CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: ‘Bullet to the Head’ Could Motivate You to Do Same
CHICAGO – These are the times that try a film critic’s soul. Right after the awards season, and the lofty artistic films, comes the dump zone of January and the rejected reel orphans of the “industry.” Sylvester Stallone, once an Oscar winner, now “entertains” us with with harsh violence in the ‘Bullet to the Head.’
This is supposedly based on a graphic novel (that fancy term for comic book), but in what universe are we suppose to connect with a gun fetishist sociopath whose redeeming quality is that he loves his estranged, tattoo artist daughter? Stallone plays this guy as a cold blooded freak of nature (with some human growth hormone thrown in for his anti-aging), except when the story says he shouldn’t be that way. This role simply doesn’t fit either Stallone’s mumbly, aw-shucks persona of Rocky or his action Rambo-type character, and his assasin is so loathsome there are actual points in the film in which hope is generated for the “bad guys” to win. It’s a rambling, shambling mess, plus treats gunplay and bullet wounds so blithely that it could inspire another religion to counteract the dreadful emotions that emerge from experiencing it.
James Bonomo (Stallone) or Jimmy “Bobo” as he’s known, is a hit man of dubious origin. He and his partner (Jon Seda) are on a job, whacking a coked out ex-cop. The hit is successful, but good hearted Bobo decides not to shoot the hooker who is also in the room. This leads to the cop’s former partner, Kwan (Sung Kang) to track down Bobo in New Orleans. Instead of running him in, he wants to team with the killer, since they’ve both lost their partners, and the corruption that sullied the dead cop leads back to high level officials in the police department and a real estate mogul named Baptiste (Christian Slater).
Bobo doesn’t want the partnership, but he’s forced into it when Kwon is shot by the New Orleans cops. Instead of a hospital, Kwon is taken to Bobo’s daughter Lisa (Sarah Shahi), a tattoo artist with “one year of med school.” The powers behind the land grab, Baptiste and Morel (Adewale Akinnuouye-Agbaje) hire their own killer to get Bobo, a cold dude named Keegan (Jason Momoa). It seems like everybody in the Big Easy is after Bobo and Kwon, but it’s anything but easy to bring them down.
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures