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: ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ is More Silly Than Sexy
CHICAGO – While offering a veritable sex scene smorgasboard, “Fifty Shades Darker” fails to offer much in the way of anything that is actually sexy. As the mousy Anastasia Steele and the billionaire Mr. Grey, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are slightly more comfortable in their roles than they were the first time around…but they continue to have all the sexual chemistry of a couple on a first date that isn’t going particularly well. And that’s a problem, since sexual chemistry and S&M is what this housewife fantasy series is all about.
As we begin the second installment of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Anastasia has left her dominating lover and is starting a new life in that favorite industry of screenwriters everywhere, publishing. But Mr. Grey has not gone quietly into the good night. He follows her, has private detectives create a dossier on her, gets her bank account information, stalks her at an art opening and tells her that the redemptive love of her – and her alone – is the thing that will change him. Despite a litany of behavior that should have her running for a restraining order, they get back together in about the same amount of time as it takes to order a vanilla latte.
The production looks handsome. There’s a professional Hollywood sheen to this endless parade of one-percenter wealth on display, with the fancy cars, private helicopters, and characters looking great both in and out of their clothes. But the actors can’t muster up much enthusiasm even when they’re supposed to be in the throngs of passion. Characters motivations and attitudes change wildly from one beat to the next, often in the same scene, and then directly contradict themselves moments later.
Anatasia (Dakota Johnson) and Mr. Grey (Jamie Dornan) in ‘Fifty Shades Darker’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures