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elin1

Extending the summer vibe with Elin Hilderbrand

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Autumn might be arriving on Tuesday, but a good way to extend that summer vibe is to read Elin Hilderbrand. I was introduced to the bestselling writer’s work when she came to Connecticut a few years ago to promote “Silver Girl.” Bookstores fill up with beach-themed “women’s fiction” every summer, so it can be hard […] [Read More]
mercouri

Melina Mercouri & ‘10:30 P.M. Summer’ — magnificent over-acting

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The Greek actress Melina Mercouri was always an acquired taste — she believed in playing everything larger than life, which turned off as many people as it turned on — but for those who locked on to her wavelength, she quickly became an addiction. Mercouri was as passionate off screen as she was on, risking […] [Read More]
swimmer

‘The Swimmer’ gets deluxe DVD treatment

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The Frank and Eleanor Perry film version of the John Cheever story “The Swimmer” was a resounding flop in 1968, but over the years it has acquired a cult following. The movie has always been of particular interest in Connecticut because the Perrys and star Burt Lancaster spent the summer of 1966 filming in and […] [Read More]
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Rent it now: Woody Allen’s underrated ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’

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Woody Allen has made so many movies over the past five decades that some of them don’t receive as much attention as they deserve. Everyone knows about the masterpieces — “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and a few others — but I’m often surprised by the blank looks I get when I mention […] [Read More]
brosnan

Is Pierce Brosnan in his prime at 61?

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Ignoring the rather lousy reviews — and the dismal 36 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes — I made “The November Man” my rainy day movie during a beach vacation last week. The combination of an espionage drama derived from a Bill Granger novel (“There Are No Spies”) and Pierce Brosnan in the lead left me […] [Read More]
dirtymovies1

‘Dirty Movies’: a porn world love story

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For most of his career, New Yorker Joe Sarno worked in obscurity, producing and directing sexploitation films during the 1960s — under his own name — and then hardcore porn films from the late 1970s through the 1990s (under a variety of pseudonyms). Sarno had an early and influential fan in the Village Voice film […] [Read More]
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‘Smoke’: flirting with sexual danger at a New York party

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The already intimate basement space at the Flea Theater has been reconfigured to be even more up-close-and-personal for the new Kim Davies play “Smoke.” By clustering the seating around the small set — the kitchen of an apartment in Harlem — the audience is given a voyeuristic view of the action that is both exciting […] [Read More]
Medium_Cool

A still-daring film from the summer of Woodstock

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  Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool” didn’t get nearly as much attention as some of the other daring major studio films of the summer of 1969 — it was up against “Midnight Cowboy” and “Easy Rider” among other zeitgeist-defining films that were playing in theaters then — but no other American film did a better job of […] [Read More]
allan4

‘Party Animals’: 1970s Hollywood decadence

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If you’re looking for an especially juicy Hollywood biography you should check out then-Variety senior editor Robert Hofler’s 2009 book about the film and stage producer Allan Carr — “Party Animals” — which is available from  DaCapo Press. Carr has been largely forgotten in the 15 years since he died, but Hofler reminds us of […] [Read More]
bloodbeach

Bad Movies We Love: the goofy & melancholy ‘Blood Beach’

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There are bad movies we watch more than once because they are so over-the-top awful (“Valley of the Dolls”) or that capture a slice of society rarely seen on screen (the early 1980s Broadway of “The Fan”), and then there are true oddities like “Blood Beach.” A cable staple 30 years ago, the 1980 B-movie […] [Read More]