Archive for the ‘Directors – Alfred Hitchcock’ Category

Reel Charlie Speaks – Episode 10: Hitchcock

March 15, 2023

Reel Charlie Speaks is an LGBTQ podcast spin-off of Reel Charlie. Each month I select a classic queer film, television series, or creator. I talk about how the subject spoke to me when I first discovered it years ago, and how its stood the test of time.

In episode 10 of Reel Charlie Speaks, I explore two classic Alfred Hitchcock films, Rope and Strangers on a Train. Both films boast lesbian and gay writers, both star bisexual actor Farley Granger, and both feature queer male relationships during a time when Hollywood was contained by the Hays Code.. As always, I ask that age old Reel Charlie Speaks question, does this movie stand the test of time?

Listen to the podcast at Spotify for Podcasters
or find it on your favorite podcast platform.

Shadow of a Doubt 4K

May 19, 2022

Splurged on the 4K disk for one of my favorite Hitchcock films, Shadow of a Doubt. Click here or on the image to read Reel Charlie’s updated review.

Hitchcock Halloween 2021

October 31, 2021

Halloween’s not my favorite holiday. I am not a fan of horror or gore. Hitchcock’s suspenseful imagination suits me better. So on this darkest of days, I welcome a post for my favorite director of all time – Alfred Hitchcock. Posting this with three hours to go until November.

Scroll through Reel Charlie’s many posts on Alfred Hitchcock.

The Criterion Collection: Reel Charlie’s Top 10 (2021)

March 1, 2021

Whenever I see a famous person list their Top 10 favorite Criterion films, I wonder what my list would look like? I took a stab at this back in 2012. And again in 2017. Criterion’s been adding films monthly, so my favorites list continues to evolve. For 2021, I am paring down the Top 17 from 2017 to create a Top 10 list with an additional longer honorable mention list.

Reel Charlie’s Top 10 favorite Criterion releases:

All About My Mother
The Heiress
Howards End
My Beautiful Laundrette
Secrets and Lies (releasing March 30, 2021)
Weekend (Haigh)

It was difficult whittling the list down to just 10 films.
So many of the 30 films below are 5 star perfect Reel Charlie ratings.
Honorable Mention:

A Christmas Tale
All That Heaven Allows
The Awful Truth

Desert Hearts

Do the Right Thing
Fish Tank
Fox and His Friends
Frances Ha
The Great Beauty
Grey Gardens
La haine
The Ice Storm
In the Mood for Love
Leave Her to Heaven
Monsoon Wedding

Mildred Pierce
A Room With a View
Rosemary’s Baby
Shallow Grave
Some Like It Hot
Three Colors: Blue
The Times of Harvey Milk

Valley of the Dolls
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


Explore all Criterion films at their website.

Reel Charlie’s 100 Favorite Films

November 16, 2020

A favorite films list is something I’ve been toying with since starting this blog. I started out with my original list of favorites. Over the past decade, I added and subtracted via Reel Charlie posts. Obviously, it was excruciatingly difficult to whittle this list down to 100 titles. I’ll publish an honorable mention list in a separate post of the films that almost made it. In the end, my criteria: select only feature films, no documentaries. That list will come later. And no stand-up comedy or performance. Also, for my own sanity, I limited the list only to films I instantly remember details – performances, lines, sets, costumes, make-up, etc. In other words, there are many films I remember loving, but can’t remember any details. My list below of 100 favorite films I remember vividly.

So in alphabetical order, here are Reel Charlie’s 100 Favorite Films. Many titles link to Reel Charlie reviews. Here we go.

9 to 5 – classic female-focused comedy. Tomlin, Fonda, & Parton. Enough said.

120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats Per Minute)] – French feature film about ACT UP (AIDS activism) Paris during the 90’s.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Oscar for Best Costume. Perfection comes in 3s.

Avant que j’oublie (Before I Forget) – a 58 year-old French HIV+ former male prostitute who has refused to take the new HIV meds in 2000, a character never seen before in film.

Beautiful Thing – my favorite coming out film. Sweet, sensitive, innocent, and hilarious with a Mama Cass soundtrack.

Best in Show – Christopher Guest mockumentary dog show brilliance.

