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 – There’s no television program that can be more simultaneously brilliant and frustrating as Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” returning tonight, July 14, 2013, to start an already-tumultuous second season.
CHICAGO – I usually avoid this kind of hyperbole but I adore the best of Studio Ghibli and know their entire catalog well and so I feel I can say it — “My Neighbor Totoro” is one of the best family films of all time. Hayao Miyazaki’s gentle variation on “Alice in Wonderland,” has everything that we identify with Ghibli, including a respect for nature, magical sense of fantasy, and importance of family.
CHICAGO – Two films tied for the most Oscars this week and only one is available on Blu-ray as Martin Scorsese’s beloved “Hugo,” winner of five Oscars, hit the home market with one of the best HD transfers I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen hundreds). This movie looks beautiful in HD, arguably more so than it did in 3D in theaters. I have more issues with the film than most critics but the transfer perfectly amplifies the film’s strengths, downplaying its weaknesses. The special features are light but the video is strong enough not to complain.
CHICAGO – “Our Idiot Brother,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is a light, good-natured comedy with a stellar ensemble that doesn’t quite click into place as a truly stand-out entry in the genre but features such a positive tone and overall message that it’s a difficult movie for which to mount too much of an offense against. The cast is so incredibly likable and so is the overall theme of the movie that it’s easy to approach like its title character and just go with the flow.
CHICAGO – Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” is a deeply personal piece, a magical tale about imagination and the importance of film preservation presented with some of the most technical expertise in years.
CHICAGO – In our latest movie and book companion edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “Hugo” from legendary director Martin Scorsese!
CHICAGO – In our latest animated edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup, we have 5 Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs to the highly anticipated home release of “Cars 2” with Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer and other voices!
CHICAGO – Advertised deceptively as a comedy, the new film “My Idiot Brother” has a Zen-like quality that is surprising, and oddly captivating, but cannot sustain itself and eventually runs out of steam. Paul Rudd plays the brother to three errant sisters, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer.
CHICAGO – “Cars 2” is an unequal Pixar blend for adults and kiddies that never evolves into the storytelling success of its predecessor. The film, which draws thematic elements from “The Bourne Identity,” “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Transformers,” is a Honda needing a body shop as compared to the pristine Ferrari that was “Cars”.
CHICAGO – There are many reasons why “City Island” shouldn’t work. It’s entirely contrived, from one end of the script to the other. Every gargantuan misunderstanding in the film has been spawned by festering lies, the kind that sitcoms have thrived on since the beginning of television. Yet what works in a 23-minute TV sketch often becomes tedious and exasperating when stretched to feature length.