Archive for the ‘Location’ Category

If We Took a Holiday (Short)

October 3, 2017

Oh my lord. I love Glenn Gaylord (Eating Out, I Do). Can’t believe I took this much time to see his short film, If We Took a Holiday. From YouTube,

If We Took a Holiday tells the story of a struggling L.A. actress (Nadya Ginsburg) who agrees to impersonate Madonna all day long as a birthday present for her recently dumped gay best friend (Dennis Hensley.) Shenanigans and life lessons ensue. The film is produced and written by Glenn Gaylord, Nadya Ginsburg and Dennis Hensley and directed by Glenn Gaylord.

This was so much fun! Nadya Ginsburg is a genius impersonator and Dennis Hensley was perfect as her gay best friend recovering from a break-up. Birthday celebrations abound. The nearly 18 minutes flew by. I laughed, I felt all gooey inside. Really outstanding. Yea! 5 out of 5.

Watch If We Took a Holiday on YouTube.

 

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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.

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.

How to be a Slut in America – Part 1

September 19, 2017

Filmmaker Brian Jordan Alvarez is creating some of the most interesting episodic media from a gay man’s perspective. First there was The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, a preposterous and effervescent look at 20-something life in L.A. Alvarez followed that up creating Stupid Idiots with writing partner Stephanie Koenig. Now he showcases a more serious side with Part 1 of How to be a Slut in America. This is less silly, more honest portrayal of a young man figuring out how he wants to live out his romantic and sexual life. Brian Jordan Alvarez continues to put himself out there and rewards us with outstanding content. 4 out of 5.

Watch How to be a Slut in America, Part 1 on YouTube. (NSFW)

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.

3 Generations

September 10, 2017

Heard some buzz about the film, 3 Generations – a trans coming out story centered around a 16 year-old biological girl who wants to transition to a boy. Starring Elle Fanning as FTM Ray, Naomi Watts as his single mother, and Susan Sarandon as his lesbian grandmother, the casting is certainly strong. There were some obvious choices made in the film which didn’t excite me, but they were balanced with several thoughtful pieces of writing which made the film worth watching especially for anyone looking to explore the trans community through a non-exploitative lens. This isn’t a documentary and there are no trans actors in sight, but what the director and cast do with the material is decent and respectful. 3.5 out of 5 for 3 Generations.

A Star is Born (1976)

August 30, 2017

I wanted to revisit Barbra Streisand’s 1976 remake of A Star in Born in anticipation of the new Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper incarnation coming in 2018. I worshiped Streisand’s film when I was a kid. I owned the soundtrack and memorized every line to every song. I don’t believe I’ve watched it since. Conversations with my friend Nina who also spent time obsessed with the film reminded me how much I loved it back in the day. I’m happy to report the film holds up beautifully after all these decades. Kris Kristofferson plays the perfect love interest for Babs. He’s jaded, edgy, and bad boy to her good girl dorkiness. Did you know Joan Dideon got a screenplay credit along with Frank Pierson (director) and John Gregory Dunne? Also of note, Streisand wore her own clothing as Esther. And many of the stage outfits were men’s suits giving a  feminist vibe to her character. Perhaps the best part of the film is the concert footage which was not only filmed live, but recorded live. Only Streisand would attempt and succeed at something so daunting. Really gives the audience an authentic feel as if you’re there live with the performers. And sure beats the auto-tuned, overly edited world we live in today. For a glimpse of 70’s Streisand perfection, check out A Star is Born. 5 out of 5.

Catch Reel Charlie’s review of A Star is Born 1954 version with Judy Garland.
Enjoy Streisand’s The Woman in the Moon – the pivotal point in the film where Babs’ Esther Hoffman becomes a star.

The Night Of

August 25, 2017

Another great HBO limited series that deserves and looks as if it’s been set-up for a potential Season 2. The Night Of follows a college-aged Pakistani-American young man living in Queens played by the dreamy Brit Riz Ahmed through the thrills of a night out in Manhattan. As police procedurals tend to do, the night doesn’t go exactly as planned. Arrests happen. Jail time, a trial. I’m certainly not giving much away. John Turturro stars along with Ahmed in a gripping, by the book eight-part series. Really enjoyed this and hope there might be a second season. 4 out of 5 for The Night Of.

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.


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