Adam Scott Chi-Raq

Some Movies to See This Weekend, December 4, 2015

Friday, December 04, 2015 Rob Samuelson

It's a fairly quiet weekend after a big holiday last week. There is only one relatively wide release hitting theaters, plus one in limited release that should be of particular interest to those readers from Halfstack's home base, Chicago. Let's see what the movies have got in store for us.

Director: Michael Dougherty
Writers: Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman

The myth of Krampus is pretty terrifying, with a giant monster who eats bad kids on Christmas. This could easily be the type of story that gets mined for something like the Ernest movies, but the filmmaking team behind Krampus seems intent on straddling the horror-comedy fence all the way through. Based on the trailer, there's a growing sense of dread and some effective suspenseful scares along the way. The comedy vets in the cast, like Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott and Anchorman's David Koechner, would theoretically be the sugar that makes the scary medicine go down, but we'll see. It looks like a spooky fun time.

Director: Spike Lee
Writers: Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Starring: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson

My day job is running a newswire service for a subsidiary of the Chicago Sun-Times. Awful things from around the world come across my electronic desk every few minutes, and unfortunately my hometown is heavily involved in that, with a murder rate through the roof and violence festering through huge chunks of the city. Spike Lee, a man who has film running through his veins, has decided to take that local cycle of violence, mistrust, and desperation and turn it into a vibrant, colorful satire based on Aristophanes's Lysistrata. The central premise of the play and now Chi-Raq is that the men of the community trap themselves in a self-perpetuating cycle of war, so their female partners take the initiative to put an end to the violence by cutting them off, sexually speaking. Based on the trailer, Lee does not hold back on the inherent sadness of all the killing, but by playing it satirically, he can – fingers crossed – also point out the silly uselessness of such incidents.  

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