Posts by Author

Joe Meyers

betrayed

‘Betrayed’: everything comes together for Scottoline

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For the past few years, the best-selling crime writer Lisa Scottoline been pulling off a very successful split personality act — in public and to the delight of her readers. There has been no let-up in the Philadelphia-based novels that made her name 20 years ago, but the author has made a slight change in […] [Read More]
sunshine1

BAM focuses on ‘sun-drenched’ crime dramas

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The decade of the 1980s is viewed by many film historians as an era of Hollywood blockbusters and feel-good hits that were in stark contrast to the dark films of the previous decade. According to this theory, the huge success of two 1970s hits — “Jaws” in 1975 and “Star Wars” in 1977 — set […] [Read More]
pittsburgh1

‘Pittsburgh’: the lost Michael Chabon adaptation

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“The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” arrived on video five years ago as seriously damaged goods. Shot in 2006 and screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007, the picture received mostly withering reviews and was barely released in this country. The trade papers Variety and The Hollywood Reporter liked the movie, but if you look at the […] [Read More]
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Catching up with Julianne Moore’s taboo performance

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The angriest phone call I’ve ever received from a reader came after I praised David O. Russell’s 1994 debut film “Spanking the Monkey” and mentioned in passing that the story included a darkly comic treatment of mother-son incest. The woman on the phone said she was a psychologist and thought that it was a disgrace […] [Read More]
behindthescenes

‘Behind the Scenes’: Judi Dench’s scrapbook memoir

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Reading the text and savoring the many pictures in the new Judi Dench memoir, “Behind the Scenes” (St. Martin’s Press), often feels like going through one of the the actress’ scrapbooks with her sitting by your side commenting on each page. It’s a delightfully casual book that takes us from Dench’s early days as a […] [Read More]
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Mike Nichols & the unimaginable terror of ‘Streamers’

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The scope of the work of the late great Mike Nichols on stage and screen was vast, but when I heard the news of his death this morning I immediately flashed back to his indelible staging of the David Rabe play “Streamers” in 1976. The Vietnam War drama had stirred up lots of negative vibes […] [Read More]
adventurers1

‘The Adventurers’: when a trashy movie isn’t fun

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On paper, the Warner Archive release “The Adventurers” sounds like it should be a lot of good bad-movie fun. After all, it’s a big budget 1970 Paramount production based on a novel by Harold Robbins, who ruled the best seller lists 50 years ago with lurid potboilers such as “The Carpetbaggers” and “Where Love Has […] [Read More]
sideshow

‘Sideshow’: a cult musical gets another chance

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Touching and more than slightly weird, but with plenty of show biz razzle dazzle, “Sideshow” has defined the notion of a “cult musical” ever since it closed after only a few months in 1997. The New York Times endorsed “Sideshow,” and audiences loved it, but it was hard to convince the average theatergoer to see […] [Read More]
Bradbury Building, Los Angeles

Netflix mining: ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’

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For the past decade, movie buffs have buzzed about Cal Arts professor Thom Anderson’s epic visual essay “Los Angeles Plays Itself” in which he delves into the way his native city has been depicted on film in all sorts of movies. Running close to three hours, the 2003 documentary contains hundreds of clips that illustrate […] [Read More]
beyond6

Bad movies we love: ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’

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Although it was first conceived as a semi-legitimate sequel to the 1967 hit “Valley of the Dolls,” the Russ Meyer-Roger Ebert film “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” was considered so tawdry in 1970 that novelist Jacqueline Susann sued 20th Century Fox to have disclaimers attached to the film making it clear that she had […] [Read More]