CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Feature: Highlights of the 2013 Chicago Critics Film Festival
CHICAGO – The first annual Chicago Critics Film Festival, presented by the Chicago Film Critics Association and dedicated to Roger Ebert, will take place this weekend, April 12-14, 2013 at the Muvico Rosemont 18. With over 20 films programmed, this will be your first chance to see many of the biggest films of the year, and some of these films may never play again in Chicago. Great documentaries, exclusive premieres, and celebrity guests — here are my personal highlights and links to get your tickets.
Stories We Tell
Photo credit: Roadside
“Stories We Tell”
Sarah Polley has transitioned from actress to director with remarkable ease, delivering the critically acclaimed “Away From Her” and “Take This Waltz.” Her latest film happens to be about her own drama as the documentary “Stories We Tell” attempts to answer questions about her mother’s past and becomes something of a commentary on how and why we tell these stories in the first place. Polley masterfully weaves her own history into a piece about memories, stories, and the impact of revealed secrets. It’s one of the best movies of the year and this is your only chance to see it in Chicago with Ms. Polley in attendance to do a Q&A. We’re proud to have it as our opening night film.
More details: “Stories We Tell”
Photo credit: Paramount
The director of “The Exorcist,” “The French Connection,” and “Killer Joe” is coming to the Muvico Rosemont 18 to sign copies of his new book, “The Friedkin Connection” and he’s bringing something truly special, a 35MM version of one of the most notable “lost films” of the ’70s, “Sorcerer”. Largely unavailable for the last thirty-plus years, Friedkin’s remake of “The Wages of Fear” is considered by those who have seen it to be one of his best. The film very rarely plays in Chicago (or anywhere), and it’s even rarer to hear Friedkin himself discuss it. True film fans don’t want to miss this.
More details: “Sorcerer”
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Photo credit: Weinstein
Horror Saturday: “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” & “Black Rock”
Don’t you love to be that guy or gal who can tell your horror movie-loving friends about the next great genre pic before it’s even in theaters. Well, Saturday late night is for you. Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, and Katie Aselton star in the thriller “Black Rock” while Amber Heard headlines “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” from writer/director Jonathan Levine, the man behind “50/50” and “Warm Bodies.” We wish you could see ‘em both but you should definitely pick one.
When I Walk
Photo credit: Jason DaSilva
Rare, Important Documentaries: “The Institute” & “When I Walk”
Did you like “Exit Through the Gift Shop”? Then you need to see the similarly twisted “The Institute,” a piece about a role-playing game that takes place all over San Francisco that blurs the lines between truth and fiction. And then there’s the inspirational, powerful, amazing “When I Walk,” a film about a young man faced with tragedy who finds light even in unimaginable darkness. See ‘em both.
The Spectacular Now
Photo credit: A24
“The Spectacular Now”
When the screening of the new James Ponsoldt (“Smashed”) film ended at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Twitter exploded. Comparisons to “Perks of Being a Wallflower” (although many argued this was better) immediately put it on everyone’s radar and the CCFF has the writer/director himself here to discuss it. This is going to be one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved films of its type all year. See it first.
More details: “The Spectacular Now”
And that’s just the beginning
Q&As with CFCA members, after parties, screenings of films I haven’t had a chance to see like “This is Martin Bonner” and “The Artist and the Model,” an appearance by William Katt (“The Greatest American Hero”) to promote “Sparks,” and some of the best short films you’ll see all year. What are you waiting for? Tickets are going fast. Get yours today.