Archive for the ‘Decade: 2000's’ Category

Shock to the System

July 29, 2017

The second Donald Strachey murder mystery adaptation, Shock to the System is as my late friend Bruce Kingsley said to me on Facebook, “much better than the first.” Based on the Richard Stevenson detective series, Shock to the System is number two of four books made into television films for HereTV. Chad Allen plays Strachey perfectly. Sebastian Spence plays Timmy, Don’s romantic partner. They live in Albany where Donald solves crimes. There’s nothing earth-shattering about the series other than the persona of Strachey follows a quiet, masculine appearance which older viewers may find refreshing. I’m giving this one a 3 out of 5. Decent detective murder-mystery fun.

Oops, almost forgot to mention Morgan Fairfield has a small role in this.

13 Essential LGBT Indies From the Post-‘Brokeback Mountain’ Era (Indiewire)

July 22, 2017

Good mainstream list of LGBT indies (I’d question a few of these titles being called “indies”) released after the success of Brokeback Mountain in 2005. Reel Charlie agrees with the following films from Indiewire’s list,

A Single Man
I Killed My Mother
Laurence Anyways
Stranger by the Lake
The Kids are All Right

Missing from the list in order of release date 2006 –
Ha-Buah (The Bubble)
Avant que j’oublie (Before I Forget)

Clapham Junction
Itty Bitty Titty Committee
Were the World Mine
Hollywood je t’aime
Contracorriente (Undertow)
Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats)
Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons)
I Do
Mommy is Coming
Freier Fall (Free Fall)
Interior.Leather Bar.
Reaching for the Moon
The Way He Looks
Holding the Man
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo

Remember these are indie films, so Milk doesn’t qualify for this list.
Does not include documentaries.
Culled from Wikipedia lists.

Read the full article on Indiewire.


July 6, 2017

Dublin based police procedural series Single-Handed from 2007 currently on Netflix. I was hoping for good writing and great scenes of the city. But the series fell flat and looked like a videotaped soap opera to me. Not a good sign. The series lasted for four years, so someone must have enjoyed Single-Handed. Just not me. Sorry Ireland. 1 out of 5. Next.

The Wire turns 15

June 4, 2017

Happy 15th to The Wire which premiered on HBO June 2, 2002. Congrats to creator David Simon and the fantastic crew and actors who created legendary characters Bunk, McNulty, Kima, Bubbles, Lester, Stringer, Avon, Ziggy, Prop Joe, Omar (sigh), Bunny, Stanfield (shudder), Clay Davis (shiiittt), and so many others. If you’ve been meaning to find out what all the buzz is about, now is the time. If you haven’t visited Baltimore recently, revisit The Wire which continues to be one of the best television shows ever created in America. The Wire streams on HBO Now and Amazon Prime.

Reel Charlie reviews:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5

Third Man Out

May 13, 2017

Sometimes it can be painful writing reviews. There are certain films I simply don’t want to bash or dismiss. Third Man Out is one of them. In the mid-2000’s, HereTV produced four indie films based on the Donald Strachey Mysteries written by Richard Stevenson. Stevenson’s written 15 Strachey novels. They are fun, easy-to-read mystery novels based in Albany, NY featuring an out gay male private eye. Third Man Out was the first of four novels HereTV produced directed by Ron Oliver and starring Chad Allen and Sebastian Spence as Donald and his life partner Timmy. Watching the film a dozen years later, I found myself cringing in places and definitely wanting more. I love Chad Allen. Although he’s left acting, his thirty-year career highlights include Reel Charlie indie favorites, Save Me and Hollywood, je t’aime. I wish Third Man Out had felt as good as those two gems. But in truth it fell flat. Perhaps the series got better as time went on. Not sure I will investigate further, but lovers of murder mysteries and gay male indie film might want to give them a try. 2 out of 5. Next.

