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Gene Wilder

Film News: Gene Wilder of ‘Willy Wonka’ Fame Dies at 83

LOS ANGELES – The genius comedy of Gene Wilder was often in the subtlety. With a slow burn or a raised eyebrow, Wilder was able to draw big laughs. The star of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and “Young Frankenstein” died in Stamford, Connecticut, according to his nephew in Los Angeles. He was 83.

Blu-ray Review: Film Doesn’t Get Much Funnier Than ‘The Producers’

The Producers

CHICAGO – Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” recently released in a perfect collector’s edition with both SD and HD versions accompanied by spectacular special features by Shout Factory, may be a perfect comedy. It has that perfect balance of incredibly smart humor and physical antics that would define a lot of Brooks’ best work. It won the Oscar for Best Screenplay and, unlike a lot of films from the ’60s, would win it again today were it released tomorrow.

TV Review: ‘Mel Brooks: Make a Noise’ Captures Comedy Genius

CHICAGO – I’m a huge Mel Brooks fan, one of those critics who bows at the altar of arguably the two best comedies of all time, “Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein.” I’ve seen them both a dozen times and can’t wait to watch them again.

DVD Review: ‘The Incredible Mel Brooks’ Offers Timeless Comedy

The Incredible Mel Brooks

CHICAGO – Mel Brooks is an indisputable genius and his comic mastery gets a perfect tribute in the 5-DVD-and-1-CD set from Shout Factory, “The Incredible Mel Brooks,” a treasure trove of rare clips, old TV shows, appearances, and recollections from one of comedy’s greatest writers. This is a fantastic set, a perfect gift for the comedy fan in your family.

Interview: ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ Star Peter Ostrum as Charlie

CHICAGO – One of the great children’s films is “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” released in 1971. As the movie celebrates its 40th Anniversary with a lavish new Blu-ray package, the main child star of film, Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), made an appearance at the 2011 Chicago Wizard World Comic Con.

Blu-Ray Review: Limited Edition Gift Set For ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’

Willy Wonka Gift Set

CHICAGO – Warner Bros. is unmatched when it comes to repackaging their beloved films for holiday season Blu-ray gift sets. Every season brings a handful of new limited edition gift sets with physical collectibles, HD transfers, and fan-centric packaging. Past releases include “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and “Elf.”

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’ in HD

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

CHICAGO – You can keep Tim Burton’s remake of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with Johnny Depp. I’ll be watching the classic “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” recently released on Blu-Ray, for years to come. It’s not a must-own family film release like the recent “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “Wizard of Oz” packages, but the film remains remarkably timeless.

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  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

  • Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Fest

    CHICAGO – It’s 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning on August 20th, and you’re just not ready to quit. How about indulging in the 2016 “Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins” Theater Festival? The three-day theater marathon is in its 28th edition, and will be sponsored for the final time by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, and hosted by the “Godfather of Storefront Theater,” Rich Cotovsky. It all takes place at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago (details below).


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