Archive for the ‘Lesbian’ Category

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1

March 18, 2018

Released this week on disk, Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s book, The Handmaid’s Tale exceeds all expectations. Why? Well first there’s the obvious: the production value swings off the charts – writing, directing, acting, costumes, set design, cinematography all outstanding. The tenor of the production brought literal chills to my body. By episode three I was curled up in a ball on the sofa. The Handmaid’s Tale might possibly be the first excellent television series I don’t suggest binging on. Let the terror settle in a bit similar to how Hulu released it – one episode per week. But the real reason I felt wrecked to my core was that this 1985 Sci-Fi novel now reads as a warning to our potential future. And not something in the distant future we need to pay heed. Instead it feels very much like the possibility of what might happen to our country if Trump walks away from the Presidency for even more greed and power leaving the executive branch shattered and ripe for Pence and his insane far-right christian cronies to take over the country once and for all declaring martial law on all of our freedoms. And by all I mean every woman, all men who don’t follow strict heteronormative behavior, people of color, the poor and disenfranchised and my own personal group – LGBTQ folk. So the creators at Hulu have done their job well scaring the shit out of me and making The Handmaid’s Tale a call to arms. Each of us is required to do what we can to keep these lunatics not only at bay, but to bury this hatred for diversity and freedom once and for all. Love truly must win in all its beautiful colors and permutations.

Shout out to a crazy great cast including Elizabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Amanda Brugel, Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Ann Dowd (shudder), and Alexis Bledel (shattering her Rory Gilmore curse forever). Words cannot describe how visceral my reaction to The Handmaid’s Tale has been. It deserves all the praise your friends have doled out, it deserves all the awards, it’s deserves attention and it deserves to be an artistic warning to every decent human being to do everything in their power to crush this hatred and darkness in humanity once and for all. 5 out of 5.


qFLIX Philadelphia 2018

March 8, 2018

Program line-up just announced for qFLIX Philadelphia 2018: The LGBTQ+ Film Festival on March 19-25, 2018.

Lots of hopeful films including many pansexual/fluid entries coming to the festival this year. Reel Charlie’s go-to list starts here:

HELLO AGAIN directed by Tom Gustafson
HIDDEN KISSES directed by Didier Bivel
A SKIN SO SOFT directed by Denis Côté
FOAM PARTY! directed by Roberto Pérez Toledo
BETWEEN THE SHADES directed by Jill Salvino
STILL WAITING IN THE WINGS directed by Q. Allan Brocka
THE FEELS directed by Jenée LaMarque
AFTER LOUIE directed by Director Vincent Gagliostro

See the complete program at qFLIX.

Before Moonlight: 10 films that celebrate the African American LGBT experience (LGBTQ Nation)

February 23, 2018

Great list from LGBTQ Nation featuring ten fantastic films celebrating the African-American LGBT experience. I’ve seen 9 out of 10. The only reason why I haven’t seen them all is I’m waiting for Saturday Church to come out on DVD. I’ve ordered a copy for the library’s collection. Seven are stellar films in their own right and I’d mark them as classics:

The Watermelon Woman – Cheryl Dunye’s indie masterpiece
Moonlight – Oscar finally got something right
PariahMudbound‘s Dee Rees’ debut film
Tongues Untied Marlon Riggs’ late 80’s doc on gay, black men
Brother to Brother – Anthony Mackie’s breakout performance
Looking for Langston – Isaac Julian’s love story to the Harlem Renaissance
Tangerine – Trans women of color in a film shot on an iPhone.

Looking for Langston – Isaac Julian (1989)

Be My Gaylentine 2018

February 14, 2018

When I first heard the word Galentine, I thought it meant Gay Valentine. Silly me. Anyway, it got me thinking. So here’s my Gaylentine, Leslentine, Bilentine list of my favorite LGB films filled with romance and love. Click on the link for Reel Charlie’s review.

