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 – Jason Schwartzman likes to portray writers – he was one in his HBO series “Bored to Death” – and he portrays one in his latest film, “Listen Up Philip.” He also has played many characters in director Wes Anderson’s universe, and did a fantastic turn as composer Richard M. Sherman in last year’s “Saving Mr. Banks.”
CHICAGO – There was something blank within “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” although it dealt with the issues of loss, family and reconciliation. The all star cast, including Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and William Hurt, add their performing spins to the story.
CHICAGO – At the start, I’ll admit to kind of hating Bob Byington’s truly unusual “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” playing this weekend at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago with local actor and “Parks and Recreation” scene-stealer Nick Offerman in attendance. It’s such a mannered, unique piece that it verges on grating.
CHICAGO – Most film fans don’t have the time, money, or connections to get to film festivals in their own city, much less ones that take place out of town. The festival circuit has created many an independent film hit but most of them don’t make their way to even Chicago much less the small towns of America. Now you can bring the film festival experience home with IFC Direct.
CHICAGO – In one of the great light bulb ideas that could only happen in association with making movies, along comes “Teeth” to bite us in the – well, to bite us hard. Writer and director Mitchell Lichtenstein has fashioned a one-of-a-kind horror epic (based, of course, on a Japanese film) that at the same time tangles with significant social and cultural issues.