Archive for the ‘Risk-taking’ Category

Luther: The Fallen Sun

March 21, 2023

Have you missed the fantastic BBC police procedural, Luther starring Idris Elba? We last saw John Luther in 2019 for Series 5. Now he’s back in 2023 with a film continuation, Luther: The Fallen Sun. Cast members Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis compliment Idris well. There’s a lull which happens for the first 20 minutes or so. Fans will think to themselves, has Luther lost it? And then the tidal wave of suspense happens. I literally screamed outloud at one point, it’s so scary. This is not for the faint of heart. Gruesome and diabolical in parts. The tension builds and builds and builds. The story shoots out into the atmosphere. If feels outlandish in parts, but is it? I don’t want to spoil the buzz. Suffice it to say, you wonder could this happen. Unfortunately the answer is probably yes. Because some humans really are pure evil. The hunt for the killer takes the cops to the furthest place possible. It’s fucking crazy and so good and laced with the stuff of nightmares. Is this the end for Luther? It’s been a 13 year run for the series. Maybe? 4 out of 5 for this outstanding film continuation.

Luther: The Fallen Sun currently streams on Netflix.
Luther the first 5 series currently streams on Hulu, Britbox and PlutoTV.


January 25, 2023

The German producers behind Dark bring us yet another television series, this one titled 1899, full of taking chances, heady intelligent scripts, and a story that’s hard to follow – in a good way. 1899 takes place on a steamship traveling from London to New York City just before – you guessed it – the turn of the 20th Century. Lots of immigrants on board, so the setting is money vs. poverty until a second vessel is discovered abandoned at sea. That’s all I will say. The complexity to the story along with great acting kept me coming back. Once a few major plotlines were revealed later in the season, I wondered if I loved it or was just watching to see how the showrunners would explain their way out of this
Sci-Fi/Suspense soup. Some of it seemed silly. Some of it was awe-inspiring. As with their previous show, the idea was to run 1899 for three seasons. Unfortunately Netflix pulled the plug and so no ending. Frustrating and unfortunately because I can’t rate subsequent series for closure, I give this season a 3.5 out of 5.

1899‘s one and only season currently streams on Netflix.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (take 2)

January 5, 2023

I decided to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once to make sure I loved it as much as the first time. I finished with two takeaways. First, you have to commit to watching the entire film. You cannot stopping watching halfway through and decide whether you like it or not. You are free to stop watching it, just refrain from having an opinion on it unless you’ve watched it in its entirety. And second, Everything Everywhere All at Once is my favorite film of 2022. Click on any of the links or image to read Reel Charlie’s updated review.

Everything Everywhere All at Once currently streams on Showtime and is available on disk from your local public library.

We’re Here: Season 3, Episodes 5 & 6

January 1, 2023

I watched the final two episodes of We’re Here: Season 3, Florida: Episodes 5 & 6. I was blown away. This show has really found its lane. This season they are clearly using drag as a transformational tool, as a political tool, and as a celebratory tool. This two-part episode is not to be missed. I sobbed through the final 20 minutes of the season finale like nobody’s business. Remarkable use of drag to combat homophobia and transphobia in one of the most fucked up states in our country – Florida. The queens travel to Orlando and help a cis gender straight female high school teacher with a trans daughter, a cis gender women and trans woman who are celebrating 50 years of marriage, a 58 year-old closeted gay man living in The Villages (shudder) near his mother, and a young queer man who is a Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor struggling with PTSD. Each one of these stories is a powerhouse call to arms for all of us to rise up, stand up, shout, vote, educate, and support our LGBTQ family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This show really gives me joy. 5 out of 5 for this Season 3 double-dose ender. I will go back and watch the rest, I promise.

We’re Here currently streams on HBO Max..

Sort Of: Season 2

December 23, 2022

Sabi’s back for another season of growing pains – the Toronto non-binary Pakistani-Canadian nanny/bartender who craves deeper connections with all the people they love. Sort Of follows Sabi’s often awkward journey searching for meaning, love, and their place in the world around them. I had trouble with this season because of all the awkwardness, the affection towards inappropriate people, the social malaise. It was hard for me to take in spots. But as I eased into the season, I realized we all experience moments or lifetimes of these emotions and to insert them into a complex, intelligent 20-minute television series in-between the quiet is ridiculously brilliant Also, Sabi’s sister acts as a reflection of Sabi’s remnants of male privilege which shatter during a cemetery moment where they finally shed any final embodiment of cis male. Profound and humbling to watch. Bessy and Paul continue to be a total mess. The kids are so much more mature than the parents, a true slice of modern day parenting life. 7ven who was my favorite character in Season 1 annoyed the shit out of me in Season 2. I kept wanting her to grow up whatever that means. The show certainly made me laugh in places, but what it truly did was challenge my notions of what it means to move, live, and create in this modern world when you don’t fit in. Another beautiful season of Sort Of. So happy this show exists in 2022. 5 out of 5.

Bros (take 2 and on Blu-ray)

December 9, 2022

Bought the blu-ray for Bros. Loved it even more the second time around. Click here or on the image below to read my updated review and updated rating!

American Horror Story: NYC (Season 11)

November 19, 2022

Spoiler alert: The good news is after eleven seasons, Ryan Murphy and crew produced an American Horror Story focused on gay men. The action happens in 1981 NYC as a mysterious illness begins circulating throughout the gay male community. There’s also a serial killer (maybe two) on the loose targeting gay men. Once the first killer is captured, I realized the second killer is not a killer, he’s the grim reaper. And he’s a giant bodybuilder in full leather. There lots of in-your-face gay content which Murphy’s become known for and I’m grateful for his matter-of-fact inclusion. As much as I like having some details kept amongst ourselves, I realize that’s very old school of me. What Murphy’s doing is showing gay, queer, LGBTQ culture in all of its forms which make the affection and love on the screen completely normal to most folks. Especially important as we continue to fight for equal rights around the country and the globe. Great cast including Russell Tovey, Joe Mantello, Billie Lourd, Denis O’Hare, Charlie Carver, Leslie Grossman, Sandra Bernhard, Isaac Powell, Zachary Quinto, Patti LuPone, Jeff Hiller, Rebecca Dayan, Matthew William Bishop, Kal Pennm and Casey Thomas Brown. Lots of heavy hitters, so the acting is first rate until the scripts went campy and silly in places. The final two episodes transitioned from serial killer as a metaphor for AIDS – to AIDS as a reality. Unfortunately, the lengthy montage felt too heavy handed. And I didn’t realize Joe Mantello’s character would morph into Larry Kramer. I wasn’t feeling that. I am not a fan of blood and gore, but I thought within the genre, they did a great job creating a period horror show using metaphor for the burgeoning AIDS crisis, and as I said, actual AIDS by the end of the season. Overall the season was uneven. But I do like a show that takes risks and they certainly did with AHS: NYC. Definitely a 3.5 or 4 in places, but overall a good even 3 out of 5.

American Horror Story currently streams on FX and Hulu.


November 1, 2022

I finally caught Bros this weekend. I did not go to see it in the theater, but I did support Bros by renting it through Amazon. The price was similar to what I would have spent for 2 tickets. Felt good to support this new gay glass ceiling smasher. Bros is the first LGBTQ rom-com to be produced by a major Hollywood studio. In case you’re reading this years from now, it’s 2022 and yes society should be ashamed. But let’s not dwell on the crooked path to equal rights every minority continues to experience. Instead let’s talk about Bros. I loved it. I know! I was a little scared. I’m not the biggest Billy Eichner fan. I’m angry a lot myself and shout more than a bit – mostly at home – apologies to my best friend whom I live with. So I was worried I may not enjoy the film. Billy’s character Bobby was neurotic and talked a lot and screamed a lot. It also worked for the film. Bros is a perfect rom-com. Bobby meets Aaron played by the dreamy (understatement) Luke Macfarlane. They are polar opposites and both are relationship-phobic. Bobby’s the executive director of the new LGBTQ History Museum opening up in NYC. Aaron’s a lawyer who’s comfortable, if not passionate about his craft. Bobby’s got body issues. Aaron’s a fuck god. The film doesn’t shy away from topics gay men discuss. The sex scenes are natural, funny, and hot. Seriously Bros is a winner. It’s a perfect formulaic rom-com which will hopefully pave the way for bigger studios to make more matter of factly big budget, queer films. It’s silly, it’s campy, it’s sexy, it’s awkward, it’s serious in moments, it’s got a happy ending. It hits all the right notes. Bravo to Billy who co-wrote, executive produced and stars in the film. 4 out of 5 because like most big Hollywood films, it needed a bit of editing.

Bros currently streams on Peacock and is available on disk from your local public library.

12/2022: Bought the Blu-ray of Bros and loved it even more the second time around. It’s silly, stupid, smart as hell, romantic, and sophisticated simultaneously. Billy Eichner should be very proud. A perfect date movie, and a perfect microcosm of the complicated dance it is to be a man who loves men in 21st Century USA. Raising my rating to 5 out of 5.

Neptune Frost

October 19, 2022

I so wanted to adore Neptune Frost, billed as an afrofuturist, science fiction, romantic, musical film. There were some glorious elements to the film. The singing felt indiginous to Rwanda. Make-up and costumes popped seemingly out of nowhere and definitely brought a sci-fi aspect to the film. But the story confused and eventually bored me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It felt experimental in places and narrative in others. I wished it had picked a genre. Still I always applaud filmmakers who take risks and look forward to future projects from co-directors Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman. Damn I really wanted to love this one. 2 out of 5.

Neptune Frost currently steams on Kanopy, and is available on disk from your local public library.

Huluween Dragstravaganza

October 17, 2022

Hulu creates Huluween Dragstravaganza, an amazing Halloween drag show in the vein of the television variety shows from the 60’s and 70s’. And because it’s a streaming service, the girls get to present content befitting a midnight show at a premier drag club. Hosted fabulously by Ginger Minj and Monét X Change, and featuring appearances from Lady Bunny (Gurl, she’s from my era…yesh!), Manila Luzon, Mo Heart, Jackie Beat, Selene Luna, Jujubee, Landon Cider, and Mario Diaz. Huluweek Dragstravaganza showcases five original songs and references to classic horror films. It also includes an amazing performance from Kesha of her song Cannibal. For those you you missing the club scene, or you just can’t stay up that late any longer, this will definitely whet your appetite. I loved it. 5 out of 5 for the hard working drag queens.

Huluween Dragstravaganza currently streams on Hulu.
Listen to the original soundtrack on Spotify:


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