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Alvin and the Chipmunks

Film Review: Sprightly Bear Tale ‘Paddington’ is Good Fun

Paddington with Ben Whishaw

CHICAGO – It may prove hard to recall an era of talking creatures in live-action movies before the napalm hellfire of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or “The Smurfs.” But, lest we forget, “Babe” has more Academy Awards than “The Master.” Arriving at the coy and wise time of the film year where expectations are either golden or underneath the barrel, talking bear Paddington arrives stateside as a well-behaved throwback to brighter days for a simple genre, with an efficient sense of humor and a few globs of vision, too.

Video Game Review: Kids Will Dance to ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel’

Alvin and the Chipmunks Wii Game

CHICAGO – Reviewing games based on kids movies that are as clearly aimed at children as are the DS and Nintendo Wii tie-ins for “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” can be a tough assignment. What approach is appropriate? I generally think that I can only be honest about my personal experience with a game, but what if that game isn’t designed with my demographic in mind? Personally, I struggled with getting enjoyment out of either console version but I think some of my eight and nine-year-old relatives would love both.

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  • [Trans]formation

    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.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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