CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.
Blu-ray Review: Slices of Solid Action in Surprising ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’
CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.
It’s a good year for action movies when even a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” feature boasts sequences that could stand next to select moments from “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and even the almighty Chicago Film Critics Association Best Foreign Language film nominee, “The Raid 2.” This film from the usually-unpromising director Jonathan Liebesman has a strong quantity of sequences where the biggest traces of “cowabunga” can be found in its cinematography, as the mo-cap animated turtles become limber players in giddily fluid set pieces. The film is worth a look by even the most mild genre fans for an action scene that involves trucks sliding down a snowy mountain; the same can be said for the swirling extended takes as these weird sassy reptiles battle another guy with lots of loud armor in its climactic fight.
One could argue that the turtles are also overshadowed by two human leads in the movie, Megan Fox’s April O’Neil and her suitor Vernon Fenwick, played by Will Arnett. As lightweight surrogates into the experience of discovering these unusual heroes, they can prove to be more amusing than the more-direct audience bids of the oafish, non-painting sewer varmints. Fox is more in control of her image than she was in Bay’s first two “Transformers” movies, and continues to be a lively supporting act to co-stars that are fully-realized in post-production. As for Arnett, his dry humor and overt hound-like presence provides some unexpected hoots and or howls, the movie’s dorky predilection coming full circle.
As one can probably tell, the peppy tortoises don’t do that much for me. Their teenage aspect makes them easy bids for jokes about lusting after girls/pizza, and their mutant component is played out. Thankfully they have the physicality of ninjas, and thankfully they are supported by an experience that isn’t fantastic, but it is far more fun than it should be. Let’s hope that the head honchos who witness the cha-ching success of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” recognize that an adaptation's aesthetics and supporting elements can be as memorable when reemerging brands.
”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was released on Blu-ray on December 16, 2014
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures
New York is under attack by the sinister Shredder, but fearless half shell heroes Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michaelangelo take to the streets to defend their home with the help of an intrepid reporter named April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and their brilliant sensei, Splinter. (Courtesy: Paramount)
Special Features for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
o Digital Reality
o In Your Face! The Turtles in 3D
o It Ain’t Easy Being Green
o Evolutionary Mash-Up
o Turtle Rock
o Extended Ending
o “Shell Shocked” Music Video
o DVD Version of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
o Digital Copy of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”