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 – There’s something about “Puncture” that feels like it should work. It’s easy to see why someone thought this true tale of a troubled man who realizes he has been presented with immense responsibility would make an engaging film, but the fact is that having an interesting true story doesn’t always translate to riveting drama. Despite the interesting facts of the legal and personal drama at its core, “Puncture” is surprisingly flat (no pun intended) and, even with a very-good lead performance, isn’t memorable enough to recommend.
CHICAGO – James Gray’s highly underrated and tragically underseen “Two Lovers” will undoubtedly find a loyal and loving audience on Blu-Ray. Joaquin Phoenix’s totally obnoxious behavior overshadowed what is arguably the best performance of his career in this ’70s-esque drama about a man caught between what he has and what he wants.
CHICAGO – How many men have missed out on a great relationship because they were chasing a romantic vision largely of their own making? James Gray’s excellent “Two Lovers,” the film that Joaquin Phoenix has notoriously been promoting in a style similar to that of Andy Kaufman, is a wonderful character-driven drama about a man caught between what he has and what he wants.