‘Set Up’: trust issues & fine dining in Manhattan

on
Whenever I read something as entertaining — and as insightful — as “Set Up in Soho” (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Dee Davis, I’m left wondering how many other good books I’ve missed just because they fall into the much maligned “chick lit” genre. The label is condescending and too broad to be of much value. […] [Read More]

‘Antichrist’: arthouse vs. grindhouse

on
Writer-director Lars von Trier clearly likes to push emotional buttons almost as much as he loves to make films. For more than a decade now, he has managed to keep “shocking” movie critics and arthouse audiences in a pop cultural scene where you would think everyone has long since been shocked-out. Hard core porn is popping […] [Read More]

Isabelle Huppert takes to the stage (in Brooklyn)

on
I don’t think I can quite agree with the young man sitting near me at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Saturday night who enthused to his companion, “She’s even better on stage than she is on screen!” After all, the “she” in question was Isabelle Huppert — perhaps the most daring and most cinematically skilled […] [Read More]

The messy genius of Robert Altman

on
The best Robert Altman movies are packed with contradictory emotions and unusually large collections of wildly diverse characters bouncing off each other. Altman classics like “Nashville” (1975) – above – and “The Long Goodbye” (1973) are not about linear storytelling or easily resolved conflicts, so Mitchell Zuckoff’s rambling new “oral biography” — “Robert Altman” (Knopf) […] [Read More]

The return of ‘Number Six’

on
AMC has stolen a lot of PR thunder from HBO with its original series, “Mad Men” — probably the most talked-about made-for-cable show since “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City” galvanized everyone a decade ago. Indeed, one of the reasons “Mad Men” scored so big so fast is that HBO has  been struggling to […] [Read More]

What’s going on out there?

on
Matteo Pericoli hit on a terrific (and terrifically simple) idea for his new book, “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York” (Simon & Schuster). For those of us who live in cities, a major part of daily life is the view outside our windows. Whether we live in squalor or luxury, looking […] [Read More]

A fresh spin on looking for love in New York City

on
Melanie Angelina Maras has made a strong stage debut with her new comedy-drama, “Kiss Me on the Mouth,” which Inviolet Repertory Theatre is presenting at Center Stage through Nov. 21. Maras takes a clear-eyed look at two female friends — Christina (Aubyn Philabaum, above) and Amy (Megan Hart, below) — with very different ideas about […] [Read More]

‘Rainwater’: sad, but beautiful

on
The new Sandra Brown novel, “Rainwater” (Simon and Schuster), is surprising on multiple levels. Brown is one of our finest thriller writers, and like many of her peers, she has been on a one-book-a-year schedule for some time. In August, the author delivered one of her best crime novels yet, the movie-themed, unputdownable “Smash Cut.” […] [Read More]
Categories: General

‘An Education’: a star is born

on
To do a good coming-of-age movie you need a very talented young performer who can convincingly mature right in front of our eyes. Carey Mulligan does that — and more — in “An Education,” the new Nick Hornby-scripted comedy-drama set in London and Paris in the early 1960s. Jenny is a smart and funny 16-year-old […] [Read More]

The classic that debuted in New Haven 50 years ago

on
Did you know that the world premiere of “The Sound of Music” took place at the Shubert Theater in New Haven 50 years ago this fall? I didn’t know that either, until the new Sony Masterworks 50th anniversary CD of the original cast recording landed on my desk recently. In addition to three excellent bonus tracks, […] [Read More]
Categories: General