CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
HollywoodChicago.com DVD Reviews
CHICAGO – Music Box Films’ DVD presentation of Mark Cousins’ challenging and often fascinating “The Story of Film” is a perfect gift for the movie lover in your family who would truly appreciate going to a film class but doesn’t have the access, time, or money. It isn’t a perfect class (but it’s hard to imagine even the best professor in the world not stumbling a few times with such a vast scope of coverage) but this fifteen-hour journey from 1895 to today is a fascinating dissection of not just the men and women who innovated the art form but how our understanding of film history has long been incomplete.
CHICAGO – TV on DVD has been shaped by Twentieth Century Fox and their releases for “The Simpsons,” one of the best shows in the history of television. It makes a certain degree of sense that one of the longest-running and most beloved programs in history would get the most detailed and elaborate DVD releases but the producers of “The Simpsons” always go above and beyond, as they have again with “The Simpsons: The Complete Fifteenth Season.”
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.
CHICAGO – The Criterion Collection has had a long relationship with Akira Kurosawa fans, releasing several of his films in the past, including “The Seven Samurai,” “Yojimbo,” and “Ran.” They have chosen “Rashomon” as the latest in their line of films to upgrade for Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion DVD. We got the latter and it’s another beauty.
CHICAGO – Any film fan that hasn’t seen Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” has not yet completed Movies 101. The fact is that this work is a reference point for so many others that anyone who loves cinema simply must see it to understand the form. Roman Polanski’s 1968 adaptation of Ira Levin’s hit book is a near-perfect example of urban horror, the scary story built around the idea that any door in any apartment building could be hiding pure Hell. It’s the latest addition to The Criterion Collection and a fantastic choice by the brain trust at the company that chose to include it.
CHICAGO – There have been a lot of good movies in 2012 but very few truly stellar ones. Near the top of the list when people ask me what I consider the best films of 2012 is the year’s best documentary, Kirby Dick’s stunning “The Invisible War,” a film that says so much about where we are as a nation. It both reveals a horrible, shameful part of our country’s military and the heroic people trying to stop it. It’s now on DVD and it’s truly a must-see.
CHICAGO – If the Koch brothers have proven anything over the last several months, it’s that money speaks louder than the truth. Facts may not be for sale, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be buried. At a time when more information is available to the general public than ever before, an alarming number of Americans are content in remaining blissfully uninformed.
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.”
CHICAGO – They don’t make ‘em like Robert Mitchum any more. Every few years, there’s a DVD collection of classic movies that rises above the others for the holiday season. One of this year’s most star-packed entries includes not only Mitchum but John Wayne, Deborah Kerr, Kirk Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Widmark, Gene Kelly, Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Marilyn Monroe, and many more. Mitchum may be the face on the cover but the set is a trip through the golden era of Hollywood through more than just one star.
CHICAGO – Every year from about February to May, TV pundits play the cancellation game. We look at the ratings, read about picked-up pilots, and try to figure out what the networks will renew and cancel. Two of the biggest question marks of this past season were The CW’s “Hart of Dixie” and “Nikita,” but they were both spared the sharp end of the axe and are returning this month to the air. Why? What did the networks and fans see in them? Check out the first season of “Hart of Dixie” on DVD and the second season of “Nikita,” available on Blu-ray and DVD, to find out.