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

 
 
2014
Dec
6
 
 
Once ubiquitous, now a TV rarity: Here’s 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life, brought back by NBC for one of its now twice-annual holiday prime-time telecasts. Hi, Bert! Hi, Ernie!
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
6
 
 
This 1966 film was scheduled by TCM to run on this date, long before the sudden death of its director, Mike Nichols. Subsequently, though, TCM has altered tonight’s lineup to add two more Nichols films to its lineup, making this a must-see and appreciate TV triple-header. First up: Nichols’ first film crossing over from stage director to movie director, and with an incendiary cast: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
6
 
 
MINISERIES CONCLUSION: Katie Leung stars as a woman of Chinese heritage, adopted at birth by a British man and his American wife, who learns as a young woman that the brother – a sibling she never knew she had – is on trial for murder back in China, facing execution.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
6
 
 
This 1967 movie had a huge impact on me when I first saw it as a teenager, and I still see it as a near-perfect film – maybe a perfect one – about youth, alienation, ennui and the generation gap. I love the Simon & Garfunkel music, too, especially the guitar bits Paul Simon composed and performed expressly for the film score (as at the gas station, on the way to the wedding). And Nichols is so subtle as a director that sometimes it takes repeated viewings to realize that the film
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
6
 
 
For this new episode – episode eight of Season 40, to be precise – the scheduled guest host is James Franco, and the musical guest is Nicki Minaj.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
6
 
 
There are interesting parallels to be made, if you care to make them, between this 1971 drama directed by Mike Nichols and another of his movies, 2004's Closer. Both focus on four characters with intertwined love lives, and very complicated and emotional reactions to every act of love or betrayal. In Carnal Knowledge, the stars are Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Candice Bergen and Ann-Margret – and for the time, both the subject matter and the on-screen action were considered very mature i
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
5
 
 
This concert tribute was filmed in 2013 at a MusiCares Person of the Year celebration honoring Bruce Springsteen. The performers and performances include “I’m on Fire” by Mumford and Sons, “Streets of Philadelphia” by Elton John, “Born in the U.S.A.” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and, for the multi-song finale, Springsteen and his E Street Band taking the stage. Jon Stewart hosts. Check local listings.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
5
 
 
Idris Elba, who burst to prominence as Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire, then as the titular star of Luther, has the imposing, inspirational title role in this 2014 biographical film. The film follows Nelson Mandela from his early childhood to his long incarceration, and his eventual ascension to the democratically elected president of South Africa.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
5
 
 
MINISERIES PREMIERE: Another miniseries co-production by Sundance and the BBC, this two-night, four-hour drama (concluding tomorrow) stars Katie Leung as a woman suddenly confronting her past, a family she never knew, and a system of justice that’s literally foreign to her. It’s a story of clashing cultures: Leung’s Mei is of Chinese heritage, adopted at birth by a British man and his American wife, who learns as a young woman that her brother – a sibling she never knew s
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
5
 
 
SERIES FINALE: For this concluding edition of Dave Grohl’s musical mystery tour, the Foo Fighters front man takes his band to New York City, where the musical history is almost laughably extensive and inclusive. This hour, too, is inclusive, covering everything from Tin Pan Alley to Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys.