Archive for the ‘Violent’ 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.

The Last of Us: Season 1, Episodes 1-3

January 27, 2023

Post-apocalyptic television series, The Last of Us boasts the largest television production in Canadian history, as well as the first HBO series based on a video game. I heard a bit of hype and decided to watch. It’s a zombie show for sure. I like post-apocalyptic stories, and I watched a few seasons of The Walking Dead and loved it until they killed my favorite character. Unfortunately, The Last of Us feels like more of the same. It’s extremely high quality so if any of this description peaks your interest, definitely check it out. For me, I am happy to let it go. 3 out of 5. Next.

2/2023: I did watch episodes 2 & 3, mainly to get to episode 3 which my dear friend Mark told me to watch. So happy to see the entire hour devoted to Bill and Frank’s relationship. As Mark said, it was great seeing a gay male couple of a certain age be celebrated. Such an amazing departure. Still not going to continue the show, but the showrunners should be commended for including this story into the mix. Outstanding.

Better Call Saul: Season 6 (series finale)

December 15, 2022

I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I binged an entire season in one weekend: Friday – Sunday. Better Call Saul‘s final season’s packed with present day, back story, and future story. All the complicated worlds come crashing in on each other in this pivotal final season, including finally, solidly linking the series with Breaking Bad which I started watching ten years ago! Like it’s parent show, Saul’s full of corruption and violence. But unlike Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul comes from an initial place of bad. Saul/Jimmy’s not broken or damaged, or in trouble. He’s just bad. He’s corrupt. He’s amoral and takes amusement in and advantage of other’s misfortune. The scripts have always been intellectual and complicated, the acting top notch. It’s not a story I would necessarily pick up in a book to read, but the creators, cast, and crew bring it to life in a way that makes you, or at least made me want to watch. This final season pulls it all together. And it’s not just Saul’s story. Kim’s intricately standing right there next to Saul. Her own story just as important to understand the entirety of what has made this series work and what makes us come back for more each season. Yes, there’s uber-violence. But like other outstanding shows from this genre, it’s the professionalism and intelligence that keeps me coming back. No different this season. I was lost many times, but it didn’t matter. I knew Vince Gilligan and company would bring me back and they did. Every time. 4 out of 5 for the season. Series rating: 4.25.

Spoiler alert: Bad guys beware: Carol Burnett’s going to take you down. Genius.

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.

Luckiest Girl Alive

November 5, 2022

Mila Kunis hits it out of the park in Luckiest Girl Alive, an adaptation of the novel by Jessica Knoll. Kunis plays Ani, an ambitious, NYC writer who’s engaged to a very wealthy old money young man. Without giving too much away, Ani’s past never lets go of her and she must decide to face up to her multiple trauma or bury it forever as she embarks on her new life. Finn Whitrock, Connie Britton, and Jennifer Beals co-star, but this is really Kunis’s film and her performance is captivating. This one may be difficult for some viewers to sit through, but the reward makes witnessing the trauma worth it. 4 out of 5.

Luckiest Girl Alive currently streams on Netflix.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

October 3, 2022

I have no idea why I scared myself watching Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The first night I finished two episodes and thought I heard someone outside of the house as I was getting ready for bed. Ryan Murphy’s production company created this limited series starring American Horror Story alum, Evan Peters who chillingly and remarkably plays Dahmer to the core. Also in the cast are Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) as Dahmer’s father and Molly Ringwald as Dahmer’s step-mother. Jenkins is his usual magic to watch and he gets a number of moments in the series. Ringwald’s role is limited and supporting at best. It is Niecy Nash who aside from Peters, steals the show in every scene she is in as Dahmer’s terrified neighbor, Glenda Cleveland. This stuff is so much spookier because it actually happened. Chilling. Not for the faint of heart, but there are many outstanding scenes aside from the obvious gross out parts of Dahmer’s lust for blood and death. I had no idea Dahmer mainly targeted men of color. 17 young men had their lives cut short because of Dahmer’s murders. Sick. 4 out of 5 for the limited series. Though I doubt I will ever watch it again.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story currently streams on Netflix.

