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.
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.
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 Rating: 3.5/5.0
CHICAGO – Anyone who has ever seen a Sam Kinison stand-up special knows the truth. The man was a genius. Finally, people unfamiliar with the mad preacher will get to see for themselves and those of us old enough to remember Kinison’s all-too-brief time in the spotlight can revisit this inspirational and hilarious comedian on DVD with “Sam Kinison Unleashed”.
CHICAGO – “Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time,” comedian George Carlin once said. The iconic and award-winning figure died of heart failure on Sunday at the age of 71.