Archive for the ‘Must-see’ 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.

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)

Atypical: Season 1

September 11, 2017

Atypical took me by complete surprise. I guess I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. Kier Gilchrist stars as Sam, an 18 year-old boy living on the Autism spectrum. Gilchrist proved his chops as son Marshall or (nickname) Marshmallow on Toni Collette’s The United States of Tara a few years ago. I just knew he and Brie Larson were destined for a great future. Gilchrist’s Sam is in his last year of high school. He’s beginning to want to break away from the safe world his parents have created for him. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport play his parents perfectly. Newcomer Brigette Lundy-Paine shines brightly as Sam’s younger sister who looks out for her quirky big brother. Rounding out the cast are Amy Okuda as Sam’s therapist and Nik Dodani as his dorky co-worker who is an unreliable fount of wisdom. Honestly the series focuses on the autism, but ends up being an ensemble piece as each character has their moment or two. Beautifully written, acted, and directed, I can’t recommend this enough. And 30-minute episodes makes this first season an easy four-hour commitment. Speaking of fours, I give Atypical a 4 out of 5.

The 20 Best LGBTQ Movies of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

September 5, 2017

From Indiewire,

“Moonlight.” “The Handmaiden.” “Carol.” The last few years have not only brought LGBTQ films and stories further into the mainstream, but queer films have dominated awards seasons and found commercial success. This has been a long time coming: The New Queer Cinema was a major influence on the indie film boom of the ’90s, and set the bar high for the many queer films to follow.

From the list of 20, Reel Charlie favorites include,

Far From Heaven
Pariah
Tarnation
Milk
I Killed My Mother
The Kids Are All Right
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Tangerine
Weekend
Stranger by the Lake
Carol
Moonlight

Click on the film titles above to read Reel Charlie’s reviews.
Read Reel Charlie’s Best Gay Films 2010 – 2015.
See the complete list at Indiewire.

Matewan

August 31, 2017

John Sayles’ 1987 film, Matewan creates the perfect introduction to independent film for the American Director’s series screening at the library this Fall. I wanted to show a Sayles film from the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s. I believe Matewan will mesh beautifully with Lone Star and Sunshine State. Based on the true story of beleaguered coal miners in 1920 West Virginia, Sayles’ enlists his signature ensemble cast featuring Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Gordon Clapp, and Joe Wright to tell an important American story. Was Sayles the first filmmaker to not only use groups of diverse actors but feature strong stories based on the lives of people of all races? Certainly this theme follows Sayles through the other two films featured in the series. Matewan stands strong after 30 years and remains just as essential now as we face a nearly non-existent middle class with no labor relations to protect working people from corporate greed. Matewan reminds us there’s no going back to sending humans into dangerous, life-shortening mining jobs. Sayles masterfully crafts a film about a time when companies treated humans like disposable slaves, as the workers began to assert their rights for a decent and honorable life. A must-see. 5 out of 5 for Matewan.

Read about the real Matewan Massacre on the West Virginia Archives and History website.

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.

Transparent: Season 3 (take 2)

August 15, 2017

Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of the splendorous Amazon Prime original series Transparent.

Victor Victoria (first time on Blu-ray)

August 13, 2017

Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s review of the timeless classic film, Victor Victoria.

‘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)

 

 

 


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