The Best Years of Our Lives – Hollywood digs deep with 3 men returning from WWII.

Big Business – Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin times 2.

Brother to Brother – NYC black, gay man learns about the Harlem Renaissance. Breakout film for Anthony Mackie.

La Bûche (The Yule Log) – French holiday film about a chaotic family with secrets.

But I’m a Cheerleader – conversion therapy skewered for the nightmare it is.

Carol – Todd Haynes adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt. 1950’s: two women in love and all its complications and romance.

Christmas in Connecticut – Barbara Stanwick and Dennis Morgan classic holiday Hollywood. A yearly viewing event.

Cloudburst – Brenda Fricker and Olympia Dukakis as an elder lesbian couple facing discrimination from their biological family.

Clue – the board game, the cast, the hysterical buffoonery of it all.

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean – Robert Altman’s female tour de force centered around a James Dean fan club reunion.

Contact – Jodie Foster is “okay to go” in this Hollywood sci-fi classic.

Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale) – another French holiday film, this one with Catherine Deneuve as the matriarch – lots of cigarette smoking.

Crooklyn – Spike Lee magic. This one is my childhood.

Day After Tomorrow – Hollywood takes on climate change.

Desperately Seeking Susan – Susan Seidelman’s wacky mistaken identity movie starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna.

Dick – a good comedy can feed your soul. A good comedy about two teenage girls taking down Nixon is priceless.

Donnie Darko – mystical and ethereal yet grounded 100% in the early 80’s including a kick ass soundtrack.

Drôle de Félix (Adventures of Felix) – the first HIV+ character in cinema who is not dying, depressed, or left behind.

Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory) – Almodovar’s biographical perfect film.

Edge of Seventeen (1998) – another joyous gay male coming out film taking place in the early 80’s. Authentic. Lea Delaria.

Edward II – Derek Jarman’s take on 14th century queer British Royalty. Annie Lennox sings.

Eve’s Bayou – atmospheric and complex family drama from Kasi Lemmons.

Far from Heaven – Todd Haynes homage to Douglas Sirk’s melodramas. A masterpiece.

Le fate ignoranti (His Secret Life)– Ferzan Ozpetek’s melodrama about a dead man and the wife and male lover who adored him.

Fargo – Stunning Coen Brothers mystery creating one of cinema’s most best-loved character, Marge Gunderson played by Frances McDormand.

Funny Girl – Barbra Streisand musical genius.

The Garden – Derek Jarman’s experimental film combines Christian iconography, gay male relationships, and gay political activism.

Gaudi Afternoon – Susan Seidelman’s adaptation of Barbara Wilson’s Cassandra Reilly Mysteries.

God’s Own Country – Rural Yorkshire indie film exploring the burgeoning love story between two young men.

Gods and Monsters – Adapted from Christopher Bram’s novel, Frankenstein director James Whale’s final chapter starring Ian McKellen.

Gosford Park – Robert Altman’s classic upstairs downstairs whodunnit written by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes. Glorious.

Ha-Buah (Bubble, The) – Israeli film about a forbidden love story between an Israeli man and a Palestinian man. Modern LBGLTQ take on Romeo and Juliet.

Hairspray – John Waters goes mainstream but retains his perverse take on suburban America. This is the original film.

Halloween – the original, the only, the scary.

The Heiress – Hollywood creates movie magic with Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift.

Hollywood Je t’aime – easy breezy indie about a sexy, gay, French man who comes to L.A. to find fame and forget his lost love.

Howards End – Merchant Ivory strike gold once again with this perfect E.M. Forster adaptation.

Hunger – British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen’s searing portrait of the 1981 Irish prison hunger strike.

I Do – pre marriage equality romantic film about a guy trying to figure out how not to get deported as he meets the love of his life.

Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) – based on the WWI truce between the Scots, French, and Americans.

Julia – semibiographical film on Lillian Hellman’s friendship with WWII war dissident Julia.

Klute – Jane Fonda’s Oscar winning performance as call girl, Bree Daniels.

Lakawanna Blues – S. Epatha Merkerson plays Nanny who runs an 1950’s upstate boarding house for the African American and Latinx community.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco – identity, black male friendship, race relations, belonging, and gentrification in modern-day San Francisco.

