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.
The Invisible War
CHICAGO – Call me a critical cheater but I separated out documentary films from my traditional Best of 2012 but I don’t want to let the strong year for non-fiction film go un-recapped. The broad variety of documentary work in 2012 was incredibly notable from true crime stories to historical documents to stories of cities in crisis. Let’s hope 2013 is just as strong for the form.
CHICAGO – It’s that weird time of year where movie fans around the world try to capture different projects from different parts of the world with entirely different motives and compare them as if they were the same. What does a sci-fi instant classic like “Looper” have in common with a personal piece like “Beasts of the Southern Wild”?
CHICAGO – Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” opening locally on January 4th but screened early for critics, was the big winner for the Chicago Film Critics Association in 2012, winning Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.
CHICAGO – There have been a lot of good movies in 2012 but very few truly stellar ones. Near the top of the list when people ask me what I consider the best films of 2012 is the year’s best documentary, Kirby Dick’s stunning “The Invisible War,” a film that says so much about where we are as a nation. It both reveals a horrible, shameful part of our country’s military and the heroic people trying to stop it. It’s now on DVD and it’s truly a must-see.
CHICAGO – A female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is less likely to be hit by enemy fire than she is to be sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier. If that doesn’t chill you to the bone and make your blood boil, I don’t want to know you. It’s shameful, disgusting, and infuriating and Kirby Dick’s “The Invisible War” brilliantly brings this under-reported story to the surface in a way that makes it one of the best documentaries of the last several years.
CHICAGO – “Art is not a competition. But if it were, these would be the winners,” quipped filmmaker Mike Birbiglia at the Jan. 28 awards presentation for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Birbiglia’s deadpan humor would’ve made him an ideal host for the event, and his appearance was one of the few bright spots in a rather disappointing ceremony.