Wednesday, December 21, 2011

David Foster's Christmas Album (1993) (TV)

This is one of the best if not THE BEST of the many, many Christmas offerings. Mr. Foster is still one of Hollywood's most prolific music men today and twenty years ago his muscle was just as apparent as can be discerned by this gathering of heavyweights. Of the ten guests there isn't a slack among them although there is a flack, Roberta Flack singing a fantastic version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" with Peabo Bryson. But not before Tom Jones comes out and sings a traditional selection that will remind you of his greatness, what a voice. When you see the opening, a single ballerina against a full orchestra with DF front and center at the piano you gotta know something good is coming. It just rolls like that, Johnny Mathis is next with his standard, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" sung against a very frenetic background. A very, very beautiful Vanessa Williams steps up to show her many talents with an "old negro spiritual" performed with a ballet dancing accompaniment. Next we lament along with Wynonna as she laments not being available for those whom she is close with a lovely "Blue Christmas". One of my favorites follows, "The First Noel" sung by Peabo and Ms. Flack, whom is by the way, just absolutely beautiful on this formal evening. After a break, Michael Crawford performs a very traditional "O Holy Night" very traditionally, complete with a mob of altarboys. The television evening culminates with the standard group-sing of one of the most standard of all Christmas standards, "White Christmas" with each handpicked guest taking a turn. I think I've mentioned in other reviews something about "celebrity-driven glomfests" but that doesn't always have to be bad as this is evidence. A beautiful production, two thumbs up. Merry Christmas.
 
David Foster's Christmas Album (1993) (TV)
Cast: Peabo Bryson, Michael Crawford, Celine Dion, Roberta Flack, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, Ben Vereen, Vanessa Williams, Bebe & Ce Ce Wyans, Wynonna, David Foster

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kathie Lee: Home For Christmas (1995) (TV)

This CBS Holiday Special starts with Kathie Lee  singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as we watch the whole family take a sleigh ride home from the airport. Once there we're treated to some light homey banter as the whole family makes holiday plans and chooses (from what can only be a humangus rolodex) their holiday guests. Even Cody makes it known that he too wants to make some additions to the guest list, a list that will include as Kathie Lee's first choice, Kathy Mattea and as Frank's, Aaron Neville. Collectively they think Andy Williams would be a nice third choice and who disagrees? Andy Williams and Christmas go together like two great things that go great together.

Once the performances begin you see the difference between this and other Christmas specials. If the incidental writing is overlooked what is left is an excellent, reverential heartfelt document to home, family and faith. The songs are not easily recognized since they are of the non-jingley type, they may indeed be very recognizable, just not by me evidently. One downside is the time between performances as the players go through their paces but the songs are evenly spaced throughout the hour long special and they're all excellent. This is one of the lesser known of the KLG Christmas specials, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked. Merry Christmas.

Kathie Lee: Home For Christmas (1995) (TV )
Cast: Kathie Lee Gifford, Frank Gifford, Kathy Mattea, Aaron Neville, Andy Williams

Neil Diamond: The Christmas Special (1993) (TV Special)

It starts a little slow (and cheesy) with a signature "Neil" version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" that gave me cause for pause. Continuing on to "Little Drummer Boy", Mr. Diamond settles in for a very pleasant, noticably diverse holiday evening of song. Next, "The Christmas Song" and then an unexpected Cat Stevens favorite, "Morning Has Broken", which segues nicely into a very solemn "Silent Night". Overall the performances may lack the energy of Neil's live shows but the compositions and arrangements and the very wide array of supporting acts, choirs and ensembles are excellent. Sometime before the hour is over you WILL see a barbershop quartet, for example. Next was the only song I could not identify (maybe you can) but "White Christmas" needs no introduction, although sadly this is the worst (IMHO) selection of the night. One of everyone's favorites but they cheese it up real good to nobody's benefit. From there another surprise, "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" one of John Lennon's many gifts, this one is sweet. The second half is better than the first and brings the production to a very satisfying finish. "God Rest Ye Merry Men", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", "You Make It Feel Like Christmas" (a forgettable ND original), "O Holy Night" and wrapping with a reprise of "Silent Night". Other than the big man there is no other star power. Personally, I think it's great that a guy who's gotta know everybody (we're talking Neil Diamond!) doesn't go out of his way to make this a celebrity driven glomfest. Lots of great faces and voices, big and small. Merry Christmas.

Neil Diamond: The Christmas Special (1993) (TV Special)
Cast: Neil Diamond, Assorted Choirs and Ensembles

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Opryland's Country Christmas (1996) (TV)

Christmas special featuring country music stars of the day celebrating Nashville's holiday traditions in an eclectic blend of Christmas songs performed in a variety of styles including country, blues, folk, pop, bluegrass, rock and gospel. Don't look for the classics, this is full of traditional and original with a definite focus on faith and family. It must be said that it is refreshing to hear a holiday themed show and not be burdened with amateurish arrangements of tired "classics" or insultingly childish retellings of that same tiredness. This is very satisfying as standard fare or holiday listening, it excels both ways.

Opryland's Country Christmas (1996) (TV)
Cast: Clint Black, Wynonna Judd, Patty Loveless, Barbara Mandrell, Lorrie Morgan, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Rogers, Marty Stuart, Jerry Sullivan, Tammy Sullivan, Hank Williams Jr.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Opryland's Country Christmas (1994) (TV)

The only thing to not like about this is the one hour runtime. This could easily have been twice as long. Greatly appreciated effort from all the participants but with a little somethin' somethin' via the great Neil Diamond and his background singers, The Soul Children of Chicago.

All these Opryland productions are excellent, with wide ranging entertainment fit for the whole family, from upbeat toe-tappers to heartfelt blues. Good stuff all around and more the sentimental for the Christmas themes and imagery. Imagery such as Banjo Santa, for instance.

Opryland's Country Christmas (1994) (TV)
Cast: Clint Black, Neil Diamond, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Ronna Reeves, Mike Snider, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood, Soul Children of Chicago

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life's Work (TV Series) 1996–1997

Standard story of a mom who goes back to work and the turmoil she leaves at home. The star of the show, Lisa Ann Walter has started a new life as an on-air personality for the greatest AM radio station west of the Rockies, KFI-640. Check her out weekends from 4 to 7 in the PM.

AVAILABLE EPISODES
Concert
Season 1, Episode 4
8 Oct 1996


Pregnancy
Season 1, Episode 8
12 Nov 1996

Life's Work (TV Series) 1996–1997
Cast: Lisa Ann Walter, Michael O'Keefe, Molly Hagan, Lightfield Lewis, Alexa Vega, Andrew Lowery, Larry Miller

Superstars & Their Moms (1987) (TV)

A Mother's Day special hosted by Carol Burnett and her late daughter Carrie Hamilton, featuring interviews with guest celebrities and their mothers. Fun time but rather nostalgic with the passing of Carrie and John.



Superstars & Their Moms (1987) (TV)
Cast: Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, Cher, Bill Cosby, Whitney Houston, John Ritter, Tom Selleck, Cybill Sheppard, Robin Williams, Carol Burnett, Carrie Hamilton

Frasier: Signing Off (2004) (TV)

This is a Dateline special from May 11, 2004 hosted by Katie Couric with the cast and crew of the legendary show.







Frasier: Signing Off (2004) (TV)
Host: Katie Couric

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary Special, The (1991) (TV)

As Bob explains in the opening monologue, the show had it's first broadcast in 1972 BUT the pilot was in 1971. Fun show especially for the fans. Bob Newhart is a long time hero, a man who can do no wrong. Always brings the funny.

The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary Special (1991) (TV)
Cast: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daily, Peter Bonerz, Marcia Wallace, Jack Riley, Tony Papenfuss, William Sanderson, John Voldstad

Rocky 25 (2001) (TV)

On the anniversary of one of the greatest feature films ever the man himself, Sylvester Stallone hosts a viewing of the full length movie along with his personal comments and remembrances. The other major players are also along for the ride with their memories. This was a three hour NBC special broadcast over the 2001 Thanksgiving holiday and is a very good time with some fun irrelevancies.

Rocky 25 (2001) (TV)
Host: Sylvester Stallone

The News Is the News (1983) TV Series

This VERY short run show was a "funny" attempt at reading the news ala SNL Newsbreak but in a half-hour format. Covering the news of the previous week, including that very day, June 15, 1983 (verified by showing the actual newspaper front pages) the hosts get whimsical in their trademark left-leaning way. It's forgivable and almost endearing to hear the anti-Ronnie hatred as this was a faraway time in a more naive universe. The written comedy is one thing but the actual headlines are also quite ludicrous. But forgivable. The early 80s were very weird.

The News Is the News (1983) TV Series
Cast: Karen Dale, Michael Davis, Simon Jones, Charlotte Moore, Michael Palin, Lynne Thigpen, Trey Wilson

Cheaters (1980) (TV)

The parents of a young couple who want to be married are having affairs with each other's spouses. Stage production recorded in front of a live audience. SelecTV was the best!





Cheaters (1980) (TV)
Cast: Peggy Cass, Jack Kruschen, Patricia Barry, Jack Mascolo, John Lansing, Dawn Davis

Korea: The Unknown War (1988) TV mini-series

A documentary about the Korean War by Thames Television that aired in the Summer of 1988 and in the US in August 1990 through WGBH Boston. Including interviews with participants from both the United Nations (USA, UK), South Korea and North Korea.

Korea: The Unknown War (1988) TV mini-series
Cast: Assorted

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Party for Richard Pryor, A (1991) (TV)

A CBS special honoring late comedian Richard Pryor. Includes scenes from Pryor's motion picture, television and stage performances and tributes from dozens of entertainers.




A Party for Richard Pryor (1991) (TV)
Cast: Loni Anderson, Elayne Boosler, James Brown, Ray Charles, Chevy Chase, Danny Glover, Bobcat Goldthwait, Louis Gossett Jr., Dick Gregory, Arsenio Hall, Patti LaBelle, Eddie Murphy, Anita Pointer, June Pointer, Ruth Pointer, Rain Pryor, Richard Pryor, Burt Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd, Lily Tomlin, Robert Townsend, Marsha Warfield, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Gene Wilder, Bobby Womack, Stevie Wonder

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Frasier: Analyzing the Laughter (2004) (TV)

Frasier Crane visits his therapist and reminisces over the events of the past 11 years since his move from Boston to Seattle, in a clip show to commemorate the event of the last ever episode.




Frasier: Analyzing the Laughter (2004) (TV)
Cast: Kelsey Grammer, Fred Willard

Cosby Show, The: A Look Back (2002) (TV)

A retrospective of the phenomenally popular 1984-1992 situation comedy, "The Cosby Show," complete with memorable clips, bloopers and comments from series stars, producers and Bill Cosby himself.



The Cosby Show: A Look Back (2002) (TV)
Cast: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Sabrina Le Beauf, Geoffrey Owens, Lisa Bonet, Joseph C. Phillips, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Raven-Symoné, Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, Earle Hyman, Quincy Jones

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Television's Comedy Classics (1996) (TV)

More of the same clip-mania, with 40 of the funniest comics of all-time performing their 40 funniest all-time routines. At least that's what is promised. What we get is another anthology show with some real tired sitcom footage interspersed with some mediocre, (or simply dated) stand-up comedy routines. Stand-up is best when given time to build a finish, clips taken out of context to hype the "funny" part are counter-productive. The best part of this show, you ask? The great, late Leslie Nielsen as your host. With many skits and goofy side-nonsense, he carries the show from the opening line, (... so the cowboy looks up at the proctologist and says,'Why not? Where else can you get 3 hamburgers for 99 cents?') and does all the narration. He was a genuinely funny guy, his mannerisms, his delivery, he had it all.

Television's Comedy Classics (1996) (TV)
Host: Leslie Nielsen

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Impeachment of Bill Clinton (1999) (TV)

Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power, failed in the House. The charges arose from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit. The trial proceedings were largely partisan, with only five Democratic Representatives voting to impeach and no Democratic Senators voting for conviction. With a two-thirds majority required for conviction, only 45 senators voted guilty on the perjury charge and 50 on the obstruction charge. It was only the second impeachment of a President in American history.

Impeachment of Bill Clinton (1999) (TV)
Host: Jim Lehrer

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guess Who's Coming for Christmas? (1990) TV Movie

A small-town eccentric is befriended by an extra-terrestrial in a pin-striped suit. He offers to build the alien a landing strip so he can visit the town more often, but his neighborly gesture creates havoc in the community. For those who loved Richard Mulligan this is a wonderful watch.

Guess Who's Coming for Christmas? (1990) TV Movie
Cast: Richard Mulligan, Beau Bridges, Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley, James McEachin, John Furey, Betsy Randle

College Bowl 30th Anniversary (1984) (TV)

From Wikipedia: College Bowl was a format of college-level quizbowl run and operated by College Bowl Company, Incorporated. It had a format similar to the current NAQT format. College Bowl first aired on US radio stations in 1953, and aired on US television from 1959 to 1970. After a seven-year hiatus following its cancellation on television, the game reappeared on college campuses in 1977 through an affiliation with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) that lasted for 31 years. In 2008, the College Bowl Company announced its suspension of the College Bowl program, citing increased costs and financial infeasibility of continuing to work with ACUI.

There have been two television appearances since then; the 1984 tournament semi-finals and finals aired on NBC, hosted by Pat Sajak (of Wheel of Fortune fame), and the entire 1987 tournament on Disney Channel, hosted by Dick Cavett. The Univ of Minn won both iterations.

This is the 1984 final mentioned above;
Princeton vs. University of Minnesota

College Bowl 30th Anniversary (1984) (TV)
Host: Pat Sajak

Sunday, May 22, 2011

50 Years of Television: A Golden Celebration (1989) (TV)

A 2-hour CBS special hosted by the legend Walter Cronkite highlighting fifty years in the history of television. Includes tributes to Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan and many more. To say clips of classic television moments are presented is an understatement, this is an excellent presentation that reaches deep into TV history.

50 Years of Television: A Golden Celebration (1989) (TV)
Host: Walter Cronkite

I'll Take Romance (1990) TV Movie

I'll Take Romance has nothing to do with the old Grace Moore musical film of the same name. Rather, this 1990 TV movie is about a publicity contest. Dressed in Joan Crawford Chic, Linda Evans plays a Seattle TV meteorologist, assigned to host a contest to find the most romantic man in Puget Sound. Evans' boyfriend Tom Skerritt stews on the sidelines as she wends her way through the studdish contestants. Since Skerritt plays a judge, is there a remote possibility that "I'll Take Romance" will have a crucial courtroom scene somewhere along the line? ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

I'll Take Romance (1990) TV Movie
Cast: Linda Evans, Larry Poindexter, DeLane Matthews, Heather Tom, Alan Blumenfeld, Kenneth Mars, Tom Skerritt, Joe Restivo, Grant Goodeve, Robert Zenk

Rolling Stone Presents Twenty Years of Rock & Roll (1987) (TV)


An exciting chronicle of the songs and energies from '60's psychedelia to '70's glam to '80's new wave and beyond. Features exclusive interviews with rock superstars, plus film footage of such legendary performers as The Band, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Blondie, David Bowie, James Brown, Jackson Browne, Buffalo Springfield, Joe Cocker, Elvis Costello, Country Joe & the Fish, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, The Eagles, Iggy Pop, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Elton John, Cyndi Lauper, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Presley, Prince, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, The Who, U2, Neil Young... and many more!

Rolling Stone Presents Twenty Years of Rock & Roll (1987) (TV)
Host: Dennis Hopper

Friday, May 20, 2011

That's Incredible Reunion (1988) (TV)

An outstanding albeit practically unknown reunion show, with the original three co-hosts. The "Incredible..." franchise managed to release a few post-primetime specials, and this was one of the best. My personal favorite, with lots from which to choose, is the "Incredible Medicine" segment and the young man named Chang. The whole production is very worthy but the Chang episode was crazy. I sincerely hope he's (Chang) still around.

That's Incredible Reunion (1988) (TV)
Cast: Fran Tarkenton, Cathy Crosby, John Davidson

video

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Comedy Store, The: 15th Year Class Reunion (1988) (TV)


A comedy special hosted by Howie Mandel featuring alumni of The Comedy Store, a stand-up comedy showcase, as well as other top comics. The fifteenth-year reunion show was a benefit for the Comedian's Fund for Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

The Comedy Store: 15th Year Class Reunion (1988) (TV)
Cast: Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Garry Shandling, Howie Mandel, Jeff Altman, Mitzi Shore, Arsenio Hall, Roseanne, Jimmie Walker, Paul Rodriguez, John Witherspoon, Louie Anderson, Yakov Smirnoff, Argus Hamilton, George Miller, Ollie Joe Prater, Etta Mae

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Really Big Show, A: Ed Sullivan's 50th Anniversary (1998) (TV)

The usual hodgepodge you get from any "clip" show. If any show had the ability to really exploit the milestone of a golden anniversary it was this show. But to pack it all into a tidy one hour slot doesn't satisfy anyone. Lots of short clips of a whole bunch of people is just frustrating. Ably hosted by the brothers Smothers.

A Really Big Show: Ed Sullivan's 50th Anniversary (1998) (TV)
Hosts: Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, The (2001-Current) (TV)

They do it every year and every year it pleases. This was no exception unless you don't like hip music, beautiful women and sexy attire of course. Music is subjective as is beauty, and they are presented together here for your enjoyment.
 
AVAILABLE EPISODES
ABC Presents from New York
The First - hosted by Rupert Everett
November 15, 2001

CBS Presents
Musical Guest - The Black Eyed Peas
December 1, 2009

CBS Presents
Musical Guest - The Black Eyed Peas
November 30, 2010

CBS Presents
Musical Guest - The Black Eyed Peas
November 29, 2011

CBS Presents
Musical Guest - The Black Eyed Peas
December 4, 2012

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (2001-Current) (TV)
Cast: Heidi Klum, Doutzen Kroes, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr, Marisa Miller, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Candice Swanepoel, Erin Heatherton, Lindsay Ellingson, Behati Prinsloo, The Black Eyed Peas

Turning Point - Sinatra: The Man Behind the Legend (1993–1999) TV Series

On the evening of his 81st birthday the good people from ABC News honored the great Frank Sinatra with "Sinatra: The Man Behind the Legend". A wonderful retrospective just a short two years before his passing.



Turning Point (1993–1999) TV Series
Cast: Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters

Friday, April 8, 2011

TV's All Time Classic Comedy (1994) (TV)

Nothing new here, but just the same this is a comprehensive collection of funny bits from the previous three decades of sitcoms segregated by categories i.e. Sight Gags, Tirades, Pregnancy, etc. Presented to a live audience by an ever-mugging Martin Short, you'll see clips from "The Honeymooners" to "The Simpsons" to "Buffalo Bill" and beyond. The choice of shows was good but the clips were simply retreads, would have been nice if they had dipped into the vault for some things unseen. Lord knows there's infinite amounts that will never be seen. A lot of work went to this show and with access to the archives of the multiple networks it could and should have been better.

