Archive for the ‘Next’ Category

Mamma Mia!

June 7, 2018

Full disclosure: I am a huge ABBA fan. Not sure how many people in my life actually know that. After sharing ABBA with my first love, Joe in the 1980’s and his dad Gordon, I’ve kept it under the radar all these years later. I’m not in the closet about ABBA, I’m simply discreet. I listen to them driving my car and belt out the words to their hits. As a result, I adored The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel’s Wedding both of which featured original ABBA music prominently in their soundtracks as well as having characters wax romantically of their love for the Swedish pop band. So why have I never seen either the film or the play, Mamma Mia!? After trying to watch it this weekend, I can only now say instinct. What an awkward mix of actors who can’t belt out the songs appropriately, the thinnest of thinly veiled plots, and a trio of dull suitors for Meryl Streep’s character. All in all, a snooze fest. Best to either hire real singers or just do what Priscilla and Muriel did and play the damn original songs in all their kitschy pop glory. 2 out of 5 for Mamma Mia!. Next.


Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here

June 5, 2018

Tig Notaro’s follow-up to her short-lived Netflix series finds the comedian back to stand-up. I enjoyed her series based on her real life. I can’t say the same for the special, Happy To Be Here. There was nothing laugh out loud funny for me to grab onto. My mantra continues to be, “comedy is subjective.” So it’s always with a bit of trepidation I say I didn’t enjoy someone’s stand-up. But there you have it. Comedy is subjective and Tig’s new show didn’t make me laugh out loud. You may feel differently. 2 out of 5. Next.

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.

Aftershock: Earthquake in New York

June 2, 2018

Amazon Prime streams the 1999 disaster mini-series, Aftershock: Earthquake in New York. I tend to love camp films from this genre. They are great Friday night mindless entertainment. Unfortunately Aftershock didn’t age very well. Cheesy and not in a good way. The performances felt awkward and the special effects right out of a B-movie. Too bad. Great premise. 2 out of 5. Next.

Check out Reel Charlie’s reviews of fun disaster films including
Deep Impact
The Perfect Storm
The Poseidon Adventure
San Andreas



Harlan Coben’s Safe

May 31, 2018

American writer Harlan Coben scored well with his mini-series, The Five, a British import to Netflix. Up next, French-British export Safe starring Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) as a widowed father whose daughter disappears a year after her mother’s death. I was hoping Safe would be thrilling. Instead the first episode went from predictable to silly. Sometimes I feel like I can see into the creation of a script which inhibits me from sitting back and enjoying the show. Safe felt contrived for the genre and not particularly creative. Gated communities harbor evil. Oooh, scary. Uh, not really. 2 out of 5. Next.

After Forever: Season 1

May 25, 2018

Web series available on Amazon Prime Video, After Forever tells the story of Brian and Jason, a 50-something couple in New York City. I got very excited about this show for various reasons – I’m in the demographic of the previous sentence aside from the NYC and couple thing. Made it through two brief episodes but couldn’t go any further. After Forever lacked substance and wore its heart on its sleeve to the extreme. And one of the actors had trouble emoting naturally. Really wanted to love this. Damn. 2 out of 5. Next.

Sometimes You Gotta Watch A Lot of Twos

May 11, 2018

I forget how many times I try to watch shows and films which don’t speak to me. Last weekend I had a moment where I just couldn’t find a show on Netflix that felt right for me. I can’t really review any of these individually because I didn’t give them enough time, but I am still opinionated and will post a comment after each title:

A Little Help with Carol Burnett: Season 1: “Communication” – I adore Carol Burnett, but honestly what were they thinking? The only thing more annoying than watching kids be cute is watching contemporary kids with all their entitlement (who run most families) being cute. 2 out of 5. Next.

Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity – I don’t get Seth Rogen. Comedy’s subjective. Blah, blah, blah. This was stupid. 2 out of 5. Next.

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City – Comedy’s subjective. Mulaney’s annoying. How many more Irish Catholic straight white male comics do we really need? 2 out of 5. Next.

The Titan – please someone make better Sci-Fi. Imagination is a terrible thing to waste. 2 out of 5. Next.

The Rain: Season 1: “Stay Inside” – a whole new genre: International Dystopian Apocalyptic Cheesy TV Series

El ministerio del tiempo (The Ministry of Time): Season 1, Episode 1

May 3, 2018

Caught the first episode of the Spanish time traveling television series, El ministerio del tiempo (The Ministry of Time) last night on Netflix. I love this genre and was hoping El ministerio would be centuries of fun. Instead, I found it awkward. The three leads didn’t to mesh. I felt like the show runners were trying for a modern-day Three Musketeers, but the combination of characters from three different eras fell flat. Also, it had the production value of a b-movie Sci-Fi network show. No elegance. 2 out of 5. Next.

The Great Interior Design Challenge

April 21, 2018

News flash: not all British competition shows are as good as The Great British Bake Off. Surprise. So Netflix currently streams The Great Interior Design Challenge. The amateur designers whip up some hideously impressive room designs. Whoa. This show is hard to take seriously. I did make it through an entire episode looking for the gems. Alas, it’s better to let go of this one and move on to the next. 1 out of 5.

Phantom Thread (Blu-ray)

April 20, 2018

Spoiler alert: What should have been a glorious film, a swan song to Daniel Day-Lewis’ illustrious career, Phantom Thread instead splintered into two distinct lackluster films. First came the eccentric dressmaker who curates a perfect life for himself until a simple, strong-willed woman comes along to show him what real living is all about.  Then halfway through, Phantom Thread turns into a fetishistic, horror film full of poisonings, pain, recovery and more poisonings. The end of the film where Day-Lewis’ character not only realizes he’s being poisoned, but welcomes the poison as a sort of work break proves to be one of the most bizarre (and not in a good way) plot turns in film ever. Did it work? Definitely not for me. I did watch the film in its entirety. There are other wonderful films to remember Daniel Day-Lewis for if he truly is retiring from acting: Lincoln, The Crucible, In the Name of the Father, The Age of Innocence, My Left Foot, A Room with a View, and My Beautiful Laundrette. Phantom Thread simply does not rate next to these beautiful films. 2 out of 5. Next.

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