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 – The most American game of baseball gets a new spin in the film “Weeds on Fire,” directed by Steve Chan. The story explores a youth team in the 1980s whose exploits coincided with a renaissance in Hong Kong. The film is screening on Sep. 21st, 2016, at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, part of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series (details below).
CHICAGO – One of the greatest records in baseball, the total home run record held by Babe Ruth, was challenged by an unassuming ballplayer named Henry “Hank” Aaron in the early part of the 1970s. The quest to break that record was complicated because Aaron was a black man, and race in America again became an issue. The Smithsonian Channel chronicles that journey, as part of their new “Major League Legends” series, with “The Hammer of Hank Aaron,” premiering on February 29th, 2016.
CHICAGO – With the 2014 Major League All-Star game coming up next week on July 15th, that break is a time to reflect on the current season and your favorite team. At the “Hot Stove Cool Music” event in Chicago on June 20th, HollywoodChicago.com got in the All-Star spirit by talking with the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein, plus baseball writer and former ESPN commentator, Peter Gammons.
CHICAGO – “Million Dollar Arm” harkens back to a period of shameless family friendly schmaltz that used to play to families in theaters and then run in perpetuity on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” on television. But this treacly baseball drama throws nothing but balls.
CHICAGO – John C. McGinley will probably always be known for the classic TV character Dr. Perry Cox on the long-running “Scrubs.” But through his character actor career, he has taken on a variety of roles, including the portrayal of Red Barber, the play-by-play man for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the recent film “42.”
CHICAGO – It took baseball, that noble sport, to recognize in 1947 what the universe had dictated since day one – all persons are equal and all deserve an equal chance. Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to break the “color line” in baseball, and the story of that achievement is magnificently told in “42.”
CHICAGO – As the bells toll this Christmas morn, the critical knots are untied and the new comedy, “Parental Guidance,” is deemed to be not bad – even though the marketing might have indicated otherwise. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler make merry and bright as two grandparents taking care of modern kids.
CHICAGO – Mention “documentary,” in word association, and the next response is often “Ken Burns.” Burns brought a new voice to the documentary, and re-engineered the art form so much, that his technique is the “Ken Burns Effect.” His latest feature film, “The Central Park Five,” was co-directed by his daughter Sarah Burns and his son-in-law David McMahon.
CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood keeps going and going. His reputation as an actor is secure in a long career, and his power as a director is Oscar worthy. His ability to recognize a limp script? Not so much, if “Trouble with the Curve” is a gauge. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along for the pitch.
CHICAGO – Baseball gets the metaphor-for-life treatment once again in “Trouble with the Curve,’ starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout estranged from his daughter (Adams) and seeks redemption in both arenas of his life. Making his directorial debut is Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood since “Bridges of Madison County.’