January 16, 2016 |
One of the most significant cultural events of 2015 was the hip-hop biopic Straight Outta Compton . The movie told the story of the rise of the Compton, Calif., outfit N.W.A., founded by future music legends MC Ren (Aldis Hodge), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and Ice Cube (played in the movie by the rapper's son, O'Shea Jackson Jr.). Universal will release the film Tuesday for the home video market. Straight Outta Compton was directed by F. Gary Gray ( Set It Off , The Negotiator )
December 26, 2015 |
Since he captured the public imagination in 1999 with his remarkable breakout hit The Sixth Sense , M. Night Shyamalan has directed 10 features (an 11th, Split , is due in 2017). And each one, including The Happening , Devil , Lady in the Water , and personal favorite The Village , has received wildly mixed reviews. Yet Shyamalan, 45, who was born in India, retains a core fanbase in the Philadelphia region where he lives and where he consistently shoots his pictures.
May 30, 2015 |
Fans knew something special was in the offing when director David Wain ( Wanderlust ; They Came Together ) announced the cast of his 2001 comedy, Wet Hot American Summer . It was a veritable Who's Who of comedy: Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Judah Friedlander, and David Hyde Pierce. What's more, they were backed by a group of great actors including Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, and Bradley Cooper. A raunchy, sharp-edged satire that was equally affecting and nostalgic, the film was about the crazy goings-on at a summer camp in 1981.
December 13, 2014 |
Twentieth Century Fox cranks out the big blockbusters, but its sister distribution arm, Fox Searchlight Pictures, specializes in indie films and British imports that are more likely to pick up Oscars than hundreds of millions at the box office. Founded in 1994, the company marks its anniversary with a Blu-ray boxed set that makes an ideal holiday gift. The Fox Searchlight Pictures 20th Anniversary Collection features 20 films in high-def, including The Full Monty , Boys Don't Cry , Crazy Heart , The Descendants , Juno , and The Last King of Scotland . ( www.foxconnect.com ; $299.99; not rated)
November 1, 2014 |
Few characters in TV history gave viewers such an emotional roller-coaster ride as anti-hero extraordinnaire Tony Soprano in HBO's crime saga The Sopranos . We loved Tony one moment - for his humor, his emotional vulnerability, his humanity. Yet he could morph, in the blink of an eye, into the most repulsive, frightening monster one could imagine. Ah, life with North Jersey's premier mob family! There was Ma Soprano, Carmela (Edie Falco), who had quite a taste for the most ridiculously expensive, and equally gauche, fashions.
July 26, 2014 |
It's sometimes best not to put too much stock in what stars say. Especially when they make grand pronouncements, as did hip-hop megastar Jay Z when he promised to make Philadelphia the envy of American cities by creating a world-class music festival. Jay Z followed through on his promise and delivered the impossible in 2012: He corralled a disparate group of artists to perform outdoors on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the last weekend of the summer. More than 30 acts played, including Nine Inch Nails, Public Enemy, Kings of Leon, Jay Rock, 2 Chainz, and Pharrell Williams.
July 18, 2014 |
THE DRIVE-IN theater is virtually extinct. But it's easier than it's ever been to sit under the stars on a warm night with family and friends, sharing ice cream and a great flick on a portable screen (or garage door or tacked-up bed sheet). Give thanks to the high quality and affordable prices of today's video projectors, which put on a really big-screen show indoors or out when fed a diet of DVD and Blu-ray discs, a connected cable/satellite box or content stored on a USB thumb drive or computer.
June 21, 2014 |
On Aug. 16, 1896, gold was discovered in the Klondike region of the Yukon in northwestern Canada, sparking a media frenzy that helped draw a massive influx of prospectors, adventurers, and con men. The story of the Yukon gold rush is told in the Discovery Channel's first scripted drama, Klondike , a three-part, 270-minute mini-series now out on disc. Game of Thrones ' Richard Madden and English thesp Augustus Prew ( Kick-Ass 2 ) star as best friends from New York who find themselves bored with the idea of leading regular lives as would-be businessmen.
June 14, 2014 |
Walter White, the antihero of AMC's ingenious drama Breaking Bad , once was a good man. A brilliant scientist and chemistry teacher devoted to helping his students expand their knowledge, he also was a dedicated husband. Then it all hit the fan. When Walt is told he has only a short time to live, he realizes he needs to leave his wife a decent nest egg. He also realizes his life has been meaningless, as has been his decision to be a good, law-abiding citizen. So he turns to drugs, becoming one of the biggest manufacturers and suppliers of methamphetamine in the Southwest.
June 7, 2014 |
Bob Newhart will be remembered centuries hence as one of the greatest straight men in American comedy. The soft-spoken stand-up comic and actor who has the deadliest deadpan in the biz and the driest of humors was singularly brilliant in his first major sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show , which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1972 to 1978. In a great character choice, Newhart plays a therapist, Dr. Bob Hartley. Consistently calm in the midst of chaos, Bob listens in each episode to the strange and hilarious problems of a slew of series regulars who bare their souls to him. Florida Friebus has gone down in TV history for playing one of Bob's patients, Lillian Bakerman, an elderly woman who spends her therapy sessions knitting.