Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Winter: Season 1

March 16, 2018

Watched an episode of Winter on Acorn TV via hoopla from my public library. Winter embodies an Australian police procedural which finds a female detective mid-career looking for a quieter life who gets drawn into a series of murders which span over a decade. Rebecca Gibney in the title role as Eve Winter creates a fine performance. Other actors don’t fare as well. In the end, this felt like an Australian version of a decent network TV show. Certainly not something I could commit to but I get the appeal. Easy to follow, simple murder mystery with the usual suspects: angry middle-aged male detectives, earnest young female detectives, competent, sick-of-having-to-prove-herself middle-aged female detective. I give Winter a 2.5 out of 5.


Women He’s Undressed

November 5, 2017

Documentary on three-time Oscar winning costumer Orry-Kelly who came from Australia and made it big in the movies during the 1930’s forward. Women He’s Undressed has an odd way of using actors to illustrate Kelly’s voice. Not reenactments, but sort of short skits to move the story along. Once you get used to this, Orry’s life proves fascinating. Kelly managed to live as an openly gay man his entire life. Two of his male contemporaries both married women. Kelly had a long-term relationship with Cary Grant which is covered in detail by the film maker. I knew a bit of Grant’s gay life, but this illuminated a sadness in me that he and Randolph Scott never could live the life they were meant to live because of the times and the homophobic Hollywood system. Kelly’s story is also punctuated by a long working relationship with Bette Davis, bouts of alcoholism, and not one but two marvelous comebacks. He dressed some of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. The film gives the viewer a meaty glimpse into the life of an artist who made a grand life for himself and figured out how to survive and thrive in a world that didn’t have much respect for him. 3.5 out of 5 for Orry-Kelly’s tale, Women He’s Undressed.

Bondi Tattoo Crew

July 18, 2017

If you’re looking for comfort food, managing a business reality show with an exotic twist, check out Bondi Tattoo Crew currently streaming on Netflix. The show follows a successful tattoo shop, Bondi Ink Tattoo at Bondi Beach, Australia wanting to take the leap from single store to multiple shops worldwide. The show’s premise is pretty straight-forward. The challenges and drama nothing unusual. But the location, accents, and beautiful beach people make Bondi Ink Tattoo stand out from similar American reality shows. I found the overall feel of this show to be extremely positive. 3 out of 5 for my tattooed friends.

Deep Water on Netflix

July 13, 2017

The outstanding Australian murder-mystery mini-series, Deep Water finally streams on Netflix. Add this one to your queue now. If you need more detail, click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s review from earlier this year.

Unplanned America S1

July 4, 2017

Unplanned America (not to be confused with Unplugged America – my poor cursive, getting worse every day) places three Australian millennial men in subcultures of America even Americans rarely discover. I will admit I breezed through season 1 to find the fun bits including a visit to NYC’s ballroom (vogue) dance scene still thriving long after Madonna’s appropriation 25 years ago, on location at the filming of an Austin Powers XXX parody porn film, and interviewing the non-sexual participants of Portland’s Annual Naked Bike ride. The three guys are fun and respectful of whatever world they happen to fall into. Although niche, I definitely see the appeal to this show. It’s got three seasons in total. 3 out of 5 for Unplanned America which could be the alternative name for Teen Mom.

Deep Water

May 23, 2017

Australia’s 4-part mini series Deep Water based on the “real life hate murders of… up to 80 gay men in Sydney’s eastern suburbs (Bondi) beaches in the 1970s and ’80s” (Wikipedia)  might be a hard sell if the quality of production wasn’t so thoughtful. There was a documentary produced in addition to the mini-series. Starring Yael Stone (Orange is the New Black) and Noah Taylor as the detectives who link a gruesome reality of homophobic hate crimes and murders that continued through the present. The current killings are linked to the past as Stone’s Tori Lustigman uncovers a vast ritual of gay bashings dating back 30-40 years ago. Tori’s interest in the case goes from professional to personal jeopardizing the investigation at several key points. Deep Water creates a quiet, steady police procedural eschewing theatrics for methodical detective work which pays off in the end and makes the series easy to watch. Actor Jeremy Lindsay Taylor gives good eye candy as Tori’s friend Oscar who we find deeply connected to the past and puts himself into jeopardy to find answers. No denying the subject matter is difficult. The production respectfully honors the story with a steady, kind heart. 4 out of 5.

I watched Deep Water on DVD from the library. Netflix has it on DVD as well and it’s available streaming through Acorn TV.

7/12/2017: As of July 2017, Deep Water streams on Netflix.

‘Top of the Lake: China Girl’ Trailer: Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman Protect Their Own in Jane Campion’s Sequel (Indiewire)

May 12, 2017

Oooh, Top of the Lake is coming back with a Season 2! This time Elizabeth Moss stars with Nicole Kidman. I can’t wait for this one! From Indiewire,

It’s been four years since we last saw Elisabeth Moss’ Detective Robin Griffin, and it looks like quite a bit has changed. New faces and a new case dominate the first trailer for “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” Jane Campion’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed limited series.

Moss returns as Griffin, a mother still reeling from giving up her daughter at birth, and in a disconcerting twist, Nicole Kidman plays Mary’s adoptive mother.

“Top of the Lake: China Girl” premieres in September on SundanceTV. Episodes will be made available via Hulu the day after they air.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of Top of the Lake: Season 1
Read the full article on Indiewire


April 11, 2017

Finally saw Lion now that it’s being released this week streaming and on disk. Some people live extraordinary lives simply because of their life circumstances. That’s certainly true for Saroo Brierley, the real man Lion is based on. It’s hard to believe Saroo survived getting lost at such a young age. Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel play Saroo brilliantly 25 years apart. The strong story got lost a bit in the melodrama of the film. No doubt Lion is a tear-jerker of a movie. For my taste I would have enjoyed tighter editing and a little less drama as the elder Saroo falls apart trying to discover his roots. All that said, I enjoyed the film and understand how it worked its magic on so many. Family means many things to many people. Lion proved the pull can be strong, even overwhelming. 3.5 out of 5.

On a side note, I adore Nicole Kidman. Not sure if I ever mentioned that here on Reel Charlie. She always strikes the best notes for me.

Pride of Australia, Ben Mendelsohn beats out GoT actors to win an Emmy (Mashable)

September 19, 2016
Actor and Aussie legend Ben Mendelsohn took home an Emmy for his role in Bloodline. Image: WireImage Vera Anderson/WireImage

Actor and Aussie legend Ben Mendelsohn took home an Emmy for his role in Bloodline.
Image: WireImage Vera Anderson/WireImage

If  you’re a big fan of Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul (which I also love!), House of Cards, or Ray Donovan you might be pissed off a bit at last night’s Emmy Awards. But if you’re a fan of Bloodline like I am, you’re probably thrilled that actor Ben Mendelsohn took home Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Danny Rayburn on the Netflix series Bloodline.

Congrats Ben and thanks for giving us two seasons of goose bump shivering performance as the evil and vengeful Danny Rayburn. Bloodline’s third and final season streams on Netflix in 2017.

Read the full article on Mashable.

Reel Charlie’s reviews of Bloodline: Season 1 and Season 2.

Holding the Man

August 16, 2016

holding the manSpoiler alerts: Australian love story based on the novel by Timothy Conigrave, Holding the Man tells the true story of Tim and John who fall in love during high school in late 1970’s Melbourne, Australia . Their 15 year relationship sees the embrace of the modern gay rights movement as well as the horror of the AIDS crisis. Conigrave wrote the book as a love letter to John after he died of AIDS related symptoms in Sydney where they lived together. Tim also died of AIDS ten days after completing the book in 1994. Published the following year, Holding the Man has been recognized as one of the 100 best Australian novels by the Australian Society of Authors. Director Neil Armfield and screenwriter Tommy Murphy do a fantastic job transferring the book to screen. Ryan Corr’s Tim and Craig Stott’s John are natural actors who hold the drama of the film together and hold their own with popular Australian actors in supporting roles including as Guy Pierce, Geoffrey Rush, and Anthony LaPaglia. It was difficult watching Holding the Man for several reasons. First it reminded me how unsupported we all were by our families before and even during the AIDS crisis. It reminded me of reality checks I had to give my own parents during the course of our adult relationship together. I was lucky they evolved. Not everyone’s parents did or have. But the pain is a difficult emotion to conjure watching the film. John’s death to AIDS was graphic and brought back memories of the long road to where we are now. And also reminded me of my own survivor’s guilt. These two young men – all they wanted to do was love and live their lives together. A tender reminder of what we went through during those never-ending darkest of days. My only complaint of the film is the music. Some of the songs played as part of the scenes didn’t match up to the release years. Someone was lazy. And by lazy I mean the person in charge of that task didn’t google release dates. Neither of the mother characters were particularly memorable or strong, something I think wouldn’t gel with personal experiences. Those issues aside, I liked Holding the Man and think it’s an important piece of cinema history adding to the beautiful canon of Australian film. Great job. 4 out of 5.

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