Archive for the ‘Hispanic-American’ Category

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.

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Seven Seconds

March 26, 2018

I watched the first three episodes of Seven Seconds, the new Netflix series about an African-American child who is accidentally killed by a white police officer. This happens in the first few minutes of the series, so it’s set-up, not spoiler alert. There’s been buzz over Seven Seconds from co-workers, neighbors, and family so I watched one episode on the train going to Philly last week and two more with my niece Lauren during the snowstorm. I wanted to love Seven Seconds, but I found it flat. The family affected by the death worked well. The police officers not so much. They read stereotypical and too many scenes took the easy way out producing simple instead of complicated plots. Too bad, I really like Regina and King and Raul Castillo (Looking). 2 out of 5. Next.

49 Pulses

March 24, 2018

In honor of the wildly successful March for Our Lives today, I decided to watch the new documentary on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, 49 Pulses. Filmmaker Charlie Minn created a work which honors the lives of the 49 people who were massacred that evening along with the young man who survived, only to die of a brain hemorrhage three months after the shooting, and the 58 people injured as a result of the killer and his automatic weapon. At the time, Orlando was the worse mass shooting in the history of the country. A year later, because no one did anything in Congress about gun control, Las Vegas took that title. The tragedy in Orlando hit the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities hard since Pulse was a gay bar and the evening of the shooting was a LGBTQ Latinx party. What moved me the most about the film was the testimonials from the survivors and family members. In particular the mother of the young man who died with his boyfriend. Also the roll call towards the end of the movie showing photos, names, and ages of the victims hit hard. Unfortunately the film loses steam when the director shifts the conversation towards a question of police negligence. I have no opinion one way or the other. But I feel Minn should have made a choice – honor the victims or do real investigative journalism on the reasons why the shooter remained in the club continuing to kill people for over three hours. It did no good to have people speculate, especially people personally affected by the event. I was hoping to love this film, but for me the divergent stories didn’t allow me to absorb the documentary in a complete way. I applaud all who spoke out and Minn’s decision to honor the lives of these beautiful, young people. 3 out of 5 for 49 Pulses.

Visit onePULSE Foundation.

Take a glimpse at the enormous crowd today for the March for Our Lives in Washington DC and 800 cities and towns around the world. As each generation comes of age, we are asked to stand up, be counted, and change the world for the better. My generation faced AIDS head on and changed the face of healthcare forever. These young people are doing the same for safety and gun control. I’m so proud. These kids are the hope and future of the United States.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 24: Protesters participate in the March for Our Lives rally March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 800 March for Our Lives events, organized by survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting on February 14 that left 17 dead, are taking place around the world to call for legislative action to address school safety and gun violence. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) HuffPost

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.

John Sayles’ Lone Star Screening at Library

October 26, 2017

Our second screening of the American Independent Film Series featuring John Sayles’ Lone Star (1996) happens on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm in the Rotary Room of Fairfield Public Library. Join us as we discuss and view this perfect film from John Sayles’ canon. So excited to revisit this classic American film, perhaps even more topical today 21 years after its release.

Register at the library’s website.

Series Novels That Would Make Great TV & Film Adaptations

October 23, 2017

I’ve read a number of series novels over the past few years I know would make great television. I got to thinking of that recently after hearing Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City is being picked up by Netflix for at least a ten-part installment of more than likely one or all of the final three Tales novels since Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are on board to reprise their Mary Ann and Anna roles respectively. Three of Richard Stephenson’s Donald Strachey Mysteries were adapted for HereTV about 10 years ago. And of course Barbara Wilson’s first Cassandra Reilly novel, Gaudi Afternoon turned into a Susan Seidelman spectacular romp through Barcelona. And we could sure use a sequel with an equally outstanding director and cast.

All of this got me thinking. If I had the power of the green light, which series would I produce? Here is my incomplete list of some of my literary favorites:

Michael Nava’s Henry Rios’ Mysteries’ produced perhaps the most sophisticated gay male sleuth ever. Henry’s actually a lawyer and a drunk and then in recovery. The seven books take us through the worse of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s to the final installment in 2001. Can’t say enough about this essential must-read series which would make for some outstanding television.

My second choice without a doubt goes to Greg Herren’s Scotty Bradley Mysteries. Herren’s lead character is adventurous, goofy, humpy, lives through Katrina in New Orleans, boasts a set of pot-smoking parents and not one but two emotionally monogamous boyfriends – a thrupple. Scotty is a former go-go boy who solves crimes with his retired FBI agent primary partner Frank and their mysterious international gun for hire third, Colin.

An even dozen novels comprise Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan Mysteries. Lippman’s books revolve around a former newspaper reporter who turns private eye. Many lists mention Tess Monaghan if you’re a fan of The Wire and crave more gritty Baltimore drama. Lippman delivers.

Years ago, I served grand jury duty in NYC. This was pre-smart phones, pre-ereaders. I found the first three Wraeththu books in one volume. Plopped the bible-sized book in my lap and proceeded to devour Storm Constantine’s magical world. Wraeththu are another species superior in many ways to humans with mostly male characteristics, but intersexed so they can reproduce. Fascinating reading especially in today’s world of transgender visibility. These books would make for a magically sexy adaptation. Think a Sense8 goes sci-fi pagan/wiccan sort of mystical reality.

If vampire movies ever come back in vogue again, and you know they will, Jourdan Lane’s Soul Mates series would make for some kick ass sexy gay male entertainment. Peter and Lucien would be the perfect other worldly follow-up to Queer as Folk‘s Justin and Brian.

Marshall Thorton’s Boystown series take place in 1980’s Chicago. The ten novels (as of 2017) are classic private eye with a twist. Nick Nowak is gay and unapologetic about it. He’s a man’s man character finding his way in a post-Stonewall world where his biological family has rejected him because of his sexuality. He is forced off the police force – a family business but refuses to leave Chicago. Nick becomes a private eye and solves cases like the best of them.

Jordan Castillo Price’s Mnevermind series follows Daniel Schroeder in the near future as he tinkers around as a memory specialist stalled in life until he meets the mysterious Elijah, a young man living on the spectrum. Outstanding romance future tech mash-up with great fleshed out characters. Price has an extremely popular 8-part PsyCop series, which I also enjoy but Mnevermind continues to be her series I return to with a smile.

‘Nathan Burgoine’s Triad Blood series involves “a vampire, wizard, and demon (who) form a bond in Ottawa, Canada that leaves them both a part of—and apart from—those in power in the supernatural world around them.” Burgoine’s addictive stories are begging to be adapted for the screen. Casting Anders the arrogant, sexy, demon would be the most fun.

So far I’ve only read the first book of Aleksandr Voinov’s Witches of London seriesLars which I absolutely adored. Voinov’s books are pagan romance stories which fascinate me to no end. “Lars Kendall is a solitary pagan on the Northern Path, loyal to the gods of the Norse pantheon.”
Rhys Turner hires Lars to renovate his house. Magic of all sorts ensue. Witches of London could easily be a very modern, sophisticated, more realistic Bewitched romance for the early 2020’s. Makes me imagine my own life taking off in an earth religion direction.

Also only read the first book of Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series, a (so far) 10-part novel series based in the future where humans and therians live side-by-side. THIRDS would make an outstanding LGBTQ super hero futuristic action film franchise which could easily turn the tired Hollywood super hero trope on its head. Fun, action, and a bit of romance.

And finally I vote for making the graphic novel Wuvable Oaf into a feature film or a bizarre, niche television series. Everyone I know who reads this novel falls in love with its crazy cast of characters. “Oaf is a large, hirsute, scary-looking ex-wrestler who lives in San Francisco with his adorable kitties and listens to a lot of Morrissey. The book follows Oaf’s search for love in the big city, especially his pursuit of Eiffel, the lead singer of the black metal/queercore/ progressive disco grindcore band Ejaculoid.”

I’m sure there’s more series out there. What would you like to see turned into a television show or film?

The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

October 15, 2017

David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) sophomore documentary effort, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson creates an essential conversation. Unfortunately the film meanders in unknown directions. Too bad because the focus of trans people of color, disenfranchised and destitute warrants examination and solutions. How do marginalized people travel in the world? How do we help others out of poverty, homelessness, and a myriad of other issues which keep them stuck in a bad place? How do we empower people while honoring their individuality? France covers all of that. But the focus on the film vacillates between an amateur sleuth story of Johnson’s friend Patricia trying desperately to uncover the truth of her friend’s death, a modern story of a trans woman’s murder, and the chaotic world of Marsha’s friend, Sylvia Rivera. Not sure how a film that features a person’s name can become so convoluted during editing. Watching it proved frustrating knowing that a better focused film would have brought the viewer into a world which desperately needs our respect and support. 3 out of 5 for the film.

Find out more about transgender issues and how you can help:
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Sylvia Rivera Law Project

The Brother from Another Planet

July 23, 2017

John Sayles’ 1984 indie film The Brother from Another Planet blends the best elements of several genres using a science fiction overlay to tell the story of race, class, and immigration and the many ways these issues frighten the dominant culture. With now historic outdoor scenes of Harlem in the early 80’s along with many trips on the A train north to 125th Street, New York City becomes synonymous with the issues of the time. Location shooting on the streets, in crowded tenements, in dreary offices, and a neighborhood bar set the ambiance of this classic indie film. Sayles’ long-term life and work partner Maggie Renzi produced and has a small role in the film as one of the office workers. Sayles wrote, directed, and edited his fourth film using funds he received from a 1983 MacArthur Fellows award. He even has a role along with one of his regular actors David Strathairn as they play the men in black seeking the alien who escaped from his imprisoned planet. Other John Sayles’ regulars include Joe Morton in the title role playing the alien who never utters a word, Bill Cobbs as a reminiscing bar patron, and Tom Wright as another frustrated office worker. The Brother from Another Planet stands out as a snapshot of the early 80’s and an excellent example of the creativity indie films can produce. 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

Strike a Pose

May 28, 2017

An honest and raw examination surrounding the aftermath of fame. Strike a Pose follows former back-up dancers to Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition Tour who were also in her film, Truth or Dare. Fame is a tricky experience to deal with, at least from my distant observation. Fame can empower you, fame can indulge you, fame can consume you. And fame can give you the worst crash of your life. So we hear stories of the seven male dancers who became symbols of freedom and self-expression at a very early age. Something none of them signed up for. What they did sign up for was to dance and dance they did. But the film of the tour, Truth or Dare exposed their personal lives. Most of the dancers were fine with that, a few were not. After the tour, three of the dancers sued Madonna. One of them died from AIDS. Two of them are long-term HIV survivors. All of them have struggled with how to live in the world after riding that magic carpet with her Madgesty. For those who hunger for more than superficial glamour, Strike a Pose provides a truthful glimpse into the lives of these talented men. 4 out of 5.


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