by J.R. Jones
The Chicago Underground Film Festival continues through next Thursday at Gene Siskel Film Center; check out our new reviews of The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, about the Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV founder Genesis Breyer P-Orridge; Battle for Brooklyn, which chronicles an ongoing political battle over corporate abuse of eminent domain law in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; Profane, the latest provocation from former Chicagoan Usama Alshaibi; and Snow on tha Bluff, a gangsta mockumentary from the mean streets of Atlanta.
We also have a sidebar this week for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, an annual touring program, mainly of documentaries, that highlights human rights abuses across the world. Freshly reviewed this week are The Green Wave, a mix of news footage and animation that explores the contentious 2009 election in Iran, and 12 Angry Lebanese, about a drama therapy program in Lebanon that yielded a production of the Reginald Rose chestnut 12 Angry Men.
This week Landmark has an exclusive booking of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, the subject of this week's long review. It's Malick's best film since Days of Heaven (1978) and winner of the Palme D'Or at the Cannes film festival. The Chicago-area engagement expands to River East 21 and Century 12 and CineArts 6 on June 10.
Check out the new issue for capsule reviews of L'Amour Fou, a documentary on the lifelong relationship between French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his lover and business partner, Pierre Berg, and X-Men: First Class, the fifth entry in the action fantasy franchise.
Best bets for repertory this week: George Lucas's American Graffiti (1973), tonight and Sunday at Doc Films; Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station (1960), Wednesday at the Portage; Howard Hawks's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953); a double feature of William Castle's House on Haunted Hill (1958) and The Screaming Skull (1958), presented as the debut program of the new Shock Theater series at Wicker Park Arts Center; and Lionel Rogosin's On the Bowery (1957), Sunday at Doc.