Dec 24, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: October & November

Grace Kelly: Fancy
It's been a crazy 11 months, but October and November finally saw me meeting my goal of watching 365 movies in 2015. Since the majority of the films I'd watched before October were from 1990-2015 (with over 150 coming from the last two years),  I thought I would focus more on 'classic' cinema for October and November, particularly old musicals (because Netflix) the films of Katharine Hepburn (who holds the record for most Oscars won) and Grace Kelly. It ended up being a fun couple of months filled with adorable old-timey accents.

I also got to pick my 365th movie, which I chose with a little trepidation.  I decided to watch two of my favorite movies, Rope and Home for the Holidays, as my lead-up movies, and I decided to watch Citizen Kane as my 365th. I'd never seen it, and people seem to like it, so it seemed like a good choice.

Dec 11, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: September [Charlie's Angels]

You guys! Watching an average of one movie a day has been a glorious experiment, but I'm almost positive that it's making me a dumber person. My reflexes are slower, my reading skills are diminished, and sometimes I space out for minutes at a time. I might be getting more film-literate, but at what cost!? Anyway, I still thought I would do a post about the movies that I watched way back in September, so that, if I end up turning into a real dumb-dumb, someone will be able to track my descent into dunce-hood through this blog.

September was the most fruitful month for me in terms of the amount of movies watched -- 62 in 30 days! I very quickly decided that my theme was going to be the films of the women and men of Charlie's Angels, the 2000 movie starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. Surprisingly, there were a lot of films by those three women that I hadn't seen. Additionally, I watched the films of Bill Murray and Luke Wilson, because they're both fairly important to the movie as well.  Below are the movies I saw from each of them, and my thoughts on their filmography so far. Of the 62 movies I watched in September, 30 of them included some member of the Charlie's Angels family:

Nov 20, 2015


It's been over two months since I last posted anything to this blog. Work got busy, a baby took up all my free time, and I wasn't really in a mood to write. And then...

... someone went and woke me up again. That is, I had the extreme pleasure to see Adele perform today, as part of an iHeartRadio broadcast that should be airing any minute now. She was performing at Joe's Pub, the site of her US debut 7 years prior and my favorite music venue in the world.

Adele at Joe's Pub
(Photo Credit: Danny Williams)
She was amazing, both in her performance and the following interview. She's like a fun mix of Jennifer Lawrence;s relatability, Emma Thompson's goofy wit, and Shirley Bassey's pipes. Obviously, "Hello" has been playing on repeat in my apartment for weeks (and the houses and apartment of literally tens of millions of people), and her album, 25, has already had a few plays on the ol' iPhone. But I've never heard her perform live, and it's a truly incredible experience. Her voice is so powerful and pure, and the emotional resonance of her songs are so clear. 

And then she's funny, too, in ways that are kind of unexpected. She drops jokes about motherhood and incontinence with equal aplomb, and her full-throated cackle is infectious.

She's a very personable artist who's created another incredibly personal album. Aren't we all lucky to be a part of it?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to collapse into a heap of my own emotions and listen to the album again.

Sep 9, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: August

Julia Roberts: A Profile
August was quite a crazy month for me, both personally and professionally, but I managed to sneak in 31 movies in as many days. (How do I do it!?) Due to my hectic schedule, I once again ended the month without a theme. I started on August 1 with My Best Friend's Wedding, a rom-com I love more than my children, and thought that it might start a month of Romantic Comedies or Julia Roberts movies or Cameron Diaz vehicles. As you'll see from my list below, that didn't happen  I did eventually watch another Dermot Mulroney movie and another Diaz movie, so I guess that counts for something. I also ended up going to the theater a lot in August, which resulted in a higher-than-average number of New Releases.

Aug 11, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: June and July

Welcome to the Summer, when television goes away and movies get louder and stupider! I focused on Reese Witherspoon movies in May (in my quest to watch 365 movies in 365 days), and it was great. I really had a new-found respect for her. So, for June, I focused on another great American actor. I'm speaking, of course, of Kurt Russell. For July, I just tried to clear my Netflix queue AND go to the theater as much as possible, really soaking in that free air conditioning.

Jul 9, 2015

Hit or Miss: Quick Movie Reviews 10 – FEMINISM!

