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 – HBO’s “Big Love” never quite got the attention it deserved. It’s the bridge from the “Sopranos” era of HBO to the “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones” one that we live in now and the rollercoaster of quality in terms of seasons never allowed the program to really find a groove. I’m happy it existed. And I’m even happier to own “Big Love: The Complete Series,” a volume of quality drama to which history will be very kind.
CHICAGO – Sydney Pollack was a filmmaker who could do anything: sweeping romantic melodramas, side-splitting satires and epic yet intimate tragedies. It’s easy to forget that Pollack could also craft a superb commercial thriller every once in a while, and 1993’s “The Firm” falls under that category. Despite a few dated elements, the picture holds up surprisingly well.
CHICAGO – As the credits for the premiere of the fifth and final season of “Big Love” started, I wondered exactly what I wanted from this year. Like Chloe Sevigny and most fans of the show, I agreed that season four was a serious disappointment, especially after the spectacular third outing.
CHICAGO – It took me some time to get on the “Big Love” wavelength. HBO’s controversial show hasn’t really been on my radar since its debut season, one that I thought featured a great cast but underdeveloped dramatic potential.
Television Rating: 4.0/5.0
CHICAGO – One of the best films of 2009 is currently playing on HBO in the original “Grey Gardens”. The film itself doesn’t quite stand up to recent accomplishments of the network like “John Adams” or “Recount” but it undeniably features the best performance of the year, including theatrical releases, in the revelatory, career-best work from Drew Barrymore.