by J.R. Jones
Our print edition misidentifies the venue for Devotional Cinema, a shorts program focusing on experimental filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky—it takes place Fri 7/13, 8:30 PM, at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 656 W. Barry. Devotional Cinema is among the subjects of our new capsule reviews this week, along with Elena, a moody mystery from Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return); How to Grow a Band, a documentary profile of bluegrass musician Chris Thile; The Jesus Trip, a 1971 exploitation flick about bikers who take a nun hostage; Neil Young Journeys, the third and reportedly last of Jonathan Demme's Young concert documentaries; Pom Poko, a fantasy animation produced by the Japanese outfit Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbors the Yamadas); Savages, a drug thriller from Oliver Stone; and Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley's fine drama about a married woman pining for the man next door.
Best bets in repertory: Lewis Milestone's powerful All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), restored to its original running length, Sunday and Monday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934), Sunday and Thursday at Film Center; Samuel Fuller's gangland adventure House of Bamboo (1955), starring Robert Ryan, Wednesday at the Portage; Billy Wilder's Kiss Me Stupid (1964), Sunday morning at Music Box; G.W. Pabst's silent Pandora's Box (1928), with live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott, Saturday morning at Music Box; and Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2002), on Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday at Film Center.
Also this week, don't forget the new Sundown in K-Town Film Festival, presented by Facets Multimedia and the Better Boys' Foundation, with free screenings of American Revolution 2 and The Chicago Maternity Center Story.