The temperatures have finally dropped in Chicago, meaning November is as good a time as any to bundle up, brave the elements and camp out in a cinema somewhere. Whether it’s for a film festival, a special screening event or the latest Awards-worthy theatrical release, there’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to movies this month. Here’s what’s on our list to see:
Reel Science Film Series – The Adler Planetarium continues their science movie screening series this month with a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. While it’s likely not the pristine 70mm print presented at the Music Box Theatre earlier this year, Kubrick’s masterpiece is worth seeing on the big screen whatever the circumstances. Probably best for older kids, the planetarium pairs the screening with pre-show trivia and post-show conversations with astronomers and scientists. And if you really wanna go all in, cosplay is encouraged. Learn more and get tickets here.
Cinepocalypse – Last month it was Music Box of Horrors (you know, for Halloween). This month, the city’s best independent theater presents Chicago’s only genre film festival, Cinepocalypse. The new incarnation of what was the Bruce Campbell Film Festival (that was previously presented at geek-con Wizard World in the suburbs), the festival boasts over sixty films, from world premieres to retrospectives on some of the biggest names in camp cinema. Check out our overview here, and see the full schedule here.
29th Polish Film Festival in America – Billed as the biggest Polish cultural event outside of Poland, the Polish Film Festival scratches an itch for world cinema you maybe didn’t know you had. For over two weeks, films will screen at AMC Rosemont 18, Facets Cinematheque and the Gallery Theatre, providing plenty of opportunity to catch something wherever you are. The festival opens with Lullaby Killer, a crime drama a la Silence of the Lambs based on the true story of a serial killer who terrorized Cracow in the 1950s. From there, hopefully the rest of the program isn’t quite so creepy. See it all here.
Midwest Independent Film Festival – Every month, the Midwest Independent Film Festival presents some new programming that highlights the great work being made right in our backyard. This month, head out to the Landmark Century Centre Cinema for a showcase of the local advertising community. Featuring seventeen (!) short films, the line-up highlights all the creative work coming out of the bustling local advertising community. Filmmakers will be in attendance for a post-show discussion, too. Learn more here.
CIMMFest – The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival is back for an extended weekend of film and live music at no fewer than eleven venues across the city. A sort of mini-SXSW, where you can take in a movie or a concert (or both!), highlights this year include a Penelope Spheeris retrospective and the premiere of The Chicago Mixtape, a documentary highlighting the arts programs working to counter the violent narrative on Chicago streets. Passes to the festival are available for guaranteed seating, but if you want to take your chances, all events are free and open to the public. See the full line-up here.
Murder on the Orient Express – Kenneth Branagh has assembled perhaps the most impressive ensemble cast since The Big Chill for his take on the Agatha Christie classic. Truth be told, I’ve never read the book or seen an earlier version of the film, so the anticipation is heightened all the more. Even if you already know how it ends, spending two hours with this cast – Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom, Jr. – is surely going to be a decent way to spend the evening.
Silent Cinema at The Music Box – Don’t miss your last chance to see some seriously classic films at The Music Box Theatre. November marks their last monthly installment in a series of truly silent films accompanied by in-house orchestra music. This month, see 1924’s The Last Man On Earth, an early attempt at science fiction about a world where, you guessed it, there’s only one man left on earth and all the women who (shocker!) have taken on every occupation and role in their absence, compete for his attention. Perhaps questionable in 2017, but taken in context, it’s an exceptional opportunity to see a rare print right here in Chicago. Tickets are available here.
Call Me By Your Name – Filmmaker Luca Guadagnino has gifted audiences with both I Am Love and more recently, A Bigger Splash, both films that are as visually breathtaking as they are emotionally captivating. In January, he premiered Call Me By Your Name at Sundance Film Festival and the response was immediately positive. The buzz remains strong ten months later for the film starring Armie Hammer as an American staying with a family in Italy one summer and the unexpected relationship (and romance) that develops. It may be too arthouse to garner serious Oscars attention, but chances are it’ll still top many Best Of lists by year’s end.
Rebecca at Doc Films – The film screening series at University of Chicago known as Doc Films is, according to their own website, the longest-running student film society in the country. Despite its campus roots, the screenings are open to the general public, and at just $5 a ticket, it’s a steal. At the end of November, the program presents a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s early masterpiece, a psychological thriller about a young wife (Joan Fontaine) haunted by the memory of her husband’s dead first wife. Learn more (scroll down) here.