TV's All Time Classic Comedy (1994) (TV)
Host: Martin Short

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

True West (1984) TV Movie

Part of the American Playhouse PBS anthology series, this is from January 31, 1984. The film is a record of the legendary Steppenwolf Theater production with which the celebrated troupe first broke through on the New York stage in 1982. A far more successful version of the Sam Shepard play than the earlier Peter Boyle/Tommy Lee Jones production at the Public Theater which had sparked a highly publicized battle between Shepard and impresario Joseph Papp, it remains fascinating despite the obvious limitations of such a project. Arguably one of the playwright's masterpieces, the doppelganger motif of this comedy-drama supports a more earthbound reworking of the dueling rock stars of The Tooth of Crime and their poetic meta-language. Accordingly, the relationship between the volatile drifter Lee (John Malkovich) and mild-mannered screenwriter Austin (Gary Sinise) feels less like that of brothers than of the two warring sides of Shepard's personality. Or more precisely, as the brothers warily stalk each other, eventually morphing into one another, the playwright seems to be invoking chthonic desert gods in a ritual designed to restore his creative powers and reintegrate his psyche. As ponderous as this might sound, the play is rife with comedy, from the instant rapport between Lee's thief and the sleazy Hollywood producer, to Austin's pride in his collection of recently purloined toasters. Although Sinise, who also directed the stage production, is excellent here, Malkovich is truly stunning, by turns vicious, curious, pleading, threatening, sly, paranoid, hateful, and funny. ~ AMG Michael Costello, Rovi

True West (1984)TV Movie
Cast: John Malkovich, Sam Schacht, Gary Sinise, Margaret Thomson

Monday, April 4, 2011

America Remembers John F. Kennedy (1983) (TV)

Television oddity, nearly impossible to find. Great rundown of all things Kennedy to that point, all of it glossy, all of it glowing. Their legacy has been documented here in an exacting if not fawning way, it's obvious the emotions of those men and women who worked with and knew him closely were still affected after 20 years.

America Remembers John F. Kennedy (1983) (TV)
Narrator: Hal Holbrook

Miracle on Interstate 880 (1993) TV Movie

Based on the 1989 earthquake that rocked San Francisco, this is the true story of the rescue workers who at their own peril tried to free the people trapped under a collapsed highway. ~ Tana Hobart, Rovi




Miracle on Interstate 880 (1993) TV Movie
Cast: Rubén Blades, Len Cariou, David Morse, Sandy Duncan, Ada Maris, Scott Hylands, Don S. Davis, Ian Tracey, Blu Mankuma, Jerry Wasserman, Suki Kaiser

Soul Train's 25th Anniversary (1995) (TV)

From the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California it's the black-tie silver anniversary celebration of the greatest black-themed music and dance show in history. Arsenio came out of his hole (his words) to man the podium for the hosting duties. So-so comedy combined with excellent musical performances make for a better than great evening.

Soul Train's 25th Anniversary (1995) (TV)
Cast: Arsenio Hall, Don Cornelius, Al Green, M.C. Hammer, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Curtis Mayfield, Rosie Perez, Diana Ross, Barry White, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder

Sunday, April 3, 2011

42nd NAACP Image Awards (2011) (TV)

The 42nd NAACP Image Awards were broadcast live on FOX TV on Friday, March 4, 2011. The show, which recognizes the accomplishments of people of color, was hosted by Wayne Brady and Holly Robinson Peete live from Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium.

The NAACP IMAGE AWARDS celebrates the accomplishments of people of color working in the fields of literature, music, television and film. The awards also honor individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.


42nd NAACP Image Awards (2011) (TV)
Cast: Wayne Brady, Holly Robinson Peete, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Loretta Devine, LL Cool J, Tamera Mowry, Tia Mowry, Sandra Oh, Russell Peters, Mavis Staples, Kerry Washington

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dial M for Murder (1981) TV Movie

This second film version of Frederick Knott's suspense play stars Christopher Plummer as a wealthy Londoner, who works out a meticulous scheme to murder his wife (Angie Dickinson) and escape undetected. A serviceable made-for-TV job, the 1981 "Dial 'M' for Murder" suffers only when compared to Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 filmization of the same play. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dial M for Murder (1981) TV Movie
Cast: Angie Dickinson, Michael Parks, Christopher Plummer, Ron Moody

Joysticks (1983)

When a top local businessman and his two bumbling nephews try to shut down the town's only video arcade, arcade employees and patrons fight back. This movie has Corinne Bohrer, my favorite actress of all time, film or TV. We love Corinne.

