It’s All True: The Best of the New York Film Festival

The New York Film Festival got real this year: Nearly every one of its most anxiously awaited entries explored true-life stories we thought we knew, but really didn’t.   Bridge of Spies At a panel discussion before the premiere screening of Steven Spielberg’s taut — and true-life — Cold War drama, Tom Hanks recalled how he and costar Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall), who plays accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel, did some impromptu prep work for the New York shoot: “I …

Weekend: Three Stories of Survival

In theaters this weekend: Three people walk their own personal tightropes. At home: Men (and a woman) of action.   Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice     The Martian NASA’s announcement this week that there’s flowing water on Mars would have been good news for Mark Watney (Matt Damon), the NASA astronaut stranded on the Red Planet in director Ridley Scott’s instant sci-fi classic. Damon’s as endearing as ever as the guy who coolly MacGyvers his way through one crisis after another. …

Weekend: De Niro Triggers Guffaws; Blunt Grabs Her Gun

In theaters this weekend: A cool workplace comedy; a searing cop drama. At home: a classic cult musical; a timeless story of young love.   Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice   The Intern Robert DeNiro is perfect as a 70-year-old retiree who attacks his boredom by enlisting in a “senior intern” program at a hip online-fashion company. The experienced newcomer has a lot to teach the young whippersnappers — especially company founder Anne Hathaway, scrambling to keep her footing in the office and …

Jackie Collins: The Woman Knew from Fame!

Best-selling novelist Jackie Collins, who died September 19 at age 77, lived in a Beverly Hills mansion and frequented Hollywood’s toniest hot spots, collecting dish for her sex- and scandal-filled chronicles of Tinseltown’s rich and famous, notably Hollywood Wives. But Collins was just as likely to be spotted at a local Rite Aid or Target store. Shortly before her last novel, The Santangelos, came out in June, Collins came out to me about her surprisingly down-to-earth tastes: Writing is so …

This Weekend, a Gallery of Demons at the Movies

In theaters, a criminal sociopath, a paranoid chess champ and a murderous mountain await. At home, two cinematic portraits explore the ups and downs of genius.   Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice     Black Mass Johnny Depp re-emerges as one of our best actors with his exquisitely calibrated performance as James “Whitey” Bulger, the small-time Boston hood who became a big deal with the unwitting help of the FBI. As his G-man handler, Joel Edgerton seems too easily corrupted; we wish …

Dancing Again With the (50+) Stars

When Season 21 of Dancing With the Stars premieres tonight, it will feature three celebrity contestants 60 or older. It’s another smart casting call by ABC execs, who are well aware that last year’s median age for DWTS viewers was 61.6. Chaka Khan, 62 (right), Gary Busey, 71, and Paula Deen, 68, are the latest in a long line of age-50-plus stars the TV network has tapped to keep Dancing a top-rated show. (Donny Osmond won in 2009 at age 51; …