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 – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.
CHICAGO – The delightful new animated film “Trolls” takes the familiar doll to a new level of fun and heart. Behind this invention is the director team of Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, who have worked together in various animation roles over the years before teaming up in their first collaboration for Dreamworks Studio.
CHICAGO – Whenever a TV critic argues that network TV drama is dead and that it’s all moved to basic cable, there’s usually a solitary show that they point to as the exception — CBS’s “The Good Wife.” This critical darling, an Emmy winner for Best Actress in Dramatic Series last year (and Supporting Actress the year before and multiple nominee for this season), was recently released in a modest third-season DVD set from CBS and Paramount. It’s disappointing that the show isn’t available in HD and the special features are pretty light for what is arguably network TV’s best remaining drama.
CHICAGO – It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Blu-Ray and DVD collectors. Every holiday season, studios pull out their most beloved films, polish up the picture, maybe add a special feature or two, and usually throw in a few collectibles for a gift set.
CHICAGO – CBS freshman dramas, and the top two new series, “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “The Good Wife” have been given a full 2009-2010 season pickup.
CHICAGO – From the non-stop ads (especially the ones that played all weekend locally with Bill Kurtis), you would be forgiven for thinking that CBS’ “The Good Wife” was solely about a scorned woman who enjoys slapping her lothario husband. There’s a lot more to the drama than that overplayed scene and the potential of the show is in the promise of watching a strong female character get past that moment, not play it over and over again.
CHICAGO – To some people, a “Sing-Along” version of “Mamma Mia!: The Movie” might sound like a threat. “No, Timmy, you can’t watch The Dark Knight for the hundredth time and if you don’t do your chores, I’m going to make you sing along with Pierce Brosnan again.” But “Mamma Mia!” has a very specific, very satisfied audience and they will be giddy with ABBA glee at the Blu-Ray release of their favorite movie of 2008.
CHICAGO – While it’d be embellishment to say you’d have the time of your life at the new musical film “Mamma Mia!,” any dancing queen or an admirer of seeing Pierce Brosnan croon a tune instead of trigger James Bond destruction can at least have some of the time of your 108 minutes.