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 – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to “Dallas Buyers Club” starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto!
CHICAGO – Liberals have it easy at the movies. They can go an entire year without having to endure more than a handful of films attacking their ideology with varying degrees of intelligence. For every “An American Carol” or “Atlas Shrugged,” there are countless other pictures portraying rural right-wingers as simple-minded morons.
CHICAGO – “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is the sort of extravagantly wrong-headed misfire that perhaps only could’ve been made by talented people. The director is Peter Hedges, an accomplished screenwriter best known for adapting his excellent book, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” for the big screen. The ensemble cast reads like a roll call of America’s most reliable character actors.
CHICAGO – Peter Hedges’ “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” has a warm, gooey center that’s admirable in a family movie way but what’s around it can’t hold together as the lack of focus in the narrative and the rather grating performance from the young man playing its title character causes it to annoy more than entertain.
CHICAGO – Two highly anticipated films have been added to the 47th Chicago International Film Festival lineup: “The Descendants” and “Butter.” The two new films, both having their Chicago premiere at the festival, will play on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 and Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 respectively.
CHICAGO – Have we reached such a politically-correct place in our culture that drinking excessively can’t be seen as humorous even in a dumb comedy? How else to explain the boneheaded decision to basically make the legendary character of Arthur Bach (played by Dudley Moore in the Oscar-winning original and Russell Brand in the potential-Razzie-winning remake) into a man-child instead of an actual drunk? That decision (along with a few others) sunk “Arthur,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, before it even shot a frame. Although the actual production didn’t help.
CHICAGO – Critics were pretty hard on the remake of “Arthur” starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, and Greta Gerwig (including our very own Patrick McDonald, who gave the film 2 stars out of five) and the film relatively bombed at the box office, opening in 2nd place to “Hop” and making only $12.7 million in its first frame with a lower per-screen average than “Hanna” or “Soul Surfer.” Now you can compare the new version to the award-winning original and its dreadful sequel in a 2-movie collection, now on Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – There are many problems inherent in film remakes, starting with comparisons to the original source. The first “Arthur,” while not a classic, did have a warm, funny story and Dudley Moore’s title performance. The current remake has none of that.
CHICAGO – Clearly conceived as something like an American version of “Love Actually,” Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day” is an unqualified disaster, a film that’s only interesting in that it may hold the record for the most household names sucked into one horrible film.
CHICAGO – There are so many concepts and clever ideas in “The Invention of Lying,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD, thanks to Ricky Gervais’ skills as a writer that his abilities as an actor and director don’t really know what to do with them. The script for this witty comedy is interesting enough to make it worth a rental but it sometimes moves at an awkward pace and never builds like it might have with a more experienced director.