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 – There’s an easy-going confidence in the first two episodes of the new season of “Parenthood” that separates the best family dramas from pure cliche. The team behind this beloved series clearly has reached a point where they know these characters down to their cores. The best family dramas reach a point where the characters feel genuine enough that we look forward each week to seeing how they’re doing, like old friends who we only see every seven days.
CHICAGO – The NBC family drama “Parenthood” has struggled to find a wide audience but the people that do watch it are remarkably loyal to the saga of the Bravermans. Their third season, which looked for some time like it could be their last, was recently released on DVD in advance of the fourth-season premiere on NBC on September 11, 2012.
CHICAGO – There’s something comforting about a family like the Bravermans. It’s a blend of perspective and identification that allows us to look at the clan at the center of a family drama like “Parenthood”.
CHICAGO – The main problem with “Beastly,” a modern high schooler retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” is that the outcome is known (Beast will learn lessons, become handsome again). That leaves only the way it gets to that end for creating story. This film cannot find its way.
CHICAGO – Like a lot of Hollywood depictions of family, “Parenthood” features a lot of yelling. For some reason, most writers think of raised voices when they think of the lives of parents and their children. We don’t all talk over each other during family dinners.
CHICAGO – Buena Vista Home Video is releasing three sets next week that would be a trio of final season sets if not for the last-minute and surprising renewal of “Scrubs,” despite a beautiful series finale. That finale is included on “Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season,” which joins “Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete And Final Second Season” and “Samantha Who?: The Complete Second And Final Season” on store shelves this week.