Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1

March 18, 2018

Released this week on disk, Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s book, The Handmaid’s Tale exceeds all expectations. Why? Well first there’s the obvious: the production value swings off the charts – writing, directing, acting, costumes, set design, cinematography all outstanding. The tenor of the production brought literal chills to my body. By episode three I was curled up in a ball on the sofa. The Handmaid’s Tale might possibly be the first excellent television series I don’t suggest binging on. Let the terror settle in a bit similar to how Hulu released it – one episode per week. But the real reason I felt wrecked to my core was that this 1985 Sci-Fi novel now reads as a warning to our potential future. And not something in the distant future we need to pay heed. Instead it feels very much like the possibility of what might happen to our country if Trump walks away from the Presidency for even more greed and power leaving the executive branch shattered and ripe for Pence and his insane far-right christian cronies to take over the country once and for all declaring martial law on all of our freedoms. And by all I mean every woman, all men who don’t follow strict heteronormative behavior, people of color, the poor and disenfranchised and my own personal group – LGBTQ folk. So the creators at Hulu have done their job well scaring the shit out of me and making The Handmaid’s Tale a call to arms. Each of us is required to do what we can to keep these lunatics not only at bay, but to bury this hatred for diversity and freedom once and for all. Love truly must win in all its beautiful colors and permutations.

Shout out to a crazy great cast including Elizabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Amanda Brugel, Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Ann Dowd (shudder), and Alexis Bledel (shattering her Rory Gilmore curse forever). Words cannot describe how visceral my reaction to The Handmaid’s Tale has been. It deserves all the praise your friends have doled out, it deserves all the awards, it’s deserves attention and it deserves to be an artistic warning to every decent human being to do everything in their power to crush this hatred and darkness in humanity once and for all. 5 out of 5.


Rita: Season 3

February 18, 2018

Season 3 of our beloved Rita continues the journey of play not-by-the-rules, but by breaking them. Danish school teacher Rita knows best for her family, friends, and co-workers. Season 3 focuses more on Rita drifting into unknown waters as her children fly the nest and she’s back to being single. Rasmus might be gone from Rita’s bedroom, but lucky for us not from the series. Helle takes over as Headmaster of the school, Hjørdis and Uffe settle in to their relationship, Jeppe has his first live-in relationship with boyfriend David, and Rita meets a not exactly what she imagined new man named Said. Rita goes on a journey with her students this year which challenges her intimacy with strangers while making the audience wonder why she can’t have similar relationships with those in her personal life. Such a great show which goes darker than normal in this third season. When you get to the end, you realize why. Big changes ahead for our gal. Does that include her finally quitting smoking? Tune in to see. 4 out of 5 for this incredible television series from Denmark.

Tom of Finland (Blu-ray)

February 13, 2018

Splurged on the new film, Tom of Finland from Wolfe Video. The movie is a biopic of Touko Laaksonen, a Finnish artist who survived World War II only to endure 1950’s oppression for being gay. Touko began drawing “dirty pictures” and eventually began selling them internationally since Finland’s obscenity laws were more strict than other countries. He fell in love and lived with Nipa for 28 years until Nipa’s death in 1981. Tom of Finland is a quiet film about a reserved man whose imagination helped shape the aesthetic first of gay men and eventually of all men in popular culture. Tom’s drawings were at one point considered pornographic are now seen as some of the first positive images gay men could find to reflect back on their own lives during pre and post-Stonewall years. An important film, Tom of Finland ends up being a reminder not only of how far we’ve come, but of the positive and healthy role sexual expression plays in society. AIDS certainly came along and decimated the gay community. But through the plague, we found strength, community, and figured out how to survive and thrive. The lessons learned are perhaps best saved for a different post. Focusing on the film, I’d encourage viewers interested in the history of gay male sexuality, those interested in sexuality in general, and anyone interested in the courage to be true to oneself check out Tom of Finland. 4 out of 5.

Queer Eye (2018)

February 10, 2018

So Netflix’ reboot of Queer Eye for a Straight Guy – now shortened to Queer Eye feels surprisingly fresh and contemporary. The series opens with the remarks, “the first show was about tolerance, this show is about acceptance.” Liked that very much. The five new guys are so young. The show takes place in Atlanta. There’s more focus on using the exterior to work on or make your inside feel better. Also more diversity: 2 of the Fab Five are men of color as well as several of the participants. I watched the first two episodes and felt they did a great job. I skipped to the gay guy makeover and ended up sobbing when he came out to his stepmother. Great use of reality show as culture shifter. I’m still not a fan of reality shows and definitely feel makeover shows never ring authentic: fix me fast, make me perfect! But Queer Eye digs below the surface enough to make it feel like there’s more to life than new furniture and a wardrobe upgrade. Not that there’s anything wrong with either. 3 out of 5 for the new fab five.

Shared Rooms (not exactly take 2)

February 5, 2018

I love Christmas. I also love sweet gay male indie films. So Shared Rooms piqued my interest. Also I loved filmmaker Rob Williams’ earlier holiday film, Make the Yuletide Gay.

Ugh, wait. I just went to save the DVD box cover art for this review and realized I already had it in my folder. Which means I already watched this film. Full disclosure, I started this review after watching a few minutes of the film, figuring I could queue it up and get the rest of the review done quicker. No need to worry about any of that because I’ve already reviewed the film a year and a half ago in 2016! And I even purchased a copy of the film! Oh well, I’ve always said Reel Charlie acts as a memory jog. Guess I need to jog a bit more these days.

Here’s the original review.


February 4, 2018

New Todd Haynes film, Wonderstuck currently streaming on Amazon. Haynes is one of my favorite filmmakers. Far From Heaven always makes it on my top films of all-time list. CarolSafe, Poison, Velvet Goldmine up there as well. Wonderstruck brings together a collaboration between Haynes and Brian Selznick, writer and illustrator. Certainly Wonderstruck has that feel of magical opulence from Selznick’s mind. The story takes place in 1927 and 1977. Back and forth we go between a rich, deaf girl seeking out her mother and a young recently deaf boy seeking out his biological father. Their worlds exist side-by-side in the film as each character travels to Manhattan in search of their mystical parent. Kudos to the production design department. 1927 Manhattan looked great next to 1977’s seedy Manhattan. In the end, parts of the film worked well while some felt flat to me. The lead child actors both did a good job. However the story stalled in several places. Perhaps tighter editing might have helped. I certainly didn’t hate Wonderstruck. I was simply hoping for a magical fairy tale of pardon the expression: wonder. There were moments of wonder which weren’t sustained for me. 3.5 out of 5.

Grace and Frankie: Season 4

January 28, 2018

Grace And Frankie

Grace and Frankie continues to be a mixed bag for me. Just when I’m ready to give up, something clicks and the stories feel real and I feel a part of the show. Season 4 took its good old-time getting me to that place. Lots of silliness mixed with awkwardness. At the very least, the balance between the girls, the kids, and the ex-husbands seems to flow better each season. There’s even room for additional characters – boyfriends, thrupple potential, kids’ partners, along with oddballs and girlfriends. All in all, I enjoy the show. It just never seems to bowl me over like it finally did in Season 2. I gave the show a 4 out of 5. Seasons 1 & 3 each got a 3 out of 5. Same for this season. Wondering where they might head next.

Seeing Ourselves in Film: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

January 26, 2018

Seeing Ourselves in Film: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) screening Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm. Fairfield Woods Branch Library. Click to register.

Lady Bird

January 23, 2018

Someone once commented to me on what I believe is one of the best gay male films ever produced, Weekend. The friend (who is straight) told me he just didn’t get the hype. To him it was just a movie about a weekend affair. To me, it represented so much more because I rarely see my stories on the big or small screen. Certainly that has been slowly changing, but it’s still a thrill to see LGBT stories come to life. I say all this because although Lady Bird didn’t necessarily speak directly to me, I get the hype. I get why people and particularly women I know are loving it. It’s a beautifully made indie film. And one of the purposes of an indie film is to speak to a specific group of viewers. I believe Lady Bird does just that. It speaks to people who’ve been raised Catholic (full disclosure, that actually is me). Lady Bird also speaks to mothers and daughters. And daughters and mothers. Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts compliment each other beautifully as high schooler Lady Bird, her mother and her father. Lady Bird is a simple story with a lot of heart. It’s a true coming of age film. The additional scene at the end didn’t make sense to me. Seemed like the natural ending to the film happened as she left for college. Other than that, it was a satisfying film. 3.5 out of 5 for the much-heralded Lady Bird.

Looking: Season 1 (take 5)

January 14, 2018

Read my full review of Looking: Season 1. Simply gorgeous.

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