Archive for the ‘Classic’ Category

OutFilmCT: Desert Hearts; 10/12/17 – Hartford, CT

October 7, 2017

OutFilmCT is hosting a 30th anniversary screening of the classic lesbian drama, Desert Hearts in Hartford, CT Thursday, October 12, 2017.

DESERT HEARTS – Thursday, OCTOBER 12 @ 7:30 PM – Cinestudio
The fall is here, and we are bringing you back all-time lesbian classics! Watch it again, 30 years later, or discover one of the first masterpieces of queer cinema if you haven’t seen it before.

For October we’re celebrating the first widely released film to feature a positive lesbian relationship on-screen: no one is self-destructive, drinks to excess, or morosely pines for straight girls! Directed by Donna Deitch (who is planning a sequel), this breakthrough movie is set in 1959, as a Columbia University literature professor (Helen Shayer) arrives in Reno to divorce her husband. Staying at a local ‘divorce ranch’ in the Nevada desert, she meets a free-spirited casino worker and potter (Patricia Charbonneau), who opens her heart to self-acceptance, sensual exploration, and love.
Directed by Donna Deitch, 1986, USA, 97 min.

Cast: Helen Shayer, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley.

Desert Hearts (1985)



The Little Foxes

October 4, 2017

Every so often, I watch a classic film for the first time and get blown away. Such was the case with The Little Foxes. Talent lives in every inch of this movie. The remarkable cast includes Bette Davis, Teresa Wright, Herbert Marshall, Richard Carlson, Dan Duryea, and Patricia Collinge (two years away from reuniting with Teresa Wright in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt). Directed by the luminous William Wyler (The Best Years of Our LivesThe Heiress, Funny Girl), screenplay by Lillian Hellman with additional scenes and dialogue written by Arthur Kober, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell, and music by Meredith Willson, with costume design by Orry-Kelly. But honestly it’s the writing and delivery which makes this film so strong, so lasting. Nearly every minute captivated me. Not an easy task for a 75-year-old work. The Little Foxes does that and more. It rises above melodrama and Southern stereotypes to become that illusive perfect classic film. 5 out of 5 for the Bette Davis masterpiece.

Transparent: Season 4

October 1, 2017

“Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and anoint you…”

Who knew the Pfeffermans were as obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar as I was when I was a little boy. And they remember the words to the songs after all these years. Even Maura’s sister! Such a magnificent and glorious television series Transparent continues to be. Is this the most loving, dysfunctional family you’ve ever met? Does yours rival them? Mine sure doesn’t. Which is probably why I love watching them tick. This season the family connects with their spiritual and social roots on a trip to Israel. Every one comes together and then proceeds to find their own corner and take some time out to contemplate life: Josh at meetings, Sarah with Len, Ali at the farm, and Maura and Shelly meditating in the midst of the chaos. The only logical family member of Maura’s who gets any back story time this season is the luminous Davina, my favorite non-Pfefferman. We dig deeper into Davina’s past to find her vulnerabilities. I love Davina even more after this season. She is the heart, soul, and calm of the show. Alexandra Billings brings nuance and wisdom to the role. Can’t say enough how much I adore Transparent. 5 out of 5 for this family ensemble.

Three Husbands

September 22, 2017

Sometimes I really get into classic films and sometimes I just don’t. Guess that is simply the test of time. What lasts and what wanes. I was looking forward to seeing Eve Arden and Ruth Warwick in Three Husbands. After 21 minutes, they hadn’t even introduced Arden yet. I fast-forwarded to her first scene, but even that didn’t hold my interest. 2 out of 5. Next.

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.

The Criterion Collection: Reel Charlie’s Top 17

September 15, 2017

Whenever I see a famous person list their favorite Criterion films, I wonder what my list would look like? I took a shot at this back in 2012. Criterion’s been adding films monthly so my favorites list is ever-evolving. Currently I have a list of 17 must-see films from Criterion’s Collection. If you have access to Kanopy, you can see these films any time.

Reel Charlie’s 17 favorite Criterion releases (in alpha order):

All That Heaven Allows
A Christmas Tale
Desert Hearts
Fox and His Friends
Howards End
The Ice Storm
In the Mood for Love
Monsoon Wedding
My Beautiful Laundrette
A Room With a View
Rosemary’s Baby
The Times of Harvey Milk
Weekend (Haigh)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


Honorable Mention:

Being There
Do the Right Thing
Fish Tank
Frances Ha
The Great Beauty
Grey Gardens
La haine
The Lady Eve
Mildred Pierce
Shallow Grave
Three Colors: Blue
Valley of the Dolls

Explore all Criterion films at their website.


