There are still quite a few Oscar-bait movies due out this year: Django Unchained, the latest pop-culture mindfuck from Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds); The Great Gatsby, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, directed by Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge!); Hyde Park on Hudson, with Bill Murray as FDR; Killing Them Softly, the latest collaboration from Brad Pitt and director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford); Les Miserables, the long-awaited screen version of the Broadway musical, directed by Tom Hooper (The King's Speech); Not Fade Away, the big-screen debut of Sopranos creator David Chase; and Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter). But the big bus blocking the lane at this point is Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, sure to grab nominations for best picture, director, actor (Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role), actress or supporting actress (Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln), supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones and possibly David Strathairn), and adapted screenplay (Tony Kushner), as well as the usual period-piece nominations (makeup, costume design, production design). If there's a special Oscar for best facial hair, that race is over. My long review is here.
Edith Scob in Holy Motors
Check out this week's issue for recommended reviews of Skyfall, the latest James Bond adventure; A Late Quartet, Yaron Zilberman's drama about a beloved string quartet (Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir) that's heading for a split; and Life Without Principle, a high-finance thriller from Hong Kong god Johnnie To. We also have new capsule reviews of Francine, with Melissa Leo as an ex-con coming apart at the seams; Holy Motors, a comeback for French director Leos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge), with Reader contributing writer Ben Sachs leading a panel discussion at tonight's 7 PM screening; The Nine Muses, an experimental feature and a "bookworm's delight" by John Akomfrah (Handsworth Songs); Nobody Walks, a romantic comedy scripted by Girls creator Lena Dunham; Older Children, a local indie drama by Duncan Riddell of A Red Orchid Theatre; and As Long As You're Healthy and Yoyo, both screening as part of the Gene Siskel Film Center's retrospective on Pierre Etaix.
Best bets for repertory: Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1965), Monday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Buster Keaton's The Cameraman (1928), noon Saturday at Music Box, with live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott; Fred Wilcox's Forbidden Planet (1956), Thursday at Doc; Otto Preminger's Laura (1944), tonight at Northwestern University Block Museum of Art; Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), Wednesday at Northbrook Public Library; Hayao Miyakzaki's My Neighbor Totoro (1989), tonight at Doc; and Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running (1959), Friday and Tuesday at Film Center, with a lecture by Fred Camper at the second screening.
Some special events you should know about: Bay Area experimental filmmaker Lawrence Jordan presents a screening of his work tonight at University of Chicago Film Studies Center; Chicago Filmmakers screens music videos by local and national acts tonight at the Viaduct Theater; producer John Davies introduces a screening of the Veterans Day documentary V-Day 11.11.11 tonight at Loyola University Lewis Towers; and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum leads a discussion after the second screening of You Got to Move: Stories of Change in the South, Sunday at Cinema Borealis.