Match Game ’75

October 16, 2017

Thanks to Buzzr, Amazon Prime Video added some classic game shows. One of my all-time favorites, Match Game has a number of episodes streaming from 1975 and 1976. So much fun! Brett Somers, Richard Dawson, Fannie Flagg, Betty White, Greg Morris, and many, many more. Were they drunk? Were they stoned? Only host Gene Rayburn knows for sure. Whatever, they were giggly and silly. Great nostalgia. 4 out of 5.

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The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

October 15, 2017

David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) sophomore documentary effort, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson creates an essential conversation. Unfortunately the film meanders in unknown directions. Too bad because the focus of trans people of color, disenfranchised and destitute warrants examination and solutions. How do marginalized people travel in the world? How do we help others out of poverty, homelessness, and a myriad of other issues which keep them stuck in a bad place? How do we empower people while honoring their individuality? France covers all of that. But the focus on the film vacillates between an amateur sleuth story of Johnson’s friend Patricia trying desperately to uncover the truth of her friend’s death, a modern story of a trans woman’s murder, and the chaotic world of Marsha’s friend, Sylvia Rivera. Not sure how a film that features a person’s name can become so convoluted during editing. Watching it proved frustrating knowing that a better focused film would have brought the viewer into a world which desperately needs our respect and support. 3 out of 5 for the film.

Find out more about transgender issues and how you can help:
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Sylvia Rivera Law Project

That Time ‘Will & Grace’ Forgot HIV Exists. Again (My Fabulous Disease)

October 14, 2017

My buddy, AIDS activist Mark S. King (My Fabulous Disease) calls out Will & Grace for not mentioning HIV in the series revival. I haven’t posted about the revival because I’m not a fan. I never was. I was living in NYC when the show premiered originally. It felt like I was already living a NYC story. Will and Jack would have not been part of my inner circle. They were way too uptown for me. I was if nothing else, a Lower East Side snob.

Mark breaks it down as to why it’s important for Will and Jack to discuss the changing landscape of HIV in gay men’s lives during 2017. From My Fabulous Disease,

Only once, in a 2001 episode in which Grace and her boyfriend mention getting an HIV test, was the topic ever addressed. They produced 194 episodes during the original run of the series.

The revival of Will & Grace exists in a far different world. The privileged white gay men who inhabit Will & Grace have access to healthcare and the resources to either take PrEP, the pill that prevents HIV infection or, should they be HIV positive, get on medications that could render them undetectable and therefore unable to transmit HIV to someone else.

Neither of these strategies were available or understood when Will & Grace left the airwaves ten years ago. They exist now, and they have transformed the sexual and cultural landscape for gay men in this country.

Read Mark S. King’s full post at My Fabulous Disease.

John Sayles’ film series at the library

October 13, 2017

Beginning Saturday, October 14, 2017  I will be presenting a brand-new 3-part film series for the Fairfield Public Library. I’m very excited to share these wonderful films and John Sayles’ genius with library patrons.

Fall Film Series
American Independent Film Director: John Sayles
Saturdays, 1:30 pm
Rotary Room, Main Library

October 14, 2017: Matewan (1987)
October 28, 2017: Lone Star (1996)
November 11, 2017: Sunshine State (2002)

Join us this fall when we examine the work of independent film director John Sayles. Sayles entered American filmmaking in 1979 with his debut, Return of the Secaucus Seven. During the 70’s, these films were dubbed Art House Cinema. Today they’re known as Independent Cinema or “Indie.” Named independent, the genre and specifically the filmmaker, refuses financial assistance, input, or control from Hollywood. The films will be screened by Philip Bahr, reference librarian and film blogger. Bahr will introduce each film with a short presentation on independent filmmaking and a brief introduction to the movie. Afterwards, attendees are welcome to stay and discuss the film.
http://bit.ly/2fq3ZUA

First up: Matawan this Saturday, October 14th.

 

A Feminist Film Critic in the Age of Weinstein (The Hollywood Reporter)

October 12, 2017

Film critic Sara Stewart unpacks her understanding of the Harvey Weinstein story and the avalanche of misogyny in Hollywood both in the industry as well as the products created. From The Hollywood Reporter,

In six years, it’s been incredibly rare for anyone from the critical community to simply say to me, “You know, that’s a good point about women.” It seems to me that, when it comes to reviews, voicing concerns about representation is often seen by my peers as an abdication of one’s pure love of filmmaking — a prioritizing of activism over criticism. I disagree. Misogyny in film should be pointed out as plainly and as often as possible. I try to support and promote other writers who do so. Because what message does our collective embrace, or enabling, of onscreen objectification send to the predators still out there?