Terminator: Stigmata
Watching Terminator: Genisys this weekend, I was perplexed at what was on the screen. I haven't really seen the first Terminator films (I saw Terminator Salvation for HBC reasons), but Sarah Connor is supposed to be one of the strongest female characters in film history. Yet, throughout the movie, her only purpose is to be the eventual mother of John Connor. Then, from there on out, he does the heavy lifting as the leader of the war against the machines. Is she the savior or merely the vessel for the savior? Is she completely defined by her ability to give birth, or can she be the master of her own fate?

Now, this problem of predestination is something that plagues time travel movies regardless of the gender of the lead, but the plight of Sarah Connor made me think more about female representation in film more generally. Not just the number of women on screen, but also how their presence shapes the narrative.

So, for this edition of Hit or Miss, I thought it best to look at the current top-grossing, female-starring movies at the box office (not counting Mad Max: Fury Road, which I loved and already reviewed). Forthwith are my reviews of the movies, paying special attention to the ladies therein:

Jun 17, 2015

'Jurassic World' Comic

I haven't gotten up the energy to write a review of Jurassic World.
So, I drew a comic instead:

Jun 10, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: May

I'm not even half-way through the year, and I'm already growing tired of watching (roughly) a movie a day. While I can wile away several hours watching a single television show, watching a movie each day has begun to feel like a chore.

To help combat the rising tide of ennui, I decided to set a task for myself: pick an actor, and watch as many of his/her films as I can in one month. I immediately chose Reese Witherspoon, for many reasons. First, her movie Hot Pursuit came out in May, which meant that I had an excuse to go to a movie theater. Second, she is an actress that I really love, but I can't, for the life of me, pin down which of her performances inspire that devotion. And third, Sweet Home Alabama was playing on TV while I was trying to make up my mind, and I didn't want to subject myself to Patrick Dempsey movie marathon, partially because I'm still mad about his exit from Grey's Anatomy.

Anyway, I watched a bunch (12, technically) of Witherspoon hits this month, and I'll have more to say about that down the line. For now, though, stare and weep at my mastery of watching films.

Jun 2, 2015

Hit or Miss: Quick Movie Reviews 9: Procrastinator Edition

Hello there, dear readers. I haven't written a legit blog post in almost two months, and the ratio of movies I've seen vs. movies I've reviews has gotten impressively large. The main reason behind that is that I was a producer on a television series for most of April and May, which meant most of my free time was spent thinking about one specific TV show rather than writing about a myriad TV shows and movies.  To rectify that, I present condensed reviews of many of the recent releases I've imbibed. Should you HIT the theater to watch them, or maybe MISS them entirely. The only way to know is to read on!!

Age of Adaline
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, and Harrison Ford
Time goes by so slowly
for those who wait.
The Story: After a car crash and a freak electrocution, Adaline (Lively) is dismayed to find out that she can't age.  Afraid of what the government might do to her if they find out, she continually changes her identity and runs away from any kind of attachment. Her only confidant is her daughter (Ellen Burstyn), who Adaline must watch age while she stays the same.
Pros: It's an interesting story, and it's well-acted. Blake Lively convincingly portrays a 100+ year-old in a 20-something body.
Cons: The narration is clunky and unnecessary, and the film's attempts to scientifically explain Adaline's condition only makes her condition seem even more ludicrous. And, despite glimpses of her past, the story stays mostly in the present, which deprives the audience of seeing Adaline as she makes her way through life in the 1900s. Instead, we watch a tepid love story between two very attractive people, one of whom has a secret. Oooooo.
Consensus: This movie is totally worth a $1 rental in Redbox, and it's not a bad way to spend two hours if you can't find anything good on Netflix. Still, it's totally MISS-able in theaters.

May 6, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: April

I blogged approximately zero times in the last month, partially because I was busy with work and partially because I didn't really want to. Sure, I want to get around to talking about Daredevil and Furious 7, but I also don't want to do those things. Apathy, it has taken over.

I still managed to watch a crap load of movies and television, though:

26 28 Films in March, 110 112 Total in 2015
New Releases are Bolded:

Apr 6, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: March

I watched She's the Man again. Still awesome.
So, I'm working to watch 365 movies this year, and I'm also keeping track of all the television (and other pop culture) that I consume. As previously mentioned, my attentions have been elsewhere for the month of March, and I definitely relaxed in my movie watching as a result. If I hadn't watched as many Cinderella movies as I could get my hands on, I would really be in trouble. More than anything. what really suffered was my ability to read:

Apr 1, 2015

My Mom and I Review Some Movies and TV Shows

There's been a new addition to the Tableau family (that's a link to a generic baby, in case you don't know what a baby looks like), which means that, over the last month, my mother has been in my neck of the woods way more often than usual. And, since I don't really know how to communicate with people without talking about movies and television, my mom and I have been consuming a lot of pop culture together.  Here's a breakdown of some of the fluff we imbibed:

Cinderella (2015)
This live action adaptation of Disney's classic film adds some modern touches and nixes the songs.

