Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

Ray Donovan

December 13, 2017

I’ve been wanting to try out Ray Donovan for years now. Not sure why I never got around to watching it until this week. I like the cast a lot. I especially love the casting director who decided Liev Schreiber and Eddie Marsan look like brothers, which they do. The dead pan, no-nonsense violence does nothing for me. The idea of a Boston working-class family – this time transplanted to Los Angeles seems worn out to me. I suppose people in other parts might be fascinated by the accents and the thuggishness. Honestly, it makes me yawn. I’ve seen enough Irish Catholic heavy accented Boston working class characters for one lifetime. At least for now. I get why Ray Donovan would be addictive for many. I am simply not connecting with it. It’s not bad, it’s just not my taste. 3 out of 5.

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Godless

December 11, 2017

Watched the first episode of Netflix new western Godless. Nearly all the men in La Belle, New Mexico die in a mining accident. The women are left to keep the town going. An outlaw, Roy Goode hides out in town from his former partner Frank Griffin. So there are men in the series. Many of them. Most are not connected with the town. But there is a great balance of gender in the ensemble cast. Outstanding group of actors including Jack O’Connell (as Roy), Michelle Dockery (yes, Mary from Downton Abbey),  Scoot McNairy, Merritt Wever (doing her usual badass acting), Jeff Daniels, and Sam Waterston. There’s modern humor infused into the story. Godless is authentic, filmed on location in New Mexico with a feminist twist. But it’s still a western which is not my genre of choice. I give it a 3 out of 5. You may find it more to your liking and rate it higher.

Broadchurch: Season 3

December 7, 2017

My love of Broadchurch and has waxed and waned. I gave Season 1 a 5 out of 5. Then I gave Season 2 a 3.5 out of 5. Season 3 redeemed itself solving yet another crime and finally making peace with Danny’s murder from Season 1. David Tennant and Olivia Colman are back and in top form. Colman is a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to watching her career post-Broadchurch. This time, Season 3 investigates a rape. Because of the nature of the crime, the series focuses most of its attention on gender and a woman’s place in the world. There are lots to digest and consider. And in the middle of it all, Danny’s murder from Season 1 finally finds, if not some closure, a bit of peace for his parents and siblings. Jodie Whittaker (the new Doctor Who) and Andrew Buchan share outstanding acting moments as Danny’s estranged parents Beth and Mark Latimer. Heavy stuff. The beauty of the landscape helps temper the seriousness of this crime drama. I’m leaving Broadchurch with a 4 out of 5 for Season 3.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of Broadchurch: Season 1.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Broadchurch: Season 2.

War for the Planet of the Apes

October 29, 2017

Watched much more of this third film in the latest Apes franchise than I honestly needed to. War for the Planet of the Apes presents predictable, formulaic, and just plain boring. The CGI and location shots are breathtaking. Combine those with a kick-ass screenplay and you’d have cinematic gold. Meanwhile War is simply more of what makes these franchises profitable – predictability within the framework of safety. Plus there’s a creepy subplot involving a young white girl who helps save the apes. White people always save the day. Not particularly inventive for those of us craving better stories. 2 out of 5. Next.

Series Novels That Would Make Great TV & Film Adaptations

October 23, 2017

I’ve read a number of series novels over the past few years I know would make great television. I got to thinking of that recently after hearing Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City is being picked up by Netflix for at least a ten-part installment of more than likely one or all of the final three Tales novels since Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are on board to reprise their Mary Ann and Anna roles respectively. Three of Richard Stephenson’s Donald Strachey Mysteries were adapted for HereTV about 10 years ago. And of course Barbara Wilson’s first Cassandra Reilly novel, Gaudi Afternoon turned into a Susan Seidelman spectacular romp through Barcelona. And we could sure use a sequel with an equally outstanding director and cast.

All of this got me thinking. If I had the power of the green light, which series would I produce? Here is my incomplete list of some of my literary favorites:

Michael Nava’s Henry Rios’ Mysteries’ produced perhaps the most sophisticated gay male sleuth ever. Henry’s actually a lawyer and a drunk and then in recovery. The seven books take us through the worse of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s to the final installment in 2001. Can’t say enough about this essential must-read series which would make for some outstanding television.

My second choice without a doubt goes to Greg Herren’s Scotty Bradley Mysteries. Herren’s lead character is adventurous, goofy, humpy, lives through Katrina in New Orleans, boasts a set of pot-smoking parents and not one but two emotionally monogamous boyfriends – a thrupple. Scotty is a former go-go boy who solves crimes with his retired FBI agent primary partner Frank and their mysterious international gun for hire third, Colin.

An even dozen novels comprise Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan Mysteries. Lippman’s books revolve around a former newspaper reporter who turns private eye. Many lists mention Tess Monaghan if you’re a fan of The Wire and crave more gritty Baltimore drama. Lippman delivers.

Years ago, I served grand jury duty in NYC. This was pre-smart phones, pre-ereaders. I found the first three Wraeththu books in one volume. Plopped the bible-sized book in my lap and proceeded to devour Storm Constantine’s magical world. Wraeththu are another species superior in many ways to humans with mostly male characteristics, but intersexed so they can reproduce. Fascinating reading especially in today’s world of transgender visibility. These books would make for a magically sexy adaptation. Think a Sense8 goes sci-fi pagan/wiccan sort of mystical reality.

If vampire movies ever come back in vogue again, and you know they will, Jourdan Lane’s Soul Mates series would make for some kick ass sexy gay male entertainment. Peter and Lucien would be the perfect other worldly follow-up to Queer as Folk‘s Justin and Brian.

Marshall Thorton’s Boystown series take place in 1980’s Chicago. The ten novels (as of 2017) are classic private eye with a twist. Nick Nowak is gay and unapologetic about it. He’s a man’s man character finding his way in a post-Stonewall world where his biological family has rejected him because of his sexuality. He is forced off the police force – a family business but refuses to leave Chicago. Nick becomes a private eye and solves cases like the best of them.

Jordan Castillo Price’s Mnevermind series follows Daniel Schroeder in the near future as he tinkers around as a memory specialist stalled in life until he meets the mysterious Elijah, a young man living on the spectrum. Outstanding romance future tech mash-up with great fleshed out characters. Price has an extremely popular 8-part PsyCop series, which I also enjoy but Mnevermind continues to be her series I return to with a smile.

‘Nathan Burgoine’s Triad Blood series involves “a vampire, wizard, and demon (who) form a bond in Ottawa, Canada that leaves them both a part of—and apart from—those in power in the supernatural world around them.” Burgoine’s addictive stories are begging to be adapted for the screen. Casting Anders the arrogant, sexy, demon would be the most fun.

So far I’ve only read the first book of Aleksandr Voinov’s Witches of London seriesLars which I absolutely adored. Voinov’s books are pagan romance stories which fascinate me to no end. “Lars Kendall is a solitary pagan on the Northern Path, loyal to the gods of the Norse pantheon.”
Rhys Turner hires Lars to renovate his house. Magic of all sorts ensue. Witches of London could easily be a very modern, sophisticated, more realistic Bewitched romance for the early 2020’s. Makes me imagine my own life taking off in an earth religion direction.

Also only read the first book of Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series, a (so far) 10-part novel series based in the future where humans and therians live side-by-side. THIRDS would make an outstanding LGBTQ super hero futuristic action film franchise which could easily turn the tired Hollywood super hero trope on its head. Fun, action, and a bit of romance.

And finally I vote for making the graphic novel Wuvable Oaf into a feature film or a bizarre, niche television series. Everyone I know who reads this novel falls in love with its crazy cast of characters. “Oaf is a large, hirsute, scary-looking ex-wrestler who lives in San Francisco with his adorable kitties and listens to a lot of Morrissey. The book follows Oaf’s search for love in the big city, especially his pursuit of Eiffel, the lead singer of the black metal/queercore/ progressive disco grindcore band Ejaculoid.”

I’m sure there’s more series out there. What would you like to see turned into a television show or film?

Journey to the Center of the Earth

September 20, 2017

I usually love most classic films Steve Hayes recommends. This time I simply couldn’t arouse any excitement for the 1959 Jules Verne adaptation, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Not even Alan Napier in a pre-Batman’s Alfred role, Pat Boone singing, or a nearly always shirtless Peter Ronson could help me sustain interest in this sci-fi classic. I loved the silly effects, but the story snoozed me out. 2 out of 5. Next.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

August 29, 2017

So I really loved Guardians of the Galaxy so much I gave it a 4 out of 5 which is enormously generous of me for a big Hollywood blockbuster film. I came into the sequel hoping for fun and distraction from our cruel world. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 started out hopeful with some good dialogue and outstanding special effects. Soon it morphed into too many battles and the same old shtick. Even Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) couldn’t save this. Too bad because the franchise started out strong. Oh well, the curse of the sequel. 2 out of 5. Next.

The Night Of

August 25, 2017

Another great HBO limited series that deserves and looks as if it’s been set-up for a potential Season 2. The Night Of follows a college-aged Pakistani-American young man living in Queens played by the dreamy Brit Riz Ahmed through the thrills of a night out in Manhattan. As police procedurals tend to do, the night doesn’t go exactly as planned. Arrests happen. Jail time, a trial. I’m certainly not giving much away. John Turturro stars along with Ahmed in a gripping, by the book eight-part series. Really enjoyed this and hope there might be a second season. 4 out of 5 for The Night Of.

Bosch: Season 1

August 22, 2017

I tried watching Bosch on two separate occasions. I simply could not get into it. Feels like a modern-day noir which should interest me. Also two The Wire alum, Jamie Hector and Lance Reddick peaked my interest. Season 1 was based on three of Michael Connelly’s novels.  In the end, Bosch just didn’t excite me. 2 out of 5. Next.

Prison Break: Event Series

August 9, 2017

A lot has changed in the twelve years since Prison Break premiered on Fox in 2005. American television kept climbing until the best industry people take time to create phenomenal series truly elevating the medium to an art form. Which makes it more and more difficult for me to watch mediocrity. I loved the escapist comfort food of Prison Break back in the day. The series took me out of my world and allowed me to spend time… well if truth be told, I spent time fantasizing about a threesome with Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller. Fast-forward 12 years. Dominic Purcell is still broodingly masculine. Wentworth Miller got a little closer to my reality by coming out of the closet. And my taste in television got a lot more sophisticated thanks to the dearth of outstanding choices from streaming services, premium cable channels and even a few broadcast shows. Too bad the new incarnation of Prison Break just doesn’t hold my attention. Dominic and Wentworth are still sexy as all hell. But I need my eye candy with a sophisticated plot and outstanding writing. Golden Age of Television: you’ve spoiled me for the pretty boys. 2.5 out of 5. Next.


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