Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Transparent: Season 4

October 1, 2017

“Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and anoint you…”

Who knew the Pfeffermans were as obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar as I was when I was a little boy. And they remember the words to the songs after all these years. Even Maura’s sister! Such a magnificent and glorious television series Transparent continues to be. Is this the most loving, dysfunctional family you’ve ever met? Does yours rival them? Mine sure doesn’t. Which is probably why I love watching them tick. This season the family connects with their spiritual and social roots on a trip to Israel. Every one comes together and then proceeds to find their own corner and take some time out to contemplate life: Josh at meetings, Sarah with Len, Ali at the farm, and Maura and Shelly meditating in the midst of the chaos. The only logical family member of Maura’s who gets any back story time this season is the luminous Davina, my favorite non-Pfefferman. We dig deeper into Davina’s past to find her vulnerabilities. I love Davina even more after this season. She is the heart, soul, and calm of the show. Alexandra Billings brings nuance and wisdom to the role. Can’t say enough how much I adore Transparent. 5 out of 5 for this family ensemble.

Advertisements

The Five

September 30, 2017

Honestly enjoyed the U.K. mystery series, The Five created by Harlan Coben. The 10-episode story features solid performances from O-T Fagbenle (Looking), Tom Cullen (Weekend, Downton Abbey), Sarah Solemani, and Lee Ingleby. The four play childhood friends facing the resurrection of a sibling gone missing case from 20 years ago. Although the middle of the story veers into several non-realistic plot turns, I hung in there and was rewarded with an exciting story filled with extremely satisfying characters. Normally I’d give something like this a 3.5 out of 5. But the addition of a librarian character with the major discovery scene taking place in a public library, the beautiful use of pop music, and the way each episode ends on a nail-biting question left me no excuse but to give The Five a 4 out of 5.

Oscars: France Selects ‘120 Beats Per Minute’ for Foreign-Language Category (Hollywood Reporter)

September 27, 2017

From The Hollywood Reporter,

Robin Campillo’s drama won the Grand Prize at this year’s Cannes film festival.

France has selected Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute as its submission in the best foreign-language film category of the Oscars.

The film won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

The selection committee was chaired by National Cinema Center (CNC) head Frederique Bredin and composed of executives including Cannes Film Festival head Thierry Fremaux, French Academy president Alain Terzian, UniFrance film body head Serge Toubiana and former head Jean-Paul Salome, as well as CNC financing commissioner Teresa Cremisi.

BAFTA- and Cesar-nominated director Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) and Cesar winner Deniz Gamze Erguven, director of the Oscar-nominated Mustang, rounded out the committee.

The commission selected from a shortlist including 120 Beats Per Minute, Mathieu Amalric’s Cannes Un Certain Regard special prize winner Barbara and Redoubtable from Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist).

Read the full article.

Tom of Finland trailer

September 23, 2017

Very excited to see the new release, Tom of Finland. The film is Finland’s official choice for submission in the Oscars’ “Best Foreign Language Film” category. From Kino Lorber,

Known to the world as Tom of Finland, the proudly erotic drawings of artist Touko Laaksonen shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather? Dome Karukoski’s stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.

Tom of Finland opens 10/13 in New York and 10/20 in San Francisco and Los Angeles before expanding to select cities.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

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.

White Gold

September 9, 2017

Watched the first episode of the new 80’s era British Netflix show, White Gold. It’s got really amazing music selections and a break with the fourth wall for those of you who like your television fiction confessional. But my interest waned early on. Didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. Never saw an episode of Gossip Girls, so I can’t say I know anything about White Gold‘s star Ed Westwick. But he didn’t make me sit up and pay attention. Too bad because I loved the music. 2 out of 5. Next.

Comrade Detective

August 25, 2017

It took me awhile to figure out Comrade Detective, the adventurous new project from bffs Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt streaming on Amazon.  It looks like an 80’s behind the Iron Curtain cop show dubbed in English. What it is in reality is a brand-new show filmed in Romania, shot to look like an 80’s Iron Curtain television series and then dubbed using famous American actors. The premise is fascinating. The execution spot on. In the end, it’s just not my flavor. If any of this interests you in the least, you should give Comrade Detective a go. You’ll know within the first episode if this connects with you. No subtitles necessary. 3 out of 5.

The Crown: Season 2 (trailer)

August 16, 2017

The magnificent Netflix British television series, The Crown continues into the 1960’s with the reign of Elizabeth II. Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of The Crown: Season 1.

‘Sense8’ is back in production, and the finale is going to be totally ‘epic’ (Queerty)

August 12, 2017

Has your cluster been informed yet? Sense8 is coming back for one final epic wrap-up movie. The Netflix series that was too big for just two seasons is back in production and due to release their final film in 2018. Watch an extended “thank you” video from creator Lana Wachowski, her cast and crew. Adorable clips abound. I still get chills when I think of this series. For all its imperfection and limitation it certainly did propel storytelling forward. It created a world where everyone is equal, where everyone’s voice and love are honored. Sense8 wrote the manual for the future of humanity.

Read the full article on Queerty and check out Lana’s fifteen minute video.
Check out Reel Charlie’s reviews of Sense8: Season 1, the Sense8 Christmas Special, and Sense8: Season 2.

Instead of sharing a pic of the cast or creators or a poster, I want to share two pics of my favorite supporting actors – Max Mauff who plays Felix and Michael X. Sommers who plays Bug.

 

Max Mauff (Felix)

Michael X. Sommers (Bug)

 

 

 

The Great British Baking Show: Season 4

August 6, 2017

What reality show makes you cry with happiness over the contestants? What reality show proves kindness trumps selfishness? What reality show makes me forget all the world’s problems for an hour each episode? Those are just a few of the marvelous things The Great British Baking Show does for me each time I watch. Season 4 exceeded all my expectations. More fun from the hosts and judges. More outstanding bakes from the diverse and cordial contestants. By the time the show got down to the top 5, it was anyone’s win. And through the final bake, any finalist could have snagged the crown, err cake stand. I thank my lucky stars for the break from the horrors of our current reality. Thank you to the creators and producers of The Great British Baking Show for giving us outstanding entertainment and hope for the human race. XOXO. 5 out of 5 for this classic reality television series.

Did you pick this season’s winner?

 


%d bloggers like this: