2014thrillerfest2

ThrillerFest IX: terrific gathering of star writers & fans

on
What a pleasure it was to attend ThrillerFest at the Grand Hyatt in New York City over the weekend. This ninth edition of the annual gathering of the International Thriller Writers organization came off without a hitch, combining three days of seminars for aspiring writers, with two days of terrific panels where fans of the […] [Read More]
Categories: General
hammer

The B-movie studio that baby boomer kids loved 50 years ago

on
When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s, I didn’t really know one movie studio from another, with the single exception of Hammer Films. The Hammer label always meant horror movies that went a little further than standard Hollywood fare. The British company specialized in re-tellings of classic horror stories such as “Dracula” and […] [Read More]
Categories: General
marple2

Bad movies we love: Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple

on
The four movies that Margaret Rutherford made in the early 1960s as the Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth Miss Marple suffer from low-rent production values, cheesy recycled music and plots that have almost nothing to do with the Christie novels that are cited as source material. Indeed, the great Agatha herself felt the movies trashed her […] [Read More]
Categories: General
leegrant

#FridayReads ‘I Said Yes to Everything’ by Lee Grant

on
Some of the gossipy stuff in the new Lee Grant memoir has already been skimmed off in various newspaper columns and on entertainment websites — an affair with Warren Beatty while making “Shampoo,” a druggy TV shoot with Farrah Fawcett — but “I Said Yes to Everything” (Blue Rider Press) is much more substantive than […] [Read More]
Categories: General
thirdperson

‘Third Person’: variations on a theme

on
Writer-director Paul Haggis makes a high stakes gamble in his latest film, “Third Person,” building the whole narrative around the idea that we won’t learn what is really going on in a very complicated plot until the end. The withholding storytelling approach has paid off in hit thrillers with genuine twist endings — “No Way […] [Read More]
Categories: General
blank

Rent it now: when artists thrived in a down-and-out Manhattan

on
A fascinating documentary, “Blank City,” shows how the terrible financial and physical state of Manhattan 35 years ago led to an incredibly fervent pop music and alternative film scene that continued into the mid-1980s. Just when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and The New York Daily News was running its infamous headline […] [Read More]
Categories: General
endtimes1

Summer slump or beginning of end times at the multiplex?

on
The video store disappeared over the past decade and drive-in movies bit the dust long before that, but could the multiplex be on its way out too? Wait, you say, seeing movies in theaters has been a part of American culture for more than 100 years. How could that institution, that habit go away? (Tell […] [Read More]
Categories: General
guilttrip1

‘Have a Nice Guilt Trip’: Dueling Bombecks

on
Those two very good arguments for the survival of newspapers — Philadelphia Inquirer columnists Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella — are back with a fifth collection of essays from the Sunday edition of the venerable daily publication. Scottoline, who is as Philadelphian as you can get, started “Chick Wit” as a sideline to her enormously […] [Read More]
Categories: General