Archive for the ‘Next’ Category

History of the World, Part II

March 11, 2023

Over forty years ago, Mel Brooks was on a roll. His seventh directed film, History of the World, Part I, made a lot of money. I remember loving his films. Today, I’m not so sure they would hold up. Perhaps moments, but an entire movie? Probably not. Someone at Hulu decided to create a sequel, History of the World, Part II which follows the Mel Brooks format precisely. Lots of sight gags and irreverent scenarios. I tried watching this new incarnation. I chuckled at Abraham Lincoln hitting his head over and over again. I chuckled at the youngest Romanov child as an influencer. And that was about it. My sense of humor has evolved over my lifetime. Not saying Mel’s humor is any less sophisticated than something that might make me laugh out loud. Just saying it’s not my sense of humor. 2 out of 5. Next.

History of the World, Part II currently streams on Hulu.

Welcome to Chippendales

January 21, 2023

What started out as a romp, ended up pretty lackluster. Welcome to Chippendales is a limited series on Hulu which follows the real life story of founder and owner Steve Banerjee who gets greedy and doesn’t want to share any of his fortune with others who work hard to create the Chippendales brand. That specifically includes choreographer Nick De Noia. The two characters are played by Kumail Nanjiani and Murray Bartlett. Both men bring a lot of experience to the roles. They tried, but in the end, the story unravels into a melodramatic mess. The showrunners really should have scrapped the desire to create a heavy drama and leaned in more to the camp fest Chippendales truly is. Featured actors Juliette Lewis, Andrew Rannells, Robin de Jesus and Annaleigh Ashford try hard, but also fall short. This felt more like a 1970s TV movie of the week than a high end streaming limited series from 2023. 2 out of 5. Next.

Welcome to Chippendales currently stream on Hulu.
Despite all the murder and mayhem, Chippendales is still going strong in Las Vegas.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

January 7, 2023

I wanted to wait for a few days into the new year before posting a negative review. I didn’t like the first Knives Out. But so much fuss over the sequel, I thought Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery might redeem itself. Not sure why these films are so dull and devoid of camp. I sound like a broken record bringing up Clue again, but seriously Hollywood, watch that film and craft a modern day story in that vein with that type of humor. I will say the second half of Glass Onion gets better once Janelle Monáe’s character reveals herself to be someone else. That’s the only spoiler I’ll list. But then it quickly returns to dull. I realize comedy is subjective. That’s been one of the overarching lessons on Reel Charlie. But I seriously do not think these big budget comedies try hard enough. 2 out of 5. Next.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery currently streams on Netflix.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

November 9, 2022

I wanted to love Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris so much. Leslie Manville is a dream actor. Loved her for years in all the Mike Leigh films she acted. I know this film is meant to be lighthearted. I welcome that. But the movie fell flat. The French stereotypes were boring, not funny. 2 out of 5. Next.


October 13, 2022

First time watching Xanadu. I know – shocking. Right? Losing Olivia Newton-John this year bummed me out. She lived to be just shy of her 74th birthday. The second concert I ever went to was ONJ. I loved her country crossover albums of the early 70’s. I truly loved her pop albums of the mid-70’s. As we all know, she blew up from Grease. Xanadu was supposed to be her musical bookend. Boy did it fall flat. 29% liked it on Rotten Tomatoes. The most jarring problem with Xanadu is that the songs were played like a club. Even if Olivia sang the song, often they wouldn’t have her lip sync because her film partner wasn’t singing the male role. Awkward. So her character’s roller skating with Michael Beck (her love interest) while she and Cliff Richard sing away on the speakers. WTF? This is not a musical. And speaking of WTF, what the fuck was Gene Kelly thinking? Did he want one last hurrah? Did he think he could bring the 40’s musical into the 80’s? Michael Beck, was generic and certainly not memorable. The entire film is one big mess. On the plus side, the costuming was great – very New Wave/Punk in certain scenes. I think hiring Electric Light Orchestra was a huge mistake. Whatever style of music they fall into, it’s not pop ballads, and it’s not New Wave roller skating music. Poor Olivia. She sure didn’t strike gold a second time after Grease. 2 out of 5. Next.

