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 – One of the most vital – and contemporarily relevant – historical films is about to be released. “Selma” is the story of the titanic struggle to establish voting rights in Alabama in 1965, led by the iconic civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Actor David Oyelowo portrays King, and was directed by Ava DuVernay.
CHICAGO – With exquisite timing, the historical docudrama “Selma” will ring in 2015, and adds to the race-oppression-in-America debate that everything old is new again. Set in 1965, it is the courageous story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the ordinary citizens that fought for the right to vote.
CHICAGO – Seriously, if “The Michael J. Fox Show” doesn’t connect with NBC’s target audience, they might as well give up. Yes, the show could use a stronger lead-in but it pairs well with “Parenthood,” also returning tomorrow night, September 26, 2013, and it’s the most straight-up likable new sitcom of the season. The first episode is a bit rocky and overly self-referential but it settles in nicely over the next two and already looks like it could be on for years.
CHICAGO – Like so many great plays, Joshua Sanchez’s debut drama “Four,” adapted from the stage by Christopher Shinn, is a tale of people who can find sexual connections but long for something more. It is about two hook-ups on the Fourth of July, both of which seem to do little to break their participants from their melancholy, and one of which has the potential to tear a family apart.
CHICAGO – How could a movie based on a Donald Westlake book that includes Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Nick Nolte, and even Jennifer Lopez in support of Jason Statham be this dull? It feels like “Parker” director Taylor Hackford set out to make an old-fashioned noir but Statham and his team demanded too much of his square-jawed action. The result is a tonally inconsistent film that’s too silly to be called drama but too dull to be called escapism.
CHICAGO – The Jason Statham “character” has served the actor well through a substantial action movie career. But as situations to fit his stoic British kick-ass persona start to drift away, Statham is left with messy narratives like in his new film “Parker,” co-starring Jennifer Lopez.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Parker” with Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez!
CHICAGO – Is it unfair to say that “Treme” is to “The Wire” as “John From Cincinnati” was to “Deadwood”? After David Milch’s brilliant Western came to an end, fans eagerly anticipated his follow-up and, almost immediately, spat it out like an undercooked Chicken McNugget. It lasted only one season. Well, “JFC” wasn’t really that bad (and deserved more time to find its feet).
CHICAGO – “They’re all around us. Ghosts. They’re everywhere.” People don’t talk like that. Especially kids. Especially not after a major revelation about their dad. It just doesn’t feel real. And that’s the problem with “Night Catches Us,” a well-intentioned drama with strong performances that somehow can’t find the realism at the heart of its story. Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington nearly rescue the piece but it just doesn’t come together into anything memorable enough to recommend.
CHICAGO – In the 1970s, there was a period in history when the civil rights movement began to splinter and disintegrate. Government infiltration, internal divisions and lack of direction especially hurt organizations like the Black Panthers movement, a focus of Writer/Director Tanya Hamilton’s new film, “Night Catches Us.”