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 – While relaxing and catching his breath after the stressful task of filming “Marvel’s The Avengers,” writer/director Joss Whedon didn’t just drink wine, host parties, and take baths in his money. He decided to use his break to make another movie.
CHICAGO – The DC Universe brand of straight-to-DVD PG-13 films have had a remarkable array of quality. Some are absolutely brilliant, must-see films (“Justice League: The New Frontier,” “Batman: Under the Red Hood”) while others are kind of a mess (“Wonder Woman.” “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights”). In other words, you never know what you’re going to get when you pop in a new entry in the hit franchise. The 13th film, “Justice League: Doom.” is not a lucky one.
CHICAGO – How many combined victims do you think there were on the recently-released season series sets for “Body of Proof: The Complete First Season,” “Castle: The Complete Third Season,” and “The Mentalist: The Complete Third Season.” 24 episodes of “The Mentalist,” 24 episodes of “Castle,” 9 episodes of “Body of Proof,” plus some episodes with multiple murders — that’s a lot of dead people. Find justice for them all with these three strong TV on DVD releases, all recent additions to your local “New Releases” shelf.
CHICAGO – The new season of ABC’s hit “Castle” picks up right where the stunning cliffhanger of season three left off. Kate (Stana Katic) has been shot. Castle (Nathan Fillion) has confessed his love for her in the emotion of the moment. And we race with everyone to the hospital as they try to save Kate’s life.
CHICAGO – “I thought it would be interesting to write the story of the superhero who wasn’t super at all,” says writer/director James Gunn on his behind-the-scenes featurette on the underrated “Super,” an imperfect film with more than enough interesting ideas and strong performances to justify a look now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – Superheroes may appear relatively sure-footed, but they are on shaky ground with modern audiences. The sense of awe evoked so effortlessly in Richard Donner’s 1978 classic “Superman” is practically impossible to pull off these days. Comic book adaptations have to be entrenched in realism (as in “The Dark Knight”) to truly wow audiences. Fantastical superpowers and pure-hearted morality just seem so passé.
CHICAGO – A much darker cousin of Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass” by way of “Taxi Driver,” James Gunn’s “Super” is a tonally inconsistent comedy that nevertheless features one of my absolute favorite performances of the year so far and enough interesting ideas to warrant a look. If only those ideas were shaped into something a bit more coherent. “Super” could have lived up to its title.
CHICAGO – ABC’s “Castle” has become one of the more reliable mystery shows on television; a wonderful piece of comfort food after a hard Monday at the office. With the amazing chemistry and perfect timing of stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic to drive it, the show went from barely-renewed to a program that feels like it will be on for years to come. Check out the second season, now on DVD, to see how a mystery series becomes a hit.
CHICAGO – The best thing about the third-season premiere of the consistently-entertaining “Castle” may be that they’ve finally taken that stupid “Turner & Hooch” line out of the introduction to the hit mystery show. Other than that, the show pretty much picks up where it left off with two of the most charismatic stars on television often disguising the fact that the writing doesn’t live up to their talents.
CHICAGO – The 62nd-annual Emmy Award nominations took our advice and openly embraced several of the best new shows and performances of the last year. This resulted in what could be considered the best list of choices that the often-criticized group has yet produced. Of course, no one’s perfect.