‘HotelMotel': sex therapy and drug running on E. 27th St.

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For those of us who have been following The Amoralists for a few years, the announcement that they were going to produce two plays in a Manhattan hotel room didn’t come as that much of a surprise. The acting troupe and their resident playwright Derek Ahonen have stressed realism and a direct connection with the […] [Read More]

‘Sweet Smell of Success’ gets the Criterion treatment

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Art and rep movie houses might be dead or dying in this age of mass releases and multiplexes, but The Criterion Collection makes it possible for you to set up shop in your own home. Classics foreign and domestic are presented on DVD from the best possible prints and the “extras” always merit that label. […] [Read More]

‘Thieves’: why do we love clever criminals so much?

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Heist novels and movies seem to fall into one of two categories — the charming rogue variety (i.e. “Topkapi”) or the pitch black, watch-your-back school (“The Grifters”). Peter Spiegelman has taken a break from his wonderful series of John March financial crime investigation novels to give us the new stand-alone “Thick as Thieves” (Knopf) which […] [Read More]

‘Civility’: the R-rated depression delight Jean Arthur never made

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The other day I wrote about the pleasing convergence of popular and critical success for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” The same thing is happening in the book world with Amor Towles’s first novel “Rules of Civility” (Viking), which was recently published to rapturous reviews and which debuted on The New York Times […] [Read More]

Anne Hathaway: embracing the ripe old age of 28

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Like almost everyone else who goes to the movies, I think Anne Hathaway is very talented and very easy on the eyes in everything from “The Devil Wears Prada” to “Love and Other Drugs.” The stunning actress can sing beautifully as well — a gift that was not so noticeable during her Oscar co-hosting chores earlier […] [Read More]

‘Russian Dolls': how low can reality TV go?

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With the budget crunch obviously outweighing real audience-building concerns, the push for cheap reality shows on cable doesn’t appear to be lessening. Case in point: “Russian Dolls,” which is debuting on Lifetime on Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. Even by the debased standards of this genre, the show is a tacky dud that squanders a decent opportunity […] [Read More]

‘Apes’ eureka! moment: make a good movie and they will come

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It was wonderful to observe the convergence of good reviews, strong grosses and positive audience response to the opening of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” over the weekend. It’s nice to see a Hollywood studio get a big-budget franchise picture right for a change. 20th Century Fox is going to make a fortune […] [Read More]

The Conan vs. Leno TV war book gets a paperback update

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There has to be some truth to that old maxim about everyone having two businesses — their own and show business. The behind-the-scenes information on Hollywood and Broadway used to be confined to the pages of trade papers like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Now, the problems with a film in production or a Broadway […] [Read More]