Last Call at James Gandolfini’s Brooklyn Bar

Two first-rate grownup films are well worth separate trips to the multiplex this weekend. If you’re in a stay-at-home mood, catch up with a classic 1960s musical or a 1970s music-concert series on DVD.   The Drop More than a year after James Gandolfini’s death, his final film (based on the Dennis Lehane short story “Animal Rescue”) presents the star in the type of role that defined his career: a crusty, dangerous, yet somehow lovable thug. He plays Marv, who …

Death Becomes Downton: It’s Still Great

Who needs Matthew Crawley? That may be the question lingering in the minds of Downton Abbey fans after Sunday’s dishy two-hour season premiere on PBS stations.  The opening episode of Season Four was a welcome return to form – that being high class soap opera – and it reversed most of the sluggishness that accompanied the final episodes of Season Three. Picking up six months after Downton heir and resident hunk Matthew Crawley’s (Dan Stevens) stunning death-by-automobile-crash in the finale of …

Stiff Upper Lips Rejoice: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returns

The holidays are over, but to an awful lot of TV viewers Downton Abbey creator/writer Julian Fellowes is Santa Claus and this weekend’s season premiere is their most anticipated Christmas present of the year. Of course, Fellowes did leave fans with a rather unpleasant lump of coal at the end of last year’s finale.  We’d all been tipped that a major character was going to go to that great Afternoon Tea in the Sky, but virtually no one was prepared …

Quartet: A Movies For Grownups Video Review

Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera to direct his first movie, the warmly wonderful comedy Quartet. In this week’s video review and clips, Bill Newcott marvels at how Hoffman lets his veteran cast do what they do best.   Photo: Kerry Brown/The Weinstein Company

Hey Oscar, You Forgot Something!

  I’m confused. This was a great year for Movies for Grownups. Some of them even made a ton of money. So why is the  85th annual Oscar nominations list such a mixed bag for grownup movie lovers? On one hand, it’s nice to see Amour-a powerful French film about the undying love of an 80-something couple-nominated for Best Picture (and also Foreign Film, which may be a first). And Argo, Les Misérables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark …

‘Downton’s’ Season 3 Brings Later in Life Love, Match-up of Matriarchs and More

“Downton Abbey’s” third season rolls out Sunday (Jan. 6) with a fresh batch of episodes that, judging by the first five, are as savory and delicious as ever.  Yes, Shirley MacLaine is aboard as rich, social climbing New Yorker Martha Levinson, mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).  And, yes, her scenes with Dame Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess Violet Crawley are all fans heard and hoped they would be — a new defining moment in the Anglo American special relationship, class versus crass …