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 the equation of the Star Trek universe, what works best is the emotional connection to the iconic crew. Co-screenwriter Simon Pegg – also portraying Scotty – knew this, and saved the rebooted series from its bloated second film. A magnificent adventure awaits with ‘Star Trek Beyond.’
CHICAGO (No Spoilers!) – I felt privileged on Tuesday morning. Not just to be a Chicago film critic, but to be a movie lover. Film critics and movie lovers alike wade through scores of yawners hoping for one or two masterpieces that remind us why we fell in love with the experience of watching a film in the company of people we like.
CHICAGO – The sensational summer movie season of 2015 still has some pulse pounding tricks up its sleeve, and “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation” fulfills that sensation with a wham-bam bag of spy games. Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner are back, joined by femme kick-ass Rebecca Ferguson.
CHICAGO – When it comes to keeping up with the boys, actress Rebecca Ferguson is equal to any task in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.” She portrays Ilsa, an undercover spy who could be going rogue, and treats the audience to her signature leg clamp, motorcycle skills and action-based heroism.
CHICAGO – Monty Python, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Mr. Bean, Alan Partridge – all are examples of British comedy, that off-kilter “are you in on the joke?” point of view. That comic tone has arrived in an animated film, within the stop motion world of “The Boxtrolls.”
CHICAGO – How do you interpret an odd British storybook called “Here Be Monsters!” into a mainstream animated film? By taking the main characters – called ‘The Boxtrolls’ – and putting them up front. Animation veterans and co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi got the assignment, and deliver the goods.
CHICAGO – Nick Frost has played character and comic roles as the affable sidekick, especially in the famed “Cornetto Trilogy” – “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz’ and “The World’s End” – alongside Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright. Frost is a leading man now, strutting his stuff on the salsa dance floor in “Cuban Fury.”
The three comedies made by writer/director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg & Nick Frost — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End” — have become collectively known as The Cornetto Trilogy and Universal has been collectively smart enough to release them in one edition, complete with Ultraviolet versions of each beloved film. “The World’s End” is also newly available on Blu-ray and DVD, sure to find legions of loyal fans this holiday season. I like but don’t love “End,” finding it the least satisying of the three films but consider that criticism as coming from someone who adores both “Shaun” and “Fuzz.” There’s still a lot to like here, especially if you want to buy all three.
CHICAGO – When you’ve got a movie as controversial among its core audience as J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness,” why would you court even more with a frustrating Blu-ray release pattern, one that essentially tries to milk the people who like the film for as much cash as conceivably possible?
CHICAGO – In the collaboration of actors Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright, the best in life come in threes. Following their sublime “Shaun of the Dead” and the wacky “Hot Fuzz,” comes ther third comic film rendering, “The World’s End.”