Archive for the ‘Dark’ Category

Luther: The Fallen Sun

March 21, 2023

Have you missed the fantastic BBC police procedural, Luther starring Idris Elba? We last saw John Luther in 2019 for Series 5. Now he’s back in 2023 with a film continuation, Luther: The Fallen Sun. Cast members Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis compliment Idris well. There’s a lull which happens for the first 20 minutes or so. Fans will think to themselves, has Luther lost it? And then the tidal wave of suspense happens. I literally screamed outloud at one point, it’s so scary. This is not for the faint of heart. Gruesome and diabolical in parts. The tension builds and builds and builds. The story shoots out into the atmosphere. If feels outlandish in parts, but is it? I don’t want to spoil the buzz. Suffice it to say, you wonder could this happen. Unfortunately the answer is probably yes. Because some humans really are pure evil. The hunt for the killer takes the cops to the furthest place possible. It’s fucking crazy and so good and laced with the stuff of nightmares. Is this the end for Luther? It’s been a 13 year run for the series. Maybe? 4 out of 5 for this outstanding film continuation.

Luther: The Fallen Sun currently streams on Netflix.
Luther the first 5 series currently streams on Hulu, Britbox and PlutoTV.

Succession: Getting Ready for the Final Season

March 17, 2023

I watched the final two episodes of Succession: Season 3 in anticipation of the Season 4 premiere , the final season beginning on March 26, 2023. Aside from my awe-struck fan love for the script, acting, editing, sets, locations, and wardrobe, I really caught the taste of how much patriarch Logan Roy has raised a pack of wild animals. All four children possess some form of insanity. Still there are moments to love each of them. Logan not so much. Peripheral characters add a delicious density to the performances. In particular I love the actors Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, J. Smith-Cameron, Justine Lupe, and Alexander Skarsgård perfectly playing an aloof, asshole tech giant. There’s still time to catch up. Can’t wait for the final season. 4 out of 5.

Succession currently streams on HBO Max.

The Last of Us: Season 1, Episodes 1-3

January 27, 2023

Post-apocalyptic television series, The Last of Us boasts the largest television production in Canadian history, as well as the first HBO series based on a video game. I heard a bit of hype and decided to watch. It’s a zombie show for sure. I like post-apocalyptic stories, and I watched a few seasons of The Walking Dead and loved it until they killed my favorite character. Unfortunately, The Last of Us feels like more of the same. It’s extremely high quality so if any of this description peaks your interest, definitely check it out. For me, I am happy to let it go. 3 out of 5. Next.

2/2023: I did watch episodes 2 & 3, mainly to get to episode 3 which my dear friend Mark told me to watch. So happy to see the entire hour devoted to Bill and Frank’s relationship. As Mark said, it was great seeing a gay male couple of a certain age be celebrated. Such an amazing departure. Still not going to continue the show, but the showrunners should be commended for including this story into the mix. Outstanding.


January 25, 2023

The German producers behind Dark bring us yet another television series, this one titled 1899, full of taking chances, heady intelligent scripts, and a story that’s hard to follow – in a good way. 1899 takes place on a steamship traveling from London to New York City just before – you guessed it – the turn of the 20th Century. Lots of immigrants on board, so the setting is money vs. poverty until a second vessel is discovered abandoned at sea. That’s all I will say. The complexity to the story along with great acting kept me coming back. Once a few major plotlines were revealed later in the season, I wondered if I loved it or was just watching to see how the showrunners would explain their way out of this
Sci-Fi/Suspense soup. Some of it seemed silly. Some of it was awe-inspiring. As with their previous show, the idea was to run 1899 for three seasons. Unfortunately Netflix pulled the plug and so no ending. Frustrating and unfortunately because I can’t rate subsequent series for closure, I give this season a 3.5 out of 5.

1899‘s one and only season currently streams on Netflix.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (take 2)

January 5, 2023

I decided to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once to make sure I loved it as much as the first time. I finished with two takeaways. First, you have to commit to watching the entire film. You cannot stopping watching halfway through and decide whether you like it or not. You are free to stop watching it, just refrain from having an opinion on it unless you’ve watched it in its entirety. And second, Everything Everywhere All at Once is my favorite film of 2022. Click on any of the links or image to read Reel Charlie’s updated review.

Everything Everywhere All at Once currently streams on Showtime and is available on disk from your local public library.

Six Feet Under Christmas Episode (Season 2, Episode 8)

December 27, 2022

Brenda’s mother Margaret and brother Billy spend some time together during the holidays on Six Feet Under.

It’s just not the holiday season without a trip down memory lane with some of my favorite television series’ Christmas episodes. This year I watched Six Feet Under‘s single contribution, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Season 2, Episode 8 aired Apr 21, 2002). It’s been a year since Nathaniel’s death. Each of the Fishers remember the last time they spoke to him as David and Nate hold a biker funeral on Christmas Day and Ruth tries to make her version of a perfect Christmas dinner. Another sublime episode from my favorite series of all-time.

Six Feet Under currently streams on HBO Max.

