Archive for the ‘Decade: 2010's’ Category

The Fosters: Season 5

October 19, 2017

The Fosters keeps getting better. Hard to believe the kids are so grown up after only five years. Stef and Lena continue to navigate parenting with a home full of teenagers. Each child has their own life, friends, loves, hopes, dreams. Side stories with the legal parents, birth parents, foster parents. It can seem like a lot, but it’s life and love and creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg do such a great job. I look forward to a new season each year. 4 out of 5 for this heartwarming family drama from Free Form.

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Call Me By Your Name: Straight Man

October 17, 2017

It’s not even been released yet (November 24, 2017), and already Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the André Aciman novel, Call Me By Your Name has buzz of a sequel thanks to the film’s director. I personally hated the book. The straight male writer has been quoted as saying he doesn’t believe in “…straight, bi, gay—I don’t believe in any of that. We’re just a mess.” That’s one opinion. Definitely not mine. Aciman’s married to a woman with three children, so he must believe in something. I thought the book was a complete cop-out. As soon as I found out it was written by a straight man, it all made sense. Of course neither character would end up gay. Post-gay hetero superiority strikes again. When the film was completed, gay director Guadagnino announced there were no out actors and no explicit sex scenes in the film. And Guadagnino has decided he wants to create a sequel which follows the ending of the book “with Oliver now married with a wife and children. Guadagnino says unlike the book, Elio’s character won’t necessarily turn out to be gay: “I don’t think Elio is necessarily going to become a gay man. He hasn’t found his place yet. I can tell you that I believe that he would start an intense relationship with Marzia [Esther Garrel’s character] again.” I disagree with Guadagnino. I never felt Elio ended up gay in the book. Just the opposite. Both characters retreated into conventional lives and straight relationships. We have so few adaptations of great gay novels, I shudder to think so much attention is being handed to this project. I enjoyed Guadagnino’s I am Love. I never saw his follow-up, A Bigger Splash. I realize not every film released has to have my big gay seal of approval. I simply worry the green light and pre-release accolades once again prove it’s a straight man’s world. I’m not planning on watching the adaptation. Feel free to send me your thoughts if you do.

The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

October 15, 2017

David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) sophomore documentary effort, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson creates an essential conversation. Unfortunately the film meanders in unknown directions. Too bad because the focus of trans people of color, disenfranchised and destitute warrants examination and solutions. How do marginalized people travel in the world? How do we help others out of poverty, homelessness, and a myriad of other issues which keep them stuck in a bad place? How do we empower people while honoring their individuality? France covers all of that. But the focus on the film vacillates between an amateur sleuth story of Johnson’s friend Patricia trying desperately to uncover the truth of her friend’s death, a modern story of a trans woman’s murder, and the chaotic world of Marsha’s friend, Sylvia Rivera. Not sure how a film that features a person’s name can become so convoluted during editing. Watching it proved frustrating knowing that a better focused film would have brought the viewer into a world which desperately needs our respect and support. 3 out of 5 for the film.

Find out more about transgender issues and how you can help:
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Sylvia Rivera Law Project

That Time ‘Will & Grace’ Forgot HIV Exists. Again (My Fabulous Disease)

October 14, 2017

My buddy, AIDS activist Mark S. King (My Fabulous Disease) calls out Will & Grace for not mentioning HIV in the series revival. I haven’t posted about the revival because I’m not a fan. I never was. I was living in NYC when the show premiered originally. It felt like I was already living a NYC story. Will and Jack would have not been part of my inner circle. They were way too uptown for me. I was if nothing else, a Lower East Side snob.

Mark breaks it down as to why it’s important for Will and Jack to discuss the changing landscape of HIV in gay men’s lives during 2017. From My Fabulous Disease,

Only once, in a 2001 episode in which Grace and her boyfriend mention getting an HIV test, was the topic ever addressed. They produced 194 episodes during the original run of the series.

The revival of Will & Grace exists in a far different world. The privileged white gay men who inhabit Will & Grace have access to healthcare and the resources to either take PrEP, the pill that prevents HIV infection or, should they be HIV positive, get on medications that could render them undetectable and therefore unable to transmit HIV to someone else.

