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 – The best of 2015 in film and TV was celebrated at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards on January 10th, 2016. Hosted with the usual sass by Ricky Gervais, the Globes honored “The Revenant” (Drama) and “The Martian” (Comedy) as Best Pictures, and surprised in TV Best categories with “Mr Robot” (Drama) on the USA Network and “Mozart in the Jungle” (Comedy) on Amazon Video.
CHICAGO – “Creed” is poised to become a contender at the box office over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the new boxing film starring Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed (son of ex-heavyweight champion and Rocky opponent Apollo Creed) is also in the buzz of the 2015 Oscar race. The film premiered in Chicago on Nov. 12th, 2015, with a Red Carpet event at Jones College Prep High School, where a mural was unveiled as part of the ceremony.
CHICAGO – This is what happens when passionate filmmakers come into a known movie project – with an obvious love for the previous stories and characters – and create a new chapter that both evolves and honors its source. “Creed” does all of that, and gives the beloved Rocky Balboa one more time in the spotlight.
CHICAGO – The old man as macho action hero trend has finally calcified. If you haven’t seen either of the two previous “Expendables” pictures – this is definitely not the place to start. Sylvester Stallone’s creaky franchise hits rock bottom.
CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.
CHICAGO – This forgettable time waster is mildly amusing as long as you don’t let yourself go into mourning over Robert Deniro’s career. But then again that almost goes without saying these days. Likewise Stallone who has had far more interesting career choices in the last decade than this. The pair play retired boxers who comes out of retirement for one last fight. One for the paycheck. The other to settle an old score.
CHICAGO – Jason Statham has become an amorphous blob in the action genre, but an amorphous blob who is his own archetype, nonetheless. With the “Expendables” movies he began to take the genre torch from Sylvester Stallone, and now working from a script by Stallone in “Homefront”, his Americanization is nearly certified. That being said, watching Jason Statham tattoo a bald eagle on himself might be more enjoyable than his latest addition to a bloated filmography, “Homefront”. That, or staging a debate with Stallone and Statham about gun control.
CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro – between them they have over 150 film credits in careers stretching back to the 1960s. Two of their most famous roles, boxers Rocky and the Raging Bull, get the full make-fun-of treatment in the Christmas Day Film “Grudge Match.”
CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone is a difficult man to comprehend, unless if doing a thesis on male menopause. The one time screenwriter of gritty soul pictures like “Rocky,” “Paradise Alley” and “First Blood” is spending his later years pumping out undistinguished boom-boom pictures like “Homefront.”
CHICAGO – Great action movies have one truth in common – they mix their face-offs with a psychological battle, which complements the pyrotechnics of invincible super humans. “Escape Plan,” with grizzled veterans Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is true to that form.