Read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.

The Merv Griffin Show

October 12, 2017

Amazon Prime Video has quietly added a number of classic television shows this year. Reel Charlie’s already discussed My Favorite Martian. A unique addition to Amazon is The Merv Griffin Show. Merv’s talk show spanned 1962-1985. What’s available to stream are some best-of episodes spanning the 20+ years. You can see Merv in his infancy interviewing Andy Warhol and Salvadore Dali. Merv’s show in the beginning resembled a more serious format. Think David Susskind or Charlie Rose. Later on in the 1970’s the show morphed into a more popular Hollywood celebrity format featuring people like Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Marie Osmond. The 80’s brought a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Ms. Magazine with Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Carole King (in a rare television performance), and Loretta Swit. The capsule ends with Merv interviewing the cast of The Golden Girls during their first year of production. Merv certainly supported women in Hollywood. Though it all, Merv awkwardly flirts with some women, but in a most respectful way – just enough so his audience won’t realize he’s gay. That part of it is sad – the closet always is. But he certainly had a style and created a blueprint for talk shows through today. Merv on Amazon is a fun trip down memory lane or a history lesson for younger viewers. 3 out of 5.

For an in-depth examination of the damage Griffin’s closeted life did to himself and the gay community, read Michaelangelo Signorile’s piece from 2007.

Cut the Cord 2017

October 11, 2017

Presenting Cut the Cord tonight for the fourth year at Fairfield Public Library. First time I am doing it at the branch library. Still amazed at how many people continue to seek out this information. This year I separated the program into two parts – Intro and Advanced. I’ll post my new PowerPoint next week after I present the second half. I’ve spent so much time updating the presentation. There’s so much new information, it’s astounding. Who knew we’d have six choices for cable replacement services in 2017?

We have a capacity of 70 people. 110 signed up this week, 92 for next week. I’ve already discussed doing another set in a month to support as many people as possible in the community.

Looking forward to sharing information this week and next. Tonight at 6:30 pm at Fairfield Woods.

TV Shows to Watch: A Reel Charlie List

October 9, 2017

Friends often ask how I keep track of television I’m interested in. I have a simple analog way of doing it. Perhaps someone out there will come up with a better alert system in the form of an app. Meanwhile, this how Reel Charlie rolls.

  1. I keep a permanent list of all the TV currently in production I love. It’s an alpha list with the next season up included. It’s in a sticky note program on my laptop’s desktop.
  2. Once I hear a show’s next season has an air date, I add it to my Google calendar.

Yup, that’s it.
What’s your system?

25 Films With the Best Cinematography of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

October 8, 2017

Get your big ass 4K television fired up because Indiewire‘s posted the 25 most beautiful films of the 21st Century. The past 17 years has produced a gorgeous body of work from cinematographers worldwide. From Indiewire,

Cinematography is tough to judge on its own merits, because it can be hard to extract it from the other powers of great visual storytelling. At the same time, every beautiful movie shows the signature of a talented director of photography as much as a filmmaker. In the process of considering the finest cinematographic achievements of this decade, this list includes on gorgeous films that — in some cases — achieve more on the level of cinematography than anything else. The past two decades have found the craft of cinematography making extraordinary advances on the level of digital technologies and other innovations, but at the end of the day, these particulars matter less than the sheer impression left by the images and movements captured by cinematographers operating at the peak of their abilities.

Included in the list are Reel Charlie favorites Moonlight, The Great Beauty, Carol, Hero, Mr. Turner, Children of Men, Far from Heaven (a second Todd Haynes and Ed Lachman collaboration!), and In the Mood for Love.

See the full list of films at Indiewire.

The 15 Best Monster Movies of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

October 8, 2017

I’m not big on Monster Movies, but it is October so I thought it best to broaden my horizons at least in a post. From Indiewire,

From a certain perspective, monster movies might not seem to be as relevant during monstrous times. But in an age when our fears seem larger than life and the world constantly seems as though it’s on the brink of collapse, the best examples of the genre can almost assume a documentary-like authenticity, reflecting our reality as vividly as vérité ever could.

The list does include a Reel Charlie favorite, The Cabin in the Woods.
See the full list at Indiewire.


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