Neither of these strategies were available or understood when Will & Grace left the airwaves ten years ago. They exist now, and they have transformed the sexual and cultural landscape for gay men in this country.

Read Mark S. King’s full post at My Fabulous Disease.

25 Films With the Best Cinematography of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

October 8, 2017

Get your big ass 4K television fired up because Indiewire‘s posted the 25 most beautiful films of the 21st Century. The past 17 years has produced a gorgeous body of work from cinematographers worldwide. From Indiewire,

Cinematography is tough to judge on its own merits, because it can be hard to extract it from the other powers of great visual storytelling. At the same time, every beautiful movie shows the signature of a talented director of photography as much as a filmmaker. In the process of considering the finest cinematographic achievements of this decade, this list includes on gorgeous films that — in some cases — achieve more on the level of cinematography than anything else. The past two decades have found the craft of cinematography making extraordinary advances on the level of digital technologies and other innovations, but at the end of the day, these particulars matter less than the sheer impression left by the images and movements captured by cinematographers operating at the peak of their abilities.

Included in the list are Reel Charlie favorites Moonlight, The Great Beauty, Carol, Hero, Mr. Turner, Children of Men, Far from Heaven (a second Todd Haynes and Ed Lachman collaboration!), and In the Mood for Love.

See the full list of films at Indiewire.

The 15 Best Monster Movies of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

October 8, 2017

I’m not big on Monster Movies, but it is October so I thought it best to broaden my horizons at least in a post. From Indiewire,

From a certain perspective, monster movies might not seem to be as relevant during monstrous times. But in an age when our fears seem larger than life and the world constantly seems as though it’s on the brink of collapse, the best examples of the genre can almost assume a documentary-like authenticity, reflecting our reality as vividly as vérité ever could.

The list does include a Reel Charlie favorite, The Cabin in the Woods.
See the full list at Indiewire.

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.

If We Took a Holiday (Short)

October 3, 2017

Oh my lord. I love Glenn Gaylord (Eating Out, I Do). Can’t believe I took this much time to see his short film, If We Took a Holiday. From YouTube,

If We Took a Holiday tells the story of a struggling L.A. actress (Nadya Ginsburg) who agrees to impersonate Madonna all day long as a birthday present for her recently dumped gay best friend (Dennis Hensley.) Shenanigans and life lessons ensue. The film is produced and written by Glenn Gaylord, Nadya Ginsburg and Dennis Hensley and directed by Glenn Gaylord.

This was so much fun! Nadya Ginsburg is a genius impersonator and Dennis Hensley was perfect as her gay best friend recovering from a break-up. Birthday celebrations abound. The nearly 18 minutes flew by. I laughed, I felt all gooey inside. Really outstanding. Yea! 5 out of 5.

Watch If We Took a Holiday on YouTube.

 

Wonder Woman (Blu-ray)

October 2, 2017

Congratulations to Wonder Woman for being the most successful DC comic book adaptation of all-time raking in over $820 million dollars worldwide. That makes director Patty Jenkins the most sought after female director in Hollywood. Wonder Woman is what the comics call an origin story telling the story of where Wonder Woman came from and how she came to be a super hero. I enjoyed some of the story. Especially the beginning with the Amazons in their all-female world. Considering the editors were able to sneak in a number of conversations about sex between men and women as well as a scene where Gal Gadot’s Diana goes to bed with Chris Pine’s Steve within a PG-13 framework, I was hoping for some same-sex relationships in Amazon. Of course the original Wonder Woman is written as bisexual and that never came out in the film either. So much for diversity. I get why the film was so popular. Again, I will repeat what I always say about these super hero films – I am not their target audience. The formula feels as tired as Broadway to me. The music, the build-up, the inevitable fighting with thousands of people killed and global destruction. The ending tied up in a neat bow. Are we all immune to war and violence because of this? Perhaps it’s not as complicated as that. Perhaps Wonder Woman is simply a fun super hero film that takes on the patriarchy. And I’m definitely behind that. 3 out of 5.

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.


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