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.
CHICAGO – One of Chicago’s most popular pop culture gatherings is the Wizard World Comic Con, and the 2016 edition is building anticipation for the weekend of August 18th through the 21st. Besides the fan costumes, vendor booths and comic book legends, Wizard World has appearances from TV and movie celebrities, highlighted by Michael J. Fox (“Back to the Future”), David Duchovny (“The X-Files”) and Princess Leia herself, the one and only Carrie Fisher.
CHICAGO – Few directors were made for Blu-ray like Stanley Kubrick and recent editions of some of his classics, including the Criterion releases for “The Killing” and “Paths of Glory” and the stunning anniversary edition of “A Clockwork Orange” are among the best in my collection. His penultimate film, “Full Metal Jacket,” was just released in a Digibook HD edition from Warner Bros. and while it may not be one of my favorite flicks, it’s another visual masterpiece from Kubrick, which makes it a perfect fit for Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – If television shows were deemed a success or failure based on the number of emails, comments, and call-ins to radio shows that were sent on their behalf, NBC’s “Chuck” would be one of the biggest programs of the last two decades. Every time we wrote about it or discussed it on the radio show, people got excited. The show didn’t have many fans, but they were LOYAL and that’s why it stayed on the air much longer than it should have based on pure ratings numbers and that’s why WB has treated fans right through five Blu-ray releases.
CHICAGO – There have been a number of casualties of the debacle of “The Jay Leno Show” but one has to believe that were NBC not in such dire straits when it comes to ratings (an increasingly depressing situation for the network with new lows nearly every week) that “Chuck” would have been canceled years ago. The program has been on “bubble watch” since its first season, when it dipped below 60th place in the weekly ratings. And yet here we are, reviewing the fifth-season premiere of the show that simply wouldn’t die.
CHICAGO – After a second season that saw already-low ratings decline, NBC took a chance by bringing “Chuck” back for a third, shortened season. As the network has struggled this year due to a number of horrible decisions (most of them related to Jay Leno), most of its lineup has been hit. Let’s hope “Chuck” bucks the trend because this cult hit has arguably never been better.
CHICAGO – The regular flow of imports from standard DVD and HD-DVD to the champion of the format war, Blu-Ray, continues with this week’s release of an HD-DVD hit, Joss Whedon’s excellent “Serenity”.