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
22
 
 
Another few hours of prime-time weekday TV to fill – and, on this night, another compilation of Saturday Night Live holiday clips, this time tied to Christmas. That means, of course, a cornucopia of singing trios, Schweddy Balls, and, of course, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon as the dueling “wrappers” from Wrappinville.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
22
 
 
I know. This powerful but grim 2013 drama, about a free northern black man’s descent into slavery in the antebellum southern states, isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy holiday fare. But it’s the best movie shown tonight anywhere on TV, so it deserves mention. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
22
 
 
This movie must have been seen by Aaron Sorkin dozens of times, because it’s the unofficial template for the way his characters talk in anything he writes. Every character. But that’s not an insult or even necessarily a criticism, because glib dialogue doesn’t get any glibber than this. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell star as cynical newspaper co-workers, in this cleverly reworked version of Ben Hecht’s The Front Page.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
22
 
 
Having a guy dress as Santa Claus to pull off a robbery isn’t very original, much less sporting, for the Christmas holidays. But in this new Major Crimes episode, having him organize the heist so that he gets to escape by blending into a Santa-costume flash mob – that’s a modern twist worth noting.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
22
 
 
Craig Ferguson, sporting a liberated, Mohawk-y ‘do, stood on his anchor desk and left us with a joyous, Proclaimers-like, jump-up-and-dance anthem. Would that CBS had given him a band ages ago, that was a stompin’ good way to go out...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
21
 
 
Last night, NBC repeated its 2013 Sound of Music Live! television adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical, starring Carrie Underwood. Tonight, ABC trumps that, and wins the holiday pot, by rebroadcasting the 1965 movie version of that same Broadway musical. This one, of course, stars Julie Andrews, and doesn’t require a spoonful of sugar to swallow it. It arrives plenty sweet enough as is.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
21
 
 
In this fact-based 2013 war drama, four Navy SEALS are stuck in the mountains of Afghanistan, isolated from reinforcements, when their routine-sounding mission devolves into an unexpected battle against a veritable army of Taliban fighters. Peter Berg directed and is co-writer, and the stars include Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch. The latter, of course, worked with Berg before, on the TV version of Friday Night Lights. But don’t get too attached to both of these leading roles, because the
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
21
 
 
Here’s an exciting new occasional offering from TCM: dipping into the Disney vault for vintage treasures, just like they used to do on The Mickey Mouse Show. Tonight’s dip into the Disney archives begins at 8 p.m. ET with a trio of vintage shorts, starting with 1932’s Santa’s Workshop. At 8:30 p.m. ET comes 1954’s The Disneyland Story, the preview for the still-under-construction California theme park, which opened Disney’s cannily cross-promotional ABC series
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
21
 
 
SEASON FINALE: You’ve got to give credit to this season’s villain, Haqqani, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but with the right human shield to protect him. First it was Saul, whose presence prevented Haqqani from being obliterated by a bomb strike. Then, last week, it was Carrie, whose presence at the scene of Quinn’s planned bombing of Haqqani’s vehicle allowed him to drive away unscathed from that potential assassination as well. But the person Carrie sa
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Dec
21
 
 
SEASON FINALE: Whether you watch this season finale depends upon how drawn you’ve been by the interlocking, often contradictory love story that, by tonight’s episode, takes back seat to a detective story. Whether the questions are answered to your satisfaction will depend – on both what you’re expecting, and how the show delivers.