Author: Howard L. Morgan

Five Came Back

“Five Came Back” is a new Netflix series exploring the World War II films made by five key Hollywood directors, as told by the top directors of today. It shows what John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Huston and …Read More

Becoming Warren Buffett

HBO has just released a 90-minute documentary about Warren Buffett that has more personal information than I’ve really found in the many books I’ve read about him. They were able to have him, Munger, his children, Bill and Melinda Gates …Read More

Timna

I never really thought of Israeli food as imaginative, but apparently the food scene in Tel Aviv has been booming. And now we can enjoy very creative Mediterranean food in New York. Timna is in the super-hip East Village at …Read More

Holiday Inn

While the plot may be as insipid as most of the musical films of the ’30s and ’40s, the singing, tap dancing and Irving Berlin songs make this an enjoyably light evening of hokey entertainment. Given the choice to add …Read More

A Man Called Ove

  I loved Frank Backman’s book, which I read a year or so ago, about this quirky, rigid Swedish widower, and how his life gets turned around. The movie is both faithful to the book and yet better in some …Read More

The Perfume Collector

Kathleen Tessaro’s “The Perfume Collector” is a engaging novel about a young English wife whose world is turned upside down as she is told about an inheritance in Paris. Flashing back between New York in the 1920s, Paris pre-and during …Read More

The Night Manager

AMC’s new six-part adaptation of John Le Carre’s book is terrific television. In “The Night Manager,” Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Angela Burr each play characters that are both tortured and well-fleshed out. The plot itself is a classic tangled …Read More

On Your Feet!

“On Your Feet!” has us on ours. It’s a really feel good show about the life of Gloria Estefan, with “Conga” being the centerpiece, closing Act I and opening Act II. The audience is up and dancing with the cast …Read More

Vaucluse

Michael White’s new French restaurant, Vaucluse, at 63rd and Park in the old Park Avenue Autumn space (or do I mean winter) has become a go-to place for us. It’s convenient and we’ve now had six excellent meals, with only …Read More

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes)

  Thanks to the IRL (In Real Life, as opposed to Virtual) recommendation of fellow VDP member Joshua Ruch, the Morgans and Trosts went to see “Wild Tales” at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema this weekend. This Argentinian gem, written and …Read More

Red Notice

I read a lot of thrillers, espionage and crime novels each year, but this non-fiction story by Bill Browder of the lengths the Russian oligarchs and Putin went through to fight Browder’s Hermitage Fund, resulting in the death of one …Read More

Bosch

  As a longtime fan of Michael Connelly’s Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch detective books, I was excited to see that Amazon Studios had put out a 10-episode version of a few of the books. Some of the teleplays are actually written …Read More

Gangsterland

By Tod Goldberg. After killing 3 FBI agents in the first pages of this book, Chicago hit man Sal is spirited out to Las Vegas, where he is given a new identity as a reform Rabbi. Sounds a bit of …Read More

Birdman

  The 10am showing had an almost full theater, which is almost unheard of for a movie that’s not focused on teenage boys with lots of things getting blown up. But it was for good reason — Birdman is a …Read More

Dirty French

The Torrisi brothers have done it again — great food with lots of imagination. The Trosts and Morgans headed down to Houston and Ludlow Streets last night to try the food at Dirty French, a Moroccan and New Orleans-influenced French …Read More

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    We saw the show last night on Broadway in the last week of previews. I had read the various VDP reviews of the London production (and its HD telecast). I had also read and loved the book a …Read More

Get On Up

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is brilliantly portrayed by Chadwick Boseman (who played Jackie Robinson in 42) in the new biopic Get On Up. The film moves back and forth in time, with many psychological flashbacks that give tremendous …Read More

I Am Pilgrim

This is a terrific summer read for mystery/thriller fans. Terry Hayes, the writer of the Mad Max films and many TV shows,has ventured into novel form with this long page turner. Scott Murdoch, the antihero, a former member of the …Read More

