Archive for the ‘Ensemble’ 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.

Bloodline: Season 3

June 5, 2017

Saying goodbye to the Rayburns of Bloodline I felt sadness and relief. Sadness because I came to love several of the characters. Relief because I felt exhausted watching the siblings dig themselves deeper and deeper into their lies and deceit. So many unnecessary deaths. I still blame Danny who brought plague onto his family. This season in particular felt biblical. I was on the edge of my seat each episode wondering what might go wrong next and who might screw up the most. The final two episodes were a bit surreal, but I think it gave the fans what they needed – a final dose of Danny. Trying to side step any spoilers here. Sally drove me crazy, Kevin couldn’t get one thing right and Meg just fled. Poor John left to clean up everyone’s mess. All in all I loved Bloodline. It was a fun romp in the Florida Keys through the eyes of a very damaged family. 4 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.

 

 

Twin Peaks: S1 & S2

May 25, 2017

Caught up with the original Twin Peaks in anticipation of the reboot which started on Showtime last weekend. Netflix has the complete series – both seasons streaming. I enjoyed the first season immensely. Felt like old times revisiting this quirky old Pacific NW logging town. With only eight episodes, the writing felt tight and attentive. Season 2 began dragging its heels weighed down by the promise of a 22-episode arc. The original ratings confirmed this as the show went from being the most watched show in the country during Season 1 to trailing in 85th place by Season 2. Still I love a good experiment and respect envelope pushing for the sake of art and especially fun. Twin Peaks did all that and more. It really changed how we view modern television, paving the way for quirkiness and niche. And the modern streaming world is one grateful off-spring. 3 out of 5 for this classic series.

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.

Orange is the New Black | Season 5 Official Trailer (YouTube)

May 11, 2017

I’m taking my time absorbing the second season of Sense8 slowly and methodically. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer for Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.

‘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.

Gosford Park screens at Metrograph (NYC)

May 3, 2017

Metro NYC peeps: Robert Altman, Bob Balaban, and Julian Fellowes’ sumptuous pre-Downton Abbey class drama, Gosford Park appears on the big screen next week at Metrograph in NYC. Catch it if you can. Bob Balaban’s going to be there in person for Q&A. From Metrograph,

Gosford Park
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
1:15pm4:15pm7:00pm

2001 / 131min

DIRECTOR: ROBERT ALTMAN

CAST: BOB BALABAN, MAGGIE SMITH, MICHAEL GAMBON, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS, CAMILLA RUTHERFORD, CHARLES DANCE, GERALDINE SOMERVILLE, RYAN PHILLIPPE

Introduction and Q&A with Bob Balaban

Robert Altman’s classic whodunit set over a shooting weekend at an English country estate in 1932 features a peerless ensemble cast portraying the upstairs-downstairs array of guests and servants, fusing the spirits of Agatha Christie and Jean Renoir in this arthouse hit. Bob Balaban, who created and produced the movie, plays a holidaying American film producer and joins Metrograph for this one-night-only screening to discuss the film’s production. The screenplay comes courtesy Julian Fellowes, who would continue to dissect the English class system in Downton Abbey.

Contact Metrograph for tickets.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of the triumphant Gosford Park
. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve last seen it.

Code Black: Season 1, Episode 1

April 28, 2017

Watched the first episode of Code Black, the documentary inspired E.R. television series from CBS which premiered in 2015. Although nothing makes me happier than seeing Raza Jaffrey, Marcia Gay Harden, and Luis Guzmán in roles, Code Black produces pretty standard network fare. Not a bad thing but certainly not something for me to get excited about. Word is still out whether they are producing a third season for the Fall. For me, Code Black barely eeked out a 3 out of 5.


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