Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, whose previous film was the “animated documentary” “Waltz With Bashir,” returns with an amalgam of live action and animation, based on a story by Polish science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem. Robin Wright stars as an actress who may be getting too old for the movie industry, but her personality is duplicated (the animated part of the film). Siskel, September 5.
Steve James’ essential documentary about the life and great loves of Roger Ebert (film; Chaz) has a welcome return engagement. Siskel, September 5.
Underrated but highly-talented Scottish director David Mackenzie (“Young Adam,” “Tonight You’re Mine,” “Perfect Sense,” “Spread”) turns his hand to the prison drama in which a violent young offender is transferred to an adult facility. Among his liabilities: his father, who’s spent most of his life behind bars. The great Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn plays the father in question. Facets, September 5.
The Work of Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich
A Saturday-Sunday matinee series through November of perhaps the most lavishly imagined collaboration ever by a director and actor, including “The Blue Angel,” “Morocco,” “Shanghai Express,” “Blonde Venus” and “The Scarlet Empress.” Music Box, “The Blue Angel,” September 6-7; “Morocco,” September 20-21.
Abuse Of Weakness
The latest raw drama from French master Catherine Breillat is an autobiographical story of her recovery from a stroke as well as being bilked on hundreds of thousands of Euro by a charming con man. Ever-physical Isabelle Huppert plays the Breillat stand-in. Siskel, September 12.
Belgian director Michaël R. Roskam follows his Oscar-nominated “Bullhead” with his first American picture, a crime drama based on a screenplay by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”). Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and in his last role, James Gandolfini. September 12.
Los Angeles Plays Itself
Prior to its long-awaited released on video, a one-time big-screen showing of Thom Andersen’s legendary essay film on how the topography and psychology of Los Angeles has been depicted in American film history. Essential viewing. Music Box, September 17.
Reeling 2014: The 32nd Chicago LGBT International Film Festival
After a hiatus, Reeling returns with a survey of gay filmmakers and gay-themed material, including the “Trans Centerpiece: Drunktown’s Finest,” the “Gay Centerpiece: Lilting,” with Ben Whishaw as a young gay man mourning a lover, and Xavier Dolan’s intense psychological thriller, “Tom At The Farm.” Chicago Filmmakers and other locations, September 18-25.
Kevin Smith, described as a “singular mind” by his distributor, returns to the director’s chair after a brief retirement, with a comedy-horror entry, apparently based on Canadian lore about wild boar. With Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks. September 19.
The 6th Annual Romanian Film Festival of Chicago
The latest output from Europe’s least-likely great national cinema. The bill of fare will likely offer more of the great dark dramas and bleak comedies Romania is known for producing. Facets, September 19-21.
God Help The Girl
Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch directs the story of a girl in Glasgow who deals with emotional problems by becoming a singer-songwriter. Screen International dubbed it “soft whimsy”; the soundtrack, of course, is studded with B&S tunes. Music Box, September 19.
Terry Gilliam’s latest is a small-scale yet still baroque showcase for his unique brand of whimsy and paranoia. With a chrome-domed Christoph Waltz. Music Box, September 19.
Jennifer Reeder: A Million Miles Away
Longtime Chicago artist Reeder will present a selection of recent work, including a preview of her latest feature-in-progress. Programmer Amy Beste describes her vital work as “pop-noir films [that] explore women’s experiences in breakups, breakdowns, and new beginnings.” Siskel, September 25.
Denzel Washington plays a “black ops” commando called out of retirement to rescue a kidnapped girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). Directed by Antoine Fuqua, who directed Washington to his Oscar with “Training Day.” With Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo. September 25.
Films By Nagisa Oshima
An eight-film retrospective of the Japanese master, including newly struck 35mm prints of “Boy,” “The Ceremony,” “Death By Hanging,” “Diary of a Shinjuku Thief,” and “The Man Who Left His Will on Film” as well as 35mm prints of “In The Realm of the Senses,” “Empire of Passion” and “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.” Siskel, October.
Films Shot In Hamburg
Four features in 35mm, co-presented by Goethe-Institut Chicago, all shot in the vital port city, including foodie film “Mostly Martha,” Fatih Akin’s vital, jostling, music-driven “Soul Kitchen,” and Wim Wenders’ essential, stylish Euro-mood crime thriller, “The American Friend” starring Dennis Hopper as a shady art dealer and director Nicholas Ray as a painter who faked his own death to increase his market value. Siskel, October.
Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists
Forty Chicago artists as well as collectors and curators tell the tale of the wild-and-wooly local 1960s art movement. Siskel, October 3.
