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 – War is an ugly part of our civilization, but it can be told beautifully. The complexities of battle are often dark and overwhelming, but inside of that there is also a light that reflects hope and love. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” wants to show us both sides of the war, but despite the bright visuals it is still shrouded in problems.
CHICAGO – They often say that a movie is written three times - on paper, on film, and in the editing bay. Look no further for this truth than the deleted scenes from “Silver Linings Playbook,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. While some of the scenes are fun and allow Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro more chances to shine, I would argue that all 26 minutes of them were correctly cut. If they hadn’t been, the movie’s not an Oscar winner.
CHICAGO – It’s funny that a movie with the word “Playbook” in its title is so clearly about how those of us who think we know exactly where life is taking us are merely kidding ourselves. Like so many of us, the hero of “Silver Linings Playbook,” Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), has a plan to find happiness, to find his silver lining.
CHICAGO – While some stand-up comics shield themselves with an ironic, larger-than-life persona, Kevin “Dot Com” Brown’s approach is more conversational. He mines the humor in his own life while developing a genial rapport with the audience. Some may still find him to be larger than life, but that would most likely be due to his formidable size.