Beautiful Thing
Freir Fall (Free Fall)
Giorni (Days)
God’s Own Country
Go Fish
Ha- Buah (The Bubble)
I Do
The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love 
Jongens (Boys)
My Beautiful Laundrette
Parting Glances
Reaching for the Moon

7 Lesbian Movies Hitting The Big Screen in 2018 (GoMag)

February 9, 2018

Lizzie (Saban Films)

It’s nice to see the women in LGB are well-represented this year in film. From GoMag,

Impressive lesbian movies don’t get made as often as we’d like, and when they do, they barely get the recognition they deserve. Other than action thriller Atomic Blonde and the gorgeous, GLAAD-nominated Thelma, 2017 was seriously lacking when it came to the inclusion and representation of queer women in cinema.

But thankfully, this year is ready to change that. Lots of lesbian movies are coming our way that feature lesbian love in an inspiring light, as well as queer women unapologetically being themselves. Here are 7 films to make your 20GayTeen more exciting, and demonstrate that lesbian cinema might just be on the uprise.

I’m looking forward to Lizzie and My Days of Mercy. What about you?
Read more and see the list of all seven films.

One Day at a Time: Season 2

January 31, 2018

I can’t say enough about Netflix’s reboot of Norman Lear’s One Day at a Time. The show emits a message of love and respect wrapped up in a dopey situation comedy format. Yes there’s slapstick humor. And lowest common denominator humor. But there’s also smart writing, attention to character development, embracing contemporary issues in an honest way with a Cuban-American family who defines what it means to be American. Cracking idea to recast the series from a Latinx perspective. And I love that Elena, the teenage daughter is an out and proud lesbian. Her butch comment made me laugh so hard. Adorable. Super cool cast including Justina Machado (Six Feet Under), Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, new cast member and trophy boyfriend Ed Quinn and legend Rita Moreno. One Day at a Time creates a perfect blend of mindless entertainment with in-your-face current topics. Yeah, I’m bumping this one up to a 4 for Season 2. I laughed a lot during the twelve episode arc. And adored their politics.

Lesbian Herstory Archives

December 8, 2017

I remember as a young out gay man during the 1980’s understanding the need for my lesbian sisters to have their own space free from the pressures of the patriarchy. I not only understood that need, but supported it. I remember venturing into Charis Books in Atlanta and supporting women’s bookstores as often as I could. Supporting Bluestockings in New York City, Women Crafts in Provincetown, and my own neighborhood’s Bloodroot Restaurant and bookstore. I’m thrilled Megan Rossman made a short film on Brooklyn’s Lesbian Herstory Archives. It’s six minutes long, introducing the viewer to the important archival work Lesbian Herstory Archives continues.

Join the women this weekend for their annual holiday sale:

Annual Holiday Booksale 12-4:30
When: Sat, December 9, 12:00pm – 4:30pm
Where: Lesbian Herstory Archives, 484 14th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA (map)
Description :Find some holiday reads while supporting the Archives. Most items $1-2.

Watch the short film on Vimeo.

Me Him Her

November 29, 2017

Me Him Her looked like a potentially cute gay male with straight best friend film. Watching the first half reduced my enthusiasm to a sigh. Filmed in 2015, the film relied on too many worn out tropes – the famous actor who can’t quite figure out how to come out of the closet, the goofy straight best friend who ventures out to save the day, the rebounding lesbian who ends up sleeping with said goofy straight best friend even though he doesn’t even remotely resemble a woman. Parts of it tried hard, parts were cringe-worthy. The bathroom fantasy club scene in particular rang homophobic to me. To be honest, I couldn’t finish it. There was something there – a kernel of potential, maybe even more. It simple never came together. 2 out of 5 for Me Him Her. Next.

Major Female Directors (Barb’s Lists)

November 26, 2017

Mira Nair directing

My good friend Barbara – known online as Uncle Barb helped me formulate my love and appreciation for cinema at her store Alternative Videos of Woodstock (NY). “As a proprietor of a bookstore and then a video shop, Uncle Barb spent years informing herself about books and films, especially those relevant to the LGBTQ community.”

