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 – Few character actresses have proven to be as effortlessly versatile as Piper Laurie. Her Oscar-nominated turns as Paul Newman’s alcoholic lover in Robert Rossen’s 1961 classic “The Hustler” and Marlee Matlin’s estranged but loving mother in Randa Haines’s 1986 drama “Children of a Lesser God” offer a mere sample of her remarkable range and magnetic screen presence.
CHICAGO – Two of cinema’s most iconic actors appeared on Blu-ray new release shelves this week with excellent HD transfers and hours of special features for 50th Anniversary Editions of Paul Newman’s “The Hustler” and John Wayne’s “The Comancheros.” History has well-documented that the Newman is one of the best films from one of the form’s best actors. The Wayne film may have a more niche audience but they’re surely be satisfied with a very solid release.
CHICAGO – “Hesher” ends with a middle finger and I shot one right back to the screen. Rarely has a film so completely misunderstood the grieving process and played faux tough in an attempt to be edgy instead of heartfelt. Like a knock-off of Chuck Palahniuk produced by people raised only on Sundance films, “Hesher” is a mess.