Better Call Saul: Season 6 (series finale)

December 15, 2022

I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I binged an entire season in one weekend: Friday – Sunday. Better Call Saul‘s final season’s packed with present day, back story, and future story. All the complicated worlds come crashing in on each other in this pivotal final season, including finally, solidly linking the series with Breaking Bad which I started watching ten years ago! Like it’s parent show, Saul’s full of corruption and violence. But unlike Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul comes from an initial place of bad. Saul/Jimmy’s not broken or damaged, or in trouble. He’s just bad. He’s corrupt. He’s amoral and takes amusement in and advantage of other’s misfortune. The scripts have always been intellectual and complicated, the acting top notch. It’s not a story I would necessarily pick up in a book to read, but the creators, cast, and crew bring it to life in a way that makes you, or at least made me want to watch. This final season pulls it all together. And it’s not just Saul’s story. Kim’s intricately standing right there next to Saul. Her own story just as important to understand the entirety of what has made this series work and what makes us come back for more each season. Yes, there’s uber-violence. But like other outstanding shows from this genre, it’s the professionalism and intelligence that keeps me coming back. No different this season. I was lost many times, but it didn’t matter. I knew Vince Gilligan and company would bring me back and they did. Every time. 4 out of 5 for the season. Series rating: 4.25.

Spoiler alert: Bad guys beware: Carol Burnett’s going to take you down. Genius.

The White Lotus: Season 2

December 13, 2022

After Season 1 of The White Lotus crashed and burned for me – I really hated the season finale. There was a scene that was so gross, I couldn’t shake it and vowed to not watch the show again. But I got pulled into the second season. New locale, new characters – except for Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya, and of course more annoying, clueless rich people, mostly white – demanding their perks wherever they go. It’s a car crash. You don’t know who’s worse. The newly rich couple, the longer term rich couple, the 3 generations of Italian-American men, the clueless older rich woman, her assistant, her husband, her new gay friends. It’s a disaster waiting to happen around every corner, every episode. The staff play a prominent role like last season, there are escorts who are making money, the woman from multiple men. The man from one man who might be scamming the clueless rich woman. It’s a crazy, crazy show. The finale was over the top, but not gross, so I was relieved. Without giving too much away, the gays get to be evil. I know we’re still evil to the far right and the evangelicals. But to the Hollywood left, it’s fun to play with that old trope and turn it on its head. A much more fun season overall. 3.5 out of 5.

American Horror Story: NYC (Season 11)

November 19, 2022

Spoiler alert: The good news is after eleven seasons, Ryan Murphy and crew produced an American Horror Story focused on gay men. The action happens in 1981 NYC as a mysterious illness begins circulating throughout the gay male community. There’s also a serial killer (maybe two) on the loose targeting gay men. Once the first killer is captured, I realized the second killer is not a killer, he’s the grim reaper. And he’s a giant bodybuilder in full leather. There lots of in-your-face gay content which Murphy’s become known for and I’m grateful for his matter-of-fact inclusion. As much as I like having some details kept amongst ourselves, I realize that’s very old school of me. What Murphy’s doing is showing gay, queer, LGBTQ culture in all of its forms which make the affection and love on the screen completely normal to most folks. Especially important as we continue to fight for equal rights around the country and the globe. Great cast including Russell Tovey, Joe Mantello, Billie Lourd, Denis O’Hare, Charlie Carver, Leslie Grossman, Sandra Bernhard, Isaac Powell, Zachary Quinto, Patti LuPone, Jeff Hiller, Rebecca Dayan, Matthew William Bishop, Kal Pennm and Casey Thomas Brown. Lots of heavy hitters, so the acting is first rate until the scripts went campy and silly in places. The final two episodes transitioned from serial killer as a metaphor for AIDS – to AIDS as a reality. Unfortunately, the lengthy montage felt too heavy handed. And I didn’t realize Joe Mantello’s character would morph into Larry Kramer. I wasn’t feeling that. I am not a fan of blood and gore, but I thought within the genre, they did a great job creating a period horror show using metaphor for the burgeoning AIDS crisis, and as I said, actual AIDS by the end of the season. Overall the season was uneven. But I do like a show that takes risks and they certainly did with AHS: NYC. Definitely a 3.5 or 4 in places, but overall a good even 3 out of 5.

American Horror Story currently streams on FX and Hulu.

Luckiest Girl Alive

November 5, 2022

Mila Kunis hits it out of the park in Luckiest Girl Alive, an adaptation of the novel by Jessica Knoll. Kunis plays Ani, an ambitious, NYC writer who’s engaged to a very wealthy old money young man. Without giving too much away, Ani’s past never lets go of her and she must decide to face up to her multiple trauma or bury it forever as she embarks on her new life. Finn Whitrock, Connie Britton, and Jennifer Beals co-star, but this is really Kunis’s film and her performance is captivating. This one may be difficult for some viewers to sit through, but the reward makes witnessing the trauma worth it. 4 out of 5.

Luckiest Girl Alive currently streams on Netflix.

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