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 – They don’t make ‘em like Robert Mitchum any more. Every few years, there’s a DVD collection of classic movies that rises above the others for the holiday season. One of this year’s most star-packed entries includes not only Mitchum but John Wayne, Deborah Kerr, Kirk Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Widmark, Gene Kelly, Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Marilyn Monroe, and many more. Mitchum may be the face on the cover but the set is a trip through the golden era of Hollywood through more than just one star.
CHICAGO – “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” No film has as succinctly captured the truth of this brilliant Samuel Johnson quote as Stanley Kubrick’s masterful “Paths of Glory,” one of the best anti-war films ever made. It’s a work that often gets overlooked by the flashier projects like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” or “The Shining” that Kubrick would make later in his career, but it’s easily one the best works from one of history’s best directors and the Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of the film is another stunning beauty.
CHICAGO – I think nearly every film critic with an association card has bowed at the altar of Stanley Kubrick at least once in their life (if they don’t still do so). I can vividly remember first seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Shining,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dr. Strangelove,” and “Full Metal Jacket,” all films I could watch any day of the week and never grow tired of them. Despite saying that, I was never a huge “Spartacus” fan, a film I admire more than love. The new Blu-ray release has not changed my mind.