Maier on Film

The first trailer for Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary coproduced by John Maloof, one of the people who discovered Maier's work at an auction in 2007, was just released.

70mm of Fun at the Music Box

As previously mentioned in A/C, the Music Box Theatre's 70mm Festival kicks off tonight with some rare, high-quality films including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Vertigo, and West Side Story, to name a few. One 70mm print, for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, has had an interesting wrinkle, however.

The only 70mm print of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in left in circulation hasn't aged well at all (it's a tad pink) and, rather than show a Blu-Ray version at the fest, the Music Box has decided to show the pinkish print, at a reduced price ($3/ticket, with credits to those who bought in advance). Other festival tickets are $9.25/film or $70 for a festival pass.


Outguess Ebert 2013

It's Oscar season, and if you can out-pick him for who will take home the awards, Ebert's offering a trip to the premiere of Iron Man 3. A tall order -- he's pretty sure he's got them all right.

How the City Once Was

Chicago is The City to See in '63. A recent preservation project from the Chicago Film Archives. [via]

Capturing the Sound

Sound City, Dave Grohl's new documentary about the legendary LA recording studio by the same name, screens at the Patio Theater this weekend, Feb. 8-10. Tickets are available here.

Film Fest on Your Couch

Twitter has made watching movies at home more fun -- you can live tweet and watch with friends remotely. That's the idea behind the F This Movie film festival. This Saturday, Feb. 2, follow @fthismovie and start watching The Last Boy Scout at noon, then onward through the lineup.

Tour the Grand Old Palaces

Roger Ebert and photographer Eric Hubalow take you to some of the city's beautiful but mostly abandoned old movie theaters in Chicago magazine.

Movies Moving In

Suddenly movie theaters are the thing again. On the heels of the reopening of the Harper Theater, California chain ArcLight Cinemas announced plans to open a theater in the oft-delayed New City development near North and Clybourn in 2014.

Let's All Go to the Movies

When the restored the Harper Theater, opens tomorrow night at 53rd and Harper in Hyde Park, it will be one of only two first-run mainstream movie theaters in Chicago south of Roosevelt Road -- the other being the Ford City 14.

A Tour of Uptown's Darker Days

Take a video tour of 1970s abandoned buildings in Uptown and Edgewater and then stick around for the political discussion of redlining from Media Burn's archive.

"The Last Vestiges of Free Dreams"

Shatterglass Studios just released online a glowing short film about Ebertfest, Roger Ebert's annual film festival.

Watch a Vivian Maier Special Online

If you're a Vivian Meier fan, you may want to watch the half-hour special about her by WTTW's Jay's Chicago.

The Grid: Shine On

The newest installment of our documentary film series The Grid features Rev. Henry Isaac, journeyman window washer and preacher to two Chicago congregations.

See it in 70mm

The Music Box has released the schedule and opened ticket sales for their 70mm festival running Feb 15-28. Films include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Playtime, Vertigo, Hamlet and several others.

Talk About Oscar Noms

Need lunch plans? The Gene Siskel Film Center hosts a free a panel discussion of the 85th annual Academy Awards nominations today at noon. The panel will feature ABC-7's Janet Davies, WBEZ's Alison Cuddy, the Trib's Michael Phillips, Time Out's Ben Kenisberg and GB's own Steve Prokopy. Betsy Steinber of the managing director at the Illinois Film Office moderates.

Documentary Films & Comics Journalism

Vice talks with the filmmakers behind Scrappers -- who also produce GB's The Grid documentary series. Meanwhile, The Illustrated Press, who've also worked with GB, get attention from The Rumpus.

Ebert's Best of 2012

Because for every 10,000 internet opinions, there's one worth listening to.

Chicago Critics' Picks Announced

Zero Dark Thirty won five of the The Chicago Film Critics' annual awards, including Best Picture. Full list of winners here.

Shot on Location

Movie Mimic revisits locations from films, including a couple here in Chicago and north suburban Shermer. [via]

How the Mission from God Began

Vanity Fair has the engrossing story of how The Blues Brothers came to be.

"Assuming Harry doesn't lose the hand completely, he will almost certainly have other serious complications."

A doctor weighs in on the injuries that would have been suffered by the burglars who square off with Macaulay Culkin's character in the Winnetka-based holiday romp Home Alone.

Ghosts, Gouls & Goblins named the poster for The American Scream, designed by Johnny Sampson, the best film poster of 2012.

Our Film Critics Weigh In

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced its nominations for 2012. The Master leads with 10 nominations, and Beasts of the Southern Wild follows with nine.

The Patio Wants Your Indie Film

After a beautiful restoration and a successful campaign to upgrade to digital, the Patio Theatre is now positioning itself as a venue for independent film premieres and film festivals.

Powers of Ten: Behind the Zoom

Powers of Ten, the 1977 film that uses Chicago as a marker to demonstrate the scale of the universe (previously discussed on GB), is discussed on Slate in interesting detail. Among the questions answered: WHY was Chicago picked for the center of the film?

GB Gift Guide: Scrappers Documentary Film

Scrappers, the Chicago-based documentary about scrap metal collectors, was released today for digital download via iTunes and Amazon. The film was one of Roger Ebert's top documentaries of 2010 and was co-directed by the folks behind our short film series, The Grid.

Your Manuscript is Returned

Chicago's Essanay Studios, once home to Charlie Chaplin, used a form letter to reject film scripts.

essenay studios rejection letter

"Bodyrolling for Your Life"

A first-person account of this past weekend's Trapped in the Closet singalong at the Music Box. Also, if you were at the Music Box, were you That Guy guy?

Christmas is Terrible

Found video artist collective Everything is Terrible! is touring the county with a Holiday Special, culminating with a show at Lincoln Hall Dec. 21. They describe it as "a millennium's worth of VHS memories of misplaced sentimentalities, fist fights over toys for tots, erotic Santas, Nazi elves, and an endless parade of singing kids." Why would you not go?

Diversifying Documentaries

Kartemquin Films and Community Film Workshop Chicago launch Diverse Voices in Docs, "a professional development and mentorship program for emerging documentary filmmakers of color," with an event this Thursday.

"It's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks."

If you're into slot cars and The Blues Brothers, you might be interested in this 1974 Dodge Monaco kit.

What To Do On A Date

On MetaFilter yesterday, a kind soul posted a long list of descriptions of and links to instructional films made by Coronet, a once mighty film-producing studio in Glenview.

Filipino American Film in Chicago

The Chicago Filipino American Film Festival opens tonight at the Portage Theater, and will be screening films all weekend.

Trapped in the Music Box

R.Kelly fans, take note: The Music Box is hosting a midnight sing-a-long Trapped in the Closet on Nov. 16 and 17. Get your tickets ASAP.

The Beautiful City

Eric Hines created his short timelapse film, Cityscape Chicago, out of more than 30,000 still photographs shot between July and October 2012.

Cityscape Chicago from Eric Hines on Vimeo.


A documentary about a neighborhood hero, a no-spill cup designed by a teenager, and an amazing-looking video game are just some of the projects on the Gapers Block Kickstarter page right now. And over on Indiegogo, you might be interested in this comic book about bands or this touchscreen watch with a nonprofit mission.

Ada for the Arts

Ada Street and Facets are teaming up to present Chicago-based documentaries alongside a five-course dinner and drinks. There are two evenings to choose from -- Documentary Shorts by Tom Palazzolo on Nov. 5, and Maxwell Street Blues on Nov. 12.

It's a Birdastrophe

The famously bad indie film Birdemic gets a wide release tonight, but not as the filmmaker intended. The folks at Rifftrax (MST3K veterans) are doing a live simulcast mocking the movie.

Regal City North 14, 2600 N. Western Ave., Regal Webster Place 11, 1471 W. Webster Ave.; Showplace ICON, 150 W. Roosevelt Rd.; and Century 12/CinéArts, 1715 Maple Ave. in Evanston are hosting screenings. Prices vary; the screening is at 7pm at all locations.

Save the Date for Save the Date

Save the Date, co-written by Chicago(land)-based cartoonist Jefrey Brown and featuring his cartoons "drawn" by star Lizzy Caplan, Opens Dec. 14.

Where the Cloud Atlases are Made

The Sun-Times takes you inside the Wachowski siblings' studio near Andersonville.

A Closer Look at Ryan's Hometown

If last night's debate got you thinking about VP hopeful Paul Ryan, you should make a plan to see As Goes Janesville, which profiles how his hometown struggled with the 2008 closing of a General Motors factory that employed most of the town for almost 100 years. The documentary will be screened tomorrow afternoon as part of the Chicago International Film Fest.

Lighting Up the Silver Screen

The Chicago International Film Festival kicks off tonight with the world premiere of Stand Up Guys. It's sold out, but tickets are still available for most other screenings -- or try to get into the free surprise film on Monday.

2012 Chicago International Film Festival Trailer from Cinema Chicago on Vimeo.

See About Cherry

Chicago native Stephen Elliott (author of the The Adderall Diaries and founder of The Rumpus) will be at the Music Box this Friday for the premiere of his first film, About Cherry. There will be a book signing in the lobby at 8:30pm and the movie starts at 9:20pm with a Q&A afterward.

Miami at Midnight

Everything is Terrible presents Miami Connection, a 1987 martial artsploitation masterpiece, as the Music Box's midnight movie tonight and tomorrow. Your powers are useless against the ninja!


Facets Cinematheque is bringing another session of Facets Night School to their screening room for the next few Saturdays (and a couple Fridays). This 12th session of the cult film screening series is a collection of 1970s and 1980s home video horrors, from Seytan (aka "Turkish Exorcist") to Slumber Party Massacre. Full details and advance tickets available at the Facets website.

Zooming Way Out

The Powers of Ten was a film made in 1968 to illustrate the scale of the universe in orders of magnitude, from 10-18 to 1026 -- starting at zero from a couple picnicking in what is now Chicago's Museum Campus. (Previously.)

Get a Taste of Bollywood

The Chicago South Asian Film Festival kicks off tonight with the US premiere of Heroine, with one of its stars, Lillete Dubey, in attendance for a Q&A. The festival continues through Sunday.

Heroine - Trailer from CSAFF on Vimeo.

The Decline of the Southeast Side

Exit Zero is a book, documentary and website examining the aftermath of the decline of Chicago's heavy industry.

Wisecracks at the Movies

Splitsider thinks Siskel and Ebert were film criticism's most underrated comedy duo ever.

The Evolution of American Nuns

WBEZ and the Reader look into the Chicago-made movie Band of Sisters, which explores the changing experience of American nuns over the last 50 years. Tonight's premiere at the Siskel is sold out, but tickets for the rest of the weekend are available.

Fall in Film

The Chicago Film Archives have scheduled quite a bit this month and next -- a slew of shorts about Chicago, an avant-garde series, and the 10th anniversary of Home Movie Day.

Ride Along with a Hack

Filmmaker John McNaughton's "video portrait" of Dmitry Samarov during his last days of driving a cab is now online.

Video Upgrade

The Reader talks to Brandon Doherty, the projectionist at the Siskel Center, about switching theater equipment from celluloid to digital -- pros, cons, and why you should keep your VHS player.

The Congress Buys the Portage

Eddie Carranza, owner of the Congress Theater, has purchased the Portage Theater. I a message posted on Everyblock, Carranza said there are no immediate plans to bring concerts to the Portage, but might actually bring film programming to the Congress. Stay tuned for new developments.

Further Interruptions

In "Chicago Interrupted," Vice magazine followed two members of CeaseFire, Tio Hardiman and Ameena Matthews, as they went about the daily business of keeping fights from escalating into more serious violence. The first part of the video series was posted yesterday. [via]

Stay tuned for more in the series.

Gapers Block has covered CeaseFire a number of times over the years, profiling Tio Hardiman back in 2008 and more recently digging into criticism of the organization's tactics as it rose to prominence with the release of the documentary The Interrupters.

This Life on Screen

Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams, has optioned Roger Ebert's memoir, Life Itself to make a documentary, with Martin Scorsese as executive producer.

Win Tickets to Samsara this Friday

Samsara is a unique documentary, shot on 70mm film over a period of five years in 25 countries, that takes you to sacred sites, disaster zones, industrial complexes and natural wonders of the world to show the connections between nature and man's experience. It opens Friday, Sept. 7 at Landmark Century Center, and we have two pairs of tickets to give away.

To enter, send an email to with your name and phone number and "Samsara" as the subject line. We'll choose two winners at noon on Thursday. Good luck! UPDATE: We have our winners! Congratulations to Amber R. and Rosie D.!

Sleepwalkers Among Us

Today's showing of the Ira Glass and Mike Birbiglia-penned film Sleepwalk with Me had an interesting revelation; an audience member shared her tale of falling out of a window while sleepwalking. Glass was so moved by her story that he encouraged her to see a doctor, and gave her $300 of his own money towards the cost.

"Baby you tryin' to recruit me?"

Kartemquin Films' archivist shares some pickup lines recorded during the filming of Hoop Dreams.

Role Reversal

Kristen Studard and Joe Avella practice interviewing for an HR position in a new video. (Reminds me of a recent XKCD comic.)

Introducing Cone Sleeping

Funny filmmaker Steve Delahoyde says, "I made it eight full days before using my infant son as a prop in a stupid short film."

The Grid: LAMPO

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid explores the experimental music and intermedia events of LAMPO.

It Seems You Have Forgotten Our Little Deal

Tickets went on sale today for Lebowski Fest Chicago Nov. 9-10. (Get limbered up with Lebowski burlesque tonight.)

The Master Screens in 70mm Tonight

The Music Box Theatre is screening a 70mm print of Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master tonight at 10pm as a benefit for the Film Foundation, thanks to a post by Time Out's Ben Kenigsberg. Tickets were just $10, but they sold out in less than 20 minutes. Try your luck outside the theater.

Stuck in a Cab

Eric Martin, a Columbia College film student and a cab driver, is working on a documentary, Cab Slaves, about the exploitation and corruption he sees in the city's taxi industry. He's raising money on IndieGoGo to help fund it.

41.85° N to 51° S

Chicago filmmakers Jamie Gallant and Vern Cummins are working on 51° South, a documentary series about the Falkland Islands.

51º South: A Prologue from 51° South on Vimeo.

Violence at the Movies

Facets Cinematheque hosts a discussion this evening on the subject of violence and the movies, a discussion motivated by the recent tragic shootings in Colorado. Full details and an RSVP link available here.

"Hi, I'm Lana."

And with that, director Lana Wachowski, formerly Larry, made her public debut in a video promoting the upcoming film Cloud Atlas, which she made with her brother Andy and German director Tom Tykwer.

The Wachowskis, who grew up in Beverly, built Kinowerks, a film pre- and post-production studio in Ravenswood, in 2008.

Here's the "really long trailer" they mention in the video:

Ask Steve James Anything

The Interrupters and Hoop Dreams director Steve James and author Raj Patel are currently answering questions on Reddit.

Motion Picture Soundtrack

The second annual Music Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Music Box.

The Portage Theater is Saved

The Chicago Tabernacle church has withdrawn its attempt to rezone the Portage Theater for religious use. Read more about the theater's rich history -- and maybe go see Sherlock Holmes (the 1922 edition) there tonight.

Kickstart "4 of a Kind"

Chicago screenwriter Jack Marchetti would like to make his film 4 of a Kind (which is currently featured on our curated page of Kickstarter projects) before losing his sight to cone rod dystrophy.

The Fever Breaks

You have one last chance to see Fever Year, the film by Xan Aranda about Andrew Bird. It's screening Aug. 1 at the Music Box as part of the Summer Music Film Festival.

Sunrise to Sunset

J. Harley created a gorgeous timelapse video of the city.

Love Letter to Chicago from j. harley on Vimeo.

Talk About Film Tonight

Our film critic, Steve Prokopy, will lead a discussion of the film Kiki's Delivery Service tonight at the Gene Siskel Film Center, as part of the Hayao Miyazaki retrospective. (If you're looking for something more current, Steve reviewed Magic Mike, Ted, People Like Us, To Rome with Love and more this week.)

The City of Kites via Chicago

The BBC features the new Indian film Patang, which was directed by Chicagoan Prashant Bhargava. It is currently screening in Chicago.

Kung Fu Girls On The Rampage...!

This weekend Facets Cinematheque kicks off another session of Facets Night School, their series of midnight cult film screenings and discussions about the films' themes. For the kickoff screening, you get the Filipino action film Wonder Women. Facets has posted an interview with the film's presenter, Lew Ojeda, who makes the case for 1970s Filipino exploitation films.

LCD Soundsystem Shows Added

With demand for the documentary's tickets rivaling that of the concert it follows, the Music Box is now running three showings of the one-night-only LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

3 Stars for Cop and a Half!?

Roger Ebert's Worst Reviews, a weblog with some strong opinions of its own. [via]

Losing Ground, Disc by Disc

Ebert discusses the implications of the Hollywood Reporter's prediction that in 2012, revenue from streaming films will surpass that of DVD sales.

Happy Centennial, Universal

As if the Studio Ghibli festival wasn't enough, today, tickets go on sale for part one of the Siskel Film Center's Universal Pictures: Celebrating 100 Years. Featured screenings: The Birds, Jaws, Dracula and five more. Part two is slated for December.

Shermer Then & Now

Brian Orndorf took a tour of locations from several John Hughes movies, including The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Uncle Buck and Sixteen Candles. [via]

Watch Radio About Film

Filmspotting is recording its 400th episode live tonight at Lincoln Hall.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and a House

So you don't have the money for John Hughes' house, but maybe you can purchase Steve Martin's house from Planes, Trains and Automobiles ... for $1.8 million.

Watching the Bailout

The new documentary Bailout makes its Chicago debut at the Music Box tonight. The cross-country exploration of the US financial crisis features several Chicagoans on cast and crew -- many of whom met as drinking buddies at the Old Town Ale House

Movies in the Parks

The Chicago Park District has announced the 2012 Movies in the Parks lineup, and it's a sizable offering -- 176 films across 128 parks.

2012 Chicago Park District "Movies in the Parks" Schedule

Dark Knight Chalkmarks

There's a viral campaign for Dark Night Rises going on nationwide; take a picture of Batman graffiti at spots around the city and you'll get a special trailer -- the one that was just released yesterday. [via]

Here are the addresses:
batman dark knight Chicago addresses

The Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
The Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph St.
The Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Ave.
The Tribune Building, 435 N. Michigan Ave.
City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
Union Station, 225 S. Canal St.
General Parking, 29 N. Lower Wacker Dr.
The Sears Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr.
Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St.
Belmont CTA Station, 949 W. Belmont Ave.

Streaming Seventies R&B

Stony Island, a 1978 film that's seen a revival recently, is now streaming on Hulu. [via]

Ebert's Choice

After failing to Outguess Ebert, The Music Box agreed to let Roger screen the film of his choice. He's picked the 1994 cult classic Red Rock West, which will show at 7:40pm on May 1, with tickets at just $3.

The Best Damned Film List of Them All

After going over potential picks a few weeks back, Ebert today released his once-a-decade 10 Greatest Films of All Time list for Sight & Sound magazine.

Hollywood at Home

Silent Beauties has posted a 1909 short, "Mr. Flip" filmed at Chicago's Argyle-based Essanay Studios. Of note: it's the first known film to use the pie-in-the-face gag. [via]

Ebert on PR; EbertFest this Week

Roger Ebert talks showbiz and public relations with PR Daily. In other news, EbertFest is this week down in Champaign; if you can't go, you can watch this year's selections online.

The History of the Portage Theater

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks is considering landmark status for the Portage Theater, which a controversial church wants to convert into a house of worship. In A/C, Dan Kelly delves deep into the theater's history and its role as a cinema and community center.

Steve's at the Movies

In Steve Prokopy's latest column, he takes a contrary stance on the documentary Bully, and previews the new horror film festival Chicago Fear Fest, which starts tonight.

Tonight at CIMMfest

CIMMfest has kicked off its fourth season, and tickets are flying off of the (internet) shelf. If you are planning on going to any of tonight's events, but don't have tickets yet, get them now!

Screening Tonight: Miss Representation

The Latin School hosts a screening of Miss Representation, a documentary about "how the media's misrepresentations of women have led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence," tonight at 6:30pm.

The screening takes place in the Wrigley Theatre at the Latin School's Upper School, 59 W. North Ave. It's free and open to the public, but space is limited. Contact, if you would like to attend. There are a couple more screenings coming up in the area, but they're all in the suburbs.

The City in Stop Motion

Chris Pritchard captures Chicago in different times of year and various times of day in his new stop motion short, Places in Time: Chicago.

The Other Summer Lineup

The Northwest Chicago Film Society has announced its April 25 - August 29 schedule, including films by Hitchcock, Ozu, Lumet, Kazan and many more. Admission is $5 at the Portage Theater, every Wednesday at 7:30pm. [via]

Hollywood Before Hollywood

The Tribune looks at Chicago's brief film boom of the early 20th century -- back when Charlie Chaplin called Essanay Studios on Argyle home, and before he decided Chicago was "too damn cold." Yeah, well.

Documenting "Mr. White Sox"

A documentary about White Sox legend Minnie Minoso is looking for funding on Kickstarter beginning today; the Reader's Ted Cox has more background. (See more local projects on our Kickstarter page.)

Bulletproof McBain

Everything is Terrible! presents one of the worst action films ever made, Bulletproof starring Gary Busey, tonight at midnight at the Music Box. Be there, butt-horn!

A City Rises from the Mist

Craig Shimala watched the fog roll in last Sunday from an excellent vantage point: the Hancock Observatory. [via]

Oh Hai, Audience

Didn't get tickets to this weekend's sold-out screenings of The Room with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero? There's a Sunday night show at 10:00 that's been added for one more chance to toss the football around, sing "You Are My Rose" and laugh at inappropriate moments. Hurry up and get your tickets!

Ebertfest 2012

For movie buffs interested in making the trip downstate, the films and guests of Ebertfest 2012 have been announced.

Reflecting on Chicago

Preston Kanak makes 3-Minute Shorts. His latest, Projecting Reflections, is a love letter to Chicago. [via]

Logan Theatre Lights Up

The Logan Theatre will hold a soft opening this Saturday, March 17, with admission, popcorn and soft drinks for just $1 apiece. Fight the crowds to catch screenings of The Wizard of Oz, Enter The Dragon, The Goonies and The Blues Brothers.

Birds, Guests and Free Admission

As part of their Road to Hollywood film festival, Turner Classic Movies (along with guests Ben Mankiewicz and Tippi Hedren) is bringing Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic The Birds to the Music Box on March 27 at 7:30pm. Also: it's free.

What if Scrooge Were Gay?

That's the question posed in Scrooge & Marley, an independent film re-imagining the classic Christmas Carol story. The creators are raising money via IndieGoGo.

Save the Portage Theater

The Chicago Tabernacle is trying to buy the Portage Theater and turn it into a church. Film fans have mounted a "Save the Portage" campaign.

Reel Film

The Chicago Film Archive is liquidating multiples of many of their 16mm prints to make room for new collections. The sale runs today (1pm to 5pm) and tomorrow (11am to 1pm) but you're free to call ahead and reserve a Disney short or the entire series of "Roots."

Dodgeball is a Bloody Business

Red Balls is a new indie film chronicling the (fictional) Chicago Underground Dodgeball League. It's premiering on March 24 and 30 at Stage 773.

Hungry Chicago Stalkers

Apparently, actor Josh Hutcherson, who will play "Peeta" in the upcoming Hunger Games movie, has two stalkers from the Chicago area. His Christmas dinner with his family in Kentucky was more interesting this year than he anticipated.

A Movie about Bootleg Booze

Gapers Block is premiering a documentary about Templeton Rye (both the one at the liquor store and the stuff Al Capone smuggled up to Chicago during Prohibition) at Mayne Stage on March 22. Details in Drive-Thru.

Share this event with your friends on Facebook!

Wait, We Have a Castle?

Chicago's Only Castle is a documentary about the Givins' Irish Castle, now home to the Beverly Unitarian Church. It's screening at the History Museum this Sunday.

Chicago TV Industry Gearing up for Full Spring Season

This past winter for Chicago TV was quiet but production for Boss (Starz) returns to Chicago with Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer to shoot is second season, and MTV Unemployed, a new comedy series about five twentysomethings, will be filming its first season here. Two new pilots to watch out for are Chicago Fire, directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, an action packed drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department, and the Untitled Josh Berman Medical Drama aka Dirty Medicine (Fox), directed by Michael Dinner, a drama about a young female surgeon who becomes indebted to the South Chicago mafia.

That's the Spirit

Having been surprisingly left out of tonight's Oscar contention for Best Documentary, the filmmakers of The Interrupters took home the honor yesterday at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Facets Night School Returns

This weekend Facets is kicking off the latest in their series of late night film screenings accompanied by lectures & discussions of the films. The 10th edition of Facets Night School begins Saturday night with the Idi Amin biopic Amin: The Rise and Fall, and runs through April with titles ranging from the documentary The King of Kong to The Monkee's Head. Full schedule at Facets.

The Music Box to "Outguess Ebert"

The Music Box Theatre publicly accepted Roger Ebert's annual Oscar challenge last week. If they lose - Ebert gets to screen whatever he wants at the Theatre. Fans are encouraged to participate here.

The Grid: The Mediated Plant

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid examines how The Plant -- Chicago's vertical farm and food business incubator -- has been represented in the media.

Own a Drivable Piece of Film History

The Volo Auto Museum is selling one of the four Porsche 928s from the early 1980s film Risky Business. Don't forget your skivvies and sunglasses...

The Interrupters on PBS Tonight

If you missed the highly acclaimed Kartemquin documentary The Interrupters when it played theaters last year, you're in luck; the documentary screens on PBS' Frontline tonight, followed by a special episode of Chicago Tonight at 10pm on WTTW. And if you prefer your films on the big screen, The Interrupters screens at the Music Box next Sunday, with director Steve James in attendance.

Be an Oscar Winner

Roger Ebert's giving all the award-night speculators a chance to make good on their predictions with the Outguess Ebert Contest -- first prize being an all-expenses paid trip to LA for a Hollywood premiere.

The Movie Business

The Reader's Ben Sachs interviews Tom Klein and Jenny Shapiro, two of the managers at The New 400 in Rogers Park. The owners of the New 400 are working to reopen the Harper Theater in Hyde Park later this year.

See Undefeated Free

Want to catch a free movie? The Midwest Independent Film Festival is offering free tickets to Undefeated at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema on Tuesday. Details here.

Graveyard Smash (Also Screening, Discussion)

On Feb 11, Hinge Gallery is hosting a Monster Movie Seminar from 8 to 10 pm. Led by exhibiting artist Aaron Delehanty, the evening will celebrate monster movies through performance, discussion, movie clips, and presentation.

Tweet These Movies

Film podcast F This Movie! is holding the first-ever Twitter film festival this Saturday, Feb. 4. To attend, just get hold of the films in the lineup, follow @fthismovie and start watching and tweeting at noon! [via]

Between Two Worlds

What's it like being a bi-cultural resident of Chicago? Brazilian-American artist Bia Gayotto asks in her latest piece, Somewhere in Between: Chicago, 2011.

Somewhere in Between: Chicago, 2011 from Bia Gayotto on Vimeo.

Name That (Logan Theater) Bar

The soon-to-reopen (hopefully) Logan Theater will be newly outfitted with a bar, and they're asking for name suggestions on Facebook.

A Mission from God Revisited

Herve Attia visits filming locations from movies and shoots them as they are now. Here he's visited locations from The Blues Brothers, as documented by Blues Brothers Central.

