1. See Jewels by JAR
The Bronx-born Parisian Joel A. Rosenthal is an outrageous and notorious craftsman, carpeting every piece with tiny gems to produce subtle shadings of color and fantastic glitter. And this is his first-ever American retrospective.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through March 9.
2. Revisit Family Guy
Brian’s swan song.
An old trick: long-running show, fading from the radar, kills off a major character. (Edith Bunker, Bobby Ewing …) Well, it worked, because it’s going to get us to spend an evening with the Griffins again. Holy crap.
Fox, Sundays at 9 p.m.
3. See Philomena
Because of, mostly, Judi Dench.
The new Judi Dench–Steve Coogan vehicle is just the sort of awards-bait weeper (with laughs) to cross over to a biggish audience. Directed by Stephen Frears from a script by Coogan and Jeff Pope, it’s overcalculating and occasionally coarse, but it has a gentle spirit. We should count its existence as a blessing. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
4. Hear P!nk
Just give me a reason.
Alecia Beth Moore wasn’t kidding around when she inverted her “i.” P!nk is a human exclamation point, with the lungs for the job and one of diva-pop’s best songbooks. —Jody Rosen
Barclays Center, December 8 and 9.
5. Read Murder & Mayhem on Staten Island
A history of fresh kills.
Local historian Patricia M. Salmon’s collection of ye-olde-true-crime tales from the outermost borough is tremendously entertaining. First sentence: “There was no doubt that Edward Reinhardt had cruelly buried his wife, Annie, in a barrel at Silver Lake.” That’ll keep you reading.
The History Press.
6. See The Mindy Project
“Who I have been is not who I’m going to be.”
Fox is putting Mindy Kaling’s charming show on hiatus from January 28 through April 1, as the network shuffles its lineup to launch Rake and save Glee. Give it some love now, while you still can! Especially if you happen to be a Nielsen family.
Fox, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.
7. See They Live
Eighties paranoia, revived.
It’s Rowdy Roddy Piper versus Predatory Capitalists from Space in John Carpenter’s rollicking 1988 anti-Reagan satire, in which raiders raid while a numbed populace receives subliminal messages to Consume and Conform. The day the film opened, I was one of few alive to sing its praises—in, of all places, the New York Post. How sweet it is to be vindicated! You can savor Carpenter’s pulpy insubordination—and the hilariously overextended fight scene between Piper and Keith David—at the IFC Center with other lefty genre freaks, including this one. —D.E.
IFC Center, December 6 through 12.
8. See Regular Singing
A final bite of the Apple Family.
Naturalistic acting is taken to the furthest extreme imaginable in the last of Richard Nelson’s four Apple Family plays. If you didn’t see enough drama at Thanksgiving, get your fill before it’s gone. (It’s playing in repertory with That Hopey Changey Thing, Sweet and Sad, and Sorry.) —Jesse Green
Public Theater, through December 15.
9. See Rodeo Girls
It’ll rope you in.
This six-part reality series feels more like a straight-up documentary about its six young female barrel riders, who balance the rush of competition and travel against the challenges of romance and domestic life. Beyond the characters, who are fascinating anyway, Rodeo Girls feels like a satisfying inversion of the typical story about a super-talented lone wolf who does his thing while the woman (or women) in his life say, “Hooray for you, but what about me?” —Matt Zoller Seitz
A&E, December 11 at 11 p.m.
10. See Ad Reinhardt
Cartoons, paintings, wow.
Set aside all griping about money and megagalleries, and prepare to be wowed by this museum-level exhibition of the mid-century American master Ad Reinhardt, organized by former MoMA curator Robert Storr. The first gallery is all Reinhardt’s cartoons, brilliantly taking shots at the art and political worlds. In a side room, a projection of scores of color pictures taken by the artist confirms his eagle eye for structure. Finally, you encounter the drop-dead installation of the astonishingly retinal, almost monochromatic works that Reinhardt called “ultimate paintings.” —Jerry Saltz
David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, through December 18.
11. & 12. See and Read About Barbara Stanwyck
A killer festival, and a definitive biography.
Is Barbara Stanwyck the most versatile Hollywood female superstar ever? Name a rival. Streep doesn’t count—she needs fancy accents. The hard-shelled Stanwyck (née Ruby Stevens from Flatbush) did it from within. Film Forum’s three-week, 40-film festival—in conjunction with volume one of a new biography, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True, 1907–1940, by Victoria Wilson—has too many highlights to name. See Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen, the Code-busting Night Nurse and Baby Face, and one of the world’s great double bills, Wilder’s peerless noir Double Indemnity and Sturges’s peerless romantic comedy The Lady Eve (which happens to be this critic’s favorite movie of all time). —D.E.
Film Forum, December 6 through 31; Simon & Schuster.
13. See The Great Beauty
In Paolo Sorrentino’s Roma-romp The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), aging blocked-novelist protagonist (Toni Servillo) winds among the Italian literati sporting the nattiest red-and-yellow sports jackets over white pants. The movie is an elaborate doodle—La Dolce Vita for people living La ADHD Vita—but its colors will jazz up these gray December days. —D.E.
In theaters now.