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‘Leo’s Room’: a coming of age story with a difference

Hollywood so often takes a one-crisis-per-customer approach to personal dramas that it is refreshing to see the ambitious little movie “Leo’s Room” give its protagonist a more lifelike series of challenges. On the surface, this 2009 film from Uruguay is yet another coming of age story about a young man struggling to figure out if […] [Read More]

‘Breathless’: The ‘Mad Men’ era in England

A new and very addictive British TV series, “Breathless,” is debuting on PBS “Masterpiece” Sunday night. The six-episode first season will be shown two-episodes a week between August 24 and September 7. If you’re like me and prefer binge-watching rather than following a series from week to week, you can enjoy all six hours of […] [Read More]

Rent it now: Julia Ormond as a no-nonsense Connecticut lawyer

Few actresses could live up to the tremendous public relations campaign that was launched on behalf of the young British actress Julia Ormond when she was chosen to star in Sydney Pollack’s 1995 remake of “Sabrina.” Not only was the unknown actress (in this country) appearing opposite Harrison Ford in a big-budget romantic comedy, she was […] [Read More]

‘The Maids’: mixing stage and screen at City Center

The decision to present the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Jean Genet’s “The Maids” at City Center as part of the Lincoln Center Festival this month seemed like a major miscalculation. A three character, one-set drama of the sort that would be ideally suited for a venue like the Booth Theatre on Broadway — seating […] [Read More]

50 years of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

Almost a half century has passed since “Fiddler on the Roof” debuted on Broadway Sept. 22, 1964. Although the show was the creation of proven theater talent, from director-choreographer Jerome Robbins to book writer Joseph Stein to songwriters Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, some Broadway folks feared the musical would prove to be too “ethnic” […] [Read More]

‘Eyes on You’: deadly office politics

Do you have time for one more summer beach book? I’ve got a good one for you. The latest novel by Kate White, “Eyes on You” (Harper), is a first-rate thriller set in the world of New York television that I polished off in a couple of sittings. The brutal office politics in the higher […] [Read More]

‘Captivated’: the origins of ‘reality’ television

HBO is unveiling a terrific new documentary Monday at 9 p.m. — Jeremiah Zagar’s “Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart.” The film looks back at that sensational case in New Hamphire 24 years ago when Pamela Smart, a media aide at a local high school, was accused of convincing three young men (one of them […] [Read More]

#FridayReads ‘Mark Coffin, U.S.S.’ by Allen Drury

One of the best pieces of book news this year was the return to print of four novels by the peerless Washington, D.C. chronicler Allen Drury. Drury was hugely popular from the late 1950s through the 1970s, telling stories based on his many decades as a journalist and observer of American political life. The writer’s […] [Read More]

‘Into the Storm’: a screen death that stings

I wonder how many deaths we witness in a lifetime of moviegoing. There are all of those classic movie moments like the final scene in “Bonnie & Clyde”; Angela Lansbury getting shot right between the eyes in the closing moments of “The Manchurian Candidate”; Faye Dunaway failing — spectacularly — to get across the Mexican […] [Read More]

Cocktail hour at the Waldorf with Lauren Bacall

You didn’t hear a lot of people use the word “nice” in connection with the late great Lauren Bacall but that’s what she was — in spades — when I interviewed her 20 years ago for the terrible (and mercifully forgotten) Robert Altman film “Ready to Wear.” It was an experience that led me to […] [Read More]