As others have noted, Attia left out the scenes shot along Maxwell Street, which would have shown a drastic contrast between then and now. [via]

Miss Representation

Tonight at 5:30, Northwestern is hosting a free screening of the documentary Miss Representation. It premiered at Sundance last year, and looks at how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America

Flashback Footage from The Blizzard of 1979

WGN-TV footage from the city's fourth worst blizzard in history, that brought down nearly 19 inches of snow from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14, 1979.

"This place has got everything"

Demolition permits were issued on Wednesday for everyone's favorite mall chase location, Dixie Square Mall.

Here's footage of the iconic chase being filmed.

Doc 2012

Chicagoist suggests that the winter schedule at the University of Chicago's Doc Films might be one of their best ever. Hard to argue -- it's loaded with Bogart, Leone, Anderson(s), Naruse and a host of others.

"When to take my name off the door"

Brazilian designer Lobo created a short animation of a classic speech by Chicago ad legend Leo Burnett. [via]

Documenting Burr Oak Cemetery

Beyond the Divide is an upcoming documentary examiningthe Burr Oak Cemetery scandal; you can help get it made through an IndieGoGo campaign.

See The World's Fair in Technicolor

Whet Moser dug up some amazing color footage of the 1934 Century of Progress.

A Beatle on the Big Screen

Paul McCartney fans can catch an intimate glimpse of the icon, on-screen at the Gene Siskel Film Center, in the 8pm premier of The Love We Make. Read Steve Prokopy's review in A/C.

Title First, Idea Later

Rogue Lumen produces FilmWave, a series of shorts based on titles submitted by on their website. The latest is "Comic Sans is for babies."

B-Fest Tickets On Sale

Good news, B movie fans! B-Fest 2012, the 24-hour B movie film festival put on by Northwestern University, happens in less than four weeks, and tickets are going on sale this morning. See the B-Fest Website for full details and a link to purchase your tickets.

See here and here for previous coverage of B-Fest on Gapers Block.

What Belongs in your Netflix Queue

Steve at the Movies sums up 2011 in film in his annual best and worst column over in A/C.

Blockbusters Alone Can't Save Hollywood

Roger Ebert lists the many reasons why movie revenues are falling.

A Tribute to Bernie

In A/C, LaShawn Williams interviews Robert Small, the director of the upcoming Comedy Central documentary I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac.

The Critics' Picks

The Chicago Film Critics Association released its list of 2011 CFCA Award nominees yesterday

Ebert's Best of 2011

The critic's annual, if reluctant, top 10 list, clocking in at 20 films. With a few familiar titles (Drive, Hugo, Shame), a good chunk of the list won't be familiar to most (or at least he hopes).

Brazil "AND" Romancing the Stone

Can't decide which is your favorite film of all time? Show your appreciation for both your favorites with Two Film T-Shirts.

Two Film T-Shirts! from Blewt! Productions on Vimeo.

Opera on Screen

The Reader considers the Siskel Center's current opera series- how the two arts interact and whether a film presentation can do the live experience justice. Series schedule here.

Warhol's Empire Screening On Skyline

The skyline gets a taste of the Big Apple this Friday, as the Art Institute of Chicago will be screening Andy Warhol's 1964 film Empire on the side of the Aon Center. The black-and-white piece consists of an eight-hour shot of the Empire State Building.

Film for Life

Stock up on all the foreign, independent, rare, and out-of-print films you can carry at Facets Cinémathèque's holiday warehouse sale this weekend. When your nephew asked for Skyrim for Christmas, what he really meant was the Marx Brothers' 1946 film Night in Casablanca, right? Right.

Midwest (Film) is Best

The Midwest Independent Film Festival's Best of the Midwest Awards are Tuesday night. Nominees include FoGB Steve Delahoyde, Big Dog Eat Child and many more.

Protecting Films by Ripping Them

Kartemquin Films argues for an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for documentary filmmakers, stating that films like The Interrupters couldn't be made without one.

Kick It South Side

A documentary about the South Side is just one of the many Chicago-based projects we've curated on the GB Kickstarter page -- but it's one that's just shy of its goal with only a couple days left.

That's a lot of Tucci

Congratulations to Northwestern student Lawrence Dai, whose mission to watch Julie & Julia everyday for a year (and blog about it at The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project), ended last night with a viewing party in Denver attended by his fan club and Amy Adams's mom.

B Seeing You at B-Fest

B-Fest, the 24-hour B movie marathon held at Northwestern every year, has announced its dates -- Jan. 27-28 -- and released an animated trailer by Mitch O'Connell.

We've written about the B-Fest experience a couple of times. Stay tuned for ticket and lineup details.

Looping Video

Michael Salisbury takes a ride around the Loop.

The Loop from Michael Salisbury on Vimeo.

90 Seconds of Wonder

Author James Kennedy brings his 90-Second Newberry Film Festival to Chicago tonight at the Harold Washington Library. Go watch Newberry Award-winning books transformed -- by kids -- into 90-second films.

Documentarians Want to Listen to You

The folks at Kartemquin FIims are redesigning their website and would like your feedback.

The Von Trapps are Back

Tickets for the Sing-A-Long Sound of Music at the Music Box Thanksgiving weekend are now on sale. Get'em before they sell out.

Go See This!

Answer This!, a new comedy about college and pub trivia, is screening at Doc Films this Friday with the writers, director and one of the stars, former University of Michigan professor Ralph Williams, in attendance. Get your tickets here.

So Long, Celluloid

Ebert on rise of digital and the fall of film.

The Hustwit Trilogy

Miss the Chicago premier of Urbanized last month? It starts a week's run at the Siskel Center tonight -- along with director Gary Hustwit's other two documentaries, Helvetica and Objectified. And if you buy a ticket to one, you can get tickets to the other two at a discount. (Read Steve at the Movies' review here.)

Reeling Film Festival Turns 30

Reeling, The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, kicks off its 30th anniversary run tonight. Still time to buy tickets! (It continues through the 12th.)

Black Pilots in a White Sky

There's a screening of Double Victory, a documentary about the Tuskeegee Airmen, tonight at 7pm at the DuSable Museum, with a panel discussion afterward featuring two Airmen. The screening is sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists Chicago and is free; RSVP here.

A Date with Joe May

If you missed The Last Rites of Joe May at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Midwest Independent Film Festival has got your back. There's a screening tonight at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, and tickets are still available.

Ebert on Kael

In anticipation of both a new biography and an anthology of writings, Roger Ebert reflects on his relationship with Pauline Kael, as well as her contributions to film criticism.

See Young Adult Early

The Music Box announced a free secret screening yesterday, claiming they couldn't share any details at all. However, Patton Oswalt basically spilled the beans: it's his new film Young Adult, co-starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson, which doesn't open until Dec. 16. And if Oswalt's in town, you can be sure our own Steve at the Movies will be involved somehow.

"Only" 700 people will be allowed into the theater, on a first-come, first served basis -- and it appears it's already sold out. As a corollary, if you're not going to the show, you might want to avoid Southport Saturday night at around 7pm.

Meet Move-Tastic!

The fifth installment of our short film series, The Grid, sprints through the city with "Chicago's premiere athletic moving force," Move-Tastic!

Common Can Make Your Dream Come True

Rapper Common is giving one lucky filmmaker a chance to be featured on his website--by submitting an original video inspired by his latest song, "Ghetto Dreams." The submission deadline is Nov. 7; for guidelines, click here.

Chicago in Film: 5 Star Day

Via the Ebert Club, a trailer for 5 Star Day, a romantic flick set partly (mostly?) in Chicago. It opens Nov. 4.

Now Urbanized

There are still tickets available (as of this posting) for the Chicago premier of Urbanized, the latest documentary from Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified), Sunday at the Music Box. Coudal Partners just sweetened the deal by offering a special edition Field Notes notebook to every attendee.

Live Long & Prosper, Spock

This past weekend, Leonard Nemoy attended his final Star Trek convention (though not necessarily his final appearance as Spock) here in Chicago.

Focusing the Film Fest

"The focus of the festival has always been to bring the best film that we can to Chicago." Steve Prokopy interviews the programming director for the Chicago International Film Festival in A/C.

Facets' Fright/Night School

Facets Cinematheque revs up its Facets Night School series this weekend. For the next five weekends you can see a cult film at midnight on Fridays & Saturdays, paired up with a lecture on the film's themes by a Facets employee, author, or scholar. Tonight's the kickoff film, and it's a special screening: Sisters of No Mercy, a film made by two Night School regular lecturers. See the series trailer here. Full details in Slowdown. See the full schedule at the Facets website.

Fright School 2011 @ FACETS! from The Underground Multiplex on Vimeo.

Pregnant Women Smoking, Brain Surgeons, Anger, Face Makeup & (Lots of) Drugs

A documentary of the last Gathering of the Juggalos (in downstate Cave-in-Rock) is ready for your free viewing.

Great Movies on Your Phone

Roger Ebert now has an iPhone app of his "Great Movies" reviews.

Young Fiction Conspiracy

the winning film in this year's 48 Hour Film Project deals with an unusual obsession. [via]

Hey, When is that Movie Screening?

To the Movie Clock!

Theaters of the Past

Want to see pictures of a few closed, forgotten and (sob) demolished cinemas and theaters?

The Art of the Cut

In the first of his three-part "In the Cut" video series, Sun-Times film critic Jim Emerson meticulously dissects an action sequence from The Dark Knight that takes place on upper and lower Wacker Drive.

He also takes apart an action sequence from Salt and scenes from several classics set in San Francisco.

Pinkerton on Kehr

Dave Kehr, former Reader and Tribune movie critic and University of Chicago alum is interviewed in the Village Voice.

Film Fest Time

The Chicago International Film Festival announced this year's schedule -- including the opening film, The Last Rites of Joe May starring Dennis Farina and set in Chicago. CIFF starts Oct. 6.

Movie Night @ Wrigley Field

While Wrigley Field won't be used for baseball in October, it will be used as a movie theater. The Cubs have decided to open their doors for a movie night Oct. 1, where they will be screening Ferris Bueller's Day Off to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie. Tickets are on sale now through Groupon or the Cubs box office: $10 for bleachers, $25 for lawn seats and $75 for VIP. If watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off at Wrigley isn't enough to get you there, maybe the thousands of people simultaneously singing "Danke Schoen" will lure you.

Sundance Film Festival Stops in Chicago

The Sundance Film Festival will be stopping in Chicago to hold a screening at the Music Box Theater. The Utah-based independent film festival will host its screening on Jan. 26.

The Video Love

Wilco is about to go on tour, and it's asking fans in each tour stop to supply film of their town to project behind the band during the concert. (They're playing here at the Civic Opera House Dec. 12, in case you're wondering how long you have.)

Contagion's Killing It

Financially, that is. The Steven Soderbergh flick, shot in and around Chicago, has brought in more than $12.5 million in revenue for Illinois.

Interrupting for Peace

The Interrupters has gotten a lot of amazing reactions, but one recent event stands out: The UN will screen the film to its delegates as part of the International Day of Peace events.

Kal-El Moves to Town

Man of Steel is reportedly moving production to Chicago from suburban Plano for fourteen days of shooting in the Loop. Be on the lookout for the Big Blue Boy Scout missing his red trunks around South Wells starting Wednesday.

A Killer Car Movie

"Late one night, a mysterious car is brought into the Chicago police impound garage after a deadly traffic accident. The on-call mechanics soon discover the car has a mind of its own." Schlocky horror film Super Hybrid was recently released on DVD. Geeks of Doom has a bunch of clips.

You Ought to be in Pictures

Here is how to be an extra in the many TV and film productions going on right now. (Thanks, Dee!)

Sox as Black as His Soul

"I've loved baseball ever since Arnold Rothstein fixed the World Series in 1919," says Hyman Roth in The Godfather: Part II. Michael Rottman analyzes what that quip about the Black Sox scandal says about the character at The Morning News.

Idea in Movie

Toynbee tiles have been spotted around Chicago since the early Oughts. A new documentary attempts to explain the mystery of these weird messages in the street.

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles will screen at Facets Cinematheque in late September.

Use the Floss, Luke

TheForce.Net reports that Lucasfilm has licensed Chicago-based Sunstar Americas to produce Star Wars themed toothbrushes. This isn't the first time such a product existed -- they go way back.


Moving Fast at MSI

The Museum of Science & Industry is running a Fast Forward video competition in connection with the exhibit by the same name. You've got until Sept. 7 to enter.

Street-Level Phoenix

Street-Level Youth Media returns to Wicker Park after a fire destroyed their community center 3 years ago. The new 5,250-square-foot facility features state-of-the-art A/V labs, sound stage and gallery space. A grand opening benefit reception is slated for September 29th.

See Urbanized with Gary Hustwit

Fans of Gary Hustwit's design documentaries will be excited to know that his newest film, Urbanized, will screen in Chicago on October 9.

Read the First Pages of Roger Ebert's Memoir

To be published Sep 13.

Face to Face via Facebook

Chicagoland resident ArLynn Leiber Presser is trying to meet all of her 325 Facebook friends face to face this year. The catch is, they're scattered around the globe. A local documentary filmmaker is going along for the ride.

Audio Infamy

Shut Up Little Man is a documentary about audio recordings of two drunk roommates in San Francisco that became a cult obsession in the 1990s. The film includes artwork by and interviews with Dan Clowes and Ivan Brunetti, among others.

Unfortunately, it's not playing in Chicago anytime soon, but it'll be available on video on demand Aug. 25.

Urbanity on Film

Urbanized, the latest documentary by Helvetica and Objectified filmmaker Gary Hustwit, is screening at the Music Box on Oct. 9. Tickets will go very fast. [via]

Chicago in Miniature

Gorgeous tilt-shift timelapse video by WGN-TV of the city going about its business.

The Interrupters Speak Up

Alex Kotlowitz talks to the Chicago News Cooperative about his role in the new documentary The Interrupters, which was screened for friends and family at the Chatham I.C.E. theaters this weekend. The film makes its official Chicago debut at the Siskel Center Aug. 12.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Superman Film Crew!

Weather permitting, new Superman film will be shooting many of its "Metropolis" exteriors in Chicago in August.

Fast Filmmakers

Still time to register to participate in the 48-Hour Film Project this weekend. [via]

Revisiting the Blues Brothers

The A.V. Club's Pop Pilgrims series visits the many filming locations of the Blues Brothers movie, and gets the background story on the havoc that the film happily wreaked on the city.

Summer Concert Film Series Starts Tonight

The Music Box Theatre kicks off a summer music film festival this evening with screenings of Martin Scorsese's documentary The Last Waltz, and the Radiohead doc Meeting People Is Easy. The festival runs through this week, and also includes the latest Sound Opinions music film screening, Jonathan Demme's Talking Heads performance film Stop Making Sense. Details in Slowdown, or see the Music Box Website.

A Cross-Stitch from God

Fans of the Blues Brothers have a new summer crafting project.

United States of X: Netflix Edition

Here's a map of the country according to the most popular films in Netflix for each region. We're apparently into historical documentaries.

No Trial Film

The Movie Doc surveys the wreckage of The Trial of the Chicago Seven, a film Steve Spielberg was putting together that was derailed by the actors strike, never to be heard from again. Spielberg went on to do TinTin instead.

City on Screens

Frequent Rearview contributor Noah Vaughn collects images of Chicago in films at Chicago Screenshots.

Cinematic Programming

Chicagoist interviewed Andy Marty Rubin, the Siskel Film Center's associate director of programming, this week: part one, part two.

Royko Knocks One Out

An oldie but a goodie: Royko at the Goat, a short film of Mike Royko telling stories about 16-inch softball. Now with a preface from cinematographer Scott Jacobs.

There's a media league playing today -- head over to Trebes Park on Monday and Thursday nights this month to catch Gapers Block, Chicagoist, RedEye, Time Out, CHIRP, WBEZ, The
Reader, WSJ, WCIU and ChicagoNow battle it out on the dirt diamond. We play at 6 and 7pm.

Harry, Drawn -- Complete!

Lucy Knisley finished her epic Harry Potter "Summharry" poster. (Previously.) It's available in large format for personal use only -- as well as in a single poster version on flickr.

A Three Hour Tour

Three and a half hours, actually, in this timelapse video by Philip Bloom aboard a yacht traveling the coast and the Chicago River. (Thanks, Chris!)

Chicago by boat: A timelapse journey from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Robopocalypse Now

The Tribune appraises the damage done to Chicago real estate in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and includes a handy graphic to show you what got blowed up. [via]

The Chicago Skyline, Transformed

The third installment of the Transformers franchise hits theaters today. Filmed in part in Chicago, catch a glimpse at how these giant robots fair in our city. Find a theater near you, and earn a Foursquare badge if you're into that sort of thing.

An Early Look at Chicago Gang Development

South Side Projections and the South Side Community Art Center are putting on a rare screening of the classic Chicago Vice Lord films The Corner (1962) and Lord Thing (1970) on Thursday. Check out the Cinefile review for attendance encouragement.

Free Film Night

Catch a free screening of Viva Riva! tonight at the Music Box; RSVP here.

Soundtrack Advice

Startup MyZeus promises to give movie recommendations based on your music preferences, and let you share recommendations with friends.

Hey! I Can See My Office Under Robot Attack from Here!

Cinemablend has footage of Michigan Avenue being trashed in Transformers 3, set to a strangely emo soundtrack.

Film Talk

Our own Steve Prokopy will lead a discussion of the documentary Just Like Us with director and comedian Ahmed Ahmed, at the Landmark Century Cinema tonight. Read Steve's review of the film (along with Green Lantern and several others) today in A/C.

Killer Rabbits, Kung Fu Action

A stellar week for fans of cult movies! First off, tonight marks the kick-off for the Neo-Futurists' annual "film fest" series It Came From the Neo-Futurarium, where bad movie scripts are re-enacted live on stage. (The kick-off film: the giant killer rabbit opus Night of the Lepus.) And this weekend, Facets Cinematheque kicks off another Facets Night School series of midnight screenings with the outtasite Black Dynamite. Can you dig it?

Ferris Bueller's Last Day Off

This video seems a bit more likely scenario Mssrs. Bueller and Frye 25 or so years later than that "sequel" script that's been floating around.. [via]

Meanwhile, in The Atlantic, Alan Siegel thinks we should all just get over Ferris.

Another Day Off?

Read the first 12 pages of a supposed Ferris Bueller's Day Off sequel. [via]

The Film that Changed John Waters' Life

Who better to host the The Wizard of Oz than John Waters?

The Film that Changed John Waters' Life

Who better to host the The Wizard of Oz than John Waters?

Super 8, Super Early

Steve at the Movies shares a heads up: If you're not interested in waiting till 12:01am tonight to see Super 8, the Navy Pier IMAX is screening the film today, a day ahead of the official release, as part of a "Twitter preview."

Making a Vow for V-Day 2012

Seems awfully early to be teasing a film due out Valentine's Day next year, but The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, looks to be set in Chicago.

The synopsis reads, "A newlywed couple recovers from a car accident that puts the wife in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, her husband endeavors to win her heart again."

You can already "like" it on Facebook.

The Dark Side of the City

In A/C, Andrew Daglas profiles a team of Flashpoint Academy alumni making an independent film.

Gearing Up

Try Force Productions has recreated the video game Gears of War 3 in real life, and they're now raising funds on Kickstarter for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Newsprint on the Silver Screen

Vince Vaughn flips through an issue of Chicago Journal in The Dilemma. [via]

Alfresco Films Near You

Here are all this summer's Movies in the Park, on a convenient googlemap. The season kicks off June 14. [via]

View 2011 Movies in the Parks in a larger map

You Could Be In Pictures

Always entertaining punk rock marching band Mucca Pazza is calling on fans to be in its upcoming short film "Marching Banned" (previously). Get in on the fun this Sunday from 4-8pm downtown. RSVP info. on Facebook.

The Grid: Community Supported Art at Threewalls

The newest installment of the Grid takes a look at a novel approach Threewalls is using to connect artists and collectors.

The Last Picture Show

Piper's Alley is closing after tonight's screenings.

LEED Gold Certified Destruction

If you've been wondering, as I have, which building gets torn in half toward the end of the Transfomers: Dark of the Moon trailer, it's 155 North Wacker, designed by Goettsch Partners.

Thanks to @mbimotmog, @brianboyer, @ArchiJake and @AndyMarfia for their help!

Make it Big in 72 Hours

There's still time to make early registration for Windie City Shootout, a 72-hour film challenge.

The Patio is Back

The Patio Theater will hold its grand reopening next Friday, June 3; read more about the theater's renovation and see photos in A/C.

Gaylords on Film

And speaking of the Gaylords, the entirety of Great American Youth a 2006 short documentary on the gang by Daniel Wojack, is online on YouTube.

The Skyline Floats

Craig Shimala created "Floating Chicago," collection of mirrored skyline timelapse videos.

Better than the Code (Well, Maybe...)

So "The Chicago Code" is canceled, but filming in Chicago is looking up, including new studio space and a bevy of productions.

In the Air, Over the Hill

Photographer and designer Paul Octavious returned to his favorite hill (previously) to film the Kids & Kites Festival last weekend. (Thanks, Christopher!)

The City at Night

Night views from Chicago's tallest buildings make a striking appearance in Dominic Boudreault's latest time-lapse video.

Timelapse - The City Limits from Dominic on Vimeo.

A Mission to Film Missionary Kids

Over at Denizen, Laura Polk interviews Julie Englander, a journalist and filmmaker working on a documentary about the children of missionaries and their experiences upon returning to their "home" countries. You can help back the film on Kickstarter.

Get Your Mojo Reelin'

A.V. Club Chicago previews an exhibition of hand-painted movie posters from Ghana at the Cultural Center. Several films from the Ghanan-Nigerian "Nollywood" scene will screen in August.

Police on Parade in 1896

Chicago magazine's Whet Moser finds Chicago's earliest appearance on film -- even earlier than Thomas Edison's films.

The City Transformed

The latest trailer for Transfomers 3: Dark of the Moon shows even more of the destruction of Chicago.

Mother's Day on Mother's Day

Our own Steve Prokopy, aka Capone on Ain't It Cool News, will be hosting a free midnight screening of Mother's Day at the Music Box May 7. RSVP here.

Second City Heat

A San Francisco writer details the true story behind the 1995 movie Heat and as it turns out, it's a Chicago story.

Here We Are

Even if you don't go to Ebertfest down in Champaign next weekend, you might want to buy the t-shirt, which features a cartoon of a conversation Roger had with Charles Bukowski on the set of Barfly

Film Reviews, in Short

A love letter to the Reader's master of the film capsule review, Dave Kehr, on MetaFilter. A collection of Kehr's long-form reviews has just been published.


The Music Box passed 10,000 fans on Facebook today, and to celebrate it's offering two special deals: $5 tickets to this Wednesday's double-feature of Death Wish 3 and Freaked, and free tickets to the midnight screening of The Last Dragon this Friday.

Past Lives in Chicago

Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul studied at SAIC, and his latest, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, starts a weeklong run at the Music Box tonight. The Trib talks to Weerasethakul about his time in Chicago, while 848's Allison Cuddy discussed the symbolism of the film with him.

The Grid: Textile Discount Outlet

Today we release the second feature in GB's short film series, The Grid. "Textile Discount Outlet" roams the aisles in the Pilsen fabric destination. As fabric cutter Chris says, "Bring some trail mix and a bottle of water."

President Dracula

Worried about being kicked inside by April showers and got a taste for Illinois-themed horror? Check out The Transient, a film from Kill Vampire Lincoln productions about a homeless detective on a mission to stop the deadly undead (wait for it) Abraham Lincoln, who's on a literally bloodthirsty quest. If you're waiting for the DVD, they also have a Youtube channel featuring their short films.

Evil Bong in 3D!

That title should really be all you need but just in case, how's this for an event: a full day of horror classics on 35mm followed by a live show and Q&As with the filmmakers, culminating in the world premiere of Evil Bong 3D: Wrath of Bong in three dimensions and Sniff-O-Rama? It's all thanks to producer Charles Band and will be emceed by GB's Steve Prokopy at the magnificent Portage Theatre.

Chicago the Beautiful, Annotated

We've linked to the 1948 travelogue Chicago the Beautiful before. Now Max Grinnell annotates it with more info on the sights, and a bit about what's there now.

Chicago in Film, 1897

Some of the earliest motion pictures ever recorded were of Chicago. Thomas Edison shot footage of the corner of Madison and State, Armour's electric trolley and sheep and cattle being driven to slaughter in the Chicago Stockyards in 1897.

Accent on Film

The Chicago Latino Film Festival kicks off tonight with a sold-out tribute to Argentina. Review the full schedule.

Animating Valhalla

In Book Club, James Orbeson interviews producer Ruwan Jayatilleke about Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, an animated miniseries based on the graphic novel by Chicagoan Robert Rodi.

Are You Happy?

That's the question that two nuns asked Chicagoans in the 1968 film Inquiring Nuns, produced by Chicago's own Kartemquin Films. Inquiring Nuns airs on WTTW tonight at 9pm, and other Kartemquin films will be shown later in the year as part of a celebration of the company's 45th anniversary. Details on the Kartemquin site.

Film Eavesdropping

Our own Steve at the Movies' alter ego, Capone on Ain't It Cool News, chatted recently with Source Code director Duncan Jones about, you know, the Bean and stuff.

And Now, Here's Yippie

BoingBoing digs up an odd 1968 film from the Yippie movement that supposedly aired on TV stations as an equal-time counterpoint to propaganda from the National Democratic Convention.

We Are Metropolis

It looks like Superman: Man of Steel will be filmed in Chicago and far west suburban Plano, Crain's reports. No word on whether the real Metropolis will have a cameo.

British Theatre in Chicago

The National Theatre is broadcasting Frankenstein, a new play directed by Danny Boyle, live in HD around the world, and you can catch performances at the Music Box in late April and May.

Ebert Club Subscriptions Rise

The Ebert Club newsletter is still around a year later -- and if you subscribe today, you can still get in at the original $5/year base rate. Tomorrow, March 24, the cost is going $10.

Flatley Falls Flat in 3D

In case you were wondering on this fine St. Patrick's Day, Lord of the Dance 3D isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Uncovering Illinois' Contentious Mining History

WTTW11 features Chicago-based filmmaker Greg Boozell and his 2001 documentary about the closing of the Marissa coal mine, as well as his recent project on mining industry labor relations in Illinois.

Chasing Tornadoes at the MSI

Tornado Alley, the IMAX film shot by Sean Casey of "Storm Chasers" fame, will make its world premiere at the Museum of Science and Industry on Friday. The Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 is even present for the event.

1001 Afternoons with 007

Ben Hecht, who as a Daily News columnist wrote 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, went on to be a prolific Hollywood screenwriter. Turns out he wrote an early script for Casino Royale, and it's been sitting in the Newberry Library.

Watch in Perpetual Beta

Life in Perpetual Beta, a documentary about "the ways in which technology has/is/will change the ways in which we think about ourselves as individuals and a society," is now streaming online, on demand.

From Cobra to Belly Dancer

Sienna Miller has reportedly signed on to play a Chicago housewife who runs off to Vegas with her belly dance instructor to enter a dance competition in an upcoming film. Should be interesting to see if she pulls off the accent.

Make the Oscars a Little Interesting

...with the Predictotron.

Watch Out for Stale Greens

Drivers of a certain age might have seen this goofy '70s instructional film.

Reopening the Patio

Portage Park's Patio Theater will soon reopen after 10 years. In A/C, Gordon McAlpin interviews new manager Demetri Kouvalis about what it's taken to bring the theater back to life, and what to expect when it opens. McAlpin also incorporated the Patio into the current storyline in his webcomic, Multiplex, starting here.

