CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: There is Little Beauty to Be Found in ‘Collateral Beauty’
CHICAGO – Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Seeing the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” it’s obvious this is the theme of the film, but it is also the theme of this review. My “blessing” to you is the foresight not to waste your time with this film.
It becomes painfully apparent that this film’s goal is to make you cry. It doesn’t care when it happens or how frequently it happens, but its sole mission is to get you to shed some tears. How does it do it early on? By introducing one of the saddest things that can happen to a person, more specifically a parent. The slow, painful death of a child is a probably the worst experience anyone can imagine having to go through, so empathy’s abound for Will Smith’s character. This is the cheesiest and most sentimentally cheapening film Allan Loeb has made, and he’s made a couple of films with Kevin James as the protagonist so that bar was already pretty high to begin with.
As the story progresses, we are given very little to latch on to aside from being repeatedly reminded that Smith’s character, Howard, lost a daughter to an illness. We are then shown how much of an understandable wreck Howard is years later, having fallen into a deep spiral of depression. We are continually bombarded with images of Howard and reminded that his daughter died, but it never develops beyond the surface. We aren’t shown the true complexity of grief or even shown how to cope with it. Instead, we have a story where three “friends” want to make Howard look like he is going insane so that they can take control of the company away from him. Loeb even goes so far as to try to paint them in a sympathetic light, trying to wash over the fact that what they are doing is one of the most despicable things anyone can do to someone they consider a friend.
Will Smith and Helen Mirren discuss the nature of Death in ‘Collateral Beauty’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.