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Rent it now: the still provocative British classic ‘Victim’

Video distributors love to celebrate anniversaries with reissues of their major titles. “Ben-Hur” appeared in 2011 in a belated deluxe 50th anniversary edition — the restoration of the 1959 best picture Oscar winner was so complicated that Warner Home Video delivered the DVD set two years late. A multi-disc anniversary edition of the 1961 hit “West Side […] [Read More]

Bad Movies We Love: ‘Once is Not Enough’

The headline here is a tad deceptive. “Once is Not Enough” is unquestionably bad, but “love” is the wrong word for my feelings about this 1975 Paramount adaptation of the Jacqueline Susann bestseller. It’s a rare case of a terrible movie that is saved — partially — by one rather remarkable performance. Like Susann’s “Valley […] [Read More]

‘Mobilize’: what cellphones might be doing to us

Kevin Kunze’s new documentary about the possible health risks of cellphones — “Mobilize” (TDC Entertainment) — is done in a very low-tech, low-key style that makes it all the more terrifying. Kunze lays out the way cellphones — and the supporting technologies — are all around us and yet the possible dangers of living so […] [Read More]

‘Veep’ + ‘House of Cards’ = ‘Madam Secretary’

If you missed the premiere of the CBS series “Madam Secretary” last Sunday, you can do like I did the other night and download it for free from Amazon Instant. No TV series can be judged from one early episode, but I found this political drama/comedy to be a very watchable mix of two other […] [Read More]

‘Starred Up’: the rise of Jack O’Connell

The 24-year-old English actor Jack O’Connell should be receiving lots of press attention when the film version of the best-selling Laura Hillenbrand book “Unbroken” opens in December. O’Connell landed the plum role of Louis Zamperini, the World War II hero who survived 47 days in a life raft after his plane went down in the […] [Read More]
Tennessee Mech F2-23 May 14.indd

John Lahr’s ‘Tennessee Williams’ an instant classic

12 years in the research and writing, John Lahr’s “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” (Norton) examines the great playwright primarily through his work and the result is both definitive and a great read. Because of his dual perspective as a stage critic and someone who has worked in the theater, Lahr is especially […] [Read More]

Bad Movies We Love: ‘Staying Alive’ — Broadway hell

Theater fans bitched about the “unreality” of NBC’s 2012 Broadway drama “Smash” and then they complained about the ludicrous depiction of the life of a New York stage actress in a short-lived Kirstie Alley sitcom. Clearly, these scolds have forgotten the long and dishonorable tradition of insane backstage musical dramas that Hollywood served up for […] [Read More]

Extending the summer vibe with Elin Hilderbrand

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]

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

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]

‘The Swimmer’ gets deluxe DVD treatment

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]