‘Temple Grandin’: Claire Danes makes a huge leap

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There’s a long Hollywood history of bio-pics forcing female performers to take big chances that paid off: Sally Field in the title role of “Norma Rae.” Bonnie Bedelia in “Heart Like a Wheel.” Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline in “Sweet Dreams.” In all three of those cases, beautiful young actresses had to show respect for […] [Read More]
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The old-fashioned craftsmanship of ‘Promises, Promises’

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When the cast album of the current Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises” was released a few months back, I wrote here about how much I admire the song score of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and how sad it is that after the original production of the show opened in 1968 these two artists never […] [Read More]
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Rent it now: ‘Into the Wild’

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Sean Penn is one of the very Hollywood stars who directs movies with as much passion and skill as he brings to his acting. Starting with “The Indian Runner” in 1991, Penn has shown himself to be a good judge of material and a wonderful director of actors (Viggo Mortensen played one of his first […] [Read More]
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The mystery of ‘Me and Orson Welles’ thickens

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Richard Linklater is one of the most interesting filmmakers in this country — his resume includes “Dazed and Confused” and “Before Sunrise” — so the complete mishandling of his most recent film, “Me and Orson Welles,” is one of the great movie mysteries of the past few years. As they say in the movie business, […] [Read More]
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The double life of Charlie Chan – stereotype or ‘Chinese hero’?

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Yunte Huang has written an important book that also happens to be a hell of a lot of fun to read, “Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History.” Part true crime book, part cultural history, part Hollywood expose, Huang’s exhaustively researched and gracefully written tale of the […] [Read More]
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The ‘Sex & the City’ money machine keeps spinning

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Although it was widely viewed within the media as a disaster, the early summer release “Sex and the City 2” made $100 million in this country and at least that much overseas. Commentators scolded writer-director Michael Patrick King and producer-star Sarah Jessica Parker for being grossly insensitive to the current financial malaise in the United States […] [Read More]
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The return of 1950s style 3D

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Last weekend’s disappointing opening of the musical “Step Up 3D” left some industry analysts wondering if the current 3D vogue is beginning to wane. Yes, “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland” earned blockbuster grosses in 3D earlier this year, but the biggest hit of mid-summer — “Inception” — has soared over the $200 million mark in […] [Read More]
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‘Tough Customer’: a thriller with heart

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Sandra Brown’s ability to empathize with men as well as women is so acute that if you took the writer’s name off one of her terrific bestselling thrillers you might have a hard time guessing the gender of the novelist. Case in point: The latest Brown page-turner, “Tough Customer,” to be published tomorrow by Simon […] [Read More]
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