Ah, fall: the leaves turning, the air crisp and cool, halfway decent movies opening every week. This week's long review considers Fair Play, a first-rate political thriller about the Valerie Plame affair, starring Naomi Watts as the outed CIA agent and Sean Penn as her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson. We also have sidebars for two of the year's biggest festivals: Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival and the Polish Film Festival in America.
Cliff Doerksen contributes a Critic's Choice box for The Island Inside, a "cocktail of psychodrama and pitch-black farce" that screens as part of the Gene Siskel Film Center's month-long festival of new Spanish cinema. And check out our new reviews for Dog Sweat, an Iranian drama shot clandestinely on video; Due Date, the latest comedy from director Todd Phillips (The Hangover); a program of new works from the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation; For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry's screen adaptation of the classic 1974 play by Ntozake Shange; The Man on the Balcony, a documentary about a Holocaust survivor returning to Terezin; Me Too, an unsentimental drama about a man with Down syndrome chasing love with an office coworker; Megamind, the latest animation feature from Dreamworks; MIghty Uke, a documentary on the rising popularity of the ukulele; and Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, Margarethe von Trotta's biopic about the 12th-century Catholic mystic.
Plenty of good repertory screenings this week: Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975), showing Wednesday night at Doc Films; Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953), screening from an archival print at Film Center on Friday and Tuesday; a double feature of The Big Sleep (1946) and The Big Lebowski (1998) on Sunday at the Cascade Drive-In in West Chicago; and Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), showing Monday at Doc.
Last but not least, let me insert a plug for one of my favorite movies to open in Chicago this year: Giorgos Lanthimos's sinister and hilarious Dogtooth, returning to the Film Center this weekend with screenings on Saturday and Sunday night. Obviously this is last call, so if you want to experience this peerless sick comedy with an audience, get a move on.