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Woody Allen

Entertainment News: TV Comedy Pioneer Sid Caesar Dies at 91

Sid Caesar

LOS ANGELES – It’s a pioneering TV show practically lost to history. Sid Caesar hosted and performed in “Your Show of Shows,” a 90 minute live 1950s sketch comedy program, and also helped to launch a who’s who of 20th Century comedy. Coming out of his writer’s rooms were such comic greats as Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen. Sid Caesar died February 12th at his home near Los Angeles, according to a newsfeed from Larry King on Twitter.

Interview: Actress, Activist Mariel Hemingway Navigates Life

Mariel Hemingway, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The Hemingway name evokes an immediate visceral reaction, from the beginnings of Ernest “Papa” Hemingway’s powerful American literature to the Hollywood career of his granddaughter Mariel Hemingway. The actress was recently in Chicago to promote director Ed Brown’s documentary, “Unacceptable Levels.”

Film Review: ‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

Film Review: Greta Gerwig Lights Up the Life of ‘Frances Ha’

CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig is a gift to the type of film acting that dominates the screen. This beautiful, versatile actor gives poignant energy to her latest title character, “Frances Ha,” a collaboration with indie director Noah Baumbach (“Greenberg”).

Blu-ray Review: Minor Woody Allen Comedy ‘To Rome with Love’ Still Delights

To Rome with Love Blu-ray

CHICAGO – After acknowledging that the rewards of reality are infinitely preferable to the shallow pleasures of a nostalgic dreamworld in his Oscar-winning crowd-pleaser, “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s tirelessly neurotic psyche appears to be more calm and serene than ever before. Perhaps his compulsion to make one picture a year has finally brought him some sort of therapeutic catharsis.

Film News: Indie Outlook Spotlights Charming Doc ‘Beauty is Embarrassing’

Beauty is Embarrassing IO review

CHICAGO – Hollywood Chicago staff writer Matt Fagerholm’s independent film blog, Indie Outlook, published an exclusive review of Neil Berkeley’s charming documentary, “Beauty is Embarrassing,” which opened Friday, December 14th, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The film explores the life and career of eccentric artist Wayne White, best known for his Emmy-winning set design on “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”

Interview: Josh Radnor Returns to Kenyon College For ‘Liberal Arts’

CHICAGO – In “Liberal Arts,” the magical new film written and directed by Josh Radnor, characters have conversations that are actually worth listening to about subjects that are actually worth discussing. It reminds viewers of just how flat and perfunctory movie dialogue can become when it only serves to move along the plot.

Film Review: Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

Film Feature: The Top 10 Underrated Woody Allen Films

CHICAGO – Just as Groucho Marx refused to join any club that would have him as a member, Woody Allen would most likely turn down any invite from an adoring fan club. He’s repeatedly voiced his belief that he doesn’t have a high regard for his own work, and recently told documentarian Robert B. Weide that he could live a life devoid of cinema as long as there was a sports team to follow.

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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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