Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

Mamma Mia!

June 7, 2018

Full disclosure: I am a huge ABBA fan. Not sure how many people in my life actually know that. After sharing ABBA with my first love, Joe in the 1980’s and his dad Gordon, I’ve kept it under the radar all these years later. I’m not in the closet about ABBA, I’m simply discreet. I listen to them driving my car and belt out the words to their hits. As a result, I adored The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel’s Wedding both of which featured original ABBA music prominently in their soundtracks as well as having characters wax romantically of their love for the Swedish pop band. So why have I never seen either the film or the play, Mamma Mia!? After trying to watch it this weekend, I can only now say instinct. What an awkward mix of actors who can’t belt out the songs appropriately, the thinnest of thinly veiled plots, and a trio of dull suitors for Meryl Streep’s character. All in all, a snooze fest. Best to either hire real singers or just do what Priscilla and Muriel did and play the damn original songs in all their kitschy pop glory. 2 out of 5 for Mamma Mia!. Next.


Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here

June 5, 2018

Tig Notaro’s follow-up to her short-lived Netflix series finds the comedian back to stand-up. I enjoyed her series based on her real life. I can’t say the same for the special, Happy To Be Here. There was nothing laugh out loud funny for me to grab onto. My mantra continues to be, “comedy is subjective.” So it’s always with a bit of trepidation I say I didn’t enjoy someone’s stand-up. But there you have it. Comedy is subjective and Tig’s new show didn’t make me laugh out loud. You may feel differently. 2 out of 5. Next.

Safe (2018)

June 4, 2018

Not to be confused with Todd HaynesSafe, an amazing 1995 indie film starring Julianne Moore – Netflix import, Safe starring Michael C. Hall simply didn’t grab me. I’m not always up for a missing persons story turning into a soap opera. There’s more than a bit of an ick factor when filmmakers cross that line. Either make fun of a serious genre ala John Waters or be true and tell a compelling story. Safe simply relied on too many worn out tropes. 2 out of 5. Next.

Aftershock: Earthquake in New York

June 2, 2018

Amazon Prime streams the 1999 disaster mini-series, Aftershock: Earthquake in New York. I tend to love camp films from this genre. They are great Friday night mindless entertainment. Unfortunately Aftershock didn’t age very well. Cheesy and not in a good way. The performances felt awkward and the special effects right out of a B-movie. Too bad. Great premise. 2 out of 5. Next.

Check out Reel Charlie’s reviews of fun disaster films including
Deep Impact
The Perfect Storm
The Poseidon Adventure
San Andreas



Harlan Coben’s Safe

May 31, 2018

American writer Harlan Coben scored well with his mini-series, The Five, a British import to Netflix. Up next, French-British export Safe starring Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) as a widowed father whose daughter disappears a year after her mother’s death. I was hoping Safe would be thrilling. Instead the first episode went from predictable to silly. Sometimes I feel like I can see into the creation of a script which inhibits me from sitting back and enjoying the show. Safe felt contrived for the genre and not particularly creative. Gated communities harbor evil. Oooh, scary. Uh, not really. 2 out of 5. Next.

After Forever: Season 1

May 25, 2018

Web series available on Amazon Prime Video, After Forever tells the story of Brian and Jason, a 50-something couple in New York City. I got very excited about this show for various reasons – I’m in the demographic of the previous sentence aside from the NYC and couple thing. Made it through two brief episodes but couldn’t go any further. After Forever lacked substance and wore its heart on its sleeve to the extreme. And one of the actors had trouble emoting naturally. Really wanted to love this. Damn. 2 out of 5. Next.