"Dear M. Night Shyamalan..."

Omer Mozaffar writes a letter to a well-known director, encouraging him to do better -- and publishes it in the Sun-Times.

Promoting Knowledge Through Danger

Above the Sun, a new short film by Coudal Partners.

Movies Are Love

See one for free (before February 28) at the Brew & View by filling out this survey.

Introducing The Grid and Market Fisheries

Today GB is kicking off its new short film series, The Grid. Look for the documentaries throughout the site as well as in their own multimedia feature section. The first feature is a look at Market Fisheries, a South Side store that has been owned and operated by the Brody Family since 1957.

Love Will Tear Us Apart

Our own Steve at the Movies will reunite with Tommy Wiseau, film auteur and creator of the 2003 cult classic The Room, on the stage of the Music Box Theatre this Friday and Saturday night at 10pm. Steve says, "The only thing better/worse than The Room this close to Valentine's Day is seeing it in a crowded theater." Tickets are going fast.

"Princess-on-Catfish Coitus"?

Chris Ware outdoes himself with a unsettling poster for the serenely surreal film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Wacker Drive Demolished by Robots

The streets on both sides of the river get torn up in the new trailer for Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.

RIP Tura Satana

Tura Satana, who lived on the West Side with her family after they were released from a WWII internment camp, passed away this weekend. Watch her best known film, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, for free on Google Video. [via]

Win Nine Times

Chicagoist interviews the creator of the Ferris Bueller's Day Off board game.

White Russians in a Whiteout

If you're willing to brave the blizzard, Lincoln Hall rewards you tonight with a free screening of The Big Lebowski and Kingpin as part of its "The 3 Penny Was Here" film series. White Russians are $3, naturally.

Behind The Mask, On The Screen

The Gene Siskel Film Center starts an exciting new film series tonight: Behind The Mask, a series of psychological horror films. Tonight's kick-off film is Roman Polanski's Repulsion from 1965, and over the next couple of month you'll have a chance to see such classics as Hichcock's Psycho and The Birds, Clint Eastwood's directorial debut Play Misty For Me, and recent examples such as Caché and Open Water. See the schedule for a full rundown.

John Marshall Jones is Our Guest

In A/C, LaShawn Williams interviews John Marshall Jones about his film The Guest at Central Park West., which screens at ICE next week.

Re-enter the Matrix?

The Wachowskis have been talking to Keanu Reeves about two more Matrix sequels -- or maybe not.

An Unwanted Dimension

Lots of filmgoers agree: 3D sucks. Roger Ebert learns why from an industry veteran.

Oscar Talk

Our own Steve Prokopy will join ABC7's Janet Davies, Reader's JR Jones, Time Out's Ben Kenigsberg and the Tribune's Michael Phillips at the Gene Siskel Film Center next Tuesday, Jan. 25 at noon for a free panel discussion of this year's Oscar nominations. Good way to spend your lunch break.

Sharing Chicago with the World

It's been a good couple of weeks for documentary filmmaking in Chicago. Two local films made Roger Ebert's 10 best documentary films of 2010 list and The Interrupters is already making waves in advance of its Sundance premiere.

The Phantom of the Cinema

Two UIC doctors and an artist are creating a prosthesis for Roger Ebert, whose face bears the scars of his battle with cancer. Mr. Ebert explains the process with usual candor and perspective and, of course, relates it to the world of film.

Psychedelic Film

Trip out while watching The Spirit Molecule, a documentary about the hallucinogenic compound DMT, at the Portage tonight. Details in Slowdown.

Stream the Folk

FolkStreams is a collection of documentary films new and old, such as a great Studs Terkel piece about Halsted Street and the Popovich Brothers of South Chicago.

Ebert's New Crew

AP's Christy Lemire and Reader and MUBI contributor Ignatiy Vishnevetsky will be joining the venerable film critic for the January 21 premiere of his new show.

The Good, The Bad & The Nutcracker 3D

Our own Steve Prokopy offers his list of the best and worst films of 2010.

B-Fest 2011: The Countdown Begins

Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning for B-Fest 2011, the 24-hour B-movie festival at Northwestern that's popular with many GB staffers. Ticket sales will be exclusively online for a while, so check the B-Fest ticket info page for more information and a link to the online box office.

Origin Point, 1897

Thomas Edison filmed the intersection of State and Madison in 1897, showing it was bustling even back then.

Roger Ebert Presents...

Chicagoist speculates that Roger Ebert will reveal the new co-host for his forthcoming TV show this Sunday. Meanwhile, he's posted his picks for the best films of 2010.

Finnish Santa

Sick of Christmas movies? Tired of schmaltzy and ironic movies about the "true meaning of the holidays"? Don't worry, Rare Exports, which opens tomorrow, has none of that crap. Nope, just tons of sweater-wearing, gingerbread-eating Finns. And the true story of Santa. Read Steve at the Movies' review here.

RIP Cliff Doerksen

Film critic Cliff Doerksen passed away on Friday. His former publications, Time Out Chicago and the Reader, have remembrances. (More.)

Chicago Critics' Top Pick Flicks

The Chicago Film Critics Association (which includes our own Steve Prokopy) released the nominations for its 2010 awards. The Social Network received the most nominations.

Goodbye, Movies in a Bank

The Bank of America Cinema (née LaSalle Bank Cinema) screens its last film Saturday night; Alison Cuddy has a remembrance. The cinema's programmers will return as the Northwest Chicago Film Society in February, with the Portage Theater as its home.

Little Girl in Alley Rescued By Ballerinas

The Loneliest Monk released their debut music video this week. The cello and drumset dreamscape was shot by Chicago film collectives Rubbish and HYSTK. The HD version of The Ghost & the Silhouette is up on YouTube.

Roger Ebert Returns to Television

Roger Ebert tweets that his new television program, "Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies," will premiere on January 21 in 192 markets and the Armed Forces Network.

Kickstart Cold Fusion

137 Films is trying to finish a film about cold fusion, and has just a couple more days to go to raise the funds on Kickstarter. If you're into science, lend a hand.

Chicago's Destruction is in the 2nd Trailer

The first official trailer for Transformers 3: Dark Side of the Moon is out -- not a bit of Chicago so far. Just, you know, the dark side of the moon.

Robin Hood Enters the Matrix

The Wachowskis, whose current project is a future-flashback Iraq War gay love story/assassination plot, are planning to put an urban twist on the Robin Hood story in their next film, possibly with Will Smith in the lead role.

A Rare Christmas Film

Don't like the typical Christmas flicks? Then Steve at the Movies has a special sneak preview just for you.

A Fiery Commute

The Bean and Metra get top billing in the first trailer for Source Code, out in April. (Thanks, Su!)

Pill Poppin' on Film

Valley of the Dolls gets a special screening at the Music Box this Saturday, replete with costume parade and Q&A with star Patty Duke. Our own Steve at the Movies, aka Capone, talked with her earlier this year about that film and others.

The Militarized West Side of Days Gone By

The Boat Lullabies just posted film footage from 1966 featuring National Guard members patrolling the West Side, along with some shots of kids having fun in the streets.

First Elm Street, Now Downers Grove

Hayden Panettiere and Nikki Reed will star in a thriller called Downers Grove. Bret Easton Ellis wrote the script.

Free Screening of Four Lions

Want to see the new British comedy Four Lions for free this Wednesday? Details in A/C.

The Filmmakers Kartemquin

Ever wonder about the origin of the name of local documentary makers Kartemquin Films? See this video explanation from two founding members.

DiCaprio Does Devil in the White City

Leonardo DiCaprio has taken on increasingly challenging and complex roles in recent years, and his latest project is no exception. Set to produce and star in a film adaptation of Erik Larson's best-selling novel, The Devil in the White City, DiCaprio plans to play none other than H.H. Holmes.

Hef on Film: Cool & Creepy

As she watched Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, local writer Martha Rosenberg noticed a growing creepiness setting in. Read what Steve at the Movies had to say in A/C, and see it for yourself at the Siskel Center this week.

Really?!? Chucky?!?

Looking to make your Halloween celebration a little more Chicago-centric? Check out the Trib's list of ten scary movies filmed here.

Art Film Ending

Inside every movie, there's an art film just waiting to happen.

The Silent Legends

The films of Charlie Chaplin are playing at the Music Box through Nov. 4; Roger Ebert has an appreciation.

Not Our Style of Story

A rejection slip from Essanay Studios.

Women Screaming to Meet You? Or AT You?

Major Carpet Burn dug up a bunch of monster movie mag layouts and crazy old ads, including one from the Help Company Club at 4554 Broadway. Remember, fellas: "No man is any good without a woman."

ReMade: In The Making

Make: Magazine reports on a group of Chicago film-makers working on a documentary called ReMade: The Rebirth of the Maker Movement, which will focus on community-run workspaces and collaborative organizations around the country. See the Kickstarter page for full details.

Starlights, Cameras, Action!

The Northwest Chicago Historical Society is hosting a tour of the beautiful, long-shuttered Patio Theater at 6008 W. Irving Park Road. Designed by Rudolph G. Wolff, the Patio, built in 1927, is, more or less, intact, never having been chopped up into multiple screens. See it before its grand re-opening!

Get Scared at the Movies

It's a great weekend for horror film fans: Facets Fright School (a special horror version of their midnight screening series Facets Night School) shows Carnival of Souls tonight at midnight; and Music Box Massacre (24 hours of horror movies) starts tomorrow at noon.

The Necessity of Scrapping

Yesterday Roger Ebert gave 3 1/2 out of 4 stars to Scrappers, the documentary film about scrap metal collectors that is the subject of this week's A/C interview.

Look at LaPorte

LaPorte, Indiana, the documentary based on Jason Bitner's book, makes its Chicago debut tomorrow, Oct. 7, at the Siskel Film Center.

2 People, Waiting for Superman

In Mechanics, we've got contrasting perspectives on the new film, Waiting for Superman: one from a conservative, one from a teacher.

Get Down with the (sic)nesses

Wait, wrong band. Nevertheless, fans of Slipknot will want to be at 1901 Gallery, 1901 W. Belmont, tonight at 9pm for a free screening of the director's cut of (sic)nesses, a directory about the band.

The Dilemma

That movie Ron Howard and Vince Vaughn were shooting earlier this summer? Here's the trailer.

Woo! Dot's Scarrrry!

Windy City Chills is a scary source for horrible happenings, frightening filmographies, creepy criticism, and alarming and anguished adult education opportunities in Chicago. Stop by for information on the latest midnight screamings... IF YOU DARE. Boo-ha-ha.

Who Knew?

If you missed 20x2 on Friday, you missed an awesome show. For a glimpse, Steve Delahoyde has posted his 1/20th on YouTube.

"Trust No One"

Trust, a new film written and directed by David Schwimmer based on his play about online sexual predation that debuted at Lookingglass this spring, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Here's a review.

Chicago: Where Films and Gangsters Get Shot

Suzi Doll at Movie Morlocks provides a nice little survey of Chicago gangster films, from little-known flicks of the 20s to more modern movies like Coppola's The Cotton Club.

Back at the Movies

Roger Ebert is returning to TV with a new half-hour show on WTTW. "Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies" debuts in January, and will feature Ebert and several cohosts. Check out an extended here.

Chicago's Getting Filmy

I hope you like movies, because there are film festivals practically every weekend starting soon. Check out the Chicago United Film Festival Sept. 10-16, Chicago Food Film Festival and Chicago Horror Film Festival Sept. 24-25, Chicago South Asian Film Festival Oct. 1-3, and of course the Chicago International Film Festival Oct. 7-21.

"I genuinely hated this picture."

Michael Phillips gave I'm Still Here zero stars, adding it to a dubious list.

Documenting Your Kicks

Ten years ago, Tim Steil and Jim Lüning drove the length of Route 66 and created a book. This year, they revisited the historic highway with video cameras for the documentary Route 66: Ten Years Later. The film makes its debut at the Portage Theater Thursday night.

T3 Extra Injured

During filming of a car-related stunt for Transformers 3 on Cline Avenue in East Chicago yesterday, local aspiring actress Gabriella Cedillo was seriously injured. She was not trained in stunt work, and was driving her own car when she was injured. She was air-lifted to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood where she is expected to remain for a few more days. The filming scheduled to take place in Millennium Park today was canceled.

Chicago is the Set

Our film critic, Steve Prokopy, visited the set of Transformers 3 recently, under his guise as Ain't It Cool News' Capone.

Tales of the Tassles

Behind the Burly-Q, a documentary about the rise, fall, and revival of burlesque, opens Friday night for a week's run at the Siskel Film Center. The director will be at the Friday and Saturday screenings, and our own Steve at the Movies will moderate Saturday's discussion. Roger Ebert reviews the film and digs up a 1968 interview with star Tempest Storm.

One Last Thumbs Up

In honor of the finale of "At the Movies," today NPR's Fresh Air re-played a 1996 live broadcast with guests Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

Freakonomics on Film

Freakonomics, the best-selling book by U of C economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner, has been made into a documentary. Freakonomics the movie debuts on iTunes Sept. 3 and opens in theaters Oct. 1.

Filthy Peaches, Dirty Mink Stole

Campy gore film All About Evil comes to the Music Box this Saturday -- with stars Peaches Christ and Mink Stole in tow.

'At the Movies' No Longer

Columnists are already mourning the last episode of "At the Movies," the 35-year syndicated television show dominated by Chicago film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert during the show's golden years.

48 Hour Film Kickoff

This weekend kicks off the 48 Hour Film Project, where 800 Chicago filmmakers have two days to make a film based on a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, assigned Friday night. Films show August 17-19 and August 24th. Sound awesome? There's still a few slots left.

Get the Show Choir Doc on the Road

GB's own Marissa Flaxbart is raising money on Kickstarter to finish a documentary about show choirs; it's just one of many local projects crowdsourcing their funding.

Balcony No Longer Reserved

"At the Movies" tapes its last episode today, to air this Saturday on ABC7.

Shortest Film

The Art Institute is hosting a one-minute film festival -- and you're invited to join in, whether as a filmmaker or audience.

Let's All Go to the Movies

Portage Park's Patio Theater is getting ready to reopen, and shared some photos of its beautifully restored interior on Facebook.

Hogwarts is in the 'Burbs

Professor Snape lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, according to his business card. [via]

Zombie Doc Needs Brains Money

Days of the Living Dead is a documentary webseries that goes behind the scenes at a company that puts on haunted houses in Chicagoland. They're looking for backers on Kickstarter to finance season two in time for Halloween.

Blues Brothers & Bad Movies

Besides telling you whether Dinner for Schmucks is worth seeing, Steve at the Movies shares news of an awesome Blues Brothers screening at Joliet Prison, and a documentary about one of the worst movies ever made.

A Fair Film

Coudal has created another charming film, this time featuring the sights and sounds of the Monona County Fair in Iowa where the team was peddling their new Field Notes County Fair edition.

Terribly Good Movie

Have you heard of Troll 2, the hilariously awful cult classic film? There's a fantastic documentary called Best Worst Movie -- and the Music Box will be showing both back-to-back this weekend. A.V. Club Chicago has an interview with the director of the latter, who happens to also be the star of the former.

Chicago's Newest Sole Sister

Halle Berry has apparently signed on to play the lead in an upcoming movie called Shoe Addicts Anonymous, a book adaptation about four Chicago women bonded by their love of shoes and common 7.5 shoe size. What happened to the days when Chicago drew movies like The Blues Brothers and The Untouchables? Sigh.

Netflix Just Doesn't Compare

This Saturday, aspiring filmmaker Fred Koschmann will host the Backyard Film & Music Festival on the historic 12-acre Pullman factory site. He plans to screen obscure surrealist films like "Motor Safari" and "Ghost Clock", snippets from his own documentary-in-progress, and he even invited a few local bands. Read more at Chicago magazine.

Film History

Forgotten Chicago hosts a screening of Accidental Army: The Amazing True Story of the Czechoslovak Legion tonight at 8pm at the Portage Theater. The film's director, Bruce Bendinger, will be on hand for a Q&A afterward. Advance tickets are available here.


Trib writer Luis Arroyave provides a tower's-eye view of the Transformers 3 shoot, and... OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! DID YOU SEE THAT!?!

Roger Ebert Up Close

Sarah Hampson of The Globe and Mail has written a short and sweet profile piece on Roger Ebert, who lives in Lincoln Park with his wife Chaz. The Pulitzer-winning Sun Times movie critic has only a partial jaw thanks to a long fight with thyroid cancer, but can still crack jokes with the aid of his Mac laptop. Sustained through an abdominal feeding tube, Ebert is about to publish a cookbook called, The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker.

Transforming the City

Although the filming of "Transformers 3" will cause Chicagoans big headaches by shutting down half of Michigan Ave. this weekend, it also offers the city a cool view of what it would look like if giant robots came tearing through our streets. Keep an eye on the filming in person, or check it out via NBC's live stream.

In the Battle Between Good and Evil Robots, Your Commute May be Affected

Transformers 3's screencraft carnage has crashed-landed on Michigan Ave. If you're navigating downtown this weekend, keep in mind that some streets and sidewalks in the area will be closed and 22 bus routes will be disrupted. (The shooting tumbles into Wacker Dr. next week.)

The First Rule of Ferris Club is...

Don't talk abo- Wait, did you just say Ferris Club?

Remember the Blues Brothers

And the Alamo -- as in Alamo Drafthouse. Austin's cool movie theater chain is on tour this summer, and screening The Blues Brothers at Joliet Prison Aug. 17, for free.

Wingsuits Over the City

A team of five skydivers used "wingsuits" to fly through downtown for Transformers 3 filming on Sunday, as captured in multiple videos and photos. One team member got tangled in his parachute and nearly hit a building.

Check Out the Wreckage

Transformers 3 has prop yards stationed in a couple places near and in the Loop -- the easiest to access being the one on Illinois Avenue, ironically right across the street from the AMC River East.

Ready for My Close Up, Mr. Glass

A story originally told on This American Life about a preacher ostracized for believing that hell doesn't exist will be made into a movie.

Deep Cover on the Set of Transformers 3

The muckraking bloggers at have uncovered a new set of wheels gracing the set of Transformers 3. It appears that Optimus Prime and his Autobots will be joined by two new steel beauties, "a gorgeous red Ferrari 458 Italia and a not-so-shabby blue Mercedes-Benz E-Class." Let's hope Ironhide doesn't get jealous.

Skydivers and Helicopters and Transformers, Oh My!

Filming for Transfomers 3 continues in Chicago this weekend. Jaunted has details on when and where certain stunts will be taking place.

Join Steve at the Movies for a Double Feature!

Our film critic, Steve Prokopy, has a free screening of Spanish zombie films [REC] and [REC] 2 next Wednesday -- and you're invited! Details in A/C.

Everything is Still Terrible

Everything is Terrible brings its second feature found footage film mashup, 2Everything2Terrible2: Tokyo Drift, to the Music Box tomorrow night. Get yer tickets now!

Neither Can I

Jeff Ruby can't watch a Chicago movie without spotting what's wrong.

Film Project Opps

Registration is open for the 48 Hour Film Project, Fractured Lens Video Festival is looking for submissions. Get a move on!

It Really was a Mission from God

The Vatican blessed The Blues Brothers last week, calling it a "Catholic classic." (Thanks, Phineas!)

So Bad It's Good

Why do we love bad movies? Leor Galil and Ray Pride contemplate an answer in NewCity.

A Mission from Gahd

The Blues Brothers is 30 years old this week. The Empty Bottle is screening it on Sunday as part of its Rock & Roll Cinema series.

The World of of Africa on Film

The African Diaspora Film Festival kicks off tonight at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton.

Karate Kid Too?

Local filmmaker Floyd Webb wrote up an interesting and thoughtful pair of blog posts about his early martial arts days in Chicago and elsewhere, and the "Mr. Miyagi" in his life. Also, look forward to his upcoming Flicks of Fury martial arts film series at ICE Theaters down in Chatham.

Welcoming a "little bit of mayhem"

Transformers 3 is estimated to bring $20 million, 200 jobs and ten CPS internships to the city when it films here from July 10 until August 19.

This is Spinal Tap Weekend

Not only is there a burlesque tribute to Spinal Tap this weekend, but Empty Bottle is screening the classic rock flick Sunday night.

Spider Babies At Midnight

Facets Cinematheque kicks off another round of their midnight cult film screenings, Facets Night School, this weekend with Jack Hill's 1964 film Spider Baby. In upcoming weeks you can see Larry Cohen's The Stuff, the women-in-prison classic Reform School Girls, and the strange strange Crispin Glover film Rubin and Ed. A full schedule with ticket links is available at the Facets site.

Metropolis Complete

Long assumed to be lost forever then discovered in Argentina in 2008, a restored complete 153-minute cut of Metropolis starts a run at the Music Box on Friday. Roger Ebert writes about the film's significance. (Read our own Steve at the Movies' thoughts here.)

Make Your Free Film Plans Now

Even though the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival has been canceled, you can still enjoy a free movie in a park near you thanks to the city's Movies in the Park program. Check out the schedule now [pdf]. UPDATE: Chicagoist notes a googlemap mashup of all the Movies in the Park locations.

Michael Jordan & Mayan Mythology

How similar are Space Jam and the Popol Vuh?

Out of Beta

As part of the Chicago Independent Film Festival, the documentary Life in Perpetual Beta, directed by Melissa Pierce and featuring Jason Fried, Jim Coudal and other tech superstars, makes its debut tonight.

Last Man Standing to War Machine

Local mad scientist Lunchbreath has created a completely nonsensical yet oddly compelling chart of connections between man and machine.

The Monkey Hustle

Lee Bey recalls when Hollywood came to Woodlawn.

Perdus et Trouvés

The MacBook Pro that film critic Roger Ebert uses to speak is missing. It was last seen in the back of a taxi in Cannes, France, where Ebert is attending the Cannes Film Festival. There is a reward for its safe return.

I Can't Believe They Forgot Dr. Detroit

Chicago magazine ran a list of (per them) the top 40 movies filmed in Chicago. Somewhat understandably, the cineastes are up in arms. Really? Yes to Nothing in Common, but no to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer? And what about ___________?

Studs on TV

A new documentary about Studs Turkel will make its debut on HBO later this month, the director was on "Eight Forty-Eight" to talk about it today.

It's Your Turn to Strike Back

The Field Museum is hosting a competition of reenactments of The Empire Strikes Back, and they're looking for submissions. There are only a few hours left to enter a video, but the winner earns a bunch of treats, so give it a shot! If you're not in the video making mood, you can also vote on entries.

Chicagoptimus Prime

Michael Bay is set to start filming Transformers 3 in Chicago starting July 4, though I think the photo accompanying this article is just wishful thinking, damn it.

Iron Man 2 Giveaways

Excited about Iron Man 2? You might be interested in's 10 Days of Iron Man 2 contest, then. Lots of giveaways to be had!

Chicago is America

The One Chicago, One Nation film contest submission window closes this Friday, but you can start watching and commenting on the films submitted so far.

The New Face of Zero

A movie adaptation of The Zero, centered on 9/11's aftermath at Ground Zero, will now take place in Chicago, after the fictional destruction of Willis Tower.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert posted a screenplay he wrote in 1977, meant to star the Sex Pistols and be directed by Russ Meyer and produced by Malcolm McLaren.

Inception from Conception?

BLDGBLOG wonders if Christopher Nolan's Chicago childhood influenced his design aesthetic for the upcoming film Inception.

EbertFest Streams Live

Can't make it downstate for EbertFest this week? You can watch it live from the comfort of your computer.

Get in the Van

Follow along with the making of independent film Sin Bin on this behind the scenes blog.

Watch Robots Destroy Chicago

In March, Michael Bay announced that Transformers 3 will be partially filmed in Chicago. Now Collecticon is reporting that the film will be shooting on the Magnificent Mile, among other locations.

The Ferris Faux Ferrari

Cameron's dad's Ferrari 250GT California used in Ferris Bueller's Day Off is up for auction in London, and his house is still up for sale in Highland Park. All you need is a vintage Fiero and a water tower and that shot for shot remake is done.

Capone at the Movies

Speaking of influential film critics, our own Steve Prokopy, aka "Capone" on Ain't It Cool News, gets some recognition in this week's Time Out Chicago.

Another Reason to be Quiet at the Movies

It seems a Kerasotes movie theater chair arm didn't want a woman to answer her phone in the middle of a film.

A Few Quick Flicks

The Chicago Short Film Brigade returns later this week with a course of brief movies to spice up your spring. Check out the list here.

"But the Building's Identity Resided in the Ornament."

A new documentary about master architect Louis Henri Sullivan, Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture, is having a preview screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Sunday, March 14.

One More John Hughes Film?

A John Hughes screenplay about "a wealthy Chicago family that loses everything and is forced to move to the sticks" is making the rounds in Hollywood.

Foreign Films

The Chicago Reader wants you to win tickets to Gene Siskel's 13th Annual European Union Film Festival.

Columbia Alum Snags Oscar

For his cinematographic prowess in Avatar, Chicago local and Columbia College grad, Mauro Fiore won big at last night's 82nd Annual Academy Awards.


The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival kicks off today. You can get a sonic taste from Eight Forty-Eight's preview of the event and the A.V. Club has a run down of the locally connected films.

Buffy the Rail Splitter

Michael Krebs is a local Lincoln presenter who's appeared at the Chicago History Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and now the trailer for the book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Incidentally, Mr. Krebs once played our 16th president as a member of the undead. Our president was a very complex man.

Rise of the Daleycepticons

Michael Bay says Transformers 3 will feature scenes in Chicago and Moscow. [via]

To Boldly Go... to Chicago

Set phasers to stun! Rich of provides 8mm footage of a Star Trek convention/original series cast reunion that took place at the Hilton, August 22-24, 1975.

Freddy Returns...Again

FEARnet got behind the scenes of the Chicago set of A Nightmare on Elm Street. See the trailer on the official website.

Regarding the Other President from Illinois

Life as Lincoln, a fascinating documentary chronicling the lives of three Abraham Lincoln impersonators as they make the rounds of schools and libraries to talk about our nation's sixteenth president (who turns 201 today), premieres tonight at 8pm at the Siskel Film Center.

RIP Peter Venkman

I know, he's barely a Chicago guy anymore, since he's lived in the Hudson Valley for 30 years, but holy crow! Bill Murray confirmed a third Ghostbusters movie is happening -- and he's coming back as one of the ghosts.

Back to School

Facets is kicking off another series of Night School screenings tomorrow at midnight with the Indonesian film Lady Terminator. Each Saturday night in February and March will have a different film screening, preceded by a lecture on the film by a Facets employee. A full schedule of films is available at the Facets Website.

WGN's Dean Richards is an A-Hole

Well, that's what Mel Gibson thinks.

The Philosophical Bill Murray

A.V. Club Chicago explores the zen, nihilism and other philosophies exemplified by Bill Murray's film roles.

Goodbye Kerasotes, Mostly

The Chicago-based Kerasotes movie theater chain is selling all but three of its locations to AMC. One that it's not letting go of: the new Showcase ICON in the South Loop.

Become a Hotel Detective Videographer

The Wit is taking applications for an interesting internship: its 2010 video team, to shoot webisodes and cover red carpet stuff at the hotel. [via]

How To: Dead Tree Media

Fry cook on Venus digs up a gem from 1937: "From Trees to Tribunes," an industrial film about how trees from the Tribune's vast Canadian wilderness become the newsprint rolling through the presses.

Uniting the City Through Film

One Chicago, One Nation is a new initiative aiming to "unite people of all cultures, faiths and social backgrounds to build communities for the common good" through digital storytelling, community conversations and more. To start, it's holding an online film contest worth $50,000.

The Curious Case of the Netflix Movie Map

The NYTimes mapped Netflix rentals by neighborhood 10 cities across the country, including Chicago [in the second square down].

Shooting the Interviewers

Ray Pride points to the video director Jason Reitman made documenting all the interviews he did on the Up In the Air press tour. Watch for local critics including Pride, Roger Ebert and our own Steve Prokopy.

B-Fest 2010 Tickets Available

If you've been waiting for your ticket to B-Fest, Northwestern's annual 24-hour B-movie film fest, they're now available for purchase online. More information, including the tentative line-up of films, at the B-Fest Website.

Celebrate with the Irish

The South Side Irish Parade isn't returning, but there's still a reason to head down to Beverly around St. Patrick's Day: the 11th annual Chicago Irish Film Festival. [via]

Your Oscar Nom Cheat Sheet

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced its 2009 award winners today; The Hurt Locker won every award for which it was nominated. Read CFCA member Steve at the Movies' review here.

Random Reels

The Found Footage Festival rolls into the Lakeshore Theater Friday and Saturday with its collection of random bits of film, such as how to be a real man.

The Incomparable Filmo

A century ago, Bell & Howell's (click the Company History tab!) HQ and factory was located on Larchmont Avenue, where they made Filmo movie cameras. Tough, dependable, and, in some cases, quite lovely, Filmo cameras were the preferred brand among filmmakers in the early days of motion pictures.

Trailer for a New Algren Documentary

A documentary on the life of Nelson Algren -- titled simply Algren -- is set to debut next year. The trailer has just been released. [via]

A F-ing Golden Screening

Tonight's Cinema Slapdown at Columbia College is a special treat for the Elvis fans: a screening of Viva Las Vegas at 7pm, followed by a debate featuring noted Elvis impersonator Rod Blagojevich.

New Dawn for Twilight Taper

Charges against the woman who was arrested for taping a couple minutes of New Moon at her sister's birthday party have been dropped.

Let My Viewers Go

The woman accused of attempting to record the movie New Moon at a Rosemont theater is facing three years in prison, but she has a surprising defender: the movie's director.

Wesley Willis Rocks On

Wesley Willis's Joy Rides, a documentary about Chicago folk artist and rock star Wesley Willis, is now out on DVD -- and is streaming on Pitchfork.TV all this week.

Help Yourself to Sad Brad Smith

When you see Up in the Air (and you should), keep your ears open during the wedding scene for a song by Lincoln Square's Sad Brad Smith.

The Ebert-Roeper Fight that Never Was

Robert Feder inadvertently started a tiff between Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper thanks to vague comments from Roeper to Feder about his return to reviewing movies on his own site and Starz. The former "At the Movies" duo quickly made up, but not before Ebert penned a great post about TV film crit.

Lupe Fiasco on Eight Forty Eight

Check out this podcast of Chicago superstar Lupe Fiasco's interview on Chicago Public Radio about the The People Speak, a new documentary spinoff of sorts from The People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. An excerpt preview of the film will show at 8 tonight along with live readings by Fiasco and others at Northwestern University's Leverone Auditorium.

Lost Chaplin Movie Found

Speaking of eBay... a man in Essex, England bought an old film canister on eBay that turned out to contain a long-lost Charlie Chaplin film, Zepped, produced by Chicago's Essanay Studios in 1916. He and a friend are researching the film and twittering their progress.

Muppet Month at Film Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center, after having great success last year with a Jim Henson/Muppets retrospective, is kicking off a second month-long retrospective this weekend. You can see The Muppets Take Manhattan, a collection of rare TV appearances by the Muppets, or a compilation of musical moments from "The Muppet Show." See the Film Center Website for a complete schedule of screenings.

Second Oldest LGBT Film Festival Kicks Off

Reeling's 28th annual Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival starts Thursday Nov. 5. Check out some of this year's highlights in A/C.

Your Own Personal MST3K Moment

If you think karaoke isn't embarrassing enough, you might be interested in Movieoke, which -- you guessed it -- allows you to act out scenes from movies. Chicago Movieoke is at the Whistler tonight at 8pm, with additional dates later in the month.

Ebertfest Passes on Sale Today

Roger Ebert's Film Festival isn't until next April, but passes for the festival go on sale today. If you want to attend you should probably buy your passes soon, because they sell out quickly.

The Great Snowstorms of the Last Century

While we sit out the longest rain in recent memory, Kevin Guilfoile shares footage of the great snowstorms of 20th Century Chicago. Well, the first two, anyway -- 1939 and 1967; look elsewhere for 1978 and 1999.

Chicago Outdoor Film Festival Falls to Budget Cuts

The Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, which has brought film screenings to Grant Park in the summer, is one of the events on the chopping block in the much tighter 2010 City budget. [via]

Yes Men are Coming

International activist pranksters The Yes Men will be at the Co-Prosperity Sphere Thursday night at 7:30pm to plan an action that'll take place after their new film, The Yes Men Fix The World, debuts Friday night at the Music Box.

The City in Celluloid

There weren't a lot of movies shot in Chicago during the first Daley's reign, but those that were captured a city a bit grittier than today.

Your Halloween Horror Hookup

Looking for some seasonally appropriate YouTube clips for your lunch break? Check out the Facets blog for the culmination of its annual 31 Days of Horror series, and visit Hey! Look Behind You for a mix of modern and vintage horror and gore. [via]

We Screen in Public

We Live in Public, a new documentary about early dot-com mogul Josh Harris, opens at the Music Box tomorrow -- but there's a special preview screening tonight at 7pm at i^3 hypermedia, 11 E. Illinois, 4th floor. It's $5 advance/$7 at the door and BYOB. (Thanks, Jim!)

Scare Yourself Awake

Facets Cinematheque continues Facets Night School, its midnight screenings of great cult films. For October they're screening great horror films every Friday and Saturday night. You still have time to hit tonight's kick-off screening, the 1932 version of The Mummy. See the Facets Website for a complete list of screenings.

Month of Horrors 3-D

Facets Multimedia begins the month with their third annual 31 days of horror, where they post one horror film clip a day on their blog. Check out the entries from 2008 and 2007; some of the clips from previous years are still up on YouTube!

Polanski Polemic

Local author Kate Harding reminds us all why Roman Polanski has been "in exile" for 32 years.

Dead Men (and Women) Walking

Can't wait for Halloween? Well, slip on your finest undead fashion and catch a free screening of Zombieland this Thursday.

Are You a Big Fan?

Our own Steve at the Movies (aka Capone on Ain't it Cool) hosts a pair of screenings and Q&As of the new film Big Fan at the Music Box this Friday. Director Robert Siegel will be at the early screening; he'll be joined by star Patton Oswalt for the second. Tickets are available here.

Tucker Max Will See You in Hell

Ads for I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, the new movie based on the stories of U of C graduate and self-proclaimed asshole Tucker Max, have started appearing on CTA buses. The ads feature taglines of, let's say, questionable taste, leading the Reader's Whet Moser to bet they'll be removed by the CTA by next Tuesday.

Regrets, I've Had a Few

...But fortunately none are Dave Matthews Band, as Steve Delahoyde eloquently demonstrates in his latest short.

Back at the Movies

Our own Steve Prokopy, aka Capone on Ain't it Cool News, interviewed Tribune film critic Michael Phillips and the New York Times' A.O. Scott about taking over "At the Movies," Siskel and Ebert's seminal film review show, after a year of poorly chosen replacements.

Point-Counterpoint on Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Decider A.V. Chicago writers David Wolinsky and Kyle Ryan debate whether Ferris Bueller's Day Off is true to Chicago. (The film screens tonight and tomorrow at the Music Box, by the way.)

Your Ticket to Indian Film

If you're interested in Bollywood movies but don't know where to start, let The Bollywood Ticket be your guide. Written in Chicago with an American perspective, it's a good entree into the sprawling Hindi cinema.

A Likely Story -- And Probably True

Guinness and the Mayor's Office of Special Events ruled the Grant Park showing of the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup broke the record for most people wearing Groucho glasses (4,436 frames) at one time on July 21.

Phillips is "At the Movies"

If you read our own Steve at the Movies today, you'd know Tribune film critic Michael Phillips and the New York Times' AO Scott are replacing the two Bens on the post-Ebert "At the Movies" show.

DIY John Hughes Tour

Should you feel the need to make a pilgrimage to John Hughes' favorite fictitious Chicago suburb, Shermer, here's a great resource page for shooting locations. And here's a handy schedule of upcoming broadcasts of Hughes' movies (well, some of them).

A City of Superlatives

A travelogue from 1948: Chicago The Beautiful -- and another examining our nightlife. [via]

Suburban Movie Mecca

The Trib gained access to the top secret Netflix sorting facility in Carol Stream and now casts some light on the behind-the-scenes sorting operation.

Hiding in Plain Sight

My favorite webcomic, former GB film critic Gordon McAlpin's Multiplex, today features a stunning rendering of Andersonville's Calo Theater façade (now a Brown Elephant store).

The Green Hornet Rises

Remember that sighting of a film crew shooting what was believed to be a teaser for Seth Rogan's Green Hornet? We've got the scoop on the production and when you can expect to see it on a computer screen near you.

School's Back In Session

After the great success of their first session, Facets Multimedia kicks off a second season of Facets Night School, a series of midnight screenings paired with a discussion of the film. The second season begins tonight with Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, Part 1 and continues through September 19, with a roster of great titles including Riki Oh: The Story of Ricky, Viva Las Vegas, Harold and Maude and The Fifth Element. See the Facets Website for a full schedule.

Chicago Stars in Another Movie

Last Spring, Johnny Depp and the film crew of Public Enemies took the city back in time. And, once again, Chicago -- mobsters, machine guns and all -- stole the show in familiar places.

Going on a Break-Up Date

Steve at the Movies reviews Break-Up, Date in this week's column. It's a documentary about the world of modern dating, filmed here in Chicago. Opens tonight at the Siskel Center; the director will be at Saturday's 8:15pm screening.

Ice on Ice

This Thursday, the Neo-Futurists are doing a dramatic reading of Cool as Ice this weekend as part of their annual Film Fest series -- and it just so happens that Vanilla Ice is headlining Cans Outdoor Music Fest this weekend -- so Decider got Vanilla and Neo-Futurist Dina Connolly together for an interview.

"The Biggest Something of All Time"

Roger Ebert proves once again that sometimes a negative review is the best review.

Spoiler Alert!

Taking full advantage of the buzz surrounding Public Enemies, the gun that fired the fatal shot for John Dillinger in 1934 will be up for auction along with its holster, a letter and press photos on July 28.

Cameras and Stars and Money, Oh My!

If you like screaming crowds and the glimpse of a famous person's arm, you should check out the red carpet screening of the Chicago-based Dillinger pic Public Enemies tonight. Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard and director Michael Mann are expected around 6pm at the AMC River East. And if you don't like crowds, simply stay home and give a silent thanks to the movie, which pumped $47 million into the local economy, more than The Dark Knight.

Watch What You Eat

Speaking of free, The Midwest Independent Film Festival is hosting a free screening of Food Inc. tonight at 7pm. It's being intentionally overbooked to ensure a full theater, so RSVP and make sure to get there early.

'Hornet' Creating Buzz in Chicago

Word is that there's a web series based on the Green Hornet being filmed in or around the Uptown Bank Building these days, a sort of prelude to the movie being filmed starring Seth Rogan (?) and Kung Fu Hustle star Stephen Chow (though we really wished those "Jet Li as Kato" rumors were true).

Local Heist

Look closely and you'll notice a familiar skyline and squad cars with a certain four-starred municipal flag in this promotional film for Philips.

Funding The Unhuman

Chicagoist's Rob Christopher interviews two Indiana teens making their own horror film -- for $500. You can pitch in here.

Who Wants to Buy a House? Anyone? Anyone?

If you're in the market, the infamous Highland Park home featured in Ferris Bueller's Day Off is available at the bargain price of $2.3 million. [via]

Away We Go Screening

Excited for the upcoming Dave Eggers/Vendela Vida film Away We Go? Visit the Book Club page to find out how you can go to a free screening next week.

Hollywood Loves Illinois

Illinois film production had another banner year in 2008 despite the recession, chalking up its second-most profitable year on record. With movies like this summer's "Public Enemies," and TV series like "The Beast," the industry spent $141 million and created 5,392 jobs during filming. The Illinois Film Office projects another healthy year in 2009, but didn't give any specifics.

Fighting for Film Fair Use

In A/C, Lindsay Muscato writes about filmmakers' struggle to gain the right to quote from other films in the name of fair use.

What Does Organic Really Mean?

OrganicNation.TV is "an exploration of the American sustainable food landscape focusing on the people, places and products that are shaping a new green economy and lifestyle." Produced by Fresh Cut Media's Dorothee Royal-Hedinger, the video tour hits the road May 10.

It Came from the Library!

From the deepest depths of the University of Chicago Library's digital stacks came... The Biology of B-Movie Monsters! [via]

Injured Pride

Poor journalist/film critic Ray Pride was beaten up a month ago after a Greek film festival, by nationalists who thought he was an "anarchist infiltrator." He provides the details on his blog and elsewhere. The more squeamish may want to avoid the photos Pride took of his bloodied post-attack clothing.

Paley Talks the Blues

Time Out's Hank Sartin talks to Nina Paley about her film Sita Sings the Blues, which is reviewed in this week's Steve at the Movies.

"This is Sgt. Peterson, Chicago Police"

Speaking of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ask.MetaFilter folks put together a list of the crimes committed by the film's protagonists during his day off.

Nightmare in Elk Grove

Students at Elk Grove High School and John Hersey High School are probably pretty excited that Freddy will be murdering students in their schools in May.

Add Some Local Culture to Your Outdoor Time

It's a beautiful weekend, Chicago. Based on the smiles I've seen on people's faces so far, there is a lot to fall in love with in the city. Including the CHIRP Record Fair which is happening at Plumber's Hall on Saturday and Sunday. (Gapers Block will be there on Sunday so come say howdy.) And if you're more likely to be entertained by antiques, artifacts, and cool designer crafts, then the Spring Show at Architectural Artifacts is where you'll want to be. Speaking of crafts, Chicago's premier of Handmade Nation is taking place tonight at Columbia College.

Late Nights at Facets

Facets Cinematheque has a great movie series planned: Facets Night School, a series of midnight screenings that range from the sublime (Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter) to the ridiculous (the horror-comedy Street Trash). The movies start screening on Saturday nights starting May 2; see the Facets Website for a complete schedule and to purchase passes for the whole series.

Outdoor Films Announced

Get set for Tuesdays at Butler Field with your favorite stars of the silver screen. This year's Outdoor Film Festival features have been announced, and they sure don't disappoint. Full list after the jump.

This Year's Films are Sunset Boulevard (July 14), Duck Soup (July 21), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 28), Born Yesterday (Aug. 4), Psycho (Aug. 11), Young Mr. Lincoln (Aug. 18) and Tootsie (Aug. 25).

Movies on the Radio

WGN's Nick Digilio Show is hosting a double feature at the Brew & View tonight. Watch Hot Fuzz at 8pm and Die Hard at 10pm, with Snuggie and Lou Malnati's giveaways in between. $5 to get in.

Lewis Meme

Now that Obama has a Presidential Seal, what's his old logo up to?

Lights, Camera, Chicago

According to MovieMaker, Chicago is the best city for independent moviemakers, offering "the best all-around chance of finding success with their art during these tough economic times." [via]

The Wiseman Cometh

The Reader's film blog has news of some weekend appearances by the great documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman; he's making a speech at DePaul Friday night, and introducing a double feature of his films (including his 1997 film Public Housing about Chicago's own Ida B. Wells homes) Sunday evening.

Music and Film Geeks Unite!

This week in Transmission, we give you the low down on an upcoming festival that's been missing from Chicago calendars all this time. It's the inaugural Chicago International Music and Film Festival which comes to town March 4-9.

The Polish Film School

In A/C, Beatrice Smigasiewicz previews a retrospective of films by Andrzej Wajda currently playing at the Siskel Film Center.

Siskel Remembered

Tomorrow's the 10th anniversary of the death of Gene Siskel. Roger Ebert posts his memories of the man.

Objectified Your Love

Gary Hustwit, director of the excellent Helvetica documentary, is bringing his latest film, Objectified, to Chicago for a special screening April 28, sponsored by AIGA, IDSA and Coudal Partners. Tickets go on sale at noon today.

The Tale of the Killer Poet

Remember a couple years ago, when local poet J.J. Jameson was discovered to be an escaped murderer? There's a new documentary about him playing at the Siskel Film Center this Sunday. Steve at the Movies has a review.

The Real Rydell High

Eight Forty-Eight interviews Jim Jacobs, Chicagoan and co-author of Grease, about the real-life events that birthed the musical.

B-Fest Draws Nigh

B-Fest 2009, the annual 24-hour-long film fest on Northwestern University's campus, is coming up in less than four weeks, and the word just went out that tickets will be on sale tomorrow. More info has been posted at the B-Fest site.

Batman III, Up Close

More rumors abound about the siting of the newest Batman franchise in Chicago, along with some other details.

Film Critics Welcome New Robot Overlord

The Chicago Film Critics Association have chosen WALL-E as Best Picture in their 2008 awards list. A complete list of winning films, including The Dark Knight and Slumdog Millionaire, is available at the CFCA Website.

Oscar Watch: Chicago Weighs In

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced the nominees for its 2008 film awards today.

Meet Me in Humboldt Park

Now called Nothing Like the Holidays, the movie centered around one Humboldt Park family's holiday hi-jinx had a premiere at the Music Box. Hollywood Chicago has a few pictures of the stars in attendance.

Art on Tape

Explore the world of video art with the Video Data Bank.

Shadow Catcher meets the Kwakwaka'wakw

Photographer Edward S. Curtis' 1914 silent film In the Land of the Headhunters was the first to exclusively star Native North Americans. It was recently restored and will be shown at the Field Museum on Sunday and Monday mornings. Stick around afterwards for a discussion with historians and descendants of the Kwakwaka'wakw nation, who are featured in the film. More details in Slowdown.

The Muppet Month

The Muppet Movie, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and more ... all on the big screen.

Quantum of Jealousy

Our own Steve at the Movies, aka Capone on Ain't It Cool News, was invited to England a couple months ago on a press junket for the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. He's been doling out the details from that trip, and finally posted about his test drives of the current Bond car, the Aston Martin DBS.

Tickets, We've Got Tickets!

Want to see a concert tonight? How about a movie on the 19th? Learn how to get free tickets to either one after the jump.

Arte y Vida has teamed up with us to offer 20 free tickets to see Marcin Wasilewski Trio at The Morse Theatre tonight at 6pm. RSVP to

HollywoodChicago has 80 passes for a Nov. 19 screening of Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.

Muppet Time!

Calling all Jim Henson fans: The Gene Siskel Film Center is running a month-long program of films created by the Muppet Man! Yes, you get all the Muppet films, but you also get a couple programs of seldom-seen weird experimental films, like "Time Piece". The program starts this weekend, and you can find a full schedule at the Film Center Website.

Pride of Frankenstein

A/C contributor Elizabeth McQuern asks, "Sure, the Bride of Frankenstein was literally made for him, but what if her heart belonged to someone else? Like a sexy lady vampire?"

Roger Explains It All

In the wake of "Minutegate," Roger Ebert has decided to write his own "little rule book" regarding ethics for his fellow film critics. The picture of Ebert and Jason Patric assisting a rather festive looking Peter O'Toole is worth clicking through.


If you didn't make it to CIFF's surprise film screening at the Music Box last night, be glad you didn't spend the cash: It was RocknRolla, the latest Guy Ritchie flick. At least it was only $12 a ticket.

Secret Screening?

HollywoodChicago reports that the Chicago International Film Festival will be showing a surprise film at the Music Box on Monday. Get your tickets now.

Filmed Locally, Watched Locally

There are three Illinois independent films on the CIFF schedule tonight, followed by an afterparty at Pops for Champagne. Still time to get tickets!

Two Weeks of Popcorn and Soda

Cinemaniacs, rejoice! The 44th annual Chicago International Film Festival opens this evening with The Brothers Bloom. If kid flicks are more your style, the Chicago International Children's Film Festival begins on the 23rd.

Promote Chicago 2016, Win

Chicago 2016 is running a video contest starting today. Submit a video by Nov. 25 telling the world why Chicago should host the Games in 2016. Five finalists will be chosen by online vote and will be featured on NBC 5's "Chicago Today" show starting Dec. 1. The winner of the contest will receive fabulous prizes.

Tickets, Please

Tickets for the Chicago International Film Festival are now on sale -- as are those for the Chicago International Children's Film Festival.

Sent Back

The documentary A Forgotten Injustice, by Chicago journalist Vincente Serreno, highlights the "repatriation" of thousands of Mexican Americans in the 1930s. The film is screening at the Instituto Cervantes this weekend. Here's an interview with Serrano on Chicago Public Radio.

The O'Learys & Their Cow

The Great Chicago Fire is dramatized in In Old Chicago, a 1937 film by 20th Century Fox. More vintage trailers here.

Return of the Month of Horrors

Facets celebrates October once again with 31 days of horror movie clips. (You might want to check out last year's collection to get you in the proper mood.)

Batman Sequel Pre-Production

There's plenty of speculation that a Dark Knight sequel is ramping up for some work in February 2009.

Is That Like Herding Cats?

The documentary Milking the Rhino makes its North American debut tonight at the Siskel Center, and runs through Tuesday. Stick around afterward to meet the Chicago-based filmmakers.

And Possibly Trapped Sea Birds?

Has Roger Ebert's site been hacked or is he really trumpeting Creationism? I'm going with hacked. Yep.


Roger Ebert responds (third item down) to a reader who doesn't understand why the esteemed film critic didn't review the piss-poor Disaster Movie. [via]

Headbang the Casbah

The documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad will be shown at the Metro tomorrow night, with a cocktail reception before and a Q&A after. It's free, but you have to be 21+ and RSVP to get in.

Turning Trash into Cash

This week is recycling week at GB, with two features exploring what is typically perceived as the underside of the economy. In A/C, we take a look at Scrappers, a documentary film featuring the lives of three local scrap metal collectors. Over in Detour, we visit with Barry "Can Man" Woodson, leader of a street crew of recyclers in Wrigleyville. After reading the articles, you may want to check out the Scrappers fundraiser on Friday.

Free Tickets to The Duchess

Want to see The Duchess, Keira Knightly's latest period piece? Head to and get your name in for a preview screening Sept. 24.

The Beckoning of the Lovely

On August 8, dozens of people joined author Amy Krause Rosenthal in Millennium Park to do... something. This is what they did. (You can do it, too.)

See You Next Summer

The Chicago Outdoor Film Festival concludes its run tonight with a showing of the blockbuster 1978 Travolta/Newton-John musical Grease, which wll start at 8:03 p.m. in Grant Park (Monroe and Lake Shore Drive).

Break Out Your Jordans

Over in Tailgate, Ken has a long write-up of Jordanheads, a documentary about Air Jordans whose creators are planning a sneaker fan meet-up on Aug. 23.

Yet Another Google Map - Dark Knight Locations Edition

If Everyblock's guide to The Dark Knight locations whet your appetite, the Trib has a dozen more to explore.

Black Harvest Film Fest Starts Tonight

The Gene Siskel Film Center presents their 14th annual Black Harvest film & video festival all this month. The festival is billed by the Film Center as "the Midwest’s biggest and best celebration of the black experience on film," and it starts tonight with a special program of short films. Full details in Slowdown.

Saving an Aisle Seat No Longer Necessary

"The balcony is closed." Roger Ebert comments further on the end of "At the Movies."

Off to the Cinematic Races

Taking a page from the much-missed Fast Forward Film Festival, Film Racing is a competition to create a short film in just 24 hours. Get your team ready and register by tomorrow for the Aug. 8-9 race.

Holy Smokes, Batman! Let's Talk it Out!

Batman Christian Bale turned himself in to London authorities for questioning after apparently assaulting his mother and sister in a hotel room before the European premiere of The Dark Knight.

Ebert's Out Too

Roger Ebert announced his departure from the Disney-owned "At the Movies" film review show, following Richard Roeper's announcement yesterday. Ebert and Gene Siskel's estate own the "two thumbs up" trademark, and Ebert vows "the thumbs will return." Stay tuned.

You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Roeper

After eight years of telling us to skip it or see it, Richard Roeper announced that he is leaving At the Movies in mid-August, leaving the show without a consistent host as Roger Ebert continues to recuperate from cancer treatment. Roeper's plans for the future are unclear.

Early Dark Knight Review, Premier Photos has a slideshow of photos from the red carpet premier of The Dark Knight at Navy Pier Wednesday night. Read Adam Fendelman's review here, and stay tuned tomorrow for Steve at the Movies' own review.

Indie Serial for Your Coffee Break

The Adventures of Miss Girl.

Go Beyond YouTube

The Fractured Lens Video Festival is looking for amateur and semi-professional video shorts to include in its upcoming showing at the Portage Theater. Here's how to submit.

Da Joker

Bill Zwecker reports that Heath Ledger did some undercover dialect research when he was here filming The Dark Knight, because he wanted his Joker to have a "flat, Midwestern or Chicago accent ... somewhat nasal and even a bit effeminate."

Chicago: Gotham City's Stunt Double

Sure it looks cool on film, but all of those explosions and crashes in The Dark Knight, filmed here in Chicago, required the assistance of a lot of city agencies, as this Reuters story explains.

We Are Gotham Now

You’re no doubt well aware at this point that the forthcoming “The Dark Knight” makes sweet visual love to our fair city. Certain set-pieces, like in the LaSalle St canyon and on Lower Wacker, are already the stuff of pre-legend. Over at EveryBlock, we’ve mapped the more than two dozen locations where the film was shot.

Save Batman!

He's kept you safe from The Penguin for years. Now, Chicagoans, here's your chance to tell Batman you've got his back. A rally organized by "Citizens for Batman" will be held Tuesday evening on Wacker Drive between Monroe and Adams at the (ahem) Gotham City Community Center No. 5. Sure, they might be giving away some "Dark Knight"-related swag, but we're sure it has NOTHING to do with the movie which opens on July 18.

Weird Things on the Web (No, Really)

They gave us 31 days of horror clips and 31 days of Christmas clips, and now the Facets blog is giving us 31 days of weird movie trailers.

Remembering Maxwell Street

As the Sun-Times asks Chicagoans for their favorite memories from the past, no doubt many would include the one-of-a-kind Maxwell Street. A new DVD looks at the history of the cultural crossroads and includes a 1964 documentary on the street, vintage recordings of some of the blues legends who plied their trade on the street and a 38-page booklet.

Chicago as Gotham

A bunch of new special footage of The Dark Knight is now available, including a mini-feature on filming in Chicago.

Get Your Freak on with Svengoolie and Elvira

Head to Rosemont tonight (through Sunday) for the annual Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Convention and you could find yourself rubbing elbows with Chicago's own Svengoolie, Mistress of the Dark Elvira, or even Gapers Block film critic Steve Prokopy as he hosts the 40th anniversary reunion of the cast of Night of the Living Dead (plus a Q&A with director George Romero). And don't miss the inflatable drive-in movie theater.

Countdown to CUFF

Aspiring Chicago filmmakers! The final deadline is fast approaching for the Chicago Underground Film Festival! Get your feature, short, animated, documentary or experimental film entered by July 15th and mark your calendars for the 15th annual film fest Oct. 28-Nov. 2, 2008.

The Dark Knight ... Project

Another Dark Knight will be in Chicago this weekend: The Dark Knight Project.

The Dark Knight Returns to Navy Pier

Tickets go on sale Thursday for "72 Hours of Batman," a weekend-long extravaganza at the Navy Pier IMAX starting at midnight on July 18.

Kung-Fu Sans Pandas

Filmmaker Floyd Webb is hosting a fundraiser at the Occult Bookstore on Friday the 13th to raise money for his documentary The Search for Count Dante. Webb promises a preview screening of the film and a demonstration of Count Dante's world's deadliest fighting techniques by Master Chris Pieschala.

The Power to Offend

Roger Ebert on the f-word.

The Finest Custom Luxury Hats from the South Side

Business Week TV profiles Optimo Hats, the company behind the hats Tom Hanks wore in Road to Perdition and Johnny Depp is wearing in that movie we're all aware is filming in Chicago.

Guess Which Movies We Watch

As NPR reports, and Netflix members can see for themselves, people like watching movies about where they live. We're no exception: the first six movies that are disproportionately watched by Chicagoans are about or take place in Chicago.

Sex in the Windy City

Hollywood Chicago snapped photos of the stars of Sex in the City headed for a taping of "Oprah."

That's Hedley!

Funnyman Harvey Korman, originally a Chicago boy, Carol Burnett Show performer, Mel Brooks troupe member, and voice of the Great Gazoo has passed away at the age of 81.

All Together Now: Chicago! Bang-Bang!

Lincoln Avenue was gussied up for the new Michael Mann film Public Enemies, as testified by this Flickr photo set. Johnny Depp plays Dillinger. I wonder if he's heard the (false) rumor about what happened to Little Dillinger after John was gunned down near the Biograph Theater?

Now Showing: Public Enemies has a slideshow of photos from the Public Enemies shoot happening this week at and around the Biograph Theater.

Calling All Filmmakers

The Chicago Undergound Film Festival is now accepting submissions for their 15th annual film fest, to be held this fall. Complete details available at the CUFF blog.

Magic is Tricky & Bound to Go Wrong

Coudal brought to our attention Monster Camp, which finishes a run at Facets Cinematheque tonight! Get tickets now!

Make Your Own Mini-Movie

Hideous Beast recently announced a short film project, Show and Tell. Find a member of their community willing to teach something they feel is valuable to a larger public, and make a one- to three-minute movie about it. The finished flicks will be shown here and on the Beast's Movie Bus.

Chicago Film Festival Announces a Dark Knight

If you can't wait until the July 18th opening of "The Dark Knight, you can attempt to get tickets to the Chicago International Film Festival's special screening of the film at the Navy Pier IMAX on July 16th (where they'll be honoring Director Christopher Nolan). Tickets go on sale on 5/16, call 312.683.0121 x154 or go to the website.

Jump Back...

Only two days remain in the Dance Movie Blogathon! Learn yourself all about David Bowie's footwork in Labyrinth, Kevin Bacon's prototypical Angry Young Dancer ("I'm so angry I'm dancing up against backlit silo walls") -- and so very much more. [via]

Film Hero Mashup

I know you just got back to your desk after a long lunch, but you should really take five minutes and watch this... uh, thing.

Do Your Parents Know You're Ramones?

The next Sound Opinions movie night is coming on Friday, May 9th, and it's a good one: Rock'n'Roll High School, which pits The Ramones against an evil principal played by Mary Woronov. Amazingly, Ms. Woronov will be in attendance at the screening for Q&A about the film (how DID they get that paper airplane in Paul Bartel's ear?). Tickets available at the Chicago Public Radio Website.

No Ebert in Ebertfest

Roger Ebert's 2008 Film Festival begins tonight in Urbana, IL but the film critic won't be attending this year. He explains in his Sun-Times blog that he decided not to make the journey after recently fracturing his hip. Get well soon, Roger!

UIC's Contribution to Star Wars

The Electronics Visualization Lab at UIC has a YouTube channel with videos of their many computer graphics and video experiments. One in particular is worth checking out: a making-of video from 1977 describing how animator Larry Cuba created those Death Star simulations in Episode IV. (via)

Blockbuster Brackets

Movie fans would be wise to get in on Schadenfreude's Summer 2008 Movie Blockbuster Brackets.

Bringing The Matrix Home

Beverly area natives and Matrix creators Andy and Larry Wachowski are bringing their cutting-edge movie special effects post-production gizmos to a vacant Ravenswood building. If they reprise the Matrix series, will we finally see Neo at Neo?

Blues Brothers Geek Out

If you want to geek out about the Blues Brothers, and I mean really geek out, then check out this site. It has a google map that places all of the filming locations along with a history of what has happened to the site since then. (Don't forget to scroll up and see the scene that was filmed in Milwaukee.)

The Man, The Thumb

New York Tims film critic A.O. Scott presents an appreciation of Roger Ebert's career as a film critic. (via)

Ebert Can't Talk, Will Write

Roger Ebert still needs further surgery to permit him to speak, but still plans to continue reviewing movies. He's taking a break right now, but will resume reviews after his annual film fest on April 23-27.

A Beautiful Obsession

Local filmmaker Darryl Roberts screens his latest work, America The Beautiful, concerning the country's apparent obsession with beauty, tonight, 7:30pm, at the latest installment of the Midwest Indepent Film Festival. In an interview, Roberts talks about what prompted the examination.

Ebertfest Line-Up Announced

On Friday the line-up of films for Roger Ebert's 10th annual film festival was announced. Unfortunately you latecomers won't be able to get festival passes for the event, but individual tickets for each of the films will go on sale this Friday, April 4.

Chicago in One Take

An unusual movie begins shooting in Chicago today. The thriller Helix is set to be filmed in ONE TAKE beginning today, with several locations around town scheduled to be shut down to accomodate the unusual endeavor.

A Dent in Their Plans

The marketing whizzes for the upcoming The Dark Knight (read: Batman) movie thought it would be a cool idea to promote the film's fictional district attorney Harvey Dent as a real candidate here in Chicago. The early returns weren't too good: police gave them the boot.

A Director's Dark Vision

The New York Times tells us how Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan crafted his vision for the film, how "the messiness of reality can't be faked" and how cool it was to shut down Chicago streets on command.

Are You Happy?

The Sun-Times has a story on Inquiring Nuns, a 1968 film that follows two nuns around the streets of Chicago, asking people that very question. Think of it as a 1968 version of "You Are Beautiful". Inquiring Nuns screens this Sunday at the Chicago History Museum; details in Slowdown.

Documenting a Dying Profession

The Trib offers an article and some video features about the movie Floored, which is currently documenting the lives of the open-outcry traders on the CME.

The Irish in Film

Sure, reveling in beer-soaked festivities on St. Patrick's Day is one way to recognize Irish culture. For those of you who prefer a more low-key, cinematic celebration, the 9th annual Chicago Irish Film Festival opens tonight at the Beverly Arts Center. The showcase of new and old Irish feature films, shorts and documentaries runs through March 5.

Saying "Rawr" One More Time

A documentary on the inimitable Chicago-based artist and rocker Wesley Wills debuts tomorrow (Friday) at the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco. The late Willis was known for his headbutts and requests for fans to "say rawr."

Depp Becomes a Packer Backer

Johnny Depp will be in Wisconsin later this year for the filming of the Michael Mann-produced John Dillinger biopic Public Enemies. Joining him will be Christian Bale, who is no stranger to the area from filming Batman here last summer.

It's Playtime

At 7pm tonight only, catch Jaque Tati's masterpiece Playtime (it's the Reader's Rosenbaum's favorite movie) at U of C's Doc Films. Tickets are just $5. (Thanks, Brandy!)

Congrats to Cody

Mon Congrats to Lemont-born Diablo Cody who took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at last night's 80th Annual Academy Awards. Of course, now that all the excitement's over, all that's left is a myriad of odd hollywood gossip stories about the stripper turned blogger turned screenwriter.

Who Wants to Be a Doc Star?

Fans of scantily clad Internet star Tila Tequila are invited to a casting call being held on Saturday, March 1 from 4-8 p.m. at a Loop location TBA. E Oh Productions is conducting the talent search on behalf of a documentary project about the Tequila phenomenon; contact them here.

Johnny Doesn't Care About the Junk in Your Trunk.

If you can't have Johnny Depp in your arms, you can at least try to get him into your car. The producers of Public Enemies, a Michael Mann-directed flick starring Depp as John Dillinger, want your vintage cars, trucks and buses for the film. If you have a ride that fits the bill (circa 1930-35), bring a photo of it to the Hyatt Regency Woodfield in Schaumburg between 9am and 4pm this Saturday. You can also e-mail your pictures to

There Will Be Blood (and Guts)

Iconic horror film magazine Fangoria is teaming up with the normally erudite Music Box Theater to present a "Winter Massacre Horror Film Festival" February 22-23 in conjunction with the magazine's local convention. Highlights include a showing of "Friday The 13th" with a live cast reunion and a "A Nightmare on Elm Street" introduced by Robert (Freddy Kreuger) Englund. Admission is free for convention attendees, otherwise you have to pony up at the door or buy tickets online.

Common Joins JLA

Chicago's own Common has been chosen to play Green Lantern in the coming Justice League of America film.

Humboldt Park: Ready For Its Closeup

More big names have been added to the cast of Humboldt Park, a holiday movie set in (you guessed it) Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. Joining John Leguizamo will be Alfred Molina and "Will and Grace" star Debra Messing. Shooting is scheduled to start on February 13. We're guessing the boathouse will be featured in there somewhere.

Movies as Historical Documents

From Call Northside 777 to The Blues Brothers, the Trib reminds us of another reason to check out movies filmed in Chicago.

Senator Obama Doc Will Screen

At the beginning of this month the Gene Siskel Film Center canceled screenings of the documentary Senator Obama Goes to Africa when the Senator won big in Iowa. In case you still wanted to see the doc, the Music Box will be hosting a couple of screenings in coming weeks. Details in Slowdown.

Not Just A Pretty Video Store

The Reader's film blog notes that Facets Multimedia is starting up its winter session of weeknight film classes next month. Four different classes are being offered; check the Facets Website for the schedule and class details.

Go Torture Yourself

Amazingly, there are still tickets available for B-Fest, the annual 24-hour b-movie marathon. It's this Friday and Saturday; grab a sleeping bag and get in there.

Barack Doc Cancelled

The Reader's film blog reports on one of the down sides to Barack Obama's big showing in Iowa: the Gene Siskel Film Center's cancellation of screenings of Senator Obama Goes To Africa, a documentary of Obama's visit to the African continent in 2006. If you still want to see the movie, it's available on DVD, and there's a short clip on YouTube.

Michel Gondry @ the Apple Store Tonight

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry will be discussing his new film, Be Kind Rewind at the Apple Store at 679 N. Michigan tonight from 7 to 8pm. Time Out Chicago's Ben Kenigsberg will be moderating the event.

From Ali G to Abbie

Sacha Baron Cohen, the mastermind behind Ali G and Borat, is slated to play Abbie Hoffman in Steven Spielberg's The Trial of the Chicago 7. The city's image is still reeling a bit from the clash between Chicago police, Hoffman and other anti-war protestors.

Hard Boiled Getting Out of the Movie Biz

Roscoe Village's Hard Boiled Records and Video is dropping the "and video" part of its name to make room for more vinyl. All DVDs are priced to move, which means tons of last-minute holiday gifts for your loved ones who love indie films, foreign flicks, obscure TV series, and super-bloody Asian cinema. Nothing says Christmas cheer like Hong Kong action!

StreetWise: The Movie

In this week's Reader, news about a documentary about StreetWise vendors. The movie has its premiere tonight at the Park West; details in Slowdown. And if you miss the film tonight, you should be able to buy a DVD copy from your favorite StreetWise vendor.

The Dark Knight Begins

Batman fans will be excited to hear that a six-minute prologue from the next installment will show at the Navy Pier Imax Theatre before I am Legend.

Is it REALLY A Wonderful Life?

Holiday classic or pandering schmaltz? Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life is the next film thrown into the ring in the latest round of Cinema Slapdown at the Columbia College Film Row Cinema tomorrow night; full details in Slowdown. Columbia staffer Brigid Murphy will defend the film while Tribune movie critic Michael J. Phillips goes on the offensive. Mr. Potter would be proud...

Screen Magazine's "Production Bible" Now Online

Find production crews, set designers, DVD duplicating services, audition space and more in Screen Magazine's film industry guide targeting that geographical area "between the coasts."

Swayze Spotting

That's right, Road House fans. The Patrick Swayze is in town filming an A&E show, "The Beast." We spoke with a crewman at the Wicker Park unit who showed us the shooting schedule, so if you want to spot yourself some Swayze, head to Emmit's this eve. He'll be in the area.

John Cusack Says

"I don't know how you can be pro-human and not anti-war," John Cusack says in an interview about his new film, Grace Is Gone, (shot in and around Chicago) which officially opens tomorrow.

Do Not Look Mr. Cox in the Eye

John C. Reilly will take the stage at the Cubby Bear tonight - in character as Dewey Cox - to promote his upcoming film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Fingers crossed that Chris Gaines joins him for a number or two. [via]

Holiday Video Cheer

After celebrating October with 31 days of horror clips, the fine folks at Facets' blog are celebrating December with 31 days of video clips for the winter holidays.

1968 All Over Again

A new trailer for the upcoming film Chicago 10. [via]

Opinions, Clash

The fine folks of Sound Opinions take on the new Joe Strummer documentary, The Future is Unwritten, during their movie night tomorrow at the Music Box. Tickets appear to be still available here.

Obama in Africa

Senator Obama Goes to Africa, a feature documentary by Chicago-based Media Process Group, comes out on DVD this month. The film chronicles Obama's journey around the continent, including such stops as the prison where Nelson Mandela was held, a Darfur refugee camp in Chad, and Kisumu, Kenya -- where he reconnects with his family's past. Pre-sales of the DVD began Nov. 10, with a ship date of Nov. 20. [via]

Art: What?

Inspired by My Kid Could Paint That (the documentary of a father who sold his four year-old daughter's paintings for big bucks), the what-is-art debate rages amongst Chicago's storefront theater intelligentsia over at the blog Angry White Guy. You can still catch the film in Wilmette and rue your own unappreciated kinder-masterpieces, or see Mr. Fluxus at The Neo-Futurarium and decide whether you agree with Yoko Ono's take on art.

More Celebrities in Town, Area Drugstores on Alert

Vince Vaughn is making an appearance at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., tonight at 5:15pm for the Chicago premiere of his new movie, Fred Claus. Tickets to the premiere are sold out, but you can help create an atmosphere of celebrity-crazed pandemonium by lining up to watch Vaughn and director David Dobkin walk the red carpet.

Five-Buck Flick

As long as you don't mind seeing a movie a couple weeks after it comes out (assuming it stays in the theaters that long), Kerasotes has a deal for you.

More Movie Stuff

Hollywood Chicago yesterday published their review of festival hit Juno. The movie was penned by Chicago native (subsequently transplanted to Minneapolis and then LA) Diablo Cody.

Artists Still Starve

Joel Swanberg lives and makes movies here in Chicago. The NY Times and IFC have taken notice, but he still wonders where money for groceries will come from. The Reader profiles Swanberg and "mumblecore," the film genre he helped create.

Get in a Spooky Mood

Facets, the best video store in the city for indie and obscure films, has a blog, and they're posting a horror clip a day for the month of October. [via]

They're He-ere

It's the 25th anniversary of Poltergeist, and for one night only -- tonight -- the original film is back in theaters. Catch it at the River East 21 or one of a handful in the suburbs. Don't go into the light.

Back to (Film) School

Facets Film School's first fall term has already started, but the second fall term begins the first week of November and ends right before Christmas. Classes are weekly (with Thanksgiving week off), 7 to 10 PM, and cost under $100 for the term. If you like Woody Allen dramas, outlaw couples, movies out of Hong Kong, or Howard Hawks movies (and who doesn't?), you still have time to enroll. You can find more details here.


To get into the Halloween spirit, the fine folks at Facets are posting one horror film clip per day on the Facets blog. Expect to see a bunch of classic film moments from the people who run one of the best video stores in the city.

Hotel Chevalier on Your Computer

If you missed last week's Michigan Avenue screening of Wes Anderson's Hotel Chevalier, you can still watch it before The Darjeeling Limited by downloading it for free from iTunes [link will open iTunes].

Ebert Rules scored 60 well-known pundits who critique entertainment, news, sports, etc., and found Roger Ebert to be the most powerful pundit in America. Use your power wisely, Roger. (via)

Waiting for the Train

Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Limited comes out this weekend, but you can catch its sort-of prequel, Hotel Chevalier, a 12-minute short film starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman, at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store tomorrow night at 9pm. Screenwriter Roman Coppola will answer questions after the show.

Waiting for Cheese

The new comedy I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, which was filmed in Chicago and stars Second City alum and city native Jeff Garlin, opened this week to good reviews. The film, which also stars Sarah Silverman, Amy Sedaris and Bonnie Hunt, has a hilarious trailer; apparently, it's the only thing we'll get to see in these parts right now, as the movie isn't playing anywhere in Chicago until October 5 (at the Music Box, with Garlin attending the premiere).

Coming Soon... Cheese

A trailer for I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, starring Jeff Garlin, Sarah Silverman and the City of Chicago. (Thanks, Dubi!)

Cross Your Fingers for Thumbs

Did you know that Siskel and Ebert copyrighted their thumbs up/down designation? And did you know that last weekend's airing of At the Movies took place without the use of those iconic thumbs? Turns out there's some kind of dispute between Ebert and the show's owner, and the renewal of the use of the thumbs is still undecided.

Dark Knight x Brachs Candy Implosion!

The Dark Knight which has been filming in Chicago on and off for the past few months is doing something big. The Brachs Candy factory will be imploded on August the 29th August the 30th between 10:30am and noon. The implosion will be later added digitally into the film for a building explosion. Details here. Update: Note the date and time change. New details here.

Skin Flicks

Chicago-based Mr. Skin is your number one source for who's naked in what movie; Business POV interviewed the founder, Jim McBride, and discovered it's also a $6 million-a-year moneymaker with 44 employees. (NSFW)

Free Screening of "The King of Kong"

When I saw the Michael Moore dramedy Sicko a few weeks ago, a preview was shown for The King of Kong, a documentary about a fight between two total freakazoids for the top Donkey Kong score in the Guinness Book of World Records. The preview got a lot of laughs, so I think it will be a winner of a film. Ain't it Cool News is sponsoring a free showing of the film on Tuesday, August 21 (tickets are going fast, so get on this pony right quick). Click here for details and to RSVP.

It's Hot. Watch Movies.

Looking for some movies this weekend? There's a ton to see, and none of it involves a major cineplex. Saturday is another night of Movies in the Park and is Home Movie Day, and Chopin Theatre is hosting a tribute to director Ingmar Bergman on Saturday and Sunday for $7 a show or $20 per day. See Slowdown for details.

Extra, an Extra

Get a shot at your 15 minutes in the new Batman movie, and help out a local non-profit tutoring center at the same time. Just volunteer to be an extra from 6am-6pm Friday, Saturday or Sunday this weekend 8/24-8/26 for the latest Dark Knight flick and 826Chicago gets $50 for each day you're out there. Other bonuses: You get two meals, plus snacks; you get tickets for daily raffles and you get your mug in a big police funeral scene in the movie. If you're game, email by noon Friday, Aug. 10th with your full name, day or days you are committing to (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), age, race, if you're male or female and a phone number.

"Who Do You Love? You Love a Car!"

As reader Pat says, "if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

I Need to Borrow $99,000

80's mechanical icon Johnny Five is apparently being sold on ebay, and bidding starts at a cool $100,000. A special exo-skeleton, which controls all of the mechanical features, is also included. For an extra dose of nostalgia, check out the previously mentioned, newly available 1988 Siskel and Ebert review.

Scenes from a Movie Theater

Our former film critic Gordon McAlpin and his wonderful Multiplex comic got some attention from Boxoffice Magazine.

Get Your Work Out There

If you do documentary film work around Chicago, you may want to submit to the Chicago Reporter's John A. McDermott Documentary Short Film Fest. While you're at it, check out the new issue.

Siskel, Ebert & Roeper Archived

Yesterday Roger Ebert announced that a couple decades' worth of video reviews from the Siskel & Ebert (and Ebert & Roeper) movie review programs would be available online to the public this Thursday. Well, the site appears to be live right now! Check it out: everything from Roger's killer take on 1994's North to Siskel's appreciation of Spielberg's Schindler's List. Roger Ebert fans will want to visit the site tomorrow evening, when Roger will answer fans' questions about any subject (submit your question now).

CUFF 2007 Coming

The Chicago Underground Film Festival has updated its Website to include this year's schedule. Loads of interesting-looking films this year, including a documentary about Thax Douglas, a documentary about modern-era roller derby, and Orchard Vale, the debut film by local musician Tim Kinsella. See the CUFF Website for full details and to purchase tickets.


Our own Steve Prokopy is a guest host on the latest episode of the popular local podcast Filmspotting. Adam Kempenaar and I discuss Rescue Dawn, which he reviewed last week, and Sunshine, which he reviews this week. You can download the episode here.

Looking for Laughs

This weekend, the Music Box is being invaded by that other form of moving pictures: TV. The first-ever Chicago TV Pilot Competition showcases comedy television pilots based on ideas from Chicagoans. It even comes with its own commercial, by FoGB Steve Delahoyde.

A Pedagogical Factory

Starting on Sunday, the Stockyard Institute, AREA Chicago and other organizations will initiate "Pedagogical Factory: Exploring Strategies for an Educated City" at the Hyde Park Art Center. Throughout its run, topics will include "How We Peoples Make a People's Atlas of Chicago," "How We Grow: Self-Education and Urban Farming Gathering" and "How We Brew/Bake/Mead Etc Cottage Expo."

Critics find Fox Revolting, Boycott

The Chicago Film Critics Association (of which our own Steve at the Movies is a member) is slapping 20th Century Fox with a boycott, claiming the studio is discriminating against some of its member critics from less prominent media — specifically, Internet-based critics. (Thanks, Dee!)

Online Documentary Films

Meet, a project to preserve documentaries about American roots cultures. There is, of course, a Midwestern section, and at least two Chicago-related films "The Popovich Brothers of South Chicago" and "Grace Earl."

Kwik-E Mart Walk-through

Not willing to drive all the way to 63rd and Harlem for a Squishee? The Methods Reporter has your hook-up.

Movie Walkouts from Tribune Staffers

Michael Phillips takes an informal poll of Chicago Tribune staffers, and the movies they walked out on. Looking over the many reader comments, everybody's a critic.

Read, Listen & Watch

Green Lantern is hosting a book launch/video screening/reading tonight from 7pm to 9pm at 1511 N Milwaukee, 2nd flr. Josh MacPhee will discuss his new book, Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority, our own Anne Elizabeth Moore will do a short reading and discuss the demise of Punk Planet, and Dara Greenwald will present her rotating collection of short videos that make you laugh and cry. It's free; BYOB.

Greatest Chicago Movies

Tom McNamee of the Sun-Times offers his "Top 10 Greatest Chicago Movies." The list is heavy on recent popular flicks, but there are still a couple of out-of-the way movies worth checking out.

Woo hoo!

Yes, Chicago has a Kwik-E-Mart. One of the city's 7-Eleven locations was turned into the convenience store from "The Simpsons" to hype the new movie. So if you need Squishees, Krusty-O's or a Radioactive Man comic, head on over to 6754 W. 63rd.

Hel Yeah

If you missed Helvetica (the documentary about the landmark typeface created 50 years ago) when it played this month at the Gene Siskel Film Center, you've got yourself a reprieve: the Reader's film blog reports that the documentary (the highest-grossing film in the Film Center's history!) will be back at the end of September.

Dr. Moore Will See You Now

Filmmaker Michael Moore stopped by yesterday to promote his new film Sicko and stand in solidarity with Chicago nurses demanding universal health care. Counter-protestors were on hand at the film's Washington, DC, premiere, because Moore is a "controversial, polarizing figure" who thinks one of the wealthiest nations on earth shouldn't let its citizens be financially reamed if they're foolish enough to get sick.

Bat Suit Revealed!

As you know, the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, is filming around town right now. An alert apartment dweller shot some photos with her phonecam of Batman doing some unsafe stuff on a back deck, revealing to the world the look of the latest costume. HollywoodChicago also has some video of filming in Buena Park.

Off the CGI Pigs

Chicago 10 is a new documentary by Brett Morgen about the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial. In an interesting turn, scenes are either computer animations or archival footage set to a modern soundtrack (get a load of the taking of the Logan statue in Grant Park against the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage"). Who says you can't repackage rebellion?

Beyond The Valley Of The Birthdays

The Facets blog reminds us that today is Roger Ebert's 65th birthday. Happy birthday, Roger, and get well soon.

Better Than Hands Across America

Student Films Across America is a collection of, you guessed it, short films by students from around the country, including one from Chicago. Head to the Lakeshore Theatre tomorrow night at 7:30pm to see An Open Door by local film student Sean Jourdan and others, all for the same $10 you'd spend watching another lame Hollywood blockbuster.

Typeface vs. Font

Word from Kartemquin Films regarding their in progress film: "Kartemquin is currently working on Typeface, a documentary about cultural preservation, rural renewal and graphic design history in the Midwest.To support these efforts, we're holding a benefit on June 15th at the Center for Book and Paper Arts here in Chicago. Toad Hollow Vineyards is providing the bubbly, MJ Catering is bringing the sweets and a number of local artists (including Jay Ryan and Dennis Ichiyama) are donating original works for the silent auction." While the much lauded Helvetica opens the same night at the Siskel, it is a weeklong engagement. So, why not support the locals? Looks good to me.

We Go Together...

Did you know that the musical Grease was set in Chicago? The movie version wasn't -- it's in California -- but hey, it makes a good segue to the fact that "Sing-Along Grease hits the Music Box Theatre starting this Friday. The film's songs are subtitled in case you forget the words (as if), and there's a goodie bag and costume contest before the show. Get your tickets now, because the weekend showings are sure to sell out.

Crispin Glover, Castrato At Music Box

Those of you who saw Crispin Glover last November at the Music Box Theatre when he was in town screening his film What Is It? will be interested to know that he's returning to town in a couple weeks to provide live narration for Canadian director Guy Maddin's latest film, Brand Upon The Brain! Alongside Mr. Glover will be an 11-piece orchestra providing music, a team of foley artists providing sound effects, and a castrato providing ... unique singing, I suppose. Tickets are definitely going to go fast for these performances, so go see the Music Box Website for full details and ticket links.

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner, 20 Years Later

Proving the steel-like endurance and cultural power of teen movies, the 20th anniversary re-release of Dirty Dancing will be shown tonight (and tomorrow) at 7:30pm at the AMC River East 21 (at 322 East Illinois). In addition to the visual treat of mid-career Swayze, you'll also get to see a documentary about the making of the movie, complete with cast interviews. Click here for tickets.

"My Happening, & It Freaks Me Out."

Wonder how Roger Ebert's appearance at the Overlooked Film Festival went? Mark Caro has a report.

Uh, Do You Happen to Have an Extinguisher in That Utility Belt, Batman?

Looks like there's a fire taking place at the old Post Office, where the latest installment of the Batman series, The Dark Knight, is being filmed. Note that I didn't say, "Holy ________!" at any point.

Ebert Not Hiding From Camera

Roger Ebert will be attending his ninth annual Overlooked Film Festival, and in today's Sun-Times he's written a new column explaining that he's not going to be hiding his illness when he steps back into the public eye this week.