Mom: The transformation scenes are amazing.

Tableau: When Cinderella and her mice and lizards are magically changed in time for the ball?

M: Yep. Compared to the other movies, you could actually see the changes happening. You can see the animals morphing into their human/horse counterparts, yet they still maintain elements of their original features. The lizards, especially.

T: The transformations scenes are both really beautiful, and Helena Bonham Carter as The Fairy Godmother is a lot of fun. She is certainly having a good time.

M: Cate Blanchett, too. She's over-acting in the best way. I also like that they show more of Cinderella with her mom (Hayley Atwell). 

T: It helps strengthen her character, and it helps to sell the idea that Cinderella would stay with her stepmother after her mother and father die, since her mother was all about being kind and courageous. How about Cinderella (Lily James) and Prince Charming (Richard Madden)? Do you buy their romance?

M: Meh. They are okay. Nothing to write home about.

Mar 24, 2015

Jennifer Lawrence Leaves X-Men, Creating a Giant, Mystique-sized Hole

Apparently Jennifer Lawrence is leaving the current X-Men franchise after the next movie (X-Men: Apocalypse). It definitely makes sense. Even with an all-star cast, Lawrence is too big a star to be just one part of a larger machine. She's Katniss freakin' Everdeen. Plus, and I hate to say this, she hasn't really been that good in the two X-Men films she's been in. She's a little Sleepytime Tea. Even Rebecca Romijn brings more to the part.

So, with Lawrence on her way out, we turn to dream casting. Mystique is such an incredible character, and you want someone that can act through makeup and prosthetics to give a commanding performance. And I only know one person who can do that, and it's analrapist-turned-actor Tobias Onyango Fünke, from Arrested Development:

Now, I know what you're thinking: 

Mar 13, 2015

Cinderella? More like Seen-it-derella!

This weekend, we welcome the latest in a long series of Cinderella movies: Disney's Cinderella, a live-action adaptation of the 1950 Disney film of the same name. Like most film adaptations of this classic tale, this newest Cinderella boasts an impressive cast and a substantial budget. Also, like most adaptations, it exists for no reason.

The tale of Cinderella has been told and retold countless times through generations, passing through oral tradition and written word for centuries. The story shifts and changes depending on who is telling it (and what message they want to impart), with the Brothers Grimm favoring a three three-day ball, a magical tree, and feet mutilation and Perrault favoring a glass slipper and fairy godmother. The core of the story is about a young girl being misunderstood, abused, and unwanted despite her many attempts to be anything but, and the prince who finally sees her for who she really is. It's a pretty simple tale, which makes it easy to adapt. Need to make it a morality play about the joys of being dutiful and subservient? Cinderella's got you covered. Want it to be a story about making your own decisions and self-empowerment? Cinderella's your gal. 

So many movies have been made with Cinderella at the center, but which adaptation is the best?  Let's take a look. For this incredibly scientific study, I'll be focusing on Disney's Cinderella (1950), Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997), Ever After (1998), A Cinderella Story (2004), Ella Enchanted (2004), and Sondheim's Into the Woods (2014), because they're the ones I like. Sorry, CinderFella.

Mar 2, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: February

This year, I made a resolution to keep track of everything I watch and listen to: movies, television, podcasts, live performances, etc. I also resolved to watch 365 different movies over the course of the calendar year. After January, I realized that it won't be easy, it won't be pretty, but, godammit, somebody needs to do it.

February was a big one, with The Oscars and the Series Finale of Parks and Recreation. But those two events didn't make up the entirety of my month. Not hardly. Without further ado, I present all of the pop culture I consumed in February of 2015. Don't judge me; I'm actually proud of this:

Feb 27, 2015

Good News, Everybody! Llama With A Blue/Gold Dress On

 Some days, the internet gifts you with two amazing things in a single day. Such was the case yesterday, when everyone collectively lost their sh*t over a couple of llamas running free and a dress that was either Blue & Black or White & Gold. Yeah, we're over 50 years past the first man walking on the moon, and now we're just amazed by optical illusions and escaped zoo animals.

