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 – Sex sells, sure, but the film-noir sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” makes you feel dirty if you’re left thinking that’s enough.
CHICAGO – When the first “Sin City” (2005) was released – based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller – the conversion of a film to a noir-like comic book atmosphere was pioneering. The sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has heightened that look, but this time has much less to say.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”!
CHICAGO – The rewriting of history in comic book movie form – not that’s anything wrong with that – continues with “300: Rise of an Empire.” Ancient wars are brought to life through a combination of mythology, six-pack abs, 3D blood spurts and comprehensive special effects, which can be better than history.
CHICAGO – “Dark Shadows” flops on the screen like an undead fish out of water. It doesn’t have one ounce of the spontaneity or style that made the work of its director, Tim Burton, or its star, Johnny Depp, so irresistible during their hot streak of the ’90s. The was back when Burton/Depp collaborations promised something more than peerless production values and morbid variations on familiar themes.
CHICAGO – For a film that promises steamy scenes between two stars who share a fearlessness for performing in the nude, “Perfect Sense” is a doozy of a downer. It’s a fine showcase for the oft-underutilized talents of Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, but the plot is one slow descent toward doom that leaves viewers with very little to contemplate besides the sickening tragedy of death.
CHICAGO – Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” is one of the most inconsistent and frustrating major films in a long time. There are elements here and there that work but Burton and writer Seth Grahame-Smith seem incapable of figuring out how to wrangle them into a coherent, successful film.
CHICAGO – One of the most popular opinions among modern audiences is the notion that television shows have become consistently better than films. This is partly because many of the year’s best movies are relegated to urban art houses, while shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are available on small screens nationwide. Yet I’d argue that there’s just as much derivative dreck on TV as there is in mainstream multiplexes.
CHICAGO – Starz Channel’s “Camelot” is an attempt to cash in on the same success that the network found with “Spartacus” and it almost works to provide a similar level of Friday night escapism, mostly delivering just that with an adult version of Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
CHICAGO – “Quantum of Solace,” the second Daniel Craig 007 movie after the earthquake to the franchise that was the brilliant “Casino Royale,” didn’t make quite the same waves in the action genre and left a few viewers dissatisfied but it still makes for a better-than-average action movie rental. Sadly, MGM continues to struggle a bit in the HD revolution, releasing a so-so Blu-Ray that won’t help the viewers who felt let down by the film in theaters.