‘Grace’: Broadway gets a taste of edgy contemporary drama

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Serious plays have a rough go on Broadway these days because of rising costs and an audience that tends to prefer musicals or star-studded revivals. While I waited on line at the TKTS booth yesterday, most of the people around me were hoping to snag tickets to “Spider-Man” or “Chicago” or “Wicked.” I was able […] [Read More]

‘Saul Steinberg’: the artist who was ‘pop’ before Andy Warhol

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Many of us knew Saul Steinberg primarily as the very witty and very clever cartoonist and cover artist for The New Yorker during its heyday. Steinberg created a genuinely iconic image for the magazine in 1976 with his cover art showing New York City’s overpowering position in the United States. Whether it was seen as supporting […] [Read More]

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in ‘Game Change’

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The one-shot films produced by HBO rarely reach the same high level as the weekly series presented by the cable giant. Perhaps because a series can generate so much more revenue than two-hour made-for-TV film, shows like “Sex & the City” and “Game of Thrones” and “Girls” have production values that are as good as […] [Read More]

A very late report on the Broadway revival of ‘Evita’

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On Christmas night, thanks to my brother, I finally got to see the revival of “Evita” that has been running on Broadway since last spring. It’s an enjoyable production — with fine performances by Ricky Martin and Michael Cerveris in the male leads — but it felt like a flashback to a difficult time on […] [Read More]

‘Looking at Christmas’ gets second life via Channel 13

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You would have to be a major league Grinch not to be charmed by the holiday show produced by The Flea Theater, “Looking at Christmas,” which is being telecast by Channel 13 tonight at 10 p.m. Directed by the Tribeca theater’s artistic director Jim Simpson, the Steven Banks show is a terrific vehicle for the venue’s resident […] [Read More]

The David Mamet movie you’ve never heard of

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If you rent the 2008 David Mamet film “Redbelt” you might be left wondering why this fascinating  film from one of America’s finest writers and directors remains a virtually unknown quantity. The quirky, hard-to-define story made it a hellish marketing challenge in theaters four years ago and the video quicky fell through the cracks, too. The movie is a mix of […] [Read More]

‘All-American’: the wide-ranging eye of Bruce Weber

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A magazine in the form of a book, or a book with the spirit of a magazine? It’s hard to define what the photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber has been doing since 2001 in the series of volumes he calls “All-American” but they are wonderful, far-ranging examinations of art and pop culture. Weber is justly […] [Read More]

‘Collateral Damage’: another Stuart Woods page-turner

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Stuart Woods has created several series characters, but my favorite is Manhattan fixer Stone Barrington, who returns for a 25th adventure in “Collateral Damage,” which G.P. Putnam’s Sons will be publishing Jan. 8. Woods has one of the smoothest styles in contemporary crime fiction — like Lee Child, he tends to start with an ordinary, […] [Read More]

‘The Piano Teacher’: the daring genius of Isabelle Huppert

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The artistic connection between Austrian director Michael Haneke and the French actress Isabelle Huppert has been a perfect creative marriage. The icy, unsparing filmmaker and one of the world’s most daring screen performers have pushed each other to making a series of demanding, sometimes unpleasant movies that have nevertheless brought them both widespread and deserved […] [Read More]

‘Frenzy’: Alfred Hitchcock’s most disturbing sequence?

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A lot has been written in recent weeks about the psychology of “master of suspense” Alfred Hitchcock as depicted in two recent bio-dramas — “The Girl” on HBO a few months ago and “Hitchcock” which is now in theatrical release. Both pictures touch of the director’s supposed sexual repression as it was reflected in the blonde […] [Read More]