October in Chicago is a big month for movies, not least because it marks the start of the fall film season, traditionally reserved for the releases aiming for Oscar gold. Locally, it’s the annual Chicago International Film Festival that brings out the best in movies, with two weeks of screenings, events and conversations. Add in some great Halloween-themed screenings and a few off-the-beaten-path options, and it’s another great few weeks to be a cinephile in Chicago.
Found Footage Fest at Music Box Theatre – curiosities abound at the Found Footage Festival, a one-night-only celebration of the VHS tapes, from corporate instructional videos to discarded home movies, the festival programmers curate to absurd perfection. With added commentary and “where are they now?” updates, the whole thing marries nostalgia of a medium lost to modern technology with our own (mostly harmless) voyeuristic impulses.
Blade Runner 2049 – Harrison Ford starred in Blade Runner back in 1982, and on Friday, October 6, he’s back in the film’s sequel, just 35 years in the making. Blade Runner 2049, this time with Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto added for good measure, is already stirring up all kinds of great buzz (98% Fresh!) for its lush visuals and Denis Villeneuve’s treatment of Ridley Scott’s original concept.
Music Box Of Horrors – The movie marathon of fright returns to Music Box Theatre featuring a dozen films playing back to back (to back to back) for twenty-four hours straight. From John Carpenter’s In The Mouth Of Madness, and obscure pick to be sure, to 1996’s The Craft, the new goth classic that wraps up the event, fans of all things scary, spooky, gory and goofy will find something to love as the theatre starts Halloween month early. Learn more and get tickets here.
October 9 (and 30)
Roof on The Wit – Given what a mild season we’re having, it’s not entirely out of the question to consider an outdoor rooftop screening not once but twice this month. Though there are scant to no details on their own website, Time Out Chicago reports that Roof on TheWit will continue their Monday night movie nights into the fall, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and whatever Pirates movie we’re on now both screening in October.
October 12 – 26
Chicago International Film Festival – The big kahuna of movies in Chicago, the 53rd iteration of the festival kicks off October 12 with Marshall and wraps two weeks later with a special presentation of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. In between, they’ll screen dozens of features and short films, many of them world, U.S. or Chicago premieres. Watch this space for a full preview of the festival, and explore the whole program here.
The Gleaners & I at Alliance Française – Agnes Varda is having a moment. Now in her 80s, she’s been making films since the 1960s, as much a part of the French New Wave as Truffaut and Godard. She’s back in 2017 with Faces Places (screening at the Chicago festival, btw), and Alliance Française, a bastion for French culture in Chicago, presents her 2000 documentary The Gleaners & I, a rare opportunity to see this acclaimed film on the big screen. Info and tickets here.
Suburbicon – George Clooney again steps behind the camera for this latest directorial effort, Suburbicon, starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore and written by Clooney, Grand Heslov and the Coen brothers. The film follows a picture-perfect mid-century suburban family is shaken after a home invasion, which sounds like it could be a deep and thoughtful picture. This is the Coen Brothers, after all, so while it’ll likely have more than its fair share of social commentary, it’s also going to go there – including, based on the trailer below, mob murder, covert poisoning and general Matt Damon bad-assery.