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 – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.
CHICAGO – If there is any genre of film that needs a good blasting, it is the romantic comedy. These silly fantasies practically seem like satires anyway, so when the comic genius of writer/director David Wain ponders them, and casts Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler as the “couple,” the funny will fly.
I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.
CHICAGO – Disney’s hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, fits one of the most important criteria for a parent considering picking up a kid’s movie to own — replay value. As anyone with kids can tell you, if you buy something, you best be ready to watch it over and over and over again. And “Ralph” holds up surprisingly well. I’m still a little surprised it received the level of acclaim it did with some even suggesting it should win the Oscar (we all know that should have been “ParaNorman”) but it’s a good movie to throw on if your kids need a distraction with a good message. And the Blu-ray includes the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short, the great “Paperman.”
CHICAGO – The nostalgia of the old video game arcade comes to life in a charming and fun way in the new Disney film, “Wreck-It Ralph.” One of the strengths is the precise selection of celebrity voices used to animate the rollicking characters. John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch are part of the familiar voice cast.
CHICAGO – The movie business is a funny thing in that EVERYONE involved with “A Thousand Words” has moved on and yet there are studio executives who still want you to care enough to open your wallet.
CHICAGO – Time flies quickly in the world of television. Look no further than the fact that NBC’s “30 Rock” has become one of the elder statesmen of the sitcom. As new shows like “Glee” and “Modern Family” stole headlines, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin’s brilliant creation kept knocking them out of the park. It never set the ratings on fire, but there’s no denying that this is still one of the best comedies on television.
CHICAGO – This 24-image slideshow contains a selection of the official press images for the highly anticipated “Despicable Me,” featuring voice work by Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Jack McBrayer, Miranda Cosgrove, and Julie Andrews. The film was written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and directed by Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin. It will be released on July 9th, 2010.
CHICAGO – NBC sent over the first two episodes of the fourth season of the Emmy-winning “30 Rock” and, believe it or not, the show may actually be better than when it left the air last spring. Tonight’s premiere is good but next week’s episode is even better with some of the strongest comedy writing of the year to date and amazing work by the standard cast and one of their most talented regular guest stars, Will Arnett.
CHICAGO – Maybe you’ve heard of a little show called “30 Rock”? It doesn’t set the ratings on fire but critics and award-giving bodies go crazy for it like kids with pixie sticks. Personally, I think the third season of “30 Rock” was a slight step down from the second, but there’s no denying that this is one of the best comedies on television, as its recent major wins at the Emmys proved yet again.