by J.R. Jones
This past April, during a trip to Los Angeles, I got a chance to sample the Film Noir Foundation's annual festival, a three-week blowout at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Chicago can't quite sustain that level of fervor, but the ambitious 15-film schedule for Noir City: Chicago 3, this week at Music Box, suggests there's still a healthy audience for noir in a city known the world over for its gangsters. Among the more familiar titles are Brute Force (1947) with Burt Lancaster, Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) with Lancaster and Barbara Stanwyck, Deadline U.S.A. (1952) with Humphrey Bogart, The Dark Mirror (1948) with Olivia De Havilland, and The Blue Dahlia (1946) with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. But the primo weekend spots in the festival are reserved for extreme rarities like Loophole (Sat 8/13, 7:30 PM) and Larceny (Sun 8/14, 3:30 and 9:45 PM), both screening in new 35-millimeter prints. For more info and a complete schedule check out the Music Box site.
In this week's issue Andrea Gronvall reviews The Interrupters, Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz's documentary about a new approach to street violence in Chicago, which opens Friday for a two-week run at Gene Siskel Film Center. Also this week at Film Center, check out week two of the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video; we have a review of Yelling to the Sky, a new drama featuring Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). Other movies newly reviewed this week: Autumn Execution (1972), a historical melodrama by Taiwanese director Lee Hsing, at Film Center; Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), the source material for the new release Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Detroit Wild City, a video documentary about the desperately blighted midwestern metropolis; The Help, a tale of the segregated south starring Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Viola Davis, and Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life); Sleep Furiously, a documentary about a man driving a bookmobile around Wales; 30 Minutes or Less, a comedy directed by Reuben Fleischer (Zombieland) and starring Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Aziz Ansari (Funny People); and The Whistleblower, with Rachel Weisz as a Nebraska cop who uncovers human trafficking in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Best bets for repertory, non-noir edition: Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), Saturday night at University of Chicago Doc Films; Samuel Fuller's I Shot Jesse James (1949), Wednesday at Doc, and The Steel Helmet (1951), Wednesday at the Portage, presented by Northwest Chicago Film Society; and F.W. Murnau's Sunrise (1927), tonight at the Portage, presented as part of the Silent Film Society of Chicago's annual summer festival, with live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren.