November 28, 2015 |
Almost certainly, the brains behind Victor Frankenstein - set first in 1860s London, then in a jagged castle on the rocky Scottish coast - were out to mimic the steampunk vibe of Robert Downey Jr.'s hit Sherlock Holmes pics. The cogs and gears and smokestacks of the Industrial Revolution grind and clang and hiss, a Scotland Yard inspector furrows his brow in forensic disdain, and an eccentric genius dashes to and fro, occasionally resorting to gunplay and pyrotechnics to elude his pursuers.
November 20, 2015 |
In "The Night Before," Seth Rogen attempts the first bros before ho, ho, hos comedy. He plays Isaac, who tries, along with high-school buddies Chris (Anthony Mackie) and Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), to maintain a fraying tradition of spending Christmas Eve together, though Isaac now has a family and Chris is a famous pro athlete. The odd dude out is Ethan, who has a botched music career and works on the fringes of the catering business, when he's not alone in his apartment moping about his breakup with Diana (Lizzy Kaplan)
September 21, 2015 |
More than three years have passed since Archbishop Charles J. Chaput held a little press briefing in the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul to tell a few reporters - me among them - that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen Philadelphia to host the 2015 World Meeting of Families. I sometimes liken that moment to a soccer ball kicked at me from across a whole soccer field. It just got bigger and bigger and finally, this week, has thumped me in the head. In July, I had learned that I'd be among the journalists traveling with Pope Francis on his trip to Cuba and the United States that ends next weekend in Philadelphia.
September 9, 2015 |
Winter is coming, so instead of sulking about impending hibernation, perhaps time is best spent going for the laugh. The Oddball Festival will kick off the fall season with its murderer's row of comedians who would usually play anything from a large theater or a club like Helium, Philly's go-to venue for on-the-road funny folk. The big guns will still hit Atlantic City, but there are hidden gems to be found at smaller, non-traditional venues like Underground Arts. PHIT's Super Free Sundays Every Sunday, Adrienne Theater Looking for some local comedy?
September 5, 2015 |
The exit referred to in the title of Exit the King is the Big Exit, and this play by Eugène Ionesco is a 90-minute meditation on dying. The central metaphor is that the King's death is echoed by the crumbling of his kingdom, and given recent news of buildings falling into sinkholes, Alaska melting, uncontrolled wildfires, and general ecological mayhem, Exit the King seems to be what is called "ripped from the headlines. " Berenger (Robb Hutter) is the 400-year-old king, but unlike Rhinoceros , Ionesco's earlier play about Berenger, where the controlling metaphor was political, this one is existential.
August 14, 2015
THIS IS ABOUT YOU, even though it appears to be about me and the Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night. Tuesday's finale took in more than ever - $40,000, for a 25-year total in excess of $550,000. The show benefits Variety, the Children's Charity. That we broke the $33,000 previous high was due in large part to the title sponsorship of Comcast and a substantial gift from ThermOmegaTech in Warminster. This suggests that corporations are not always, nor all, villains. The show flew for 25 years on the wings of the charitable spirit of the politicians who participated, leaving their comfort zone for charity, and I'll get back to that in a minute.
August 13, 2015 |
TO STEAL a line from Carnac the Magnificent, a/k/a Johnny Carson, I have here in my hand the story of the last Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night. Thunderous applause! OK, maybe that's a little unfair, even here in Santa-Claus-Snowball City. After all, in its rarely glorious 25-year run, the amateur stand-up event accomplished two remarkable things. It showed that Philadelphia's politicos can (occasionally) be intentionally funny, in the tough-crowd arena of stand-up comedy.
August 10, 2015 |
Ten years ago last week, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia served notice it was going to be a very funny show about very terrible people. The audience was not yet large when the show established that premise, in the first episode, "The Gang Gets Racist," which premiered on Aug. 4, 2005, on FX. Last year, however, with a two-season renewal, It's Always Sunny became the longest-running live-action comedy on cable. It's tied for second of all time with My Three Sons . ( Sunny 's 11th season will premiere next year on FX's sister channel, FXX.)
August 6, 2015 |
WHILE "Trainwreck" and "Ted" spark debate this summer as to who's funnier, men or women, the correct answer turns out to be "sheep. " For wall-to-wool laughs, you can't top "Shaun the Sheep," a consistently and sometimes prodigiously amusing claymation cartoon from Aardman studios, in England. The story: Farm animals grow tired of their rustic routine, so they put the farmer to sleep (the sight of sheep jumping sequentially over a fence hits humans like a massive dose of Tylenol PM)