Movies

Read movie reviews, check movie showtimes, and find film events near you

Things to do

Movies in the Parks

Pack a blanket and hit the corner store for candy—it's time for Movies in the Parks

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The Chicago Onscreen Local Film Showcase

Fall in love with local films as part of the Chicago Onscreen Local Film Showcase

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The best movie theaters in Chicago

Whether a new release, an indie or a classic, Chicago has great multiplexes and art houses

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Films for families: The top 50 movies to watch as a family

There's nothing more exciting than watching one of your favorite films through your child's eyes

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Jurassic World

Jurassic World chomps up your time painlessly

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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New movies we love

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Inside Out

It’s all in the mind in Pixar’s latest, a delightful, frenetic, near-experimental animated film from the makers of Up and Toy Story. Pixar fans will be in seventh heaven with the film’s bold thinking—and kids will be straining to listen to imaginary voices in their heads—after diving into the mind of Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose tiny world is turned upside down when she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her mom and dad. It’s a simple story, featuring a new school and nervous parents. But the real drama goes on in Riley’s head, where we meet Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), each of them sharing a physicality to match their temperament. Disgust gives great sneer, while Anger is red, squat and prone to shooting fire out of his head. We watch each of them fight for control over Riley’s life, and when Joy and Sadness go AWOL from their psychological HQ, we take a tour of some crazy mental byways, including the Abstract Thinking Department, where Joy and Sadness briefly become 2-D characters and then, momentarily, one-color squiggles. There’s too much to sponge up in one viewing. Blink and you’ll miss a character saying, “These facts and opinions look so similar,” when passing boxes marked FACTS and OPINIONS. We leave the subconscious (“where they take all the troublemakers”) too quickly, and then it’s on to the Dream Department, where we see the day’s memories being adapted into drama. At

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Dope

You’ve seen L.A.’s menacing Inglewood before—a hood of bouncing low-riders and uneasy staredowns—but not, we’re guessing, in an indie comedy that totally reinvents the teens-on-a-wacky-misadventure movie. Dope presents a trio of lovable dorks: Malcolm (Shameik Moore), Jib (The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons). What do they like doing? Getting good grades, listening to classic ’90s hip-hop, BMX biking and playing in their punk band, Oreo (zing). You know, Malcolm says: “white stuff.”  Writer-director Rick Famuyiwa never quite sends his nerdlings to the slaughterhouse, even as they accidentally get involved in a drug deal and the Molly underworld. Instead, he doubles down on an applying-to-Harvard satire that both upends demographic expectations while insisting (at times a bit strenuously) that we all aim a little higher. Dope has thrilling moments and flies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but its caustic intelligence glints fast and furious. Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Love & Mercy

Beach Boy genius Brian Wilson loved being nestled in the recording studio, especially, as Love & Mercy suggests, when the other guys were off chasing Barbara Anns in every port. To watch the delicate Paul Dano (a magically right choice with a beautiful voice) steer his ace session band through what would become Pet Sounds is to have a piece of essential rock history recreated right before your eyes. Bobby pins rattle charmingly on piano wires, bicycle bells chime, and “even the happy songs sound sad” (per pissed-off bandmate Mike Love). Wilson, a pop savant, was chasing some kind of dragon, and as the movie toggles years forward to the scared, overmedicated Wilson of the 1980s (John Cusack, absorbingly strange in the tougher part), you sense that the dragon bit back. Half the film moves toward mental breakdown, the other half toward emancipation. Best seen as an L.A. psychodrama that sometimes plays like Boogie Nights or Safe, sometimes like its own beast, Love & Mercy does an exquisite job with the interior spaces: cozy vocal booths, locked-off bedrooms, air-conditioned safety zones. (Not for nothing is a two-minute Wilson masterpiece called “In My Room.”) The script is by Oren Moverman, who performed a kind of jujitsu on Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There—his Wilson story is a lot more traditional, but more moving as well. There are some too-obvious metaphors (i.e., Brian struggling in the deep end of a swimming pool), but you forgive them.  As stunning as the two l

