Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Luther: The Fallen Sun

March 21, 2023

Have you missed the fantastic BBC police procedural, Luther starring Idris Elba? We last saw John Luther in 2019 for Series 5. Now he’s back in 2023 with a film continuation, Luther: The Fallen Sun. Cast members Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis compliment Idris well. There’s a lull which happens for the first 20 minutes or so. Fans will think to themselves, has Luther lost it? And then the tidal wave of suspense happens. I literally screamed outloud at one point, it’s so scary. This is not for the faint of heart. Gruesome and diabolical in parts. The tension builds and builds and builds. The story shoots out into the atmosphere. If feels outlandish in parts, but is it? I don’t want to spoil the buzz. Suffice it to say, you wonder could this happen. Unfortunately the answer is probably yes. Because some humans really are pure evil. The hunt for the killer takes the cops to the furthest place possible. It’s fucking crazy and so good and laced with the stuff of nightmares. Is this the end for Luther? It’s been a 13 year run for the series. Maybe? 4 out of 5 for this outstanding film continuation.

Luther: The Fallen Sun currently streams on Netflix.
Luther the first 5 series currently streams on Hulu, Britbox and PlutoTV.

Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself

March 6, 2023

Thanks to my dear friend Mark for telling me about this wonderful short-lived series, Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself. Should have been multiple seasons, but the powers that be – Netflix – nuked this one after just one. From Deadline,

Based on Sally Green’s YA novel Half Bad, the series tells the story of Nathan Byrne (Jay Lycergo), an illegitimate son of a dangerous witch, Marcus Edge (David Gyasi), struggling to overcome his odds of following the footsteps of his father as he discovers his true identity alongside his friends.

I really grew to love this show so much. Great characters. More sophisticated than a CW/Freeform series, but just as fun. It’s totally worth watching even though it’s only one season. Stand out actors include Jay Lycurgo as Nathan Byrne in the lead – he’s the bastard, Nadia Parkes as Annalise O’Brien – major female power, Emilien Vekemans as Gabriel – finally someone does an homage to Buffy’s Spike and makes him gay, and Karen Connell as Ceelia – a true amazon warrior. Not too much teenage angst, but lots and lots of gore and violence. But they’re witches so it’s ok. LOL. At least for me. 4 out of 5 for this gem.

Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself currently streams on Netflix.

CB Strike

March 1, 2023

J.K. Rowling writes a series of adult mystery novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith. I read the first one. It was ok. Rowling told more than she showed. I never went on to read the other books. Recently I discovered there is a television series based on the books named CB Strike which is the name of the private investigator – Cormoran Strike who solves the cases. I tried watching and nearly made it through the first two episodes from the first novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Ultimately it felt flat to me. Not surprising. And why does every damaged investigator/cop have to drink? Not very creative. 2 out of 5. Next.

CB Strike currently streams on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and YouTube premium.

All Creatures Great and Small: Season 3

February 27, 2023

The third season of the beloved modern British version of James Herriot’s novels, All Creature Great and Small grows a bit darker with the specter of World War II looming overhead. It’s still a bright and cheerful show with incredible locations. There’s still sweet animal stories, but also the threat of tuberculosis worries the farmers. James and Helen begin married life. All the characters stretch their romantic wings, at least a bit. And towards the end of the season, we begin to wonder if James and Tristen will join the army. Neither has to because they are vets. But will they anyway? Innocent, and beautiful, the occasional dullness of the plot can be dismissed because the stories all come from good intentions. And points for having a warm and cozy Christmas episode to wrap up the season. 3.5 out of 5.

All Creatures Great and Small currently streams on PBS.

The Remains of the Day 4K

February 26, 2023

Happy 30th Anniversary to Merchant Ivory’s The Remains of the Day. Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, the new 4K disk deserved an updated review. A perfect film. Click to read Reel Charlie’s review.

The Remains of the Day currently streams on various streaming platforms for a rental fee or free from your public library on disk.

The Big Gay Donation: Convincing The World Cup Decision Makers to Hold the Event in an LGBTQ+ Friendly Nation From Now On

December 17, 2022

Love, love, love this. From the U.K., and YouTube,

Let’s convince the definitely not corrupt people who run football to host an LGBTQ+ friendly 2030 World Cup – or raise money for a big gay charity instead 🌈 ⬇️ DONATE HERE ⬇️ ⚽   #TheBigGayDonation

LGBTQ Rights in Quatar. From Wikipedia,

Lesbiangaybisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Qatar face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Sexual acts of male homosexuality are illegal in Qatar, with a punishment for all convicts of up to three years in prison and a fine, and for Muslims duly convicted in a court under sharia law the possibility of a judicially sanctioned capital punishment for homosexuality; however, there are no known cases where the death penalty was judicially enforced for homosexuality, though extra-judicial murders of LGBT people are unverified.