Legally Blonde – silly as a goose and so much feel-good fun this Reese Witherspoon classic.

Lilies – John Greyson’s adaption of a play about a play within a prison and confronting a bishop for past sins.

Little Voice – Jane Horrocks’ tour de force as the shy “Little Voice” who can sing like the masters.

Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) – German filmmaker Tom Tykwer’s 90’s techno masterpiece.

Lone Star – John Sayles Texas mystery which spans two generations and multiple communities.

Lovely & Amazing – Nicole Holofcener’s gritty film about mothers and daughters.

Making Love – right before AIDS hit, Hollywood dared to produce a story about a closeted gay man married to a woman trying to find his way.

Maurice – Merchant Ivory adapts E.M. Foster’s novel of Edwardian gay male love. Perfection.

Metrosexuality – Rikki Beadle Blair’s amazing patchwork of style, passion, family, love and inclusivity. Major feel-good event.

Milk – Hollywood makes a Harvey Milk biopic and succeeds!

Monsoon Wedding – Mira Nair’s gorgeous tale of two weddings from different classes in Delhi.

Moonlight – Swept the Oscars and deservedly so. Quiet, introspective film about a young black gay man at 3 stages in his life.

Muriel’s Wedding – “you’re terrible, Muriel!” Must see Toni Collette Rachel Griffiths origin acting comedy genius. ABBA soundtrack galore.

My Beautiful Laundrette – Stephen Frears tale of a young white punk and smart Paki young man who fall in love in 1980’s Britain.

Nashville – Robert Altman’s essemble cast works their magic on the 1970’s mix of music and politics.

Pariah – Dee Rees created a fascinating look at a high school girl in the Bronx who is figuring out how to fit in with her family and her lesbian friends.

Parting Glances – 1980’s indie film about a gay male couple facing a separation while a friend is dying of AIDS.

Pillow Talk – what planet is this genre from? Who cares, it’s delicious Doris Day and Rock Hudson magic.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Girls! Maggie Smith at her best and that’s saying something.

The Queen – Dogs! Helen Mirren at her best and that’s saying something.

Rafiki – Kenyan lesbian love story. Gorgeous.

The Remains of the Day – another Merchant Ivory masterpiece. Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson.

A Room with a View – Merchant Ivory costume drama gorgeousness.

Rope – Hitchcock adapts the Leopold and Loeb story for a creepy good time.

Safe – Todd Haynes’ environmental illness as AIDS analogy skewers the New Age movement, or does it?

Secrets and Lies – Mike Leigh’s incredible film melding class and race.

Serial Mom – John Waters strikes gold again with a perfect suburban mother as serial killer.

Shadow of a Doubt – Hitchcock’s scary story of a beloved uncle who may just be The Merry Widow Killer.

Shortbus – John Cameron Mitchell’s ode to post-9/11 NYC with a healthy dose of real sex.

Silkwood – based on a true story, Meryl Streep stars as Karen Silkwood with Kurt Russell and Cher.

A Star is Born (1954) – Judy Garland triumph.

A Star is Born (1976) – Barbra Streisand triumph.

The Station Agent – perfect indie film about 3 misfits. Patricia Clarkson magic.

The Sticky Fingers of Time – amazing lesbian and bi women indie film about time travel.

Strangers on a Train – glorious Hitchcock genius with my man, Farley Granger.

Suddenly, Last Summer – adapting Tennessee Williams’ play becomes a screeching film about hidden truths and madness.

Sunshine State – John Sayles’ masterpiece ensemble film about small town Florida developers vs. the locals.

Tangerine – shot on an iPhone with two black trans leads.

Todo sobre mi madre (All About my Mother) – my favorite Almodovar film. Women supporting women traveling through life.

Victim – first time a film character ever came out as gay in a film. Historically important British film.

Victor Victoria – a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. Preposterous. Julie Andrews and Robert Preston strike gold.

The Visitor – Tom McCarthy’s quiet immigration film starring Richard Jenkins, Danai Gurira, Hiam Abbas, and Haaz Sleiman.

