127 Hours is the new film from Danny Boyle, the Academy Award® winning director of 2008’s Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire. 127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65-foot wall and hike more than eight miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers (Clémence Poésy), family, and the last two people he ever had the chance to meet? This is a visceral, thrilling story that will take an audience on a never before experienced journey and prove what we can do when we choose life.
In a career spanning 70 years, Jack Cardiff was widely considered to be the best cinematographer in the world
Jealousy and suspicion bubble to the surface under the photographer’s relentless gaze in A Family Portrait.
Dumped by his fiancée just before their wedding, hapless everyman Fran (Gerard Kearns, Looking for Eric) spends what would have been his honeymoon slouching despondently from one day to the next and fending off dubious romantic advice from his cocksure buddies. An unexpected taxicab smooch from the beautiful Jess shakes him out of his rut, but can he conquer his Woody Allen
Ten months have passed since former black ops soldier Malcolm (Idris Elba, The Wire) was brutally tortured at the hands of a Ukrainian arms dealer. Retreating into isolation in a Brooklyn apartment, Malcolm seeks to uncover a web of corruption involving a powerful senator… who also happens to be his brother. Paranoia and fear set in as Malcolm retraces the events of his failed military operation while confronting his own shameful and brutal past.
Rita (Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky) is one of 187 women from all walks of life who work for the Ford Motor Company in 1960s England. Paid less than their male peers while enduring the condescension of their supervisors, the plucky sisterhood, led by Rita, agitates for their right to fair pay. Capturing the imagination of the public and the attention of progressive politician Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson) with their fight for equality, these courageous women must stand together to win a victory for women everywhere.
From the director of the acclaimed documentary The Road to Guantánamo comes a deeply absorbing and often comical look into a year in the lives of two Burmese families facing relocation from their refugee camp in rural Thailand to the mean streets of Sheffield, UK. One family patriarch is English speaking and educated (and boy does he know it) while the other takes the term “fish out of water” to a new extreme, but this new life won’t be easy for either.
English, Karen with subtitles, 84 min.
An alcoholic transient makes a gruesome discovery in the chilling Off Season.
Sam lives a relaxed life in the forest with his hot dog van and his bear buddy in Sam’s Hot Dogs.
Seed features a surreal stop-motion world where an egg and an apple build competing broadcast towers.
Two suit-clad psychics tromp across the countryside, offering their mystical services to couples who want to air their dirty laundry. The motley duo get in over their heads when their mysterious boss (Jason Isaacs, the Harry Potter series) assigns them to the case of an eccentric woman trying to locate her missing husband. Skeletons combines the mind-bending comic absurdity of Charlie Kaufman with a tantalizing glimpse into the strange, potent world of submerged memories.
Twenty-year-old Stanley’s uneventful life with his clockwork family is turned upside down by a beautiful young lady in Stanley Pickle.
When Tamara Drewe sashays back to the bucolic village of her youth, life for the locals is thrown upside down. Tamara
Winner of more than a half-dozen top prizes from Sundance to Berlin, this rightfully exalted documentary about the transformative power of art is one of the most inspiring films this year. Acclaimed filmmaker Lucy Walker (Blindsight, Countdown to Zero) travels with cutting-edge Brazilian artist Vik Muniz deep into the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio to create a large-scale art project using garbage as his material and the spirited trash pickers as his muses.
English, Portuguese with subtitles, 98 min.
Odessa, Ukraine: full of rich culture, beautiful architecture, pulsating discos, and busloads of lonely middle-aged guys looking to land hot 20-year-old brides. Burned by women back home, guys from Minnesota to Marseilles are heading East
English, Russian with subtitles, 83 min.
During Argentina’s infamous, bloody Dirty War of the 1970s, high schooler Javi and his older brother Adrian are swept up in the violence plaguing the country. When the boys are blacklisted because of Adrian’s involvement with the resistance protests, Adrian is “disappeared” and Javi is sent to Mexico to live with relatives. I Miss You is a sensitive portrayal of a boy’s journey into adulthood, complicated by the travails of growing up under a violent dictatorship.
Spanish with subtitles, 95 min.
