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 – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.
CHICAGO – Don’t let the awful title fool you — “The Giant Mechanical Man” is not sci-fi. This cute dramedy tackles well-trod ground in the world of indie film but Lee Kirk conveys enough honest affection for his well-crafted characters that the piece works.
CHICAGO – Very few 2011 programs were as hit-and-miss as NBC’s “The Office.” I don’t think anyone involved with the program would argue that it was this sometimes-great comedy’s best year but there were still great moments throughout and Steve Carell’s departure from the program that turned him into a superstar was handled with incredible humor and grace. The season may not have been the show’s best, but it was still one of the better comedies on TV. See for yourself with the seventh season, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – Despite the best efforts by Jenna Fischer (“The Office”) playing against type as a smoking, drinking newly-single mother, “A Little Help” is a mess. This dramedy consists of the kind of characters one only sees in a movie theater and usually only in an indie flick that thinks it’s much smarter and has much more to say about the human condition than it actually does.
CHICAGO – I SO wanted “Hall Pass” to be good. Not only do we need the men who made “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin” back in prime form but the timing of their return seems perfect — who better to ride the wave of R-rated comedies inspired by the success of “The Hangover”? Sadly, “Hall Pass” is a hit-and-miss affair that falls too often on the wrong side of that comedy corridor. It’s a reasonable rental on a rainy night but not the return to form fans of the Farrelly brother’s greats were hoping for.
CHICAGO – The Farrelly Brothers’ “Hall Pass” is a near-miss for the directors of “There’s Something About Mary” and “Dumb & Dumber” that features enough laughs to remember when the boys were in their prime but ultimately doesn’t come enough together to get them back to it.
CHICAGO – After a brief hiatus, Bobby and Peter Farrelly are back with the comedy “Hall Pass,” starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, and Christina Applegate. Wilson and Sudeikis play a pair of married men longing for some time off from their marriages when they’re handed a week without repercussions. What would you do with a week-long hall pass?
CHICAGO – The news of Steve Carell’s departure from NBC’s “The Office” after this upcoming season led to much debate as to whether or not the incredible sitcom could survive without its award-worthy star. That discussion probably won’t end until a replacement is named to run Dunder-Mifflin but you can check out the great sixth season, now available on Blu-ray, to form your own opinion.
CHICAGO – In our latest comedy/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 “Solitary Man”!
CHICAGO – The Blu-Ray release of the fifth season of “The Office” is a thing of beauty. It is one of the best comedy on Blu-Ray releases to date, not only because the show has arguably never been better but because everything about the season set has been crafted with the fan’s best interests in mind. After you watch the very funny season premiere tonight, go back and pick up a must-own Blu-Ray set.