DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

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MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

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MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
2013
Dec
7
 
 
This James Cameron movie was released in 2009, launching a new boom in theaters showing 3-D movies. Almost five years later, we can ask whether that enthusiasm was a bit misguided in the long run – but in the short run, Avatar is quite a good-looking, ambitious fantasy film.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
7
 
 
Just in case you missed this telemovie’s recent premiere: Here’s a worthy repeat of a very smart, quite intriguing docudrama, about the committee formed to investigate the Challenger disaster. William Hurt stars as Richard Feynman, and gives a likably persistent, admirably authentic performance.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
7
 
 
Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, this 2008 movie is a superb example of just what an original thinker Kaufman is. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a regional theater director from Schenectady, NY who gets a MacArthur Genius grant, and uses it to finance an ambitious rehearsal space in New York City. He begins painstakingly recreating buildings, blocks and the lives of his cast members – and what that has to do with the word “synecdoche,” well, that’s part of the tw
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
7
 
 
Someone tell Sarah: The musical guest on tonight’s new edition of SNL is One Direction. Paul Rudd hosts.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
6
 
 
This 2001 Cameron Crowe film is based on a 1997 Spanish film called Open Your Eyes (well, Abre los Ojos, anyway). Both of them – the original Spanish film and the Hollywood remake – feature Penelope Cruz, but the other primary stars are replaced for the English-language adaptation. For Vanilla Sky, Cruz’s co-stars are Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. But in both versions, it’s a very unsettling and unpredictable story.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
6
 
 
A week ago, I was complaining about the appearance of Christmas TV specials in prime time, showing up the day after Thanksgiving. A week later, though, I may as well give up. So here’s a very vintage repeat, of a 1969 animated adventure narrated by Jimmy Durante, and featuring some of the voices very familiar to those of us who wallowed in everything Bullwinkle.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
6
 
 
This 1932 Josef von Sternberg movie, starring Marlene Dietrich as a risqué German entertainer, is a wild, wild movie even 80 years later. Even Cary Grant, as the young, wide-eyed target of her flirtations and machinations, seems a bit stunned as to how to react to her. And wouldn’t you, if the singer you were attracted to made a stage entrance doing a strip tease as a gorilla – stripping off her gorilla costume to become a white Afro-wigged warrior princess?
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
6
 
 
Another Christmas offering – this time the 2000 live-action movie, staring Jim Carrey as the green-faced Grinch.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
6
 
 
Last night, NBC mounted a live production of The Sound of Music. Monday, HBO is presenting a new biographical and music-filled tribute to Stephen Sondheim. And tonight, to keep that musical theater ball rolling, MGM HD – one of the best places to watch this kind of ultra-widescreen presentation – is televising the 1961 movie version of West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Sondheim. Natalie Wood stars.  
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
5
 
 
Last week’s prime-time special, introducing viewers to the casting and rehearsal process in bringing this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic to television, did a great job of promotion, stressing the point of just how high-risk, and exciting, a live TV premiere is bound to be. And here it comes. At one point in TV’s history, everything was presented this way – but tonight, a live musical, starring Carrie Underwood and featuring Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti, is an absolute rari