Archive for the ‘Drugs/Alcohol’ Category

Ozark

August 1, 2017

Laura Linney and Jason Bateman star as married couple Wendy and Marty Byrd in Netflix’s new creepy crime drama, Ozark. There’s now a solid sub-genre of crime drama where an otherwise ordinary person or family gets involved in high crime. I’m not talking white-collar crime. I’m talking kill people and dissolve them in acid crime. Ozark definitely follows this trend as a child of Breaking Bad. And that’s not a bad thing. Especially when the acting is top-notch and the location shoot is beautifully eerie. There are of course the many plot thrusters which have to be ignored, such as people not hearing gun shots from close range, police not being called when someone destroys a hotel room, or FBI agents drinking on the job. But if you can suspend your belief for an hour at a time, you’ll be rewarded with a scary and exciting first season of life in rural Midwest. Yes, there’s a few scenes that are disgusting. But it’s fun and worth the watch if you can stand the violence. 4 out of 5.

The Wire on Blu-ray

July 27, 2017

Watched the first episode of The Wire on Blu-ray this weekend and I have to say the picture quality is outstanding. Well worth the investment. Or a simple loan from your local library.

Did you know you can access reviews of Blu-ray releases that rate video, audio and extras qualities to help you determine if it’s worth owning? Many remastered Blu-rays really change the way you see and hear a film or series. And with 4K right around the corner, our viewing pleasure keeps getting better and better.

Read all about The Wire on Blu-ray.

The Brother from Another Planet

July 23, 2017

John Sayles’ 1984 indie film The Brother from Another Planet blends the best elements of several genres using a science fiction overlay to tell the story of race, class, and immigration and the many ways these issues frighten the dominant culture. With now historic outdoor scenes of Harlem in the early 80’s along with many trips on the A train north to 125th Street, New York City becomes synonymous with the issues of the time. Location shooting on the streets, in crowded tenements, in dreary offices, and a neighborhood bar set the ambiance of this classic indie film. Sayles’ long-term life and work partner Maggie Renzi produced and has a small role in the film as one of the office workers. Sayles wrote, directed, and edited his fourth film using funds he received from a 1983 MacArthur Fellows award. He even has a role along with one of his regular actors David Strathairn as they play the men in black seeking the alien who escaped from his imprisoned planet. Other John Sayles’ regulars include Joe Morton in the title role playing the alien who never utters a word, Bill Cobbs as a reminiscing bar patron, and Tom Wright as another frustrated office worker. The Brother from Another Planet stands out as a snapshot of the early 80’s and an excellent example of the creativity indie films can produce. 4 out of 5.

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.

Animal Kingdom: Season 1

June 7, 2017

I blew through five episodes of the American television series adaptation of the Australian film, Animal Kingdom based on a true crime family. Ellen Barkin executes a strong performance as the matriarch of a California crime family – four sons and a grandson. The testosterone spews everywhere in this household. Raw, hardcore, feral. These boys barely contain themselves enough to get the job done. Scott Speedman, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, and Shawn Hatosy deliver fine performances as the Cody brothers with Finn Cole entering the family as the youngest member now that his mother has OD’d. There’s definitely a pull with this series. It’s hypnotic, gritty, forbidden. It’s also homoerotic with all the guys hanging out shirtless around the pool half the time. You can’t help but keep watching. I made it through five episodes. There’s one awful homophobic bashing I got through early on, but another begins in episode five and I just couldn’t stomach it. Both make sense per the plot. Perhaps you may have a higher tolerance to violence. I simply could no longer watch. Animal Kingdom performs well. 3 out of 5 for me. Higher if you can stomach the violence.

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

Treme: Season 4 (take 2)

April 3, 2017

The final season of Treme brings all the stories together in one big love fest. Such honest, real characters. Click below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of Treme: Season 4.

Ab Fab on Netflix!

April 2, 2017

Absolutely Fabulous – the series is streaming now on Netflix. Seasons 1-4 and the 2002 Christmas Special: Gay are available to Netflix subscribers. What’s your next binge?

Grace and Frankie: Season 3

March 27, 2017

We continue on the roller coaster ride that is Grace and Frankie. Watching Season 1, I found the series dull and too standard fare ala Marta Kauffman (Friends). Season 2 appeared as a revelation unmasking flesh and blood characters underneath the facade of those caricatures.  Season 3 has me back where I began wondering if this series truly knows what it is. This time around, the action is doled out among all the characters so instead of having the primary title characters and a group of supporting characters, we now have a set of characters off on an adventure without Grace and Frankie. We have the gay ex-husbands who really do prove the far right has nothing to fear from gay people – they’re just as boring as the rest of the world. Honestly what’s going on with Sheen and Waterson’s characters? They have moments of depth but mostly fumble through their scenes. Surely this is about shoddy direction and a weak script. Then there are the kids. The girls have their scenes and the boys have theirs. Each character could dig so deeper but no one’s given these actors a shovel. So where does that leave Grace and Frankie? Confused about where their business is heading and even where their lives are heading. I didn’t hate the series. But I never laughed out loud not even once. I think this should be a drama with some comedy, not a comedy with too many caricatures and not enough oomph. After Season 2 I was hoping for so much better. 3 out of 5.

Treme: Season 2 (take 2)

March 23, 2017

Great revisiting my friends in the Treme. What a sleeper hit this David Simon (The Wire) show continues to be. Read Reel Charlie’s updated review by clicking on the image below.


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