Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Scott & Bailey: Season 4

July 21, 2018

I finished Season 4 of Scott & Bailey on vacation. I watched very little television, but did catch the final few episodes of this solid television series from England. The best from Season 4: the promotion, Rachel’s Mom, Janet’s daughter Elise leaving home, Rachel and her sexy new man, Gill’s drinking, Gill’s impending retirement, and the slaves at the farm. Hard to believe only one more to go. Time flew by with Janet and Rachel. 4 out of 5.

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The Bureau: Season 1, Episode 1

July 8, 2018

Caught the first episode tonight of the French spy thriller, The Bureau.  It’s really, really good. If you have ever been a fan of Homeland or The Americans or any spy film, you will want to check this out. From Vulture,

When it comes to high-stakes TV spy thrillers, sure, Homeland and The Americans have delivered their share of riveting moments.

But by far the series practicing the best spycraft these days is France’s The Bureau. An intricately plotted show rooted in real-world geopolitical events, it follows agents operating within the DGSE intelligence service, the Gallic version of the CIA. Mathieu Kassovitz (Amélie, Munich) stars as Guillaume “Malotru” Debailly, an undercover agent recalled to Paris after six years in Syria, who can’t quite give up his alias. Suffering from le syndrome du clandestin — post-mission disorder — Guillaume tries to adjust to a quotidian work life supervising agents, and reconnecting with his teenage daughter, Prune. His life becomes more complicated when he discovers Nadia El Mansour, the married professor with whom he was having an affair in Damascus, is in Paris.

Here are four other reasons to check out the show the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics named France’s best TV series tout de suite on subscription service Sundance Now.

I caught The Bureau on DVD from the library. If you don’t have a subscription to Sundance Now, ask your library to order the series. Foreign television does very well in our system. I’m not going to continue watching the series, because for some reason, I’m not connecting with it, but it’s extremely well-done. 3 out of 5.

Read the full article on Vulture.

The Best British Detective Series, Ranked (Ranker)

July 7, 2018

British Detective Series, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Or at least list the series I have loved over the years. Yanks sure do love a good Brit copper show. Here are some of Reel Charlie’s favorites compiled from a list over at Ranker,

The Bletchley Circle
The Fall
Happy Valley
Luther
Prime Suspect
Scott & Bailey
Second Sight
Shetland
Touching Evil
Unforgotten
Wire in the Blood

Click on the links above for Reel Charlie season one reviews.
See the full list at Ranker.
Which are your favorites? There’s so many to choose from and so many winners.

Scott & Bailey: Season 3

July 2, 2018

Season 3 turned out to be the most complex and shocking Scott & Bailey so far. Friendships destroyed, difficult relatives, free-fall marriages, difficult cases and a mole among the staff are just some of the challenges facing Janet and Rachel in this twisty eight-episode arc. Really love this show. It’s so easy to watch. Nothing too complicated and yet the quality never falters. 4 out of 5.

Christmas in July 2018

July 1, 2018

June is over, so long Pride. Heat wave in full swing here in the NE, USA. Welcome July and Christmas in July! I love teasing you with this post every few years. From 2014,

Never a better time to watch your favorite holiday films than in July. Crank up the a/c, make some homemade hot chocolate, bake some gingerbread and binge watch holiday films. You’ll thank me when you’re in a better mood than usual on Monday morning.

Nothing more perfect than watching a holiday film in the middle of summer. Makes you pine for crisper weather, a decorated home, cookies baking in the oven, and Johnny Mathis playing on Spotify. Here’s my special list of holiday favorites guaranteed to put a smile on your face and warm your heart. There’s even a few anti-Christmas films in there for the cynics in the room. Have at it and Merry July!

Click on the links below for Reel Charlie’s holiday reviews of my favorite Christmas classics:
La Bûche (The Yule Log)
Christmas in Connecticut
Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)
Hollywood, je t’aime (just one scene, but it’s a doozy)
Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)
Love, Actually
Make the Yuletide Gay
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
White Christmas

Also don’t forget to pull out your old television DVDs. I recommend Bewitched and The Partridge Family for cockle warming fun.

