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The one and only Meryl Streep

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Cruising along at the top of her profession for 30 years now, Meryl Streep stands apart from all of the other great movie actresses. How is she different? Streep has never been interested in establishing herself offscreen as a larger-than-life figure in the tradition of Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn; she has never patented a […] [Read More]

When an ice queen melts

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      Catherine Deneuve gives a memorably intense performance as a grieving mother in “Apres Lui (After Him),” the 2007 French drama that arrives on DVD next Tuesday via IFC Films. Best known for playing rather cool and enigmatic characters, the star pulls out all of the emotional stops in Gael Morel’s story of […] [Read More]

‘Funny People’: over-extended ‘Entourage’ episode?

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Movies and television have become so mashed together that when you see a lousy formula film in a theater now, you can’t use that old putdown — “it’s like TV.” With the older audience more or less vanished from the multiplexes, “movies” have become increasingly infantile and “TV” is better than ever. Most nights it’s hard for […] [Read More]
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Explain this SoHo billboard in 25 words or less

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Spying in the post 9/11 world

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Remember when the “Iron Curtain” fell and book columnists wondered if that would mean the end of the line for great espionage writers like John LeCarre and Len Deighton? Well, here we are 20 years later and not only is the spy novel back, it seems to be expanding. (The genre is hot in movies […] [Read More]

‘In the Loop’: grading on the curve

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Film critics tend to get a little punchy by midsummer. Who wouldn’t feel the stress of sitting through one overblown special effects kiddie picture after another? The late July/early August madness of professional movie watchers is the only explanation for the mostly rave reviews for “In the Loop,” a rather toothless British satire — a […] [Read More]
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Shopping as theater (or beach porn?)

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When some in-the-know friends were visiting Manhattan from the Heartland recently, they told me that the first thing on their sightseeing list was the new Hollisters store at Houston St. and Broadway. “What’s that?,” I asked. They looked at me like I had just fallen off a turnip truck before explaining that the new flagship […] [Read More]
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‘Orphan’: Stupid Americans!

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Various groups representing orphans and adoption agencies protested the Warner Bros. horror picture, “Orphan,” before it opened Friday, but the movie is too dumb to merit such serious attention. The poor souls who see the Z-grade flick are not going to think any less of 9-year-old Russian orphans — a last reel “surprise” deconstructs the movie’s […] [Read More]
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Why would a 15-year-old boy kill himself?

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That’s the question that is posed but never answered in Dana Perry’s extraordinary new documentary, “Boy Interrupted,” that is being screened at the Bantam Cinema Saturday at noon, in advance of its TV premiere on HBO Aug. 3. Evan Perry left behind a lucid suicide note on his laptop computer before he jumped to his […] [Read More]

A legal thriller with a difference

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The just-published “Guardian of Lies” (William Morrow) is the tenth novel Steve Martini has written about the San Diego attorney Paul Madriani, but this is no ordinary legal drama. The writer has shifted gears in a big way, moving his wry hero out of the courtroom and into the center of a breathless high-stakes thriller […] [Read More]