‘I’d Know You Anywhere’: coming to terms with the past

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In an age in which pollsters and media pundits seem to demand snap judgements on even the thorniest issues — are you for or against the mosque at Ground Zero? — the new Laura Lippman novel, “I’d Know You Anywhere” (William Morrrow), revels in complexity and doubt. Lippman first made a name for herself with […] [Read More]

Fighting over the deck chairs on the Titanic

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The advance rave reviews and, especially, the Time magazine cover story on Jonathan Franzen have prompted an interesting backlash from other novelists. Instead of being happy that a novel has been deemed worthy of the sort of press treatment accorded to movies or TV shows in 2010, Twitter and Facebook have been filled with barely […] [Read More]

Waiting for season three of ‘Flight of the Conchords’

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HBO announced recently that the cable network’s rancid Hollywood insider sitcom “Entourage” will be coming back for a seventh season — the show’s final season, thank God! — but there has been no word on whether or not we will ever see a third season of the hilarious “Flight of the Conchords.” HBO Home Video […] [Read More]

‘Bachelorette’: finding humor in vicious despair

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I suppose that any play with as many laughs in it as Leslye Headland’s “Bachelorette” could be called a comedy, but the same thing could be said of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross.” The uninhibited viciousness of Headland’s presentation of the antics of three female “frenemies” on the night before an acquaintance of theirs gets married […] [Read More]

In praise of Kim Raver (and a 2008-2009 ‘flop’)

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Tonight’s Lifetime movie, “Bond of Silence,” is a better than average production for that network because it sidesteps most of its soap opera potential in favor of looking at tricky legal/moral issues. The film also gets a boost from a good performance by Kim Raver as a woman who lives in a small California resort […] [Read More]

Behind the scenes with Hollywood survivor Sylvester Stallone

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Say what you will about Sylvester Stallone, but he is one of the great Hollywood survivors. A star since he wrote and appeared in “Rocky” 34 years ago, Stallone’s career has probably had more downs than ups — his filmography is littered with unwatchable (and long forgotten) flops such as “Rhinestone” and “Judge Dredd” — […] [Read More]

Rent it now: The movie of Paula Fox’s ‘Desperate Characters’

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Jonathan Franzen has been getting extraordinary advance press for his novel “Freedom” — set to be published Aug. 31. A critic as well as a novelist, Franzen did one of the great literary good deeds of the modern era when he helped to restore the reputation of novelist Paula Fox (below) a decade ago. Fox had […] [Read More]

Reading Nelson DeMille’s ‘The Lion’ while waiting for ‘when’

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As we head toward the ninth anniversary of 9/11, I keep thinking about that phrase we heard over and over from Bush Administration officials regarding a follow-up terrorist attack: “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” So, when is “when”? The extremists who brought down the Twin Towers nine years ago […] [Read More]

‘Temple Grandin’: Claire Danes makes a huge leap

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There’s a long Hollywood history of bio-pics forcing female performers to take big chances that paid off: Sally Field in the title role of “Norma Rae.” Bonnie Bedelia in “Heart Like a Wheel.” Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline in “Sweet Dreams.” In all three of those cases, beautiful young actresses had to show respect for […] [Read More]

The old-fashioned craftsmanship of ‘Promises, Promises’

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When the cast album of the current Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises” was released a few months back, I wrote here about how much I admire the song score of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and how sad it is that after the original production of the show opened in 1968 these two artists never […] [Read More]