Olympic Arts

With all of the hubbub about the Olympics, there's an argument that sports shouldn't get all of the attention. In a city currently alive with Version>07, and soon to have Artropolis going too, art should also be at the forefront. Tribune art critics provide a few conceptions of how art could work with the Olympics.

What LaSalle Bank's Sale Really Means To Us

The $21 billion sale of LaSalle Bank to Bank of America is a relatively small part of one of the largest financial mergers ever by LaSalle's soon-to-be-former parent company. Global implications, yadda yadda. I'm more concerned with speculating how the deal will affect our civic life: will BoA close some superfluous branches, thereby freeing up some storefronts for businesses that are actually useful and enjoyable? Seriously, Chicago is drowning in bank branches. And what's the fate of the LaSalle Bank Cinema, or the only-christened-last-May LaSalle Bank Theatre? "Bank of America Theatre"? Gross.

Knight Time in Chicago

You may have heard rumors of strange police cars roaming the city...might they be GPD? In any case the Dark Knight crew is filming in a few locations around town, like the old post office in the loop. Thanks Heather! Update: more pictures of the "Gotham National Something" building are popping up. Thanks David!

Chicago History Roundup

From the establishment of the Hull House Theater to the World's Columbian Exposition, the Sun Times lists their take on "The 50 Greatest Chicago Moments."

Chi-City Rap Rock

Check out Screen Magazine's feature on Chicago native Casey Suchan's well received documentary Rock the Bells. Then check out the film itself Tuesday night. Details in Slowdown.

Man Watches Movies For 40 Years!

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roger Ebert being named the film critic of the Sun-Times. He reflects on the date, and his current medical condition, at his Sun-Times website.

Use the Force (to Pick a Stamp Design)

R2D2 is roaming the city, and it wants you to visit the "Jedi Shipping and Mailing Master" to vote for your favorite Star Wars stamps.

Chicago International Documentary Festival

There's no question that the documentary is enjoying a surge in popularity, and if you're looking for more films, browse the schedule for the Chicago International Documentary Festival. There are films from all over the world (that's the international part), but if you're interested in local stories there are also documentaries about the Illinois Parole Board, Maxwell St., and Public Housing. Look closely at the schedule as in many cases the directors will appear at the screenings.

Put It in Your Little Black Book

Want to see a movie tomorrow night? There's an advance screening of Black Book, a WWII period piece set in Nazi-occupied Holland, tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 7pm at Landmark Century Center Cinemas, 2828 N. Clark St., courtesy of and Sony Pictures Classics. It's free, but you have to RSVP here to get in.

Is There a Janis Joplin in the House?

If Jennifer Hudson can do it, so can you. "Crazy Neighbors From Hell" is going to be HUGE. Prospective Big Tonies, Uncle Kavorkians, and Black Elvis/James Browns are especially needed. Have acceptance speech ready.

Congrats, Jennifer Hudson

Chicago native Jennifer Hudson won the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

Blues Brothers Statue Coming To Joliet

Perhaps inspired by Chicago's Bob Newhart statue, Joliet plans to build a statue of their most famous fictional residents, Jake and Elwood Blues. The statue is part of the city's plans to boost Joliet tourism. There are also plans to build a Route 66 welcome center to entice drivers that are travelling the historic highway that originates in Chicago.

Competencia de la Película

What could be better than being at home, watching a movie on a snowy day? Why, being in the office and trying to outpredict Roger Ebert's Oscar guesses to win a trip to Mexico!

1,158 = More Than a Few Arts Organizations

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation just completed its Chicago Region Arts Scan, a major research report surveying all non-profit arts organizations in the Chicago region in 2006. In addition to being a comprehensive directory, the report provides especially fascinating information pertaining to the growth, location, composition and funding of these organizations.

Murder Castle Finds a Production Home?

After being dropped by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's production company, Paramount has picked up the film rights to Eric Larson's The Devil in the White City. One hopes that Cruise will still consider playing the part of Victorian serial murderer H.H. Holmes, as the thought of the toothy Scientologist in a handlebar mustache is irresistible.

Kiss Me, Caped Crusader

The current rumor about the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight, is that it's filming in Chicago for 80 days this summer under the secret identity/code name Rory's First Kiss. That's Rory, not Robin, by the way.

Vince Vaughn F*cks Up Traffic Again

Filming for Fred Claus, in which Vince plays Santa's bitter brother, will shut down Wacker Drive between Wabash and Orleans this Friday night from 8-11. The bridges at Wabash, State, Dearborn, LaSalle, Wells and Franklin will also be closed intermittently during that time so that helicopters can get awesome shots of the river. Vaughn previously stopped traffic around town during the summer of 2005 while filming The Break-Up.

Tense Forms Winter Showcase

Tense Forms, the collaborative multi-disciplinary, project-based workgroup, is holding their 2nd annual Winter Showcase at Subterranean on February the 2nd at 8pm onwards. The showcase features an insane amount of buttons (1000+), a wall of televisions screening all kinds of visual art as well as live music.

Bicycle Film Festival '07: Call for Submissions

After last year's small success in Chicago, we've heard word that the Bicycle Film Festival will be back again. Currently, founding director Brendt Barbur and co are looking for new submissions for the 2007 round of film festivals set to take place in up to 15 cities: "We are looking for films with a strong theme or character of bicycles. This includes all mediums and styles such as animation, experimental, narrative, documentary and music videos." The deadline is February the 17th so you have about a month to get going or fine-tune that piece you've been working on. Details at the site or take a look at the flyer here.

Chicago Film Critics winners announced

The Chicago Film Critics award winners were announced today. Winning films include The Departed (Best Picture and Best Director), The Queen (Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress) Little Children (Best Supporting Actor) and An Inconvenient Truth (Best Documentary).

The Nativity News

Hey, remember how the City decided not to show the trailer for The Nativity Story at the Christkindlmarket back in November? Well, a church group apparently decided it was important to take a stand, so it's now showing on a continuous loop at the fair, although with the sound off. And 32 Baby Jesuses, stolen from nativity scenes around the city, turned up in a St. Symphorosa Church parishoner's yard, sorted by design.

Know Any Orson Welles Fans?

Or fans of Nicholas Cage, Yoshiyuki Tomino, or US drug laws? Just in time for the holidays, you can bid on four very special autographed movie posters and benefit the Chicago International Film Festival. The auction runs until 15 December.

Unaccompanied Minors, Accompanied by TAL Host

Unaccompanied Minors, a feature film based on a This American Life episode, makes its Chicago premier Sunday, 12/3 at 1pm at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. TAL host Ira Glass will be on hand to talk about how radio translates to the big screen, and director Paul Feig will do a Q&A. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for kids 12 and under. More info and ticket purchasing at Chicago Public Radio.

No, not Ebert, Roeper, Take Roeper

Part of our ongoing "we-wish-Roeper-would-just-go-away" coverage, Rob Federer reports in his Sun Times column today that NPR host Peter Sagal will be filling in for Roger Ebert this week on "Ebert and Roeper At The Movies". A disappointment -- Ebert and Sagal would be a much more entertaining combo than the current setup.

Keep Yer Movie Away from My Manger

There's room at the Christkindlmarket for a nativity scene (as well as Islamic and Jewish holiday symbols), but not for The Nativity Story. The movie was dropped as a sponsor because the City thought the marketing was "too aggressive."

Walt's Favorite Multiplex

Did you know Walt Disney grew up in Chicago?

What It Is

By way of again plugging the Crispin Glover movie and appearance at the Music Box this weekend, allow me to point you to an interview with the auteur on 848 this morning, and a review of the film by our very own Steve at the Movies.

What is it? Find out next weekend

We were at the Music Box this weekend and noticed that the theater has added a third night to next weekend's screening of Crispin Glover's bizarre film What Is It? Mr. Glover himself will be at the theater to present the film (along with an accompanying slide show dubbed "The Big Slide Show"); if that sounds like your idea of a good time, check out Slowdown for Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

25th Reeling Festival starts tonight

Reeling: the 25th Chicago gay and lesbian film festival kicks off tonight at the Music Box Theater with Eating Out 2, a film being billed as "the world's first ever gay sequel". The festival runs through November 12 at various film venues in the city; see the festival's Website for a complete schedule.

New Ebert reviews

Another week, another couple more Roger Ebert reviews. This week he looks at Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (opening today at lots of theaters around town) and the indie film Man Push Cart (opening today at the Music Box). As always, these films and others are reviewed by our own Steve at the Movies, as well.

RESFEST's Anniversary - Film Fest. the Chicago Way

It's the big number 10 for the RESFEST group and this year the pioneering film festival is kicking things off at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. This global event offers such visuals as the documentary Rock the Bells from Paris, to graphics and animation in State of the Art showing in Lima, and let's not forget the after- parties rolling in Jakarta. What you can't make it to all these cities? It's ok, Chicago will be screening A Decade of RESFEST: 10 Seminal Short Films so you can catch up on all the past-production and playback.

Get Your Spook On

This Halloween season has plenty to offer the ghoul lurking inside of you. Unusual offerings include KFAR's Spookagogue Synagogue, the Apollo Theater's Haunting History, the Six Corners Monster Film Festival, and Ursula Bielski's Creepy Chicago Hauntings. Check slowdown for additional options.

Ebert lives!

Roger Ebert writes from his recovery bed on the complications from last June's surgery, his slow rehabilitation, and when he expects to be able to resume movie reviewing. He's also written a review for Stephen Frears' The Queen which should be posted soon at Roger's Website.

A Short Tour for Short Films

The Chicago Short Film Brigade rises from the ashes of the late lamented Prime Shorts Film Festival to "present a wide variety of local and international short films to the public in non-academic, non-festival environments." Screenings start in January and will be quarterly (they're looking for submissions, btw). Andrew Bird is on the Brigade's board, and he's doing a quartet of shows to benefit it. Unfortunately, those shows will be in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis and Madison -- but what a great excuse for a road trip!

The Science of Free Tickets

Want a free pair of tickets to a preview screening of The Science of Sleep this Wednesday at 8pm? Be one of the first to email and they're yours. UPDATE: We have our winners! Congrats, Nadia and Nicole!

Chicago Movie Magic

We all know that the Art Institute was a location for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but did you know that Gerri's Palm Tavern was a location for The Sixth Sense? MovieMappr knows, and it will show you where Gerri's was.

Walking in Chicago

With all of this walking around Chicago, why not take an idiosyncratic video stroll through the city?

The Last Picture Show

Tonight's your last chance to catch a movie at the Esquire Theater on Oak Street. The '30s-era cinema is closing and will be demolished to make way for a planned retail-hotel complex -- because that neighborhood needs another one. The Reader has visitation hours -er, showtimes.

Notes from the festival

The Toronto International Film Festival started this week, and with Roger Ebert still recuperating from surgery, Jim Emerson (editor-in-chief of Roger's Website) is attenting the festival and writing up dispatches for his Sun-Times blog. If you're missing Ebert's regular commentary on film fest happenings, try checking those out. And speaking of Roger Ebert and film fests, don't forget that the Music Box is showing a series of films taken from Ebert's "Great Movies" columns. This weekend the Great Movie is Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble In Paradise.

What to see this weekend

Hey, did you know Mike Judge's new film Idiocracy is now playing in Chicago? Local writer guy Nathan Rabin, afraid that the movie will be under-marketed like Judge's classic film Office Space, clues you in to what you're missing.

10 Sci-Fi Diamonds in the Rough

The Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum picks 10 neglected science fiction movies for

Modern Love as Modern Art

With so much Four Eyed Monsters material online in the form of video podcasts, MySpace pages and the like, it's hard to know what'll be left to show on the screen. Still, you and your art school friends can get ideas on how to conduct courtships solely through mixed media (no talking!) as Susan Buice & Arin Crumley's labor of love plays at the Gene Siskel Film Center every Thursday next month. [via]

New Meaning to "Home Theater"

The Music Box Theatre, which recently got a shiny new website, is known, among other things, for its old-timey organ. As for the man behind that organ, Mark Noller, he's apt to be known for taking his work home with him: the Reader treks out to Noller's house in Manteno (south of Peotone, if that helps) and finds his double-wide doubling for, well, the Music Box.

Off the CUFF

The Chicago Underground Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Music Box. Don't know how that escaped our calendar.

Ebert redux

Wondering when Roger Ebert will be back on the job? Well, it might be a while: the latest gossip is that Ebert had to have at least part of his jaw removed, and that recovery could take months. Spokespeople remain confident that Ebert will return to work at some point. Update: an email from Roger confirming the surgery details.

Fire in Chicago

This terrific movie, a love story between married women, caused a huge controversy in India when it was released there in 1998. You can see it tonight on the roof of Gallery 37. Slowdown has the details.


The Illinois Bureau of Tourism has created a great site cataloging all the films shot in the state, with location listings for some of the top flicks in each region and a map of every major motion picture made in Illinois.

The Journey is the Destination

If you're yearning for some travel (video), check out YouTube user Srovetz's atmospheric videos documenting his train and car travel throughout the country. There are too many Chicago related videos to post here, but some train segments include Kansas City to Chicago, Chicago to New Orleans, and Chicago to New York.

Bicycle Film Festival is Go!

If you've got Merge tunnel vision, and thus haven't noticed the fancy ad to the right, or the mentions in Slowdown, allow me: the international Bicycle Film Festival hits Columbia College's Film Row Cinema next weekend, and GB's in cahoots. We're sponsoring a kickoff party next Thursday night; details will be announced early next week. In the meantime, check out the listings and trailers, and grab tickets here before they sell out.

Where to Turn for Short Films

TurnHere is a site that collects short video guides about cities around the world. The Chicago section features some nice clips, including trips through Bronzeville, Wicker Park, Rogers Park, Pilsen and other neighborhoods.

Macy on Mamet & More

Our film critic, Steve at the Movies, interviews William H. Macy at Ain't It Cool about his new film, Edmond, his time in Chicago working with David Mamet and more. And speaking of Macy, he'll be at select screenings of Edmond at the Siskel Film Center this weekend; get your tickets before they sell out.

Good Thing There's No Late Fee

Claire Zulkey wants to know about your Notflixing habits, the movies you got from Netflix that sit, unwatched, for months.

New redesign for Music Box Website

The Music Box Theatre, which had a so-so Website for the longest time, has suddenly redesigned its site, and it looks pretty snazzy! Just in time for a particularly exciting weekend of films at the theater: there's the 25th anniversary re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a weekend matinee of Warner Brothers cartoons, some David Lynch short films, and Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu. See you at the movies....

Bicycle Film Festival Postponed

...but only by a week! Director Brendt Barbur's international celebration of movies about cycling is still coming to Chicago, but it'll be from August 11-12 instead of August 4-5, and details are still TBA. (Trailers and more here.)

Chair People VS. Blanket People

Tonight marks the start of this year's Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, just in time to coincide with a break in the heat (kind of). Make sure to leave your dog and bring your bike and always be respectful of your neighbors. All the Rebels (with or without causes) check out the details in Slowdown.

Cruising the Film Festival

Steven Spielberg received a Golden Hugo for lifetime achievement last night at this year's Chicago International Film Festival awards. And who should make a surprise appearance but Tom Cruise! Is it just me, or does it look like he's going to kiss Spielberg in CBS2's video clip?

Film Last Meals

Tying nicely into the current Fuel question, local artistic group Lucky Pierre is looking for volunteers to eat 24 of the 350+ final meal requests from the executed prisoners on Texas Death Row for a video installation project. The meals will be filmed in Logan Square between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, July 22; email mealvolunteer[at] to be one of the lucky few. (Thanks, Marie!)

Wednesday is Double Feature Night

Cinema/Chicago has scheduled its series of free screenings of international films on the same night as Chicago Sister Cities International's film series (which is $15 a show, but includes dinner catered by Fox & Obel). The savvy cinemaphile needn't choose between the two: Cinema/Chicago's movies start at 6 PM in the Cultural Center and Sister Cities' movies start at sundown on the roof of Gallery 37, just across the street.

Open but no cheap date night

Did you notice that the City North and Webster Place movie theaters went M.I.A. a couple of weeks ago? Well, they were casualties of the Loews-AMC merger and decisions of various authorities. While cheap night may be gone, Kerasotes bought the two theaters, and they're open again. UPDATE: Reader Meghan writes, "I went to City North 14 on Tuesday and got the usual $5 movie, free popcorn, and free parking. Looks like cheap night's not gone afterall!"

Sundance May Set on the Near West Side

Crain's reports that Robert Redford is considering the site of a closed Fannie May candy factory for an outpost of his new Sundance Cinemas movie theater chain.

Chicago Sister Cities Program Turns 50

If you've been to O'Hare (and even if you haven't), you probably know that Chicago has a slew of sister cities: 25--to be exact--from Accra, Ghana, to Warsaw, Poland (click here for list). To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Sister Cities program, Gallery 37 is showing international films on its roof every Wednesday evening through August 30. See Slowdown for details of individual screenings, or click here for a complete schedule.

Fast Forward Again

Have an itch to make a short film? Overnight? That's right, it's time for another Fast Forward Film Festival. This time there's a sci-fi theme: "Three Minutes Into the Future," sponsored by geek webstore Go to Atomix Cafe, 1967 W. Chicago Ave., tomorrow, June 16, to register and get more instructions, then get to work. For the rest of us, there's a show of all the finished films Saturday night. More in this week's TimeOut Chicago.

CIFF fetes Spielberg

Steven Spielberg will be the honoree at this year's Chicago International Film Festival summer gala, hosted by Bill Kurtis and featuring film highlights and "tributes by colleagues and friends." Ooh! Harrison? Hanks? Henry Thomas? Maybe you can ask Stevey why Jurassic Park IV is happening, or when we'll finally get Animaniacs on DVD. Tickets start at $315 for Cinema/Chicago members or if you're feeling generous, buy a table for ten of your friends for only $3500. If you haven't just won the Mega Millions, this Friday's evening with David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls) at the Future Filmmakers Festival might be more your speed.

Bye, Hi-Lite

After a last-minute effort to save Aurora's Hi-Lite Drive In, the city council voted yesterday to close the theater and move forward on a proposal to build a subdivision on the land. The main reason for closing down the Hi-Lite, which was Illinois' oldest operating drive-in, was that nobody appeared willing to pony up the $830,000 needed to renovate the place.

This is my DVD and it freaks me out

Today is a momentous date for cult film fans: the official DVD release date for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Roger Ebert, co-author of the screenplay with film director Russ Meyer, offers some thoughts on the production.

From the Lakefront to the Stars

Charles and Ray Eames' Powers of Ten has been posted on YouTube. The iconic film shows what you'd see if you started at a one-meter view and then zoomed out one power at a time, then zoomed in the same way. The starting point is a man at a picnic near Soldier Field -- as near as I can tell, this is the exact spot on GoogleMaps. [via]

Portage Theatre: Alive and Kicking

While watching a beautiful documentary about the historic Uptown Theatre, I was lucky enough to enjoy another one of Chicago's movie houses that has been restored. The Portage Theatre in Portage Park (near Irving and Milwaukee) is a huge movie house originally built in 1920 which seats 1,350 people. Recently re-reopened with a gala opening ceremony, it's been adopted for the two Silent Film Festivals, and it will also be showing some great classic and foreign films in the coming weeks. Call (773) 736-4050 for schedules (website coming).

Embracing Gore's 'Truth'

The most important, scary, and inspirational documentary you are likely to see this year is An Inconvenient Truth. Essentially an expanded version of a presentation that former-Vice President Al Gore has been giving since the late 1980s on the visible perils of global warming, the film also incorporates archival footage of the-man-who-should-be-President's political life gathering support and enlightening citizens around the world on what should be a non-partisan issue. It's not a lecture, but that doesn't stop it from being a must-see eye-opener. The film opens today at the Landmark Century Center Cinema, the AMC River East theatre and at the Evanston Century theatre. (Thanks, Steve)

Syrian Cinema 101

If you read Lawrence Wright's recent New Yorker article about Syrian filmmakers, you know that Syria is a country with six movie theaters, and state censorship sometimes permits movies to be made but not shown. Starting tomorrow, you can check out a few of those movies, as the Gene Siskel Film Center kicks off a program of Syrian cinema, part of a traveling exhibition organized by ArteEast.

Hi-Lite about to be extinguished?

At a committee meeting today in Aurora, the City Countil will begin to decide the fate of the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In, the oldest operating drive-in in Illinois, which has been scheduled for demolition to make way for housing development. Naturally there are quite a few fans of the drive-in, and they are planning a rally before the meeting to try and sway the council vote. The site has put together a page with proposals from all sides of the debate, so you can make up your own mind on the issue.

Siskel & Ebert Mouth Off

It's well known that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel hated each other for much of their career as a film reviewing duo. Someone dug up three outtakes of the pair sparring during the filming of promos for their show. The animosity is palpable.

Classics at Film Center

Today the Gene Siskel Film Center kicks off a three-week series, screening "top-quality archival prints of ... films selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry" and lent by the Library of Congress. Click here for a complete schedule; individual films are listed in Slowdown.

And More Movies

Hot on the heels of the Latino Film Festival, Cinema/Chicago, in collaboration with the Global Film Initiative, presents Global Lens 2006, a new week-long program of international films -- for those of us who just can't wait till next October for the Film Festival. The new series starts next Friday, 5 May, and continues through the following Friday. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

El Cine Latino

The 22nd Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival started last weekend and runs through Thursday 4 May, with movies playing at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and Facets Cinematheque. Click here for a complete screening schedule.

15 Minutes = My Attention Span

Andy Warhol shot films that capture everyday activities like sleeping, eating, and looking pretty. Are the results slow paced and boring or titilating and arty? You be the judge. See them tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Drive on in

It's not quite "with the top down" driving weather, but you could grab some friends (and even your dog) and head out the Cascade Drive-In to watch some cozy flicks from the comfort of your own car. The drive-in is located in nearby West Chicago and they show two first-run movies for just $7.50 (that's $3.75 per movie). Most local drive-ins won't be open for weeks, so you can get a leg up at the Cascade starting Friday night. Looking for other drive-ins, past or present, try this cool resource. Just don't get stranded, OK?

Downtown. Movies. Outside.

While the thought of lying on a blanket watching a movie outside doesn't sound especially appealing today, with the rain and 40-degree temps, August makes for a much more enjoyable experience. The Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park is back for its seventh season. The festival features hits from the '50s and '60s, including Rebel Without a Cause, but ends with '80s fav, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Live-Blogging the Oscars

Watching the Academy Awards tonight? Follow along on as Edward Champion and a vast and varied cast of characters live-blog the pseudo-event on the Oscar 2006 Blog.

A Tromatic Experience

Lloyd Kaufman, the man behind Troma Films (The Toxic Avenger, Tromeo & Juliet and Class of Nuke'em High may ring bells), will be appearing at South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union St., tonight at 10pm as part of the Movieside Film Festival. He'll be showing some TromaDance short films as well as clips from Troma's Poultrygeist and his own Make Your Own Damn Movie. Admission is $7. (Thanks, Alan!)

Shorts on parade

And speaking of Oscar, if you're interested in checking out the Oscar-nominated short films, this weekend the Gene Siskel Film Center continues its annual tradition of screening the nominated films in the short subject categories. The films will be divided up into two separate shows: one will feature the documentary shorts, and one will feature the animated and live-action shorts. See the Film Center Website for a schedule of the programs, which will be screening through March 9.

Outguess Ebert

You Oscar prognosticator, you.

"Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator"

Fresh Air celebrated Presidents' Day with a review of the recent Criterion Collection release of 1939's Young Mr. Lincoln.

Chicago Shorts

Are you a filmmaker? Do you want to be? The City of Chicago Film Office is looking for locally produced short films (10 minutes or less) to run during the Outdoor Film Festival this summer. Deadline for submission is April 1; click the "Call for Shorts" link on the Film Office website (damn the city's expiring relative links) for more info.

Get C.U.F.F.ed

The Chicago Underground Film Festival is once again accepting entries for the 2006 festival (No.13). As always, they're looking for the very best in new film and video work. If you've got a feature, short, narrative, documentary, experimental, animation, music video or some other cinematic genre, submit it. Entry forms and guidelines available now online. The festival takes place August 17-24.

Teach Your Children Well

Each October, Facets hosts the Chicago International Children's Film Festival. Ever wonder what kids take away from this exposure to world cinema? Try something along the lines of "do not marry someone you don't know" and "you should never take a former evil king on a long desert hike." Also, "penguins have troubles, too."

Hoop Dreams Wins!

The Nation Film Registry, which compiles films to be preserved by the Library of Congress, has announced their picks for 2005, with 1994's Hoop Dreams making the cut. Hoop Dreams was filmed in Chicago over a five-year period and chronicled the NBA dreams of two inner city youths and garnened much praise when it was released for its real depiction of life in the projects, and for its social commentary on class and race, making it a fine choice on the behalf of the NFR for preservation. Here is the most recent (albeit dated) article that details the current lives of the two stars, William Gates and Arthur Agee. (Thanks for the tip, Aaron!)

The year in film

Over the weekend the Sun-Times published the top 10 film lists of 2005 by Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper. Not to be outdone, the Tribune published four separate top 10 film lists composed by movie critic Michael Wilmington and other staff reporters; these lists are available in the Trib's 2005 entertainment wrap-up, which also includes best-of lists for theater, TV and DVD. Hopefully this week we'll see year-end lists from the Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum and Newcity's Ray Pride.

Second chance films

As we get near the end of the year, the Siskel Film Center is offering a chance to see 12 overlooked films from 2005, a list ranging from Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm to Gus Van Sant's Last Days to the popular documentary Murderball. Tonight the overlooked film festival starts with a screening of Todd Solondz's Palindromes. See the Film Center's site for a full list of films being screened. (Also check out the other programs the Film Center has going on this month, which include a Marilyon Monroe retrospective and a benefit sneak preview of the film version of Memoirs of a Geisha.)

"A Brand. Like Coke."

Chicago Magazine calls Roger Ebert a bigger star than many of his subjects. And, for good measure, gives you that celebrity profile staple: baby pictures!

John Q Plagiarism

Ever seen the movie John Q? A Chicago man believes Denzel Washington's role in the 2002 film was stolen straight out of a screenplay he wrote years before, about his own experience paying for a child's medical care. He's filed suit against New Line Cinema.

File Fast for Fast Forward Film Festival

The latest crop of Fast Forward Film Festival shorts will be screened this Saturday at 8pm at Open End Gallery, but there's still time to join in the action! This round's theme is "about your weird childhood" -- sign up for just $20 at Atomix Cafe, 1957 W. Chicago Ave., and then create a three-or-so minute flick in just 24 hours. More info here.

Save the Adelphi!

I've been waiting for the Adelphi Theater up in Rogers Park to have its "grand re-opening coming soon," as promised by the marquee, for a couple years now. Now I know why the wait's been so long: a developer plans to tear it down for more condos. There is, of course, an organization fighting to preserve the 1917 theater.

Gays on Film

Reeling starts later this week, kicking off Thursday night at the Music Box with German film Summer Storm. The 24th installment of Chicago's festival of GLBT cinema runs through the 12th with screenings at several venues around town; tickets are already available. For previews of select opening week features, check out the Windy City Times run-down.

Fun with Google Maps, Movie Edition

This time, check out movie listings and times matched to the theater's location at MashMap. The fly-over effect is pretty slick.

Kartemquin at 40

Tonight is the first installment of UChicago's retrospective of Kartemquin Films, a series they're calling "Truth in Motion." Kartemquin got its start in Chicago in the mid-1960s and has gone on to produce such documentaries as Hoop Dreams and its latest, a twenty year chronicle of artist Leon Golub. Over the next few weeks, U of C's Human Rights Program will present themed groups of excerpts and shorts by Kartemquin, culminating in a master class and a panel that will discuss documentary film in the US. All events are free and open to the public; look for reminders in Slowdown.

