Neighboring Sounds, a powerful, ruthlessly integrated first feature by Brazilian writer-director Kleber Mendonca Filho, opens today for a week-long run at Gene Siskel Film Center; our four-star long review is here. Also recommended this week is In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers, a double feature of harsh political TV docs by Shohei Imamura (A Man Vanishes).
Beware of Mr. Baker
Plenty of new reviews this week: Beware of Mr. Baker, a documentary on gonzo Cream drummer Ginger Baker; Bullet to the Head, with Walter Hill directing Sylvester Stallone (all right, do your open casket, we have the title locked in); 56 Up, the latest installment in the staggering 50-year project to document the lives of a group of postwar British children; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which lays bare the soul of Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker); Mama, I'm Alive, part of Film Center's month-long series of East German movies; Meet the Fokkens, a doc about aging S-M prostitutes in Amsterdam; Movie 43, a star-stuffed sketch anthology; Stand Up Guys (which would have been more properly styled as Stand-Up Guys or, given the ages of the stars—Al Pacino, Christopher Walker, and Alan Arkin—Stand Up, Guys!); Warm Bodies, a flaccid zombie romance from young-adult specialist Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, 50/50); and Waterwalk, in which a newspaper writer, canned from his job, takes off with his sons to retrace the path of Marquette and Joliet. I knew we'd get to those guys eventually.
Best bets for repertory: Otto Preminger's Advise and Consent (1962), next Thursday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time (1994), Wednesday at Doc; Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1965), Friday and Tuesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Harold Ramis's Groundhog Day (1993), rearing its head on midnight Friday and Saturday at Music Box and on Saturday afternoon at the Patio; Robert Rossen's Lilith (1964), Wednesday at the Portage, courtesy of Northwest Chicago Film Society; Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel's poetry-slam doc Louder Than a Bomb, Friday at UC Logan Center for the Arts (the new venue also for UC Film Studies Center); Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955), Monday at Doc; and F.W. Murnau's classic Sunrise (1927), Sunday at Doc.
And don't forget the Little Queer Film Festival, Saturday and Sunday at Center on Halsted, with DVD projections of six new indie features.