TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The Queen”
(2006, AMC) or “Frost/Nixon” (2008, HBO), both 8 p.m.
For moviegoers, Peter Morgan has been a
great blessing. His scripts understand and empathize with people on
both sides; here are prime examples.
One views Queen Elizabeth II, frozen in
indecision and inaction after Lady Diana's death. The other views
David Frost, a talkshow host and playboy who had bought the rights to
interview Richard Nixon.
Michael Sheen is in both films – as
Prime Minister Tony Blair and as Frost. Frank Langella drew an Oscar
nomination as Nixon; Helen Mirren won one for her deeply layered
portrayal of the queen.
Both films drew nominations for best
picture, for their directors (Stephen Frears, Ron Howard) and for
Morgan. During that time, he was also writing “The Last King of
Scotland,” “The Other Boleyn Girl,” HBO's “Longford” and
more, enriching the movie world.
TODAY'S MUST-SEE: Winter Olympics, 1-6
p.m., 8-11:30 p.m., midnight to 1 a.m., NBC.
This is a night of gold-medal
possibilities for key Americans. Barring late changes, it could bring
Shani Davis in 1,500-meter speedskating (in which he won a silver
medal in 2006) and Lindsey Vonn in the Alpine super-G. It also could
bring Apolo Ohno's first shot (via 1,000-meter short-track) at
breaking his tie with Bonnie Blair, as the Americans with the most
Also, there's skiing (jumping, women's
free-style) during the day and two-man bobsled at night.
Other choices include:
– More Olympics, cable. U.S. curling
continues, with the men (against Sweden) at noon on MSNBC and the
women (against Britain) at 5 p.m. on CNBC. Men's hockey has Norway
and Sweden at 3 p.m. on CNBC, then goes to MSNBC for Latvia and
Slovakia (7:30) and Germany and Belarus (midnight).
– “Malcolm X” (1992), 7 p.m.,
BET. This could well be TV's greatest movie night ever. That starts
with Spike Lee's sprawling masterwork, catching the changing times
that surrounded Malcolm, who is superbly played by Denzel Washington.
– “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
Azkaban” (2004), 8-11 p.m., ABC. The third Harry Potter film adds
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, an escaped convict who may be linked the
death of Harry's parents.
– “Numb3rs,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a
rerun, murders seem to be copied from a movie that hasn't yet opened.
– ““Close Encounters of the Third
Kind” (8 p.m.) and “Goodbye Girl,” 10:30, Turner Classic
Movies. The year 1977 changed Hollywood – proving that smart, deep
movies could be immensely entertaining. Here are prime examples –
Steven Spielberg's science-fiction classic and Neil Simon's witty
– More movies, 8 p.m., cable. They
include the richly emotional “The Notebook” (2004, ABC Family)
and the visceral “Mad Max” (1979, Independent Film Channel).
– And more, 9 p.m., cable. “The
Reader” (2008, Showtime) has Kate Winslet's stunning, Oscar-winning
portrayal of someone alternately warm, cold, sexual and detached.
“Waitress” (2007, Lifetime) is the night's bonus, a gem of
comedy, romance and magic, with Keri Russell as a sweet pie-maker.