Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Ray Donovan

December 13, 2017

I’ve been wanting to try out Ray Donovan for years now. Not sure why I never got around to watching it until this week. I like the cast a lot. I especially love the casting director who decided Liev Schreiber and Eddie Marsan look like brothers, which they do. The dead pan, no-nonsense violence does nothing for me. The idea of a Boston working-class family – this time transplanted to Los Angeles seems worn out to me. I suppose people in other parts might be fascinated by the accents and the thuggishness. Honestly, it makes me yawn. I’ve seen enough Irish Catholic heavy accented Boston working class characters for one lifetime. At least for now. I get why Ray Donovan would be addictive for many. I am simply not connecting with it. It’s not bad, it’s just not my taste. 3 out of 5.

Advertisements

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 1

December 9, 2017

Season 1 of the Amazon Prime exclusive, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel succeeded my wildest expectations after loving the pilot during Amazon’s Pilot season earlier this year. Gilmore Girls creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino work their magic once again, this time in 1950’s New York City. Miriam “Midge” Maisel falls into stand-up comedy after a nasty break-up with her husband. Midge spent her young life being a daughter, wife, and mother. Now she’s back home living with her parents, two kids in tow while she figures out how to make money and how to break into show business. I love, love, love this series. It’s got everything: tight delivery, outstanding cast including Rachel Brosnahan as Midge (a star is born), Alex Borstein as Suzie, Midge’s lesbian manager, Marin Hinkle incredibly cast and nailing her role as Midge’s Mom, Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s dry sense of humor Dad, and Luke Kirby occasionally appearing as Lenny Bruce. The sets, costumes, design – all outstanding. The drama comedy balance perfect. I know I’m ruining it but I can’t help it. I love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Midge teaches us what it means to be a modern woman, figuring out how to break the chains of patriarchy while holding on to the parts of her life that work. The show never knocks you over the head. It teaches through the drama of the every day story. You’ll be hooked on Midge and her journey from the moment you begin. And did I say the series is so much fun? Laugh out loud moments, period songs inserted at just the right moment. 5 out of 5 for the Sherman-Palladino’s new creation. Thank you Amazon.

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.

Mudbound

November 24, 2017

Director Dee Rees’ (Bessie, Pariah) Netflix original film, Mudbound explores the dark and violent side of race relations in post-WWII America. Based on Hillary Jordan’s novel, Mudbound tells the story of two young men, one African-American and one Caucasian who return from Europe after fighting in WWII only to be suppressed and constricted in the small mindedness of Alabama during the late 1940’s. Incredible ensemble cast featuring Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Jonathan Banks, Rob Morgan, Jason Clarke, and Carey Mulligan. Mudbound certainly is not an easy film to watch. But it’s essential. There is a tenderness between the two returning soldiers as they share PTSD and liquor that’s rarely seen between two straight male characters in American film. That tenderness only makes them more vulnerable to the hatred of the locals who don’t understand what these heroes need in order to live the rest of their lives healthy and happy. Mudbound assaults you with prejudice and racial violence. It also reminds you that people who leave and return for any reason, usually come back more evolved and enlightened. So there is hope for humanity subtle and deep. Director Rees created a classic work with Pariah. Mudbound feels like she’s on her way to a long and intelligent career. 4 out of 5.

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.

The Way, Way Back

November 13, 2017

Not sure why I never initially reviewed the delightful and poignant The Way, Way Back when I first saw it. Watching it a second time sealed my enjoyment for this beautiful indie film. Starring Liam James as Duncan, the awkward 14 year-old whose mother drags him along to a summer beach house with her pushy boyfriend and his annoyed-at-life daughter. Duncan obviously has trouble fitting in until he finds an unlikely friend in Owen, manager of the local water park. Duncan sneaks off to work at the park resulting in finding his voice to speak out to his mother, her boyfriend, and begin finding his way in the world. Truly remarkable cast including Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, and Allison Janney who steals every scene she’s in. She must have had a blast playing this role. The Way, Way Back is a feel-good movie with heart and intelligence. 4 out of 5.

The Collection: Season 1

November 11, 2017

Spoiler alerts: Amazon Studios produced the UK/French production of The Collection, a romance drama set in post-WWII Paris centered around the mystery and intrigue of a young couture house and its founder Paul Sabine. I watched two episodes. The first didn’t sway me but I wanted to give it a second chance, so I watched episode 2. The production design and acting are first-rate – a mix of British, French, and American actors. The story lags however despite the best efforts of the cast and design crew. Characters feel more like caricatures than real people. They lack depth. The gay character only attracts men prone to violence and when it becomes clear in a later episode who the father of the child given up for adoption by the young, innocent seamstress is, of course it’s the gay brother. Hello paging Dynasty, your icky stereotype is ready for a redux. 2.5 out of 5 for The Collection. Next.

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.


%d bloggers like this: