Make 'Em Laugh: Kathleen Madigan's "Madigan Again"

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Madigan Again opens up with Kathleen Madigan palling around with Lewis Black, who also introduces her set on stage; the pairing was clearly deliberate. Black is the more famous comedian, and his presence serves to acclimate those familiar with his work to the sensibilities of Madigan. The comparison is apt (they’re both dry and cynical, though perhaps that’s simply a condition of modern comedy) but not perfect (Madigan does not scream and wave her hands throughout her set). Instead, she seems to view the world around her with something closer to bemusement than contempt.

Jan
27
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Jim Breuer's "And Laughter for All"

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It is incredibly difficult for a comedian to produce a clean, family-friendly show that is still funny, especially if their career and audience up until now have been built on raunchy comedy. Jim Breur opens his new comedy special And Laughter for All with a backstage conversation between Breur and his various alter-egos and impersonations. He lays down the law for them and explains that his new show is about “laughter for all,” comedy that can be enjoyed by fans of his old stand-up and his run on Saturday Night Live as well as families. Having sat through And Laughter for All, I am happy to say he almost entirely succeeds in his goal with only one major misstep and delivers an enjoyable night of comedy, “clean” or otherwise.

Jan
17
2014
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In January, Criterion Sits on a Throne of Blood, Goes Mad, Mad, Mad, Lives La Vie de Boheme and More

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It's time to ring in the new year with some classic and contemporary cinema lovingly preserved by the folks over at The Criterion Collection. As The Criterion Collection continues their mission of cataloging culturally important films from across the ages, they also make it possible to get some of the best world cinema has to offer on Blu-ray and DVD. In January, The Criterion Collection releases new Blu-ray and DVD combo editions of: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the classic comedy by Stanley Kramer; Jules Dassin's classic caper Rififi; Michael Mann's first feature-length (non-TV-movie) neonoir film Thief; celebrated British director Terence Davies's masterpiece The Long Day Closes; Aki Kaurismaki's 1992 comedy La Vie de Boheme; and finally some more Akira Kurosawa (who likely has more films in the Criterion Collection than any other director) as he takes on Macbeth in Throne of Blood. Additionally, Criterion is releasing a set celebrating the later films of Indian director Satyajit Ray.

For details on all of these releases, read on.

Jan
02
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Bill Cosby's "Far From Finished"

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Bill Cosby is one of the comedy greats. His name is mentioned along with the likes of Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, and the rest, and deservedly so. The man has forgotten more about comedy than you or I will likely ever know. His latest stand-up special, Bill Cosby…Far From Finished, also happens to be his first in 30 years and one thing is clear: he’s still got it, for the most part. It might not be as uproarious, sharp, on-point as he used to be, but then again, it’s a very different comedy special than what he did in the past, at least in tone. Maybe it has something to do with how he remains sitting the entire time (a decision that itself works as the special’s opening joke) instead of moving about here and there, or maybe it’s the change in pace of his delivery as he’s gotten older, but whatever the case, the rate-of-fire for Cosby’s punchlines have not only slowed but they’ve changed in their attitude.

Dec
31
2013
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"Showgirls! The Musical!" Is Erect. Why Aren't You Erect?

showgirlsIf you hang around Theater 80 on St. Marks after seeing Bayside! The Musical! (a parody of Saved by the Bell) then you can catch the scandalously funny late-night parody Showgirls! The Musical! April Kidwell spends the evening channeling Elizabeth Berkeley, transforming from Saved’s Jessie Spano into Showgirls!’s Nomi Malone. Showgirls! is one of the best worst films ever, and this East Village production fully embraces every aspect of the film that has made it so iconic.

Dec
26
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #4

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Stars Zach McGowan and Mark Ryan

Q: They were talking about doing the training. I remember the Spartacus guys and the Da Vinci's Code were on a strict diet. Is it the same for you guys?

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #3

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Stars Luke Arnold and Jessica Parker Kennedy

Q: Are you from West Australia?

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #2

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Stars Toby Stephens and Hannah New

Toby Stephens: I play Captain Flint who is the captain of the Walrus. When we join in, historically he has been the most successful pirate on the island. He's brought in the most money, but he's hit a foul patch and his crew is becoming discontented and beginning to doubt his captaincy. There's a guy on the crew who is trying to get him kicked out because these crews are democracies. They'd all be pressed, the crews and pirate ships have all been pressed to naval ships or onto merchant ships. They were taken away from their families, they were treated appallingly, they were paid very little, it was a very hard life, so when they became pirates, they imposed this real democratic system which was terribly inefficient because every time there was a decision to be made, they all kind of had to go by show of hands. The only time the captain had absolute power was in battle. So anyway, there's this sense at the beginning of this that Flint is this terrifying figure, but he's on the back foot, he's in trouble, they're going to vote him off, and he has to survive.

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #1

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Creator Jonathan E. Steinberg

Q: Is it safe to say that Treasure Island was one of your favorite books growing up?

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Outlander Roundtable Interview

outlander-moorwenRoundtable Interview with Outlander Novel Author Diana Gabaldon and Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore 

Diana Gabaldon: It would be nice to have a female character to play off of these guys, since it was essentially Scots vs. English during the Jacobi rising, let's make her an English woman. We'll have lots of conflict. So she walked into a cottage full of Scotsmen, one of them stood up and said, “My name's Dougal McKenzie, and who might you be?” And without my stopping to think, I just typed, “My name's Claire Elizabeth Beacham, and who the hell are you?” I said, “You don't sound at all like an 18th century person.” So I found with her for several pages, trying to beat her into shape and make her talk like an 18th century woman. She wasn't having any of it. She just kept making smart-ass modern remarks and she also started telling the story herself, so it's all her fault that there is time travel.

Nov
18
2013
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