Feb 27, 2013

Why ‘Enlightened’ is the Best Show You’re Not Watching

You Need to Watch Enlightened
There are a lot of shows that I have loved that have been canceled too soon: Pushing Daisies, Arrested Development, Sports Night, and Firefly, to name a few. Recently The Hour was canceled after a terrific second season on BBC, and it seems more and more likely that the world is conspiring against me.

However, no show on television right now is quite as good as Enlightened, the HBO series from creators Mike White and Laura Dern, and I refuse to consider that it may soon join the pile of 'Gone-But-Not-Forgotten' shows of yesteryear. The show ends its almost perfect season on Sunday, and it's crazy to think that this may be the last time that viewers will get the chance to see Amy Jellicoe and her many attempts to right wrongs and quell her inner demons.

The show follows Amy (played brilliantly by Laura Dern), a woman who, after a nervous breakdown (above), attempts to get her life back together and enact change in the lives of people around her. The only problems are that she's maybe not that different than she used to be AND nobody really takes her well-meaning nagging coaching to heart. With a drug addict ex-husband, a mother who can't seem to bridge the emotional gap between herself and her daughter, a coworker who's love for her develops into a complicated friendship, and a bevy of comedians doing solidly emotional work, Amy's world is filled with unique and challenging characters. Thus, she attempts to pull everyone in new and different directions with her (often cloying) meditational wisdom.

After the end of the first season, I wrote that Enlightened was "awkward, depressing, lonely… obviously one of the best new shows on TV." The first season was contemplative, allowing viewers really soak in the sadness of the characters. This season it's been all about narrative propulsion, which took the characters (who had developed over 10 1st season episodes) and put them in situations that made them grow and change.

With the finale just a few days away, it's more important than ever that viewers tune in to the show. To help make that decision easier, I've outlined some of the many ways in which Enlightened is just so much better than anything else on television right now:

Feb 26, 2013

Quvenzhané Wallis Cast in Annie Remake!

The Sun'll Come Out... in 2014

This news is a few days old, but I just heard that Quvenzhané Wallis is going to be orphan Annie in the new film version of the classic musical (which itself is based on a comic strip) Annie.

I loved Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Annie seems like a natural extension of her previous work. She's already really good at playing damaged youths with father issues.

The original Annie film came out in 1982, and it starred some of my favorite people, including: Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Tim Curry, Edward Hermann, and Bernadette Peters. Since it’s been over 30 years since the movie came out, it’s not exactly as if the remake would be stepping on the heels of the previous film.

The film is being produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z, and the director attached is Will Gluck.  Gluck directed Easy A, a film that my father didn't like but that I was a big fan of. With a screenplay by Emma Thompson, this all seems to be undeniably good news!

Feb 25, 2013

Charlize Theron Wows at the 85th Academy Awards in Burlap Sack & Santa Hat

Simply Stunning.

The Academy Awards: The REAL Winners and Losers

It was a weird night of television, and, as we predicted and despite a Best Director snub, Argo won Best Picture at the Academy Awards last night/this morning, and most of the other people who were going to win Oscars won Oscars. Instead of looking at the winners and losers, we're going to look at the real winners and losers, the people/trends that really stood out during the ceremony:

Feb 23, 2013

The Perks of Being A Wallflower Wins!!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower just won Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards!

We're pretty excited!

Feb 20, 2013

Quick Reviews: Best Picture Nominees, Part 3 of 3

Where did we leave off? We've looked at the films nominated for Best Picture about LOVE, and we've looked at the films nominated for Best Picture about AMERICAN HISTORY.  So, we guess it's time to look at the straggler films, the films that don't really fall into any category. We were thinking of calling them ‘Magical Realist’ films, because most of them employ magical elements within a realistic framework. One has pig-monsters as big as a house, the other has a house for two that's no bigger than a boat, and a third has truly terrible singing from Russell Crowe. The third is probably the most magical, because, as someone once said, nothing is more magical than singing! (Just because that person was Hitler doesn't mean that it isn't true)

Now that we think of it, though, the thing all these films might have in common is that they all feature water and boats in a big way. Boats that are massively important in these movies, whether people are living, pulling, or adventuring in them. So here we go, looking at Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, and Les Miserables. Let's climb aboard the review boat! Raise the anchor, full speed ahead!

Feb 18, 2013

Quick Reviews: Best Picture Nominees, Part 2 of 3

Happy Presidents' Day, readers of Tableau Your Mind (Tableauyers? Tableauniacs?).  We've been very very busy getting ready for the Oscars next Sunday, making sure that we have bought enough streamers and bean dip (Party Hint #536: One Can Never Have Too Much Bean Dip). We've also been looking back at the nine (9!) films nominated for Best Picture. For Valentine's Day, we reviewed Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, and Amour, which are the three films that most clearly focus on what the French call love, or at least they call it that when they're speaking English. We love a theme, so today, in honor of Presidents' Day, we'll be quickly revealing the three films that deal with American history: Lincoln, Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty:

Feb 14, 2013

Quick Reviews: Best Picture Nominees, Part 1 of 3

Get Your Punch Cards Ready
The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and it’s time to look at the nine films vying for the Best Picture Oscar. Surprisingly, we've only reviewed one of the nine films gunning for the top spot, so we thought it would be a good idea to review all of 'em as fast as possible. Last year we reviewed ten films in one post in an attempt to see which films were Oscar contenders, and this year we're bringing you the reviews in three, easy-to-digest segments. So, we're going to be brief, but not 'last year' brief.

Since it is Valentine's Day, let’s start with the three films that deal most exclusively with love:

Feb 12, 2013

Beads! Bees!? Beads! BEADS!? [Fat Tuesday]

Every time Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras rolls around, I can't help but think of these classic moments from Arrested Development:

Thank you, Mitch Hurwitz (and, according to IMDB, Richard Rosenstock & Chuck Martin).

Feb 10, 2013

Skyfall Wins Outstanding British Film at BAFTAs

I was a little upset that Skyfall wasn't nominated for Best Film at the Oscars. It's not a ground-breaking film by any means, but it is remarkably good: swiftly told, well directed, and expertly acted. So, I was very happy to see it win Outstanding British Film at the BAFTAs last night. The big award of the night, Best Picture, went to Argo (with a Best Director award going to the Academy-jilted Ben Garner née Affleck), but the real news was that Skyfall beat fellow British film Les Miserables, which I pretty much hated.

So, YAY!

Feb 3, 2013

Where Did Michelle Williams Go? [Destiny's Child]

I often find myself wondering, "What's Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams up to? Where did she go?"

While Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland are around (one because she's the most famous woman in the world, and the other because she is the best friend of the most famous woman in the world). They're Oprah and Gayle 2.0.

But Michelle is mysterious. There's one in every batch of Children. She's the coy Child, the demure Child, the illusive Child.

What is she doing? Where the hell is she?

Oh, there she is.
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