Transgender pioneer Candy Darling played glamorous muse to some of ’60s-’70s New York’s biggest artists. She shone in Andy Warhol’s films, Lou Reed’s songs, and Tennessee Williams’ plays. But Candy’s rising star hid a crippling isolation that haunted her until her tragic death. Relive this outré version of the American Dream with Candy’s best friend Jeremiah Newton, Candy’s own letters (voiced by Chloë Sevigny), new interviews, and archival footage featuring Warhol, Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, and Kim Novak.
Colorful concertinas march and swirl across the screen in The Bellows March.
Peter Grey’s culinary career is quickly coming to an end. When ruthless food blogger J.T. Franks pans Grey’s restaurant, the furious chef devises the ultimate cooking lesson. Chained in the basement of Grey’s remote country home, Franks is taught, in exceedingly sadistic ways, just how hard it is to satisfy his own standards. Featuring a cameo performance by superstar chef Mario Batali, this deliciously fiendish film pits artist against critic, presenting its own very well done concoction of a culinary monster.
This psychological thriller set in the world of New York City ballet stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a dancer in a ballet company who finds herself locked in a web of competitive intrigue with a new rival (Mila Kunis). Black Swan takes a thrilling and at times terrifying journey through the psyche of a young ballerina whose starring role as the duplicitous swan queen turns out to be a part for which she becomes frighteningly perfect.
In this heartwarming road-trip comedy from actor-director Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City), struggling musician and alcoholic Jefferson Bailey (co-writer Morgan Simpson) needs to get out of Dodge to escape the wrath of his lover’s cuckolded husband. Enter a mysterious new acquaintance (Michael Clarke Duncan), who informs Jefferson that his grandfather has died and left an estate to him. The two men form an unlikely bond as they journey to Alabama to claim the inheritance.
This stylish and uplifting world premiere documentary from the director of Air Guitar Nation follows a spirited St. Louis youth circus troupe (scheduled to attend!) on their journey to perform with a mixed Jewish/Arab troupe in Israel. The costumes are different. The routines are different. The language is different. The food is different. But can a multicultural group of teens find the harmony that has eluded this part of the world for so long?
English, Hebrew with subtitles, 86 min.
College dropout Doug is doing his best to postpone adulthood for as long as possible, living with his sister in her Portland apartment and working nights at a local ice factory. His mundane existence receives a fresh jolt of purpose when his ex-girlfriend, visiting from Chicago, inexplicably disappears. Using his unfinished forensics degree and his love of Sherlock Holmes, Doug embraces his new role as an amateur gumshoe in this mystery-comedy from indie master Aaron Katz (Quiet City).
Three is definitely a crowd in Commencement.
Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is living the American Dream: great job, beautiful family, shiny Porsche in the garage. When corporate downsizing leaves him and co-workers (Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones) jobless, the three men are forced to redefine their lives. Bobby soon finds himself enduring enthusiastic life coaching, a job building houses for his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner), and perhaps the realization that there is more to life than chasing the bigger, better deal. With humor, pathos, and keen observation, writer-director John Wells (the creator of ER) introduces us to the new realities of American life.
In this inspirational true story of a sister’s unwavering devotion to her brother, Betty Anne Waters (Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank) puts herself through high school, college, and law school in her quest to free her brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell), who has been arrested for murder and sentenced to life. With the help of her best friend (Academy Award® nominee Minnie Driver), Betty Anne pores over the suspicious evidence that led to Kenny’s arrest.
Will the search for a child’s bicycle unite a fragile community or ignite an explosive conflict in The Cycle?
Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington star in The Debt, the powerful story of Rachel Singer, a former Mossad agent who endeavored to capture and bring to trial a notorious Nazi war criminal
In a plague-ravaged near future, a virus-infected, flesh-eating man comes into possession of a newborn baby. He must take up with a vulnerable, uninfected woman to protect the child from other post-apocalyptic horrors and an unfeeling paramilitary group patrolling the ruins. Shot on location in the Chicagoland area, this Romero-esque chiller is a zombie movie seen through fresh eyes
A little boy creates an unusual contraption in Delmer Builds a Machine.
The lives of a cast of misfits collide in this engagingly off-kilter character study with deep ties to Chicago. There’s Mort (John Malkovich), a Vietnam veteran trying to soothe his survivor’s guilt with alcohol; Fletcher (John Goodman), a used-boat salesman who’s as corrupt as he is jocular; and Mort’s nephew Abe, a wide-eyed suburban teen pursuing his quixotic dream of buying a boat and sailing the world… while keeping his mother (Dana Delany) in the dark.