Walk on Water – Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox’s film about a Mossad agent befriending a sister and brother to track down their Nazi grandfather.

The Watermelon Woman – Cheryl Dunye’s brilliant debut film about a video store clerk researching a minor black female actress in film history.

Weekend – Andrew Haigh’s stunning indie about two young men who spend a weekend together wondering if it will become more.

What’s Up Doc? – Barbra Streisand. Ryan O’Neal. Madeline Kahn. Perfect screwball comedy.

White Christmas – the classic. Rosemary Clooney swoon.

The Wizard of Oz – the classic of all classics. Love, love, love.

You Can Count on Me – Kenneth Lonergan’s classic indie film pairing the luminous Laura Linney with Mark Ruffalo as brother and sister stumbling through life.

Zero Patience – a AIDS musical made at the height of the AIDS crisis by a gay male film director? Yes, please.

Dated: November 2020

So, what do you think? What are your favorite films?

The Alfred #Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K: Vertigo

October 19, 2020

Feel the cinema magic with Alfred Hitchcock‘s masterpiece, Vertigo. Click here or on the image below for Reel Charlie’s updated review.

Vertigo and eight other Hitchcock films currently stream on Peacock. Hitchcock also resides on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K discs to own or borrow from your public library.

The Alfred #Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K: Rear Window

October 5, 2020

4K makes the neighbors in Rear Window pop like crazy. Click here or on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of this Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, now available on 4K. Whether you stream, watch it on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray or 4K, you are bound to marvel at the perfection of Rear Window.

October 2020

October 1, 2020

Time for scary movies and TV shows. I’m not really much for gore and violence, so this list is pretty tame. More fright and suspense. I will be reviewing Hocus Pocus for the very first time this month, so look for that. Other Reel Charlie Samhain scary viewing includes:

Addams Family Values – Paul Rudnick’s genius script.
American Horror Story
– first couple seasons are the best.
The Bat – give Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead some sugar.
Nearly any Bewitched episode.
The Cabin in the Woods – new-ish camp classic.
The Conjuring – Connecticut ghosts!
Get Out – smart and scary.
Halloween – the original.
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special – can it possibly get any more camp than this?
Paranorman – genius animated film with zombies and witches centering around bullying!
Les Revenants (The Returned) – amazing two season French television ghost story.
The Shining – the original.
Stoker – loosely based on Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt – delicious.
True Blood – Alan Ball’s adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

Reel Charlie spooktacular categories to peruse:
My favorite director of all-time and the king of suspense:
Directors – Alfred Hitchcock
(including the new 4 film set in 4K)

The Alfred #Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K: Psycho

September 23, 2020

In my twelfth year of Reel Charlie and this is the first time I am reviewing Psycho. I have a Blu-ray copy in the Masterpiece Collection. I kept savoring certain films and just never got around to it. So today I had the honor of watching Psycho in 4K with crystal clear visuals and a kick-ass Bernard Herrmann score, thanks to The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection. What a way to spend an evening. Psycho revolves around Norman Bates and Anthony Perkins triumphs as the complex psychopath who welcomes travelers to his motel. I couldn’t help but wonder if Perkins channeled a bit of his own troubles into the character. I wish the actor had lived in a more welcoming world. Lucky for us, he transforms his insecurities into a masterful performance. His effortless delivery raises the bar of the film, so the other actors rise up including Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles, and Martin Balsam. Psycho is Hitchcock at his suspenseful and accessible best. Literally no gore, just implied violence with lots of cuts and Herrmann’s music to keep you on the edge of your seat. Every time I watch a favorite Hitchcock, I feel as if I’m in a master class for film making. 5 out of 5 for Psycho.

Psycho is currently available on disk in DVD, Blu-ray and in 4K Ultra HD via The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection and streaming on Peacock.

Listen to Bernard Herrmann’s chilling score on your favorite streaming music platform. Mine’s Spotify.

The Alfred #Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K: The Birds

September 13, 2020

Four classic Hitchcock’s get the 4K resolution upgrade from Universal Studios. First up Hitchcock’s stunning The Birds delivers a pitch perfect presentation of classic horror from 1963. Click here or on the image for Reel Charlie’s updated review.

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