‘Political Animals’: the Clintons in a cracked mirror

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The new six part USA series “Political Animals” is likely to raise more than a few hackles because of its tasteless but very gripping reimagining of the Clintons and the contemporary political scene. I don’t think there has been anything quite like this since Richard Condon’s takedown of the Kennedy family in the novel “Winter […] [Read More]

Rent it now: Isabelle Huppert flips during an African civil war

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The 2009 Claire Denis film “White Material” didn’t get a very wide art house release in this country two years ago, but it is a stunning drama about the last vestiges of colonialism in Africa with another powerhouse performance by Isabelle Huppert. Denis made her name with an autobiographical 1988 film drawn from her own […] [Read More]

‘Savages’ or, Oliver Stone’s continuing female trouble

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Every director has blind spots, but has there ever been a filmmaker less adept at presenting viable female characters than Oliver Stone? Blake Lively is the ostensible protagonist of Stone’s latest picture, the noir thriller “Savages,” but the character is presented so wanly and so unrealistically and with so little empathy that you can’t tell […] [Read More]

Ernest Borgnine, R.I.P.

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Like everyone else, I was saddened to learn of the death of Ernest Borgnine at the age of 95 yesterday. An amazingly versatile actor, Borgnine worked right up to the end. In the fall of 2010, he returned to his native Connecticut for a tribute at Sacred Heart University, and I had the pleasure of […] [Read More]

Smash’: watching whole TV seasons in one fell swoop

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The availability of complete seasons of TV series for DVD and download marathon viewings has made it almost impossible for me to watch a show on a week-by-week basis. I can’t stand the suspense of waiting for months to get to the end of a season when I know that if I hold off a bit […] [Read More]

Summer blockbusters heat up the ‘fake IMAX’ complaints

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A few weeks ago, I returned to the IMAX theater at the top of the AMC Lincoln Square complex in Manhattan for the first time in several years. I had mixed feelings about the movie I saw there — “Prometheus” — but was blown away by the presentation in 3D IMAX on the theater’s giant […] [Read More]

‘Queen & Country’: PBS feeds insatiable Anglophilia habit

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If you didn’t overdose on Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration a few weeks ago, you will enjoy the new PBS series “Queen & Country” which was launched last Sunday night and will continue for the next three weekends. Hosted by veteran newsman Trevor McDonald — who was knighted by the subject of his documentary […] [Read More]

Andy Griffith R.I.P. — time to revive ‘A Face in the Crowd’

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The news of Andy Griffith’s death at the 86 on Tuesday produced an outpouring of affectionate tributes for his role as one of the most beloved television stars of all time. “The Andy Griffith Show” had an easy-going charm that made it popular with viewers of all ages, during the original run in the 1960s, […] [Read More]