A glimpse into the dark corridors of politics, Fair Game is a riveting action-thriller based on the real lives of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) and her husband, diplomat Joe Wilson (Sean Penn). When Joe is drawn into a government investigation and the administration ignores his findings, Joe writes a New York Times editorial, igniting a controversy that affects Valerie’s career when her identity is exposed.
A badass female bike messenger runs roughshod over everyone in her path in Faster!
James Franco’s The Feast of Stephen, paying homage to the work of Kenneth Anger, is an atmospheric tale of one boy’s brush with forbidden adolescent desires.
A young Polish girl is faced with having to kill a beautiful fish for dinner in Fish Food.
Polish with subtitles, 11 min.
In this high-energy coming-of-age tale from local filmmakers, feisty Carmen spends her days working and her nights wowing club crowds with her dancing. But an opportunity to win admission to a prestigious dance school forces Carmen to choose between fulfilling her obligations to her family and urban community or moving on to a brighter but uncertain future.
After leaving her job to care for her terminally ill aunt Amanda, makeup artist Maye must begin her life again after her Amanda’s death. Piercing heartache, shared memories, and long-buried resentments bubble to the surface as Maye and her family pack up the many possessions Amanda left behind. Punctuated by a poignant soundtrack of U2 songs, I Will Follow is a soulful meditation on grief’s strange mingling of sorrow and hope.
A young nun struggles with her desire for something she has never experienced in If I Leap.
Who ever said poetry was boring? Four teams of supremely talented Chicago high school students harness the ecstatic power of words as they prepare to compete in the world’s largest youth poetry slam right here in Chicago. Come see this rousing, multiple-award-winning smash documentary make its hometown debut with the filmmakers and poets scheduled to attend.
Manbird is a poetic ode to the folkloric “pigeon man” of Chicago’s Lincoln Square.
Vigilantes? Outlaws? Or just red-blooded patriots? Armed and tireless, the self-appointed watchdogs of the U.S./Mexico border are taking the illegal immigration issue into their own hands. Filmed over four years, this intimate and open-minded documentary sucks you into the conflicted lives of scrappy San Diego soccer moms and eccentric old-timers in mountaintop trailer homes, like Robert “Lil Dog” Crooks (scheduled to attend), who are in a constant struggle to secure the sprawling border while maintaining their own sanity.
Growing up under a strict father and the even stricter tutelage of his fundamentalist Muslim teachers, Tariq enters college questioning his faith, values, and identity. With the encouragement of his sister, his friends, and a sympathetic world-religions professor, he reluctantly searches for answers. When the sudden cataclysm of 9/11 inflames anti-Muslim fervor on campus, Tariq is forced to make a stand one way or the other.
Moth follows the story of Sophie, a beautiful starlet caught up in drugs and stardom, who flies into Los Angeles from New York for a job.
In this evocatively filmed revisiting of the tumult of adolescence, a large cast of neighborhood teens celebrates the last night of summer with several big sleepovers that inevitably blend together. Youthful innocence and worldliness merge as stolen glances, the giddy fear accompanying a first kiss, and other sharply rendered, instantly recognizable moments recreate the angst and joy of growing up.
A couple settling into a new home is in for some very nasty surprises in pitch-black comedy The New Tenants.
Indie pioneer Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen) delivers this charming romantic comedy about a laid-back sports radio DJ who must decide whether to continue pursuing his dreams or to follow his fiancée into the corporate world. His roguish, wisecracking uncle (director Burns) tries to free him from his self-imposed shackles, pushing him toward a beautiful tennis instructor who’s clearly the perfect girl for him. Can Johnny stop being nice long enough to do what’s right for him?
Norman (Dan Byrd) has stomach cancer: three months to live. At least that is what he lets his peers at school believe. In reality, Norman is a physically healthy but emotionally troubled teenager trying to deal with the death of his mother and the terminal illness of his father (Richard Jenkins). Told with an air of sad playfulness, this bittersweet comedy features a score composed and performed by acclaimed Chicago musician Andrew Bird.
A demanding customer’s request for A Perfect Manhattan brings a bartender to the breaking point.
