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 – John Cleese, the tallest member of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” has written a new book, and came to the Chicago suburbs to promote it. Anderson’s Bookshop sponsored Cleese’s appearance at the Tivoli Theater in Downer’s Grove for his memoir “So, Anyway.”
CHICAGO – Cameron Diaz is on a noble mission in 2014. Her crusade is about women’s body issues, to encourage girls – in addition to female teens and adults – to pay mind to body image and power. Her new book is “The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, The Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body,” and she appeared to promote it at Wentz Concert Hall (North Central College) in Naperville, Ill., hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop.
CHICAGO – The last two “Shrek” movies — “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After” — were such worthless affairs that I was somewhat dreading their spin-off adventure, “Puss in Boots.” It didn’t help that I never found Antonio Banderas’ wide-eyed kittie with a sword nearly as charming as the rest of the world apparently did. So it was much to my surprise that I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed “Puss in Boots,” a clever, fun romp for all ages.
CHICAGO – Animated family films have made a pact with their audience. For our participation – and extra 3D glasses fee – they deliver the latest in computer generated eye candy, familiar voice talent and heroes that always win while making pop culture references. Antonio Banderas is “Puss in Boots.”
CHICAGO – After what many considered to be a rather dull and boring host in James Franco and an overly perky and strangely excited job by Anne Hathaway, the 2012 edition of the Academy Awards will be hosted by a completely different talent: actor/comedian Eddie Murphy. Rumors spread this past weekend that Murphy was in the running for the position and the Academy confirmed the speculation was true this morning when they officially named Murphy the host.
CHICAGO – With “Shrek Forever After” also being billed as “Shrek: The Final Chapter” and being pitched as the final film in the “Shrek” franchise, it only makes sense that DreamWorks has put together a lavish box set of this billion-dollar franchise that captures the entire saga of Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, and the rest of the lovable creatures of arguably the most influential series of films of the last decade.
CHICAGO – “Fairytales should really be updated,” muses the puckish Shrek during a final plea for the affections of a reluctant princess. It is one of those startlingly honest and quietly irreverent insights that “Shrek the Musical” is all too wary to boast, but is a welcome dagger into the cavalcade of childhood morality tales that, year after year, infiltrate the bulk of shooting star wishes and Barbie dream-houses.
CHICAGO – The laziest big budget film of the year, “Shrek Forever After” is the worst kind of family entertainment in that it relies solely on the goodwill engendered by the hit movies that came before to not only get audience members in seats this weekend but to sell them toys, video games, and tickets to amusement parks.
CHICAGO – With the animated films “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “Bolt” being released this month, Jeff Bayer’s The Scorecard Review – a partner with HollywoodChicago.com – has published its top seven animal characters (either real or animated) in film.
CHICAGO – The longtime career of Eddie Murphy has lately taken an interesting turn.
After a meteoric career with huge box-office comedies, Murphy has steered toward more family oriented fare (“Daddy Day Care,” the “Shrek” movies, etc.) before his Oscar-nominated performance in “Dreamgirls”. After the stumble of 2007’s “Norbit,” Murphy has again returned this summer in kid-friendly mode with “Meet Dave”.