Scott & Bailey: Season 2

June 26, 2018

Still loving the British police procedural, Scott & Bailey. Fun to see the genders reversed – the women to be making the decisions, drinking too much, fucking up their relationships, and solving all the crimes. Best parts of Season 2: Janet’s marital problems, Rachel’s brother Dominic, Sean’s reappearance in Rachel’s life, Andy’s reappearance in Janet’s life, Sean’s surprise family member, Andy and Janet’s screw-up at work, Nick Savage’s reappearance, and Rachel’s Mom who helps with the cliffhanger. Kudos to the direction and writing. Tight, smart and easy to digest, Scott & Bailey is perfect for almost any occasion. Breezed through this second season full of surprises and filled with the familiarity of our heroines. 4 out of 5.

Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Man in an Orange Shirt

June 19, 2018

PBS’ Masterpiece imports another outstanding British production, Man in an Orange Shirt available today on DVD and streaming. The film tells the love stories of two male couples, one post WWII and one in present day England. British novelist Patrick Gale wrote Man in an Orange Shirt. If you haven’t read any Gale, I suggest starting with Rough Music or The Facts of Life. Gale is a master of storytelling in multiple time periods. Man in an Orange Shirt focuses on love, but also exposes the destruction the closet can reap on gay people and their loved ones, particularly their opposite-sexed spouses. Michael and Thomas struggle to hold on to their love in an unforgiving 1940’s England. Michael marries Flora while Thomas faces the law. Michael’s grandson Adam meets Steve as they face modern-day challenges of open relationships and online hook-ups. For both couples, the closet and societal acceptance prove their biggest hurdles. Writing, production values, acting, directing all first-rate. The story is told in two parts starting as the war comes to an end and finishing in present time. Man in an Orange Shirt feels like something I will want to revisit in the very near future. Thrilled these stories are being written and produced for television. Lots of tears with ultimately one happy ending. 4 out of 5 for Man in an Orange Shirt.

Scott & Bailey: Season 1

June 17, 2018

Sally Wainwright’s (Happy Valley) police procedural, Scott & Bailey currently streams five seasons on Amazon Prime. Scott & Bailey provides detective comfort food while boasting a female driven cast and crew. The women on the show screw up just as much as the men but I have to say it’s refreshing seeing a perspective from the girls club this time around. We could use a lot more shows like Scott & Bailey. The series stars Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp in title roles with Amelia Bullmore as their DCI boss. All three women carve out natural and memorable characters. Combining the best of smart police work with short-lived cases and a bit of sexual tension and drama from the women, Scott & Bailey goes down easy and is the perfect Friday night Amazon and chill. 4 out of 5 for this addictive drama.

Sense8: The Finale

June 10, 2018

Never have I loved such a flawed show as much as I love Sense8. The plot can be ridiculous, the story lines impossible to follow, the back story baffling, and the violence over the top gross. And yet, in-between lives an arc of love, connection, compassion, and a sense of wonder. Gloriously filmed in Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Nairobi, Reykjavik, San Francisco, and Seoul, this finale movie wrap-up lands in Paris where the sensates gather to do battle with the Chairman and save their race from enslavement and extinction. I forgot much of the plot between Season 2 and the wrap-up movie. I sure wish Netflix and other streamers would create “last season on…” trailers to remind us where we left off in the previous season. Instead I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the ride. There’s way too much violence for me, and Daryl Hannah’s face work never stops being distracting. Still Sense8 imagines a world of possibilities for love and friendship. And for that I will end this series content and fulfilled. What’s not to love about a kooky, over-the-top, sex positive TV show that has a HEA ending? My girls found their moment after the battles ended. 4 out of 5 for the ambitious Sense8 from the Wachowskis.

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.


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