In this week's long review I look at Ridley Scott's The Martian, starring Matt Damon as a U.S. astronaut struggling to survive after he's mistakenly left for dead on the red planet. And Ben Sachs has two stars for Yakuza Apocalypse, the latest from Japanese bad boy Takashi Miike.
Check out our new reviews of: Big Stone Gap, a country romance starring Ashley Judd; Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, documenting the rise and fall of the influential humor magazine National Lampoon; The Fool, a Russian drama about a young maintenance man trying to get help after he discovers that the public housing high-rise where he works is about to collapse; Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore as a terminally ill cop trying to get her pension awarded to her same-sex partner; He Named Me Malala, a documentary profile of Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Afghanistan and won the Nobel Peace Prize for her women's-rights advocacy; Labyrinth of Lies, a German drama in which a young man comes to suspect the government is protecting former Nazis; Pan, a prequel to Peter Pan starring Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara; and Spring Night Summer Night, a 1967 regional drama about an Appalachian man who's in love with his half sister (so what's the problem?).
Best bets for repertory: Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth (1937), Wednesday at Northbrook Public Library; Buster Keaton's Battling Butler (1926), Saturday at Music Box, with live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott; George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Friday and Sunday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Anthony Mann’s Men in War (1957), Friday and Sunday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Luis Bunuel’s Los Olvidados (1950), Saturday and Tuesday at Gene Siskel Film Center, with a lecture by Fred Camper at the second screening; Eric Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach (1983), Monday at Doc; Archie Mayo's The Petrified Forest (1936), Sunday at Doc; Gordon Parks’s Shaft (1971), Thursday at Doc; and Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Wednesday at Doc.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Special events this week include: Becoming Ourselves: How Immigrant Women Transformed Their World, Tuesday at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Global Girls Film Fest, Friday at New 400; and Heart Like a Hand Grenade, documenting the recording of Green Day's Grammy-winning album American Idiot, Thursday at Landmark's Century Centre.
If the city seems suffused with whimsy, that's because veteran French filmmaker Agnes Varda is in town for a residency at University of Chicago. We've got a roundup of her local appearances, which include screenings of her films The Gleaners and I (2000), Monday at Black Cinema House; Cleo From 5 to 7 (1961), Wednesday at Music Box; and The Beaches of Agnes (2009), Thursday at Logan Center for the Arts.