Archive for the ‘Ensemble’ Category

Godless

December 11, 2017

Watched the first episode of Netflix new western Godless. Nearly all the men in La Belle, New Mexico die in a mining accident. The women are left to keep the town going. An outlaw, Roy Goode hides out in town from his former partner Frank Griffin. So there are men in the series. Many of them. Most are not connected with the town. But there is a great balance of gender in the ensemble cast. Outstanding group of actors including Jack O’Connell (as Roy), Michelle Dockery (yes, Mary from Downton Abbey),  Scoot McNairy, Merritt Wever (doing her usual badass acting), Jeff Daniels, and Sam Waterston. There’s modern humor infused into the story. Godless is authentic, filmed on location in New Mexico with a feminist twist. But it’s still a western which is not my genre of choice. I give it a 3 out of 5. You may find it more to your liking and rate it higher.

Advertisements

Broadchurch: Season 3

December 7, 2017

My love of Broadchurch and has waxed and waned. I gave Season 1 a 5 out of 5. Then I gave Season 2 a 3.5 out of 5. Season 3 redeemed itself solving yet another crime and finally making peace with Danny’s murder from Season 1. David Tennant and Olivia Colman are back and in top form. Colman is a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to watching her career post-Broadchurch. This time, Season 3 investigates a rape. Because of the nature of the crime, the series focuses most of its attention on gender and a woman’s place in the world. There are lots to digest and consider. And in the middle of it all, Danny’s murder from Season 1 finally finds, if not some closure, a bit of peace for his parents and siblings. Jodie Whittaker (the new Doctor Who) and Andrew Buchan share outstanding acting moments as Danny’s estranged parents Beth and Mark Latimer. Heavy stuff. The beauty of the landscape helps temper the seriousness of this crime drama. I’m leaving Broadchurch with a 4 out of 5 for Season 3.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of Broadchurch: Season 1.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Broadchurch: Season 2.

The Mist

November 30, 2017

There’s something about a Stephen King adaptation that always lures me in. I retain hope. Hope for excellence as in The Shawshank Redemption, Dolores Claiborne, or Apt Pupil. Hope for creepy comfort food like Storm of the Century. Unfortunately The Mist falls into neither category. The quality screams second-rate television. There’s nothing chilling about the story. It’s unfortunate because all the elements are there for either excellent or good, clean fun. Too bad. 2 out of 5 for The Mist. Next.

L.A. Law: Season 3

November 27, 2017

I’m maxed out on L.A. Law seasons here in the States. The Region 1 DVDs only go as far as Season 3 which I just finished. Damn. I guess this is the end of the road for me – for now. I sure wish someone would stream all eight seasons. I know it changed a lot over the years. After Susan Dey left, I stopped watching. But I’d love to see where it goes and if I could stay with it. Meanwhile, Season 3 continued the excellence of the first two seasons. Great stories, Lots of humor. And the women really shine in this series. Very balanced characters gender-wise. Probably a big deal back in the 80’s to execute that. Even the Roxanne character proves not everyone who works for a law firm manages their money or even makes enough in the first place. Mickey and Grace are on the rocks, Ann and Stuart try to make a baby, Abby ventures out on her own, Jonathan finds his footing, and Victor continues to work strong. Season 3 truly features the classic cast. Still holds up after more than 30 years. 5 out of 5 for this television legal drama that not only paved the way for many other shows like it, but inspired many people to become lawyers.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

November 23, 2017

I certainly have many things to be thankful for this year – great friends, an amazing family, a supportive and loving non-partner/partner (my bex, Dennis), a fantastic job in a career that helps the disenfranchised and people at risk, wonderful co-workers, a healthy body that responds to exercise, doctors and medical staff who keep me humming after all these post AIDS crisis years, and a brand-new 7 year-old puppy girl who will come live with us on Saturday.

But this year has not been without struggle. Now more than ever it’s important I keep myself glass half full. There is so much to do if we are to make this country and our world a reflection of decency, kindness, love and inclusion.

Today is U.S. Thanksgiving. Many of you will be home with family and friends. I wish you a calm, happy, foodie day. And afterwards, if you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving movie, consider What’s Cooking. It’s very American and very ethnic. Which is very American. Now more than ever.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of the perfect Thanksgiving film: What’s Cooking.
What’s Cooking is currently streaming on Amazon with a Tribeca Shortlist subscription. Or rent it digitally for $3 from Amazon, Apple, or Vudu. Or get the DVD from Netflix or your library.

The Best Years of Our Lives (Blu-ray)

November 17, 2017

Revisiting this classic brings joyful tears to my eyes each time I watch. Click on the image below for an updated review of William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives.

Honeydripper

November 12, 2017

Now that I’ve presented three of my favorite John Sayles’ films in a series for the library, I wanted to discover some of his films I’ve yet to watch. First up: Honeydripper. The action of Sayles’ 2007 creation takes place in 1950 Alabama centered on a fledgling blues club for African-Americans. All the familiar Sayles’ ingredients are present: a large, interconnected ensemble cast, social issues, and attention to script detail. Honeydripper also includes a story firmly rooted in the past. And a kick-ass musical score. This is an easy film to watch laced with everyday people trying to figure out how to survive and find some happiness along the way. 4 out of 5 for Honeydripper.

Sunshine State Screening at the Library: Saturday, 11/11/2017

November 5, 2017

Our final John Sayles film, Sunshine State screens at Fairfield Public Library this Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm. Join us for our American Independent Film Director series final event. Click on the image below to register.

Lone Star

November 4, 2017

A classic independent film comes to Fairfield Public Library. Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of Lone Star.

Kevin Keller’s Nuanced Life on Riverdale

November 1, 2017

Riverdale‘s episode last week finally featured a prominent Kevin Keller plot. Keller (played by Casey Cott) is Riverdale’s resident out and proud gay teen. The idea of a high school student going to a public cruising park at night, alone might scare many parents. Kevin’s story reinforces the isolation many modern out gay kids find themselves in as they navigate life with their straight counterparts while trying to find appropriate romantic and sexual partners. The fact that Betty wants Kevin to be just like her and the rest of the gang – searching for love in their school proves impossible and ridiculous since Kevin is the only out gay kid at Riverdale High. Yes, he had an interrupted hook-up with Moose and a brief down low affair with Joaquin last season. Still, Kevin deserves to figure out a good life for himself on his own terms. While not perfect, the episode proves there are many facets to young LGBT sexuality in the midst of their hetero peers. And Kevin owned his sexuality without apology which felt right. The ending with a hug from Keller’s Sheriff Dad (Martin Cummins) also felt good. I hope the writers continue to give Kevin more complicated stories to help him be more than just window dressing for the four main characters. Riverdale serves fun, edgy, and must-see comfort food.


%d bloggers like this: