Summer 2017

June 17, 2017

I’m taking a week’s posting break beginning today. I’ll be exploring the city of Portland, Oregon with my family. Talk among yourselves until I return the next week.

XO

Michael Lost and Found

June 16, 2017

To be perfectly honest, the story of Michael Glatze who spent his young adulthood helping LGBT teens feel better about themselves only to have a breakdown, break off his long-term relationship with his boyfriend Benji Nycum and resurface as a born-again Christian vilifying his former life and marrying a woman makes me feel queasy. I don’t want to watch the James Franco feature film, I Am Michael based on Glatze’s story. The story itself freaks me out. I realize people make choices every day which go against their innate nature. I get that. But when someone does it in such a public way and vilifies their former gay life (whatever that mean), it makes my skin crawl. So I reluctantly watched the 18 minute short film produced by Benjie Nycum, Michael Lost and Found which chronicles the first meeting of Benji and Michael since the feature film has been released. In the interim, Michael married a woman named Rebekah, they’ve both left their former church and are preaching at their own church where they claim they accept everyone and don’t judge. Nycum goes to visit Glatze and his wife in rural, desolate Wyoming in hopes of finding answers and finding Michael’s mental health in a better place. Benji does seem to find Michael more calm, less agitated, but he doesn’t get the answers he wants nor does the audience get to hear Michael answer any really hard questions such as does he still believe being gay is a sin. Is he now straight? Was his time with Nycum just as fulfilling as his time now with Rebekah? Glatze skirts every question.  His answers sound like he’s not speaking from his heart but from rhetoric he has adopted. In the end, it seems like Benji is grateful Michael doesn’t seem to be suffering or out of control. The audience can’t help but feel frustrated with Michael. Benji’s tenderness shows the person he is. For Michael, his life still comes born out of  a place of fear and internalized self-hatred. Glatze doesn’t talk about being sexually fluid nor does he speak of being bisexual. One day he was a gay rights advocate, the next he was a born-again converted straight preacher. Perhaps it is the extremes he is most comfortable in. 3 out of 5 for this sad story.

Orange is the New Black: Season 5

June 15, 2017

Damn ladies. Orange is the New Black just keeps getting better and better. How is that even possible? Every season builds on the previous. Not a misstep in this season. Absolute amazing acting, directing, editing, and writing. Highlights include,

Natasha Lyonne as Nicky getting clean and reaching out
Uzo Aduba as Suzanne falling apart again and again (another Emmy?)
Danielle Brooks as Taystee negotiating the deal of the century
Taylor Schilling as Piper realizing her fate and future
Lea DeLaria as Boo proving butch girls look good doing romance
Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero as Flaca & Maritza proving the ridiculousness of our instant fame culture
Selenis Leyva as Gloria delivering a powerhouse performance and becoming my favorite character for S5
Taryn Manning as Tiffany (Pennsyltucky) navigating the complicated waters of rape culture, forgiveness, and desire
Adrienne Moore as Black Cindy full of comfort and relief in the final episode
Yael Stone as Lorna crazy as ever
Kate Mulgrew as Red full of revenge
Laura Prepon as Alex filled with PTSD and remorse  and just wanting to stay free (of drama and violence)
Kimiko Glenn as Brook walking the long road of grief
Brad William Henke as Piscatella leading with misdirected spite and evil in the face of homophobia
Elizabeth Rodriguez as Aleida figuring out how to be free
Dascha Polanco as Dayanara facing her consequences

I’m sure I missed someone. What a roller coaster ride this season was and what a cliff hanger. All bets are off that everyone will survive the final moments of the raid. It’s Netflix after all. Unbelievable. Thank you Jenji Kohan and crew for this gift. 5 out of 5.

Frameline 41: Genre Queer

June 14, 2017

San Francisco’s amazing LGBTQIAA yearly film festival turns 41 in 2017. This line-up is as always fantastic. Information on dates and links to Frameline’s site below. I’ve also listed the film titles I’m most interested in watching when they come to a streaming service near me:

Frameline 41: Genre Queer
San Francisco, CA
June 15-25, 2017

100 Men
After Louie
Bayard & Me
Rusalka
The Colour of His Hair
Lavender Scare
Center of My World
My Friend Dahmer

OITNB: Season 5, 3 more episodes to go

June 13, 2017

If you’re going to watch Season 5 of Orange is the New Black, make sure you don’t read any of the spoilers online. By accident, I just discovered the big spoiler and am so angry. I like being surprised. Damn you Internet! Ugh. 3 more episodes to go. Don’t tell me any more!

 

Eight Men Out

June 12, 2017

I’m screening a number of older John Sayles’ films for a Fall project I’m developing at the library. First up is Eight Men Out, the 1988 film about the The Chicago White Sox players who decide to throw the World Series of 1919. Featuring a classic Sayles ensemble cast including John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Christopher Lloyd, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, D. B. Sweeney, Studs Terkel and even John Sayles himself, Eight Men Out explores the complicated relationship between sports players and owners in the early 20th Century who didn’t appropriately compensate the players for their talent and draw. One of the great signatures of a John Sayles film is his effective use of a massive cast. My only complaint was the confusion of having a lot of young white male actors in baseball uniforms and a lot of older white male actors in suits and hats. I didn’t connect individually with many of the secondary characters. Still it felt like a John Sayles film. And absolutely worth the view if you’re a sports fan, especially historical baseball. 3.5 out of 5.

OITNB: Season 5 – Poussey’s Memorial

June 11, 2017

I made to episode 59 of Orange is the New Black‘s fifth season before shedding any tears. Poussey’s Memorial slayed me. Damn these writers. Damn those set designers. Full season review coming soon. #booksheal

The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far (New York Times)

June 11, 2017

These film lists, even by film critics are riddled with issues. But they can still be fun to ponder, gleefully clap over, or scream at. Out of the 25 Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott from the New York Times featured, I loved:

Inside Out
Boyhood
Hurt Locker
Munich
Moonlight

Above title links are Reel Charlie reviews.

What about you?
Check out the list at NYTimes.

 

 

 

 

Adam West 1928 – 2017

June 10, 2017

We need more silliness in our lives. The world at large mirrors the dark and violent world of our superheros these days. West’s Batman paved the way for lighter fare like Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool. That’s probably why I loved those new films so much – they hearkened back to the 60’s camp of Batman the TV series.

Read Adam West’s obituary on Variety.
Watch Adam West dance the Batusi as Batman.

Antarctica: Ice and Sky

June 8, 2017

Watched the Luc Jaquet (March of the Penguins) documentary on the life of French glaciologist Claude Lorius, credited as the first scientist to discover evidence of climate change. The film is not a political or activist work. It is a quiet film about Lorius’ many expeditions and his findings. I felt the film could have used more editing. Still it is important to chronicle this man’s achievements. 3 out of 5.

Although the doc appears to be in French during the credits, the film is actually in English.


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