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TV review: ‘American Masters’ looks at Janis Joplin

The upcoming “American Masters” portrait of Janis Joplin, titled “Janis: Little Girl Blue” was produced by Amy Berg, an Oscar nominee who interviews members of Janis Joplin’s first band, Big Brother and the Holding Company; Kris Kristofferson, whose hit “Me and Bobby McGee” was spectacularly covered by Joplin; record mogul Clive Davis; and famed filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, whose “Monterey Pop” from 1968 established Joplin.

‘Keanu’ is a real, funny movie

If you watched the trailer for “Keanu” starring Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key of Comedy Central’s beloved series “Key &Peele” _ and wondered “is this a real movie?” you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the auto-searches on Google. It’s understandable, as most know “Key &Peele” as a veritable factory of genre-bending viral sketches that engage with the tropes of Hollywood. But yes, “Keanu” is a real movie, a real funny one at that.

Movie Review: New ‘Jungle Book’ delights

Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” said it first, and best: “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” Maybe it’s the Blanche in me who prefers magic to realism in certain types of fairy tales, but I have a hard time loving any movie dominated by ultra-crisp photorealistic animation designed to look real, not animated. That sort of realism often looks and feel misguided, slightly clinical. And it’s a substantial caveat when it comes to Disney’s new live-(ish) action version of “The Jungle Book.”

History gets hip with ‘Hamilton’

Everyone’s talking about it. Whether it be a Broadway geek, a diehard hip-hop fan or just someone who listens to good music of any genre, they all have one thing in common: an obsession with “Hamilton,” a hip-hop musical about the forgotten founding father on the $10 bill. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece is so perfect that one song took him an entire year to write. So what’s the big deal? What makes this musical so different from all the other ones?

All the familiar faces are back in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’

Back in 2002, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” became a bona fide cultural phenomenon, a romantic comedy that mined the cultural specificities of the Greek heritage of unknown writer and star Nia Vardalos. The film picked up an Oscar nomination for Vardalos’ original screenplay, everyone began adding “My Big Fat” in front of various nouns, and we all learned a thing or two about the versatility of Windex. Fourteen years later, Vardalos and gang are back again for another wedding, but this time, it’s to drastically diminished returns.

Movie review: ‘Allegiant’ is more dull than dazzling

Of all the post-apocalyptic young adult trifles, the “Divergent” series has been the sexiest — thanks to the steamy make outs between stars Theo James and Shailene Woodley — but it’s also strangely the most sanitized. In the third installment, “Allegiant” (or rather “The Divergent Series: Allegiant — Part 1”), there’s an attempt to dirty things up a bit, venturing outside the wall that separates Chicago from everything else. But all the toxic rain and tent cities in the world can’t give this film a true sense of earthy viscera. Despite all the brawling, shooting and kissing that goes on, these films are entirely bloodless.

American Music: Meatloaf still finding paradise

Whether you are a fan of rock, country, hip-hop or pop, at some point in your life you most likely sang a portion of Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” out loud. His legendary 1977 album, “Bat Out of Hell,” is very often part of almost any album collection.

Bounty of material for new Bob Dylan Archive in Oklahoma

A once-secret trove of songwriting diaries, letters and other documents belonging to Bob Dylan, one of the most notoriously private figures in pop music history, has been acquired by a consortium of institutions in Oklahoma, where the new Bob Dylan Archive will reside near that of his musical idol and mentor, Woody Guthrie.
 

Around the remote: Chuck Barney’s TV picks for Jan. 31-Feb. 6

DON’T MISS: “Grease: Live” — We’ve got chills, and they’re multiplying for this exuberant musical that whisks viewers back to Rydell High and rekindles the romance between Sandy (Julianne Hough) and Danny (Aaron Tveit). With a cast that includes Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer and Carly Rae Jepsen, this adaptation takes “the spine” of the 1978 film and melds it with pieces of the stage play. Hopefully, they’ll go together like a wop-bam-boom. 7 p.m. Sunday, Fox.

David Bowie’s five best albums

David Bowie, the British rock star who reshaped pop music with his changing, gender bending persona, created such a vast body of work in his career that it’s difficult to narrow his best and most noteworthy albums down to five (or even 10).

Game review: Craving another journey to a galaxy far, far away? Find it in “The Force Awakens”

The new “Force Awakens Play Set” for Disney Infinity 3.0 finishes the series of “Star Wars” sets offered this year, and in some ways stands apart as very distinct from them. The base set told an original story set against the familiar backdrop of the prequel trilogy’s “Clone Wars,” while the “Rise Against the Empire” set played fast and loose with the story of “A New Hope.” This set is similarly abridged, but rather than toying with familiar cultural mythology, the broad strokes here feel like the developer tip-toeing around spoilers.