Archive for the ‘African-American’ Category

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.

Treme: Season 2 (take 2)

March 23, 2017

Great revisiting my friends in the Treme. What a sleeper hit this David Simon (The Wire) show continues to be. Read Reel Charlie’s updated review by clicking on the image below.

Treme: Season 1 (take 2)

March 17, 2017

David Simon’s 2010 follow-up to The Wire uncovers a meditation on New Orleans post-Katrina. Complicated, nuanced, with a phenomenal ensemble cast and the best variety of music any series has yet to produce. Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review.

Lovely & Amazing

March 15, 2017

There’s something diabolical about Nicole Holofcener‘s 2001 film, Lovely & Amazing. It truly is the embodiment of “rich white people’s problems” I’ve ever seen. The characters are whiny, self-absorbed, narcissistic. One of them is even mean. Really mean. And they have no concept of their privilege. Still I love this film. I believe it is a testament to Holofcener’s outstanding conceptualization of the story and her direction of the incredible cast including Brenda Blethyn, Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer, and Raven Goodwin. I’ve seen most of Holofcener’s work in film and on television. Lovely & Amazing is some of her best work. She really nails dialogue between women. Being from a matriarchal family, I have spent my life witnessing the complexities of mother/daughter relationships. Lovely & Amazing puts the worst and the best of them out there for the world to see. The film holds up beautifully after 16 years. 5 out of 5.


March 7, 2017

The simple, bashful story of two people in love forms the basis for Loving, a film about the couple who helped change the expanding definition of marriage in 1960’s. Richard Loving, a white man and Mildred Jeter, a black woman fell in love during a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in the South. Through a simple letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Mildred set into motion the ACLU’s involvement with the Lovings’ case which began with Richard and Mildred’s arrest in 1958 for miscegenation, the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types (Google) and ended with the Supreme Court ruling in 1967 – Loving v. Virginia. Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton embody the Lovings perfectly through quiet, natural performances. Director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) delivers another beautiful film. 4 out of 5 for this important reminder of the continued struggle for our collective rights.

O.J.: Made in America

March 5, 2017

oj-made-in-americaAfter winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, I decided to give O.J.: Made in America a shot. At nine hours, it’s definitely a commitment. But I figured if it felt too long, I could always bail. It’s absolutely worth the investment. The details in this mini-series highlight so many issues in our culture: race, race relations, inequality, injustice, urban life, poverty, fame, wealth, power, money, ego, and gender. I’m sure I’ve missed a few. O.J. symbolizes so many things about our culture from the late 60’s to present. What is good – being able to transcend class and race and be rewarded for excellence. And what is bad – wealth and fame allows people to live by a different set of rules. In the end, O.J.: Made in America leaves the viewer with a lot to digest. The trifecta of documentaries on the African-American experience out this year: O.J.: Made in America, 13th, and I Am Not Your Negro deserve not only your attention, but an on-going discussion and to-do list until we rectify and rid ourselves of issues stemming from race in America. 5 out of 5. A must-see.

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