Kathleen Rizzo Young, The Buffalo News
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Kathleen Rizzo Young


If J.K.Rowling and the “Harry Potter” books made it cool to read, Amanda Lipitz’s first film may make going to see documentaries fashionable. “Step,” is the rousing feel-good story of a high school girls’ step team, who use percussive stomping movements and sharp hand movements to express themselves.  (As team co-founder Blessin Giraldo puts it: “We make …

MEMOIR Cravings: How I Conquered Food By Judy Collins Doubleday 254 pages, $26 I met Judy Collins a few months ago when she visited Buffalo to promote her new PBS special. Everyone present was astonished at how gorgeous, ageless and ethereal she looked at age 77. In spite of all of her talents and accomplishments, her awards and her amazing life, “Cravi…

NONFICTION The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’4'' African American, Hetereosexual, Cisgender, Left Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian By Kamau Bell Dutton Press 352 pages, $28.00 “Awkward” has a negative connotation as something to be avoided. But W. Kamau Bell believes that “all re…

MEMOIR Are You Anybody?: A Memoir By Jeffrey Tambor Crown Archetype 280 pages, $27 You get the sense character actors everywhere find space in their tiny sublets for shrines to Jeffrey Tambor. After all, most pray for one iconic defining role.  Tambor has had three, on beloved, ground-breaking television shows. First, he was Hank “Hey Now” Kingsley, …

Films about artists present their own unique challenges. Even if the subject has an interesting life away from the canvas, how does one capture the creative process in such a way that creates dramatic tension? Those obstacles are overcome beautifully in “Maudie,” the story of beloved Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis who was crippled by arthritis at a young age. Th…

MEMOIR If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating By Alan Alda Random House 213 pages, $28 By Kathleen Rizzo Young Buffalo’s 43North competition allows creative entrepreneurs to pitch their concepts to venture capitalists and investors. Their pitch is as important as their …

In 1976, an ABC made-for-TV movie became part of the cultural landscape. “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” in which “the girl next door makes a teen born with immune deficiencies want to leave his germ-free bubble.” A huge hit, the film catapulted John Travolta’s career into “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease.” Flash forward 40 years, and we have “Ever…

MEMOIR Nevertheless By Alec Baldwin HarperCollins 274 pages, $28.99 Whether Alec Baldwin entertains, infuriates or makes you laugh, chances are you think you know him. After all, he has hosted “Saturday Night Live” 17 times (more than anyone in history) most recently being a staple with his spot-on Donald Trump impersonation, which began during the pr…

Whether it’s toddlers playing Chopin on “60 Minutes” or the five-year-old girl on “Ellen” spouting chemical formulas, we are fascinated with prodigies. Filmmakers also find these wunderkinds worthy subjects, with Jodie Foster’s 1991 directorial debut “Little Man Tate” and “Searching for Bobby Fischer” being two of the better results. “Gifted” sha…

Like countless other baby boomers, my first real job was working at McDonald’s. Even in 1976, the thing ran like a machine. Managers went to Hamburger University to learn the ropes and every employee knew, “if you can lean, you can clean.” In addition to learning how to make Big Macs and Egg McMuffins, every employee learned the company’s history: Ray Kroc opene…

“Collateral Beauty” could be a theater class experiment. What happens if you take a sentimental script and hand it to a superb group of actors? In lesser hands this could be a Hallmark movie or a block of Velveeta, but with its stellar cast it somehow becomes a thing of (collateral) beauty. For many, this will be seen as a Will Smith movie, but here he gives us neit…

One of the great joys of moviegoing is to walk into a theater with no knowledge or expectation of what you are about to be see, only to be transported and delighted. “The Eagle Huntress” is just such an experience.  And although humans get top billing, the eagles are true co-stars, in close-ups of their fiercely beautiful heads and in their soaring panoramic traver…

BIOGRAPHY Last Girl Before Freeway: The Lives, Loves, Losses and Liberation of Joan Rivers By Leslie Bennetts Little, Brown 432 pages, $28 In 2010, I saw Joan Rivers at the Seneca Niagara Casino. I had seen her several times over the years and she never failed to entertain. Manic, irreverent, saying the unthinkable, she was a pioneer in comedy – the first woman …

MEMOIR In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox By Carol Burnett Crown Archetype 320 pages, $28   Carol Burnett made news last week when it was announced that she will return to television as the star of her first-ever sitcom, produced by Amy Poehler. This may have seemed a strange pairing to some – Poehler being the bad gir…

Katwe, Uganda, is one of the poorest places on Earth. Its slums are filled with walls made from cardboard and hanging fabric scraps. There are no roofs and when the rains come, the few possessions anyone does have are likely to be washed away in mud. Too poor to go to school, children like Phiona Mutesi and her brother Brian sell maize in the streets to support their fami…