Joysticks (1983)
Cast: Joe Don Baker, Leif Green, Jim Greenleaf, Scott McGinnis, Jon Gries, Corinne Bohrer, John Diehl

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ethnic Notions (1986)

This documentary traces the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice. Outstanding production packed with archival footage.





Ethnic Notions (1986)
Narrator: Esther Rolle

Ku Klux Klan, The: A Secret History (1998) (TV)

A documentary of the Ku Klux Klan in America. Not much is actually secret as this excellent presentation of a sensitive issue, (using first-hand accounts and archival pictures, film and newsreels) will show. Racism and prejudice have existed since the beginning of time and as ugly and counterproductive as they are, in my opinion they pale when compared to censorship and ANY attempt to prevent what should be "free" speech. Consider the new editions of contemporary classic literature, i.e. "The Call of the Wild", "Tom Sawyer", and others. Efforts to sanitize history by writing again what has passed and each time we lose a little. Here is an example; there was a time when drinking fountains were segregated. How do I know? From my travels in the deep south during this period? No. Because I saw photos from the time. If there was ever a time when those or similar documents from that time were altered or perhaps worse, deleted or destroyed, how would I or anyone ever know? Future generations deserve the reality and the truth, warts 'n all. This is a wonderful warts 'n all show.

The Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History (1998) (TV)
Cast: D. Paul Thomas, David Chalmers, William M. Banks, Julian Bond, Morris Dees, Bill Baxley, David Duke

Monday, March 28, 2011

Olympic Summer Games Closing Ceremony (2000) (TV)

From Sydney, Australia this is 3 hours of festivities celebrating the Olympic spirit and Australian heritage. Includes the traditional last day marathon. Great time EXCEPT the overexposed lead singer of a LAME Australian musical ensemble who shall remain nameless since they SUCK. Classic TV otherwise.

Olympic Summer Games Closing Ceremony (2000) (TV)
Host: Bob Costas

Going Home to Gospel with Patti LaBelle (1991) (TV)

From the south side of Chicago, this is absolutely fantastic, front to back. From the opening call to action by the Reverend P. David Saunders to the final close this is a testament to glory and the power of the gospel. God Bless Patti LaBelle.

Going Home to Gospel with Patti LaBelle (1991) (TV)
Cast: Patti LaBelle, Edwin Hawkins, The Barrett Sisters, Albertina Walker, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Calvin Bridges, DeLeon Richards, Ricky Dillard and the New Generation Chorale, The Sue Conway Victory Singers and The Chicago Praise Chorale

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jailbirds (1991) TV Movie

The made-for-TV "Jailbirds" is a distaff comedy variation on "The Defiant Ones". Phylicia Rashad plays an important LA business executive, while Dyan Cannon portrays a trailer-trash babe from Louisiana. Both Rashad and Cannon are thrown into a dank Southern jail for crimes they didn't commit. While manacled together, the ladies escape, driving each other cuckoo as they elude their captors. Apparently, CBS had so little faith in "Jailbirds" that the network hardly bothered to advertise the film when it premiered May 16, 1991. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jailbirds (1991) TV Movie
Cast: Phylicia Rashad, Dyan Cannon, Ahmad Rashad, T.E. Russell, Clyde Kusatsu

Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This (2011) (TV)

Honoring the guys on ten years of recording excellence. Some yakkin' but it's mostly live music.






Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This (2011) (TV)
Cast: Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox, JoeDon Rooney, Natasha Bedingfield, Justin Bieber

Opening the Lost Tombs: Live from Egypt (1999) (TV)

Unfortunately compared to the failed Al Capone caper perpetrated by the notorious Geraldo Rivera, this is actually an incredible journey full of revelations and discovery. What we still don't know 12 years later is awesome, more for the volatility of this entire region. The Obama administration began aerial bombing of Libya within the last week, how much time is left to fully explore these and other tombs is unknown.

