Archive for the ‘Supernatural’ Category

Storm of the Century

March 9, 2023

In 1999, Stephen King wrote the screenplay for the TV movie, Storm of the Century. A little island off the coast of Maine (surprise) prepares for the worst snowstorm in over 100 years. As the storm rages in, a stranger comes to town and people start dying mysteriously. Soon enough the stranger identifies himself and gets put into a jail cell for the duration of the storm. Supernatural elements appear and the familiar King story unfolds of a small town of regular folk facing extraordinary circumstances which may or may not be human in origin. That’s all I’m going to say. This is classic pre-streaming TV movie fare. Lots of fun. Cheesy throughout, silly, but pulls you in. King himself called Storm of the Century his favorite television production. Cast includes Tim Daly, Debrah Farentino, Colm Feore, Casey Siemasko, Jeffrey DeMunn, a very young Julianne Nicholson, and Peter MacNeil (Horvath on Queer as Folk)

Storm of the Century currently streams on Hulu.

Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself

March 6, 2023

Thanks to my dear friend Mark for telling me about this wonderful short-lived series, Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself. Should have been multiple seasons, but the powers that be – Netflix – nuked this one after just one. From Deadline,

Based on Sally Green’s YA novel Half Bad, the series tells the story of Nathan Byrne (Jay Lycergo), an illegitimate son of a dangerous witch, Marcus Edge (David Gyasi), struggling to overcome his odds of following the footsteps of his father as he discovers his true identity alongside his friends.

I really grew to love this show so much. Great characters. More sophisticated than a CW/Freeform series, but just as fun. It’s totally worth watching even though it’s only one season. Stand out actors include Jay Lycurgo as Nathan Byrne in the lead – he’s the bastard, Nadia Parkes as Annalise O’Brien – major female power, Emilien Vekemans as Gabriel – finally someone does an homage to Buffy’s Spike and makes him gay, and Karen Connell as Ceelia – a true amazon warrior. Not too much teenage angst, but lots and lots of gore and violence. But they’re witches so it’s ok. LOL. At least for me. 4 out of 5 for this gem.

Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself currently streams on Netflix.

Funko Pop! Endora @OriginalFunko #bewitched

May 21, 2021

After over 8,000 Funko Pop’s produced, finally Bewitched gets her day. If you’re unfamiliar with this collector phenomenon,

Funko Inc. is an American company that manufactures licensed pop culture collectibles, best known for its licensed vinyl figurines and bobbleheads. In addition, the company produces licensed plush, action figures, and electronic items such as USB drives, lamps, and headphones.

Endora is not my first Funko Pop. Although coming very late to this game, I first purchased The Golden Girls’ Blanche a few years ago in Fort Lauderdale, then received Dorothy as a gift last year. I’ve kept those two in the box, displaying them at work. When I found out Funko was honoring Bewitched, I knew I had to buy two Endoras, one to keep boxed and one to display. I have a Samantha on order as well. Thanks to Deep Discount who saved my butt after I accidentally ordered from a U.K. company who placed the items on back order until months from now. Deep Discount which I buy Blu-rays from came through beautifully.

Check out Reel Charlie’s review of Bewitched: Season 1.
I’ve lobbied Funko for Six Feet Under and Queer as Folk. What else would you want to see Funko Pop! produce?

Endora in the house. Funko Pop! Bewitched arrives in my home.

Bad Hair

October 29, 2020

Hulu Originals premiered Justin Simien’s (Dear White People) latest project, Bad Hair perfectly timed for Halloween this year. From Decider,

With the hacky crap out of the way, we’re free to discuss Simien’s ambition. On a surface level, Bad Hair is a sly spoof of late-’80s pop R&B music and style, a workplace comedy skewering racial and sexual politics and an amusing pastiche of the era’s prevalent horror-movie schlock. It’s a finely tuned melange of laughs and scares, each seamlessly transitioning to the other. This is a terrifically entertaining movie featuring a strong central performance from Lorraine and shot with the vision of a true filmmaker.

Normally I construct my reviews completely from my own perspective. But I looked outside of myself this time because the genre is definitely not something I connect with. I never watched any of the horror spoofs in the past (Scream, Scary Movie, etc.). I do like non-horror spoof films (Charlie’s Angels, Another Gay Movie, all the Christopher Guest films), but not horror spoofs. I can laugh until the blood and gore arrive and then I’m queasy no matter how ridiculous the scene. That’s just me. Bad Hair is smart and sophisticated like Simien’s previous work. He entertains first and then squeezes the message in. Brilliant. And props to whomever came up with the fictitious Jody Watley performer played to perfect by Kelly Rowland. And of course any film with Laverne Cox is always a special treat. For me, 3 out of 5 for Bad Hair. If you’re a fan of the genre, this will be a funny Valentine for Halloween this year.

Bad Hair currently streams on Hulu.
Read the Bad Hair review I quoted above on Decider.

