Hollywood (take 2)

March 25, 2023

Watched the feel-good Ryan Murphy/Ian Brennan limited series, Hollywood a second time and loved it just as much. All that hope, talent, and drive. Why shouldn’t we reimagine what could have made the 1950’s a great era in history, rather than a repressive conservative nightmare of a decade? Absolutely 5 stars for the talent of Hollywood. Click here or on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s update review.

Women Talking

March 23, 2023

Damn Sarah Polley wrote and directed Women Talking, a searing indictment of male and female relationships and the horror of the patriarchy. The story revolves around a religious sect. Does the action take place in the 1960’s or in the 2010’s? That confusion at least for me was on purpose. The timelessness of the piece allows you to focus on how this film reflects our own culture today? How do we as a society treat the 50.5% of the population who are female? What is the power dynamic that continues to prevail in our culture, and can women alone affect lasting change? We are living these questions out right now in real time as states strip reproductive rights from women and offer no options to unwanted pregnancies. Women are still mostly expected to raise children and give up careers. Women are expected to make less money, and do more if they do work outside the home. It’s a difficult tightrope walk that’s been going on for centuries. Women Talking addresses all of this and more. There’s only one male character in the film and he’s gentle and burdened with his own issues. All the other characters represent the spectrum of reaction to the patriarchal rule of this sect. It’s a microcosm of what’s going on today. Every day. The story is deeply disturbing. The film written and directed by Polley is luminous, full of quiet beauty. The drawings throughout the film are particularly worth noting. An easy 5 out of 5. A must-see.

Women Talking is currently available for a rental free from various streaming platforms and free on disk from your local public library.

Reel Charlie’s Criterion Top 10 (2023)

March 21, 2023

Today is Criterion’s 24 flash sale. Stock up on incredible Blu-ray and 4K physical format releases from America’s beloved film remastering home video company, The Criterion Collection. 

Since 2012, I’ve been updating my favorite Criterion Collection list. For 2023, I went from ten to a baker’s dozen, along with my 33 title honorable mention list. New films in both lists. Click for Reel Charlie reviews.

Reel Charlie’s Top 13 favorite Criterion releases:

All About My Mother
Eve’s Bayou
The Heiress
Howards End
My Beautiful Laundrette
Secrets and Lies
The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs
(boxed set all 5 films)

It was difficult whittling the list down to just 13 films.
So many of the 37 films below are 5 star perfect Reel Charlie ratings.
Honorable Mention:

A Christmas Tale
All That Heaven Allows
The Awful Truth

Desert Hearts

Do the Right Thing
Double Indemnity

Fish Tank
Fox and His Friends
Frances Ha
The Great Beauty
Grey Gardens
La haine
The Ice Storm

In the Mood for Love
Leave Her to Heaven
Monsoon Wedding

Mildred Pierce
A Room With a View
Rosemary’s Baby
Shallow Grave
Small Axe (boxed set all 5 films)
Some Like It Hot
Three Colors: Blue
The Times of Harvey Milk

Valley of the Dolls
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Luther: The Fallen Sun

March 21, 2023

Have you missed the fantastic BBC police procedural, Luther starring Idris Elba? We last saw John Luther in 2019 for Series 5. Now he’s back in 2023 with a film continuation, Luther: The Fallen Sun. Cast members Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis compliment Idris well. There’s a lull which happens for the first 20 minutes or so. Fans will think to themselves, has Luther lost it? And then the tidal wave of suspense happens. I literally screamed outloud at one point, it’s so scary. This is not for the faint of heart. Gruesome and diabolical in parts. The tension builds and builds and builds. The story shoots out into the atmosphere. If feels outlandish in parts, but is it? I don’t want to spoil the buzz. Suffice it to say, you wonder could this happen. Unfortunately the answer is probably yes. Because some humans really are pure evil. The hunt for the killer takes the cops to the furthest place possible. It’s fucking crazy and so good and laced with the stuff of nightmares. Is this the end for Luther? It’s been a 13 year run for the series. Maybe? 4 out of 5 for this outstanding film continuation.

Luther: The Fallen Sun currently streams on Netflix.
Luther the first 5 series currently streams on Hulu, Britbox and PlutoTV.

One Book One Town (OBOT) 2023 Library Podcast

March 19, 2023

Aside from my Reel Charlie Speaks, I also host a podcast at my work where we gather three library staff and myself each month to talk about our favorite new books. In the Spring, Fairfield What Are Your Reading dedicates an episode to our One Book, One Town read. This year we welcome Ivan Maisel and his wife Meg Murray to discuss Ivan’s book, I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye, Maisel’s memoir about the loss of their son to suicide. My colleague Mary Coe and I listen to Ivan and Meg’s journey through grief as individuals, a couple, and parents.

Find the episode on your favorite podcast platform by searching, Fairfield What Are You Reading or by clicking on this link.

Discover Ivan’s amazing memoir.

Succession: Getting Ready for the Final Season

March 17, 2023

I watched the final two episodes of Succession: Season 3 in anticipation of the Season 4 premiere , the final season beginning on March 26, 2023. Aside from my awe-struck fan love for the script, acting, editing, sets, locations, and wardrobe, I really caught the taste of how much patriarch Logan Roy has raised a pack of wild animals. All four children possess some form of insanity. Still there are moments to love each of them. Logan not so much. Peripheral characters add a delicious density to the performances. In particular I love the actors Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, J. Smith-Cameron, Justine Lupe, and Alexander Skarsgård perfectly playing an aloof, asshole tech giant. There’s still time to catch up. Can’t wait for the final season. 4 out of 5.

Succession currently streams on HBO Max.

Reel Charlie Speaks – Episode 10: Hitchcock

March 15, 2023

Reel Charlie Speaks is an LGBTQ podcast spin-off of Reel Charlie. Each month I select a classic queer film, television series, or creator. I talk about how the subject spoke to me when I first discovered it years ago, and how its stood the test of time.

In episode 10 of Reel Charlie Speaks, I explore two classic Alfred Hitchcock films, Rope and Strangers on a Train. Both films boast lesbian and gay writers, both star bisexual actor Farley Granger, and both feature queer male relationships during a time when Hollywood was contained by the Hays Code.. As always, I ask that age old Reel Charlie Speaks question, does this movie stand the test of time?

Listen to the podcast at Spotify for Podcasters
or find it on your favorite podcast platform.

Everything Everywhere Eyes

March 14, 2023

The eyes have it. First time seeing this poster today. How can I not share it?

And The Oscar Goes To… 2023 – Everything Sweep!

March 13, 2023

Not much for watching the actual Oscars. We opted to screen Women Talking instead. What an absolute joy. Review coming soon. After the movie, I discovered my favorite movie of the year, Everything Everywhere All At Once won both the Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role.

Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis won for Everything Everywhere All At Once. My boos.

Then Best Director went to Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

And the Daniels won for Best Writing (Original Screenplay).

Paul Rogers won Best Film Editing for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Wow – our gal Michelle Yeoh won Best Actress!!! for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

And finally Everything Everywhere All At Once won Best Picture!!! Congrats to all.

Sarah Polley won Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for Women Talking. Just saw the film tonight – amazing!

History of the World, Part II

March 11, 2023

Over forty years ago, Mel Brooks was on a roll. His seventh directed film, History of the World, Part I, made a lot of money. I remember loving his films. Today, I’m not so sure they would hold up. Perhaps moments, but an entire movie? Probably not. Someone at Hulu decided to create a sequel, History of the World, Part II which follows the Mel Brooks format precisely. Lots of sight gags and irreverent scenarios. I tried watching this new incarnation. I chuckled at Abraham Lincoln hitting his head over and over again. I chuckled at the youngest Romanov child as an influencer. And that was about it. My sense of humor has evolved over my lifetime. Not saying Mel’s humor is any less sophisticated than something that might make me laugh out loud. Just saying it’s not my sense of humor. 2 out of 5. Next.

History of the World, Part II currently streams on Hulu.

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