‘James May Drinks to Britain’: As L.A. continues its long-overdue embrace of craft beer culture, this show on BBC America offers an enchanting glimpse of what’s brewing on the opposite side of the pond. With “Top Gear’s” ever-rumpled May acting as a sarcastic everyman to quick-witted U.K. wine writer Oz Clarke, the two embark on an entertaining and intriguing tasting trip around ol’ Blighty that works up a thirst for British spirits of all kinds.
Jonathan Banks: You probably don’t recognize Banks by name, and it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be billed near the top of a movie poster. But this character actor has been an upper-level “That Guy” onscreen for years, keeping busy as a variety of villains and men of few hostile words since the ‘80s with “Beverly Hills Cop.” His recent turn as the gruff, no-nonsense muscle in “Breaking Bad” is another in a long line of Banks’ subtly menacing turns.
‘Barney’s Version’ (2010): Every year around Oscar season a film like this appears as a showcase for a given actor to flex a full range of his or her abilities. And while Paul Giamatti is uniformly terrific in delivering humor, pathos, anguish and, for good measure, a crippling disease as the unpleasantly flawed Barney, the movie doesn’t rise to meet him. It’s a film full of paper-thin supporting roles and hurried story turns, and Giamatti deserves a better showcase.
NFL football: Oh, look, the multimillionaires settled their differences and will be coming to a TV near you, as if all those reality-challenged negotiations never happened. While in our city we’re spared the price-gouging of Personal Seat Licenses and so much else that goes with seeing a professional sporting event these days, it would behoove franchise owners of all stripes to heed our lesson: L.A. has no team, and life somehow goes on.
— Chris Barton