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 this year of morally unique relationship films (“Swiss Army Man”), add the recently released “Captain Fantastic” to the mix. The film, written and directed by Matt Ross, is like a fable of unintended consequences, where a father raises his children to live off the ‘grid,’ away from typical 2016 civilization.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival hit drama “Captain Fantastic” starring Viggo Mortensen and Steve Zahn!
CHICAGO – The 1957 novel “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, was a missile across the bow of American social conventions, and a precursor to the radical 1960s. For over fifty years, it has eluded a film adaptation, until director Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) found the way to capture it.
CHICAGO – One of most important counterculture novels in American literature history is “On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac. First published in 1957, the film rights were purchased at the time, but it took over fifty more years to get it onto the screen. Director Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) took on the adaptation.
CHICAGO – David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, features four of the most interesting performances of 2011 and is certainly a conversation piece in the themes that writer Christopher Hampton has chosen to explore. I still wish it had more of the actual “danger” of Cronenberg’s early work but there’s more to like here than I first thought, especially in what was brought to the material by those cast to deliver it.
CHICAGO – There are glimpses of actual danger in David Cronenberg’s divisive “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley, and the film has a lingering power as it’s easy to roll around your brain and contemplate its themes, but I wanted a bit more actual risk to the filmmaking. Easily the masterful director’s most straightforward work in some time (possibly ever), this is a worthwhile piece that nonetheless disappoints in the context of the rest of his filmography.
CHICAGO – Anyone who’s read Cormac McCarthy’s phenomenal 2006 novel, “The Road,” has already, in a sense, seen the movie. McCarthy’s deceptively simple, mesmerizing poetry produced such vivid and unforgettable images in the minds of his readers that a cinematic adaptation seems almost redundant.
CHICAGO – The first words we hear are those of the beguiling elf Galadriel, whose ethereal voice haunts an empty screen while declaring, “The world is changed.” And so it had in December 2001, when Americans were reeling from 9/11, and more eager than ever to escape into a fantasy where moral certainty was never in doubt, and pure-hearted heroes clung to the belief that there was still good in the world, and it was worth fighting for.
CHICAGO – The long-delayed and highly-anticipated adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” has moments of stark beauty and a typically fantastic lead performance from Viggo Mortensen, but the film ultimately misses its mark as a whole piece, coming off numbing its bleak, repetitive view of the end of the world instead of inspiring emotionally or creatively.
CHICAGO – I expect “Appaloosa” to be one of the more hard-to-get movies at your local video stores for the next few months. It’s the kind of movie - action-driven and widely missed in theaters - that does very well on the home market. Renters will find an old-fashioned Western that may not transcend its genre but will certainly provide more than enough entertainment on a snowy winter’s eve.