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Perfect for Halloween: the still-frightening ‘The Innocents’

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A bunch of new horror pictures have opened over the past few weekends to satisfy that Halloween urge for something ghoulish. There’s “Ouija,” which opened in the number one slot last weekend, and “Annabelle,” a sort-of prequel to “The Conjuring.” For real scares, however, it’s hard to beat “The Innocents” starring Deborah Kerr as a governess who […] [Read More]
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Are people really upset by the sex in ‘Shondaland’?

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Not to sound overly prurient, but I don’t understand how people can continue to express “shock” over the sex content of a 2014 network TV series like “How to Get Away with the Murder” four decades after the “porno chic” era of the 1970s. Don’t they know you can’t unring a bell? These days, racy […] [Read More]
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Finding good New York theater on the cheap

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Whenever I hear people complaining about the high cost of theater in New York City I know that they aren’t very adventurous folk. Yes, a good seat this weekend for “The Book of Mormon” or “It’s Only a Play” will set you back several hundred dollars, but those are two of the hottest tickets on […] [Read More]
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‘Government Girl’: Olivia de Havilland’s last straw

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After watching the new Warner Archive DVD release “Government Girl” it’s easy to see why after being forced to do this lame 1943 comedy Olivia de Havilland became ever more resolved to launch a legal suit against the studio that held her contract. de Havilland was a Warner Bros. contractee who became increasingly frustrated by […] [Read More]
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CrimeCONN gets off to a great start

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The first annual gathering of crime writers and readers at the Westport Library — CrimeCONN — was a hit Saturday. The event attracted a full house in the McManus Room of the library and the day of panels and schmoozing went off without a hitch. Crime writers and their fans are a convivial group. Witness […] [Read More]
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Through the years with ‘Goodbye, Columbus’ & Ali MacGraw

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Unless a filmmaker or studio decides to tinker, a movie travels through time without changing. It’s one of the mysteries of movie watching — and the aging process — that some movies we loved as kids become unwatchable as adults (I was a huge Jerry Lewis fan up until I was 12 or 13). Other […] [Read More]
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Rent it now: a fresh look at the Hollywood fame game

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Who would imagine that a documentary about celebrity culture — with extensive interview footage involving Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan — would turn out as well as Adrian Grenier’s “Teenage Paparazzo”? Grenier was one of the stars of my least-favorite HBO series, “Entourage,” which was all about movie people in Los Angeles, so I feared […] [Read More]
newsiestour

‘Newsies’ even better the second time around

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The many virtues of the Disney sleeper hit musical “Newsies” became even more apparent to me last night when I caught the opening of the first-rate first national tour at the gorgeous Palace Theater in Waterbury. Based on a 1992 movie flop, the story of an 1899 strike by New York City newspaper boys against […] [Read More]
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The star who changed our notions of beauty

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Barbra Streisand has been a star and pop culture icon for so long now that it is easy to lose sight of the revolutionary impact she had on show business 50 years ago. Streisand’s distinctive looks were called “ugly” by some industry insiders who couldn’t imagine a place for the actress and singer in a […] [Read More]
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‘Days and Nights’: Chekhov in Connecticut

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The very gifted stage actor Christian Camargo makes an auspicious film directing debut with “Days and Nights,” an adaptation of “The Seagull” set on a rambling Connecticut estate in the early 1980s. The movie opened at the IFC Center in New York just a few weeks ago, but it has already been made available for […] [Read More]