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 – In our short lives, what do we most need? It’s a hard question to answer sometimes, but the new animated film “Kubo and the Two Strings” does a memorable job of answering the query. The journey of Kubo, like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” leads to a place where he needs to go.
CHICAGO – Writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen love the movies, and that love is magnificently played out in “Hail, Caesar!” As they riff on religion, geopolitics and 1950s morality, while wonderfully celebrating and spoofing an era in movies that will never be again, the Coens abide and deliver.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated dramedy “Hail, Caesar!” from Joel and Ethan Coen!
CHICAGO – The distinct and strangely alluring style of director Wes Anderson is on opulent display in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” In what is an eccentric, European style fairy tale, Anderson creates a legend that is forged in his signature, along with the performances of a brilliant cast.
After years of enlivening adapted work in front of the camera and on the stage, only recently has the prolific actor Ralph Fiennes taken to directing films; in 2011 he gave the world a version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus,” which included the odd treat of watching Gerard Butler espouse the Bard’s words from his mouth, and a sporadically-lauded performance from Vanessa Redgrave.
CHICAGO – It’s been 20 years since “Schindler’s List” became a critical and commercial phenomenon, winning Best Picture and Best Director for the first time in the legendary career of its beloved filmmaker, Steven Spielberg. Since then, it’s become something more divisive in certain critical communities, with many writers choosing to hold it up as an example of Spielberg’s weaknesses in terms of sentimentality and cinematic manipulation.
CHICAGO – James Bond is the world’s most enduring super spy, beginning with Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels, up to a celebration of 50 years in the movies. Daniel Craig returns as Bond, James Bond in the latest film ‘Skyfall,’ which blends familiar 007 actions with psychological transitions.
CHICAGO – “Skyfall” is a gorgeous, action-packed, superbly structured piece of modern filmmaking. It is not only one of the best James Bond movies in the five-decade history of the beloved character but it’s one of the best action movies of the last decade. Sam Mendes’ film is smart, sexy, dangerous, and, most stunningly of all, beautiful.
CHICAGO – I’ll never forget the moment I became a fan of Ralph Fiennes. It was while watching the behind-the-scenes documentary on the “Prince of Egypt” DVD. He was voicing the scene where his character, Ramses, shouts at Moses across the Red Sea. As he stood next to the mic, Fiennes’ entire body underwent a transformation, as if he were summoning a storm that coursed through his veins. He then let out the sort of howl that could easily part water.