Spike Lee reaches back to the 70s heyday of blaxploitation for his latest project, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, a remake of Bill Gunn's low-budget cult item Ganja & Hess. Also in this week's issue, I recommend Manuscripts Don't Burn, an uncompromising drama about government censorship, repression, and murder from Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof (Iron Island).
Fifty Shades of Grey
Check out our capsule reviews of: Fifty Shades of Grey, the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling porn novel; Love Hunter, about a Serbian rock star now driving a cab in New York City; Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, a subjective but affecting documentary about the gay college student whose 1998 bludgeoning death became one of the most notorious hate crimes of the 20th century; Seventh Son, a Lord of the Rings knockoff with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore; Timbuktu, a story of rampaging jihadists from director Abderrahmane Sissako (Bamako); Today, an Iranian drama about a cab driver who helps a pregnant woman; White Rabbit, an indie southern gothic about a boy driven to violence to prove his manhood; and Young Bodies Heal Quickly, a low-budget picaresque about two brothers who hit the road after the younger one kills a teenage girl.
Special events out the wazoo this week: Marcel Carne's The Adultress (1953), an adaptation of Emile Zola's melodramatic novel Therese Raquin, screening at Facets Cinematheque with live highlights from the Chicago Opera Theater production; Films by Jennifer Reeder, a program by the local artist at Museum of Contemporary Art; Remembering Harold Washington, a program of short works about the Chicago mayor; and White Scripts and Black Supermen, a documentary about African-America comic book heros, screening at Chatham 14 as part of Black History Month.