‘Ella’: two great singers meet at Long Wharf

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You don’t want to miss “Ella,” a play with music, that is at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven through Oct. 17. The show is a tribute to and an examination of the life and career of one of the greatest American pop and jazz singers, Ella Fitzgerald. Ella was known as “the nice one” […] [Read More]
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‘The Heist’ from ‘Pelham 123’ to ‘Jackie Brown’

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Manhattan’s indispensable non-profit arthouse, Film Forum, is launching a three-week series devoted to one of my favorite movie genres — “The Heist.” Caper stories have been told within the context of westerns, period pieces, contemporary dramas and espionage spoofs. The Film Forum series includes examples of each type in movies made in the United States and […] [Read More]
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Tony Curtis, R.I.P.

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I was sorry to hear the news of Tony Curtis’ death earlier today. Always woefully underrated, the star was only Oscar-nominated once and not for his best work, in the 1957 drama “Sweet Smell of Success.” In typical Hollywood fashion, Curtis was nominated the following year for the earnest Stanley Kramer picture “The Defiant Ones.”  […] [Read More]
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Porno blackmail in harrowing based-on-fact ‘Daniel & Ana’

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Yesterday’s news included a terrible story out of Rutgers University in which a student committed suicide after other students hid a web cam in his room that caught him having sex. The invasion of privacy in this sort of case is tantamount to rape. In a weird coincidence, just before I heard about the New Jersey […] [Read More]
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Arthur Penn, R.I.P.

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Stage and screen director Arthur Penn died yesterday at the age of 88 — his birthday was Tuesday — leaving behind the landmark 1967 film “Bonnie & Clyde.” Penn was already a veteran of Broadway and Hollywood when producer Warren Beatty hired him to direct an offbeat, French New Wave-influenced gangster drama that would go […] [Read More]
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‘Human Centipede’: the horror movie that made Eli Roth sick

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Envelope-pushing has been part of the lure of horror movies for many decades. In the 1950s and ’60s there were would-be shockers that were hyped as being so scary that audience members were insured in the event that they should die of fright (no one did). By the end of the 1960s, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” had upped […] [Read More]
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Rent it now: The still fresh ‘An Unmarried Woman’

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After I saw “Eat Pray Love” in August, I kept thinking that the movie touched on a lot of the same material that writer-director Paul Mazursky had dealt with in “An Unmarried Woman” 32 years ago. Except that the Mazursky film dug much deeper into the story of a woman trying to find meaning in […] [Read More]
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The sheer authority of Michael Douglas in “Money Never Sleeps”

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What a blast it is to watch Michael Douglas reconnect with the role of Gordon Gekko in the new “Wall Street” sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” The movie is flawed in terms of plotting and tone — so was the first one — but the authority that Douglas brings to his performance blotted out […] [Read More]
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