The Chicago Rep-port 8/11-8/17, by Aaron Pinkston
Repertory screenings may not be as abundant in Chicago as they are in LA/NY but when you look around, there are many theatergoing delights. The Chicago Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the Second City.
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St
The next two entries in the Siskel’s series on Italian horror auteur Mario Bava, The Baroque Beauties of Italian Horror, offer the filmmaker’s masterpiece and gem starring a horror icon.
Playing on Saturday and Tuesday is Black Sunday (Mario Bava, 1960, DCP), a gothic tale of witchcraft and simply one of the creepiest films ever made. It is matched on Saturday and Monday with The Whip and the Body (Mario Bava, 1963, DCP), which stars Christopher Lee as a devious aristocrat who first returns to his banished land before returning from the grave to haunt the family estate.
If you want to catch both Black Sunday and The Whip and the Body on Saturday, August 12 (and why wouldn’t you?), you can buy a double-bill ticket at a discounted rate!
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, The Fifth Element (Luc Besson, 1997, DCP) gets the midnight treatment on both Friday and Saturday nights this weekend. The sci-fi action flick is a colorful adventure within a genre that has become increasingly dark over the years.
Mark Caro’s Is It Still Funny? series returns this week on Sunday evening with a film I think we can agree is definitely still funny, Raising Arizona (Joel & Ethan Coen, 1987, DCP). The film is a wonderful blend of screwball and crime, with perfect performances from Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. Even though it is obvious, they’ll discuss the title question after the film anyway.
Doc Films, 1212 E 59th St # 3
Leading Doc Film’s weekend schedule is The Front Page (Lewis Milestone, 1931, 35mm), also known as the original His Girl Friday. Like the more popular cinematic version of the play, The Front Page is a crime comedy set in the newspaper world with journalist hero Hildy Johnson—here played by male actor Pat O’Brien—working to save an accused killer. You can catch it on Friday night.
Playing Saturday, August 12 is Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964, 35mm), a follow-up to the Indian auteur’s “Apu Trilogy.” The film is also set in the newspaper world, following the wife of a newspaper owner, but it is in a much different world than The Front Page. A beautiful and romantic melodrama, it showcases Ray’s realism and intimate portraits of regular Indian people.
Capping off the week on Thursday, August 17 is Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Eisenstein, 1938, 16mm). One of the iconic Russian director’s first sound films, Alexander Nevsky is the huge war epic often associated with the filmmaker, and it carries over his innovative filmmaking style.
The Logan Theatre, 2646 N Milwaukee Ave
August Late Nights at the Logan features another diverse set of classics this week. Playing August 11-14 is Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007, format unknown), one of the funniest high school comedies in recent years. As Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse have all gone on to very interesting screen careers in the past decade, this is a fine opportunity to reevaluate their breakout hit.
Also play on August 11-14 is Bruce Lee’s masterpiece Enter the Dragon (Robert Clouse, 1973, format unknown). Featuring some of the best martial arts sequences ever captured on film, Enter the Dragon built the legacy of Bruce Lee to a worldwide audience.
And on August 15-17, epic WWII film The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957, format unknown) is screening at the Logan. Alec Guinness stars a British Colonel who is tasked to oversee the construction of the title bridge while under the control of a Japanese POW camp.
Cinemark Theaters, various Chicagoland locations
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its initial release, this week’s Cinemark Classic is Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967, format unknown). It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say that the classic lovers on the run film changed the course of the film industry as it helped introduce the “New Hollywood,” where artistically-driven filmmakers were given more power and freedom to make more innovative films. Bonnie and Clyde is among the most respected and beloved films of the era, with masterful performances by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and a real knock-out ending. You can catch the film on the big screen on Sunday and Wednesday.
Chicago Park District Movies in the Park, various Chicago locations
And finally, here are this week’s highlights for Movies in the Park: The Sandlot (David Mickey Evans, 1993, format unknown) at Stout Park (5446 S. Greenwood Ave) on Saturday, August 12; Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977, format unknown) at Northerly Island Park (1521 S. Linn White Dr) on Sunday, August 13; Lean on Me (John G. Avildsen, 1989, format unknown) at Calumet Park (9801 S. Avenue G) on Monday, August 14; Space Jam (Joe Pytka, 1996, format unknown) at Brands Park (3259 N. Elston Ave) on Wednesday, August 16; Rudy (David Anspaugh, 1993, format unknown) at Eugene Field (5100 N. Ridgeway Ave) on Thursday, August 17.