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This week Fred Camper weighs in on the 23rd annual Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, which opens tonight at Gene Siskel Film Center and continues through the weekend at Chicago Filmmakers. Our festival roundup covers 16 films altogether, including new work by James Fotopoulos, Thom Andersen, Lewis Klahr, and Stephanie Barber.
We also have a long review this week of Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the late-night TV comedian's recent concert tour, and new capsule reviews of: Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz as a middle school teacher who's big trouble; Buck, a documentary about the storied horse trainer Buck Brannaman; In Memoriam, a locally produced drama by Stephen Cone in which a young man becomes obsessed with the accidental death of two young lovers; The Last Mountain, which exposes the environmental damage caused by mountaintop removal in coal mining; Rejoice and Shout, a history of American gospel music; Shadows of a Hot Summer, a 1978 hostage drama by the revered Czech director Frantisek Vlacil; and TrollHunter, a Norwegian mockumentary about a government conspiracy to conceal the existence of marauding trolls.
Best bets for repertory: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker's Airplane!, Friday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Otto Preminger's Daisy Kenyon (1947), Wednesday at the Portage; Billy Wilder's The Seven-Year Itch (1955), Saturday and Sunday morning at Music Box; Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry (1955), Wednesday at Doc; and Peter Hedges's What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993), Wednesday at Northbrook Public Library.
Also take note that next Thursday, June 30, the Chicago Cultural Center will present the Chicago premiere of Making the Boys, Crayton Robey's documentary about the landmark gay-themed play (and later movie) The Boys in the Band.