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 – Francois Ozon is one of my favorite working filmmakers. Sure, he misses his mark sometimes, but even when he does so it is with often-fascinating results. “Angel” and “Ricky” may not stand up to “8 Women” or “Swimming Pool,” but they’re still fascinating missteps with worthwhile elements. The good news is that “Potiche,” recently relesed on Blu-ray and DVD, is the writer/director’s best since his international breakthrough with “Pool.” It couldn’t be more different than that thriller but I think that’s another reason I value Ozon — you never quite what to expect.
CHICAGO – In our latest French comedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 10 admit-two run-of-engagement movie passes up for grabs to the new film “Potiche” with Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve!
CHICAGO – The film around its riveting central performance may be a little more flawed than the entire project’s international reputation would have you believe but Vincent Cassel alone makes a trip to “Mesrine: Killer Instinct” worth the time and emotional effort. Be warned that this is not a crime epic for the faint of heart and those who have difficulty with an anti-hero protagonist may be turned off but those attuned to this kind of storytelling will find a lot to like here.
CHICAGO – In our latest crime/drama edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “Mesrine: Killer Instinct”!
CHICAGO – Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” got a raw deal. In the shadow of not just the legend of William Shakespeare’s play but the incredible film versions that had come before, “Hamlet” couldn’t even break $5 million at the box office. And yet this gorgeous, incredibly-made retelling of one of the most influential pieces of theater ever written looks simply amazing on Blu-ray. It’s a fantastic release.
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
CHICAGO – The Criterion Collection expanded by two titles recently and fans of Andrzej Wajda and Roberto Rossellini will be happy to see two of their films in slots #463 and #464 in the most acclaimed series of DVDs in the history of the format. Rossellini’s “Il Generale Della Rovere” and Wajda’s “Danton” might not be as high-profile films as some recent Criterion releases, but they have been given the typically spectacular treatment that this company has been known for over the years.
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
CHICAGO – The Criterion Collection continues its foray into the world of HD with one of the most beloved directors of all time, taking a film already in the collection and giving it the HD treatment while simultaneously releasing a new edition of one of his later films. The legend is Francois Truffaut and the films are “The 400 Blows” and “The Last Metro”.
CHICAGO – When did Vin Diesel go from “the next Bruce Willis” to the “the current Steven Seagal”? Diesel’s half-asleep, apathetic performance in the sci-fi action flick “Babylon A.D.” is only one of the problems with a film that was ignored in theaters but has been given a respectable treatment on Blu-Ray.