Last Days In Vietnam
From nearly forty years distance, veteran documentarian Rory Kennedy adroitly captures the true story of America’s final weeks in Vietnam as Saigon began to fall. Music Box, October 3.
David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, from a script by the author, has been described as a movie that could cause couples on dates to consider breaking up during the film. The dark drama stars Ben Affleck as a man suspected of a crime but things grow increasingly more complicated. With Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris. October 3.
The 50th Chicago International Film Festival
CIFF founder and artistic director Michael Kutza’s baby makes it intact into its sixth decade with the usual roster of local and international cinema, premieres, panel discussions and other attractions. River East, October 9-23.
Kill The Messenger
Jeremy Renner stars in a thriller based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, who dug into CIA involvement in Central American drug-running. From director Michael Cuesta (“Homeland”). With Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt and Michael Sheen. October 10.
Music Box Of Horrors
The annual twenty-four-hour bloodbath of classic and bizarre chillers returns. Music Box, October 11-October 12.
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayers’ World War II drama, which reportedly does not stint on non-heroic violent action. October 14.
An ambitious young drummer (Miles Teller) becomes caught up in an emotionally tempestuous mentor-protégé relationship with an extreme drumming teacher (the great JK Simmons). Damien Chazelle (“Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench”) writes and directs the Sundance-winning percussive jazz drama. October 17.
Listen Up Philip
The third feature by Alex Ross Perry (“Impolex,” “The Color Wheel”) is an uncompromising drama about a self-absorbed perfect shit of a young novelist (Jason Schwartzman) who abandons his girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss) in his quest to befriend an older, Philip Roth-like novelist (Jonathan Pryce). Perry capably unwinds layers and layers of self-delusion and meanness from all of his finely etched characters. The fiercely in-your-face camerawork is matched by an intense, vital cutting style. The “literary” narration, read by Eric Bogosian, adds another layer of character scrutiny. Music Box, October 24.
Hollywood shits you not. Michael Bay is a co-producer on this “supernatural thriller” based on the Hasbro board game; but the name of co-producer Jason Blum, of Blumhouse Productions (“The Purge,” “Insidious”) holds promise. October 24.
Hiroshima Mon Amour
A newly restored version of Alain Resnais’ 1959 drama-cum-memory piece, written by novelist Marguerite Duras (“The Lover”), following the affair between a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) shooting an antiwar film in Japan and her affair with a young Japanese man, a former soldier, in the nuclear-bombed city of Hiroshima. Music Box, October 31.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a nocturnal Los Angeles freelance crime journalist. It’s the directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy, whose brother, Tony, writer of the “Bourne” series produces, and another brother, John Gilroy will edit; Gilroy’s wife, Rene Russo costars with Bill Paxton. October 31.
Classic Films About World War I
An ambitious series leading with Georges Franju’s “Thomas l’Imposteur.” Siskel, November.
The newest observational doc by the great Frederick Wiseman runs a mere three hours. Siskel, November.
Christopher Nolan aims behind the wild blue yonder in an IMAX save-the-planet thriller. Nolan pens with his brother again, but brings on a new cinematographer the adroit Hoyte van Hoytema (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Let The Right One In”). With Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck and yes, Michael Caine. November 7.
The 26th Annual Polish Film Festival
The most extensive annual showcase of Polish cinema outside of Poland continues to showcase the best from a still-thriving industry. Various locations, November 7-23.
The “Daily Show”’s Jon Stewart makes his writing-directing debut in an adaptation of the memoir, “Then They Came For Me,” a memoir by BBC journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal). Stewart became acquainted with the material after the former hostage appeared on “The Daily Show.” With Shohreh Aghdashloo. November 7.
The Theory Of Everything
Crackerjack documentarian James Marsh (“Man On Wire”) is also a superb director of fiction, including “Shadow Dancer” and “Red Riding 1980.” His latest is a portrait of the education and college years of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) as well as first love that enables him to expand his mind. Rumors of award positioning are already in the air. With Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, David Thewlis. November 7.
Dumb And Dumber To
Lloyd and Harry (Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels) return twenty years after “Dumb and Dumber,” again under the seasoned hands of the Farrelly brothers. November 14.
The Chicago Italian Film Festival
The first Chicago Italian Film Festival will showcase the latest from the once-more-booming Italian cinema. Music Box, November 21-25.
Or, Steve Carell would like an Oscar, yes, please. But director Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) has an assured hand, and this true-life East Coast aristocracy wrestling team murder mystery should be stronger than its dour coming attractions. With Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave. November 21.