Day: November 4, 2020

Film captures a town’s post-blaze comeback

If Ron Howard had invented “Rebuilding Paradise” as fiction, Woody Culleton would be ideal.
He’s a sturdy, folksy-seeming guy who’s been around. He’ll tell you frankly that he went “from town drunk to mayor.”
And he’s a real person, a handy symbol for Howard’s documentary movi (shown here), which debuts at 9 and 11:47 p.m. ET (6 and 8:47 p.m. PT) Sunday (Nov. 8) on the National Geographic Channel.
That’s exactly two years after the Camp Fire roared through Northern California towns. It killed 86 people, destroyed 8,200 buildings and touched virtually everything in Paradise. A few months later, the town – listed at 26,000 people – had shrunk to just over 2,000. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 6: Corden conquers silly tale

1) “Great Performances: One Man, Two Guvnors,” 9 p.m., PBS. Americans know James Corden as a terrific talk-show host, but he’s also a gifted comedy actor. Here, belatedly, is the U.S. debut of a 2011 special, with Corden (shown here) as a luckless chap who secretly has two bosses … and must keep them apart. Based on a 1743 farce, this is mostly loud and silly; what seems funny onstage can seem way over-the-top onscreen. Still, Corden — who won a Tony award in the role – is a marvel. Read more…

Burst of Broadway brightens PBS

Each year, PBS gives us a brief burst of Broadway.
For several Fridays, it has a mix of musicals and plays and such. Most years, that’s important for those of us who live far from New York; this year – no Broadway, no tours – it’s important for everyone.
That starts Friday, with James Corden in a wild comedy. It follows with a documentary … a musical rerun … and a Lea Salonga (shown here) concert, peppered with Broadway and movie hits.
There are flaws here and there. The comedy and the musical both suffer from weak scripts; one is salvaged (mostly) by gifted actors, the other by rousing, Irving Berlin songs. But the documentary is extraordinary – a rich, 56-year, six-nation journey. And Salonga is magnificent. Read more…