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.
Liam Neeson Elevates Above-Average Action Movie ‘Taken’
CHICAGO – Bringing the same screen presence and gravity that he has to more serious roles like those in “Schindler’s List” and “Kinsey,” Liam Neeson turns the relatively generic “Taken” into an above-average action movie that should prove a surprising alternative for movie goers looking for a break from Super Bowl coverage this weekend.
The great Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired “preventer,” essentially Jack Bauer ten or fifteen years down the road. He’s put his violent days behind him but not forgotten the skills that made him one of the most efficient experts in his very specialized field. In the opening act of “Taken,” Mills is hanging out with friends and taking odd jobs like providing back-stage security for the latest pop starlet.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Taken” in our reviews section.|
Bryan has grown a bit distant from his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), but he’s working on getting back into the life of his only child. Kim decides to travel to Europe to follow U2 with her best friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) and Bryan reluctantly allows her to go.
Before they’re even out of the airport, Kim and Amanda are spotted by accomplices of some of the most evil people in the world, spotters for an Albanian sex ring. Kim and her friend are kidnapped, but not before Kim gets her father on the phone. He hears just enough detail that he knows he can travel to Europe and save his daughter’s life. And kill anyone who gets in his way.
In Taken, Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, an ex-government operative who has less than four days to find his kidnapped daughter - who has been taken on her first day of vacation in Paris.
Photo credit: Stephanie Branchu/Fox