Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

This Is Where I Leave You

March 7, 2023

Netflix just acquired the 2014 adult family angst film, This Is Where I Leave You starring a gigantic, recognizable cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, and Jane Fonda. This is mediocre Hollywood family drama at its tropiest best. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just not very exciting. A couple of cast changes maybe? But I did make it through – all the way. It could have been so much better. But it is what it is. Maybe good for a streaming surfing Friday night or Sunday afternoon when you don’t really want to be challenged and aren’t in the mood for a cooking show. And if nothing else, it was amazing to see Jane Fonda play a ——- character – finally! No spoiler alerts here. Tame, tame, tame. 3 out of 5.

This Is Where I Leave You currently streams on Netflix.

Mack and Rita

January 15, 2023

Yes, I watched the Diane Keaton project, Mack and Rita. I keep hoping Keaton will create something new that’s not insipid. I know she’s always playing Diane Keaton, but remember Manhattan Murder Mystery, Radio Days, The Little Drummer Girl, Reds, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and Annie Hall? Can there really not be any decent scripts for her? I don’t know. Mack and Rita wasn’t horrible. It was predictable. I made it through to the end. It’s a light movie spelled lite. It’s goofy Diane Keaton playing yet another version of goofy Diane Keaton. Oh well. La de dah. Her kids are set for life. Good for her. I’ll keep hoping she eventually does some amazing indie film that knocks my socks off. Meanwhile I made it all the way through Mack and Rita so 3 out of 5.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

January 7, 2023

I wanted to wait for a few days into the new year before posting a negative review. I didn’t like the first Knives Out. But so much fuss over the sequel, I thought Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery might redeem itself. Not sure why these films are so dull and devoid of camp. I sound like a broken record bringing up Clue again, but seriously Hollywood, watch that film and craft a modern day story in that vein with that type of humor. I will say the second half of Glass Onion gets better once Janelle Monáe’s character reveals herself to be someone else. That’s the only spoiler I’ll list. But then it quickly returns to dull. I realize comedy is subjective. That’s been one of the overarching lessons on Reel Charlie. But I seriously do not think these big budget comedies try hard enough. 2 out of 5. Next.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery currently streams on Netflix.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

November 9, 2022

I wanted to love Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris so much. Leslie Manville is a dream actor. Loved her for years in all the Mike Leigh films she acted. I know this film is meant to be lighthearted. I welcome that. But the movie fell flat. The French stereotypes were boring, not funny. 2 out of 5. Next.

Neptune Frost

October 19, 2022

I so wanted to adore Neptune Frost, billed as an afrofuturist, science fiction, romantic, musical film. There were some glorious elements to the film. The singing felt indiginous to Rwanda. Make-up and costumes popped seemingly out of nowhere and definitely brought a sci-fi aspect to the film. But the story confused and eventually bored me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It felt experimental in places and narrative in others. I wished it had picked a genre. Still I always applaud filmmakers who take risks and look forward to future projects from co-directors Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman. Damn I really wanted to love this one. 2 out of 5.

Neptune Frost currently steams on Kanopy, and is available on disk from your local public library.


October 13, 2022

First time watching Xanadu. I know – shocking. Right? Losing Olivia Newton-John this year bummed me out. She lived to be just shy of her 74th birthday. The second concert I ever went to was ONJ. I loved her country crossover albums of the early 70’s. I truly loved her pop albums of the mid-70’s. As we all know, she blew up from Grease. Xanadu was supposed to be her musical bookend. Boy did it fall flat. 29% liked it on Rotten Tomatoes. The most jarring problem with Xanadu is that the songs were played like a club. Even if Olivia sang the song, often they wouldn’t have her lip sync because her film partner wasn’t singing the male role. Awkward. So her character’s roller skating with Michael Beck (her love interest) while she and Cliff Richard sing away on the speakers. WTF? This is not a musical. And speaking of WTF, what the fuck was Gene Kelly thinking? Did he want one last hurrah? Did he think he could bring the 40’s musical into the 80’s? Michael Beck, was generic and certainly not memorable. The entire film is one big mess. On the plus side, the costuming was great – very New Wave/Punk in certain scenes. I think hiring Electric Light Orchestra was a huge mistake. Whatever style of music they fall into, it’s not pop ballads, and it’s not New Wave roller skating music. Poor Olivia. She sure didn’t strike gold a second time after Grease. 2 out of 5. Next.

Xanadu currently streams on various platforms for a rental fee or on disk from your local public library.
Read The Guardian’s review of Xanadu at 40: a mesmerisingly messy musical failure.
Read all about Olivia Newton-John.

Selling the OC

October 5, 2022

I have no excuse or idea why I watched the entire first season of Selling the OC. It’s trash reality TV. I know these kinds of shows can be fun. There are so many mean characters on this show, so many drama queens. It was difficult sitting through parts, especially the last few episodes. I do like the actual real estate. I will never be able to afford a home, especially not a 20 million dollar home. But it’s still fun to look. So that part was a no-brainer. But the bitching and back-stabbing was hard to take. I know it’s reality TV and everyone’s assigned a character. Or perhaps that’s created in the editing room. Whatever, it was nasty. A couple of the guys stayed out of it, but for the most part, they make the women all look very catty. Not a good thing for 2022. Also, it’s a mostly white cast, and all but one is straight. There’s a bisexual man who gets no love interests. Yikes. 2 out of 5. Next.

Jurassic World: Dominion

September 27, 2022

I have tried to enjoy many of the recent Jurassic films. I was particularly looking forward to Jurassic World: Dominion because it combines old cast and new cast together in the same film, just like Star Trek: Generations did. I made it through an hour. I couldn’t take much more. Chris Pratt’s posturing is so annoying. I know it’s a character, but his real life persona kept bleeding through. Laura Dern seemed wasted – her input, not her sobriety. Bryce Dallas Howard was reliable, but not as kick-ass as I hoped. Not even the Blu-ray disc could save it. Oh well. 2 out of 5. Next.

A Discovery of Witches: Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

August 19, 2022

Finally got around to watching the 2018 television adaptation, A Discovery of Witches from the `All Souls’ trilogy written by Deborah Harkness. Was hoping for lots of fun. I have been a huge witch fan my entire life starting with The Wizard of Oz, Bewitched and Salem Witch Trial papers in grade school (what an odd little Catholic boy I was) to Rosemary’s Baby, Buffy‘s Willow and Tara, and Eve’s Bayou. Unfortunately this series just didn’t take me to where I wanted to go. It had all the makings of a great story, but fell short. 2 out of 5. Next.

A Discovery of Witches currently streams on Roku Channel, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Emily in Paris: Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

August 13, 2022

In order to understand Uncoupled, I went back and watched Darren Star’s Emily in Paris. The two shows continue to mine the success of Star’s Sex and the City. Unfortunately the original is hard to beat. Emily in Paris really is a love letter to Paris. The cinematography takes your breath away. Drone shots which I’ve talked about in the past have become so sophisticated, the viewer is given a front row seat to the sheer joy of living in one of the greatest cities in the world. The story? Not so fabulous. Lots of low hanging fruit between the clueless American young woman and the bitchy, cigarette smoking French characters made Emily in Paris not worth watching past the first two episodes. I do now understand Uncoupled better. I don’t like it any better, but I understand what Star is trying to do. Unfortunately the drone shots can’t bring this show above a groan. 2 out of 5. Next.

Emily in Paris currently streams on Netflix.

%d bloggers like this: