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Hello, 2013

By Rich Heldenfels Published: January 2, 2013

After a long break I am back at work -- and ready to chat again. Some brief notes:

If you have not seen it yet, catch "Silver Linings Playbook," a terrfiic comedy-drama from writer-director David O. Russell, starring Bradley Cooper and the amazing Jennifer Lawrence. I may write at greater length about this later.

If you are anticipating the return of "Girls" on Jan. 13, be ready for more self-absorption and personal complications. Which, on this show, I quite like.

If you are thinking about the return of "Smash" on Feb. 5, you may want to think again. I have seen the season premiere of the drama-with-music and, as uneven as it was during its first season (which reportedly included considerable off-camera drama), it's pretty much totally lost in its second. It is soapier and sillier, and the music's not that good.

If you are curious about "The Following," the Fox thriller premiering Jan. 21, I have seen a bunch of it, with enthusiasm limited at the start and waning as episodes rolled by.

If you missed last week's mailbag, it is here.

If you watched the "New Year's Rockin' Eve" tribute to Dick Clark after reading my Clark column leading to it, I apologize. While the vintage clips were often enjoyable, the hosting by Jenny McCarthy and Fergie was beyond dreadful. Fergie was especially horrible, fake in her posings and her vocal expression. Clark deserved better.

Over vacation, the bride and I spent a fair amount of time looking at semi-old movies, often with pleasure. "Charlie Wilson's War" holds up nicely, for instance, as does "Dreamgirls." Jennifer Hudson is still a marvel in that, but I also think it has one of Jamie Foxx's best performances. On the other hand, te first of the Tom Cruise "Mission: Impossible" films, which I remembered as being not that good, justified the memory: often slow, very mannered and the big effects still look tacky,

And on we go...

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