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The Dog Days of Summer Movies

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 24, 2005 4:43PM

As the kids start heading back to school, it’s time to close the books on the summer movie season.

2005_08_24_sunset.jpgWe’ll leave it to the New York Times to do the post-mortem on Hollywood. Apparently some movies are not very good, which may lead to decreased attendance and box office receipts. In other news, scientists have learned that water is wet and children like candy.

With the days getting shorter, there are a few notable screenings around town that should catch your interest. Tomorrow night at The Gene is the final showing of Unusual Suspects: Once Upon A Time In Chicago House Music. On Friday night, one of the most talked about films of this year’s Chicago Underground Film Fest (which ends tomorrow at the Music Box) begins a weeklong run: We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen. The Gene’s month-long Black Harvest Film Festival also reaches its conclusion next week along with the neighborhood Movies in the Parks.

The Grassroots Media Festival isn’t a film fest per se but it does incorporate video screenings into its expressions of cultural diversity through media, dance and performance. Co-sponsored by Chicago Indymedia, the event features Aztec dancers, martial arts, open mic performances and the Iron Mechanic Bicycle Race, where competitors build a bike from scratch then throw caution to the wind by actually racing it. Since Chicagoist is only capable of building a club sandwich, we’re pretty impressed. It starts Friday at 7:30 PM at Amor de Dios Methodist Church and Community Garden located at 2348 South Sawyer.

We’re also looking ahead to the fall at all the fests and revivals on the way.

Chicago Filmmakers will host the Manhattan Short Film Festival in mid-September along with the Estrojam 2005 Film Festival that same month. Of course, there’s also the Chicago International Film Festival that brings all the famous folks to town for a couple of weeks in October as well as Reeling 2005.

As for revival screenings, if you’re hearing the sounds of fun beginning to die then it must mean the kids at the University of Chicago have started classes again. Lucky for us, it also means a new slate of screenings at Doc Films. This fall’s themes include “From The Trenches: The Everyday Soldier”, “Hardboiled Dames: The Women of Film Noir” and retrospectives of the films of Wong Kar-Wai, Jean-Luc Godard, and other foreign hyphenates. Look for a schedule to be posted early next month.

By the time you’re finished with all that culture, you’ll be longing for a mindless, crappy movie. Don’t worry: the holiday movie season’s right around the corner.

Update: The Chicago International Film Festival announced yesterday that the new Cameron Crowe Film Elizabethtown will open the fest and the locally-filmed The Weather Man starring Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine will close it out. Chicagoist is trying to keep from jumping out of our shorts over the news that Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale will screen during the fest as well.