Archive for the ‘African-American’ Category

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.

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!

 

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 Wire turns 15

June 4, 2017

Happy 15th to The Wire which premiered on HBO June 2, 2002. Congrats to creator David Simon and the fantastic crew and actors who created legendary characters Bunk, McNulty, Kima, Bubbles, Lester, Stringer, Avon, Ziggy, Prop Joe, Omar (sigh), Bunny, Stanfield (shudder), Clay Davis (shiiittt), and so many others. If you’ve been meaning to find out what all the buzz is about, now is the time. If you haven’t visited Baltimore recently, revisit The Wire which continues to be one of the best television shows ever created in America. The Wire streams on HBO Now and Amazon Prime.

Reel Charlie reviews:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5

Strike a Pose

May 28, 2017

An honest and raw examination surrounding the aftermath of fame. Strike a Pose follows former back-up dancers to Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition Tour who were also in her film, Truth or Dare. Fame is a tricky experience to deal with, at least from my distant observation. Fame can empower you, fame can indulge you, fame can consume you. And fame can give you the worst crash of your life. So we hear stories of the seven male dancers who became symbols of freedom and self-expression at a very early age. Something none of them signed up for. What they did sign up for was to dance and dance they did. But the film of the tour, Truth or Dare exposed their personal lives. Most of the dancers were fine with that, a few were not. After the tour, three of the dancers sued Madonna. One of them died from AIDS. Two of them are long-term HIV survivors. All of them have struggled with how to live in the world after riding that magic carpet with her Madgesty. For those who hunger for more than superficial glamour, Strike a Pose provides a truthful glimpse into the lives of these talented men. 4 out of 5.

Orange is the New Black | Season 5 Official Trailer (YouTube)

May 11, 2017

I’m taking my time absorbing the second season of Sense8 slowly and methodically. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer for Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.

Dear White People: Season 1

April 30, 2017

For some reason the original film, Dear White People didn’t resonate with me. Looking back on the review, I didn’t feel there was enough energy in the 2012-2014 project. Fast-forward to 2017. Creator Justin Simien turns his idea into a 10-episode Netflix television series. Now this was the right vehicle. Focusing on a character at a time, Simien and the crew tackle mostly race but also sexism and homophobia on modern college campuses. Dear White People is fun, but in the fifth episode things get very serious. And then by the seventh episode there’s some melodrama I could have done without, but then I remembered this is college after all and even intelligent, evolved young people are going to get messy with their emotions. Overall I love the Netflix show and am positively looking forward to Season 2. The series tackled a lot of really tough subjects head on as young people have a tendency to do. Bravo to the fearless cast and crew. 4.5 out of 5 for Dear White People.

Treme: Season 4 (take 2)

April 3, 2017

The final season of Treme brings all the stories together in one big love fest. Such honest, real characters. Click below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of Treme: Season 4.

Treme: Season 3 (take 2)

March 30, 2017

Just can’t get enough of New Awlins. Click on the image below and read my updated review of Treme: Season 3.

Hap and Leonard: Season 1 Ep. 1

March 26, 2017

Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire), James Purefoy and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) star in Sundance TV’s Hap and Leonard. Because of Michael Kenneth Williams’ involvement in this series, I had to give it a chance. I find this sub-genre becoming a thing: quirky, rural, period piece with small town characters involved in illegal and/or violent activities. Is this something hipster? I’m not exactly sure why it’s become a thing. Did Twin Peaks start it? Leonard is gay and Hap doesn’t care one bit. And it’s the 1980’s. So certainly a twist on the buddy story. I found the series to be lacking and the amount of violence gratuitous. I’m certainly glad Williams has continued to find quality work since striking gold as Omar in The Wire. But I don’t think I need to watch any more of Hap and Leonard. 2.5 out of 5.


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