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How long since you’ve seen “On the Waterfront”? I just had the privilege of screening it again on the big screen at The Bedford Playhouse, and after nearly seven decades this brilliant film holds up extraordinarily well. It is, in fact, a masterpiece- a term I rarely invoke.


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During the bleakest days of the Great Depression, screwball comedies gave struggling Americans vital relief and escape. These films skewered the upper class, which seemed only fitting, while simultaneously giving audiences the vicarious thrill of experiencing life on easy street, among high society.

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Many of us have lost someone we love way too soon. After the initial shock and grief recede somewhat, the prevailing feeling (at least for me) is waste. Wasted opportunity. What more could that person have done with his or her life? I feel it too with famous names in the arts who left us way too soon.


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Given the reverence for Hitchcock’s 1958 masterpiece today, people are often surprised to learn that on release, “Vertigo” was a bit of a dud, barely recouping its costs and generating only mixed reviews. This tangled tale of murder and obsession may simply have been too twisted for Eisenhower-era audiences to accept.


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With this year’s Oscars just days away, in the media and around the water cooler we engage in the recurring debate about which films deserve to win, and which, in fact, will.

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With the 91st Academy Awards upon us, the time feels right to recognize the crucial role that movies have played in our lives, particularly in troubled times.

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Previously obscured in my hazy memory, 1994 comes back like lightning when I review the happenings of that year. Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president. O.J. Simpson took us on the most famous ride ever in that white Bronco. Creating the ultimate rock and roll union, Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley. Kurt Cobain committed suicide.

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Though the western has always been a durable (and distinctly American) genre, only six western titles appear on the American Film institute’s list of top 100 films. One of them is a personal favorite, 1953’s “Shane.”

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2016 was a very good year for Isabelle Huppert. The then-63 year-old actress scored a hit in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” about a successful businesswoman being stalked. The film earned her an Oscar nod for Best Actress, which was fabulous but also made me wonder what took so long.


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I remember my first sighting of Bruce Willis in a TV series called “Moonlighting”  back in 1985. I liked him right away, and I knew a lot of other people did too. Part of what creates a star is the degree to which an audience identifies with his or her essential character. Watching Willis (with hair!) play the wisecracking private eye David Addison, I had a moment of recognition.  I actually felt I’d met this guy. I even saw a bit of myself in him.

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