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 – Few Oscar-winning actors have made as many bad movies as Nicolas Cage. His cinematic bombs have become so numerous that one could easily mistake him for a bad actor. Yet that is hardly the case. In fact, his vast number of outrageous gambles outweighs his list of easy paychecks. He’s a performer clearly unafraid of falling flat on his face.
CHICAGO – Joel Schumacher’s “Trespass” represents a new low for the often divisive and (lately) horrendous director of such gems as “The Number 23,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Bad Company,” “8MM,” “Batman & Robin,” and “Batman Forever.”
CHICAGO – “Priest,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of those films which suffers greatly by comparison to the works that clearly inspired it. On the level of character and storytelling, this thing is a derivative mess. You’ll never once give a damn about anything that’s happening, especially when the action slows down and the paper-thin dialogue kicks in. On the other hand, the film is surprisingly stylish and has a visual aesthetic that’s greatly enhanced by Blu-ray. It looks great on the surface. Just don’t examine it too closely.
CHICAGO – Anyone who’s been through the dorm situation at a college has probably had a creepy roommate or two. (I sure had my share Freshman year but that’s a long story.) The fact that we have to share so much of our existence with a complete stranger whose only psychological evaluation was during a college acceptance interview is ripe for thriller storytelling. What if your new roommate was crazy? Sounds like the set-up for a fun, over-the-top thrill ride, doesn’t it? Then why is “The Roommate” so damn boring?
CHICAGO – The cure for the Recovering Catholic may be obtained in the new film “Priest.” Both symbolic and kick-ass, Priest has a parallel universe that includes the ubiquitous vampire, but with the bonus of their opponents being highly trained Catholic priests.
CHICAGO – The latest “It” girls and guys have been collected for the “Meeting of the Marketed Movie,” the showcase for the latest actor brands. It’s titled “The Roommate, “ and Leighton Meester (”Gossip Girl”), Cam Gigandet (”Twilight”) and Minka Kelly (”Friday Night Lights”) lead the way.
CHICAGO – I worry that some impressionable youth will see Steve Antin’s horrendous “Burlesque” and be turned off musicals forever. This is not a musical. This is a music video; an ego piece for two fading stars that is one of the most creatively bankrupt pieces of cinema in years. Actually, most music videos are better.
CHICAGO – We have learned that there will be a dance contest in Chicago on Oct. 23, 2010 in celebration of the upcoming film “Burlesque” starring Cher, Christina Aguilera, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming and Peter Gallagher.
CHICAGO – Christian Alvart’s “Pandorum” is the kind of efficient time-waster that sucks you in, spits you out, and leaves you two hours older. There’s nothing that can be said in its favor, apart from the fact that its not offensively awful (like the producers’ “Resident Evil” franchise). But it is thoroughly mediocre, and for some viewers, mediocrity is offensive enough.