8 p.m. Monday, July 25
TNT (Comcast Ch. 29)
Though we never quite get used to Yankee actors butchering Southern accents (they all tend to end up sounding like either Scarlett O’Hara or Karl from “Sling Blade,” no matter what part of Dixie they’re supposed to be from), one faux-cracker accent that we’ve been willing to tolerate recently is the one spouted by actress Kyra Sedgwick in TNT’s great new series “The Closer.” Sedgwick plays Brenda Leigh Johnson, an Atlanta police detective who uproots to lead the LAPD’s Priority Homicide Division. With fresh riffs on sex, class and crime, it’s gelling up to be a winner.
When sitting at home in my smoking jacket and fez, feet up, martini in hand and channel pegged on the Independent Film Channel, I sometimes feel for the little people. You know: those without IFC (Comcast Digital does, to their credit, include the even rarer and just as cool Sundance Channel). A jewel of the telesphere, IFC is the channel of channels for true film buffs, showing edgy, smart and uncut independent films that you really and truly can’t see anywhere else. This month, the array is just as amazing as ever: “Henry’s Film Corner.” “Gods and Monsters.” “Sexy Beast.” “Jackie Brown.” “The Legend of 1900.” The list goes on. Bottom line: Call Comcast. Demand your IFC. You’ll be much happier.
WHALE RIDER (2002)
8 p.m. Sunday, July 24
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)
Television, though a vast cultural wasteland, can still take you places both physically and emotionally. Case in point: the poignant and beautiful “Whale Rider.” Here, Pailea (Keisha Castle-Hughes), a modern-day Maori girl from New Zealand, has a vision: She is supposed to rise to be the leader of her people, fulfilling the destiny her grandfather believes was reserved for her twin brother, who died at birth. The title refers to a legend that the Maori’s greatest leader will ride a whale, recreating the feat of an ancient hero. Garnering Castle-Hughes a Best Actress Oscar nomination, “Whale Rider” is a genuinely touching coming-of-age story about tradition, dreams and the need for change if native peoples are to survive in the always-uncertain future.
Streetsblog, which writes about smart core city development, runs a March Madness competition among the nation's cities for worst "parking craters" — places where acres of pavement defy user-friendliness.Little Rock is currently in the round of 16, competing against Atlanta to advance to the next round.
In a press conference on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol this morning, representatives of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ARTEC), ACLU of Arkansas and a transgender pioneer spoke out against a number of anti-trans and anti-LGBT bills working their way through the state legislature. Citing the economic and political fallout for North Carolina over their "bathroom bill," the groups say the bills will harm the Arkansas economy.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.