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 – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.
CHICAGO – One the most familiar movie clichés is the sonorous voice that intones “In a world…” to begin a movie trailer, and then extols the virtues of that upcoming feature. Lake Bell, who wrote, directed and stars in the new movie, “In a World…,’ creates a delightful and gentle satire of voiceover artists and their journeys.
CHICAGO – Lake Bell is a recognizable and successful character actress, having prominence in television (“Boston Legal”) and films (“It’s Complicated”). For her latest film, she wrote, directed and starred in a gentle parody of the voiceover profession, especially the intoned voices that narrate movie trailers, “In a World…”
CHICAGO – David Wain’s “Wanderlust” got screwed by Universal. There’s no reason that a movie this generally funny, smart, and enjoyable should only make just over $20 million worldwide. It’s the kind of solid comedy that is guaranteed a wider audience on Blu-ray and DVD. And the Universal Blu-ray is a strong enough one to help deserved word-of-mouth grow.
CHICAGO – David Wain’s “Wanderlust” is a deeply flawed movie. The female lead is woefully underwritten and the script pretty much falls apart at the end as characters do things they wouldn’t do and it rushes to its credits to wrap everything up in an awkward montage. But here’s the thing – it’s also DAMN funny.
CHICAGO – It’s a vastly overused phrase in criticism, but MTV’s “The State” truly was ahead of its time. I remember seeing the show in its original broadcast on MTV and thinking it was like nothing else on television. Now it would easily fit in the comedy landscape. After years of begging, fans of “The State” are finally being given a complete series set and it was worth the wait.
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
CHICAGO – David Wain’s “Role Models” is far from a perfect comedy, but the Universal Blu-Ray release of it is one of the best of the year so far. The release of “Role Models” includes a great video transfer, entertaining series of special features, and a comedy that holds up pretty well on repeat viewing. What more do you want?