Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
Sorry, no long review this week. I've been down with the H1N1 and unable to do anything but lie on the couch and stare at the TV. Fortunately, a good deal of my job can be accomplished by lying on the couch and staring at the TV. But that 1,400-word scholarly appraisal of Hot Tub Time Machine is going to have to wait.
Here's what I did manage to crank out this week: a sidebar for the Asian American Showcase, which begins Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Of the films I've seen, my favorite is Children of Invention, a lovely indie about two kids from Quincy, Massachusetts, whose father has abandoned them to go back to Hong Kong and whose mother is hustling to get a job and keep the family together. The story reminded me a little of Treeless Mountain, a standout from last year's festival, though the filmmaker, Tze Chun, is an American who's worked with Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson, Sugar) and absorbed some of their feel for the down-and-out.
Also this week, we have new reviews of City Island, with Andy Garcia as a Bronx prison guard and put-upon family man who yearns to be a stage actor; Clash of the Titans, a remake of the old 1981 sword-and-sandal epic; Head On, a 1998 Australian melodrama about a closeted gay man with a chip on his shoulder; The Last Song, a big-screen romance with Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus; Mid-August Lunch, an easygoing Italian drama about a man pressed into culinary service for a gaggle of old ladies; and To Die for Tano, an Italian musical comedy with a Mafia theme.
In repertory this week: University of Chicago's Doc Films is back in session, and this Monday's curriculum includes Richard Brooks's Blackboard Jungle (1955); Music Box has Friday and Saturday midnight shows of Clue (1985), based on the old board game; Northbrook Public Library will show Otto Preminger's four-hour adaptation of Leon Uris's Exodus (1960) on Wednesday; Doc Films screens the Laurence Olivier version of Henry V on Sunday night and Jean Eustache's inquiry into sexual mores, The Mother and the Whore (1973), on Tuesday night; Film Center presents an archival print of Preminger's CinemaScope western River of No Return (1951), with Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe, on Friday and Tuesday; Doc brings back the old John Hughes comedy Sixteen Candles on Wednesday; and Music Box presents Saturday and Sunday matinees of Fritz Lang's noir classic The Woman in the Window (1944).