CIFF winners

The winners of the 2005 Chicago International Film Festival, which closes tonight, have been announced. Best film? My Nikofor.

Keep it short

Next week the high-profile Chicago International Film Festival kicks off, but this weekend you can sample much shorter works in the Chicago International REEL Shorts Festival. Plenty of short films for all tastes, including a kids-friendly program at noon on Saturday. For full details see Slowdown.

Double the donations, double the fun.

Tonight, DOC Films will be showing A Streetcar Named Desire as a Hurricane Katrina relief benefit. Not only are all proceeds going to the Red Cross, but the University of Chicago is matching all donations made tonight. Sweet, no? Details in Slowdown.

A Worthwhile Ebert

Roger Ebert occasionally spits out a review that is as caustic as it is funny. His review of Jenny McCarthy's latest, Dirty Love, is fantastic. "This movie is an affront to cheese. Also to breasts. Jenny McCarthy has a technologically splendid bosom that should, in my opinion, be put to a better use than being vomited upon." Check out Sun-Times review for the full story.

Flashback Weekend HorrorFest

It's that time again: Time for another Flashback Weekend HorrorFest! This weekend-long horror movie marathon will feature celebrities, bands and a horror merchandise fleamarket at the soon-to-be-sold Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In in Aurora. This may be the last time you get to see this historic theater in operation, so pack some food and water, get a change of clothes, pay your $20 for tickets, check your Slowdown (September 24 and 25) and settle in for some surely wicked films.

Film nerd giddiness

Okay, they won't be starting up until September 26th, but I'm already excited about Doc Film's Fall lineup. This quarter, they truly do have everything a young academic could hope for in a film society: Jonathan Rosenbaum speaking about Jean Luc Godard, a film adaptation of a Tanizaki novel, Barbara Stanwyck, and robots. The fun starts soon at 1212 E 59th Street, and remember--don't sit in the back row unless you want to be next to high schoolers making out.

Feel the Magic

A new DVD about the Columbian Exposition comes out tomorrow. EXPO: Magic of the White City tells the story of the 1893 World's Fair, narrated by Gene Wilder.

Blues Brothers Mall Chase, Revisited

Sometime earlier this year, the owner of a replica Bluesmobile broke into the long-shuttered Dixie Square Mall and sort of reenacted the famous chase sequence from Blues Brothers on the 25th anniversary of the film's release. [via the comments in this Chicagoist post] Interestingly, and completely unrelated, there's also a documentary being filmed about Dixie Square.

South Side Home Movie Project

On Saturday the South Side Home Movie Project hosts its Kick-Off Screening Party. The Project's goal is to create alternative historical records by showing and preserving home movies shot by South Side residents. Today's party runs from 3-5pm at the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center, 1060 E. 47th St. The free screening will be followed by a reception. Sounds like an interesting way to learn more about South Side history and, if you are a South Sider, to learn how to make it yourself.

Yankee Foxtrot Music Box

Earlier this week, we mentioned both the Chicago Underground Film Festival and locally-shot documentary Burn to Shine 02. Funny, then, that it took music blog Radio Free Chicago to point out the connection: the CUFF is screening that very film on Sunday night at 10.

Films from the Underground

It's time once again for the annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, a festival that has been showcasing great independent films and video for 12 years. This year's festival happens in Lakeview's classic movie palace the Music Box, and kicks off this Thursday evening with the Midwest premiere of the movie Firecracker. This year's festival will feature many film premieres, and the one I'm most looking forward to is a sneak preview of the Minutemen documentary We Jam Econo, which will also play at the Siskel Film Center at the end of this month. See the CUFF site for a complete schedule and ticket purchase.

Citizen history in 8mm

Last month, Andrew posted a heads-up about Home Movie Day, sponsored by the Chicago Film Archives. Well, if you've been remiss in sorting through your (or your parents') closet or attic, time's running out: the event takes place Saturday at the Chicago Cultural Center (see Slowdown). Today's Washington Post runs a brief interview with one of HMD's founders, who points out how important these personally shot films are for documenting cultural history. To that end, even if you aren't ready for this weekend's festival, the Film Archives is always interested in donations; get more details here.

Ebert Gives Cheetah a Chance

Salon reports (if you'll wait through the ad) on the predicament a children's movie called Duma is in: Warner Brothers didn't want to release it, but Roger Ebert saw it and raved, so now it's seeing limited release here in Chicago. Based on how the movie does here, it may finally be released nationally. Read an interview with the director in this week's TimeOut. (Thanks, Ray)

The Horror! The Horror!

Although this weekend's heat is supposed to be horrific, next weekend will see some true horrors as the annual Flashback Weekend horror/sci-fi/fantasy convention rolls into town July 29-31 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare in Rosemont. Our very own Steve at the Movies is one of the co-hosts for the event, which features Bruce Campbell (read Steve's interview with him at Ain't It Cool), Ted Raimi, Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Moseley and Sid Haig from the new film The Devil's Rejects and Camille Keaton, the star of the controversial film I Spit on Your Grave. There's also a drive-in theater set up in the parking lot. Tickets are reasonable -- get'em while they last!

Chicago's Funniest Home Movies

Well, not necessarily funny -- they could be banal, creepy, sentimental... whatever they're like, as long as they're on film, not video, you've got a month to dig them out and bring them with you to Chicago's Home Movie Day celebration on August 13 at the Cultural Center. The Chicago Film Archives has more details.

At the movies

Today is the start of the 6th annual Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park. This year's film list has been selected by Roger Ebert, who also gets his own official day in Chicago today. Roger Ebert Day will be marked by placing a commemorative plaque in the sidewalk of the Chicago Theater -- just across the street from the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Old Time Movies in Old Irving Park

The LaSalle Bank Cinema, 4901 W. Irving Park, shows The Power and the Glory tonight correction, tomorrow night at 8pm. The 1933 film tells the life story of a railroad tycoon in out-of-sequence episodes, a structure that was a big influence on Citizen Kane, which came out eight years later. Also on the bill is Reducing Creme, a Willie Whopper cartoon. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children. Call 312/904-9442 for more info.

Open the film fest doors, Hal

The Siskel Film Center begins a month-long Stanley Kubrick retrospective tonight with a screening of his 1955 film Killer's Kiss. Over the course of July, moviegoers will have a chance to see such classics as The Killing, Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and even Steven Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence, which was a project Kubrick was working on at the time of his death. Looks like it'll be another banner month at the Film Center.


Get ready for another look at Chicago's famous mob scene: Brian De Palma has agreed to direct a prequel to his classic, The Untouchables. The new movie will focus not on the G-men out to stop the mob, but rather on Al Capone's rise to power. No word on who will star, nor on whether it will acually be filmed here. We can only hope.

Ebert's a star

The 2,288th star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame was dedicated yesterday, and it honors film critic Roger Ebert. The star was the first one given to a film critic (another first for Ebert; in 1975, he became the first critic to win the Pulitzer Prize).

"We don't have a school"

In preparation for tomorrow's release of Bewitched, the RedEye talks to several local witches about their representation on screen. Of them, Heathen Carolyn Reyes offers the most amusing response. Because her belief system is "practical," she doesn't put much faith in the nose-twitching business. Instead, she offers the following love spell: "'Take a shower, brush your teeth.'" Works for me. (I wonder, though, what sort of magic she might offer Nora Ephron for such dismal reviews. Ouch.)

They broke my watch!

The Sun-Times salutes one of the greatest Chicago films, The Blues Brothers, on the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary. All this week they'll be writing about the Chicago locales used in the making of the film, and how things have changed since 1980.

Batman and a different Chicago

As we've noted a few times before, the restarted Batman franchise, Batman Begins has extensive shots of Chicago as Gotham. I saw it last night and was amazed at how much of Chicago was actually used. A fun game of spot the bridge, "Which part of Lower Wacker was that?" and "What rooftop building is that?" ensued post-movie. The el however has been replaced by a much slicker monorail system which I doubt the CTA will ever be. Also, I agree with Ebert, this is the Batman I've been waiting for.

The Chicago Theory

Roger Ebert is pretty predictable in his tastes if you pay attention, but Slashdot member sielwolf has stumbled across an amusing correlation between a movie's proximity to Chicago and Ebert's star rating.

Psychos, windows and rope

Tonight at the Music Box Theatre, they begin a two-week long salute to director Alfred Hitchcock, starting with screenings of Psycho tonight and tomorrow, and continuing with Rear Window, Shadow of A Doubt, Rope, and ending with a week-long screening of a 70mm print of Vertigo. The first four titles will be screening for only a day or two, so film fans will definitely want to check out the Music Box schedule for full details.

The best of Nightclubbing

If you've been watching the "Nightclubbing" series at the Siskel Film Center, you've seen rare early performances by Blondie, the Talking Heads, the Dead Boys, the Dead Kennedys, Suicide, the Go-Go's, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and many more. If you haven't been watching these weekly screenings of early 1980s footage recorded at NYC clubs like CBGB's and the Danceteria, you've got one final chance this week, as the Film Center presents a greatest hits show, with directors Emily Armstrong and Pat Ivers showing up in person at one screening. See Slowdown for details.

Out of the Vault

Fans of the cinema will be interested in the upcoming Out of the Vault Festival next week, put on by the new Chicago Film Archive. The festival (and the organization) features educational, industrial and experimental films made in the Midwest. It's at the Chicago Cultural Center, so it's free -- what's more to love?

DIY Raiders

In 1982, three friends decided to remake Raiders of the Lost Ark shot by shot. Seven years and $5,000 later, they finished it, and now you can see the product of their work. Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Adaptation will make its Chicago premiere this Friday at 8:30pm at Columbia's Film Row Cinema as part of the Future Filmmakers Festival. The filmmakers Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala will be in attendance. Tickets are $20/$10 students.

Nightclubbing in May

It's a busy weekend for movie-goers (Todd Solondz's Palindromes, the movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the return of Heaven's Gate), but I did want to highlight an excellent-sounding series starting at the Film Center: every Sunday in May, they'll be showing a different episode from the New York cable TV show "Nightclubbing", which aired through the 1970s and 1980s and showed performance footage from local clubs like CBGB's and the Danceteria. You'll get to see footage of Blondie, the Dead Boys, Iggy Pop, the Dead Kennedys, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks (with Lydia Lunch), Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and quite a few more. Keep your eye on Slowdown for the scoop.

Be In Stranger Than Fiction

The movie Stranger Than Fiction, directed by Marc Forster and starring Wil Ferrell, begins shooting in Chicago April 25, and they're holding an open casting call for paid extras at Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark, next Tuesday from 8pm to 11pm. People with tattoos and piercings and of any ethnicity are encouraged to show up with a recent color photograph -- it doesn't have to be a professional headshot. You do have to be 21 or older, but it's otherwise free.

Look! Titles announced for Overlooked Film Fest

Last week, Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert announced his choices for this year's Overlooked Film Festival, held in Urbana-Champaign and featuring screenings of films that Ebert has chosen because they or the film genres they represent have been overlooked. Twelve films will be screened during the festival's five days, from the restored version of Jacques Tati's Playtime (a film not overlooked by the MCA, as a clip from Playtime is part of the museum's current exhibition Universal Experience) to the 1999 Bollywood epic Taal. Tickets for the festival go on sale April 1.

A film guaranteed to make you hungry

Tonight at Facets you can catch a screening of the documentary Hamburger America, which profiles 8 different American restaurants that serve hamburgers, from Louis' Lunch in New Haven, CT (which bills itself as the first place to serve a hamburger in America) to the Billy Goat Tavern's cheezborger. The director, George Motz, will be at the 7:00 screening for Q&A after the film, and then the audience is invited to the Billy Goat at 430 N. Michigan for burgers.

Tonight's other European film festival

Along with the EU Film Festival at the Film Center, another European film fest kicks off tonight: the 6th annual Irish Film Festival, which plays at the Beverly Arts Center and the Society for Arts. The festival kicks off tonight with the film Adam & Paul, and runs through Sunday, March 13. See the festival's Website for a complete schedule of films and events, and to purchase tickets.


Independent filmmaker Jem Cohen will be screening his full length feature, Chain, at the MCP tonight. The film is being shown in conjunction with the Manufactured Self exhibition and is screening for one night only! Jem Cohen will be there in person to introduce the film and for discussion after the screening. He is best known for his documentary Instrument, a portrait of the band Fugazi, shot over ten years. For a review of the film and an interview with the director go here. The screening is free and starts at 7pm.

EU Film Festival starts tonight

The Siskel Film Center begins its 8th annual European Film Festival tonight, which runs through March 24. All 25 nations of the EU are represented in the film selections, and among them are many sneak previews of talked-about films that will be officially screening in the US in later months. Check out the Film Center's site for more information on the festival and a full schedule.

You vs. Ebert!

Got an opinion on what films are going to win Oscars this year? You can test your predictive powers in the Sun-Times' annual Outguess Ebert contest. If you enter and correctly pick more Oscar winners than The Big E, you could win valuable prizes. See the Sun-Times site for details. But hurry; you only have until February 25th to enter.

Cribs: Ebert Edition

"Topic he adores but won't discuss at a party: Darwinism. I really believe Darwin and his followers more or less have accounted for much of what we see when we open our eyes each day. I think that is miraculous, but my wife says I bore people with it." 28 Questions with Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert. [via Kottke]

Sunrise, Sunset

The Siskel Film Center is going to be running a very cool double-bill for the next week: Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. If you missed one (or both) of these films when they originally ran in the theaters, here's your chance to see their story in one long afternoon or evening. Check the Film Center's calendar for showtimes. And if romance isn't your cup of cinematic tea, just wait a couple of weeks when the Film Center repeats this double-bill idea with Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films.

Bad, bad, bad

Do you like bad movies? Not bad in a good way, I don't even bad in a so bad it's funny way. I just mean bad in "I can't believe people got paid to make this film" kind of way. If so then you'll definitely want to head over to B-Fest. I'm pretty sure that most of the films should have a C or D rating, but somebody's gotta enjoy this stuff since it sold out last year. Yeah, you can get your tickets online.

The best and worst of 2004

Roger Ebert has published his annual list of the best films of the year. His pick for #1 is Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (currently playing at River East 21). Don't miss his worst of 2004 list, at the bottom of the article, for a flashback to films you almost forgot about. (Oh yeah, remember White Chicks?)

Is it just me, or is this kind of messed up?

Today's "Rattle & Reel" Movie Matinee for parents/caretakers and babies at the Landmark Century is Vera Drake. Great movie, jaw-dropping performance by Imelda Staunton, but the idea of sitting next to a baby during a movie about abortion seems weirder than watching a porn with your parents. Anyway, the show starts at 11:00 AM. Tickets are $7.50 for grown-ups, but the little ones are free.

Resfest Digital Film Festival

From the collective mind of the folks at Res Magazine, Resfest 2004 hits town this weekend. Setting up shop Friday through Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the production is self-described as a "global touring festival exploring the dynamic interplay of film, art, music, design, and technology." This year's lineup features work from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer, British video artists Shynola, audio terrorists EBN, and more. Tickets are available through the Resfest website and the MCA; more information on the specific schedule has been posted in Slowdown.

Christmas Openings

Not into the whole unwrapping presents/tinsel/eggnog thing? There's a ton of movies opening on Christmas Day. Plan a movie marathon and don't look up until the mistletoe is gone. Among the films in theatres opening on (or just before) Dec. 25 are: Wes Anderson's latest, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Fat Albert, Meet the Fockers, The Phantom of the Opera, Darkness and more. Check the Reader for listings.

The sound (and sight) of music

Two new musical documentaries begin showing tonight at the Siskel Film Center. There's Moog, an appreciation of musician and inventor Robert Moog. (You know, the Moog synthesizer guy.) And there's also a documentary about Christian rock music, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? (This film was recently seen at this year's Chicago Underground Film Festival.) The directors of this film, Heather Whinna and Vickie Hunter, will be at the Film Center for audience discussion after tonight's screening. And if that isn't enough music for you, tonight's Film Center schedule also includes a screening of that hard-hitting look at the Hollywood music scene, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. So now all you fans of The Carrie Nations have something to do tonight!

Special Cinemas

Cinema Treasures is a site devoted to movie theater preservation and awareness. There are 365 theaters listed for Chicago, 796 for Illinois. [via Coudal]

You're invited to The Party

A very unusual Peter Sellers/Blake Edwards film at the Siskel Film Center tonight. The Party has Sellers playing an Indian actor who inadvertently destroys a film version of "Gunga Din" (Sellers' filmed death scene at the beginning of the movie is hilarious), and then is accidentally invited to a party at the producer's house. Some very funny sight gags in the film, mostly centering around Sellers trying to be inconspicuous at a party at which he doesn't know any of the attendees. The film is being shown as part of the Film Center's American Film Comedy series, and will be screened again next Tuesday with an accompanying lecture.

Hooray for Bollywood

Hollywood isn't the only movie-making capital that's taken an interest in Chicago. Suburbanite Aleeza Ali stars in Ho Jata Hai Pyar, a "clean love story" from Bollywood to be released this December. (In India, that is. We'll have to wait a bit longer for the state-side release.)

Fabulous Film Fest

This weekend marks the start of the 23rd Annual Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival which runs through November 11. Featuring films, ranging from zany comedies to psychological thrillers, being shown at the Music Box, the Landmark Century, and Chicago Filmakers Theatres, the centerpiece screening this year is a Russian film You I Love on Sunday. As the second oldest film festival of its kind in the world, this great fest is certainly a powerful reason to head to the movies this week. Tickets range from $6 to $9 per screening.

Vote early, then pARTicipate

Schubas has just announced an addition to their election-night programming. "A Night of Apocalyptic Possibilities" will now kick off at 6pm with the premiere screening of "pARTicipation," a documentary filmed during August's Interchange music-and-voter-registration festival, featuring performances by Andrew Bird, Bobby Conn, Tortoise, the M's and more. That's still followed by a screening of "Fahrenheit 9/11" at 7:30 and live band karaoke at 10, and it's still all free.

Munchkin Movies

If you're looking for some cinema time with your kids that doesn't insult your intelligence, check out the Chicago Children's Film Festival, over the next ten days. The festival kicks off tonight with a gala event featuring LeVar Burton (yup, from Reading Rainbow!) and most tickets are cheaper than going to a regular movie (just $8 for adults, $6 for kids). Films are being shown at Facets, the Vittum Theatre, and Burnham Plaza until October 31 and range from a new clay animated mockumentary by the makers of "Chicken Run", to several created by children in Chicago. There are also workshops, a tribute to Shel Silverstein, and an awards presentation. Plus, read Kid Reviews of the films.

Films, not movies

Ocular Loci is a resource with a great list of film and video screenings in Chicago, regularly updated. They also have a partial list of venues, theaters and festivals that show films, not movies.

Doc Releases Fall Schedule

Doc Films, one the oldest student-run film groups in the nation, has just announced another packed Autumn lineup. Operating out of Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago, Doc traditionally creates a theme for each day of the week, with more esoteric cinema showing Sunday through Thursday. This season is no exception, featuring work from Kenji Mizoguchi and Jim Jarmusch, as well as up-and-coming Nordic filmmakers. They also frequently hold special events that are worth looking out for; Errol Morris, Ang Lee, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, and Roger Ebert have all participated in recent screenings.

Ebert On the Web

Roger Ebert is finally getting the respect he deserves -- with a website of his own. is loaded with prety much everything he's ever written, and gives readers the opportunity to rate films themselves. Is it me, though, or does that photo make Roger's face look even more square?

Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema

Well-regarded by cinephiles, academics and filmmakers alike, Jonathan Rosenbaum (film critic for the Chicago Reader) recently released his latest book, Essential Cinema. Published in April through Johns Hopkins Press, it follows a similar direction to the one he traced with Movie Wars, this time pairing a selection of long-form reviews with an analysis of how Hollywood is effectively deteriorating the concept of film canons. Does Roeper even know what that word means?

We report, you decide on a showtime

Outfoxed, the anti-FoxNews film that became a DVD hit thanks to a push from, gets a theatrical release in Chicago today. It's playing at the Loews Esquire on Oak Street, which also still has F9/11. You can make it a Republican-hating double feature! Get tix at Fandango, if you like.


Don't forget, tonight's the opening night for the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Tonight's film is The Manson Family, a drama about the Tate-LaBianca killings. Showtime is at 8:00 at the 3 Penny (2424 N. Lincoln), tickets are $7, and there'll be a reception and opening night party afterwards.

Get your flick on

Odd Obsession, Chicago's newest supplier for obscure/hard-to-find movie addicts, opens today Friday. It's located at 1659 N. Halsted, a quick stroll from the North & Clybourn Red Line, and it's open from noon to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday (no new memberships after 9 pm, though). There are two membership rates available a free one and a paid one, which comes with some perks, so check out the site for details.

Jesus built my rockstar

The cover story of this week's Newcity is a profile of Chicago filmmakers Heather Whinna and Vickie Hunter, whose first film (a documentary about Christian rock groups called Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?) will be screened at the 2004 Chicago Underground Film Festival, which starts on Wednesday, August 18 (tickets for CUFF are now available!).

Batmobile in the Loop

The new Batmobile cruises Chicago [you'll need QuickTime for the video clip]. The car rounds the corner of Wells and Adams, provoking awe and wonder in the fellow holding the camera. Don't be thrown by the "GPD" police cruisers - though labeled for Gotham, they're in Chicago.

Silent Film Festival

The Silent Summer 2004 Film Festival is underway at the Gateway Theatre, hosted by the The Silent Film Society of Chicago. This Friday, come out to see The Iron Horse, John Ford's silent Western epic from 1924. The film will be accompanied by a live orchestra. Other films in the festival are accompanied by live organ music. Check out the Silent Film Society of Chicago website for more information about the festival and other silent film events around the city.

Illinois death penalty doc on NBC tonight

Deadline, the documentary that examines Illinois Governor George Ryan's decision to grant blanket clemency to all Death Row inmates in Illinois, airs tonight on "Dateline NBC" at 7:00. The film's Website has a list of follow-up programs that will run on MSNBC and NBC, discussing the issues behind the film and offering viewers to respond to the movie.

Batman Begins again

The Sun-Times reports that filming on the next Batman film ("which is tentatively titled The Intimidation Game but will be known as Batman Begins when it hits theaters") continues in Chicago. The film-makers apparently love Lower Wacker Drive so much that they rewrote the script to have more screen time devoted to Batman traversing its twisty depths (something that John Landis did 24 years ago). Chicago will be featured prominently in several other upcoming films, including Ocean's 12, a remake of The Amityville Horror (I'm scared already), and the next Harold Ramis movie, Ice Harvest.

Xanadu in the Windy City

One of the most technically innovative and influential films ever, Orson Welles 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane is in town for the next week, to the Music Boxs Weekend Matinee Series (Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1, at 11:30 am) as well as 600 N. Michigans Loews Classic Film Series (Thurdsay, August 5, at 7:00 pm). See what all the fuss is about the way it was meant to be seen: with movie theater popcorn.


Do we have horror movie fans in the house? Then you'll definitely want to check out Flashback Weekend (aka Horro'Rama Drive-In and Convention), which happens this weekend at the Holiday Inn O'Hare in Rosemont. Loads of horror movie celebrities of varying degrees of fame, plenty of memorabilia dealers and activities, and my favorite part: an actual drive-in screen (or "walk-in," as it won't be in a parking lot) set up outside the hotel, which will be showing buckets of horror movies late into the evenings. The convention starts Friday night, and runs through Sunday night; check the Website for a full schedule and complete information.

Lower Wacker Drive Gets Batty

A film crew shooting scenes for the new Batman movie arrived yesterday, and shooting begins this weekend on Lower Wacker Drive. An office worker in the West Loop passed this email on to, detailing when to catch the filming -- be prepared to stay up late or get up early. Really early.

"Interactive" Showgirls

If by interactive, you mean throwing a fake wad of cash at a screen while people are stripping on a giant screen, then I'm there. Or you can 'dress up' as your favorite character and win prizes. The cult and campy favorite, Showgirls will be playing at one of the city's finest independent film venues, the Landmark Century for one night only, Tuesday July 27. The one-time screening is to celebrate the release of the DVD 'VIP Edition' (comes with such highlights as "Pin the Pasties on the Showgirl" game with pasties and blindfold, Showgirls party games and a lap-dance tutorial featuring the world-famous girls of Scores) and tickets are free — download them at

My Movies Are Better Than Yours

Odd Obsession is a new, soon-to-open video store/gallery "by cinephiles for cinephiles," specializing in hard-to-find films for rent -- similar to Facets, but perhaps a little more obscure. They're currently asking for recommendations of what to stock, as well as soliciting artists interested in showing works in the store. Contact info's on the site. (Thanks, Kelly.)

Fast forward film festival registration

Today begins registration for the fifteenth Fast Forward Film Festival, for which teams are given a topic and twenty-one hours to make a three-minute movie. The films will be shown Saturday, August 14. Entry into the festival is limited to 24 teams, with a registration fee of $20. Register at Atomix, 1957 W. Chicago.


The Sun-Times reports that one of Mayor Daley's long-term projects, that of bringing a movie studio to Chicago, may be coming to fruition. Eleven acres of land on the West Side will be sold to Central Studios LLC, which is planning to construct stage and office space on the property.


Speaking of production companies with the word "light" in their names, Coudal Partners is hosting the weblog of Scott Smith, one of the three finalists in Project Greenlight, the screenwriting/directing contest started by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Smith flies out to Hollywood tomorrow, and he's taking us along for the ride.

DePaul Launches Indie Film Studio

DePaul University believes its students can learn best through direct experience. So it launched an independent film studio, Bluelight Productions, to give students in its new Digital Cinema Program a playground in which to create. Bluelight's first production, a 30-minute film called "Last Call," is shooting now in Chicago, Long Grove and Elk Grove Village. [via]

Chicago Film: Summer School

It's never to late to get an education and the previously noted has summer school for budding and aspiring filmmakers. While the sessions have already started, there are quite a few workshops and courses left to go before summer's out: The Chicago Filmmakers Coop Series and indie film center Facets' own Film School. Also of note is the Michigan Ave Apple Store's FREE Digital Movies presentations during the week in the theater and their paid Studio Series.

Godzilla vs. The Three Stooges

It's quite a banner year for film history. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the original Godzilla movie, but it's also the 70th anniversary of the Three Stooges starting as a solo act (following their apprenticeship to vaudevillian Ted Healy). Both of these important dates in film history have celebratory film openings tonight. The original unedited version of Godzilla starts playing tonight at the Music Box, and a Three Stooges "70th Annivoisary" program starts at the Siskel Film Center. Fine cinematic fare for the kid in us all.

The Magnificent Ambersons at the Music Box

The Music Box's Orson Welles Weekend Matinee Series starts rolling on June 19 & 20 at 11:30am with The Magnificent Ambersons, one of the few instances I can say that I've read the novel yet not seen the movie -- no film lover should miss seeing this on the big screen. His follow-up to Citizen Kane, Welle's adaptation of Booth Tarkington's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1918 novel, tells the story of a bratty rich kid who eventually gets the comeuppance he deserves against the backdrop of a rapidly changing, late 19th century America. While widely considered "mutilated" by studio cuts, my dad says it was still really good.

Chicago Drive-in

If the rain keeps up, this won't be the weekend to do it, but Cascade Drive-in in West Chicago awaits you and your car. Unlike the B-movie fare of old, Cascade shows first-run flicks -- this week it's Shrek 2 and The Day After Tomorrow. And here's a list of all the drive-in theaters in Illinois.

