Archive for the ‘Next’ Category

Nailed It!

March 13, 2018

Netflix new food contest show, Nailed It! showed so much promise in theory thanks to the inclusion of NYC chocolatier Jacques Torres. Unfortunately the fun of this show – taking regular people and making them attempt to recreate confection masterpieces loses its gleam due to tacky stunts from the show’s host Nicole Byer. To her credit, I’m sure she’s just following what the producers tell her to do. But the over-the-top, loud-mouthed antics rubbed me the wrong way. Some finesse would have gone a long way. I realize Nailed It! is a comedy show about the failures of baking. Turning down the LOL track would have helped the series succeed. 1 out of 5. Next.


Love & War: Season 1, Episode 1

February 1, 2018

Sometimes you just can’t go home again. I remember being so excited when Susan Dey announced she would star in a Diane English (Murphy Brown) sit-com after leaving L.A. Law. Dey exited Love & War after the first season citing creative differences. The reality stemmed from the lack of chemistry between co-star Jay Thomas and Susan. Amazon Prime streams the first two seasons of Love & War. Annie Potts (Designing Women, The Fosters) took over for Susan in Season 2. It doesn’t take long for the awkwardness to set in during the pilot. That coupled with the leads breaking the fourth wall to discuss their feelings about each other made for a cringe-worthy episode. Those of you familiar with Reel Charlie know how much I adore Susan Dey. It is with heavy heart I give Love & War a 2 out of 5. Next.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

January 13, 2018

Sat down the last two evenings with the 1974 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. I stayed with it for more than half of the film. Honestly I could not get into it. The pacing too slow, actor’s delivery dull, sets looked cheap. Lauren Bacall overacted. Ingrid Bergman atrocious. Anthony Perkins reusing his Psycho persona. I’ve heard fun things about this incarnation from Steve Hayes. It’s as if he watched a completely different movie. I simply could not finish it. I really enjoyed the 2010 version from the Brits. And am looking forward to seeing Branagh’s newest addition when it arrives on Blu-ray in the library. Meanwhile 2 out of 5 for Sidney Lumet’s lackluster film, Murder on the Orient Express. Better go back and re-read the book.


January 7, 2018

Samsara, the film according to Wikipedia,

is a 2011 non-narrative documentary film, directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson, who also collaborated on Baraka (1992), a film of a similar vein. Samsara was filmed over five years in 25 countries around the world. It was shot in 70 mm format and output to digital format.

Saw Samsara on Blu-ray and yes the images are beautiful. But having access to all kinds of art and media digitally online, I wonder if films like this are even necessary today? Also, there was no theme or organization to the scenes. But my biggest pet peeve: nothing was titled. So one minute you’re watching a beautiful scene in well, is it Nepal? And the next you are in, is it Central America? Arizona? Next is flood-ravaged buildings. Is it New Orleans? You never know. I could see having the ability to turn this feature on/off depending on your experience. But to not have access at least to locations left me frustrated. I just didn’t see the point. 2 out of 5 for Samsara. Next.

Heat and Dust

January 6, 2018

Watched the Cohen Media Group’s restored version of Merchant Ivory‘s 1983, Heat and Dust today. For me this next line will be Merchant Ivory heresy. I did not like the film. I turned it off after 30 minutes. Shudder. The horror. I know! I am so ashamed. I simply could not get into it, understand it, or enjoy it. It wasn’t awful. It was flat and meandering. I’m still shuddering. Take away my lifetime membership card now. Someone quick, beat me with an old VHS of Howards End. For the record, I still consider Merchant Ivory’s quartet of films, A Room with a View, Maurice, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day beginning only two years after filming Heat and Dust to be four of the most perfect films every created. Meanwhile 2.5 out of 5 for Heat and Dust.

Dream Boat

December 30, 2017

Netflix airs some great niche programming including a decent amount of LGBTQ content. Dream Boat follows several international gay men as they embark on an all-male gay cruise to find love, friendship, connection and camaraderie. Reel Charlie readers know I’m far from a prude and much prefer nudity and sex over violence. However, there were a few instances of full frontal male nudity and a couple of seconds worth of a blow job that felt completely unnecessary. What exactly was the reason for that? Not enough for titillation, not meaningful enough to move the story forward. Just awkward. The film was also riddled with stereotypes, which I blame on the cruise. Drag night? Leather night? White Party night? Yawn. Add to that the actual essential conversation doesn’t happen in the documentary. Instead we are spoon fed superficial, contrived dilemmas with no real bite or depth. Too bad because the subject matter is necessary and fascinating. 1 out of 5 for Dream Boat. Next.

Christmas in Connecticut (1992)

December 28, 2017

One last holiday movie post. Ick, I finally sat down after all these years and watched the remake of Christmas in Connecticut. The original is one of Reel Charlie’s favorite holiday films! I’ve hesitated watching the 1992 remake directed by (gasp!) Arnold Schwarzenegger and starring Dyan Cannon, Kris Kristofferson, and Tony Curtis. Could be camp good with that line-up? But no. It was painful watching the awkward scenes of Kristofferson acting out a fake rescue. And Cannon who can be lots of fun didn’t meet the Stanwick standard. I’m blaming Schwarzenegger. He directed one episode of Tales from the Crypt and then this. After that I suppose he focused on acting and politics. 1 out of 5. Next.

Fargo: Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2

December 17, 2017

I’m not sure what precisely wore me down about Season 3 of the television series, Fargo. In the end, I think I got tired of the gratuitous hipster violence. It managed to work for the first two seasons. But I just couldn’t stomach it nor could I get into the story for season 3. Not even with two freakish Ewan McGregors battling it out with Midwest American accents. Plus there’s all the TMZ drama of McGregor and his co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead not just hooking up, but he left his wife of 22 years to be with her. Damn. Still not enough to get me to keep watching. Actually Winstead’s character worked my last nerve. So goodbye Fargo. It was great fun while it lasted. Season 3 gets a 2 out of 5. Next.

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.

Beatriz at Dinner

September 28, 2017

What a colossal disappointment Beatriz at Dinner turned out to be. From the trailer I was expecting a delicious drawing-room play based on heightened feelings post-election. I got some of that, but the final act of Beatriz veered into a complete cop-out. Without revealing any spoilers, let’s just say the final reaction of the title character seemed completely out of character and unnecessary. What a waste of talent. The cast couldn’t have been handed picked better: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton, Jay Duplass (Transparent), Amy Landecker (Transparent), and Chloë Sevigny. Damn shame. 1 out of 5 because the ending made me so angry. Next.

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