The Men Who’ve Played Mandela

In any other year, the British actor Idris Elba would be on the short list of possible Best Actor nominees for his towering performance in the new film Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Tracing Nelson Mandela’s life from his start as a 1950s apartheid opponent through his long imprisonment to his ultimate rise as president of South Africa, Elba displays a range as wide as the experience of the man he portrays. But this is the year of Chewitel …

Movies for Grownups Weekend Preview Sept 6

The week after Labor Day is always one of the slowest movie times of the year, and that explains why this week’s top pick is a documentary about an author who disappeared from the public eye more than 40 years ago. Of course, that guy also happens to be one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century… [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_zcPBcXeo4] Salinger Almost everyone has to read The Catcher in the Rye in high school, and in 1965 all those kids …

Falling for ‘Smash’ Again in Season 2

When Smash made its glittering premiere last season, complete with its Spielberg-Meron-Zadan imprimatur, many of us fell in love with the NBC serial that took us behind the scenes of a Broadway musical in the making. But as with many love affairs, somehow the little flaws turned into big disappointments, and the disappointments became less and less tolerable. The magic faded with clunky plot points, an unbelievable villain (Ellis, played by Jaime Cepero), and the show’s insistence that Karen (Katherine …

Eclectic Group of Stars in ‘Dust to Dreams’ Special

 I’ll admit it:  I still get a teenage-style thrill out of seeing favorite music stars performing together for the first time – like Carole King with Jennifer Hudson and Mavis Staples. Is that cool or what? The threesome are among the highlights of this Friday’s (9/21) From Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts special on PBS, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. They’re part of a lineup of luminaries that ranges from John Fogerty …

Good TV This Week: July 4 With the Boston Pops

If you are like most TV-owning Americans of a certain age including myself, chances are you have spent at least one or two Independence Day nights with the Boston Pops on the tube  — either paying close attention to the magnificent musicianship and prodigious pyrotechnic pageantry on display, or using the broadcast as accompaniment to your own 4th of July revelry.  This is Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart’s 18th year of leading the July 4th charge, this time with the …