Spying in the post 9/11 world

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Remember when the “Iron Curtain” fell and book columnists wondered if that would mean the end of the line for great espionage writers like John LeCarre and Len Deighton? Well, here we are 20 years later and not only is the spy novel back, it seems to be expanding. (The genre is hot in movies […] [Read More]

‘In the Loop’: grading on the curve

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Film critics tend to get a little punchy by midsummer. Who wouldn’t feel the stress of sitting through one overblown special effects kiddie picture after another? The late July/early August madness of professional movie watchers is the only explanation for the mostly rave reviews for “In the Loop,” a rather toothless British satire — a […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Shopping as theater (or beach porn?)

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When some in-the-know friends were visiting Manhattan from the Heartland recently, they told me that the first thing on their sightseeing list was the new Hollisters store at Houston St. and Broadway. “What’s that?,” I asked. They looked at me like I had just fallen off a turnip truck before explaining that the new flagship […] [Read More]
Categories: General

‘Orphan’: Stupid Americans!

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Various groups representing orphans and adoption agencies protested the Warner Bros. horror picture, “Orphan,” before it opened Friday, but the movie is too dumb to merit such serious attention. The poor souls who see the Z-grade flick are not going to think any less of 9-year-old Russian orphans — a last reel “surprise” deconstructs the movie’s […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Why would a 15-year-old boy kill himself?

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That’s the question that is posed but never answered in Dana Perry’s extraordinary new documentary, “Boy Interrupted,” that is being screened at the Bantam Cinema Saturday at noon, in advance of its TV premiere on HBO Aug. 3. Evan Perry left behind a lucid suicide note on his laptop computer before he jumped to his […] [Read More]

A legal thriller with a difference

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The just-published “Guardian of Lies” (William Morrow) is the tenth novel Steve Martini has written about the San Diego attorney Paul Madriani, but this is no ordinary legal drama. The writer has shifted gears in a big way, moving his wry hero out of the courtroom and into the center of a breathless high-stakes thriller […] [Read More]

In the silence of my lonely room

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I saw a very impressive new play, “Songs & Statues,” at the Stella Adler Studio in Manhattan Saturday night. The piece by Peter Nickowitz (left) was developed over the last year at the famed acting studio as part of the Fairfield native’s position as playwright-in-residence.Since there were only two weekends of performances and the play was being […] [Read More]

Ads or art?

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“Died Young, Stayed Pretty” is one of those offbeat indie documentaries that might never get out of New York City and Los Angeles, so if you are interested in the world of contemporary rock poster designers you might want to head into Manhattan to catch the movie at the IFC Center, where it opened today. […] [Read More]

On the front lines in the TV news business

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Cosmopolitan editor Kate White has taken us behind the scenes of the New York magazine world in a series of smart and funny mysteries featuring her alter ego Bailey Weggins. Hank Phillippi Ryan (left) gives readers a similar insider’s view of the cutthroat world of TV news in “Prime Time” (Mira), a wonderful mystery that follows […] [Read More]
Categories: General

An exercise in audience alienation

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When I saw the Potomac Theatre Project production of Howard Barker’s “The Europeans” in New York over the weekend, I couldn’t tell if it was the play or the production that was so off-putting. The drama is set in Vienna in 1684 just after the Turks have been forced out of Europe and the Emperor […] [Read More]