Best film events this week
Chicago Comedy Film Festival Comic actor Ray Chao hosts the two-day festival of features, shorts and webisodes. Some aim for funny, such as "A Little Something on the Side," the 11-minute film starring Justine Bateman and Stephen Tobolowsky (best known as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day). Others focus in on the funny business—the doc Warm Beer Lousy Food tells the tale of Brooklyn's Crazy Country Club, which the filmmakers claim is the nation's first comedy club. ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection. Oct 4, 5pm; Oct 6, noon. $12, $39 for weekend pass (online purchase).
Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema The CFIC features current Israeli films, with a full day (October 7) dedicated to movies by and about women. Additionally, on the night of October 12, the festival showcases films depicting the Israeli Defense Force. AMC Northbrook Court 14 and Thorne Auditorium, Northwestern University (Chicago campus). Oct 3–12. $10–$12.
Docs at the Box Nonfiction filmmaking takes over for a week during the Music Box's first documentary festival. Standouts include Our Nixon, constructed in part by three of his top former aides' Super 8 footage; Evocateur: The Morton Downey, Jr. Movie, about the late conservative talk-show host; a look back at the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas controversy, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power; and Lenny Cooke, which examines the failure of the once-hyped basketball player to live up to expectations of NBA superstardom. For the full schedule, visit musicboxtheatre.com. Music Box. Oct 5–11.
Eraserhead Dir. David Lynch. 1977. 85 min. With his hair piled high, Henry Spencer travels through surreal settings and meets strange characters—and gets a famously terrifying vision of his baby in Lynch's early, defining black-and-white film. Music Box. Oct 5, 11:30am, 11:59pm; Oct 6, 11:30am. $9.25, $7.25 matinee.
Found Footage Festival: Best of the Midwest Curated by Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Late Show with David Letterman), this widely acclaimed traveling festival boasts a bevy of home-video hilarities and unearthed VHS oddities. This time around, the program is composed entirely of Midwest-themed clips, with original Wild Chicago host Ben Hollis joining in to present the VHS gem Rent-A-Friend, which was produced in Chicago in 1987. Music Box. Oct 5, 9:30pm. $13, $12 advance.
French Classics Conserved Throughout October, eight films by French auteurs such as Truffaut, Renoir and Melville—ones previously unviewable through legit channels—will be shown in either new or archival 35mm prints or digital restorations. See the full schedule at siskelfilmcenter.org. Gene Siskel Film Center. Oct 4–30. $11 general admission, $7 students, $6 members.
Nick Offerman presents Dead Man Dir. Jim Jarmusch. 1995. 121mins. An accountant donning a dead poet's name, a Native American and Iggy Pop are in the woods. No it's not a joke...it's this Jarmusch flick, possibly his zaniest. Joining the vision quest is comedian and author Nick Offerman, who will present the film after discussing his new memoir, Paddle Your Own Canoe. Music Box. Oct 4, 11pm. $10.
Se7en Dir. David Fincher. 1995. 126 min. This neo-noir, Fincher's breakthrough, brings together a murderous seven-deadly-sins puzzle and Brad Pitt, who plays a detective determined—possibly to a fault—to find the ghastly killer. It shows as part of Doc Films' series Auteurs of Obsession: David Fincher & Darren Aronofsky. Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago. Oct 4, 7pm, 9:30pm, 11:59pm; Oct 6, 1pm. $5.