May 20, 2013 |
At 86, Mel Brooks still looks like the Marx brother from another mother, his sunset years lit by kliegs. He is the subject of an American Masters special ( Mel Brooks: Make a Noise , airing Monday on PBS), recipient of an American Film Institute life achievement award (on June 6, to be shown on TNT later next month), and librettist of a proposed Broadway musical based on his 1974 movie hit Blazing Saddles . How do you measure this singular talent? Short in stature (65 inches)
April 23, 2013 |
Every lifetime should have at least one: The great teacher, the one who inspired, the one who changed your life. For decades of students in Delaware County, Robert Malkovsky - Mr. Mal, or just Mal - was such a teacher. Six-foot-four with a booming voice and a big laugh, he was a gentle giant who ignited a fire for physics in his students. He explained the incomprehensible. He would quietly foot the bills for prom dresses. He made all kids feel as though they were worth listening to. And so Mal's death - so unexpected because he appeared to have won his long battle with pancreatic cancer - was devastating news to those who knew him, as though a light had gone out for them.
March 22, 2013 |
SIX YEARS AGO, Mouphtaou Yarou remembers, there were many, many difficult phone calls home to Benin. He came here from that small West African country for high school, and for basketball, and for all of the attendant opportunities, but he wondered sometimes what he had gotten himself into. He wondered whether it was worth all of the anxiety. "I was very homesick," he said, a couple of days before the Villanova Wildcats begin another NCAA Tournament journey. Yarou, 22, is their senior big man, the oncourt leader of a team that swung wildly between disaster and elation - sometimes in the same week.
February 19, 2013 |
Think Martin McDonagh without the accents. Think Quentin Tarantino without the cars. Think, in other words, about stupid people with foul mouths, big guns, and big ideas. What you have is Jason Wells' The North Plan , a very scary and very funny political satire that just opened at Theatre Exile. The place is a jail in a tiny town in southern Missouri. In one cage is a self-justifying drunk named Tanya Shepke (Madi Distefano at her yeehah! motor-mouthed best). If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's do not mess with Tanya Shepke.
February 8, 2013 |
THEY SAY 90 percent of a movie is casting, and it's at least 99 percent of "Identity Thief. " This a flimsy road movie whose main achievement is to pair cinema's most adroit straight man with its biggest comedy wild card. Jason Bateman is the former - stoic, unflappable, with the low-key verbal dexterity that makes him a peerless counter-puncher paired with zanier co-stars in movies such as "Horrible Bosses. " Here, he shares the screen with the volatile Melissa McCarthy, a rumbling volcano of out-there energy, the X-factor in movies such as "Bridesmaids" and recently released "This is 40. " The premise, in broad strokes, plays to their strengths.
January 8, 2013 |
PASADENA, Calif. - In his forthcoming NBC comedy, Michael J. Fox will play a newscaster who had quit his job due to Parkinson's disease but returns to work in the show's first episode because a new medical regimen has helped him control many of the disease's symptoms. It mirrors the life of the former Family Ties and Spin City star, who said last year that drugs had helped minimize the physical tics of Parkinson's and had enabled him to take on more acting jobs. The yet-to-be-named sitcom is a key piece of NBC's strategy to build upon a revival that has brought the network back from many years in the ratings wilderness.
December 24, 2012 |
THE family-friendliest comedy this holiday-movie season is also the sappiest and schmaltziest. And thanks to Billy Crystal, the shtickiest. "Parental Guidance" is a mild-mannered riff on parenting, then and now. It contrasts the top-down/career-first mentality of one generation with the coddled "nurturing" of today, but never takes a stand on which is better. Basically, it's a vehicle for Billy Crystal, and to a lesser degree Bette Midler, to riff on the spoiled, overindulged and sometimes-uptight kids their kid is raising.
December 21, 2012 |
Sean Altman is embracing his Jewishness in his own way, thank you very much. And that way is through the creation of Jewmongous, a concert performance that employs the New Yorker's talents as a singer, songwriter, and musician to both poke fun at and celebrate his heritage. "Jewmongous is the way I'm able to connect with whatever Jewishness is inside me," Altman says from his home in Harlem. "I'm culturally Jewish, but I'm not religious. . . . This is sort of my way of connecting with my heritage without going to synagogue or without having to pray.
December 21, 2012 |
SO THIS GUY walks up to me in the gym with a worried look on his face. "You think Bynum will ever play this year?" he asks. "No," I say, smiling. "That sucks," he says. He is not smiling. He is sad. It is Christmas season and he is sad because Andrew Bynum, the center who was supposed to make the Sixers whole, has instead become a hole. A giant one. And so . . . The Sixers are a mess. Again. About the time a young Delaware Valley sports fan receives his first authentic Eagles, Flyers or Phillies shirt, he or she are given these simple words to use on those rare occasions the name of the town's NBA franchise comes up. The words are a very handy sports tool.
December 14, 2012 |
'It's kind of like Laugh-In with the Polyphonic Spree as the soundtrack. " That's how Tim DeLaughter describes the Polyphonic Spree's Holiday Extravaganza, which comes to the Trocadero Friday night. But while Laugh-In of '60s TV possessed a skewed adult sensibility, the Polyphonic Spree aims for all ages, with animals, science demonstrations, cartoons, and other diversions. "It's a family environment, for ages 1 to 92," DeLaughter says from a truck stop in Nevada, where the band is en route to a gig in Chicago.