Kathleen Rizzo Young, The Buffalo News
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Kathleen Rizzo Young

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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…

How excited was the audience to see “Bridget Jones’s Baby”? They applauded the prescreening cellphone piracy speech.Helen Fielding’s 1996 novel “Bridget Jones’s Diary” was a chick-lit sensation and fans prayed that the 2001 film would live up to the book. As Bridget would say, “just don’t muck it up.”The film adaptation starring Renee Zellweger, Colin F…

Early on in “Equity,” investment banker Naomi Bishop appears on a panel at a college alumni event and is asked what gets her up in the morning. “I like money — like knowing I have it. … It’s OK to do it for ourselves — for how it makes us feel. Secure, yeah. Powerful, absolutely… Don’t let money be a dirty word.”Take that, Gordon Gekko. Also on the pan…

Like a haiku poem, the beauty of the Japanese film “Our Little Sister” lies in its simplicity. Adapted from the graphic novel “Umimachi Diary” by Yoshida Akimi, three sisters venture to Yamagata for the funeral of the “useless” father who left them for another woman years before. There they discover they have a 13-year-old half-sister, Suzu, whose mother has al…

Jonah Hill is having a pretty good week. “Sausage Party,” on which he is credited as an executive producer and writer, was the No. 1 movie at the box office over the weekend. And now, after receiving Oscar nominations for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Moneyball” for his supporting roles alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, he takes center stage with a br…

“Absolutely Fabulous” is a beloved British comedy that ran on the BBC between 1992 and 1996, and was resurrected in 2012 for three special episodes during the London Olympics. The show’s 39 episodes have found new audiences on Hulu and Netflix. Featuring the adventures of PR agent Edina Monsoon (one of the all-time great character names) and her sidekick, drug and al…

Hank is stranded on an island and is about to kill himself. His life flashes before his eyes and it is not the life he had imagined for himself – full of “parties, friends, guitar and possibly a girl.”Suddenly, a man washes up onshore and although dead, his body has enough stored energy in the form of flatulence that Hank realizes he can ride “Manny” like a jet s…

If “Dark Horse” were not a documentary, viewers might find its story a bit of a long shot.After a childhood spent breeding racing pigeons and whippets, barmaid/grocery store cleaner Jan Vokes decides that she wants to breed a racehorse. “For most of my life, I was someone else – Kelly’s daughter, Brian’s wife ... I wanted to do something for myself.” The iron…