The wayward son of a prosperous Jewish clan, Reuben spins discs at a club and sells drugs on the side, telling himself that it’s only until he makes it as a big-time DJ. But a visit from his Orthodox cousin and the looming consequences of his recklessness cause him to question the life he’s chosen. Filmed and set entirely in Chicago, could this be the Windy City’s own Mean Streets?
Based on the cult D.C. Comics graphic novels by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, Red is an explosive action-comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. Retired CIA agents now framed for assassination, the foursome must use their experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers. While embarking on a cross-country mission to break into the CIA headquarters, they uncover one of the biggest conspiracies in government history.
Surreal encounters on a long drive across Iowa help a man come to terms with his feelings of guilt in Refuge.
Three estranged siblings reunite following the death of their mother in Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s Roots in Water.
Eight-year-old Hawa meets her African refugee mother for the first time in six years in Say Grace before Drowning.
Welcome to Sedona, Arizona, and the mystical kingdom of world-renowned sex shaman Baba Dez. Dez is thrown into a tailspin when his mission to heal women with sexual dysfunctions (he’s slept with more than a thousand) drives away his one true love, Maya. He’ll try to get her back the only way he knows how
In Sisters, Charlie has no idea that her diva of a baby sister is about to reveal life-changing issues that will rock her normally carefree life.
The breakup has happened but the break has not in Some Boys Don’t Leave.
In Son of None, Joshua, a seven-year-old Liberian war orphan, must realize where his true priorities lie.
In Stag & Doe, a young engaged couple decides to put their relationship to the test at a joint bachelor and bachelorette party.
As parole officer Jack Mabry (Oscar® winner Robert De Niro) counts the days toward a quiet retirement, he is asked to review the case of Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Oscar® nominee Edward Norton), in prison for covering up the murder of his grandparents with a fire. Now eligible for early release, Stone needs to convince Jack he has reformed, but his attempts to influence the older man’s decision have profound and unexpected consequences for them both. Stone skillfully weaves together the parallel journeys of two men grappling with dark impulses as the line between lawman and lawbreaker becomes precariously thin. Golden Globe® winner Frances Conroy also stars as Madylyn, Jack’s devout, long-suffering spouse, while Milla Jovovich delivers a startlingly raw, breakout performance as the sexy, casually amoral woman both men desire.
In her big-screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s mystical thriller The Tempest, Oscar®
It’s time for some of that serious funky soul, ya dig? This electrifying, award-winning documentary celebrates the power of music and African American culture in the ’70s through the story of an inner-city high school funk band that rose to worldwide prominence on the back of one charismatic, life-changing teacher. Now the band’s getting back together to honor their beloved 92-year-old mentor, but can they still bring the funk after 35 years?
After 18 years in the U.S., a suburban Chicago family is torn apart by deportation orders. With Janina and 6-year-old Brian trapped in Poland, Tony channels his fury into a years-long crusade to bring his family home and fix the broken U.S. immigration system. His trajectory crosses with Chicago’s political heavyweights, including a rising-star senator named Barack Obama, in this emotionally urgent, galvanizing documentary.
English, Polish with subtitles, 81 min.
After carefree teenager Anna’s life is shattered by an online sexual predator, her parents (Clive Owen, Catherine Keener) struggle to help her pick up the pieces. As anger and disbelief drive her father’s desire for revenge, Anna is left to contend with her feelings of guilt and shame. Commanding performances by an ensemble cast drive this fiercely honest look at the devastating aftermath of rape. Directed by honorary Chicagoan David Schwimmer and based on the acclaimed Lookingglass Theatre production.
Two blocked screenwriters find inspiration in the sound of a typewriter from an adjoining office in Typing.
Multiple-award-winning documentary White Lines and the Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug recalls the Bronx in the early 1980s, the old-school days of hip-hop, and the dangerous underworld at the legendary club Disco Fever.
In a sinister hospital, modification of physical beauty is not at all what you would expect in The Wonder Hospital
From four-time Oscar® winner Clint Eastwood, Hereafter tells the story of three
people who are touched by death in different ways. George (Matt Damon) is a
blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the
other side of the world, Marie (Cécile De France), a French journalist, has a
near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus, a London schoolboy, loses
the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in
search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they
believe might—or must—exist in the hereafter.
The screen adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole, directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) is about a husband and wife who fight to save their marriage after the deepest form of loss. The film is a vivid, honest, and unexpectedly funny portrait of a family searching for what remains possible in the most impossible of situations.