David O. Russell out-Scorseses Martin Scorsese himself with "American Hustle," a rollicking '70s crime romp that’s ridiculously entertaining in all the best possible ways.
Bill Stamets is a freelancer for the Chicago Sun-Times and Newcity. He teaches film part-time and makes Super-8 films.
"Black Venus" screens twice in the 15th Annual European Union Film Festival: Saturday, March 3, 2:15 pm; Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 pm. At the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 North State Street, Chicago. Admission: $11; $7 students. (312) 846-2600. In English, French, Afrikaans, Dutch, with English subtitles.
How did Charles Chaplin get his start on the screen? In 1913 the English comic was on a U.S. tour with a vaudeville troupe when the Keystone Film Company offered him $150 per week. Chaplin signed a contract and took the train to Los Angeles. He acted on camera for the first time in "Making a Living." A critic at The Moving Picture World gushed that the newcomer was "a comedian of the first water, who acts like one of Nature's own naturals."
Two men are in conflict in a stunning sub-Arctic landscape in "How I Ended This Summer," the Russian drama by Aleksei Popogrebsky that won the Gold Hugo, the top prize in the 46th Chicago International Film Festival.