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Mel Brooks

Film Review: Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet in ‘Leap!’

CHICAGO – One of the rites of passage for most girls in the U.S.(and elsewhere, I presume) is ballet lessons. Usually it lasts for a very short time, but some girls-to-women keep pursuing it, and may even become prima ballerinas. A new animated film named “Leap!” is dedicated to that spirit.

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.

Film Review: Drac Pack Still a Drag in ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’

CHICAGO – For the younger set unable to experience the mystique of Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein in their original creations, “Hotel Transylvania 2” may prove to be an introduction to the legendary bloodsucker and his band of movie monsters – and for that Adam Sandler deserves a stake through his heart.

Film Review: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Hindered by Extra Sidekick

CHICAGO – Talking dogs have been around for decades in animated movies and television shows, especially the anthropomorphized kind. From the superhero antics of Underdog to the biting sarcasm from the likes of Brian from “Family Guy” - take your pick and you can find a dog to your liking. I always took a shine to Mr. Peabody, the intelligent and resourceful beagle with a penchant for puns.

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.

Interviews: Barbara Feldon, Bernie Kopell ‘Get Smart’ at The Hollywood Show

Barbara Feldon, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – The TV show “Get Smart,” which had its original run on the NBC network from 1965-1970, was an oddball classic. Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, the sitcom was a goofy satire on cold war politics of the 1960s, with a hapless operative named Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) working for the CONTROL agency, spying against a foreign menace called KAOS. Barbara Feldon (Agent 99) and Bernie Kopell (Sigfried) were part of the supporting cast.

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.

Raven Theatre’s ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’ Serves Justice to Neil Simon Masterpiece

Laughter on the 23rd Floor at the Raven Theatre in Chicago
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Part slapstick and part Henny Youngman-style one-liner schtick, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is a classic American comedy that still rings funny no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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