Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Desk Set

December 15, 2017

New computers set to make librarians extinct? Is this 2017? No, it’s 1957 and the same false rumor gets spread around the office in Desk Set, a perfectly charming rom-com starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Apparently the early warnings of librarians’ demise has been a theme for 60 years! Lucky for us, people are now overwhelmed with access to too much information and need help sifting through the rubble. Back in the day, the new computer scared the bejezzus out of Hepburn’s Reference Librarian Bunny (tragic) Watson and her staff Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill, and Sue Randall. Bunny’s been waiting for years for a proposal from her boss. Not sure how all this flies in our current climate, but stay with me. In walks computer geek Richard Sumner played to perfection by Spencer Tracy. You can guess the rest no doubt. Desk Set is a fun, feel-good, Friday night date kind of movie. Hepburn is Hepburn, they just don’t make them like her any more. 4 out of 5 for this classic, light-hearted look at the dawn of the information age.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 1

December 9, 2017

Season 1 of the Amazon Prime exclusive, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel succeeded my wildest expectations after loving the pilot during Amazon’s Pilot season earlier this year. Gilmore Girls creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino work their magic once again, this time in 1950’s New York City. Miriam “Midge” Maisel falls into stand-up comedy after a nasty break-up with her husband. Midge spent her young life being a daughter, wife, and mother. Now she’s back home living with her parents, two kids in tow while she figures out how to make money and how to break into show business. I love, love, love this series. It’s got everything: tight delivery, outstanding cast including Rachel Brosnahan as Midge (a star is born), Alex Borstein as Suzie, Midge’s lesbian manager, Marin Hinkle incredibly cast and nailing her role as Midge’s Mom, Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s dry sense of humor Dad, and Luke Kirby occasionally appearing as Lenny Bruce. The sets, costumes, design – all outstanding. The drama comedy balance perfect. I know I’m ruining it but I can’t help it. I love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Midge teaches us what it means to be a modern woman, figuring out how to break the chains of patriarchy while holding on to the parts of her life that work. The show never knocks you over the head. It teaches through the drama of the every day story. You’ll be hooked on Midge and her journey from the moment you begin. And did I say the series is so much fun? Laugh out loud moments, period songs inserted at just the right moment. 5 out of 5 for the Sherman-Palladino’s new creation. Thank you Amazon.

The Crown: Season 2 drops

December 8, 2017

A reminder the lavish British monarchy series, The Crown drops Season 2 today on Netflix. Looking forward to new cast members Michael C. Hall and Jodi Balfour as Jack and Jackie Kennedy, and Matthew Goode as Lord Snowdon as we careen into the 1960’s. Who’s binging this weekend?

Read Reel Charlie’s review of The Crown: Season 1.
Watch the trailer for The Crown: Season 2 on YouTube.

Christmas Classics to Get Your Holiday Groove On

December 5, 2017

Click on the links below for Reel Charlie’s holiday reviews of my favorite Christmas classics:

La Bûche (The Yule Log)
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas in Connecticut
Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)
Hollywood, je t’aime (just one scene, but it’s a doozy)
Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)
Love, Actually
Make the Yuletide Gay
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
White Christmas

Also don’t forget to pull out your old television DVDs. I’d recommend Bewitched and The Partridge Family for cockle warming fun.

4th Man Out

December 2, 2017

4th Man Out continues a new, positive gay coming out film sub-genre. Instead of the family and friends struggling, hating, or being horrified, they do what real people do (or should do) and support their friend. 4th Man Out centers around a group of four adult men in their 20’s who’ve been besties forever. One of them finally comes out. At first there’s awkwardness, then the comedy begins. And so we usher in the Gay Dude Buddy genre. Gude? He’s just a regular guy. He’s a mechanic. He farts when he eats nachos. He just so happens to be gay. I like the genre. I like the film. We need more of these films. His buds support him, his parents support him. His mother chastises him for not sharing all of his life with her for the past 10 years. That’s the only thing she’s upset about after his coming out. 4th Man Out‘s sweet, it’s endearing. It’s feel-good, Friday date night, easy peasy fun. 3.5 out of 5.

L.A. Law: Season 3

November 27, 2017

I’m maxed out on L.A. Law seasons here in the States. The Region 1 DVDs only go as far as Season 3 which I just finished. Damn. I guess this is the end of the road for me – for now. I sure wish someone would stream all eight seasons. I know it changed a lot over the years. After Susan Dey left, I stopped watching. But I’d love to see where it goes and if I could stay with it. Meanwhile, Season 3 continued the excellence of the first two seasons. Great stories, Lots of humor. And the women really shine in this series. Very balanced characters gender-wise. Probably a big deal back in the 80’s to execute that. Even the Roxanne character proves not everyone who works for a law firm manages their money or even makes enough in the first place. Mickey and Grace are on the rocks, Ann and Stuart try to make a baby, Abby ventures out on her own, Jonathan finds his footing, and Victor continues to work strong. Season 3 truly features the classic cast. Still holds up after more than 30 years. 5 out of 5 for this television legal drama that not only paved the way for many other shows like it, but inspired many people to become lawyers.

Daisy’s Adoption Day

November 25, 2017

While Dennis and I are acclimating rescue dog Daisy to her new home today, talk among yourselves.

Reel Charlie and Daisy

Or better yet, dance!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

November 23, 2017

I certainly have many things to be thankful for this year – great friends, an amazing family, a supportive and loving non-partner/partner (my bex, Dennis), a fantastic job in a career that helps the disenfranchised and people at risk, wonderful co-workers, a healthy body that responds to exercise, doctors and medical staff who keep me humming after all these post AIDS crisis years, and a brand-new 7 year-old puppy girl who will come live with us on Saturday.

But this year has not been without struggle. Now more than ever it’s important I keep myself glass half full. There is so much to do if we are to make this country and our world a reflection of decency, kindness, love and inclusion.

Today is U.S. Thanksgiving. Many of you will be home with family and friends. I wish you a calm, happy, foodie day. And afterwards, if you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving movie, consider What’s Cooking. It’s very American and very ethnic. Which is very American. Now more than ever.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of the perfect Thanksgiving film: What’s Cooking.
What’s Cooking is currently streaming on Amazon with a Tribeca Shortlist subscription. Or rent it digitally for $3 from Amazon, Apple, or Vudu. Or get the DVD from Netflix or your library.

The Best Years of Our Lives (Blu-ray)

November 17, 2017

Revisiting this classic brings joyful tears to my eyes each time I watch. Click on the image below for an updated review of William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives.

Murder on the Orient Express (2010)

November 14, 2017

In anticipation of the new Branagh 2017 Murder on the Orient Express, I ordered the British television 2010 version for the library. I had a blast watching this adaptation. It stars David Suchet as Poirot and includes a strong supporting cast featuring Eileen Atkins, Jessica Chastain, Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville, David Morrissey, Brian J. Smith, and Samuel West. Without even seeing the remake, I know it’s a simpler film than Branagh’s big budget release. As a result, the film relies on the talents of the director, writer, and cast. Murder on the Orient Express offers real comfort food whodunit excitement. 4 out of 5 for this Agatha Christie classic adaptation.


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