‘Royal Pains’: a winter escape to the Hamptons

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So far, we haven’t had much of a winter in the Northeast, but it’s still nice to dream of summers at the beach via the USA series “Royal Pains,” which restarts tonight at 10. The Hamptons-based show has been a small but significant hit for the basic cable channel since 2009, reflected in Penguin’s decision […] [Read More]

‘The Look of Love’: murders at an upscale L.A. spa

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Mary Jane Clark delivers another superior traditional mystery with “The Look of Love” (William Morrow), the second in the writer’s new series about Piper Donovan, an aspiring New York actress who moonlights as a cake decorator for upscale clients. The first book “To Have and to Kill” took readers into the world of daytime drama […] [Read More]

‘White Collar’: old-fashioned capers in modern New York

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After an odd five-month break, season three of the USA series “White Collar” will resume Tuesday night at 9 with six new episodes running through Feb. 21. It’s the sort of bizarre scheduling that can kill a good show, and this sleek, shot-in-New York series is a good one, judging by the three January episodes […] [Read More]

Give Max Von Sydow an Oscar!

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Like most baby boom film buffs, I’ve been enjoying the performances of Max Von Sydow for most of my life. The 82-year-old Swedish actor conquered art house audiences here when he was still in his 20s in a series of Ingmar Bergman classics including “The Seventh Seal,” “Wild Strawberries” and “The Virgin Spring.” George Stevens […] [Read More]

‘Betrayal’: Boston gangsters in league with corrupt feds

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The new non-fiction book “Betrayal” (Forge) is about the FBI man who was sent to Boston to clean up its shockingly corrupt office — it’s a gripping story of gangsters having their way with those who are supposed to enforce laws. Everyone knows that undercover cops and FBI men who work with informers run the […] [Read More]

‘School of Flesh': how many women are willing to pay for sex?

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Did you see the recent news stories in 2010 about the first “legal” male prostitute in America? He worked for one of the state-regulated bordellos outside Las Vegas and was available to any woman who wanted to hire him (the prostitute made it clear in news reports that his services were not available to men). […] [Read More]

‘The Devil Inside’: somewhere P.T. Barnum is smiling

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Old-fashioned showmanship is still alive and well in Hollywood. We might be in the middle of the “prestige season” in which critically acclaimed Oscar contenders are being rolled out for awards consideration, but at the box office last weekend, the little, Z-grade exploitation film “The Devil Inside” soared over all of the competition with a […] [Read More]

Perfect casting or: when Bette Davis replaced Claudette Colbert

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Tonight’s “Martini & a Movie” screening at the Fairfield Theatre Company continues my 10-month series of films that celebrate — and criticize — just about everything to do with New York City. So far, we’ve had fun with some less well known comedies (“A Thousand Clowns”), dramas (“Heights”) and satires (“Just Tell Me What You […] [Read More]