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Beautiful Son
Don King and Julianne Yamamoto's adorable, towheaded young son, Beau, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as a toddler. In looking for treatments, the pair discovered a whole movement of parents who feel that elevated mercury levels (caused by vaccines, and more specifically, the presence of the preservative thimerosal) trigger the disorder. Through footage of other families, interviews with parents and experts — all while chronicling Beau's treatments and progress — the fascinating Beautiful Son explores the realities of living with autism. The anecdotal evidence in favor of mercury chelation therapy is strong — several children in Son are allegedly "cured" — although not entirely persuasive. Still, Beau's evolution from a distant child to one that functions at age-appropriate level is heartwarming, no matter how it occurred.
Annie Zaleski
Friday, November 21, 7 p.m., at Webster University.

Advertising for the Mob
It sounds ridiculous: Hopeless failure of an adman gets canned from his twelfth agency and starts a crime family. The whitest white guy this side of the Mississippi, said adman, happens to be adopted, with no union-labor lineage to speak of. One chosen brother in crime is Filipino, another, African American. But wait, there's more! The new mobsters christen themselves "La Familia," don neon-colored zoot suits and — insert drum roll here — attempt to take over the "protection business" on the Hill. A ridiculous plot line, yes, served up with a hokey score to match. Yet director Scott Wibbenmeyer nonetheless manages to yield a lot of laughs with Advertising for the Mob. The fabulous casting includes a number of local celebrities in off-color positions: Kim Tucci liberally dropping F-bombs as Godfather of the Hill; Victoria Babu mocking a blowhard of a newscaster while on air; Tony Twist wreaking environmental havoc while simulating a sex act, and Adriana Fazio maiming La Familia with a handheld bottle of fertilizer. All in all, this romp of a crime flick pays off. Kristen Hinman
Friday, November 21, 9:15 p.m., at the Tivoli.

Nights and Weekends
Nights and Weekends begins and ends in much the same way — with Mattie and James together in the sack. (Yep, you'll see everything within the first six minutes.) At the beginning of the film, they're dating long-distance between New York City and Chicago, and amid all their late-night talks about life's big questions and fleeting minutia, Mattie becomes disenchanted with their relationship's lack of luster, which she expects to be inherent when you travel hundreds of miles to be near your beloved. Though the couple comes thisclose to being a well-matched pair, the ebb and flow of their conversations eventually becomes replaced by awkward breakers that dissolve their relationship entirely. Though at times earnestly performed, Nights and Weekends' plot doesn't go the distance: The characters aren't terribly relatable, and rather than sympathize with them, you're puzzled how they put up with each other for as long as they did in the first place.
(KM)
Friday, November 21, 9:45 p.m., at the Tivoli.

Beaufort
Beaufort is the kind of war movie that most filmmakers strive to make but never can. There is an unforced intimacy among the characters that doesn't translate into love: Everyone is stuck here, but whether you regard your work as patriotic service or callow subservience puts you in one of two camps. The minimalist dialogue and stark setting communicate the pain of defending a fort long past its expiration date. It is a place where even the alert of a mortar shell "incoming, incoming" sounds banal. Left to this uninspiring task, the soldiers talk about family and lovers overseas. They contemplate the meaning of the fort within the overall Lebanese occupation. Beaufort could easily resort to the kind of softheaded war protest movie viewers have come to expect. But the soldiers' disconnectedness from battle, paired with the possibility of escape, casts their mission in an ambiguous light. It's not a question of sink or swim. The question is: When do you quit trying to swim when the shore's in sight?
(MK)
Friday, November 21, 4 p.m., at Plaza Frontenac.

Guest of Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman, she, the fantastically famous, chameleon-like fine-art photographer. Paul Hasegawa-Overacker, he, the creator of New York City's public-access TV show Gallery Beat and the codirector of this documentary. What? You haven't heard of Paul? Apparently, neither had NYC gallery owner Sean Kelly, thus the title of the film. For Gallery Beat, which ran through the '90s, Paul would travel to art openings, talk to both attendees and artists, and then air these impromptu interviews, some of which are part of this film. It was through his show that he met Cindy, and they dated for many years. Art fans will enjoy seeing Cindy from a unique perspective while viewing tons of her work — she certainly has a prominent role in this documentary — but truly this is a film about the guest of Cindy Sherman. It's really about Paul H-O. Those who have a partner whose light shines brighter than their own will empathize with Paul; he often felt like he lingered in the shadows when he was around Cindy. A discussion with Paul and codirector Tom Donahue follows the screening.
(AS)
Saturday, November 22, 9 p.m., at the Tivoli.

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