The scamming of America

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  The infuriating story of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is well-told in “Madoff and the Scamming of America,” a recent History Channel special that has been released on DVD by A&E Home Entertainment. The hour-hour documentary was produced by a CBS subsidiary — CBS Eye Too Productions — under the supervision of executive producers Margery Baker-Riker […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Narcissism then (1976) and now

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It’s probably hard for younger people to believe, but there was a time — not all all that long ago — when it was novel to see a film or TV documentary in which real narcissists showed off in front of cameras. Now TV is full of “reality” programming in which everyone from “housewives” in […] [Read More]
Categories: General

What becomes a legend most?

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Do you talk about the work or the life? That’s the question that seems to come up every time a major show biz figure dies. I heard the Rev. Al Sharpton on the radio this morning complaining that the press has been dredging up all of the gossip about Michael Jackson since he died two […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Coming: ‘Smash Cut’

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Sandra Brown is both amazingly prolific and totally reliable — once a year, the novelist produces a thriller that is almost guaranteed to be a winner. “Smash Cut” (Simon & Schuster) won’t be in stores until August 11, but I am happy to report that it is one of Brown’s best books — a terrific […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Where did those three girls (and their teacher) go?

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Last night in Waterford, fireworks started going off just a few minutes before the end of the final performance of “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” the new musical drama by Daniel Zaitchik (above). The loud sounds outside proved to be only a temporary distraction for the full house that had gathered in a barn on the […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The ups and downs of Michael Mann

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It’s hard to believe that the man who directed “The Insider” (1999) and “Heat” (1995) would be capable of making something as misguided — and as painful to sit through — as the new John Dillinger bio-pic, “Public Enemies.” Then again, until I consulted his imdb listing this morning, I had completely forgotten that Michael […] [Read More]
Categories: General

A master entertainer

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  Elinor Lipman’s tenth novel, “The Family Man” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is a Manhattan-set charmer about a happily settled single gay man named Henry Archer whose life is upended when he decides to reconnect with his grown stepdaughter. Two decades earlier, Henry was closeted and briefly married to the zany Denise — a recent divorcee with a […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The prime of Patricia Clarkson

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Although work for many female movie actors starts to disappear as they head north of 40, Patricia Clarkson has been defying the odds for the past decade, with an unusually varied filmography that includes some of the best parts she has played since her screen debut in “The Untouchables” in 1987. The Yale Drama School […] [Read More]
Categories: General