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 – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.
CHICAGO – The delightful new animated film “Trolls” takes the familiar doll to a new level of fun and heart. Behind this invention is the director team of Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, who have worked together in various animation roles over the years before teaming up in their first collaboration for Dreamworks Studio.
CHICAGO – In a year where shoots with perpetual photo fashionistas like Cindy Crawford and Sarah Jessica Parker still failed to crack the Top Ten list of biggest celebrity photo-ops, you know 2014 was a very good year for HollywoodChicago.com and myself, Joe Arce, as Senior Staff Photographer.
CHICAGO – John Cleese, the tallest member of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” has written a new book, and came to the Chicago suburbs to promote it. Anderson’s Bookshop sponsored Cleese’s appearance at the Tivoli Theater in Downer’s Grove for his memoir “So, Anyway.”
CHICAGO – Is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” still as popular as it was when I was in college? For years there, “Holy Grail” and “Meaning of Life” were on constant rotation in dorm rooms around the country. Now you’ll have to pester the guy on your floor who has a Blu-ray player since the Monty Python gang have finally hit HD in all their hysterical glory. Packed with bonus features, this is one of the best comedy Blu-rays of the year to date.
CHICAGO – Disney’s theatrical version of the classic A.A. Milne creation, “Winnie the Pooh,” was decimated at the summer box office by bigger, louder, and far more annoying family fare. Hopefully those of you with young ones in your family or those of you just young at heart will catch up with it because it was, without question, the best family film of the Summer of 2011. It’s a charming, delightful return to the Hundred Acre Wood that playfully offers what has always worked about these timeless characters.
CHICAGO – Walt Disney Pictures goes old school with their latest animated tale, a return to the Hundred Acre Woods and the adventures of “Winnie the Pooh.” Using the style of the classic “2-D” cartoon method, and crafting a story that is decidedly old fashioned, the folks at the Mouse Factory resisted updating the Pooh formula.
CHICAGO – Clear some shelf space for the gigantic Blu-Ray releases of the first two “Harry Potter” films, timed with the not-as-enormous edition release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” the same week. These ultimate editions, complete with collectibles and new special features, are great collector’s set gifts for the holidays for the Potter nut in your family but feel a bit like overkill for everyone else.
CHICAGO – Co-founding one of the most influential comedy troupes in history just wasn’t enough for Terry Jones, of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” He also had to become one of the foremost amateur medieval history scholars in the world. Jones travels from a medievalist conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Chicago, where he will be participating in a “Meet the Maker” screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (he co-directed the film) at Chicago’s Lakeshore Theater on Saturday, May 9th, 2009.
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
CHICAGO – The 3-disc special edition of Scott Derrickson’s remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” with Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly is the perfect example of the difficulty of Blu-Ray reviews. Do you judge the movie or the Blu-Ray? The movie itself is a mess, but Fox has put together a spectacular home release for it.