‘This is Where I Leave You’: the craziness and hilarity of grief

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You don’t hear the publishing term “lad lit” much anymore. It was meant to apply to contemporary male fiction involving family, romance and career rather than spies or murder — “chick lit” with a sex change. I suppose the novels of Jonathan Tropper could be placed in this category that didn’t stick, but like the […] [Read More]
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Jennifer Love Hewitt turns tricks on Lifetime

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Expect terrible reviews and huge ratings when Lifetime unveils “The Client List” on July 19 at 9 p.m. With an irresistible mix of down home wholesomeness and porno tease elements, this tale of a nice Texas wife and mother who becomes a massage parlor hooker in order to bail her family out of financial chaos […] [Read More]
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Coming: Michael Cunningham’s ‘By Nightfall’

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The end of summer will be marked by the arrival of  “By Nightfall,” a wonderful new novel by Michael Cunningham, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Hours.” The book isn’t set to be published until the last week of September, but I raced through an Advance Reader’s Copy. Cunningham’s powers of empathy seem to have […] [Read More]
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Alice Ripley in ‘Next to Normal’: knowing when to leave

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The money — and the media — behind Broadway serve up the illusion that hit shows are frozen on opening night. Whatever superlatives were showered on “Billy Elliott” or “In the Heights” when they opened years ago are still screaming at us from posters in the lobby and on little signs dangling on the marquees. […] [Read More]
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Rent it now: Michael Haneke’s brilliant, troubling ‘White Ribbon’

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In an era dominated by movies that either hug or numb the audience, Michael Haneke’s unvaryingly disturbing films have divided critics and moviegoers. You could be glib and call pictures like “The Piano Teacher” (2001) and “Cache” (2005) feel-bad movies, but Haneke’s determination to explore tough material without worrying how it might play with audiences […] [Read More]
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A quintessential NYC movie (& screening)

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Monday night, the Bryant Park outdoor summer film series sponsored by HBO is featuring one of the quintessential New York City crime dramas — the 1971 best picture Oscar winner “The French Connection,” starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. Can’t think of a better movie to see outside on a summer night with a bunch […] [Read More]
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‘A non-violent Buddhist brandocracy with nuclear capability’

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Few writers have a better handle on the craziness of modern capitalism than James P. Othmer, whose 2006 debut novel “The Futurist” followed a marketing specialist who didn’t care whether he was helping to sell sneakers or porn. Othmer is back with a second novel — “Holy Water” (Doubleday) — that takes off from the global […] [Read More]
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Why is ‘Knight and Day’ bombing at the box office?

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The notion of what constitutes a movie star keeps evolving in this transitional period in which the adult audience is more or less focusing on home entertainment and the multiplexes are dominated by action pictures and animated fare aimed squarely at the 25 and under demographic. The big hits of the last six months or […] [Read More]
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