Which is not a slam. I love llamas more than any one person should, and I also love infuriating vision tests! Plus, the world, in general, kind of sucks right now. So, as my friend ConStar24 so eloquently put it on Twitter:

Here's to the wacky days! Here's to February 26! And the dress is apparently black and blue, even though I still can't really see it.

Feb 25, 2015

85+ Things I'll Miss About 'Parks and Recreation'

Click on this -- it gets a lot bigger!
It's hard to put into words how much I love Parks and Recreation. Right now, mere hours after the series finale, I'm having a hard time emotionally preparing for a world without it. For seven years, the residents of Pawnee, Indiana have brought happiness and laughter into my home and homes around the world.  Not a ton of homes, but a solid number. Like, consistently in the millions.

While the last season of Parks (and the finale) wasn't always the funniest television, it did work to send the characters we love off in style, showcasing the many strengths of the show. And since I can't seem to form my love of the show into complete sentences, I'm just going to list a bunch of things that I will miss about Parks and Recreation:

Feb 20, 2015

2015 Best Picture Nominees, Part 3 [Potpourri]

Before the Oscars delight and frustrate us this Sunday, it's time to look at the last two movies up for Best Picture. Since these movies don't have anything in common (besides generic crap like 'growing up', 'falling in love', and 'becoming a man'), let's just call this the Potpourri category. Before you read these, be sure to check out the reviews of the other six nominees HERE and HERE.

Now, on to Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel:

Feb 18, 2015

2015 Best Picture Nominees, Part 2 [The Biopic]

For the second in my three-part look at the films up for Best Picture at this year's Oscars, I'm looking at the three films who most cleanly fall into the Biographical Picture category, or 'biopic.' Plus, unlike the first three films I reviewed, I actually think all of these three films deserve to be nominated.  But, I also included some snubbed films at the end, because no system is perfect:

Feb 12, 2015

2015 Best Picture Nominees, Part 1 [Crazy White Men]

It's time again to look at the top films vying for the title of Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. Like most years, the nominees are frighteningly white and maddeningly mediocre, but there are a few gems that have slipped into the running. Plus, no turd is without its merits.
So, I'm going to review the films up for the top prize, but I'm also going to look at some of the other movies that didn't quite make it.

First, let's turn our attention to the three nominated films that feature supremely angry, emotionally unstable white men:

Feb 5, 2015

1st Celebrity Crush: Cecille from Sesame Street

In preparation for Valentine's Day, I'm looking back at all my past loves. And my earliest crush, besides the many times I fell in love with food, was with Cecille, the anthropomorphic ball who sang songs to me on Sesame Street.

Those curves! That voice! Those lips!
5-year-old Tableau was all about Cecille.

 I mean, her theme song alone is enough to drive anyone mad with love and desire:

Feb 3, 2015

365 Days, 365 Movies: January

Hello, Everyone!

Sorry for my protracted absence. Nobody is more upset than I am -- I missed this blog's anniversary! Since I wasn't writing, I spent the month of January basically in a state of hermitage, shunning the real world in favor of film and television at home and in theaters. Also, I was preparing for my exciting gig as one of the sad sharks in Katy Perry's halftime show at the Super Bowl. No bigs.

Anyway, my big New Year's Resolutions this year were to watch at least 365 movies over the course of the calendar year and to write down all the movies, TV shows, podcasts, music, etc that I enjoyed (to varying degrees). For the 365 movies, I didn't put many restrictions on what I could watch (TV movies count! I can occasionally watch a movie I've seen before! It doesn't have to be a movie a day), so I'm interested to see how the year shapes up. Anyway, here's my January:

Jan 1, 2015

My Family Reviews 'Into the Woods'

The holidays mean many things to me: present opening, family outings (and innings) that are mandatory and often welcome, hot chocolate drinking that makes me sick for hours after the last sip has been sipped, and forcefully making my family watch movies with me and then reviewing them. This year, the first of the movies we watched together was the delightful Into the Woods, and the family members present were me, my parents, my sister, and my brother-in-law. Here is our review.

Into the Woods, the film version of the Stephen Sondheim musical, tells the story of The Baker and The Baker's Wife, who find out that their fertility issues (there are buns in their
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