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 – Nothing says the holiday season like a film about lobbying and politics. If you read that sarcastically, you’d be wrong. “Miss Sloane” offers a female spin for an otherwise male-dominated political landscape. Most of you are trying to tune out politics after the elections, but this film builds off of that momentum by reminding us how we arrived to that point.
CHICAGO – Travelers. We are travelers in this life, and metaphorically we’re mostly in coach, but sometimes manage to get some first class treatment. What if all this traveling were confined to one vehicle? Imagine a future world contained in a constantly traveling train, and the premise for “Snowpiercer” realizes a one-of-a-kind dystopia.
I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.
CHICAGO – Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, drives me crazy. The HBO drama can be so thematically dense and brings up subjects too often missing from the national conversation but it can also be so frustratingly self-important and deluded in its vision of the way real people operate. Do you give it credit for the topics it raises or smash it for the heavy hand with which they’re delivered? I have high hopes that season two will iron out some of the problems (stories of reshot episodes indicate that Sorkin heard his critics) but I’m still torn on how to feel about season one.
CHICAGO – Seann William Scott (“American Reunion”) does the best work of his career in the raunchy hockey comedy “Goon,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Co-written by “Superbad” writer Evan Goldberg and co-star Jay Baruchel, this is a clever little sports comedy that should find a loyal audience on the home market.
CHICAGO – Seann William Scott gives a surprisingly engaging, even sweet performance as the title character in the brutal, raunchy hockey comedy “Goon,” written by “Superbad” scribe Evan Goldberg and comedy actor Jay Baruchel. This “Slap Shot meets Fight Club” is a definite must-see for hockey fans but feels a little too slight for everyone else. Still, there’s a lot to like here, especially for those who want an interesting alternative On Demand (it’s already available there and opening in Chicago theaters today, March 30th, 2012).
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the new ice hockey comedy “Goon” starring Sean William Scott!
CHICAGO – At times, Woody Allen’s new film releases stink like an old glove, and thankfully there are times when they fit like an old glove. His latest is “Midnight in Paris,” just released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is classic romantic Woody, set in the City of Lights, and featuring Owen Wilson taking on the Allen persona. It’s also featured in my Top 10 Films of 2011.
CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen and the amazing cinematographer Darius Khondji (“Seven,” “The City of Lost Children”) very purposefully open their new film “Midnight in Paris” with a long series of static shots of the title city before even presenting a cast list. You see, Paris is a cast member in this film.
CHICAGO – Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” may have been (incorrectly) perceived as a box office bomb but a large cult grew around the film before it was even released and it’s a following that will only grow stronger with the fantastic Blu-ray release, a disc filled with more special features than even the most hardcore fan of the movie could have hoped for. The movie is still a bit flawed but it plays well at home and I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is when a top-notch studio like Universal treats a loyal film following with the respect they deserve.