This week I review America (1924), D.W. Griffith's silent epic of the American Revolution. It screens at 7 PM on Sunday night as part of Doc Films' weekly series on the late filmography of the great screen pioneer. We also have a Critic's Choice by Andrea Gronvall for Biutiful, the latest drama from Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel). The movie has just nabbed two Oscar nominations: Best Foreign Film and Best Actor for Javier Bardem.
Check out this week's issue for new reviews of Films by Vivienne Dick, a program on the 70s no-wave filmmaker on Thursday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Family Affair, a documentary about a family riven by sexual abuse; Koolhaas Houselife, which shows what chores await a housemaid inside a modern architectural landmark by Rem Koolhaas; The Mechanic, a remake of the old Charles Bronson action flick, with Jason Statham in the lead; Nora's Will, a Mexican drama about a man dealing with the posthumous demands of his ex-wife; Queen of the Sun, a documentary by Taggart Siegel (The Real Dirt on Farmer John) about colony collapse disorder among bees; The Rite, a new exorcism chiller with Anthony Hopkins; The Secret to a Happy Ending, which profiles southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers; Strongman, a documentary about a weight-lifter and performer who goes by the name Stanless Steel; and A Useful Life, a Uruguayan drama about a cinematheque programmer who manages to break out into real life.
Best bets for repertory: Claude Lanzmann's landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah (1985) continues all week at Film Center. Also: Ernst Lubitsch's romantic comedy Cluny Brown (1946), Friday at Block Museum of Art; a rare screening of Norman Lear's antismoking satire Cold Turkey (1969), introduced by Rob Christopher of Cine-File, Monday at Doc Films; George Cukor's psychological thriller Gaslight (1944), with Saturday and Sunday matinees at Music Box; Roman Polanski's hair-raising Repulsion (1965), Friday and Tuesday at Film Center; Lubitsch's So This Is Paris, Wednesday afternoon and evening at Northbook Public Library; and Alejandro Jodorowsky's venerable midnight movie El Topo (1970), showing Sunday as part of the Logan Square International Film Series.