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Some Movies That Have Nothing To Do With Xmas

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 2, 2009 5:40PM

2009_12_7PathLights.jpg No question about it: we love It's a Wonderful Life as much as the next person, but every December there are times when we desperately need to take a break from the omnipresent holiday cheer. And this year, with multiple Jim Carreys thrust into people's faces, it's more important than ever to have cinematic options that are devoid of yuletude. Here are some suggestions.

  • Courtesy of The David Lynch Foundation's beta Television site, through next Wednesday you can check out the new short film Path Lights. It's directed by Zachary Sluser, who holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and adapts a well-regarded story by Tom Drury originally published in The New Yorker. It's a droll comedy-noir that follows an amateur detective hot on the trail of an almost-criminal who drinks an obscure brand of beer. A brown beer bottle is his only clue. The website also features some behind the scenes clips.
  • The Siskel is jam packed with awesome programming this month, including a ton of quirky indie fare you won't see anywhere else. New Comedy Mavericks, which runs December 4-10, features a program of seven features being taken on a cross-country road trip outside the usual film distribution channels. Last Cup: The Road to the World Series of Beer Pong proves that you can make a documentary about anything, while Trust Us, This Is All Made Up follows Chicago improv comedians TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi as they prep for an evening performance. Also at the Siskel this month is Silent Giants: Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd, a dynamite series spotlighting three geniuses of silent comedy. Sherlock, Jr., which anticipates Woody Allen and even Luis Buñuel, is Keaton's supreme achievement and is not to be missed; and if you can only see one Chaplin movie then it has to be City Lights, a movie whose last scene invariably reduces us to tears. We'll definitely be checking out Award Season Contenders for another chance to see some of movies we missed this year (like Jane Campion's Bright Star.)
  • At the risk of seeming fixated on the Siskel, on Sunday, December 13 they're hosting the pre-broadcast premiere of Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City. Like all good Chicagoists you already know who Mr. Burnham is, and we say it's about damn time someone made a documentary about him. In case you can't make it to the Siskel the film will be broadcast on WTTW 11 Thursday, December 17.