Going beyond James Bond with the late, great John Barry

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The obituaries for composer John Barry — who died in New York City last night at the age of 77 from a sudden heart attack — have emphasized the 11 scores he wrote for the James Bond series. Barry did indeed create the sound of Bond which then became one of the great sounds of the […] [Read More]

Waiting for ‘Midnight in Paris’ or, Woody Allen at low ebb

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Nicole Kidman was supposed to star in last year’s Woody Allen movie, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” but Kidman had to back out at the last minute due to schedule changes on “Rabbit Hole.” Lucky actress! “Stranger” is one of Allen’s weakest films of recent vintage. Kidman didn’t do her friend, Naomi Watts, […] [Read More]

‘The King’s Speech’ vs. ‘The Social Network’ for Oscar glory

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Although the mighty producer and film executive Harvey Weinstein has had his financial problems in recent years, today’s Oscar nominations demonstrate once again his peerless ability to get Hollywood’s attention with his movies. Although “The Social Network” has won nearly every preliminary best picture prize, Weinstein’s terrific British period piece “The King’s Speech” has to […] [Read More]

When good intentions aren’t enough — ‘Inhale’

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“Inhale” is a well-made drama — produced with good intentions by everyone involved — that didn’t have a prayer of finding a theatrical audience last year and isn’t likely to do much better in the home video market. The movie is being released on DVD today by IFC Home Entertainment. Baltasar Kormakur’s film plays like […] [Read More]

Does the MTV series ‘Skins’ qualify as ‘child porn’?

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Advertisers have been pulling out of the MTV series “Skins” (above) since it debuted last Monday night and came under attack from the Parents Television Council. The PTC has been calling this American remake of an award-winning BBC series “child porn” because the show dramatizes sexual activity by characters who are under the age of […] [Read More]

‘MM — Personal’: examining Marilyn Monroe in new ways

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Just when you think a pop culture subject has been completely exhausted, a smart writer, photographer and design team can come along and change your mind. “MM — Personal” looks like yet another coffee table book on Marilyn Monroe, but Abrams has delivered an oversized volume full of new insights and new information on one […] [Read More]

‘Kabuki Democracy’: why any president is doomed to disappoint

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The Nation columnist Eric Alterman lays out the special challenges faced by President Barack Obama during his first two years in office in “Kabuki Democracy,” a new paperback original from Nation Books. The cycle of depression and hope that seems to accompany any White House party shift — remember the thrill of Jimmy Carter walking […] [Read More]

The Hollywood ‘dilemma’: puffy men & skinny women

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The new Ron Howard comedy “The Dilemma” was a wipe-out at the box office last weekend for good reason — it’s one of the most ill-conceived “bromances” of recent vintage, a rare major studio film without a redeeming feature. The picture is about two longtime friends and business partners — played by Vince Vaughn and […] [Read More]

Susannah York, R.I.P.

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It was sad to hear about the death of the British actress Susannah York over the weekend. The 72-year-old performer had been suffering from cancer for some time but didn’t let it stop her from working and traveling. York acted in a Tennessee Williams play in London last year and less than two months ago […] [Read More]

Did Ricky Gervais ‘go too far’ at the Golden Globes?

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You could probably spend the next week reading hundreds of articles — and thousands (millions?) of Tweets — analyzing last night’s telecast of the Golden Globe Awards. It’s an awards show with zero “artistic” credibility in terms of its selection process — “The Tourist” (below) was up for best picture — but highly valued by […] [Read More]