‘Perils of Show Business’: Charles Grodin explains it all for you

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You don’t have to be an aspiring actor to enjoy the new DVD “The Perils of Show Business” (Limelight Editions) in which Charles Grodin talks about his experiences progressing from useless acting classes in his youth to delivering some of the finest performances in modern movies. It’s a no-frills production, with an informally dressed Grodin […] [Read More]

‘Where the Boys Are’ — spring break circa 1960

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The invaluable Warner Archive program has made lots of obscure films available on DVD for the first time. The folks who run the Archive do a great job of ranging from the earliest days of movies to more recent decades in search of interesting titles that have fallen off most people’s radar. Last year’s batch of DVD-on-demand […] [Read More]

‘The Last Bohemia’: nostalgia isn’t what it used to be

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The combination of aging and gentrification can do a real job on young city dwellers. Artists who fell in love with Greenwich Village in the 1950s found themselves pushed out by rising rents in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of those folks moved north to Chelsea and south to SoHo to find a new affordable […] [Read More]

‘Dearie’: falling for Julia Child all over again

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The line between biographer and subject seems to disappear in “Dearie” (Knopf), Bob Spitz’s terrific new book about the late, great Julia Child. Most Americans already have a sense of the woman’s cultural importance. But the book brings us so close to the “French Chef” that we get a real feel for her offscreen and […] [Read More]

In praise of Lois Smith – in England, she’d be a Dame

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The new Sam Shepard play “Heartless,” which officially opens Monday night at the Signature Theatre in Manhattan, is a real head-scratcher. I’m hoping that the reviews published on Tuesday will help unravel some of the mysteries in this tale of a highly dysfunctional Southern California family. Shepard has never been one of our easier playwrights […] [Read More]

‘Fatal Honeymoon’: a TV movie only Nancy Grace could love

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The movie division of Lifetime Television has been steadily moving away from its early years staple — heavy-handed tales of women victimized by men — so it’s surprising to see the network return to old bad habits with “Fatal Honeymoon.” The movie, debuting Saturday night at 8 p.m., is based on the true story of […] [Read More]

‘Breed’ — somewhere Ira Levin is smiling

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With its realistic Manhattan setting, and pregnancy paranoia plotline, the new novel “Breed” (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown) will draw comparisons with “Rosemary’s Baby.” Chase Novak does borrow a few elements from the Ira Levin classic, but comes up with more than enough diabolical ideas of his own. “Chase Novak” is the pseudonym of Scott Spencer, author […] [Read More]

‘The Best Man’: Broadway as it was 52 years ago

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We’ve grown so used to plays with only a handful of characters that it is shocking (and thrilling) to see small crowds of people gathered on stage in the current revival of the Gore Vidal play “The Best Man.” The show has eight actors billed above the the title and features another 14 performers in […] [Read More]

‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’: can friendship survive divorce?

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The attempts to keep romantic comedy alive in the post-sexual revolution, post-feminist era have been valiant, but it is a tricky business telling good love stories in this snarky time of ours. Many of the hits of the modern era have succeeded because they took chances with the form. “When Harry Met Sally” was about […] [Read More]

‘Rear Window’: Alfred Hitchcock’s most entertaining film?

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When the much-discussed, once-a-decade Sight and Sound film poll recently named “Vertigo” the greatest movie in history, I wasn’t as distressed as some people by the fact that the 1958 James Stewart- Kim Novak picture knocked “Citizen Kane” out of the top spot it had occupied since 1962. Picking one film as the greatest of […] [Read More]