October 2020

October 1, 2020

Time for scary movies and TV shows. I’m not really much for gore and violence, so this list is pretty tame. More fright and suspense. I will be reviewing Hocus Pocus for the very first time this month, so look for that. Other Reel Charlie Samhain scary viewing includes:

Addams Family Values – Paul Rudnick’s genius script.
American Horror Story
– first couple seasons are the best.
The Bat – give Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead some sugar.
Nearly any Bewitched episode.
The Cabin in the Woods – new-ish camp classic.
The Conjuring – Connecticut ghosts!
Get Out – smart and scary.
Halloween – the original.
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special – can it possibly get any more camp than this?
Paranorman – genius animated film with zombies and witches centering around bullying!
Les Revenants (The Returned) – amazing two season French television ghost story.
The Shining – the original.
Stoker – loosely based on Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt – delicious.
True Blood – Alan Ball’s adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

Reel Charlie spooktacular categories to peruse:
My favorite director of all-time and the king of suspense:
Directors – Alfred Hitchcock
(including the new 4 film set in 4K)

Clash of the Titans

January 13, 2020

Harry Hamlin in Clash of the Titans (1981)

I wish I could say my memory of the 1981 film, Clash of the Titans held up after all these years. But truth be told, it fell flat like a pancake. I was hoping for cheesy, beefcake goodness. The beefcake was definitely there, thank you Harry Hamlin. But the cheesy goodness just did not shine through. And OMG, Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier in the cast?! What in the greatest actors of all time hell happened? Amazing casting. Cringe-worthy end product. Hard to believe Hamlin did Making Love just a year later. Good for him for making that leap.  I guess I’ll keep my Harry Hamlin deeply embedded in Making Love and four years in L.A. Law where he charmed Susan Dey and the show stands the test of time. For Clash of the Titans – 1 out of 5. Next.

Michael Ontkean and Harry Hamlin in Making Love (1982)

Susan Dey and Harry Hamlin in L.A. Law (1986)


Dark: Season 2

July 3, 2019

One of the great things about being middle-aged is you no longer have to understand everything in order to enjoy life. For instance, the older I get the less I am sure of anything related to spirituality. I’d rather focus on our current reality and leave the pondering of the afterlife to the afterlife. So it goes with the German television show, Dark. Season 2 brings a whole slew of complicated stories interconnected through time travel, families, and a small town with a big nuclear power plant. Did I follow everything? No. Did I remember who was who? No, in particular the parents were difficult to differentiate. After a few episodes I simply stopped caring and sat back and enjoyed the ride. Visually stunning, the story takes place in five different time periods, with many characters traveling between the years 1921, 1953, 1986, 2019, and 2053. I loved the trippy feel of the characters unraveling the mystery. I loved the beautiful time travel machine. I loved the god particle. Gritty, heady, and full of sci-fi surprises, Dark‘s creators promise all will be explained in the final season 3 currently in production. Meanwhile 4 out of 5 for this strangely beautiful apocalyptic series.

The OA: Part II

March 30, 2019

Every so often, a new series emerges which takes advantage of the streaming world we live in. It takes risks, it assumes a certain level of creative imagination of its viewers, and it creates magical worlds we fall in love with. So is the case of Netflix, The OA. Part II stretches the limits of creators, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij imaginations as they take their devotees on a journey through mystical dimensions. More questions and complexities arise this second season. Brit and Zal never expect us to sit back and relax. We are awake and engaged fully in the story. Prairie becomes Nina. Karim appears. Homer is Dr. Roberts. And Hap is Dr. Percy. But are they really other people? And if they are connected, how can OA make peace within this dimension and save herself? Steve, Jesse, French, Buck, Angie and BBA race from the other side to figure out how to help OA. This show makes me shiver, laugh, cry. I am in awe. 5 out of 5 for the sophomore season of The OA.

Russian Doll

February 10, 2019

What if someone took the frequent death of Six Feet Undercombined with the time loop of Run Lola Run, and mixed in an existential meaning of life (and death) mystery? You’d get Russian Doll, the most innovative, original series to air in a very long time. This trippy show emerges from the creative minds of star Natasha Lyonne along with co-creators Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland. It’s hard to talk too much plot without giving away the surprises in Russian Doll. So I’ll just tell you a 30-something New Yorker living in the East Village gets thrown a kick-ass birthday party by her friends, which she ditches to be with an obnoxious guy she’s using just for sex. Anything more and the surprises will be ruined. Russian Doll features frequent East Village location shots in Tompkins Square Park, walking down Avenue A, and even a turn in Odessa Restaurant. The show reads smart, sophisticated, female-focused, complicated, risk-taking, and reminds us even the most jaded humans deserve a wake-up moment. The sex, swearing, cigarette smoking, and drug use happen naturally without apology. Along with Lyonne, Russian Doll features Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee, Rebecca Henderson, Jeremy Bobb, Ritesh Rajan, Yul Vazquez, fellow Orange is the New Black cast member Dasha Polanco, a cameo from Chloë Sevigny and the incomparable Elizabeth Ashley (Treme) who needs her own series ASAP. So rare to be so surprised and entertained by a project so complex and fun as Russian Doll. 5 out of 5.

Russian Doll currently streams on Netflix.

6/16/2019: A second viewing of Russian Doll proves the series not only holds up, but continues to be one of the highest quality series produced this year. Natasha Lyonne brings her A game to this incredible series along with a marvelous cast featuring it boy, Charlie Barnett who’s also currently starring in Netflix’ Tales of the City as Michael’s boyfriend Ben. I marvel at the wonder that is Elizabeth Ashley. Netflix is bringing us a second season, so I’m excited to see where this will head. 5 out of 5 for the delicious Russian Doll.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season 1, Episode 1

December 10, 2018

Watched the first episode of the CW’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the Archie comic book spin-off, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. As with another Greg Berlanti mega-hit, Riverdale based on Archie and his pals, this Sabrina is darker and more adult than the sweet comics or earlier adaptation making it a huge draw for teenagers craving sophistication in their pre-adult world. I appreciated this incarnation. I just don’t need to continue watching. I recommend it to anyone in love with this genre – supernatural comic book adaptations with an edge. 3 out of 5.

%d bloggers like this: