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Jerry Seinfeld was about to do a standup gig at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. So we were on the phone talking.I asked the adamant sitcom retiree about his old partner and “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David, who was then starring in everyone’s favorite whine-and-kvetch fest, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Everybody but everybody was talking about Larry David back then.Do the boys …

Any thoughts that a second Percy Jackson and the Olympians film would drag Rick Riordan’s “Greek Godchildren” franchise out of the shadow of Harry Potter are dashed the moment Percy and his “half-blood” friends pile into a supernatural taxi in “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.”The cab may be driven by the three haggling, wisecracking Graeae of Greek myth – blind women with …

Actor Ryan Gosling and Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn first collaborated in 2011 with “Drive,” a bloody but ambitious film with a brilliant 10-minute opening sequence bathed in shadows and nearly devoid of dialogue. Critics admired the film and it drew respectable box-office numbers for its $15 million budget. The duo was the buzz of the film world.When something wo…

Movies

Did Walter Cronkite say a word that – as Seinfeld fans recall – is a female body part that rhymes with a woman’s name on the nightly news? After all, a clip in the film “Lovelace” shows us that Cronkite did indeed report on “Deep Throat,” the infamous 1972 pornographic film smash that became a punch line for Johnny Carson and Bob Hope, and provided a suitable pseudonym for…

Gusto

My hopes couldn’t have been higher. But “Elysium” is the major disappointment of the movie summer.It’s by no means a bad film, mind you, only a movie that doesn’t begin to stack up to what it could have been – and should have been.Anyone who saw Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi horror film “District 9” had every reason to anticipate gleefully a new film by the man who made the wild…

Movies

“Planes” is a pleasant surprise.Not a huge one, that’s for sure. So no, it isn’t even close to the caliber of film that one might think belongs with those a few years ago that made us wonder if computer animation hadn’t put us into a Golden Age of Animation. And yes, this movie, then, is many miles away from masterpieces like “Wall-E,” “Up” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” …

Featured

The trailer for “We’re the Millers,” a late summer comedy offering starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston, is misleading. It promises familiar comedy staples in the form of “hapless criminal” capers and “awkward virgin” jokes, as well as, of course, one or two stripteases from Aniston. And the movie delivers all this. But what the trailer doesn’t show – and what the …

Movies

“Byzantium” owes more to the both endearing and creepy Swedish vampire art film “Let the Right One In,” and its American remake, than to “Interview with the Vampire,” Irish director Neil Jordan’s 1994 Hollywood adaptation of Anne Rice’s best seller, and his last foray into the popular bloodsucking genre.What “Byzantium,” opening Friday, shares most is a perennial teenager …

Movies

“This Is Martin Bonner” is a film for people who love well-told short stories and poetry that hits its mark. It is a film for people who want to be invested in the characters on the screen, not just blown away by or blown up with them.Writer/director Chad Hartigan has made a non-action movie about two men in their middle years who, for different reasons, are starting all o…

Featured

Two guns, my foot.By the time, “Two Guns” is over, you’ve seen and heard a great deal more than just the two guns wielded by our semi-heroes, who are played by the redoubtable Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.But then you knew that. All that anticipated bulletry and boom and bash is why you’re probably tempted to go. We are, after all, not talking about guns and bullets…

“I’m So Excited” is a puzzle. It’s already understandably considered director Pedro Almodovar’s worst film by many European critics, but it’s the way it’s bad that is so confounding.One might have expected after making such films as “Talk to Her,” “All About My Mother” and “Volver,” that Almodovar’s early days as a pure camp jokester with a taste for lollipop visuals were …

Gusto

Get yourself into a Smurfy frame of mind, hum a few notes of “The Smurf Song” and try to remember your cartoon-watching primary school years. Cross your fingers that actors Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays and Brendan Gleeson will find something funny to do.Nevermind. Filled with Smurf wholesomeness, Smurf puns and posi-Smurf messages about never giving up “on …

Buffalo

Locations around the south end of Pearl Street in downtown Buffalo provided the settings Monday as “The American Side” began filming in Western New York.Eden native Greg Stuhr, co-writer and star of the movie, joined others from the cast and crew at Police Headquarters, the Dun Building and a nearby diner for scenes in the low-budget detective story. Actors whose names are…

Movies

“To be, or not” ... let’s make it “To slash, or not to slash.” Because this latest X-Men movie is a lot more existential than recent installments in this comic book series have been.“The Wolverine,” opening Friday, is nothing if not ambitious – a moody, haunted tale of Logan the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) coping with his ghosts and settling old debts – in Japan, no less. It’…

Featured

You see one of the cellphone recordings of the murder of Oscar Grant III at the very beginning of Ryan Coogler’s raw and exceptional “Fruitvale Station.” The very last second of the footage has been lopped off.The transit cop who killed the New Year’s Eve celebrant claimed that Grant resisted arrest and made a suspicious move. And that, from about 20 yards away, is what we…