Nearly a decade in the works, American Masters - American Ballet Theatre: A History feels more like an eccentric personal meditation, or a love letter to the art form, than a historical trek through the company's 75 storied years.
How many assistants does it take to cut a watermelon? One of 52, if you ask master conjurer Ricky Jay who wowed the crowd at The Paley Center for Media last Thursday night. He has starred in a show, expertly fanning his deck at nightclubs around the country.
It's fitting that the 200th episode of American Masters on PBS features writer J. D. Salinger, an author so influential it is hard to imagine the course of 20th century American literature without his imprint of lost innocence in the novel The Catcher in the Rye.
On Thursday night, the 9th of May, 2013, as a rainbow descended into Hollywood and a cotton-candy sunset filled the firmament of Beverly Hills, the Paley Center for Media L.A. celebrated a humor deity: the one and only Mel Brooks.
The documentary is not intended to "unmask" Philip Roth in the sense that you learn every possible thing about him. What the film unmasks is the solitary life of the writer, the life of one who has become, as Manera articulated, "a self-appointed slave to his writing."
It happens sometimes: When the biggest stars and moguls appear before the press at the TV Critics summer press tour in California, outsiders can break into the room in hopes of getting their big break.