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Roger Allam

‘The Book Thief’ Fails to Find Tone of Familiar Story

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Brian Percival’s “The Book Thief,” from the hit book by Markus Zusak, is a well-intentioned piece of work that nonetheless fails, sometimes spectacularly, to connect in the ways that its creators intend. Tonally adrift between something clearly aimed at young adults and something much darker and more cynical about the nature of man and the afterlife, the film is only carried at all by the strengths of its talented leads – Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and the remarkable Sophie Nelisse.

Gemma Arterton Displays Luminosity as ‘Tamara Drewe’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There are some movies that are gut level great because of plot, atmosphere and pacing, and then there are movies like “Tamara Drewe,” which rely on the elusive star power of the performer to drive its engine. Gemma Arterton portrays the title character and lights up the screen with a vivid presence in the simple story of a woman’s homecoming.

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  • [Trans]formation

    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.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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