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.
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...
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 McPhee) is a far superior performer to Ivy (Megan Hilty) though we all clearly saw otherwise.
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?
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 assistance of Michael Chiklis as host, and Jennifer Hudson as special guest star -- along with the fireworks, of course. I had a quick chat with the maestro before rehearsals for the 39th "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular" tomorrow on CBS:
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