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Paul Mazursky R.I.P. : exploring underrated filmmaker’s work

Film director books presented in a question-and-answer format are often tiresome, and full of obfuscation, but Sam Wasson’s “Paul on Mazursky” (Wesleyan University Press) captures smart talk about the work of the man who gave us “An Unmarried Woman,” “Next Stop, Greenwich Village” (below), “Blume in Love” and many other remarkably realistic comedies. Paul Mazursky […] [Read More]

‘Broadway Bares 24’: risque benefit raises $1,386,105

The venerable Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit “Broadway Bares” was forced to move to a new venue this year when Roseland became the latest Manhattan landmark to bite the dust. The bawdy, high energy show didn’t start at Roseland — the first edition consisted of choreographer/director Jerry Mitchell and six of his pals stripping at […] [Read More]

Have you seen the Nicole Kidman cult film ‘Birth’?

If I was asked to pick the most unjustly neglected film of the past decade, I would probably cite the 2004 Jonathan Glazer picture “Birth” which has remained off most people’s radar despite a strong cult following. The British critic David Thomson hosted the film in 2010 when the New York Film Festival asked him […] [Read More]

‘American Masters’: Philip Roth talks about his art

Don’t let the nitpicker critics put you off from watching “Philip Roth: Unmasked,” the PBS “American Masters” documentary that is available on Netflix and DVD. The carpers all zeroed in on the fact that there is no mention of Roth’s bad marriage to the actress Claire Bloom, but why should there be? The 90-minute film […] [Read More]

Bad Movies We Love: ‘The Carpetbaggers’

Harold Robbins’ novel “The Carpetbaggers” was considered so shocking when it was published in 1961 that it even prompted a New York Times reviewer to foam at the mouth. “It was not quite proper to have printed ‘The Carpetbaggers’ between covers of a book,” the newspaper of record opined. “It should have been inscribed on […] [Read More]

Rent it now: little-seen fashion world expose, ‘Picture Me’

Sara Ziff and her filmmaking partner Ole Schell deserve kudos for their unusually revealing documentary about the fashion industry, “Picture Me: A Model’s Diary” (Strand Releasing Home Video). Most of what we learn about modeling and fashion comes to us via writers and filmmakers with a vested interest in the business. They don’t want to […] [Read More]

‘Miss Jones’: neglected romantic comedy classic

In all of the remake mania of the past few decades, I’ve been surprised that no one has ever taken a look at the wonderful 1942 RKO romantic comedy “The Devil and Miss Jones.” It’s funny and sexy and has a potent social issue aspect as well. Part of the problem might be that the […] [Read More]

The messy genius of Robert Altman

The best Robert Altman movies are packed with contradictory emotions and unusually large collections of wildly diverse characters bouncing off each other. Altman classics like “Nashville” (1975) – above – and “The Long Goodbye” (1973) are not about linear storytelling or easily resolved conflicts, so Mitchell Zuckoff’s rambling “oral biography” — “Robert Altman” (Knopf) — […] [Read More]

On the road with ‘Joy Ride’ & ‘Race with the Devil’

I made a fun double-feature out of two of my favorite guilty pleasure movies a while ago — B-movies (with a bit of pizzazz) about the dangers of cross-country travel. “Race with the Devil” is a very lively 1975 drive-in hit about two urban couples (Peter Fonda & Lara Parker and Warren Oates & Loretta […] [Read More]

‘Marry Me a Little’: songs cut from Stephen Sondheim classics

During his peak years, Stephen Sondheim was bursting with so many musical ideas that more than a few terrific songs wound up being dropped from landmark shows such as “Company” and “Follies.” The composer/lyricist also wrote a complete score for a show called “Saturday Night” that was meant to be produced as his Broadway debut in […] [Read More]