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 – HollywoodChicago.com interviews the “Queen of Truth,” Deborah Lipstadt, whose book and famous court trial inspired the new film “Denial”. This year’s “Spotlight” but for the Jews, Rachel Weisz plays Lipstadt opposite Timothy Spall, who portrays the Holocaust denier David Irving.
CHICAGO – In the early 1970s, “Love Story” was all the rage, with its catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Just as sudsy, and with its own catchphrase, is “The Light Between the Oceans.” The film, set in the early 20th Century, salvages a by-the-numbers tale with fine performances.
CHICAGO – When a film tries to be philosophical, it easily can devolve into heavy handedness. But the exception is the latest from writer/director Paolo Sorrentino, the richly presented “Youth.” It treads upon many definitions of the title, and lands upon all of them, because that’s life.
CHICAGO – Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” starts so promisingly. The full-frame black-and-white scenes that open the film have a clever charm as they introduce us to the title character (James Franco) and whisk him off to the legendary land of witches and talking scarecrows. And that scene where the film expands as he reaches his fantasy land is a beauty.
CHICAGO – “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a great and powerful visual and 3D experience. It expands the landscape of what cinema can produce in a visceral and evolutionary way. But a great film also needs a great story, and this Land of Oz tale is not equivalent to the awe-inspiring imagery.
CHICAGO – I was surprised by some of the animosity that greeted the August release of Tony Gilroy’s “The Bourne Legacy,” recently released in a nicely-packed Blu-ray with interesting special features and a very strong HD video and audio transfer. Action films have always done well on Blu-ray and DVD and I hope audiences catch up with this solid genre pic, a movie that may not hold up to the best of Matt Damon’s installments as the Jason Bourne character but is a fun action adventure with a strong cast and a talented writer behind it.
CHICAGO – I worked my way through the best supporting performances of 2012 earlier today and I’m back with the much-stronger array of actors and actresses who challenged themselves with great leading performances in film this year.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Combo Pack with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 5 free Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs for the highly anticipated home entertainment release of “The Bourne Legacy” starring Jeremy Renner!
CHICAGO – Tony Gilroy’s world of double crosses, super spies, and covert government programs returns in the writer/director’s clever expansion of the world he created as the writer of “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
CHICAGO – “The Deep Blue Sea” is a beautiful film. It is a master class in visual storytelling combined with deep, emotional performances of the kind that we too rarely see in cinema. A couple of times a year, a film critic will admit to an error. I was simply wrong in my first review of “The Deep Blue Sea,” when it was in theaters. I liked the film then but had reservations about its tone. On second viewing, this excellent drama is much better than I first believed.