The Walking Dead,
Season 3 premiere, Oct. 14 AMC
Nine million goraholics can’t be wrong. Sure, a sizable chunk of the record-breaking audience for the Walking Dead's second season finale was ComicCon geeks tuning in for blood, brains and bile, but those of us who grew up watching cheesy, sci-fi zombie flicks in the 1950s and 60s also get more than a pound of rotting flesh. True Deadheads know AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama offers up intriguing characters, like Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), an everyman who mans up when Hell turns up on Earth. “He’s not your archetypal, impenetrable hero,” Lincoln says of Rick’s harrowing rise to power. “Everything must cost.”
This fact-based thriller recounts the stranger-than-fiction scheme to rescue six Americans during the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran by disguising them as a movie crew. “An irresistible blend of cool realism and Hollywood hokum,” writes New York magazine’s David Edelstein. Oscar buzz is already building for director/star Ben Affleck who, alongside the fantastic cast of Brian Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin, plays the CIA agent who hatched the hoax. The only mixed review comes from Affleck himself — about his beard. "Sometimes it looked cool like Kurt Russell in one those early '80s movies,” he told E!, “but sometimes I looked like Barry Gibb."
WORTH THE TRIP
The Met, Live in HD
Opens Oct. 13 at theaters nationwide
Glad Rag Doll, Diana Krall
There are only two kinds of music, says legendary producer T-Bone Burnett: sex music and war music. The corset Diana Krall wears on the album cover — an homage to Ziegfeld Girls, shot by photographer Mark Seliger — tells you all you need to know about which option is in play. With tunes like "There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt in My Tears," the record reincarnates the sultry swing music of the 1920s and '30s, the tunes Krall remembers from family sing-alongs in her Nana’s front room. Glad Rag Doll is an echo of those memories, of black-and-white Carole Lombard movies, of the sheet music strewn across her grandparents’ piano and of Nana herself, who, Krall says, is “the only person who ever offered me a drink at 11 in the morning.”
Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand, William J. Mann
At 70, she’s a national treasure. At 17, she was an ugly duckling with a beautiful dream. “It was right to the top,” Barbra Streisand declared early on, “or nowhere at all.” Drawing on the private papers of Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, and interviews with those who knew Babs before she was Babs, this dishy book charts the divafication of Streisand, from her formative years in the cabarets of Manhattan through her triumphant turn in Funny Girl and into her be-careful-what-you-wish-for world of neurosis and mistrust. Within five short years, she admits, it became clear that dreams have drawbacks. “I’m not the underdog, the homely kid from Brooklyn they can root for anymore,” Streisand said in 1964. “I’m fair game.”
Pamela Miller is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles.