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Joan Rivers

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.

Film Review: Fashionistas Will Swoon for ‘Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s’

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's

CHICAGO – Watch out folks, the one percenters are fighting back. After the rabble of the 99 forced their way into Occupy Wall Street territory, the true rulers of America are pushing back in the only way they know how…by shopping. “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” is a gloriously vain documentary about a legendary shopping experience in Manhattan. What, The Gap wasn’t available?

DVD Review: Nostalgia Greater Than Laughs in ‘Carol’s Favorites’

Carol Burnett Favorites

CHICAGO – Say or sing “I’m so glad we had this time together…” and persons of a certain generation will immediately respond, “…just to have a laugh or sing a song.” The theme to the “The Carol Burnett Show” is indelibly etched in show business memory, and Time Life Video is taking advantage of those days with the DVD release of “The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Favorites.”

Blu-ray Review: TV Fans Need to See ‘Johnny Carson: King of Late Night’

American Masters Johnny Carson

CHICAGO – Any list of the most influential and important people in the history of television that doesn’t include Johnny Carson is simply incomplete. He was SUCH a force in the medium, coming into the homes of millions every night. That’s why so many luminaries came out to speak about the man in the excellent “American Masters” documentary “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

TV Review: ‘American Masters Johnny Carson: King of Late Night’

CHICAGO – There is arguably no icon on a higher pedestal in the history of television than Johnny Carson, the man who didn’t just host “The Tonight Show” for three decades but became a cultural fixture. We let Johnny into our homes and trusted him in ways that I believe just can’t happen again in a more cynical TV age. He was a nightly visitor for millions and the new PBS documentary about him, “American Masters Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” is one of the best TV history documentaries yet produced.

DVD Review: ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ Should Have Been a Contender

Joan Rivers A Piece of Work DVD

CHICAGO – Anyone who considers Joan Rivers to be little more than a plasticized sight gag is advised to check out Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s wonderful documentary, a sorely deserving (and unfairly snubbed) contender in this year’s Oscar race. The film invites viewers to look under Rivers’ immobile Botox mask and observe the angry, brilliant, brutally honest and fiercely insecure woman hiding beneath.

‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ Reveals the Woman Behind the Face

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – One of the most revealing insights to be gleaned from “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” is the lifelong desire of its titular comedienne to be a serious actress. The sad irony is that Rivers has rendered her most vital acting tool (her face) utterly immobile, thus making her ineligible for any dramatic screen role, save for the Elephant Man.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

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