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 – “Elementary,” starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu and debuting tonight on CBS at 9pm CST, is a tough show to review. Yes, it’s another procedural mystery show and I wouldn’t blame you if you’re just not interested in one of those. Who has time for all the fictional crimes being solved on TV every week?
CHICAGO – Watching the premiere of NBC’s “Prime Suspect” again, I was struck by something undeniable — this feels like a TNT show. Yes, we’ve officially reached the point where basic cable is influencing network TV more than the other way around.
CHICAGO – The old saying, “those who cannot remember the past is doomed to repeat it” applies succinctly in “Sarah’s Key,” a Holocaust film with a French twist. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American journalist who uncovers the facts in a less-remembered incident that reverberates to now.
CHICAGO – For every instance of “monumental” history, there are a series of events surrounding it that gets swept under the rug, but have the same bearing as the bigger occurrence. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner tells one of those background stories in “Sarah’s Key,” a sorrowful piece of French history during World War II.
CHICAGO – “Unknown,” the latest thriller to attempt to turn Liam Neeson into an unusual choice for an action star (a la “Taken” and “The A-Team”), is one of those films that nearly works but falls just short of its audience’s expectations. The elements are there — a (mostly) strong ensemble, an interesting concept, an intriguing location, a promising director — but the film never comes together because the script needed one more rewrite that it just never received.
CHICAGO – This 28-image slideshow contains most of the official press images for the highly-anticipated “Unknown,” starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, and Frank Langella. The film was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. It will be released on February 18th, 2011.
CHICAGO – Director Rob Reiner’s career is undeniably a shadow of what it used to be with critical failures like “The Bucket List,” “Alex and Emma,” and “Rumor Has It…” diminishing the fact that this talented man gave us “Stand By Me,” “This is Spinal Tap,” and “The Princess Bride.” “Flipped” certainly doesn’t merit consideration with Reiner’s best but it is closer to form than he has been recently and it’s a film that’s easy to fall at least halfway in love with if not fully flipping head over heels.
CHICAGO – Modern audiences aren’t stupid enough to fall for lackluster product like “Jonah Hex” in theaters (it barely made over $10 million on a reported $47 million budget and currently hovers around 4.5 on IMDB) but it’s the kind of film that looks appealing on the Blockbuster shelf (or Netflix page). Don’t fall for it. Warner Bros. continues to produce excellent HD video and audio but even they can’t shine this turd into something worth your time.
CHICAGO – Rob Reiner’s “Flipped” is not merely nostalgic for an era when life seemed simpler and sweeter but for an age when every minor detail meant the world and love was as simple as looking into the eyes of a new neighbor. We all remember the days when the smallest act of kindness or meanness changed everything and, thanks to two very strong central performances, “Flipped” captures the essence of those times in a gentle, sentimental romance.
CHICAGO – Delving deep into the comic book lexicon, the latest page-to-film adaptation is “Jonah Hex,” featuring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich. Hex is a scarred bounty hunter whose primary job seems to be saving America, when he isn’t in the midst of or causing things to blow up real good.