I miss our daily interactions on film and life. Phone, email and text are fine, but no substitute for facial expressions and the sound of laughter. Barb sent me a series of reply emails in response to my list of great directors on my birthday post this year. I loved the lists so much, I asked her if I could repost. Here they are with comments from me taken directly from our email correspondence.

Major Female Directors – Barb’s Choice:

Jane Campion Top of the Lake Angel at My Table Holy Smoke Sweetie
Liz Garbus What Happened, Miss Simone? The Farm: Angola, USA Girlhood
Deepa Mehta Fire Earth Water
Gillian Armstrong Charlotte Gray Oscar & Lucinda Mrs. Soffel
Sally Potter YES Orlando
Julie Taymor Titus Across the Universe Frida
Barbara Kopple Shut Up & Sing Wild Man Blues Harlan County, USA
Lina Wertmũller Swept Away Seven Beauties Love & Anarchy Ciao,Professore!
Gurinder Chadha What’s Cooking Bend It Like Beckham Bhaji on the Beach
Mira Nair Monsoon Wedding Salaam Bombay Mississippi Masala

(Reel Charlie’s comments: This is an outstanding list. I would say yes to most of this list for me personally. My only hesitation is Julie Taymor. I thought Frida was fine, but the other two I can’t remember watching. Maybe I need to revisit. I’ve never seen a Lina Wertmuller. Shudder.)

Second Tier List:

Jamie Babbit But I’m a Cheerleader
Niki Caro Whale Rider Zookeepers Wife
Mary Harron I Shot Andy Warhol
Marleen Gorris A Question of Silence Antonia’s Line
Nisha Ganatra Chutney Popcorn Cake
Patricia Rozema I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing Mansfield Park Into the Forest
Maggie Greenwald Songcatcher Ballad of Little Jo
Lisa Gornick Do I Love You? Tick Tock Lullaby Book of Gabrielle
Lisa Cholodenko High Art The Kids Are All Right Laurel Canyon

(Reel Charlie’s comments: Worship But I’m a Cheerleader. Holds up so well. Should watch Whale Rider again, remember adoring it. Enjoyed I Shot Andy Warhol. Still love Chutney Popcorn – think of it as a great date movie. LOVED Songcatcher – another movie from AV era. LOVE Lisa Gornick. Love Lisa Cholondenko’s High Art.)

Women Director’s to Watch:

Kelly Reichardt
Greta Gerwig (AO Scott called her new film Lady Bird, ‘the perfect film’)
Patty Jenkins (Monster & the new Wonder Woman)
Miranda July

Many directors seem to be working in tv and on series instead of films, Jamie Babbit and Lea Poole for example.

(Reel Charlie’s comments: These are great lists, thank you! Love Greta Gerwig’s writing in Frances Ha and her acting in 20th Century Women. Looking forward to seeing Lady Bird. Lots of buzz around it. Yes to Jamie Babbit – I see her credit often on great series work.)

Want gender equality? Learn more from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Support Women Makes Movies.

Check out Reel Charlie’s Gender and Lesbian category archives for more female driven films.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

November 23, 2017

I certainly have many things to be thankful for this year – great friends, an amazing family, a supportive and loving non-partner/partner (my bex, Dennis), a fantastic job in a career that helps the disenfranchised and people at risk, wonderful co-workers, a healthy body that responds to exercise, doctors and medical staff who keep me humming after all these post AIDS crisis years, and a brand-new 7 year-old puppy girl who will come live with us on Saturday.

But this year has not been without struggle. Now more than ever it’s important I keep myself glass half full. There is so much to do if we are to make this country and our world a reflection of decency, kindness, love and inclusion.

Today is U.S. Thanksgiving. Many of you will be home with family and friends. I wish you a calm, happy, foodie day. And afterwards, if you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving movie, consider What’s Cooking. It’s very American and very ethnic. Which is very American. Now more than ever.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of the perfect Thanksgiving film: What’s Cooking.
What’s Cooking is currently streaming on Amazon with a Tribeca Shortlist subscription. Or rent it digitally for $3 from Amazon, Apple, or Vudu. Or get the DVD from Netflix or your library.

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