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 – It may not even be Halloween yet, but Warner Brothers is in full holiday gift set mode, hoping that one of their lavish packages will make its way on to your wish list. Will it be the glorious seventh anniversary edition of “Citizen Kane”? Or perhaps the upcoming gift set of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” with collectibles and a 144-page booklet? For many, the choice will be simple — a film with an iconic actor that set records at the 1959 Oscars as any in history — “Ben-Hur,” strikingly transferred in 1080p and available in a Limited Edition box set that will look fantastic on any hardcore movie fan’s shelf.
CHICAGO – When one hears the phrase “epic” in terms of classic movies, one of the first that should come to mind is the crowning achievement of Cecil B. DeMille’s obsession with storytelling with a massive scope, “The Ten Commandments,” now available on Blu-ray for the first time to coincide with the upcoming Easter holiday, when it usually plays on television to big Nielsen numbers. Put it in your best friend’s Easter basket.
CHICAGO – Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” got a raw deal. In the shadow of not just the legend of William Shakespeare’s play but the incredible film versions that had come before, “Hamlet” couldn’t even break $5 million at the box office. And yet this gorgeous, incredibly-made retelling of one of the most influential pieces of theater ever written looks simply amazing on Blu-ray. It’s a fantastic release.