The Chicago Rep-port 9/8-9/14, 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 month-long run of recently restored films offers a double feature of powerful African American dramas. First is the great masterpiece Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978, 2K DCP), a story of a Los Angeles slaughterhouse worker whose daily struggle to keep his head above water in the face of poverty and racial inequality. It is paired with the lesser acclaimed, but thematically similar, Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry, 1984, 2K DCP) on Saturday and Monday. Scripted and shot by Charles Burnett, the film is another powerful family drama with much to say about race and poverty in Watts.
If you are interested in catching both Killer of Sheep and Bless Their Little Hearts, you should take advantage of the Saturday double-bill discount at a reduced rate!
Tuesday lecture and discussion series Making ‘Em Move: A History of Animation heads into its second week with a tried-and-true animated classic, Pinocchio (Hamilton Luske and Ben Sharpsteen, 1940, 35mm). One of the early Disney classics, Pinocchio has stood the test of time for its beautiful hand-drawn animation and sweeping, epic story. University of Notre Dame Professor Donald Crafton will lead a discussion after its screening.
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave
The highlight of this week’s repertory slate at the Music Box is a rare screening of Walker (Alex Cox, 1987, 35mm) with a live Q&A with its anarchic auteur on Friday, September 8. The film stars Ed Harris as a different man in black, William Walker, an American who led a rebellion and named himself the President of Nicaragua in the mid-1800s. With the shine of a standard historical western, Cox brings his political and ideological sensibilities to create a wild genre exercise. Walker is presented in partnership with the DePaul School of Cinematic Arts.
The midnight selection on both Friday and Saturday this weekend is Battleship Pretension-approved Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Jay Roach, 1997, 35mm) in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Mike Myers hilariously stars as both hero and villain in this 60s era spoof of a certain spy series. A huge hit at the time, the film’s reputation has sagged thanks in part to terrible sequels and its kitschy vibes, but it is a sharper and funnier satire than you probably remember it.
Silent cinema comes back to the Music Box for a Saturday matinee of What Price Glory (Raoul Walsh, 1926, 35mm). The film stars silent starlet Dolores Del Rio as a woman trapped between two soldiers in the backdrop of World War I. As an added bonus, the film will be accompanied by live organ music from the one-and-only Dennis Scott.
Also on Saturday are two special “quote-along” screenings of cult classic Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986, DCP). The interactive screenings use subtitles to encourage viewers to participate in chanting their favorite lines and the wonderful David Bowie tunes. If that sounds like a good time to you, this is an experience you won’t want to miss.
The Logan Theatre, 2646 N Milwaukee Ave
The Logan Theatre continues their celebration of the cringeworthy with two notoriously campy flops. First up on 9/8-9/11 is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (John De Bello, 1978, format unknown), a delicious late-night favorite for its goofy premise and unflinching dedication to it. Later in the week, on 9/12-9/14, comes George Lucas-produced comic book misfire Howard the Duck (Willard Huyck, 1986, format unknown). If you think the comic book film culture has gone off the deep end in recent years, it is good to revisit the absolute low point of the genre.
On Thursday, September 14, Pipeworks Brewing Company is hosting a costume party and screening of The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1999, format unknown). If the ultimate stoner comedy on the big screen wasn’t enough to get you to the Logan Theatre, Pipeworks’ original White Russian Milk Stout, movie trivia, and swag is a nice extra incentive.
Cinemark Theaters, various Chicagoland locations
This week’s Cinemark Classic highlights the 35th anniversary of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer, 1982, format unknown). In what many consider the best film of the long running Star Trek series, The Wrath of Khan is a tense and exciting sci-fi epic showdown between the flight crew of the Enterprise and the franchise’s most feared enemy, the super powerful Khan. The film screens on both Sunday and Wednesday this week.