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 – Psychological horror films are the best tweaks, because they remind us of our fears, and where are fears are rooted. The strange combination of science, religion and a blockbuster performance by Olivia Wilde creates an atmosphere of dread and weirdness in “The Lazarus Effect.”
CHICAGO – Don’t you hate it when you figure out where a film is going long before it gets there? That could be a problem with “Third Person,” but writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) also adds enough secrets to chew on and enough multiple pathways to explore. Enter at your own risk.
CHICAGO – Not many Oscar winning screeenwriters change the course of their professional lives because of a dream (story below), but Paul Haggis is an exceptionally brilliant writer whose credits include “Crash” (2005) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) – which both won Best Picture – and his new film, “Third Person.”
How do we connect with other people? Why do we often push away those we need and stay with those we don’t? Why do we hold on to relationships long after they have stopped working? Is a physical relationship with no intellectual or emotional component somehow more valuable than one that can never be person-to-person but engages on a deeper level? And how do the ways we deal with love and loss impact the way we look at the rest of the world? And why aren’t more movies as good as “Her”?
CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated “Rush,” which is based on a true story and stars Chris Hemsworth from Ron Howard!
CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.
CHICAGO – It takes a special sort of filmmaker to hit it big without compromising any artistic principles. This month marks a career high for Chicago’s own DIY trail-blazer, Joe Swanberg, whose microbudget gems have influenced everyone from Lynn Shelton (“Touchy Feely”) to Lena Dunham (“Girls”).
CHICAGO – Some comedies improve when they climb down off the big screen and take up residence on the small one. Perhaps it’s just that we’re more forgiving at home then we are when we’re paying a fortune for tickets, parking, and popcorn. Or we’re just more accustomed to bad comedy writing on TV. However, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” one of the more notable box office flops of 2013 so far (it couldn’t crack $23 million TOTAL) is not one of those better-at-home comedies. It’s still a stunniningly flat, boring piece of work and the scant special features do nothing to improve it.
CHICAGO – It’s this simple – “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” just isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there and some of the supporting cast works but the leads are woefully miscast and most of the jokes hit with all the awkward silence of a Bennigan’s tableside magician who guesses the wrong card.