Gosford Park screens at Metrograph (NYC)

May 3, 2017

Metro NYC peeps: Robert Altman, Bob Balaban, and Julian Fellowes’ sumptuous pre-Downton Abbey class drama, Gosford Park appears on the big screen next week at Metrograph in NYC. Catch it if you can. Bob Balaban’s going to be there in person for Q&A. From Metrograph,

Gosford Park
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2001 / 131min



Introduction and Q&A with Bob Balaban

Robert Altman’s classic whodunit set over a shooting weekend at an English country estate in 1932 features a peerless ensemble cast portraying the upstairs-downstairs array of guests and servants, fusing the spirits of Agatha Christie and Jean Renoir in this arthouse hit. Bob Balaban, who created and produced the movie, plays a holidaying American film producer and joins Metrograph for this one-night-only screening to discuss the film’s production. The screenplay comes courtesy Julian Fellowes, who would continue to dissect the English class system in Downton Abbey.

Contact Metrograph for tickets.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of the triumphant Gosford Park
. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve last seen it.

Frozen River

April 23, 2017

Watched the beautiful and haunting Frozen River a second time starring Melissa Leo, one of my favorite character actors. Released in 2008, Frozen River tells the desperate story of two women – one white, one Native American who live on the New York/Canada border and stumble into smuggling people from Canada into the U.S. in order to make fast money to help take care of their children. The barren, frozen water which separates the two countries acts as an obvious metaphor for the lives of the women as they struggle against insurmountable odds to thrust their families forward in a positive direction. Directed by Courtney Hunt, Frozen River proves the perfect example of outstanding indie filmmaking. A simple script full of twists, turns, and complications with a messy yet satisfying ending. Filmed entirely in upstate New York in and around Plattsburgh. 5 out of 5 for Melissa Leo and Frozen River.

Here’s What Happened When I Did All The Verbs From The L Word Theme Song In One Day (Autostraddle)

April 8, 2017

Kayla from Autostraddle decided to copy down all the verbs from The L Word theme song, The Way That We Live by Betty and act them out. Laughing out loud ensues. For fans of The L Word and lovers of obsessed people everywhere,

I have been trying to master the fast part of “The Way That We Live” by Betty, the theme song for The L Word, for the better part of a decade. That rambling list of gerunds is deceptively hard to recite, especially under the pressure that sets in when you triumphantly declare at a party that you can totally recite all the words to The L Word theme song and everyone expects a demonstration.

After many a night practicing, and my girlfriend waking me up to inform me that I was singing it in my sleep again, the rowdy earworm started to sound more and more like an incantation or a prayer. The more I heard those words play over and over in my head, the more I wondered if within that daringly simple hook, Betty had encoded a certain doctrine. Could The L Word’s theme song outline a righteous path toward a fulfilling life?

With the conviction of Jenny Schecter writing about manatees, I embarked on a journalistic and spiritual journey to unlock life’s secrets with the help of Betty’s lyrical key. I decided to do all of the verbs described at the end of The L Word’s in just one day. The results may shock you.

Read the entire article on Autostraddle.
Listen to Betty’s The Way That We Live, the theme song for The L Word.

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.

‘Donnie Darko’ Restoration Trailer: The Cult Hit Returns To The Big Screen To Make Us Lose Our Minds All Over Again (Indiewire)

March 3, 2017

donnie-darko-4kI discovered Donnie Darko when it came out on video. A few years later, I got to see the Director’s Cut in a theater. It was insane sitting in an audience full of Darko fans. Now, the 4K restoration is being released in theaters in time for the film’s 15th Anniversary. From Indiewire,

There are cult movies, and then there is “Donnie Darko.” Richard Kelly’s 2001 mind-trip barely made any buzz after it first screening at the Sundance Film Festival, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most intensely beloved cult hits of the 21st century. Every year it seems “Donnie Darko” amasses a ton of new followers, and it’s become a right of passage for any cinephile looking to make a dent in contemporary cult cinema. Fortunately, the BFI has given the film a major 4K restoration, and they’ve released a head-spinning new trailer to get fans excited for its December release.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays the troubled and misunderstood Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teen living in suburban Virginia who is visited by a man in a horrifying rabbit costume and told the world will come to an end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Donnie’s world predictably unravels and Kelly unleashes a darkness that finds its way into the very headspace of the viewer. And that’s pretty much how an indie psychodrama becomes an immortal cult classic. Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and Mary McDonnell co-star.

Read the full article on Indiewire.
Get a taste of Donnie Darko from YouTube.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Donnie Darko.

%d bloggers like this: