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‘Broadway Backwards’: gender-bending benefit

It was fun last night to see a few dozen Broadway performers tackle songs they wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance to sing. “Broadway Backwards,” now in its ninth year, is a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, where men sing show tunes designed for women and […] [Read More]

Bad Movies We Love: Boris Karloff in Swinging London

British horror films of the 1960s generally pushed the envelope in terms of sex and violence — they often had a lurid quality that set them apart from our domestic B-movies. As kids, me and my friends came to rely on the British company Hammer Films for variations of the Dracula and Frankenstein stories that […] [Read More]

‘Next Year Jerusalem’: hello in there

Documentarian David Gaynes deserves kudos for turning his camera on a subject that few movies tackle and many of us try to avoid — senior citizens near the end of life. Gaynes’ new film “Next Year Jerusalem” — which is getting a pre-theatrical release screening on Wednesday as part of the 18th Annual Mandell JCC […] [Read More]
These! Paper! Bullets!Yale Repertory Theatre

‘These Paper Bullets!’ needs more music, less Shakespeare

The new show at Yale Rep — “These Paper Bullets!” — looks like a million bucks. The design elements for this London circa 1964 “ripoff” of “Much Ado About Nothing” are Broadway quality, as you would expect from two-time Tony winner Michael Yeargan. The period sets, the projections, the film inserts all hint at a […] [Read More]

#FridayReads ‘The Collector of Dying Breaths’ by M.J. Rose

A mix of history, eroticism, thriller and supernatural mystery, the new M.J. Rose novel “The Collector of Dying Breaths” defies any easy categorization, but it’s a terrific piece of entertainment. Rose has been exploring the idea of reincarnation in a series of good novels, but the new book offers her sleekest narrative yet — serving […] [Read More]

‘Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1’: Lars von Trier on sex and love

The most interesting movie of the new year — Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1” — won’t be playing in theaters until tomorrow, but it has been available from the various video-on-demand services for the past two weeks. With an unusual two-part structure — “Vol. 2” arrives on VOD this week — and rapid release […] [Read More]

‘Jewish Cardinal’: inside the politics of The Vatican

The 18th Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Fest is opening Thursday night with the very provocative and very entertaining French drama “The Jewish Cardinal.” The film directed by Ilan Duran Cohen tells the story of the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants who never stopped thinking of himself as a Jew even after he converted to Catholicism, […] [Read More]

‘Take Me Back’: high quality theater, low prices

I get annoyed when I hear people complaining about the high price of theater in New York City because I see terrific stuff all the time for little more than the cost of a movie. Case in point: Saturday night for the grand total of $18.50 I caught one of the showcase performances of a […] [Read More]

Rent it now: getting lost in a Kubrick movie

The documentary “Room 237” is a very entertaining look at the borderline madness that has gripped obsessive fans of the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film “The Shining.” A movie that many of us remember as a really slow and really badly acted horror movie somehow became a touchstone for people who have watched it repeatedly on […] [Read More]

James Franco’s ‘Cruising’ film: 60 minutes of wheel spinning

It will be interesting to see how James Franco handles his Broadway debut in “Of Mice and Men” later this spring. Locked into eight performances a week for three months, the actor-director will have to slow down for the first time in a career which includes a staggering 95 film and TV acting credits on […] [Read More]