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 – Perhaps the last person I would have expected to leap into the found footage genre made so popular in films like “Paranormal Activity” is the director of character-driven pieces like “Diner” and “Avalon” and yet here’s Barry Levinson’s “The Bay,” opening today, November 9, 2012 at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Levinson’s understanding of character elevates what could have been an absolute disaster but can’t save the film from its genre failures and lack of tension. It’s interesting but forgettable and sometimes frustrating.
CHICAGO – Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin in the Woods” is a brilliant dissection of not just the clichés of the horror film genre but how they have played a role in the darkest corners of our society for centuries. It’s also a damn blast, as fun a time as you’ll have in a movie theater this season (and probably next). It’s one of those rare films that’s just pulsing with energy on so many levels — as genre-loving comedy, as straight-up horror, and as something you’ve simply never seen before. “The Cabin in the Woods” is a great film.