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.
Sony Pictures Classics
CHICAGO – Any story involving family interactions is ripe for exploration, and John Krasinski (“The Office”) performs in and takes the director’s chair for the new film, “The Hollars.” This is his second directorial effort, looking at the somewhat dysfunctional title family during a medical crisis involving the mother (Margo Martindale).
CHICAGO – The key moment in “Equity” is early in the film. The main character was asked at a seminar why she got into high level finance. She paused for a second, and said “money.” The gals can be just as greedy as the guys, and their stakes in that greed can be just as exploitable.
CHICAGO – Quirky Greta Gerwig is at it again (being quirky), and this time she’s looking for solutions in “Maggie’s Plan.” The made-in-New-York-City film has overtures of Woody Allen, combined with “Crossing Delancey.” Director Rebecca Miller (“Personal Velocity”) produces a valentine to all her influences and settings.
CHICAGO – Some mothers are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them. The Mom of “The Meddler” – portrayed with precise intuition by Susan Sarandon – is of the greatness-of-the-future variety, by simply evolving to be herself. Rose Byrne as daughter Lori tags along.
CHICAGO – The combining of icon Susan Sarandon and a “smother mother” from New Jersey is unbeatable, especially under the sure hand of writer/director Lorene Scafaria. The distinctive voice that brought us “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,’ now is taking on mother/daughter relationships in “The Meddler.”
CHICAGO – Like improvisational jazz, the performance career of Don Cheadle has many moods, directions and shadings. For his latest film, he takes on the titles of co-writer and director, along with the lead role of music legend Miles Davis. This all comes together is the aptly titled “Miles Ahead.”
CHICAGO – She’s conquered television, and now it’s time for the movies. Melissa Rauch – also known as Bernadette on “The Big Bang Theory” – has created a new, uniquely voiced character named Hope Greggory. The character is a third placed, foul-mouthed Olympic gymnast in the new film “The Bronze.”
CHICAGO – The Oscar nominated, Golden Globe winning Best Foreign Language Film is a another trip into the well of horror that was the Holocaust. After over 100 movie treatments, director László Nemes finds a more personal story to tell, and it all unfolds in “Son of Saul.”
CHICAGO – The Holocaust, and its horrors, will forever inspire cinematic interpretation, even as the World War II era fades in memory. One of the latest films about the subject is “Son of Saul,” which just won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film. It was directed by László Nemes, and features Géza Röhrig as Saul.
CHICAGO – There is a circumstantial and frank presentation of abortion in the new Paul Weitz film “Grandma,” and it probably could not have resulted the way it did if the story wasn’t anchored by the great Lily Tomlin. She portrays the title character, helping her granddaughter get to the procedure.