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 narrow genre of chess movies (“Searching for Bobby Fischer,” “Pawn Sacrifice”) gets a New Zealand entry, the appropriately titled “The Dark Horse.” The film is a showcase for the performance of Cliff Curtis as the title character, abiding with mental instability and his own redemption.
CHICAGO – I am a recovering Catholic, which I’ll tell you a million times – or maybe shortly after I meet you – and I have to say I had a well of nostalgia while experiencing “Risen,” the story of Jesus’s Resurrection and aftermath. It is enjoyable, in a strange way, for Christians and film fans alike.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new film “Risen” starring Joseph Fiennes! “Risen” is an epic Biblical story of the Resurrection as told through the eyes of a non-believer.
CHICAGO – I’m right on the critical median with ABC’s “Missing.” On one hand, it’s inconsistent, poorly written, and kind of just silly. It’s tempting to dismiss like an overheated Lifetime movie. On the other hand, Ashley Judd is better than most Lifetime leads, the action is actually pretty tight, and I like the creative potential of a show that’s promised viewers that it will wrap up its first story in ten episodes. Which hand wins out? You decide.
CHICAGO – The movie business is a funny thing in that EVERYONE involved with “A Thousand Words” has moved on and yet there are studio executives who still want you to care enough to open your wallet.
CHICAGO – Only the director of “The Transporter 3” could make a movie in which the gorgeous Zoe Saldana changes outfits as often as she speaks lines of dialogue as dull as the tedious, illogical, useless “Colombiana.” Sure, the final showdown has some damn cool action but it takes a hundred often-unbearable minutes to get there.
CHICAGO – It must have been rough to be on the NBC drama team in the fall of 2010. The network brass made it crystal clear that they cared little about scripted drama when they handed over five nights a week to Jay Leno, but the producers of the network’s two new medical dramas “Mercy” and “Trauma” had to push forward with their programs despite the diminishing reputation of their home. Both series made it through the first year but neither graduated to a second season. See what you probably missed with “Mercy: The Complete Series” and “Trauma: Season 1.”
CHICAGO – The choices that M. Night Shyamalan makes in the progress of his filmography have become as perplexing as his early mysteries. “The Last Airbender,” featuring Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire,” is an adaptation of a previous animated series, and although aimed at kids in the end seems tentative and…aimless.
CHICAGO – The ancient martial arts get a workout with M. Night Shyamalan’s live action version of the anime “The Last Airbender.” Featuring Dev Patel – the contestant in the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” – and Aasif Mandvi of “The Daily Show,” Airbender uses special effects and action to tell its story.
CHICAGO – The head-on collision with “The Jay Leno Show” has decimated nearly everything on NBC and it’s going to be a long, uphill climb for it to return to ratings respectability. Even relatively acclaimed new shows like “Parenthood” are struggling as viewers left the peacock net and seem unwilling to return. The already ratings-challenged “Trauma” returns tonight, March 15th, 2010, in an effort to stop the bleeding.