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 – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.
CHICAGO – The delightful new animated film “Trolls” takes the familiar doll to a new level of fun and heart. Behind this invention is the director team of Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, who have worked together in various animation roles over the years before teaming up in their first collaboration for Dreamworks Studio.
CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.
CHICAGO – Why are audiences turning away from “New Girl” this season? I would hope that it’s purely a question of time slot competition (Tuesdays have gotten crowded all of a sudden) and overall decline in FOX ratings because it sure as Hell has nothing to do with quality. This is a show that increased steadily in laughs-per-minute over its first season, just released on DVD, and continues to work at the start of its second. Check out the new Fox DVD release to see how it all went down.
CHICAGO – NBC has long owned Thursday nights for comedy (although ratings have eroded every year), CBS dominates Monday nights, and Wednesday nights were recently claimed by ABC and the “Modern Family” juggernaut. This leaves Tuesdays for FOX.
CHICAGO – FOX announced today that they have renewed their three biggest critical hits, the Tuesday night comedies “New Girl,” “Raising Hope,” and “Glee.” Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, made the announcement via press release, in advance of the company’s official May Fall schedule announcement. The renewals for smash hit “New Girl” and reliable performer “Glee” came as a surprise to no one. “Raising Hope” was closer to the bubble and so the early renewal makes for good news for its fans.
CHICAGO – Networks have long attempted four consecutive comedies on one night but it’s not a common thing to find on FOX (at least not live-action). So when it was announced that FOX would try to replicate what CBS has on Mondays, ABC has on Wednesdays, and NBC has on Thursdays with their own four-in-a-row on Tuesday nights, TV watchers were curious.
CHICAGO – “Our Idiot Brother,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is a light, good-natured comedy with a stellar ensemble that doesn’t quite click into place as a truly stand-out entry in the genre but features such a positive tone and overall message that it’s a difficult movie for which to mount too much of an offense against. The cast is so incredibly likable and so is the overall theme of the movie that it’s easy to approach like its title character and just go with the flow.
CHICAGO – Disney’s theatrical version of the classic A.A. Milne creation, “Winnie the Pooh,” was decimated at the summer box office by bigger, louder, and far more annoying family fare. Hopefully those of you with young ones in your family or those of you just young at heart will catch up with it because it was, without question, the best family film of the Summer of 2011. It’s a charming, delightful return to the Hundred Acre Wood that playfully offers what has always worked about these timeless characters.
CHICAGO – FOX made a lot of TV viewers happy this afternoon when, on the strength of its first two outings, they renewed “New Girl” for a full season. The Zooey Deschanel sitcom will be on until at least Spring of 2012, making it the first new series to get a full-season order from its network. Congratulations to the whole “New Girl” team.