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Hyde Park's Doc Films Has A Hell Of A Schedule Next Week

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 21, 2016 6:55PM

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci in a publicity still for "GoodFellas" (© 1990 - Warner Bros. Entertainment).

Movie lovers may want to set up a tent on the University of Chicago campus next week (OK, security probably won't let you do that). Doc Films has something great, or at least intriguing, playing every day. This historic college film society's calendar is consistently packed with cinematic goodies, but next week (Jan. 24 to 30) is a real standout.

Sunday starts with a matinee showing of Raging Bull (1980), part of Doc's ongoing Martin Scorsese retrospective. Even if you've seen this blistering, super-stylized black-and-white masterpiece multiple times, it's always worth another viewing. Following that is Coming Home—not the '70s Vietnam vet drama, but a 2014 film from award-winning Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers). Zhang's frequent muse Gong Li stars as the wife of a political prisoner who cannot remember him upon his release. And for a total change of pace, the day ends with Alice (1988), Jan Svankmajer's memorably weird take on Alice in Wonderland, combining stop-motion animation and live action.

If you're a fan of classic Hollywood musicals, grab a seat Monday night for Top Hat (1935), which many consider the best of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers pairings. Things take a turn to the far more serious on Tuesday with Waltz with Bashir (2009), a recounting of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 told through interviews with veterans, but visualized with flash animation. It's a great movie, but a heavy one, so you might be ready for the unapologetic silliness of Mel Brooks' beloved western spoof, Blazing Saddles (1974) on Wednesday.

Thursday night offers the best of both polished major studio fare and low-budget regional filmmaking. First up is Michael Clayton (2007), a stellar corporate conspiracy thriller featuring a top-notch performance from George Clooney and an amazing, tightly wound turn from Tilda Swinton, who won an Academy Award for her work. Then it's Carnival of Souls (1962), a surreal and spooky tale of a car crash survivor and the ghouls intent on claiming her. Shot for next to nothing in Kansas and Utah, this is a shudder-inducing chiller.

Friday it's back to the best of Scorsese with GoodFellas (1990), arguably the director's most popular film and certainly one of his finest. If you missed a 25th anniversary showing of the modern gangster classic last year, here's a chance to renew acquaintances with Henry Hill, Tommy DeVito, Jimmy Conway and their violent pals.

Saturday, Doc teams up with the university's Japanese Animation Society for an afternoon screening of The Cat Returns (2002), a fantasy involving a feline prince. The film comes from the beloved Studio Ghibli, longtime home to animation giant Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away). Saturday evening offers two showings of one of last year's most critically acclaimed films, The Assassin. Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien won Best Director honors at the Cannes Film Festival for this martial arts epic set in 9th century China.

General admission is just $5 for each film. Get complete descriptions and show times here.