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

The Citizen Kane of teen cancer tearjerkers, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s funny and bruising Sundance sensation is like The Fault in Our Stars remade for Criterion Collection fetishists. Ostensibly spun from the same cloth as most YA dramas, the film latches on to a generic high-school kid named Greg (Thomas Mann) who spends all of his time making parody versions of classic films (i.e. Eyes Wide Butts, The 400 Bros) with his “coworker” Earl (excellent newcomer RJ Cyler). The videos are a great expression of Greg’s cinephilia, but what’s the use in making so many movies if none of them are truly your own? Conveniently for Greg, a local girl named Rachel (Olivia Cooke) has just been diagnosed with leukemia, and there’s no greater catalyst for a pubescent male movie character to come into his own than that. Despite an occasionally stilted pace and a few cartoonish touches (Molly Shannon plays Rachel’s mom with a broad sexual frustration that clashes with the rest of the material), Earl develops a rare emotional heft, particularly when Greg is pressured to make Rachel an original film. The project forces Greg to eclipse his influences and risk doing something that puts himself on the line, and Earl follows suit. Thanks to a restless visual dexterity and a brilliantly deployed soundtrack of Brian Eno tunes (Gomez-Rejon used to work for Scorsese, and it shows), this spirited but safely familiar pastiche of John Hughes and Wes Anderson is eventually compelled to become its own thing, embr

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Mad Max: Fury Road

Post-apocalyptic visionary George Miller returns to the series that made his name, and the results are spectacular: jaw-droppingly violent, surreal and worth the 30-year wait

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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See more new movie reviews: Critics' picks

New movie releases

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The best new movies on Netflix in July 2015

We present the five most exciting new Netflix movies arriving in July

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Hot Pursuit

It’s hard to fault Hot Pursuit for shamelessly trying to draft off the success of The Heat, since it’s not as if the world is overrun with broad comedies about resourceful women who demolish the men foolish enough to underestimate them. At the same time, this trite road-trip comedy can be so lazy that it squanders the goodwill of a premise that ought to be self-evident. Directed by Step Up series godmother Anne Fletcher, the film centers on Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), a dweebish and diminutive Texas cop with a checkered past. Police work is in Cooper’s blood, but an itchy trigger finger on her taser has resulted in her being assigned to a desk job as a glorified secretary. That is, until she’s assigned to escort Daniella (Sofia Vergara) from her mansion to a courtroom, where the South American fashionista is scheduled to testify against the merciless drug lord who used to employ her husband. The pickup goes awry and the women suddenly find themselves speeding away in a convertible, two different teams of armed killers on their tail.  One of them is short and the other one is Colombian—that’s pretty much all there is to this milquetoast buddy comedy that ought to have premiered directly on seat-back airplane televisions where it’s destined to spend the better part of its existence. Bouncing from one tired sitcom setup to the next (Cooper is covered in cocaine! Daniella has to pretend to be her lesbian lover in order to fool a shotgun-toting Jim Gaffigan!), the film is comple

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Maggie

Henry Hobson’s zombie movie does for coping with terminal illness what Dawn of the Dead did for consumerism, the difference here being that Hobson isn’t interested in satire, only sadness. Oh, and he’s got Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The film begins in the aftermath of a plague that’s referred to as the Turn, a reference to the process by which this incurable virus slowly transforms its victims into feral, flesh-eating transmitters of the contagion. The worst of it is over, but for Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the hell is just beginning. Your typical Kansas City farm boy with the body of an aging gladiator and the accent of a robot sent back in time to prevent the apocalypse, Wade is searching for his eponymous teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin). The moment he finds her, infected and afraid, epitomizes how cleverly the film suffuses the realness of human tragedy with the morbid spark of genre fiction: “She’s going to lose her appetite,” a doctor informs him, “and then she’s going to get it back.”  Choosing, perhaps irresponsibly, to take Maggie back to their remote Missouri home rather than dump her at the government’s ominous quarantine, Wade is forced to confront the increasingly gruesome reality of his daughter’s condition, Wade begins to confront the gruesome reality of her condition, an ordeal that only gets harder as her veins begin to turn black and one of her fingers rots off. Hobson resists the temptation to spice things up with more traditional scares, and the film

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Queen and Country

A direct sequel to 1987’s Hope and Glory—and the best thing that John Boorman has made since—Queen and Country begins where that film leaves off, continuing the director’s autobiographical account of his relationship with war and the collateral effect it has on the people at its periphery. When last we saw Billy Rowan, the impish schoolboy who served as Boorman’s alter ego in Hope and Glory, he was thanking Hitler for blowing his schoolhouse to smithereens. Queen and Country catches up with Bill (Turner) nine years later, the lad now a strapping young man with an appropriately adult name to match.  It’s 1952, and the Korean War is in full swing. Bill, a burgeoning cinephile without a lick of interest in being forced to shoot at strangers several thousand miles away, is whiling away his youth on the idyllic U.K. island home he shares with his parents, but it’s only a matter of time before his conscription notice arrives. It’s at boot camp that Bill meets Percy (Jones, a convincingly manic Brit), the two troublemakers becoming fast friends as they do their best to avoid one war while grappling with the fallout from another.  Marrying the military milieu of Full Metal Jacket with the wistful English cheekiness that colored The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Queen and Country is as achingly romantic a film as has ever been set during basic training. The brunt of Boorman’s bittersweet memories involve the lads chasing girls, teaching new recruits how to type, and irritating th

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Ex Machina

Stephen Hawking has warned us that the growing power of artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Technology has not yet reached the point where a robot has passed the Turing Test—fooling people into believing they’re talking to a human. But screenwriter and novelist Alex Garland’s debut feature takes us to the very moment of technological birth. What might it look like when we get there?Pretty damn slinky, as it happens. Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is an ace computer programmer who wins a competition to visit the remote home of his Silicon Valley company’s charismatic billionaire founder (Oscar Isaac). Caleb’s task is to test his boss’s new invention: AVA, a robot whose glowing LEDs and whirring servos combine with a lithe feminine form and the angelic features of actress Alicia Vikander. Caleb isn’t just convinced, he’s smitten, but the more he learns about the relationship between AVA and her volatile, hard-drinking creator, the more concerned he becomes for her future.There are elements of romance and dystopian thriller here, though Garland’s art-house pacing keeps us waiting for these threads to emerge, lining up thoughtful dialogue exchanges between man and machine. Vikander’s spellbinding, not-quite-human presence (her synthetic skin is silky yet creepy) keeps us watching. But an obvious twist and some clunky plotting—how about those sudden power cuts?—drain much of the credibility from a story which promised so much. A bit more intelligence wouldn't

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Joss Whedon’s first Avengers movie was the epic finale to Marvel’s cinematic “Phase One,” herding all the franchise’s disparate elements in a rousing, rewarding whole. Age of Ultron, though, has a definite mid-season feel to it, telling a compelling but never game-changing story while laying the foundations for the epic, two-part Infinity War due in 2018.  It may be piled with MacGuffins, magic crystals, red-skinned demigods and psychic asides, but at the heart of Ultron is a simple, even derivative plot about overweening ambition and technology run amok. When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) combine to create the world’s first fully functioning AI, they don’t stop to think of the consequences. And of course it’s not long before Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is building an army of robots bent on wiping out the population of earth—starting with the noble Avengers. Whedon has revealed that his first cut ran for well over three hours, and it shows: Ultron feels excessively nipped and tucked, barreling from one explosive set-piece to the next, leaving ideas half-formed and character motivations murky. While the introduction of new superheroes like Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the confusingly multi-talented Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) may excite comic fans, it makes for such a crowded field that even star players like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) are shoved to the sidelines.  Age of Ultron is still a Joss

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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The best upcoming movie releases

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Movie-going in Chicago

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The best movie theaters in Chicago

The top spots for classic films, indie gems and the latest blockbusters

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Film events: Chicago's best movies and fests

Check out the best movie screenings, fests, Q&As and other film events happening in Chicago

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Movie lists you love

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Best sex scenes in film

Outside of porn flicks, these are the lustiest lovemaking scenes on film

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23 things we learned about Chicago from the movies

The landscape and lifestyle of Chicago is a little suspect in the eyes of Hollywood

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Worst movie sex scenes

We count down the 20 most excruciating movie sex scenes

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The 43 best fictional Chicagoans

We consult our favorite Chicago-set fiction to find the greatest fake people to ever hail from our city

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The 100 best animated movies

World-famous animators pick the best animated movies ever

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The 50 most romantic movies of all time

Prepare to swoon at our loveliest of lists

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