This Week's Movie Action | Bleader

This Week's Movie Action


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Shutter Island
  • Shutter Island

Universal Pictures is by far the worst of the major studios with regard to providing timely press screenings of its releases. The Wolfman didn't have a press preview in Chicago until Tuesday, February 9, only three days before it opened. This works out fine for the dailies and the bloggers, but not so good for the Reader, which is already going to press by then. That explains why I'm bringing up the rear with a long review now, when the movie already seems as musty as the werewolf myth itself.

On a related note, Metacritic recently released its first annual report card on the major studios' revenues for 2009, and Universal finished dead last. How terribly sad.

But at the Reader we're gonna publish like it's 1999: four Critic's Choices this week, just like old times. I review Martin Scorsese's psycho-thriller Shutter Island and the Charles Darwin biopic Creation, Fred Camper recommends a program of films by local artist Adele Friedman at Chicago Filmmakers, and Peter Margasak spotlights Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow, a Gene Siskel Film Center program on the pioneering animator whose brainy, often geometrically inspired cartoons were a staple on Sesame Street.

Also in this week's issue: new reviews of Ajami, an Israeli drama codirected by a Jewish filmmaker and a Palestinian filmmaker; Blood Done Sign My Name, a civil rights drama based on the memoir by Timothy Tyson; Happy Tears, the sophomore feature from the director of the cult horror item Teeth; the Oscar Nominated Short Films 2010, screening in two programs, one live-action and the other animation; Sons of Cuba, a documentary about three children training at the Havana Boxing Academy; and Visitors (Jeonju Digital Projects 2009), a trio of shorts from the Jeonju film festival in South Korea.

Film Center's Jacques Tati retrospective continues this week with his last two features, Parade and Playtime. The week's other notable revivals include Frank Capra's American Madness, screening Friday and Tuesday night at Film Center; Chekhov's Motifs and The Lady With the Dog, both screening as part of Film Center's Chekhov series; Shirley Clarke's independent feature The Cool World, screening Friday night at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Milos Forman's The Fireman's Ball, showing next Thursday at Block Museum of Art; Charles Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux, screening Saturday at Bank of America Cinema; Fritz Lang's late thriller While the City Sleeps, showing as a Saturday-Sunday matinee at Music Box; and Oscar Micheaux's silent drama Within Our Gates, screening Monday night at Doc Films.