What’s up, Doc?: A preview of this quarter’s cinematic offerings

It’s that time of the year again: the weather is getting warmer, the sun is staying out longer, and the classes are picking up and starting all over. So, what are you going to do? Go outside? Here are a few good reasons why you should be ditching April showers, May flowers, and all-nighters to check out Doc this spring.

Sunday, Beyond Frankenstein: The Other Films of James Whale: This quarter, Doc prepares for a British Invasion, featuring the works of James Whale, father to some of the greatest box-office horror flicks of all time, including “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein.” However, don’t plan on catching any of these notorious classics at Doc. Instead, expect to see some of his obscure works, which include 1932’s “The Impatient Maiden” appearing on April 13 at 7pm. Adapted from a racy novel, this early Whale film explores the sexual exploits of a woman who refuses to respect her wedding vows.

Monday, Impossible Adaptations: Co-sponsored by the Smart Museum, this film series is devoted to “impossible” film adaptations which include works by directors like David Cronenberg, D.W. Griffith, and John Huston. Throughout this series, directors explore and adapt modernist works to the big screen, featuring authors such as James Joyce and Marcel Proust. If you’re looking for suggestions, check out Huston’s Malcolm Lowry-inspired film “Under the Volcano” at 7pm on May 12, and follow the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a hopeless alcoholic living within a “menaced civilization.”

Tuesday, Children of Paradise: French Films of the Occupation and post-war period: Providing hard-to-find works, some of which are imported from France, the France Chicago Center lights up our big screen with French films of the ‘40s including a few by Jean Cocteau and Marcel Carné. Although somewhat cliché, check out the April 8th screening of Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast,” his adaptation of the classic fairy tale which has become one of the most popular French films of all time.

Wednesday, ’60s Thrillers: Adding some suspense to mid-week screenings, Doc plans on tossing some sixties into the mix. Stay tuned for Polanski’s first English-language film “Repulsion,” scheduled for May 28th. Witness Carole Ledoux’s spiral into madness through her experiences of isolation, sexual repression, and violent fantasy.

Early Thursday, The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema: 1933-1943: Never before screened in Chicago, an array of Mexican films will flash across our screen thanks to a collection from Mexico City’s Cineteca Nacional. The films range from “expressionistic, religiously-tinged horror movies” to more artsy films, but the first to attract outside critical attention is Fernández’s “María Candelaria,” which recounts the struggles of a young Indian girl living outside of Mexico City.

Late Thursday, Cinemasaurus!: Don’t miss University of Chicago professor Paul Sereno’s introduction to Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” on June 5th. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Sereno, he’s the paleontologist who digs up newly discovered species of dinosaur across the globe (and one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1997). For those of you itching with excitement, check out Cooper and Schoedsack’s 1933 “King Kong” in the meantime, playing on April 10th. Actually, never mind. Check out all of these films.

Weekends, There will be Doc: As usual, Doc has a pretty ripe array of new releases making their way to Hyde Park. We can expect to see flicks like “There Will Be Blood,” “Juno,” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and an array of other recent popular and critical favorites.

SAVE THESE WEEKEND DATES: On April 26th, Oscar-nominated director Milcho Manchevski will present three of his recent films all night starting at 4:30pm. Expect to see “Before the Rain” (his most famous), “Shadows,” and “Dust.” Seriously. Rumor also has it that Bayona’s “The Orphanage” is a good pick if you’ll be interested in having your pants scared off on May 9th. Also, may we add that on May 16th, Schaffner’s classic 1968 “Planet of the Apes” is screening in a brand-new 35mm print–damage control for Burton’s film.

Check it.