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’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.
CHICAGO – Unlike a lot of so-called science fiction (“Sharknado” comes to mind), “Europa Report” actually relies heavily on true science. There really is a school of thought, as explained by the great Neil Degrasse Tyson in archival footage used in the film, that the icy surface of Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, may hold the most remarkable discovery in the history of mankind – that we are not alone.
CHICAGO – What can be said about “Man Up” that wasn’t already said about “Last Man Standing”? Neither show has the slightest shred of insight into the mind of modern man. They appear to have been conceived by network executives who hate men with a fiery passion. How else to explain the thoroughly insulting, utterly asinine portraits of masculine arrested development?
CHICAGO – Sometimes all a film needs is a bad title to repel audiences. “Mars Needs Moms” is based on the Berkeley Breathed picture book of the same name, which derived its own title from the 1966 film, “Mars Needs Women.” Even as an obscure homage, the title falls flat, and most certainly could’ve been replaced. Yet that’s not the only reason why this woefully overlooked film became one of the biggest box office bombs in history.
CHICAGO – Most comedies feature a few key decisions or even just a few moments where you, the viewer, know someone made the wrong choice. Whether it’s something as small as thinking that a punchline works when it doesn’t or something major like the wrong casting decision, modern movie goers are smart enough to tell when they’re watching something dumb. “Take Me Home Tonight,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD is very, VERY dumb.
CHICAGO – “Mars Needs Moms” is an animated epic that takes its time to build toward the message, but the path to that real emotion is decorated with spectacular imagery and sprightly comedy. It’s Mom, apple pie and motion capture technology.
CHICAGO – This 22-image slideshow contains the official press images for “Love Happens,” starring Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Fogler, Judy Greer, Joe Anderson, John Carroll Lynch, Frances Conroy and Martin Sheen. The film was written by Brandon Camp & Mike Thompson and directed by Camp and opens on September 18th, 2009. It is rated PG-13.
CHICAGO – More about the vibe surrounding the three days of peace and love that would become the most influential festival in history than the actual music itself, Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” is a frustrating drama with individual elements that work but a cinematic set list that is ultimately disjointed and unsatisfying.
CHICAGO – In our latest trippy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated Chicago screening of “Taking Woodstock” from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain” and “Sense and Sensibility”).
CHICAGO – I really want to recommend “Fanboys”. The story behind the film is a David-and-Goliath tale of a young filmmaker bringing his comedic vision to life against all odds and the film is finally being released on DVD after years of delays. Sadly, the drama behind-the-scenes doesn’t change the mediocre quality of the final product.