We have a winner

Veteran Chicago actress Irma P. Hall was awarded the special jury prize at Cannes this weekend for her performance in the Coen brothers' The Ladykillers. She won in a tie with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director of the first Thai film to compete at the festival. Hall was unable to attend as she continues to recover from a January car accident here.

Free Coffee and Cigarettes

If you're all geared up to see Jim Jarmusch's new film "Coffee and Cigarettes," but you've spent all your cash and cigarettes, you can enter to win tickets from WBEZ. Seventy-five lucky folks will get passes (for you and a friend), but you have to enter before Tuesday, May 25. The film will be screened at the Landmark Century Cinema on May 27. Who can resist a film whose cast includes Steven Wright, Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, and the White Stripes?

Back to Baghdad

Earlier this year, local filmmaker (and Z Film Festival organizer) Usama Alshaibi and his wife Kristie returned to his birthplace in Iraq to film a documentary. The result is "Back to Baghdad," currently in the editing process. The Alshaibis are blogging about the making of the film at

H.H. Holmes Documentary

After a sold-out screening at the Chicago International Documentary Festival, H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer is now available on DVD. The feature was written, directed, and produced by local filmmaker John Borowski, who spent three years on the film. For more on H.H. Holmes, check out "The Murder Castle of H.H. Holmes," an excerpt from Troy Taylor's Haunted Chicago book. Or, visit the official website for Erik Larson's best-selling book about Holmes and Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893, The Devil in the White City.

I've got the source right here

Summer must really be close; the City's Office of Special Events has just released the line-up for the 2004 Outdoor Film Festival. This year sees a collection of classics from stars who died last year (Peck, Hepburn), stars who would be 100 years old had they been alive (Grant) and stars who are, according to the city, "larger than life" (Brando). In honor of the Mouse's 75th birthday, they'll be showing a Mickey comic short before each film. Come early, come often, just come without your chair.

The Final Prime Shorts

Local film curator Xan Aranda brings the successful Prime Shorts film show to an end tomorrow evening at The Hideout. In her words: "Producing and curating this show has been the greatest! But we can't go steady anymore, Prime Shorts and me... It was a hot sweaty love affair that now needs to give way to other shiny objects and tempting projects." And: "With the promise of there being no uber-depressing dog-murder claymation, I hope you can make it to the swan song, the final sprint, the last (scheduled) Prime Shorts." If you've missed engagements at The Hideout and the Gene Siskel Film Center, then this is your last chance. 

The Corporation

Award winning documentary,The Corporation, will be showing at the Cultural Center this Wednesday at 6 as part of the Version Fest. The documentary, based on Joel Bakan's book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power", examines the nature of the corporate institution. It features interviews with Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn and Michael Moore and many others. Check out the trailer here.

Chicago Latino Film Festival

The 20th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival continues through this weekend at locations around the city. Over 50 films from 20 different countries are featured in this year's event. Check out the official website for more information on locations, showtimes, and tickets.

Improv Film Challenge

Splitpillow has announced that teams wishing to participate in this year's Challenge 2.0 can now do so. What's The Challenge, you ask? It's a weekend of improvisational filmmaking, a madcap three days of filming, editing and production, culminating in a screening of the results at the Biograph Theater on June 3. Deadline for early (read: cheap) entry is May 1 -- check the site for more details.

Asian American Showcase

The 9th annual Chicago Asian American Showcase kicks off tonight at 5pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center with a gallery exhibit and reception. Stick around to watch a series of Asian-American films, and check the schedule to for more events. (Thanks Carly.)

Chicago International Documentary Film Festival

Tonight's the starting night of yet another Chicago film festival, the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival. The 11-day event kicks off with a screening of the film Marina, a look at the life of the Afghani actress who played the lead in the recent film Osama. See the CIDFF Website for more info, and a complete schedule of the films playing through April 11.

This Old Cub

"This Old Cub" is a documentary of Cubs great Ron Santo' battle with diabetes, specifically his recent leg amputation. Directed by Santo's son, Jeff, this is a must-see for any die-hard Cubs fan. It opens in several local theaters tomorrow; check the Reader listing tonight for show times.

The City in Pictures

There's a new web mag for the city's film industry, just in time for the resurgence of filmmaking here: This isn't some dry trade journal, though -- features like a profile of the Fast Forward Film Festival and recordings of Spike Lee's recent talk at DePaul make it interesting for anyone interested in movies.

Batman coming to our Town

It's been discussed here previously, but reports filming on the latest Batman will begin in July and continue through August. Cast includes Christian Bale in the lead role, with support from Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes and Michael Caine, to name a few. This isn't the first big budget coming our way, thanks to Brenda Sexton's hard work leading the Illinois Film Office. So far this year, producers of four major films - The Weatherman, Ocean's 12, Batman, and Ice Harvest - have sealed deals to film in Chicago.

Movieside @ Heaven Gallery

Back by popular demand are two of the main programs from the sold out Movieside Anniversary show! Jim Jarmusch's Favorite Shorts and Melvin Goes to Dinner (directed by Bob Odenkirk from Mr. Show) will both be screening at Heaven Gallery this Friday March 5 and Saturday March 6 at 8pm. If you missed either program, or just want to see it all again, it's well worth checking out. It's only $7, one admission for both! Visit the Movieside website for more details.

Baby matinee

The Tribune has a report on theaters in Chicago and the suburbs that are offering matinees for parents of newborn babies. The parents get to take their child along to a movie without worrying that they're bothering other patrons, and the theater gets to sell tickets during weekday afternoons, normally a slow time for movie business. Everybody wins!

You vs. Ebert

Roger Ebert has his Oscar predictions up at the Sun-Times Website. If you think you can correctly guess more Oscar winners than he can, you can enter the Outguess Ebert contest, to possibly win a trip to Mexico. To refresh your memory, here's the list of Oscar nominees.

Chicago = Gotham?

Michael Caine gave a little boost to our city the other day. He is set to play Alfred, Batman's faithful servant, in the next Batman movie, "Batman: Intimidation". Over talks with online magazine 15 Minutes, Caine mentioned exterior shots of the film will be set in Chicago. The director quickly cautioned this is not a done deal, but if it all works out, Gotham will be Chicago.

Which way the wind blows

I probably shouldn't be telling you this, since it'll just attract competition for me, but if you're looking for that breakout role, consider filling out an application to be an extra on The Weather Man, a new Cage/Caine/Verbinski movie filming in Chicago over the spring. The movie, oddly, doesn't seem to be about local weather superstar Tom Skilling or the '70s radical group, but rather just another melodramatic Hollywood rehash. Still: $100 bucks a day and a chance to be in smelling distance of celebrities!

Rintaro in Chicago

Famed Japanese anime director Rintaro/Taro Rin (you know him from such anime as Metropolis) will present a free lecture at the Japanese Information Center from 6 - 8pm today with a reception after. A must for fans of anime. More info.

Chicago in Film

Spurred by a question in our most recent Fuel discussion, a quick search revealed a list of movies filmed in Chicago. There is more where that came from featuring movies with Chicagoans and movies that are intrinsically about Chicago. The All Movie Guide also offers a list of everyone involved in film who was born in Chicago (strangely, Winnetka native Chris O'Donnell is on the list, but the Evanstonian Cusaks and Wilmette-ian Bill Murray are not).

Fast Forward

There's still time to sign up for the Fast Forward Film Fest no. 12 "Out of Context"! Participants in the fest will be given 21 hours to make a three minute film using scenes and/or clips taken from well known or unknown films and TV programs. Register your group at Atomix Cafe (1957 W. Chicago). Groups can be any size and there's room for 30 groups. The registration fee is $20. Participants will be meeting at Atomix January 30 at 7:30 for their topic assignment. The deadline to complete the movie is 5pm the next day (January 31). A public screening of the submissions and awards ceremony will be taking place at Open End Gallery (2000 W Fulton) at 8pm January 31. If you have any questions please call 773.263.7057.

B-Fest 2004!

Don't have anything to do Friday and Saturday? Perfect: Go to the 21st annual B-Fest, a marathon session of bad movies. Imagine a marathon Mystery Science Theater 3000 session: "McCormick Auditorium at 6pm Friday and the horrors don't stop until ". Tickets are $10 per day or $20 for the whole shebang -- buy the overnight tix in advance from the box office in the Norris Univ. Center and save $5. Reserve yours in advance (yes, they do sell out) by emailing

Get your red carpet on!

If the Oscars at the MSI (and Bill Murray's Golden Globe win) have you jazzed for the red carpet, mark your calendar for Oscar night. The Gene Siskel Film Center is hosting Chicago's only official, AMPAS-sanctioned Oscar party. The soiree, featuring complimentary cocktails and buffet, silent auctions, and a red carpet with—no kidding—a Joan Rivers impersonator, benefits the Siskel Center and the Chicago Academy for the Arts; tickets are, ahem, accordingly priced. Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday morning.

And the Oscar comes from...

Chicago! The local firm R. S. Owens & Company manufactures the statuettes every year, and this year you can check them out before they're given to the recipients. An exhibition of the statuettes that will be used in this year's awards ceremony is currently going on at the Museum of Science and Industry. Check it out before February 18th, when the statuettes are packed up and shipped off to Los Angeles.

Chicago film critics announce best of 2003

Yesterday the Chicago Film Critics Association announced their best of 2003 list. Big winners: LOTR: Return of the King and Lost In Translation, which got 3 awards each.

Passion in the suburbs

On Tuesday Mel Gibson sneaked into South Barrington to screen The Passion of Christ, his controversial new film about the death of Jesus. A hand-picked crowd of 4,300 people -- most of them Christian pastors -- loved the film.

CUFF calls for entries

Attention film-makers! The Chicago Underground Film Festival is now taking entries for this year's festival. They're looking for films that 'dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the "indie" mainstream.' The deadline for application is May 1, so you've got less than 4 months to get your indie self together!

West Side Film Studio?

A major Hollywood group is still looking to transform a mountain of debris into a West Side movie studio complex. With no major studio located off either the East or West coasts, it's only natural to pursue the opportunity on Chicago's West Side. However, Ald. Michael Chandler (24th) is getting tired of waiting. ''This is like the last shot. If it's not alive, we need to move on. We can put a Home Depot or a Wal-Mart in there. We need to do something else that's going to generate traffic and create jobs for our people and we need to do it quick,'' Chandler said.

FFFF registration

Today is the first day of registration for the next Fast Forward Film Festival. Teams will be given a topic on January 30th, and have 24 hours to complete a five minute film, to be screened on the 31st at the Open End Gallery. Sign-up is $20, at Atomix; teams can be any size.

Fishy Names for Cartoon Sharks

You recall a couple years ago an Italian-American group picked a fight with The Sopranos for perpetuating the stereotype that all Italians are in the mafia? Well, now the Italic Institute of America is up in arms about Shark Tale, a new Dreamworks animated feature starring several sharks with names like Don Lino, Vinny and Luca -- voiced by Robert DiNiro, Martin Scorsese and other Italian-American Hollywood types. Read their complaint here.

Win Richard Roeper's money

Looking for another movie to see, now that you've already seen Return of the King at the midnight showing? Try Jim Sheridan's In America, which has been getting fairly good reviews across the country (and is currently playing at Chicago's Pipers Alley, among other places). The Sun-Times' Richard Roeper likes it so much, in fact, that he's offering to refund your ticket price if you don't like the film. Act quickly: the offer is only for the first 100 people who respond.

LOTR Mania

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King debuts tonight at midnight. If you haven't gotten your tickets by now, you're probably out of luck, but here's a list of theaters showing the film. Metromix has a round-up of LOTR coverage, and serious fans may be interested in joining the Chicago Fellowship.

Chicago film awards back on track

The Trib reports that the Chicago Film Critics board is resuming its annual awards voting, after the awards were suspended to protest a recent decision by the MPAA to end the practice of sending out tapes and DVDs of Oscar-eligible films to critics. [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

Facets en Français

Facets Multimedia, the city's best video store for independent and foreign films, kicks off its 7th annual Festival of French Cinema tonight. The Sun-Times has a brief overview of some of the 12 films being shown.

Po' Lazarus

In 1959, musicologist Alan Lomax recorded folk songs by inmates in Mississippi's prisons and work gangs. Four decades later, one of those songs, "Po' Lazarus," was selected for the "O Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack. When the album became a best-seller, its producers spent more than a year searching for the singer of "Po' Lazarus." They finally found him living in a rundown Chicago apartment. He had never heard of the movie and had forgotten Lomax's visit. They gave him a $20,000 check, the first of several royalty payments, and paid for his first plane trip, to L.A. for the 2002 Grammy Awards. The singer, James Carter, died last week at the age of 77. [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

It's a wonderful movie

My soft spots for Frank Capra and for group singing intersect each year with the Music Box's Christmas double feature and sing-a-long, Dec. 19-24. Tickets are on sale now. Per tradition, the movies are "White Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life," and each showing is preceding by a round of Christmas carols, led by Santa Claus himself. Related: This will be the last Christmas for Music Box managers Chris Carlo and Robert Chane, who after 20 years have handed the reins to their landlord, who promises to maintain the theater's format and physical layout.

A Literary Lottery?

The Globe and Mail reports that the debut novel of Chicago-based visual artist Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife, is set for a film treatment, by none other than Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, in connection with New Line Cinema. Niffenegger, 40, makes her career as a printmaker. She shows her work regularly, and balances her art with her work teaching for the master of fine art program at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College in Chicago. Certainly not a bad result for a debut novel!

Support Arab Cinema!

The Gene Siskel Film Center is hosting an Arab Film Series. The series took a lot of doing to get together, including the hard work of a lot of highly placed cultural attache types, but attendance is threatening to be low, and emails circulating around the academic/arts community are urging people to come on out. So if you're interested in the art behind America's favorite Global Hotspot, be sure to check it out.

It'll make a great movie some day

Today the feds charged nine people, seven of them union projectionists from Chicago, with a wave of arson and assault at theaters across the country. In a twist befitting any bad heist movie, the arsonists are accused of leaving calling cards: CD covers from the band Chicago, "just so the notion of the city of Chicago would be planted in the minds of the theater owners," according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. The conflict between movie theaters and projectionists has been simmering for years, and the union has a history of violence and crime that goes back to the '20s and continued into the '90s. [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

Reeling 2003.

Reeling 2003, the annual Chicago gay and lesbian film festival, is under way! Opening night was last night, and the festival runs through Thursday, November 13. Check the Website for a calendar of films, and check with the always-dependable Chicago Reader for synopses and mini-reviews of the films.

Cineme 2003

Cineme 2003, otherwise known as the first annual Chicago International Animation Film Festival, kicks off tonight, but the real action goes down this weekend, with showings of award-winning animated films Friday, Saturday and Sunda, primarily at the Biograph Theater. Covering everything from web animation to Bill Plimpton to contemporary Anime, this should be a visual feast.

Film Critics Cancel Awards

The Chicago Film Critics Association, which does its own little awards ceremony every year, has announced that it is suspending its competitive awards this year in protest of the MPAA's decision to ban distribution of screener films to Academy members. The CFCA will still give out its honorary awards (which go to local productions and companies) and will still hold its annual bash.

Chicago: A Cinematic History

A wide-ranging article in the USA Today covers everything from the studios that once dotted the Northside, gangsters, Siskel and Ebert, film festivals, Doc Films, new theatres, and famous movies made in Chicago. It's a hodge-podge of an article, but contains some interesting stuff.


I'm sure none of you have forgotten that the last installment of the Matrix trilogy opens tomorrow. I noted in the trailer during a brief oncoming train shot that its destination read "Loop" and the sign was sort of brown. It was in the subway though; I suppose in the Matrix, the Brown Line runs underground...

Music Box Theatre to be Sold

Crains Chicago Business reports this week that Chris Carlo and Robert Chaney are negotiating to sell the Music Box movie theatre to to building owner William G. Schopf. Luckily, Schopf says he has no current plans to close the theatre.

Kids Films

The Chicago International Children's Film Festival, which opens tomorrow night with a gala featuring Jane Seymour and Maggie Daley, is the only children's film festival recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Oscar qualifying festival. Take a look at the schedule.

Alloy Orchestra and Nosferatu

Alloy Orchestra, called "the best in the world at accompanying silent films" by Roger Ebert, is accompanying a screening of the 1922 vampire classic Nosferatu. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, October 22, 8 p.m.

Fast Forward Film Festival

There's still time to register at Atomix for the next Fast Forward Film Festival. Participating teams are assigned a topic for a 3-minute video on Friday night, with the completed result to be screened on Saturday at 8pm. I participated in the last festival, and it was a blast. A hectic whirlwind, but a great time. Even if you don't sign up, it's fun to view the final results, see how well people dealt with time constraints. DVDs with a "best of" compilation from the previous 9 contests will be for sale afterwards. Open End Gallery, Saturday October 18, 8pm, 2000 W Fulton, $5, BYOB.

I Was Born, But...

Roger Ebert has posted his personal pick for the screening to see in this year's Chicago International Film Festival: tonight's showing of the 1932 silent film I Was Born, But... Considered one of the best films of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, it will be accompanied by a benshi, which is a person giving a running translation/commentary during the film. Those of you who like your cinematic experiences unique might wish to check it out. Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport), 6:30PM.

What's Elvish for "sore butt"?

AMC River East 21 is the only Chicago theater screening the extended editions of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Dec. 5-11 will be "The Fellowship of the Ring." Dec. 12-15 will be "The Two Towers." On Dec. 16, the entire trilogy will be shown in a movie marathon, one day ahead of the national release of "The Return of the King." Tickets go on sale this Thursday.

Chicago International Film Festival.

The 39th annual Chicago International Film Festival is under way. Two weeks of films from all over the world, showing at the Music Box Theatre and Landmark's Century Centre. Check the CIFF site for a complete schedule. If you're wondering what to check out, check out these best-of articles by Metromix, Newcity's film critic Ray Pride, and this essay by the Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Pondering the Shaw Brothers

Oh. My. God. UIUC is having a two day conference on the Shaw brothers. How unbelievably cool is that? Sir Run Run and his brother are the people who are responsible for producing the 800 million 'bad martial arts films' that you watched on the Sunday Afternoon Cinema growing up. The Shaw brothers revolutioned Asian cinema, played a vital part in forming the Hong Kong cinema scene, and began the revolution that put Wu Shu on screen that eventually led to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Let Li (not to mention the Wu Tang Clan). 'Bout time they got some academic attention.

Ferris Bueller's Time Off

A Mr. JL Moss wrote a humorous essay concerning why quintessential teen film Ferris Bueller's Day Off has serious timeline problems. The film shot in Chicago by Brat Pack director John Hughes (stop all the Home Alone's and Beethoven's for the love of all that is good!) is of course a classic Chicago institution. I wonder if someone could live the movie for a day... [via Kottke]


The movie version of the Pulitzer prize-winning play "Proof" is going to be shot on the University of Chicago campus (and other locations around Hyde Park) next month. Keep your eyes peeled for Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, or Jake Gyllenhaal running around Chicago sometime soon.

Underworld Reviewed

Underworld opened in Chicago this weekend to generally snarky reviews. My favorite has got to be from The Village Voice which begins with the words "Worst Don Delilo adaptation, ever." Personally, I'm intrigued - Kate Beckinsale in a cat suit chasing the Bobby Thomson homer or werewolves painting abandoned bombers in the desert. What more could you want?

War Resistance Film

Almost six months ago 750 people were arrested during an anti-war protest that took place downtown. Jon Groot, Seth Skundrick, and Linda and Blake Beckstrom have created a documentary which encompasses thirty different personal stories. All the proceeds of Where We Stood: Chicago's Resistance to the U.S. War on Iraq will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and Peace Pledge-Chicago. (Reservations are recommended.)

Rear Window:

Sure, you could worry about the rain, or how your friends and neighbors are dealing with the heat, but wouldn't it be better to head out to Grant Park for a screening of Hitchcock's Rear Window, starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, the staggeringly beautiful Princess of Monaco?

Chicago Underground Film Festival

The 10th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival runs August 27 through September 2 at the Landmark Century Center Cinema, 2828 N. Clark. This year's highlights include "Scrabylon" (about -- no shit -- the "cutthroat world of tournament Scrabble"); documentaries on Rockets Redglare, Tribe 8, and feminist porn; "Value-Added Cinema," a 45-minute montage of product placement shots from 70 films; NewCity film critic Ray Pride's piece on the antiwar protest that shut down Lake Shore Drive; plus all the odd, experimental, and non-commercial stuff you just won't see anywhere else.

LOTR: The Two Towers on DVD

As I am sure you are all aware, the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers DVD comes out on Tuesday, August 26th. Can't wait! Can't wait! But what you may not be aware of is that I have seen the movie 10 times and know every line by heart (even the stuff in Elvish). I am one sick puppy.


Looking for a film festival that's not just a film festival? Looking for "a cabaret type atmosphere filled with musical acts, performance art, dance, puppetry, clowns...where gypsy palm readers can mingle with video mixers, film noir actors can meet cinematographers, capoeira dancers with naked tuba players"? (Who isn't?) Well, Knuckleface, get your ass over to the sixth annual Undershorts Film Festival, which hits the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, on Friday, July 26 at 7pm.

Dinner & Movie al fresco!

The free Chicago Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park begins next Tuesday with "It Happened One Night." Chicago Magazine's Morsels column tells us Cyrano's Bistro & Wine Bar is offering three different five-course French picnic baskets for $28 for those heading to the movie. Bon appetit et voir!

Short Comedy Film Festival

If you are not planning on attending the bash of the century, then one of your other options is the opening night of the Chicago Short Comedy Video and Film Festival. The annual festival this year features debut comedy shorts by local filmmakers, including several Second City alumni, as well as the trailer for the upcoming film "Bad Meat," starring Chevy Chase. Friday, July 18 at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. at the Biograph Theater-2433 N. Lincoln Ave. $10.

Chris & Heather's Film Jamboree

When cartoonist Heather McAdams and her fella Chris Ligon (former owner of Record Roundup) moved to Delaware two years ago, they took their quirky music-and-film shows with them. But Friday they are back for a one-night stand of cartoons, stag films, bad-movie trailers, and music shorts, featuring live tunes from Robbie Fulks and Kelly Hogan. Yee-haw, y'all! Tonight at 9 at Fitzgerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, in sunny Berwyn.

Now Shooting

The city's Film Office lists current television and film productions, for those of you who want to show up in the background on TV or movies. If you'd rather just watch, you can also peruse a list of film festivals. (You could also take a look at the Illinois Film Office.)

African Diaspora Film Festival

Facets Cinematheque has brought the African Diaspora Film Festival to Chicago for the first time after being shown for the last decade in New York City. An engaging array of films with interesting titles, the Chicago Reader has the lowdown as well as recommended viewing. Runs June 20 - 26.

"The Cliffhanger"

Nine filmmakers each have one week each to contribute 10 minutes to a 90 minute feature-length digital movie: that's the Exquisite Corpse-like formula for "The Cliffhanger," a new project from Split Pillow, an organization fostering "development of emerging motion picture artists in the Chicagoland area." Production begins in mid-July.

Cinema Under the Stars at EAC

This Friday, Evanston Art Center will be showing the animated favorite Shrek -- as well as other video shorts by EAC video art students and faculty -- on an outdoor screen starting shortly after dusk. Bring a blanket and a snack (and perhaps a few bucks for a donation -- it is a non-profit, after all) and enjoy some great film under the stars! They'll be showing two more films in July and August -- for address and more info click on

Evanston Art Center Center for the Visual Arts 2603 Sheridan Rd Evanston, IL 60201 Phone: 847-475-5300 Schedule: June 13: Shrek July 11: Spirited Away August 8: Bringing Up Baby All shows start after dusk, preceded by short videos by students and faculty in EAC's digital video classes. $3 suggested donation for non-EAC members.

The Animatrix

Years before The Animatrix hit screens, Chicago had its own Animatrix Network, an anime and manga fan club going strong since 1995. (Maybe the Wachowski brothers were members once upon a time?)

Drag King Tour

Academy and Emmy-award winning filmmakers, Sonia Slutsky and Nigel Noble, are filming a tour of Blueband Productions' Drag Kings. You'll be able to see Carlos Las Vegas, Johnny Kat, Pat Riarch, Christopher Noel, and Luster perform at Stargaze (5419 N. Clark St.) tonight for $6. It's a small price to pay to possibly be part of a crowd shot in a future award winning movie. If you liked Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, you'll want to be a part of this.

Matthew Barney's Cremaster

Starting Friday, May 23, Matthew Barney's Cremaster series of sculptural films is showing at the Landmark Century theater. The quickly-becoming legendary film sequence is outlined on the Guggenheim's site; I'm thrilled that Chicago is one of the cities with screenings.

Friday, May 23 - Thursday, May 29

Friday, May 30 - Sunday, June 1

Monday, June 2 - Wednesday, June 4

Thursday, June 5 * Repeats One Day Only!

A description of Cremaster 3, the film with the largest budget:

The concluding installment of artist Matthew Barney's five-part Cremaster film cycle is an epic journey that infuses Celtic mysticism with 20th century modernism, blockbuster bombast with hermetic aesthetics. Shot at two architectural landmarks - New York's Chrysler Building and the Guggenheim Museum - along with locales in Ireland, Scotland and upstate New York, Cremaster 3 follows The Entered Apprentice (Barney) as he endures torture and travails in order to ascend each building. Peopled by ogres and gangsters, chorus girls and freemasons, Barney's bizarre universe is never less than stunning. Features appearances by sculptor Richard Serra, hardcore bands Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law, and athlete Aimee Mullins.

Nina Simone

For those not partaking of this weekend's super-blockbuster (see Headlights), the Gene Siskel Film Center will be showing its antithesis: "Nina Simone, Love Sorceress," a documentary of one of the famous singer's concerts in 1976. The realness of Simone's ferocity is the sure antidote to computer generated mayhem. Showtimes are Sunday, 5/18, at 5pm and Thursday, 5/22, at 8pm. Admission $8.

Fast Forward Film Festival

The Fast Forward Film Festival is an event that gives groups of filmmakers (videomakers) 24 hours to produce a three-minute video based on a set topic. The topics are distributed at 7:30 Friday night (tonight), and the screening of the finished products is Saturday, May 17, at open-end Gallery, 2000 West Fulton, 8pm. Admission is five bucks. I'll be participating this time around as cast/crew for a friend who does film, should be a good time.

Got Matrix?

Hell yes I secured tickets for the 10:30 showing of the Matrix Reloaded tomorrow night. Gotsta get mine. Got Matrix?

Matrix in Chicago

The Headlights section of the Block is a bit confused. Metromix tells us that nothing could be more Chicago than The Matrix. "There's a phone on Wells and Lake" says Morpheus to Neo...

Israel Film Festival

The 19th annual Israel Film Festival has an interesting yet small selection of films playing at the Esquire downtown and in Highland Park. Worth taking in to see what creative vision is coming out from that part of the world. Began 05/11, runs though 05/15. More info here.

Chicago Community Cinema

Tonight's Chicago Community Cinema event will feature a demonstration of DNA, the latest editing technology from Avid, as well as the usual screenings of locally-made short films. The event is upstairs at Excalibur; doors open at 6:00.

Anarchist and Human Rights Film Festival

More Columbia (my, my aren't they busy), as part of their conference taking place at the moment, "Dignity Without Borders: Arts, Media and Human Rights", the Chicago Anarchist Film Festival took place this past May 2-4. Revolutionists should not have missed it. However, the Human Rights Film Festival is balancing that all out starting today, May 5-7.

Overlooked Film Festival

It'd be pretty easy to miss Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival (April 23-27), since it's running down in Champaign-Urbana instead of Chicago. Why? Ebert went to U of I.



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