Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Orange is the New Black: Season 5

June 15, 2017

Damn ladies. Orange is the New Black just keeps getting better and better. How is that even possible? Every season builds on the previous. Not a misstep in this season. Absolute amazing acting, directing, editing, and writing. Highlights include,

Natasha Lyonne as Nicky getting clean and reaching out
Uzo Aduba as Suzanne falling apart again and again (another Emmy?)
Danielle Brooks as Taystee negotiating the deal of the century
Taylor Schilling as Piper realizing her fate and future
Lea DeLaria as Boo proving butch girls look good doing romance
Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero as Flaca & Maritza proving the ridiculousness of our instant fame culture
Selenis Leyva as Gloria delivering a powerhouse performance and becoming my favorite character for S5
Taryn Manning as Tiffany (Pennsyltucky) navigating the complicated waters of rape culture, forgiveness, and desire
Adrienne Moore as Black Cindy full of comfort and relief in the final episode
Yael Stone as Lorna crazy as ever
Kate Mulgrew as Red full of revenge
Laura Prepon as Alex filled with PTSD and remorse  and just wanting to stay free (of drama and violence)
Kimiko Glenn as Brook walking the long road of grief
Brad William Henke as Piscatella leading with misdirected spite and evil in the face of homophobia
Elizabeth Rodriguez as Aleida figuring out how to be free
Dascha Polanco as Dayanara facing her consequences

I’m sure I missed someone. What a roller coaster ride this season was and what a cliff hanger. All bets are off that everyone will survive the final moments of the raid. It’s Netflix after all. Unbelievable. Thank you Jenji Kohan and crew for this gift. 5 out of 5.

Eight Men Out

June 12, 2017

I’m screening a number of older John Sayles’ films for a Fall project I’m developing at the library. First up is Eight Men Out, the 1988 film about the The Chicago White Sox players who decide to throw the World Series of 1919. Featuring a classic Sayles ensemble cast including John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Christopher Lloyd, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, D. B. Sweeney, Studs Terkel and even John Sayles himself, Eight Men Out explores the complicated relationship between sports players and owners in the early 20th Century who didn’t appropriately compensate the players for their talent and draw. One of the great signatures of a John Sayles film is his effective use of a massive cast. My only complaint was the confusion of having a lot of young white male actors in baseball uniforms and a lot of older white male actors in suits and hats. I didn’t connect individually with many of the secondary characters. Still it felt like a John Sayles film. And absolutely worth the view if you’re a sports fan, especially historical baseball. 3.5 out of 5.

Divorce: Season 1 Episode 1

June 6, 2017

Tried watching the new HBO Sarah Jessica Parker series Divorce. I only watched the first episode. Too sad for me to continue. I think it’s a fascinating premise handled well – great production, good actors involved. But it’s too much sadness for me to wrap myself up in. 3 out of 5.

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

Sense8: Season 2

May 30, 2017

Took my damn sweet time making my way through the triumphantly gorgeous insanity that is Sense 8: Season 2.

Sun Bak
Riley Blue
Wolfgang Bogdanow
Kala Dandekar
Will Gorski
Nomi Marks
Capheus “Van Damme” Onyango
Lito Rodriguez

Seoul
London
Berlin
Mumbai
Chicago
San Francisco
Nairobi
Mexico City

Eight humans in eight cities around the globe connected both mentally and emotionally. We discover more about their origin in Season 2. More about Whispers and why they are being hunted. Some episodes are violent, some are corny, all are full of love. Sense8 breaks Sci-Fi barriers leading with love… friendship, romantic, familial, no matter what color, religion, gender, or sexuality. All are equal. All are full of love. I can’t stop thinking about this beautiful series. Sense8 continues to be flawed, but that’s part of its beauty. It’s busting through convention, experimenting with many different tools to tell their story. It’s contemporary, hip, sexy as all hell, nerdy, fun, dangerous, and dark with flashes of evil. These eight characters represent the future of humanity. We need to connect with others around the planet. Share what makes us unique and bond over what makes us the same. I’m excited to continue the journey hoping Season 3 will happen in 2018. Meanwhile discover, revisit, embrace Capheus, Kala, Lito, Nomi, Riley, Sun, Will, and Wolfgang streaming on Netflix. 4 out of 5 for their brave new world.

 

 

The Fosters: Season 4

May 22, 2017

The Fosters continues its reign as Queen and Queen of family drama. That’s Queen Stef and Queen Lena, partners in love and life to five teenaged children – biological and adopted. Season 4 of this Freeform drama continues the chaotic lives of the Adams-Fosters family. I joked in a previous post that the show isn’t really performing unless at least three of the kids are having simultaneous disasters. But honestly, that’s the way it’s felt this season. And not in a stupid way. In a realistic way of what a household might be like with five hormonal teenagers. There are certainly moments I thank the Universe I never procreated and watching this show is one of them. Fun escapist drama as long as I don’t have to clean up their mess. Luckily they have two great Moms to do most of the cleaning up. Bravo to this beautiful and loving show for paving the way as it has for the past four seasons. Looking forward to Season Five premiering this summer on. 4 out of 5.

Of course any season with an appearance of Brandon Quinn as the twins biological Dad Gabe is always welcome, especially if he’s shirtless.

King Charles III

May 20, 2017

I got so wrapped up in this weekend’s activities, I forgot to review the British production King Charles III (I keep trying to type Charlie III). Based on the play by the same name, King Charles III imagines the future king and all he would inherit. Tim Pigott-Smith plays Charles to perfection reprising his Olivier and Tony nominated role from the West End and Broadway. Unfortunately, Pigott-Smith died in April 2017. I loved the concept of imaging Charles reigning stronger than his quiet demeanor implies. I loved seeing his children act out of character as well. Who knows what is in store for the monarchy when Elizabeth passes. Written in blank verse, King Charles III has a decidedly Shakespearean quality to it. This is a well done production worthy of you time – especially if you are fascinated with royalty or anything British. 4 out of 5.

The River Wild

May 15, 2017

Not sure why but I had a hankering to watch the 1994 Meryl Streep film, The River Wild. I saw it listed on Amazon Video and added it to my queue, but it’s not part of Prime so I would have had to rent it. Luckily we have a copy at the library. It was exactly what I needed. Good escapist fun with a dash of natural American outdoor beauty. And Streep’s the main character whose the skilled white water rafter. All the men play secondary to her. Unfortunately there’s only one interaction between Streep’s character and her mother. So definitely not a Bechdel Test film. Still it was fun and even Kevin Bacon is believable as one of the bad guys after a bit. I truly enjoyed my trip down The River Wild memory lane. 3.5 out of 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.

‘Little Women’ Is Coming Back As A Three-Hour Miniseries On PBS (HuffPost)

May 8, 2017

The tenth adaptation (1917, 1918, 1933, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1970, 1978 and 1994) of Little Women begins filming this summer and set to air on PBS in 2018. Which version is your favorite? I’m partial to the 1978 Susan Dey version with Meredith Baxter, Eve Plumb, and William Shatner.

From HuffPost,

Whether you’re a Jo, a Meg, a Beth or an Amy, we have good news: your favorite treatise on girlhood and growing up is back.

Masterpiece and PBS announced on Thursday that the network has an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women underway, in conjunction with Colin Callender’s Playground and the BBC.

So far we know that the two-volume novel will be turned into a three-hour miniseries, though further details, such as casting choices or release dates, have yet to be announced. The U.K.-U.S. production team will begin principal photography as soon as July.

Read the full article here.


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