Robert Goulet

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Broadway: The Golden Age, By The Legends Who Were There Review


OK
Self-indulgent to a fault and brusquely shoved together without much of a sense of rhythm, Broadway: The Golden Age is on the surface the five-year-long quest by filmmaker Rick McKay (Elaine Stritch at Liberty) to interview pretty much every Broadway luminary he could get his hands on, all for the purposes of limning the glory that was Broadway's "Golden Age." Now it's no surprise that you interview a bunch of aging actors/actresses who are in this particular demographic they're going to tell you that things today are rather awful, and in their day, were much, much better. What makes Broadway as engaging as it is would be the fact that McKay's interviewees are able to back up those claims with some rather illuminating anecdotes - and not just all of the "you could go to the automat and get a muffin and coffee for 15 cents" variety, though there's plenty of that as well.

Although McKay - whose irritating narration, the usual guff about moving to New York from Indiana and just how exciting it all was, brackets the film - never really posits what exactly he's on about with "The Golden Age," two things quickly become clear: The time period he and his subjects want to talk about is Broadway theater from the 1930s to the 1950s, and that period really would have been something to behold. The cavalcade of interviewees all point to not just the embarrassment of riches that were around then in terms of both the material (Lerner & Lowe and Rodgers & Hammerstein were like musical hit factories, not to mention the new dramatic work being produced by the likes of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller) and the talent, but another very simple factor: It was cheap. In a time of $480 The Producers tickets, it's partially nice but mostly infuriating to know that not so long ago it could cost less to go to a Broadway show than the movies.

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The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story Review


Good
Al Hirschfeld is as much an icon of American entertainment as Walt Disney. His line-art caricatures are legendary, and his body of work would crush your foundation. Hirschfeld died in 2003 at the age of 99, and his legacy is dutifully recorded in this loving documentary, which features long stretches of interviews with the then-93-year-old artist, endless shots of his collected works, and commentary from his contemporaries.

The world knows Hirschfeld from his portraiture, but The Line King reveals a lot more of the man, from his interest in Eastern artistic styles, travels to communist Russia, political cartooning, and more. His impact on the creation of some of Broadway's most classic plays is duly noted, as well. One of the most interesting things in the film -- or that I've heard in my life, really -- involves the fact that the Pentagon uses the hidden "NINAs" (his daughter) in Hirschfeld's drawings to train pilots how to look for camouflaged targets.

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Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street Review


OK
The teachers and principals of Recess reminisce about those rambunctious kids at Third Street School and how they've contirbuted to the holiday spirit -- whether trying to win a canned food drive or having to spend a weekend with the evil Ms. Finster.

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The Final Hit Review


Weak
Interested in a movie called The Final Hit? No? Okay, how about The Final Hit -- A Burt Reynolds Film? That's worth seeing on camp value alone!

The film, starring and directed by Reynolds himself, follows a washed-up movie producer searching for $50,000 to option a kid's hot screenplay before a bigshot studio man (Benjamin Bratt) snaps it up. His comedy of errors in search of someone with some money takes him through the highs and lows of Hollywood, from rich actors (including Robert Goulet) to Armenian loan sharks. Does he get his money? Who cares!? The movie's got Ann-Margret in it!

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Recess: School's Out Review


Grim

The bad guy in "Recess: School's Out" is a megalomaniacal ex-elementary school principal determined to do away with summer vacations by altering the orbit of the Moon so there's no more summer.

Voiced by James Woods -- one of Hollywood's greatest scenery-chewers -- this rakish, oily antagonist is by far the most amusing thing about this latest in a seemingly endless glut of cheaply animated TV 'toons cashing in on the purchase power of kids.

Such movies are not concerned with style, creativity or entertainment value for anyone of a discerning age. They don't even bother aspiring to be a "Toy Story," a "Pokemon") and rarely much more than just expanded episodes of the show that spawned them, blown up to 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

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Robert Goulet

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