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From ‘Chancer’ to ‘The Knick’: Clive Owen goes full circle

The fine British actor Clive Owen is getting good press for a new Cinemax series “The Knick” that launches on Friday. It’s produced and directed by Steven Soderbergh and New York magazine critic Matt Zoller Seitz calls it “far and away the best thing Cinemax has ever produced.” For Clive Owen, the series marks a […] [Read More]

John Lithgow’s unusually vigorous ‘King Lear’

I’ve heard people in the theater say that one of the biggest challenges of ‘King Lear’ is that by the time an actor is old enough to play the lost, demented king, he might not have the physical strength to pull it off. Lear is on stage for most of the three hours and has […] [Read More]

#FridayReads ‘The Remarkable Courtship of General Tom Thumb’

A moving love story and a great show biz tale are combined in the new novel by Nicholas Rinaldi, “The Remarkable Courtship of General Tom Thumb” (Scribner). Rinaldi puts himself in the heads of two of P.T. Barnum’s greatest attractions — Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren — and places them in the context of America […] [Read More]

When movie ads get covered as ‘news’

How bad a movie summer are we in? So bad that the press seems to be giving more attention to trailers than movies. The Hollywood Reporter sent out a news flash on Monday announcing that the trailer for the forthcoming movie version of the E.L. James novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” had “the best opening […] [Read More]

Baron Wolman’s ‘Woodstock’: captivated by the crowd

It’s hard to imagine a music festival today having anything like the cultural impact of the 1969 Woodstock gathering. The three-day event that started on August 15 attracted a crowd of somewhere around 500,000 people to Bethel, N.Y., but it took months for the festival to sink into the consciousness of the millions of young […] [Read More]

‘A Dangerous Fiction’: stalking, murder in Manhattan

Murder is more than a plot device in Barbara Rogan’s remarkable 2013 mystery, “A Dangerous Fiction,” which is being republished in paperback today by Penguin Books. It’s a tale set in the upper reaches of Manhattan’s literary scene. The two violent deaths in the novel pack an unusually powerful punch because Rogan shows how they […] [Read More]

Rent it now: ‘La Ceremonie’ – Ruth Rendell via Claude Chabrol

Luckily for us, there are not too many moments of pure horror in movies — images and scenes that cannot be shaken no matter how hard you try. The hacks who make most shockers don’t have the intelligence or technical skill to truly unsettle us, so most of us can brush off junk like the […] [Read More]

Bad Movies We Love: ‘Palm Springs Weekend’

Released just a few weeks before JFK was killed in Dallas, the Warner Bros. release “Palm Springs Weekend” bears out many people’s belief that our pop culture idea of “the ’50s” lasted until November 22, 1963. The movie about a spring break trip to Palm Springs by a bunch of (very mature-looking) college students feels […] [Read More]

‘Nora’: Ingmar Bergman’s fast and furious ‘Doll’s House’

How lucky we are that Westport Country Playhouse associate artistic director David Kennedy and actress Liv Rooth have formed such a strong partnership in recent seasons. Playhouse audiences have already seen Rooth deliver strong performances in “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Loot.” Now, she is doing her most dazzling work to date in the title role […] [Read More]

#FridayReads ‘The Psalmist’ by James Lilliefors

Combine a terrific, offbeat pair of sleuths and a fresh setting and you have a real winner in “The Psalmist” by James Lilliefors. The novel launches a new series via the Witness Impulse e-book imprint of HarperCollins, so you will have to throw your Kindle into the beach bag to check out this perfect summer […] [Read More]