Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

BPM (Beats Per Minute)

March 19, 2018

Robin Campillo’s French language film, BPM (Beats Per Minute) tells the story of Paris ACT-UP in the early 1990’s at the height of the AIDS epidemic just before the new medications became available which would save millions of lives worldwide. BPM is without a doubt the best feature film ever created focusing on the AIDS crisis. Perhaps it is because the filmmaker is 55 years old and was alive during the worse part of the epidemic. Campillo crafts a story filled with anger, activism, frustration, creativity, love and sex. Blended together, these elements tell the accurate story of what it was like – the immediacy of life during this pivotal moment in gay history. Activism was important as dancing which was important as sex which was important as community. BPM rightfully snagged six Cesar Awards (French Oscars), including best film, original script, male newcomer, supporting actor and music. BPM is a pitch perfect film with a cast of mostly young actors who lose themselves in their roles as activists fighting for their lives and the lives of the people they love. BPM is essential viewing. 5 out of 5 for this instant masterpiece.

BPM was released on disk, digital, and on-demand this past week.
Buy a copy at Wolfe Video and support lesbian owned and operated business.
Read Reel Charlie’s list of important feature films and documentaries on the subject of HIV and AIDS.



Versailles: Season 2

March 12, 2018

I made it through the first two episodes of Versailles: Season 2, the Canadian english language series based on the reign of Louis XIV. The first season was fun and soapy. I gave it a 3.5 out of 5. This second season simply didn’t hold my attention. Even the king’s gay brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans couldn’t make me continue with the series. For viewers who like their historical costume drama heavy on the soap and light on the serious, Versailles might be just right. I’m saying goodbye. It was fun while it lasted. 3 out of 5.

Mozart in the Jungle: Season 4

March 11, 2018

Breezed through the 10 half-hour episodes of Mozart in the Jungle: Season 4. It started out quiet, not sure where it was headed. I’m glad I stuck around because once they got to Japan, everything fell into place. Lots of great moments as Lola Kirke’s Hailey continues to discover herself, Rodrigo continues to unravel, and Gloria and Thomas find their footing,  expertly walking the line between complicated supporting character and punch line. This was the season John Cameron Mitchell guest starred as an annoying choreographer. He nailed that role. It was also the season the writers made it clear how difficult it is for women to be conductors. The producers balanced the gender gap between writers and directors which always makes me feel better about supporting a project. My only issue with the writing is poor Cynthia. Saffron Burrows has second billing in the credits but the writers seem unsure what to do with her character. I have a hard time understanding that. To me, Cynthia has always been fascinating and could have her own show. I give Mozart in the Jungle a 3.5 and leave it at that.

TCM Big Screen Classics Presents “Vertigo”: A Special 60th Anniversary Event (Fathom Events)

March 7, 2018

Vertigo comes to the big screen! From Fathom Events,

Considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest cinematic achievements, Vertigo is a dreamlike thriller from the Master of Suspense. Set in San Francisco, the film creates a dizzying web of mistaken identity, passion and murder after an acrophobic detective (James Stewart) rescues a mysterious blonde (Kim Novak) from the bay and must unravel the secrets of the past to find the key to his future.

This 60th Anniversary event includes exclusive insight from TCM host Eddie Muller.

Click on the image below and find out where the closest theater is in your area showing this Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece.

2018 César Awards: ‘BPM’ Wins Six, Including Best Film

March 4, 2018

On Oscar day 2018, I want to honor a French film which didn’t make the cut. BPM just won six César Awards including Best Picture. Césars are the French Oscars. The Oscar submissions for Best Foreign Film come from each country. Only one nomination cam be made per country. France indeed did the right thing and sent BPM over as their selection. The Oscar voters chose to ignore BPM and nominated films from Chile, Hungary, Lebanon, Russia, and Sweden. Those are all great countries.

I haven’t seen BPM yet. I have the DVD pre-orded from Wolfe Video. It’s scheduled for release in the U.S. on Tuesday so it should be in my mailbox any day now. I rarely assume I will love a film after reading the hype, but I am sure I will love BPM.

Read more about the film’s César wins on Indiewire.

Be My Gaylentine 2018

February 14, 2018

When I first heard the word Galentine, I thought it meant Gay Valentine. Silly me. Anyway, it got me thinking. So here’s my Gaylentine, Leslentine, Bilentine list of my favorite LGB films filled with romance and love. Click on the link for Reel Charlie’s review.

Beautiful Thing
Freir Fall (Free Fall)
Giorni (Days)
God’s Own Country
Go Fish
Ha- Buah (The Bubble)
I Do
The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love 
Jongens (Boys)
My Beautiful Laundrette
Parting Glances
Reaching for the Moon

Tom of Finland (Blu-ray)

February 13, 2018

Splurged on the new film, Tom of Finland from Wolfe Video. The movie is a biopic of Touko Laaksonen, a Finnish artist who survived World War II only to endure 1950’s oppression for being gay. Touko began drawing “dirty pictures” and eventually began selling them internationally since Finland’s obscenity laws were more strict than other countries. He fell in love and lived with Nipa for 28 years until Nipa’s death in 1981. Tom of Finland is a quiet film about a reserved man whose imagination helped shape the aesthetic first of gay men and eventually of all men in popular culture. Tom’s drawings were at one point considered pornographic are now seen as some of the first positive images gay men could find to reflect back on their own lives during pre and post-Stonewall years. An important film, Tom of Finland ends up being a reminder not only of how far we’ve come, but of the positive and healthy role sexual expression plays in society. AIDS certainly came along and decimated the gay community. But through the plague, we found strength, community, and figured out how to survive and thrive. The lessons learned are perhaps best saved for a different post. Focusing on the film, I’d encourage viewers interested in the history of gay male sexuality, those interested in sexuality in general, and anyone interested in the courage to be true to oneself check out Tom of Finland. 4 out of 5.

Shared Rooms (not exactly take 2)

February 5, 2018

I love Christmas. I also love sweet gay male indie films. So Shared Rooms piqued my interest. Also I loved filmmaker Rob Williams’ earlier holiday film, Make the Yuletide Gay.

Ugh, wait. I just went to save the DVD box cover art for this review and realized I already had it in my folder. Which means I already watched this film. Full disclosure, I started this review after watching a few minutes of the film, figuring I could queue it up and get the rest of the review done quicker. No need to worry about any of that because I’ve already reviewed the film a year and a half ago in 2016! And I even purchased a copy of the film! Oh well, I’ve always said Reel Charlie acts as a memory jog. Guess I need to jog a bit more these days.

Here’s the original review.

Insecure: Season 1

February 4, 2018

Watched the first three episodes of Issa Rae’s Insecure (HBO) this weekend. Enjoyed the writing and wit. She explores the intersections of race and gender in Los Angeles beautifully. Certainly not an easy thing being a woman of color in our culture. Smart stories and natural acting from the cast. Created by Rae and Larry Wilmore. Premise revolves around a 29 year-old African-American woman who’s still single (although living with her boyfriend), no children, and working for a non-profit. She’s ambivalent about her life choices. Makes for a good jumping off point. In the end, the all 20-something cast didn’t interest me. That’s certainly not a slight on the quality of Rae’s Insecure. I’m simply at an age where I’m more interested in older, complicated characters. 3.5 out of 5.

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.

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