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 – I must admit that I approached the Farrelly Brothers’ long-delayed reboot of “The Three Stooges” with a heavy amount of trepidation. The previews were pretty atrocious and I had serious doubts that the filmmakers and the actors chosen to play the iconic title characters had any chance of capturing the spirit of the original. The fact that “The Three Stooges” works as often as it does is somewhat surprising. It’s a reasonably enjoyable family film. Far from painful but just as far from brilliant.
CHICAGO – Moe, Larry and Curly are three of the most popular names in the show business universe, and bringing them back to life in the new film “The Three Stooges” was a questionable risk. The re-imaging, with Chris Diamantopoulous, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso filling the trio’s roles, is a loving tribute that unfortunately veers in too many “Un-Stooge” like directions.
CHICAGO – Since her breakthrough “comic” role in “Knocked Up,” Katherine Heigl has a line-up of titles that almost reads like parody – “27 Dresses,” “The Ugly Truth,” “Killers” – but there had to be some audience or they really wouldn’t exist. She makes just enough box office to keep working, which explains the latest and maybe worst of the bunch, “Life As We Know It”
CHICAGO – Laugh tracks are a dying breed. Think of classic, full-throttle laugh tracks from “The Jeffersons,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Full House.”
CHICAGO – Coming from the punishing fires has never been wackier in the new animated TV series from TBS, “Neighbors From Hell.” Featuring the voice talent of Patton Oswalt, Molly Shannon and Kurtwood Smith, Neighbors reminds us that our current paradise is closer to actual hell than ever before.