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 – First things first. Don’t let the fact this is animated fool you, “Sausage Party” is most definitely, absolutely NOT FOR CHILDREN. This is a hard R-rated Seth Rogen raunch fest that may induce nightmares into more sensitive viewers and contains images of animated debauchery that can not be unseen. But it is inventively profane, with more on its mind than just animated f-bombs.
CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.
CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.
CHICAGO – There hasn’t been a new episode of Larry David’s brilliant comedy, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” in almost two years and the creator of the HBO program has yet to commit to ever doing a ninth season, saying recently to TV Guide to ask him again in six months.
CHICAGO – When David Gordon Green’s “Your Highness” hit fans of its writer/director and talented stars like a really bad pot hangover, its creators admitted that the project began life as a stoned what-if scenario. “Hey, let’s make a pot-laced fantasy movie, dude.” Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s “This is the End” clearly had similar origins.
CHICAGO – HBO brings back a few of their most larger-than-life personalities with the third (and final) season premiere of “Eastbound & Down” and the stateside premiere of “Life’s Too Short.”
CHICAGO – “30 Minutes or Less” isn’t a complete disaster but it definitely falls into the sophomore slump category given the general awesomeness of Ruben Fleischer’s incredible comedy/horror/action hybrid “Zombieland.” This follow-up would barely be noticed if it didn’t involve so many talented people taking a step down from previous work. Jesse Eisenberg rules in “The Social Network”; Aziz Ansari rules in “Parks and Recreation”; Danny McBride rules in “Eastbound & Down”. There’s really nothing about “30 Minutes or Less” that comes close to ruling.
CHICAGO – Following our low-grade review of the new Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari comedy “30 Minutes or less,” what we find most interesting is why these talented stars think it’s much funnier than it actually is.
CHICAGO – The new half-unfunny comedy “30 Minutes or Less” stands as a destructive come down for newly minted star Jesse Eisenberg following his high-profile role as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s “The Social Network”.
CHICAGO – David Gordon Green’s “Your Highness” still makes me sad. Not only am I giant fan of nearly everyone involved but the concept of a pot-fueled riff on the fantasy-adventure films more popular in the ’80s is a great one. And yet, even watching it again on Blu-ray and DVD, “Your Highness” just sinks, deflating my like a leaky balloon. I’m gonna go cry now.