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Interview: TV Travel Host Colleen Kelly at the ‘Travel & Adventure Show’ This Weekend in Chicagoland

Colleen Kelly, Family Travel with Colleen Kelly

CHICAGO – Colleen Kelly is a travel expert, given her success with the PBS TV show “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly” and her company Travel Film Productions. She will be a keynote speaker at the “Travel & Adventure Show” at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., January 23rd and 24th, 2016.

Film Review: Important History in ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution’

Black Panthers, The: Vanguard

CHICAGO – If you want to experience the old cliché of “everything old is new again,” look no further than the excellent documentary, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution.” The formation of the famous 1960s political group is rooted in the same issues that came out of Ferguson and Baltimore – the marginalization and harassment of African Americans by law enforcement authority. Yes, the group’s techniques were questionable, but so was the use of tax payer money – through the FBI – to destroy the organization.

What to Watch: Feb. 18-24, 2014

The Americans

What an amazing week for TV fans. As if you didn’t have enough stacking to do with the new, brilliant season of “House of Cards” on Netflix, there are four other full seasons in this week’s What to Watch that you really should watch front to back. And then there’s the still-amazing “Darkman,” a cult classic that perfectly captures Sam Raimi’s skill at controlled chaos. Finally, we have two ’80s horror flicks in one set in “Bad Dreams” and “Visiting Hours.” Check ‘em all out (OK, you can skip the genre stinkers).

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.

TV Review: Riveting ‘The Central Park Five’ Debuts on PBS

CHICAGO – Almost exactly 24 years ago (on April 19, 1989), Trisha Meili was raped and brutally assaulted in Central Park in New York City. Known in the press as “The Central Park Jogger,” she lay near death as the city let out a wail for justice. Five young men who had been in the park that night were arrested and sent to jail for a crime that they clearly did not commit.

Blu-ray Review: Ken Burns’ ‘The Dust Bowl’ Resonates Today

The Dust Bowl

CHICAGO – One of the greatest gifts that Ken Burns has as arguably our best working documentarian is his ability to take historical subjects and make them resonate to our lives today. “The Civil War” transports us back in time, making the lives of those people relate to our own. His amazing “The Central Park Five,” which opened last week in Chicago and was given 4-stars by Patrick McDonald, is playing in theaters and his PBS documentary “The Dust Bowl” was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Once again, Burns takes history and makes it present.

Interview: John Leguizamo Reflects on ‘Tales from a Ghetto Klown’ in PBS Doc

CHICAGO – From Toulouse-Lautrec in “Moulin Rouge” and Luigi in “Super Mario Bros.” to Sid in “Ice Age” and Chi-Chi in “To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,” John Leguizamo has made a career out of playing a wide array of colorful and challenging roles. In 2010, the actor made a celebrated return to the stage and tackled his trickiest role to date: himself.

TV Review: Great Performance From Kenneth Branagh Anchors ‘Wallander’

CHICAGO – The great Kenneth Branagh delivers yet again with a new series of “Wallander” films on PBS under the banner of “Masterpiece: Mystery!,” starting tomorrow night, September 9, 2012. These are accomplished, adult tales of loss, guilt, and mystery that should satisfy viewers hooked by the first two “Wallander” runs previously aired on PBS.

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.

Blu-ray Review: Amazing ‘Sherlock: Season Two’ Works For Everyone

Sherlock S2

CHICAGO – It’s official. After season two of BBC’s and Masterpiece’s amazing “Sherlock,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, I can stand by my thoughts after season one and make them clear — this is the best embodiment of Sherlock Holmes since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put pen to paper. With brilliant screenwriting, clever direction, perfect design, and simply spectacular performances, this isn’t just a great TV on Blu-ray release. If these three 90-minute films had played in theaters instead of on PBS, they’d all be in my top ten as far as the best movies of the year to date.

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