The Crown: Season 5

December 5, 2022

The final cast – act three so to speak of The Crown enters the room in Season 5. And because of the massive presence Diana made before during and after her marriage to Charles, it came as no surprise Imelda Staunton’s Queen Elizabeth takes a back seat in this season. After all the show is called The Crown, not The Queen.  And there are members of her family changing the state of the monarchy and screwing up their lives in full view of the public. The monarchy was on shaky ground until Diana’s death when it appeared as if her Majesty’s icy veneer melted at least a bit. But no spoiler alerts here. Diana’s death happens in the following and final season. Season 5 is all about failed marriages, the introduction of the Al Fayed family, and Charles going public with Camilla post-divorce. This was certainly a different season, a quieter season. I still enjoyed it immensely. I know many were frustrated with the older cast, but I loved them all including Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Jonathan Pryce, Elizabeth Debecki, Dominic West, Olivia Williams, Jonny Lee Miller, Bertie Carvel, Lydia Leonard, Marcia Warren, Timothee Sambor, Claudia Harrison, James Murray, Emma Laird Craig, Sam Woolf, Humayun Saeed, Khalid Abdalla, and Salim Dau. 4 out of 5 for the continuing drama of The Crown.

The Crown currently streams on Netflix.

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays

November 23, 2022

Americans get one old and one new episode for The Great British Baking Show: Holidays. The New Year’s show that aired at the beginning of the new year in the U.K. is added to the holiday celebrity edition for a two-pack of 2022 GBBS holiday magic. First up, the day after Christmas and the celebrity bakers are using leftovers to make delicious treats. Joining the fun this year are four members of the cast of It’s a Sin: Olly Alexander, Lydia West, Shaun Dooley, and Nathaniel Curtis. First, if you haven’t seen It’s a Sin, run to HBO Max and watch it right away. It’s an amazing mini-series from Russell T. Davies about the AIDS crisis in London during the 1980’s. Absolutely must-see. In the baking tent, these four cast members came to bake for Paul and Prue. They did an amazing job. The entire hour was so much fun. Makes me want to have dinner with these four.

Next up is the New Year’s Day celebration from earlier this year – all the way back to January 1. Former bakers came back to the tent including Kim-Joy Hewlett, Jon Jenkins, Rowan Williams, and “patisserie queen” Hermine. All four of them provided a great episode filled with amazing bakes. My favorite won. That’s all I’m going to say. This special’s gotten tighter and better each year. I would say 5 out of 5 for the celebs. 4 out of 5 for the returning contestants. Just because there’s only a small amount of competition. 4 out of 5 over all.

Members of the cast of It’s a Sin square off on The Great British Baking Show: Holidays which currently streams on Netflix in the USA.


The Great British Baking Show: Collection 10

November 21, 2022

Another season of The Great British Baking Show (original U.K. title: The Great British Bake-Off) dropped once a week culminating in the finale episode released last Friday, 11/18. For those of you new to Reel Charlie, GBBS is my all-time favorite competition show. I have never seen a consistent group of contestants year after year who support each other, play fair, and cheer each other on as much as I have on GBBS. It’s remarkable to watch and a blueprint for how we should all live our lives. This year I cried like a baby at the end of the semi-finals last week, and the finale the following week. Not to get too arm chair psychologist, but for those of us disinterested or not allowed to play sports, GBBS is my Super Bowl, it’s my World Series. I get so excited when a new “collection” (Netflix name for a season) drops. This year was no exception. I was immediately drawn into the cast, and the judges and hosts never seem to be phoning it in. Along with Paul, Prue, Noel, and Matt the tent welcomed Abdul, Janusz, Maxy, Sandro, Syabira, Carole, Dawn, James, Maisam, Rebs, and Will. I quickly came out for Janucz, Maxy, and Syabira. No spoiler alerts here. Just telling you who my favorites were from nearly the start. I also love the melting pot of people, their backgrounds and life stories. It makes for really good DEI as an extension of everyday life and entertainment. The 12 contestants represent England in 2022. Beautiful. As I mentioned, I sobbed and sobbed when they announced the winner. And as usual for GBBS, the other two runners-up, congratulated and were visibly thrilled for the winner. Seeing all the contestants back for the winner announcement with their family and friends always chokes me up. 5 out of 5 for this amazing slice of modern life and the kindest competition show ever created.

The Great British Baking Show currently streams on Netflix.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

November 9, 2022

I wanted to love Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris so much. Leslie Manville is a dream actor. Loved her for years in all the Mike Leigh films she acted. I know this film is meant to be lighthearted. I welcome that. But the movie fell flat. The French stereotypes were boring, not funny. 2 out of 5. Next.

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