Riverdale: Season 2

May 24, 2018

Spoiler alert: What a crazy, messed up, hodgepodge show Riverdale became in Season 2. All sense of reality and cohesion went out the window. Co-workers bailed on it. I continued each week (on The CW app with commercials – ugh!) shocked at just how ridiculous the series veered off-course. Season 1 set it up to be this cool high school hipster cozy mystery series. Season 2 jumped off a cliff and never looked back. Somehow I continued to love and hate many of the characters. Those who annoyed me in the first season, continued their plague. And those I loved never got enough screen time. WTF happened to Josie and Kevin? Finally in the last episode, Kevin’s make-out with Moose happened. But if felt too little too late. Are there too many characters? Is Archie’s hair too artificially orange? Is Veronica really in high school? Does Betty’s Mom remind me of a character on Twin Peaks? So many questions, so little time with so many characters and plot lines begging for attention. I hated the Serpents. I loved Kevin’s Dad. I hated Betty’s’s Dad, I loved Betty’s Mom. I found Chic to be creepy which I suppose was the point. I have no idea whether I will watch Season 3. If this were on HBO and a bit more adult, it might be fun. But the golly shucks, there’s another dead body vibe wears thin after a while. 3 out of 5 for Riverdale because I did make it to the end.

Black Panther (Blu-ray)

May 12, 2018

I’m glad I didn’t go see Black Panther in the theater. I’m thrilled an African-American superhero film made so much money and got such praise. That said, this is not the first time I will say I am simply not the target audience for these films. They are as formulaic as an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. They remind me of the serials my Dad used to tell me he went to every weekend when he was a kid. Marvel rules this genre no doubt. For me, a steady diet of special effects, pretty costumes, superpowers, car chases, fights where lots of people are killed and potential world annihilation bores me to tears. I give this a 3 out of 5 not because I liked it – I made it to the 49 minute mark. Because it’s good for the genre. And I realize I’m in the minority. Would I give it up for a gay superhero? Honestly I doubt it. These films continue to be a snoozefest for me.

Sometimes You Gotta Watch A Lot of Twos

May 11, 2018

I forget how many times I try to watch shows and films which don’t speak to me. Last weekend I had a moment where I just couldn’t find a show on Netflix that felt right for me. I can’t really review any of these individually because I didn’t give them enough time, but I am still opinionated and will post a comment after each title:

A Little Help with Carol Burnett: Season 1: “Communication” – I adore Carol Burnett, but honestly what were they thinking? The only thing more annoying than watching kids be cute is watching contemporary kids with all their entitlement (who run most families) being cute. 2 out of 5. Next.

Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity – I don’t get Seth Rogen. Comedy’s subjective. Blah, blah, blah. This was stupid. 2 out of 5. Next.

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City – Comedy’s subjective. Mulaney’s annoying. How many more Irish Catholic straight white male comics do we really need? 2 out of 5. Next.

The Titan – please someone make better Sci-Fi. Imagination is a terrible thing to waste. 2 out of 5. Next.

The Rain: Season 1: “Stay Inside” – a whole new genre: International Dystopian Apocalyptic Cheesy TV Series

“Lines Got Blurred”: Jeffrey Tambor and an Up-Close Look at Harassment Claims on ‘Transparent’ (Hollywood Reporter)

May 8, 2018

I’m so sad about Transparent. I hope creator Jill Soloway, cast, and crew can transform the final season into a tribute to the remaining characters. For what it’s worth, Jeffrey Tambor did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to tell his side of the story. He is the first accused man to do so since the #MeToo era began. From The Hollywood Reporter,

Where Tambor is right now is uncharted territory. He is about to become the first high-profile subject of the sweeping #MeToo movement to sit for an in-depth interview about his alleged sexual harassment scandal. His is a dizzying tale entangled in Rashomon-like perspectives and political trip wires. And at the center of it all stand three figures: Tambor and his two accusers, Van Barnes, Tambor’s former assistant, and Trace Lysette, an actress on the series.

That Barnes and Lysette are both transgender women is not insignificant. After all, Transparent — led by Tambor’s twice Emmy-winning performance as Maura Pfefferman — was only recently being held up as a beacon of social progressivism, lauded by activist groups like GLAAD for igniting a global transgender movement. In the blink of an eye, however, all that has changed, as Tambor — who admits to having lifelong anger issues but denies sexually harassing his accusers — watched his image go from that of LGBTQ folk hero to fugitive.

Read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.
Check out Reel Charlie’s glowing reviews of Transparent Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4.


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