September 8, 2017

Can’t believe I’ve never reviewed the 1995 camp classic, Clue based on the Parker Brothers’ board game. Always good for 94 minutes of silly fun, Clue boasts an outstanding cast featuring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, and Colleen Camp. Who wouldn’t want to watch a film starring Madeline Kahn and Lesley Ann Warren? Created with three alternative endings, Clue proves the silliest ideas can bring out the smiles. 4 out of 5 this gem.

The Best Classic Movies for People Who Don’t Watch Older Films — IndieWire Critics Survey (IndieWire)

September 7, 2017

Interesting article about millennials not caring about older films. IndieWire highlights a list of “one film — the right film — could change their minds.” From IndieWire,

A recent article (based on a very unscientific poll) argued that millennials don’t really care about old movies. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it isn’t, but the fact remains that many people disregard classic cinema on principle. These people are missing out, but it only takes one film — the right film — to change their minds and forever alter their viewing habits.

Later in the piece Vadim Rizov (@vrizov), Filmmaker Magazine writes,

I also don’t understand why millennials need to see older films. There’s an assumption here, I guess, that it’s valuable to have some kind of shared national cultural reference points, the “shared monoculture as uniter” concept, but I’m not so sure that’s true.

I’m not sure why it’s important for anybody without the interest for something outside of their cultural intake comfort zone to sit down and watch “Rear Window.” I’m sure they can find other things to do with their time, and not everybody needs to care about movies. They already don’t.

The other thing is that people used to sit and watch older movies on TV for hours at a time simply because they had nothing better to do. Now people have tons of “content” they can consume, so they’re not sharing a collective, inertia-driven intake of older movies, and that’s not coming back, so it’s logical that fewer younger people would be watching older movies.

If you don’t enjoy film, I get the comments above. If you’re consumed only with media created by and for your generation, your youth, I also get that. But to lump an entire generation into one category seems as limiting as assuming everyone needs to watch classic film. I know many people who don’t embrace classic film. That’s fine. But I disagree completely with the idea that since we all have access to streaming services on the device in our pocket, we no longer need to see Hitchcock films. I watched very few classic films in my 20’s. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC in my 30’s and had access to Kim’s Videos and Two Boots Video that I began delving into classic film. I never hit the retrospective theaters until after I discovered classics at home on VHS. So it’s fine to give millennials space to come to the party late like I did. But as a media blogger, I would continue to encourage any one at any age to give older films a try. We live in an era where a certain type of film gets made. These films don’t appeal to many people. Perhaps another group of films from another time may speak more authentically to those alienated by superheroes and violence. I know I’m generalizing here, but hopefully you catch my drift.

Read the full article on IndieWire.
Browse Reel Charlie’s category Classic (which doesn’t always mean older films).

The 20 Best LGBTQ Movies of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

September 5, 2017

From Indiewire,

“Moonlight.” “The Handmaiden.” “Carol.” The last few years have not only brought LGBTQ films and stories further into the mainstream, but queer films have dominated awards seasons and found commercial success. This has been a long time coming: The New Queer Cinema was a major influence on the indie film boom of the ’90s, and set the bar high for the many queer films to follow.

From the list of 20, Reel Charlie favorites include,

Far From Heaven
I Killed My Mother
The Kids Are All Right
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Stranger by the Lake

Click on the film titles above to read Reel Charlie’s reviews.
Read Reel Charlie’s Best Gay Films 2010 – 2015.
See the complete list at Indiewire.


August 31, 2017

John Sayles’ 1987 film, Matewan creates the perfect introduction to independent film for the American Director’s series screening at the library this Fall. I wanted to show a Sayles film from the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s. I believe Matewan will mesh beautifully with Lone Star and Sunshine State. Based on the true story of beleaguered coal miners in 1920 West Virginia, Sayles’ enlists his signature ensemble cast featuring Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Gordon Clapp, and Joe Wright to tell an important American story. Was Sayles the first filmmaker to not only use groups of diverse actors but feature strong stories based on the lives of people of all races? Certainly this theme follows Sayles through the other two films featured in the series. Matewan stands strong after 30 years and remains just as essential now as we face a nearly non-existent middle class with no labor relations to protect working people from corporate greed. Matewan reminds us there’s no going back to sending humans into dangerous, life-shortening mining jobs. Sayles masterfully crafts a film about a time when companies treated humans like disposable slaves, as the workers began to assert their rights for a decent and honorable life. A must-see. 5 out of 5 for Matewan.

Read about the real Matewan Massacre on the West Virginia Archives and History website.

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