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 character actor has always been a fixture in Hollywood culture, and there are few as unique as James Cromwell. He’s had many memorable roles in films like “Babe,” “L.A. Confidential” and within the “Star Trek” legacy. Currently, he portrays Clifton in the Oscar-nominated “The Artist.”
CHICAGO – There are some movies that are gut level great because of plot, atmosphere and pacing, and then there are movies like “Tamara Drewe,” which rely on the elusive star power of the performer to drive its engine. Gemma Arterton portrays the title character and lights up the screen with a vivid presence in this simple story of a woman’s homecoming.
CHICAGO – Director Stephen Frears is a storytelling legend who sneaks up on us. Besides his new film “Tamara Drewe,” which played at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival, Frears has a filmography that includes “The Queen,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “High Fidelity,” “The Snapper,” “Hero,” “Prick Up Your Ears” and “My Beautiful Laundrette.”
CHICAGO – Writer Peter Morgan and actor Michael Sheen have collaborated once again to tell another chapter of the political life of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In “The Special Relationship,” the award-winning writer focuses on the dynamic between the leader and another of the most notable figures of the last century, President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid). Great performances elevate what is a relatively minor piece when compared to “The Queen”.