The ninth annual Chicago Critics Film Festival takes play May 13th through May 19th at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. This festival is excellent and offers up some of the best and most exciting movies that have been making their way around the film festival circuit, as well as some classics. This year’s festival is loaded with great titles and here are ten that I am most excited about.
BOOGIE NIGHTS (Paul Thomas Anderson) [25th Anniversary Screening]
What It’s About: Back when sex was safe, pleasure was a business and business was booming, an idealistic porn producer aspires to elevate his craft to an art when he discovers a hot young talent. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors and one of the best directors working today. Seeing his breakout film on glorious 35mm on the big screen will be one of the highlights of the year for me.
Showtime: Monday, May 16th, at 7:00 PM
BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE (Claire Denis)
What It’s About: A love triangle story about a woman caught between two men, her long-time partner, and his best friend, her former lover. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Claire Denis is one of the very best directors working today and her directing a film starring Vincent London and Juliette Binoche (a frequent Denis collaborator) sounds like a great combination.
Showtime: Sunday, May 15th, at 2:00 PM
BRAM STROKER’S DRACULA (Francis Ford Coppola) [30th Anniversary 4k Screening]
What It’s About: The centuries-old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Francis Ford Coppola’s gorgeous, gothic horror film celebrates its 30th anniversary with a beautiful 4k restoration screening. There is no better place to watch this than at the Music Box Theater at midnight.
Showtime: Saturday, May 14th, at 11:59 PM
CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH (Cooper Raif)
What It’s About: A young man who works as a Bar Mitzvah party host strikes up a friendship with a mother and her autistic daughter. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Cha Cha Real Smooth was my favorite movie of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Cooper Raif’s sophomore effort is a really special film with a lot of humor, heart, and the best performance of Dakota Johnson’s career.
Showtime: Friday, May 13th, at 7:00 PM (Opening Night Film)
EMILY THE CRIMINAL (John Patton Ford)
What It’s About: Down on her luck and saddled with debt, Emily gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, ultimately leading to deadly consequences. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Led by a never-better Aubrey Plaza, Emily the Criminal is a tight, thrilling L.A. crime story reminiscent of Michael Mann.
Showtime: Saturday, May 14th, at 10:00 PM
HOLD YOUR FIRE (Stefan Forbes)
What It’s About: Brooklyn, 1972. Shu’aib Raheem tried to steal guns for self-defense, starting the longest hostage siege in NYPD history. NYPD psychologist Harvey Schlossberg fought to reform police use of violence and save lives by using words, not guns. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: This Roshomon-style documentary is a riveting and important documentary about the importance of settling situations with words, not violence.
Showtime: Sunday, May 15th, at 7:15 PM
I LOVE MY DAD (James Morosini)
What It’s About: A hopelessly estranged father catfishes his son in an attempt to reconnect. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Based on an actual event from writer/director/star James Morosini’s life, I Love My Dad is a hilarious cringe family dramedy you have to see to believe.
Showtime: Thursday, May 19th, at 8:15 PM (Closing Night Film)
MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON (Dean Fleischer-Camp)
What It’s About: Feature adaptation of the animated short film interviewing a mollusk named Marcel. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Jenny Slate voices the titular Marcel in one of the most interesting animated movies of the year.
Showtime: Saturday, May 14th, at 4:30 PM
RESSURECTION (Andrew Semans)
What It’s About: Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Rebecca Hall gives an extraordinary performance in this twisted and shocking thriller you won’t see coming.
Showtime: Wednesday, May 18th, at 7:15 PM
WATCHER (Chloe Okuno)
What It’s About: As a serial killer stalks the city, Julia – a young actress who just moved to town with her boyfriend – notices a mysterious stranger watching her from across the street. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Watcher is non-stop intensity from minute one and will only play better on a big screen in a packed theater.
Showtime: Friday, May 13th, at 9:45 PM
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