To say Ava DuVernay's "Selma" feels relevant is a mammoth understatement. It's altogether animated, propelled and enlivened by its contemporary urgency. "Selma" is a history lesson that throbs with today.
DuVernay, a former publicist with two low-budget dramas to her name, dramatizes the events around the 1965 Civil Rights march through Alabama, from Selma to Montgomery, with a straightness of purpose befitting the famous protest's direct path.
Along with its triumphs, the world of TV had its share of setbacks in 2014. Here’s a sample:
• “How I Met Your Mother” Concludes: This long-running CBS sitcom met few viewers’ expectations for a slam-bang finish. Its big reveal — naming the titular “your mother” after nine years of teasing — yielded a finale only slightly less tangled than the ending of “Lost.” And even “Lost” resisted the temptation to include a blue French horn in its wrap-up.
For decades, comic books have been in color, but now they truly reflect all the hues of American society.
From the extraordinary Maggie Gyllenhaal-starring miniseries “The Honorable Woman” on SundanceTV to Syfy’s goofy “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” TV delivered in 2014 — streaming, on cable and over the air.
Showtime’s “Homeland” roared back from last year’s muddle with a season of white-knuckle suspense. CBS’ “The Good Wife” killed off a main character to give the show its latest burst of life. FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” ended its seven-season run with explosive closure. HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” wrapped its saga with a fascinating season that juggled three phases in the life of Atlantic City potentate Nucky Thompson.
Like a serial for the digital age, the book world’s most dramatic story of 2014 unfolded in installments, often in real time.
A dispute about e-book revenues between Amazon.com and Hachette Book Group led to Amazon’s removing buy buttons, cutting discounts and reducing orders for works ranging from J.K. Rowling’s latest detective thriller to J.D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories.” The battle lasted for months. Hachette author Stephen Colbert flipped the bird to Amazon, right on camera. Amazon suggested that frustrated customers might try buying books elsewhere.
‘Tis clearly the season for Oscar-worthy performances by British actors playing mathematical geniuses facing daunting personal odds.
Sound overly specific? Consider: A few weeks ago we had “The Theory of Everything,” starring Eddie Redmayne as the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking. And now we have Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game” as Alan Turing, the man chiefly responsible for cracking the vaunted Enigma code used by the Germans in World War II.
Acclaimed chef Chris Lanter is talking a crowd of eager foodies through a demo on cooking with marijuana. As he prepares steak au poivre, he describes how to deglaze the pan with pot-infused brandy. How to pair marijuana with fine foods. How to make marijuana’s skunky tang work for a dish, not ruin it.
To New Yorkers like me, going to Coney means hopping on a Coney Island-bound subway train to an amusement park at the beach. But on a trip to Detroit, I learned that “coney” means something entirely different.
In Michigan and a few other places, coney is a generic term for hot dogs topped with onions, mustard and chili.
Here are the 25 films selected in 2014 by the Library of Congress to be preserved as part of the National Film Registry:
• “13 Lakes” (2004)
For those who love to decorate, there’s no time like the holidays for adding fun, festive touches to our living spaces. This year, there’s something for many tastes and styles.
A look at the trends you’ll see at stores: