‘MM — Personal’: examining Marilyn Monroe in new ways

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Just when you think a pop culture subject has been completely exhausted, a smart writer, photographer and design team can come along and change your mind. “MM — Personal” looks like yet another coffee table book on Marilyn Monroe, but Abrams has delivered an oversized volume full of new insights and new information on one […] [Read More]
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‘Kabuki Democracy’: why any president is doomed to disappoint

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The Nation columnist Eric Alterman lays out the special challenges faced by President Barack Obama during his first two years in office in “Kabuki Democracy,” a new paperback original from Nation Books. The cycle of depression and hope that seems to accompany any White House party shift — remember the thrill of Jimmy Carter walking […] [Read More]
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The Hollywood ‘dilemma’: puffy men & skinny women

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The new Ron Howard comedy “The Dilemma” was a wipe-out at the box office last weekend for good reason — it’s one of the most ill-conceived “bromances” of recent vintage, a rare major studio film without a redeeming feature. The picture is about two longtime friends and business partners — played by Vince Vaughn and […] [Read More]
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Susannah York, R.I.P.

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It was sad to hear about the death of the British actress Susannah York over the weekend. The 72-year-old performer had been suffering from cancer for some time but didn’t let it stop her from working and traveling. York acted in a Tennessee Williams play in London last year and less than two months ago […] [Read More]
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Did Ricky Gervais ‘go too far’ at the Golden Globes?

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You could probably spend the next week reading hundreds of articles — and thousands (millions?) of Tweets — analyzing last night’s telecast of the Golden Globe Awards. It’s an awards show with zero “artistic” credibility in terms of its selection process — “The Tourist” (below) was up for best picture — but highly valued by […] [Read More]
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Eddie Izzard: a comedian who can fill Madison Square Garden

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Just a few years ago, Eddie Izzard was working in smallish downtown Manhattan venues, but now he looks right at home in the vast expanse of Madison Square Garden in the comedy special debuting today on the various EPIX cable platforms. “Eddie Izzard — Live! at Madison Square Garden” was recorded last winter in front […] [Read More]
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‘To Have and To Kill’: murder in the world of daytime drama

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After writing a dozen popular mysteries set in and around the New York media, Mary Jane Clark has shifted gears with “To Have and To Kill” (William Morrow), the first of a new series that follows Piper Donovan, a struggling New York actress who has to moonlight as a baker to make ends meet. The […] [Read More]
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‘The Big Short’: finding hilarity underneath a global catastrophe

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It’s hard to beat Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short” for both enlightenment and entertainment. Like a latter-day Stanley Kubrick — who somehow turned nuclear holocaust into one of the funniest and scariest movies of the Cold War (“Dr. Strangelove”) — Lewis keeps a reader both appalled and laughing as he guides us through the collapse […] [Read More]
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