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 – For the younger set unable to experience the mystique of Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein in their original creations, “Hotel Transylvania 2” may prove to be an introduction to the legendary bloodsucker and his band of movie monsters – and for that Adam Sandler deserves a stake through his heart.
CHICAGO – The newest Adam Sandler film that doesn’t feature him dressed like a chubby middle schooler is really bad, but in a special way. Similarly, it is an instant classic in the legacy of bizarre disasters, a footnote in writer/director history that must be witnessed to be fully understood.
CHICAGO – HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” found a narrative urgency and a deep sense of poetic melancholy in 2012’s season three, the best of the program’s run to date.
CHICAGO – There’s a time and a place where overacting is acceptable – musicals, children’s plays, Broadway – but there’s nothing worse than using it all the time in every wrong place.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sequel “Grown Ups 2” with Adam Sandler!
CHICAGO – Some comedies improve when they climb down off the big screen and take up residence on the small one. Perhaps it’s just that we’re more forgiving at home then we are when we’re paying a fortune for tickets, parking, and popcorn. Or we’re just more accustomed to bad comedy writing on TV. However, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” one of the more notable box office flops of 2013 so far (it couldn’t crack $23 million TOTAL) is not one of those better-at-home comedies. It’s still a stunniningly flat, boring piece of work and the scant special features do nothing to improve it.
CHICAGO – Let’s everybody say it together, “the key to great animation is a great story.” This has to be the motto for Pixar Animation – now part of Disney. Their latest, “Monsters University,” is a prequel with a heart, soul and attention to what makes this type of entertainment work.
CHICAGO – It’s this simple – “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” just isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there and some of the supporting cast works but the leads are woefully miscast and most of the jokes hit with all the awkward silence of a Bennigan’s tableside magician who guesses the wrong card.
CHICAGO – It was probably just a matter of time. With the current vampire craze dominating pop culture in flicks like “The Twilight Saga” and shows like “True Blood,” it was inevitable that creatures of the night be turned into family entertainment. Even “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” was recently released on Blu-ray and Universal is about to unleash a whole set of HD monster movie classics. Monsters are hip. “Hotel Transylvania” does its best to put a nail in that coffin.
CHICAGO – “Ordinary men avoid trouble. Extraordinary men turn it to their advantage.” Isn’t that line from the second episode of the third season of “Boardwalk Empire,” returning tonight, September 16, 2012 on HBO, really at the core of everything we know about Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) and the people that play in his circle of violence?