by J.R. Jones
Through sheer girth, the Chicago International Film Festival still ranks as the city's best annual film event, but the European Union Film Festival, presented every March at Gene Siskel Film Center, is a close second and gaining fast. Every year the EU fest gets bigger—65 films this time around—which makes me glad there are only 31 days in March and even gladder that Europe is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. Check out our selected coverage of week one here, and keep coming back: nothing that lands in your local multiplex this month will be nearly as good.
Also this week we have a sidebar for the Chicago Irish Film Festival, a Critic's Choice box for the new feature animation Rango, and new reviews for: The Adjustment Bureau, a sci-fi thriller adapted from an early Philip K. Dick story; Beastly, a teen-romance update of Beauty and the Beast; The Complete Films of Fred Camper, the first of a two-part series surveying the experimental films of the longtime Reader contributor; Drive Angry, the latest Nicolas Cage dud; Foreign Parts, a documentary about a down-and-out salvage district in Queens, New York; Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, a martial-arts adventure based on the life of Bruce Lee's first mentor; The Last Lions, a big-screen National Geographic documentary highlighting the decline in the world's lion population; Take Me Home Tonight, an exercise in 80s pseudo-nostalgia from the guys who brought you That '70s Show; and 2033, a dystopian sci-fi adventure from Mexico.
Best bets for repertory this week include David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), midnight Friday and Saturday at Music Box; Roy and John Boulting's Brighton Rock (1947), Tuesday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001), screening on Saturday as part of the Facets Night School series, with a lecture by Lauren Whalen; Sergei Eisenstein's Potemkin, screening in a new print all week at Music Box; Joseph Ruben's The Stepfather (1987), Tuesday at Film Center with an introduction by Jim Trainor; D.W. Griffith's The Struggle (1931), Sunday night at Doc; and Peter Bogdanovich's Targets (1968), next Thursday at Northwestern University Block Museum of Art.