Here Lies Love

Here Lies Love is a wonderfully creative musical based on the life of Imelda Marcos. David Byrne and Fatboy Slim are not Rodgers and Hammerstein, but they’ve come up with something very powerful. Don’t expect shoes, although the gowns are …Read More

Chef

The cast of Chef is so high-powered that you expect something deep. But while it never gets to those heights, it is a thoroughly entertaining movie, pairing a single dad and his son on a road trip in a taco …Read More

Sweeney Todd, The New York Philharmonic

Though not a member or patron, I’ve been to the New York Philharmonic twice in the last week (both times with Ron Trost, who is a patron), and was stunned by the versatility of the great symphony orchestra and conductor …Read More

House of Cards, Season 2

OK, I couldn’t parcel it out, as Kevin Spacey had suggested on several talk shows this week. I went through all 13 new episodes on Netflix this week, and am glad I did. It’s easier to keep all the subplots …Read More

(Gastronomic) Letter from Los Angeles

We’re on our annual five weeks in Los Angeles, and the restaurant scene is the best since we’ve been coming here in 1967. Hinoki & the Bird is an Asian fusion-influenced place in Century City. We had lots of small …Read More

Nebraska

Had a weekend movie binge of “Nebraska,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” Of the three, the one that sticks is “Nebraska.” It’s a brilliant film, and much wittier than I had expected. Bruce Dern and June …Read More

Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Having seen a bunch of mediocre jukebox musicals in the past six months (After Midnight excepted), my expectations were not all that high. But this musical, which opens officially Jan. 12th, was spectacular — easily the best thing I’ve seen …Read More

The American Songbook 24/7 Commercial Free

For the lovers of the old standards, performed by Sinatra, Ella, Tony, Nat, Duke, Oscar and many, many more, these performances are available on WNYC’s brand new “The Jonathan Channel.” Programmed and hosted by long-time New York iconic disc jockey, …Read More

Betony Restaurant

C’mon, Pete (as in Wells, New York Times). Three Stars? For Chickpea Panisse, Mangalitsa Ham, Broccoli (snack, $11), or Foie Gras, Hot or Cold under a crisp kale leaf (appetizer, $28), or Poached Golden Tile Fish, Celery Potato (main course, …Read More

Gravity

As a space nut who has flown on three ZeroG flights, I had to see this in IMAX 3D. And it didn’t disappoint at all. Two characters (Clooney and Bullock), space emergency, and some clever thinking, interspersed with amazing CGI …Read More

Wadjda

This would be a terrific film from any director, but coming from Haifaa Al-Mansour, a Saudi Arabian female writer/director, who had to direct the film from a trailer because she couldn’t give orders to the men on the crew face …Read More

Salinger

“Salinger” is a superb documentary that gave me new insights into J. D. Salinger’s life, character, and the future of his writings. Writer/director Shane Salerno (“Armageddon,” a new sequel to “Avatar”) spent $2 million of his own money and nine …Read More

Letter from Messina

We stopped in Messina, Italy, and were debating the many tours offered by our Seabourn cruise. Instead of following in the footsteps of the Godfather, or going back to Taormina, we decided to just walk into the center of town …Read More

Letter from Isle of Capri, Restaurant Aurora

We had never been to the Isle of Capri, but we now understand its enduring appeal. Aside from the beauty, and the beautiful people, we had at Aurora the best pasta we’ve ever tasted. On a tiny shopping street in …Read More

Blue Jasmine

I’m sure there’ll soon be several reviews of this, and if the VDP readers are like the foursome I saw this movie with, there’ll be lots of opinions. First, the acting. Cate Blanchett gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the Ruth …Read More

I Sodi

I Sodi is a very good neighborhood Italian on Christopher Street. We really enjoyed their pastas and the artichokes — both in an artichoke salad and in their fried artichokes. The cornish hen under a brick was fine, but their …Read More

On the Town

The Berkshire Stages just had a four-week revival of “On The Town,” directed by John Rando, who revived it for Encores a few years ago. This was a very lusty version that got justifiably great reviews in the New York …Read More