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 – Tick…tick…tick. That is the sound of your life frittering away, if you choose to experience the 94 minutes, that feels like two weeks, for “Masterminds.” The film that has virtually no laughs – in categorizing itself as a comedy – and is an almost criminal waste of some decent comic talent.
CHICAGO – In the history of America, there are moments when champions rose above their societal status and circumstance. And so it came to pass that African American Jesse Owens – during one of most difficult times in America for blacks – won medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, representing America and striking a blow against Adolf Hitler, four years before WWII. Owen’s story is told in the new film, “Race,” and he is portrayed by actor Stephan James.
CHICAGO – Leslye Headland is facing the new era head on, by putting a post modern Harry-met-Sally spin on her new film, “Sleeping with Other People.” Her question is how do people connect in the new age of hook-ups and online options? Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie portray the couple trying to answer that question.
PARK CITY, Utah – This is the last batch of Sundance reviews I’ve got to offer. A tad late, but I couldn’t let these films go uncommented on, especially with their special offerings for those who seek them out. I hope that each of these films finds an audience.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated comedy sequel “Horrible Bosses 2” starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis!
CHICAGO – It’s unlikely that you’ll see a more visually striking American animated film in 2013 than Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ “Epic,” a film that was written off by many critics and audience members in its May release but that has more going for it than your average family fare. Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, “Epic” frustrates in the way that it too often falls back on storytelling crutches that we’ve seen before but the movie looks great at every turn. It’s the kind of animated flick that’s designed to show off your new Blu-ray player and accompanying HD TV. The special features are disappointingly thin but the movie deserved a bigger audience that it is likely to find on Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.
CHICAGO – There was a point in “We’re the Millers” when the story fell off the table like a Slinky from a mountaintop. It’s as if other writers took over from a far superior dark comedy, and injected “heart” and middle age “stripping.” This all adds up to a difficult 110 minutes of lost life time.
“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 family movie 4-packs (a total of 120 tickets!) up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new film “Epic”!