With heavy inspiration drawn from movies like Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, Nicholas Jarecki’s Crisis takes a look at America’s addiction to opioids via three separate stories and makes as effective a statement as Mr. Garrison when he tells the kids of South Park, “Drugs are bad, m’kay.” Even with an A-list cast, and an intriguing setup,…

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Allow me to state this upfront: In Lady Sings the Blues (1972; director, Sidney J. Furie), Diana Ross gives a colossal performance as troubled jazz singer Billie “Lady Day” Holiday (1914-1959). But for Ross, the film would be a garden-variety showbiz bio-drama—a solid depiction of Holiday’s drug woes and the segregated times in which she…

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There have been so many tales of adolescence and teenage portraits of sexual and social mores than most people can shake a leg with. However, only a few of them manage to age well and provide a certain of relevancy and real-world humanity. Joyce Chopra’s strangely lyrical 1985 portrait Smooth Talk, is definitely one of…

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Previously an exclusive from Time Life, the landmark variety show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series is now available at retail locations.  The 37-disc set presents 140 unedited episodes that aired over six seasons from January 22, 1968 to March 12, 1973. As I mentioned in my review of The Complete First Season, “The…

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