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In this week's issue, Cliff Doerksen reviews Max Mayer's romantic comedy Adam, with Hugh Dancy as a young man who suffers from Asperger's syndrome and Rose Byrne as the young woman who finds him attractive. "Like many films of its genre," Cliff writes, "it's less interesting as a movie than as a map of gender relations and a diagram of idealized human desire." All that for ten bucks? I'm there.
Also this week:
The 15th edition of the Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival, which runs through the rest of the month at Gene Siskel Film Center. Andrea Gronvall reviews The Seed, a fantasy about an Ethiopian orphan with the power of prophecy, and Scarred Justice, about the February 1968 massacre of black college students during a civil rights protest in Orangeburg, South Carolina. And I review The Nine Lives of Marion Barry, which screens on Sunday in anticipation of its broadcast premiere on HBO later this month.
Opening this week, and highly recommended: Scott Hamilton Kennedy's documentary The Garden, about citizens battling developers to save a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles; Revanche, a Hitchcock-style suspense picture about a brothel worker who falls for one of the girls and robs a bank to rescue her from her life of prostitution; and Rumba, a wild French-Belgian comedy modeled on the graceful slapstick of American silent film.
We also have new reviews of The Answer Man, with Jeff Daniels as the burned-out author of a popular self-help book; The Cove, an expose of dolphin harvesting by Japanese fishermen; In Sickness and In Health and In My Father's Church, a pair of docs about the fight for gay marriage; Irene in Time, the latest from indie stalwart Henry Jaglom; Julie & Julia, with Meryl Streep as the irrepressible TV chef Julia Child; and Paper Heart, a twee mockumentary about a young woman trying to find love with cute-as-a-button Michael Cera.
In repertory this week: Brighton Rock (1947), an adaptation of Graham Greene's British novel about two-bit hoods in the shabby seaside town of Brighton; Busby Berkeley's Footlight Parade (1933), with James Cagney as a Broadway producer trying to salvage a troubled show; Girl Shy (1924), a Harold Lloyd comedy playing with live musical accompaniment as part of the Silent Summer Film Festival; Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), with Dennis Price trying to inherit a fortune by killing off eight relatives (all played by Alec Guinness); Modern Times (1936), Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece about the lunacies of the industrial age; Pather Panchali (1955), Satyajit Ray's family saga about a poor Brahman family; and Alfred Hitchcock's classic thrillers Psycho (1960), screening outdoors in Grant Park, and Rear Window (1954), screening at Northbrook Public Library.