Latest Blog Posts

by Bill Gibron

25 Sep 2012


She got her start as the “funny dame” on the old Gary Moore variety show. She had major success on Broadway in Once Upon a Mattress. Befriended by Julie Andrews and Lucille Ball, she rose rapidly, soon seeing herself cast in sitcoms and touring the talk show circuit. But it wasn’t until 1967 that Carol Burnett became a true household name. Surrounding herself with a cast that included Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Lyle Waggoner, and Vicki Lawrence, the groundbreaking sketch comedy show lasted 11 years on CBS, garnering 23 Emmy Awards and a permanent place in the memory banks of millions of devoted fans. Few can forget her perky personality, the moments of misguided “laughter,” or characters such as Mrs. Wiggins, Eunice and the rest of her firebrand family, or the kind hearted cleaning lady. Today, she is a comic legend. Then, she was major league must-see TV.

With Time Life offering a new mammoth 22-disc, 50-episode collection handpicked by Burnett herself, perhaps it’s time to go back and pick the best moments from this memorable broadcast bonanza. Of course, in order to do that, we have to narrow the scope quite a bit—and what better way to do that than via the format we love to celebrate: film. Indeed, the Carol Burnett Show excelled at taking on the standard Tinseltown titles and turning them into memorable spoofs and lampoons. Along with Mel Brooks, and the amiable Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker group, no other entity did such a great job with such a tricky subject. While there are dozens of other entries to consider, here are the choices we’ve made. Looking over this collection of the 10 Best Movie Spoofs from The Carol Burnett Show, it’s clear while the star has had such a long career. She’s the First Lady of Laughter.

by Bill Gibron

20 Apr 2012


Okay, so his connection to cinema is specious at best. He starred in the first motion picture adaptation of the classic late ‘60s horror soap, and supposedly has a cameo in the new Tim Burton reboot. He appeared in a single TV movie, and Oliver Stone’s first full length feature (the schlocky Seizure). After that, nothing. No long running role on a nightly drama. No standing sitcom part as the quirky next door neighbor. Aside from personal appearances and stage work, Jonathan Frid was famous for one thing and one thing only - Dan Curtis’ insanely addictive Dark Shadows. As Barnabas Collins, the time-hopping vampire cursed with both a lust for blood and a romantic’s heart, he became an instant household icon. But beyond his supernatural stardom, there remained the typical actor’s tale.

Frid was born in Canada. He served in the military and graduated from McMaster University. He then attended The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and received a Masters Degree in directing from Yale. While a student, he won a role in a play by William Snyder, and he would up spending the next three decades in the theater. Hoping to parlay his performances into a bit more financial gain (he planned on becoming an acting coach), Frid prepared to move to Hollywood. As luck would have it, his agent called informing him of the role on Shadows. Needless to say, he stayed put in NYC and, within weeks, became the talk of daytime television.

by Suzanne Enzerink

1 Aug 2011


Now that Olivia Wilde has put rumors of a turbulent post-divorce love life to bed by revealing to Jimmy Kimmel (July 27th) that there’s a “no sex hex” on her new home—supposedly left there by a certain trio of notoriously chaste brothers—it’s time to draw attention back to her acting. That is, as far as there ever was any attention; Wilde seems to have fallen prey to an all-sex hex, meaning that reviewers cannot seem to get past her physical appearance.

Wilde is quickly establishing herself as the breakthrough star of 2011 on the big screen. While many already know her from television series such as House (Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley) and The O.C. (Alex “Marissa’s girlfriend” Kelly), from last year’s holiday blockbuster Tron: Legacy, or simply from topping Maxim’s Hot 100 list, attention to her acting prowess has been limited in favor of discussions of her characters’ bisexuality or the actress’ supposedly turbulent love life. This summer, critics will have another shot at making things right: she’ll be all over a theatre near you, in Jon Favreau’s much-anticipated Cowboys and Aliens and the Ryan Reynolds/Jason Bateman-fronted body switch flick The Change Up, and butter-carving Butter and In Time are also scheduled for release this year.

by Ben Travers

26 Apr 2011


In his first post-Office role, Steve Carell is playing it safe. First, he chose a familiar character—a depressed, funny, romantic everyman named Cal Weaver in Crazy, Stupid, Love (due July 29). Similar to his roles in Date Night, Dan in Real Life, and even The 40 Year Old Virgin, Carell plays a middle-aged man looking for love after a seemingly ordinary life racked with an extra dose of downers. In the sporadically funny two-minute trailer, Cal seems relatable, sympathetic, and even attractive after a comely makeover. Not a bad one-two-three punch for the funnyman (oh yeah, he’s funny, too).

While the trailer makes Carell’s top-billing clear, the other above-the-title names make Crazy, Stupid, Love seem like an even wiser choice for an actor who thrives in ensemble pieces. Just about every demographic is covered by the film’s four stars. Carell brings the Office crowd who loves Jim and Pam just as much as Michael. Julianne Moore lends respectability and Oscar cred to an otherwise youth-oriented cast. Speaking of, the enticing coupling of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone should prove irresistible for the cinema-savvy 18-49 group. Throw in a few extra fans paying for the cast’s respective sex appeal and Carell’s production company, Carousel Productions, should expect a $20 million-plus opening weekend.

by Bill Gibron

7 Feb 2011


After a couple of years of coping to economic and creative woes, Hollywood has reinvested in the Super Bowl in a mighty, mighty way. The 2011 installment of the annual football fever dream saw a dramatic increase in both actual ads (14…and perhaps more) and numerous tie-ins (why else would the Fox TV cameras “accidentally” pick out certain celebrities, only to have the announcers name-check their latest upcoming release???). Along with promised promotions that either didn’t pan out (critics got a Drive Angry 3D ad in their inbox, but as far as any could tell, the spot didn’t make the “show”...did it?) or were there, pre-game, without warning (really, Limitless?), we got numerous peaks at the upcoming Summer Movie season. While star studded both in casting and in clout, the jury remains deadlocked on more than a few of these films. Still, Tinseltown tried to give us its best product pitch, and for the most part, they delivered.

So amongst the pretend Vaders and magic Doritos dust, numerous dull car commercials and occasional WTF moments (Joan Rivers for GoDaddy.com…huh?), we got 14 celluloid sneak peeks. While few ventured far from their already established pitch, a couple came with some substantive surprises. So, in no particular order, here are the 2011 offerings, beginning with one of the year’s most hotly anticipated:

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Blind Woman's Curse' Is Full of Delirious Action With Swords and Cats

// Short Ends and Leader

"This bewildering, reckless, and captivating Japanese monstrosity is a colorful, widescreen explosion of cross-genre craziness.

READ the article