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 – Danny Boyle’s “Shallow Grave,” recently released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD, is such a striking debut and has held up significantly better than many films of its day. Not only does it fully display future Oscar winner Danny Boyle’s notable degree of style but it’s a daring film in its willingness to present unlikable characters caught in a situation that they arguably deserve.
CHICAGO – Clive Owen is a fantastic actor, one of the best of his generation in films like “Children of Men” and “Trust.” His co-star in “Intruders,” Carice Van Houten, generally makes everything she does more interesting (and memorably appears in the new season of “Game of Thrones”). And yet neither of these talented thespians can do a thing to save “Intruders,” an inert, boring supernatural thriller, a flick that joins the crowded subgenre of childhood boogeyman scare-fests that fail to find the spine-tingling power of what we think may be under the bed.
CHICAGO – One of the most beautiful films of 2009 is only available in standard definition DVD with barely a special feature and a mediocre technical transfer. There are few recent releases that aggravate me as much as that of the great “Bright Star,” a spectacular film given unbelievably shoddy treatment by its studio.