by J.R. Jones
Better late than never: this week marks the Chicago premiere of Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today, a film produced by the U.S. War Department in 1945 and '46 to document the war-crimes trial of 22 top-ranking Nazi officials. The film has never been seen in the U.S. until now, and considering our wholesale ignorance of world history, the "lesson for today" may be: 22 top-ranking Nazis were tried for war crimes in 1945 and '46.
Also in this week's issue, we have a sidebar on the Architecture and Design Film Festival, with new reviews by Ben Sachs of the opening night film, How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, and Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day.
Check out our new reviews of: The Beaver, a drama starring Mel Gibson as a suicidal executive who begins communicating through a beaver hand puppet; I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You, a peripatetic drama about a geologist driving across Brazil; Jumping the Broom, a romantic comedy with Paula Patton, Loretta Devine, and Angela Bassett; The Princess of Montpensier, a classy historical drama by Bertrand Tavernier; Queen to Play, with Sandrine Bonnaire as a hotel cleaning woman who finds renewed self respect as a chess master; Something Borrowed, a solid Hollywood rom-com with Ginnifer Goodwin as a good girl who starts sleeping with her best friend's fiance; Summer of Goliath, a dramatic portrait of desperate souls inhabiting a small Mexican town; and There Be Dragons, a biopic about the Spanish priest who founded the controversial Opus Dei movement.
Best bets for repertory this week: Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), Wednesday at Doc Films; David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), Friday and Tuesday at Gene Siskel Film Center, the second show to be introduced by local animator Jim Trainor; Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold (2000), Thursday at Doc; Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), with matinees Saturday and Sunday at Music Box; the silent comedy Ella Cinders (1926), with live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren, Wednesday at the Portage; Frank Perry's Mommie Dearest (1981), screening on Mother's Day with live escapades by Dick O'Day; Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), introduced by novelist Manuel Munoz, Monday at the Wilmette; and Wattstax (1972), a concert film with the Staple Singers, Albert King, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, the Bar-Kays, and Richard Pryor, screening at Music Box on Friday and Saturday at midnight.