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.
Helena Bonham Carter
CHICAGO – One decade before the United States gave women the right to vote, it was Britain leading the way before World War One. Their techniques for convincing the staid patriarchy was a series of anarchistic actions, as depicted in the new film “Suffragette,” featuring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, and directed by Sarah Gavron.
CHICAGO – In the years since “Shrek,” the fractured fairy tale has become Hollywood’s default approach. We’ve been treated to so many irreverent and increasingly labored treatments of storybook characters, that Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella” comes off as relatively fresh by comparison.
CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated “The Lone Ranger” starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger!
CHICAGO – I stand by my swooning praise for Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” when I reviewed it in theaters. Mostly. I must admit that its flaws are easier to see on the small screen as the grand, epic scope suits itself better to the movie theater (although I think people who claim to hate this movie simply don’t like musicals). It doesn’t hold up quite as well as that first, glorious experience with it in theaters. Even if the Blu-ray is one that will appeal greatly to fans of this beloved, Oscar-winning flick.
CHICAGO – Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables,” the best movie musical in over a decade, is what a musical like this should be – unabashed, unashamed emotion painted in vibrant, broad colors across a massive screen. It is gloriously bereft of the cynicism that has sapped so many stage-to-film adaptations from achieving the heights of their source material and features some of the most striking performances in the history of the genre.
CHICAGO – A first look at the new movie “The Lone Ranger” has been released, showing Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in the leading roles of Tonto and John Reid (The Lone Ranger). Producer Jerry Bruckheimer leaked the image on Twitter this morning showing the masked Hammer and Depp in full Tonto costume.
CHICAGO – Musical and film fans that dislike Taylor Swift just dodged a bullet this morning. Universal confirmed earlier today that British actress/singer Samantha Barks would be taking up the role of Eponine in the film adaptation of the award winning musical “Les Miserables,” coming to theaters later this year.
CHICAGO – Two beloved Tim Burton films recently made their Blu-ray debuts and the once-great director has one of the most interesting visual sensibilities in the last thirty years, making his work a perfect fit for HD. Even the deeply-flawed “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” looks great in HD and, well, there’s a soft spot in this critic’s heart for Pee-Wee Herman’s film debut, a comedy that has held up remarkably well in the 26 years (!!!) since its release. Both of these Blu-ray editions are pure imports with no new special features but you might want to add at least one to your collection.
CHICAGO – It doesn’t take a child psychologist to figure out why British author Julia Donaldson’s 1999 book “The Gruffalo” has become a hit with families around the globe. It gives parents ample opportunities to portray various animal voices, while kids can take part in reciting the multiple catchy refrains. Best of all, Donaldson centers her tale on a tiny hero who uses his brains to outwit hulking predators.