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‘Running on Empty’ resurfaces on DVD

Sidney Lumet guided the late great River Phoenix to an Oscar nomination for “Running on Empty,” the sensitive 1988 film about family and politics that the invaluable Warner Archive has just retrieved from video limbo. In addition to showcasing one of Phoenix’s best performances, the movie gave top-billed Christine Lahti her best opportunity during the […] [Read More]

‘Colorado’: drugs & fishing in New Bedford

Drug running has replaced fishing in more than one coastal American town with major consequences for the young people in those areas. Aimlessness and addiction are two of the many behaviors that are examined in Michael Gorman’s big, sometimes unwieldy new play, “If Colorado had an Ocean,” running at New York City’s La MaMa Theatre […] [Read More]

French film noir explores fine line between cops, crooks

Amazon Instant has a crisp new print of a terrific 1972 French film noir, “Un Flic,” starring Alain Delon and Catherine Denueve, under the U.S release title “Dirty Money.” The movie was the final effort of writer-director Jean-Pierre Melville, one of the modern masters of crime stories, who loved the hard-boiled American thrillers of the […] [Read More]

‘A Deadly Wandering’: lethal cell phone addiction

Cell phones moved into our culture so quickly and on such a vast scale that it will take years to figure out what these amazing and highly addictive devices have been doing to us — psychologically and physically. If someone from the 1960s or 1970s time traveled to a present day city street, their first […] [Read More]

‘Limelight’: collapse of a nightlife empire

Billy Corben’s 2011 documentary, “Limelight,” is available on DVD via Magnolia Home Entertainment, and it proves to be as gripping as any fictional film. Corben traces the history of Canadian nightclub operator Peter Gatien who came to New York City in the 1980s and quickly became one of the most important figures in the post-Studio 54 […] [Read More]

Bad Movies We Love: ‘Modesty Blaise’

You might have to have been around in the 1960s to get as much of a kick from “Modesty Blaise” as I do. The movie arrived in 1966 — smack in the middle of the pop cultural hysteria triggered by the James Bond movie series which was launched in 1962 but didn’t really explode until […] [Read More]

‘Citizen Koch’: after corporations became ‘people’

A deeply depressing film, “Citizen Koch” recently made the first cut of Oscar eligible documentaries, so it has a good chance of being nominated next month. It’s available for streaming from Netflix and most of the other Internet movie download sites. The title suggests a study of the super-wealthy industrialist David H. Koch, but the […] [Read More]

‘Control’: The Joy Division photo that launched a movie

The 2007 bio-pic, “Control,” about the short but influential life of the English band Joy Division, didn’t get much theatrical play in this country, but it is well worth seeking out on DVD. Director Anton Corbijn became famous for the moody photographs he’s made of rock groups and musicians over the past 30 years, including many sets […] [Read More]

‘The Fall’: giving equal time to a killer

Netflix announced some good news yesterday — the just-aired season two of the electrifying British crime series “The Fall” will become available for streaming in the U.S. on Jan. 16. When season one debuted last year on BBC2 it became the highest rated drama on that network in 10 years and it has been generating […] [Read More]

‘Mad Women’: ad world’s good old/bad old days

Jane Maas has been a major player in the New York advertising scene since the 1960s, so she is the perfect person to contrast real life there with its fictional depiction on the AMC series “Mad Men.” St. Martin’s Griffin published “Mad Women” in which Maas shares her delightful and not so delightful memories of […] [Read More]