The Chicago Critics Film Festival kicks off this weekend at the famed Music Box Theater in Chicago. This is the seventh year of this festival, a festival that highlights some of the hottest titles making their way around the festival circuit. Every year features a great batch of movies and this year is no different. I am excited to see as many great movies as I can at this years festival, but these are the ones I really excited for. Here are my most anticipated movies at this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival.
You can see all the films playing at the festival, as well as the festival schedule HERE.
5 – THE NIGHTINGALE/GREENER GRASS (Jennifer Kent/Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe)
- I put both of these at number five because I already had the pleasure of seeing both of them at this years Sundance Film Festival. The Nightingale is writer/director Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to her 2014 hit, The Babadook, and it looks at a woman (a remarkable Aisling Franciosi) who seeks revenge on the men who killed her husband and baby. It’s a tough movie to watch, but masterfully crafted and beautiful to look at. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year. Greener Grass is a bizarre comedy about a seemingly idyllic neighborhood where the parents are continuously trying to up each other. It’s incredibly weird, but has some truly hilarious moments and will play as a cult midnight film in the coming years. These are two wildly different films, but two that need to be seen.
4 – ALIEN (Ridley Scott)
- Another movie I have seen already, but this one is a true cinematic classic. Alien is one of the great science fiction films ever made and also one of the great horror movies ever made. This haunted house movie in space is a masterclass in filmmaking and Ridley Scott’s finest work as a director. The Chicago Critics Film Festival is presenting a 40th anniversary screening of the film in glorious 35mm with star Tom Skerritt in attendance. I love seeing classic movies on the big screen and this will surely be a great experience.
3 – COLD CASE HAMMERSKJOLD (Mads Brügger)
- I love me a good documentary, especially documentaries that look at stories that you have to see to believe, a la Three Identical Strangers. Cold Case Hammerskjold seems like that kind of documentary. Danish director Mads Brügger and Swedish private investigator Göran Björkdahl are trying to solve the mysterious death of Secretary-General of the United Nations. Dag Hammarskjöld. As their investigation closes in, they discover a crime far worse than what they expected. I cannot wait to see what they uncover and cannot wait to see what this movie holds, as it sounds like it could be an espionage thriller in real life.
2 – YESTERDAY/BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (Danny Boyle/Gurinder Chadha)
- Two music-focused films featuring the music of two beloved. Yesterday is Oscar winner Danny Boyle’s latest film and takes us to a fantastical world where a struggling musician wakes up one morning to find out he is the only person who knows The Beatles existed. Blinded by the Light is a coming of age story about a kid in 80’s Britain who learns about life, love, and family through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Both look simply delightful, offering up charming leads, fun stories, and of course, great music. These are bound to be audience favorites, as I imagine hearing people sing along to these toe-tappers.
1 – THE FAREWELL (Lulu Wang)
- I have attended the Sundance Film Festival for nine years and every year there is a movie that I desperately want to see but miss for whatever reason. The Farewell was that movie this year. Lulu Wang’s family dramedy was one of the hottest titles at this year’s festival, garnering critical praise throughout the festival. The film looks at a Chinese family that discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies. This looks like a film that will pull at the heart strings, but also cut it with wit and humor. Awkwafina stars in the film and I am really excited to see her in a more dramatic roll. This quickly rose on my list one of my most anticipated movies of the year and I cannot wait to see it at the festival.
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