DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
2013
Dec
27
 
 
What a great end-of-year TV present! If you’re averse to shelling out big bucks for the spectacular, recently issued complete-series DVD set of Breaking Bad, here’s the next best, much cheaper thing. Beginning at noon ET, AMC is presenting a marathon showing of the entire series, start to finish. And if you’ve never seen this series (shame on you!), you have to start with the opening scene of episode one. That’s what sold me on the series in the first place – a bril
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
27
 
 
Amy Adams is appearing in two movies in theaters right now – playing a sultry con artist in American Hustle and a lovelorn documentary filmmaker in Her. Those roles are poles apart, and they’re both very different from her starring role in this 2007 Disney film, a charming comedy about an animated fairy-tale princess who emerges, magically, into the real world, in modern-day Manhattan. She’s fabulous in the role, from her very first appearance, and whether singing, dancing, swo
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
27
 
 
This 1942 Orson Welles movie is being presented tonight as part of TCM’s salute to Hollywood costume designers – but any excuse to catch The Magnificent Ambersons is a good one. Even though Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane was taken out of his hands and shaped and edited by others before its release, what remains is another compelling piece of filmmaking. Joseph Cotton, Agnes Moorehead, Anne Baxter star.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
27
 
 
SERIES FINALE: This series never registered as much more than occasionally diverting action fare on a slow Friday TV night – but Melinda Clarke, as the ruthless trainer-turned-enemy of Maggie Q’s Nikita, certainly injected Nikita with bits of flair and fun. For tonight’s series finale, expect a womano y womano showdown, as Nikita finally confronts Clark’s Amanda face to face. Although, since Amanda has been dabbling with lookalike double agents of late, who knows whose fa
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
27
 
 
As Stephen Sondheim does in HBO’s Six by Sondheim, composer Marvin Hamlisch here, in vintage film and TV clips, explains himself and his music and motivations better than anyone else. Though, in both cases, the “anyone else” group includes some of the biggest luminaries in Broadway and Hollywood. (Here, the roster includes Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Quincy Jones, and Christopher Walken.) Hamlisch, who died in 2012, scored hugely by composing A Chorus Line for Broadway, repo
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
26
 
 
Here’s an offer you shouldn’t refuse: The two best Godfather movies, the original 1972 film and its brilliant 1974 sequel, shown back to back. You can almost smell the meat sauce simmering. Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, James Caan – what a cast. What a set of films. Francis Ford Coppola directs, delivering the best gangster movies ever, period.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
26
 
 
Bruce Dern, after a film career that stretches back over 50 years, is riding high right now with Oscar talk for his fabulous work in the current film Nebraska. Both he and his daughter Laura also have done fantastic recent work on HBO – he as the bitter dad Frank Harlow on Big Love, she as the driven and redefined Amy Jellicoe of Enlightened. Tonight, in this new edition, James Lipton interviews them both. Expect him to hit all the highlights – including Alfred Hitchcock’s Fami
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
26
 
 
Ben Stiller’s vastly reimagined version of the classic James Thurber story, co-starring Kristen Wiig, is in theaters now – so now is a smart time for TCM to present the 1947 version, starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo, which stuck much closer to the intentionally restrictive confines of the original story. That story, by the way, was first published in The New Yorker in 1939, eight years before Kaye’s movie was made.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
26
 
 
Earlier this year, NBC News presented a prime-time special on vampires in popular culture, just to promote the same-night premiere of its new Dracula series. I gave that the worst show of the year award on Fresh Air, but at least it was promoting one of its own programs. Tonight, ABC News devotes two hours to an attempt to ride the wave of a popular program from a competitor: PBS’s Downton Abbey. I suppose, though, you can’t blame ABC for not trying to cash in on its own hit shows. I
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
26
 
 
Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence’s new workplace comedy pairs star Skylar Astin, as Brody, with guest star Anna Camp, making it a mini-reunion from when they played a couple in the musical movie Pitch Perfect. They’re an off-screen couple as well, and tonight’s plot has them engaging in a karaoke war with Brody’s friends. One example: the two of them performing a duet of Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time.” Meanwhile, I continue to marvel at