Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

Viceroy’s House

September 17, 2017

Gurinder Chadha’s (What’s Cooking, Bend it Like Beckham) personal film about the Partition of India during the 1940’s might be a bit light on the savagery of history, but it’s gorgeous to watch unfold. Chadha dedicates the film to her grandmother who was separated from her family during the Partition and miraculously found her way back to them. So if the film sometimes veers into Celine Dion crescendos, I give the director a pass since she’s telling the story from her very personal perspective of what the independence did to her own family. Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson play the Viceroy Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten perfectly. The costuming, sets (how did they manage to recreate the palace?), location shooting, and interiors all picture perfect as we’ve come to expect from U.K. and Indian productions. But the real stars of this film are Huma Qureshi and Manish Dayal as the Shakespearean lovers, Aalia and Jeet. Their story transforms the timeline from cold and political to deeply personal. Mr. Dayal can be difficult to watch at times because he is so alarmingly handsome, you, ok I forget to pay attention to the story. In the end, viewers of harsh, war-torn stories might be a taken aback by the simplicity and niceties of the film. I found the balance between the cruel world and Chadha’s modern lush creation satisfying. 3.5 out of 5.

For a taste of how Gurinder Chadha interprets the American Thanksgiving holiday, check out her Reel Charlie favorite What’s Cooking.

Advertisements

Jackie: A Tale of Two Sisters

July 1, 2017

Well executed 44-minute documentary, Jackie: A Tale of Two Sisters chronicles the lives and intersection of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis with her sister Lee Radziwill. Lots of great archival footage and photos. Wanted more but for under an hour the producers told the story of the two sisters in a concise, clear to understand format. 3.5 out of 5.

2017 NYC Pride March: Watch it LIVE!

June 25, 2017

Historic! ABC 7 in New York City is broadcasting the NYC Pride Parade live for the very first time ever! ABC7NY is the broadcast partner of the 2017 NYC Pride March. From WABC NY,

WABC-TV is the official television partner and broadcast the 48th NYC LGBT Pride March on Sunday, June 25, 2017.

The NYC Pride March started in 1970 as a civil rights demonstration on the 1-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Today, it is one of the world’s best known LGBT events, with 350 marching contingents and more than 2 million spectators in 2016.

WABC-TV broadcasts the annual trek down Fifth Avenue from Noon -3 p.m. on Channel 7 and on its website, abc7NY.

Watch it streaming on ABC 7’s website.

http://abc7ny.com/live/

Antarctica: Ice and Sky

June 8, 2017

Watched the Luc Jaquet (March of the Penguins) documentary on the life of French glaciologist Claude Lorius, credited as the first scientist to discover evidence of climate change. The film is not a political or activist work. It is a quiet film about Lorius’ many expeditions and his findings. I felt the film could have used more editing. Still it is important to chronicle this man’s achievements. 3 out of 5.

Although the doc appears to be in French during the credits, the film is actually in English.

That Gay Episode: ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Comes Out Of The Closet (Decider)

May 9, 2017

Photos: HULU ; Illustration: Dillen phelps; from Decider

Brett White over at Decider continues the series, That Gay Episode this time focusing on the famous Mary Tyler Moore episode where Phyllis finds out her brother is gay. From Decider,

Gay people worry about how they’re perceived — not for vanity reasons, but survival reasons. The period of a gay person’s life — be they minutes, months or years — between acknowledging their queer identity and proudly flying a rainbow flag are a nonstop internal Q(ueer) & A session.”Do they know I’m gay?” “Wait, does this make me seem gay?” “When do I tell them I’m gay?” It’s hard to express who you now know you are when you’re dealing with people whose perceptions of you run back decades.

These are the issues at the heart of The Mary Tyler Moore Show‘s 1973 episode “My Brother’s Keeper.” Unlike Cheers‘ “The Boys in the Bar,” which tackled machismo and gay panic by making half the cast straight-up homophobes, “My Brother’s Keeper” saved its big gay reveal for the very end. To get all meta, this is a gay episode that literally plays it straight for 24 of its 25 minutes.

Read the full article.
Read Kenneth in the 212’s blog post about how this episode and other quintessential queer moments on television personally affected him.

Treme: Season 2 (take 2)

March 23, 2017

Great revisiting my friends in the Treme. What a sleeper hit this David Simon (The Wire) show continues to be. Read Reel Charlie’s updated review by clicking on the image below.

Treme: Season 1 (take 2)

March 17, 2017

David Simon’s 2010 follow-up to The Wire uncovers a meditation on New Orleans post-Katrina. Complicated, nuanced, with a phenomenal ensemble cast and the best variety of music any series has yet to produce. Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review.

I Am Not Your Negro

March 1, 2017

i-am-not-your-negroRaoul Peck’s devastating documentary, I Am Not Your Negro frames the words of author James Baldwin who tried to make sense of the murders of his friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. while imaging how his country might finally get rid of racism. Samuel L. Jackson provides the voice for Baldwin interspersed with interviews, film clips, and footage of events in the 1960’s forward which define our nation as fractured and segregated. Perhaps only Baldwin who is outside of outside as a gay, black man can clearly illustrate what it means to embody race and gender in America. I left the film not only feeling my white privilege, but realizing I can never truly understand what it means to live in this country as a person of color and specifically as an African-American. I can empathize, watch films, take a moment to feel others disadvantage. But tomorrow I will wake up and busy myself with the details, important or otherwise of my life and not think about race for several minutes, hours, days, or weeks until something jars me once again out of my sleep. For the black person in the United States, the feeling of other, of less than, of feared, of hated never ends. It is with them every moment of every day. Ironic that the election of a successful, talented, educated biracial man to President ushers in the worst era of public racism imaginable since the fight for equality during the 1960’s. Surprising, but not surprising. Makes me question hope. I Am Not Your Negro is mandatory viewing. You may not be in the mood to face these demons. But each of us has a responsibility to see this film, open our eyes and our hearts and work to make this country all it can be. 5 out of 5 for this essential documentary.

Hidden Figures

February 13, 2017

hidden-figures

What a wonderfully uplifting film, Hidden Figures turned out to be. In my mind, the perfect way to educate is to entertain. Which is exactly what Hidden Figures did so right. It was packed with blatant racism and sexism. But through it all, the women supported each other, their families, and had so much smarts between them, they disintegrated the glass ceilings. Not an easy task to do. And why haven’t we heard of these women before? We all know the answer to that. Which is why films like Hidden Figures are so needed to change the tide, color and gender of the historical figures taught in school. When we celebrate everyone, we raise the bar for all. Inclusion and acknowledgement are not something to fear. They are an attainable goal to set our sights on. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe proved to be the triple crown for this film. Taraji in particular commanded the screen and displayed her acting skills in a role the antithesis of what she does on Empire. Such a treat spending two hours with these women teaching the world that quietly young women of color made important contributions to the successful history of our space program. 4 out of 5.

Jackie

February 11, 2017

jackieI surprisingly enjoyed Jackie directed by Pablo Larrain (No), and written by Noah Oppenheim who penned Allegiant and The Maze Runner. Not sure what I was expecting, but Natalie Portman enveloped Jacqueline Kennedy completely and we are rewarded with a deeply solemn and personal character study of an American woman the week after she left the White House still grieving the loss of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. Simply told in flashback while Jackie confides to a reporter, Jackie breathed life once again into the dark story many of us grew up with – remarkably for many born around the same time I was it is perhaps our first memory. Larrain drapes this memory with exquisite detail. From IMDb,

Production Designer Jean Rabasse’s sets, many painstakingly re-created from archival material, synched up with cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine’s cinematography. “Jean created these massive rooms and then Stéphane framed Natalie [Natalie Portman playing Jacqueline Kennedy] in these long shots so that you feel her loneliness and despair. The White House sometimes feels like a maze she doesn’t know how to get out of,” producer Mickey Liddell said.

A strong, intelligent supporting cast featuring Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt (no this isn’t Hurt’s final film – he’s still got 5 coming out through 2017), Richard E. Grant, and Beth Grant hold their own, but this is really Portman’s piece. And she brings it all together with grace and poise. Jackie‘s not quite a 4, but nearly. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 which is meant to intrigue you and make you wonder if there might be something in this film for you.


%d bloggers like this: