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‘Full Service’: the secret history of Hollywood?

Although it was the subject of feature stories in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, the Scotty Bowers memoir “Full Service” (Grove Press) received some very negative reviews. We live in a let-it-all-hang-out age, but many people — book reviewers included — want to hold on to their cherished fantasies regarding Old Hollywood. They would […] [Read More]

‘Collapse’: the ‘fiscal cliff’ was just the beginning

If you enjoyed the Oscar-winning documentary “Inside Job” you might want to check out Chris Smith’s riveting 2009 documentary, “Collapse” (MPI Home Video), even though it’s the sort of unalloyed feel-bad movie that leaves a viewer wondering what to do with the information it contains. For 80 minutes, Smith gives the floor to former LAPD cop […] [Read More]

‘Everything or Nothing’: 50 years of James Bond

Imagine if in 1962 movie audiences were still seeing variations on the silent hits of 1912. That’s the position we are now in with the James Bond franchise, which started more than 50 years ago, long before today’s most lucrative moviegoing demographic was born. 007 arrived on screen two years before The Beatles appeared on […] [Read More]

The best pre-’La Dolce Vita’ Anita Ekberg film

In the years before she became an iconic figure in Federico Fellini’s 1960 blockbuster “La Dolce Vita,” Anita Ekberg had a brief flirtation with Hollywood stardom. The stunning blonde, who died Jan. 11, was named Miss Sweden in 1950. She didn’t win the Miss Universe pageant that year, but Ekberg did land a modeling contract […] [Read More]

‘The Rest of the Story’: Arthur Laurents on his own

The Arthur Laurents memoir “The Rest of the Story” (Applause Books) fills us in on the decade after the 2000 publication of the playwright and director’s excellent — an unusually juicy — autobiography “Original Story By.” Laurents — who died in 2011 at the age of 93 — was always controversial within the theater community […] [Read More]

The 1967 film that rivals ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ & ‘The Graduate’

While on vacation a few years ago, I was browsing in one of those DVD discount bins and there was a movie I loved but hadn’t seen in ages — “Two for the Road,” the 1967 Audrey Hepburn-Albert Finney comedy-drama about the challenges of marriage. 48 years ago, the summer release was overshadowed by the […] [Read More]

The sophisticated sex appeal of Romy Schneider

If I could hop into a pop culture time machine, I think I would want to make a 1961 stop in Paris to check out the stage production of John Ford’s “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” that co-starred Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. Perhaps the sexiest acting couple of the 1960s, Schneider and Delon were […] [Read More]

The vanishing DVD commentary track

With so many people I know switching to downloading movies via the Internet, rather than watching them on DVD, the days of the director/actor commentary track seem to be numbered. And who will miss those often incoherent, error-filled guided tours through new and old movies? What started as a value-added gimmick on DVDs — with […] [Read More]
Blackhat (Screengrab)

Is Chris Hemsworth a movie star?

Movie industry executives are still dazed by two big surprises over the weekend — the blockbuster grosses scored by Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” and the complete wipe-out of Michael Mann’s “Blackhat.” The Eastwood picture had the biggest January opening ever with over $100 million in tickets sold. “Blackhat” did less than a tenth that figure […] [Read More]

The double life of Mike Greenberg

By day, Mike Greenberg is one of America’s most popular sports broadcasters, as half of ESPN’s “Mike and Mike.” During other hours that he carves out, however, Greenberg has been building a second career as a smart and funny novelist who refuses to conform to any stereotypes or preconceived notions readers might have of him. […] [Read More]