Opening the Lost Tombs: Live from Egypt (1999) (TV)
Host: Maury Povich

Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees (1997) (TV)

Not to be confused with the much less impressive "Hey, Hey We're the Monkees" from the same year, this is written and directed by uber-Monkee Michael Nesmith. With all four of the guys in place there is a hint of a story and a handful of musical numbers. Before you scoff, remember the Monkees were an illusion, underneath the obvious mockfest were noted songwriters and musicians writing great songs that became their original library. Some, not all but some, of the songs are actually pretty good! If you can ignore the way, way obvious fake drumming. Micky's calling it in, just like the old days. Obviously this is for the fans, I'm one and I loved it. Check out the song, "Circle Sky". Fourteen year old vintage pop music, these guys should live forever.

Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees (1997) (TV)
Cast: Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, John Brockman, Chuck Woolery

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

11th Annual American Comedy Awards (1997) (TV)

This is the usual star-studded affair to honor all things comedic. A huge room with a sea of faces, look for your favorites. A few of the obvious; David Alan Grier, Brooke Shields with Andre Agassi, John Cleese, Carol Burnett, Kathy Bates, Kelsey Grammer, Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O'Donnell, Lily Tomlin, Dennis Farina, Phil Hartman, Paul Reiser, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner and it just goes on and on. The energy in the room is high and the production is well done except the lighting and color gel usage seem excessive. The entire ballroom is awash in over-saturated color making things look a little muddy, I prefer a sharper picture. Overall a real fun time. God bless Phil Hartman.

11th Annual American Comedy Awards (1997) (TV)
Host: Kelsey Grammer

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Late Night with David Letterman - 5th Anniversary Special (1987) (TV)

Another excellent anniversary show from the first iteration of Dave's late night enterprise. Not all is first-rate but that's part of the charm. A good example would be the dreadful 5 minutes from Jay Leno. That's right, in the days before their widely publicized personal feud, they used to be comrades. You'll also see a slightly better short stand-up routine from one of their mutual buds, Carol Leifer. This is lots of fun from a less jaded time.

Late Night with David Letterman - 5th Anniversary Special (1987) (TV)
Cast: David Letterman, Paul Shaffer, Andy Summers, Peter Frampton, Herbie Hancock, Joe Cocker, Jay Leno, Carol Leifer, Calvert DeForest, Chris Elliot

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Summertime Switch (1994) TV Movie

In this adventure, a poor street urchin and a poor-little-rich boy with the same name meet and decide to switch roles. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi






Summertime Switch (1994) TV Movie
Cast: Jason Weaver, Rider Strong, Richard Moll, Teresa Ganzel, Soleil Moon Frye, Barry Williams, Nicole Rochelle, Tighe Swanson, David Tom, Patrick Renna, Casey Sander

Stranger Within, The (1990) TV Movie

Rick Schroder has, before our eyes, grown into a skillful, intriguing actor. This former child star used his doughy baby face to portray a naive cowpoke in "Lonesome Dove", and, earlier this year, he was convincing as the brave oldest brother in a family of orphans in "Too Young the Hero". Now, in "The Stranger Within", Schroder uses his wide-eyed innocence to become a scary psycho. He plays a teenager who shows up on the doorstep of Kate Jackson ("Charlie's Angels, Baby Boom"), claiming to be her son. Sixteen years earlier, as we see in a flashback, Jackson's baby boy was snatched in a supermarket while her head was turned. Now she has to figure out whether Schroder is telling the truth. And pretty quickly, she hopes to heaven he isn't, because this kid is given to insanely jealous rages and worse: During one of Schroder's fits, Jackson's boyfriend (Chris Sarandon) meets his end in the grisliest ice-fishing scene you've ever seen.

Eventually, Schroder begins menacing Jackson as well, but by then the movie has become hokey and overwrought. Still, director Tom Holland proved with 1989's "Child's Play" that he knew how to make an unsettling horror film. With "The Stranger Within", he proves he can cut back on the gore and still make you jump. B
Reviewed by Ken Tucker | Nov 23, 1990


The Stranger Within (1990) TV Movie
Cast: Rick Schroder, Kate Jackson, Chris Sarandon, Clark Sandford, Peter Breitmayer