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 – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new true-story drama “Spare Parts” starring George Lopez and Marisa Tomei!
CHICAGO – Not only have I been a longtime fan of great children’s films like those produced by Disney and Studio Ghibli over the years but I’m now a parent and absolutely adore the feeling of passing along my favorite films like “Spirited Away,” “Dumbo,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Toy Story” along to my little ones. My children will never see “Escape From Planet Earth.” As someone who not only sees nearly every animated film in his profession but has a new appreciation for them given my being a parent, I feel qualified to say this is one of the worst children’s films of the last decade. It’s aggressively annoying with awful character design and a screenplay that is clearly trying to teach children a lesson about boredom.
CHICAGO – Do you miss “The Dating Game”? Long for more shows like “Baggage” in primetime? FOX has two, LONG hours for you in “Take Me Out” and “The Choice” — a pair of programs that seem designed to replicate what it’s like at a Wrigleyville bar at 1:45AM only you’re (probably) not drunk enough to find the nauseating banter and silly behavior entertaining.
CHICAGO – Blue Sky Studios’ “Rio” feels nearly designed for Blu-ray as the film’s strengths are amplified by the world of HD video and sound. With bright colors and Brazilian music, it’s easier to get sucked into the world of this so-so family flick, and a large number of special features makes it easier to overlook the unsatisfactory nature of the actual movie. The important thing is that the little ones in your family will be captivated by the talking, dancing birds with the colorful plumage, especially in 1080p.
CHICAGO – Big news in from TBS. After almost two years on the air, “Lopez Tonight” has been given the boot. The late night talk show that premiered November 9, 2009 isn’t just coming to a close; it’s more like a crashing halt.
CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with “The Smurfs” that a thousand volts of electricity couldn’t cure. It is well made, looks good in the optional 3-D and has a competent cast trying their hardest. What it lacks is a spark, either of nostalgia or a fresh update, as it meanders with the seen-it-all-before template.
CHICAGO – Hilarity is back in the Windy City as the annual “Just for Laughs” festival comes to town to kick off summer. Over the next five days, Chicago venues will be rocking with comedy legends like Steve Martin, and the smaller clubs around town will also be featuring up-and-coming acts.
CHICAGO – “Rio” is a film that nearly defies critical review. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it and I can virtually guarantee you that the little ones in your family will be captivated by the talking, dancing birds with the colorful plumage. But it’s also a film that’s strikingly unmemorable. The characters, the jokes, and even the striking visuals – they all dissipate from the memory like a piece of candy that seems tasty in the moment but ultimately isn’t very filling. “Rio” isn’t a bad movie but with great family entertainment options out there, just being “not bad” isn’t good enough.
CHICAGO – How do complete disasters like “Marmaduke” get made? Shouldn’t there be some sort of quality insurance and when a studio sees that a film is this execrable, they are allowed to pull some sort of last-minute ripcord and make sure it’s never inflicted on paying customers? Wouldn’t that be a good use of our tax dollars?
CHICAGO – “The Spy Next Door” pairs a man who can’t speak English with three kids who can’t act. They’re forced to recite dialogue credited to three writers who are incapable of writing a single line of wit or originality. Worst of all, the film is directed by a man whose last halfway decent family flick was 1992’s “Beethoven.” Rarely has a mainstream release looked so much like Amateur Hour.