Xanadu currently streams on various platforms for a rental fee or on disk from your local public library.
Read The Guardian’s review of Xanadu at 40: a mesmerisingly messy musical failure.
Read all about Olivia Newton-John.

Selling the OC

October 5, 2022

I have no excuse or idea why I watched the entire first season of Selling the OC. It’s trash reality TV. I know these kinds of shows can be fun. There are so many mean characters on this show, so many drama queens. It was difficult sitting through parts, especially the last few episodes. I do like the actual real estate. I will never be able to afford a home, especially not a 20 million dollar home. But it’s still fun to look. So that part was a no-brainer. But the bitching and back-stabbing was hard to take. I know it’s reality TV and everyone’s assigned a character. Or perhaps that’s created in the editing room. Whatever, it was nasty. A couple of the guys stayed out of it, but for the most part, they make the women all look very catty. Not a good thing for 2022. Also, it’s a mostly white cast, and all but one is straight. There’s a bisexual man who gets no love interests. Yikes. 2 out of 5. Next.

Jurassic World: Dominion

September 27, 2022

I have tried to enjoy many of the recent Jurassic films. I was particularly looking forward to Jurassic World: Dominion because it combines old cast and new cast together in the same film, just like Star Trek: Generations did. I made it through an hour. I couldn’t take much more. Chris Pratt’s posturing is so annoying. I know it’s a character, but his real life persona kept bleeding through. Laura Dern seemed wasted – her input, not her sobriety. Bryce Dallas Howard was reliable, but not as kick-ass as I hoped. Not even the Blu-ray disc could save it. Oh well. 2 out of 5. Next.

Uncoupled: Season 1

August 11, 2022

I watched the entire first season of Uncoupled, the television series from Sex and the City creator Darren Star about a 40-something gay man in New York City who gets dumped by his long-term boyfriend and must cope as a single person in a new era very different from the one he left 17 years ago when he coupled up. Neil Patrick Harris plays Michael the newly single gay man. From the start, there was something unappealing about Harris’s role. Michael felt too whiny, too privileged, too clueless. He would have made an ok supporting character, but as the lead, it got tiring hearing him complain every episode about how awful it is to be single. Really? You’re an upper middle class cis white man living in New York City. STFU. Also he makes inappropriate cringy comments about life in 2022 that no self-aware gay man living in New York City with older single friends would make. I winced too many times during every episode I watched. In hindsight, I think his work partner Suzanne played by Tisha Campbell would have made the better lead. She’s a single Mom, never married, her adult son still lives with her. She’s aware of the world and realizes her place in it. And is still striving each day to make her life fabulous. Michael’s gay male besties seemed too one-dimensional – the overweight art dealer who can’t find a boyfriend… the sex-crazed local weatherman who can’t settle down. They could have kept these characters exactly as they are but made the art dealer actually be able to find a perfect boyfriend/husband and have the weatherman actually enjoy his non-committal sex life without everyone always judging him. We needed more Samantha Jones in that character. And then there was the Marcia Gay Harden character who was a walking caricature. Ugh what a waste of a great actor. I wish the show was better. It could have easily been a perfect summer of 2022 guilty pleasure. Instead, I’ve talked several friends out of starting it. There are too many great TV shows out there, this one can easily be skipped. The city never looked so good, so kudos to the cinematographers. The characters? Not so much. 2 out of 5. Next.

Uncoupled currently streams on Netflix.

The Morning Show: Season 1, Episodes 2 & 3

July 7, 2022

One more try with Apply TV+’s The Morning Show. Still didn’t like it. Read Reel Charlie’s updated review by clicking on the image below.

The Third Man

June 11, 2022

Sometimes I really connect with a highly rated classic film, and sometimes I don’t. Such was the case when I sat down to watch the Criterion release of The Third Man (1950), a donation to our library. Outstanding cast and crew featuring Carol Reed directing, a screenplay by Graham Greene, and starring Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. It’s post-WWII Vienna. An American novelist (Cotton) arrives looking for a childhood friend who’s offered him a job. He discovers early on that the friend has died. The film then becomes an amateur sleuth story which I normally love. I watched a full hour and just did not connect. It’s rated extremely high online, so you might disagree. It won the Palme d’Or and even has a museum about the film in Vienna. For me: 2 out of 5. Next.

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