The 49th version of the Chicago International Film Fest is back in session.
A quick glance reveals there are 16 Specials this year, so at least in my view, those films are priced out of the marketplace, and it's as if they don't exist at the festival, leaving fewer known directors and much less available than originally anticipated.
The price for Specials is anywhere from $16 bucks to $30 bucks per movie - - a hefty price by anyone's standards. So 3 or 4 films for $100 bucks? I don't think so.
Two years ago there were 22 Specials, lowering the quality of the festival considerably, while last year there were only about 4 or 5, which makes for a much better festival overall, as more films are accessible to anyone that attends.
Since I complained bitterly in the comments questionnaire when they did this before, good thing the festival took these comments to heart, as they obviously have a tin ear.
So I will not be seeing Blue at the festival, the Palme d'Or winner, which is only playing once, as it will eventually play somewhere else for half that, and I'll be happy to see it. But I also won't see Alexander Payne's Nebraska for $25 bucks, or the Coens for that outlandish price either. That's really ridiculous, but it's part of festival culture and mentality, and each must figure out their own way to respond to it. I just refuse to play along, which opens the door for more lesser known films.
Unfortunately, two of the best places to eat nearby have closed. Three years ago Boston Blackie's, a terrific burger joint with old school Chicago atmosphere, closed in a fraudulent check writing scheme, while this year Fox & Obel, an upscale grocery store and deli restaurant, famous for soup and sandwiches, closed after filing for bankruptcy. That really limits our options of where to meet ahead of time or between films, as those were our two best choices.
Anticipated release dates of some major films in Chicago:
10/18: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
11/15: Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street (latest info suggests this may be held off until next year)
11/22: Alexander Payne, Nebraska
11/27: Spike Lee, Old Boy
11/29: Justin Chadwick, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
12/06: Coen Brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis
12/13: Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
12/25: Spike Jonze, Her
12/25: David O. Russell, American Hustle