I can’t get the KC and the Sunshine Band song, Please Don’t Go out of my mind. It’s featured prominently in the film as are other 70’s and 80’s music. Shiver.

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.

Ozark: Season 4, Part 2 (final season)

May 7, 2022

Ozark: the end. Not sure where to begin. Perhaps the fact that this binge-loving television watcher could only inhale one episode a day of this intense series says something. It says a lot actually. I have loved Ozark throughout its run. Yes, it’s uber-violent. Yes, it’s depressing. Yes, with that violence comes the reality of constantly saying goodbye to characters. All that balances out with outstanding writing, directing, and acting. Ozark‘s atmospheric, lush, beautiful, and full of surprises. It’s been a journey with Wendy and Marty. Well journey may not exactly be the right word. Maybe car crash would be a better description. They’ve left a trail of chaos and death in their dust as they sunk deeper and deeper into a life of crime. Ozark continues to be a stark metaphor for the greed and lawlessness of our time. It is the perfect companion to this era. The second half of the final season of Ozark left a bloody pile of bodies as we all wondered who would survive? Is it even possible for Marty and Wendy to survive? Many thanks to creators Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams. And of course Ozark would not be Ozark without the stellar cast including Jason Bateman, Laura Linney (Mary Ann Singleton transformed forever), Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner, Sofia Hublitz, Felix Solis, Richard Thomas (yes, that Richard Thomas), and Veronica Falcón. An outstanding end to to an amazing run. Dark Shadows gave me nightmares as a kid. Ozark gave me nightmares as an adult. 5 out of 5. Shiver.

Ozark currently streams on Netflix.

Reel Charlie ratings:
Ozark: Season 1: 4/5
Ozark: Season 2: 4/5
Ozark: Season 3: 4/5
Ozark: Season 4,1: 5/5
Ozark: Season 4.2: 5/5
Overall Ozark score: 4.4

Better Call Saul: Season 5

April 3, 2022

Somehow I missed Season 5 of Better Call Saul. I always wait until they come out on DVD, since I don’t have cable. The pandemic must have messed things up – at work, we didn’t get deliveries during the two months we were in lockdown back in 2020. By the time we came back and finished processing all of our back orders, I must have forgotten. So I caught up right before Season 6 drops on AMC. Better Call Saul is one of the craziest straight white male shows I’ve enjoyed. I have no idea why I like it. Is it the deception? the confusion between what’s right and what’s wrong? Is it watching Kim destroy her life for someone who’s not worth it? Or is it just an amazing look at the back story to a character from Breaking Bad? A six season back story which continues to fascinate and shock. Probably all of the above. Season 5 continues to hold up. Diabolical plots. People get killed, others vie for power. It’s a crazy world out there folks. Be careful of the Saul Goodmans. There’s a new scheme in his back pocket at every turn in the road. And as long as they don’t kill off my babe, Nacho Vega, I’m good. 4 out of 5.

Better Call Saul: Season 5 streams on Netflix (beginning Monday, April 4, 2022) and is available on disk from your public library.
The final season airs on AMC later this month.


February 24, 2022

I was really looking forward to Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. Branagh’s my age, and we’re both Irish (though he was born there). I was excited to see what he would do with the late 1960’s from a child’s perspective. Unfortunately Belfast didn’t wow me the way I hoped it would. I enjoyed the gritty, black and white cinematography. I enjoyed the family structure and thought the young boy playing Buddy was outstanding. And I really appreciated they cast Ciarán Hinds as the grandfather who is 18 years younger than Judi Dench who plays the grandmother. About time. The parents were well cast in Caitríona Mary Balfe and Jamie Dornan. I enjoyed the intimacy and tenderness between the parents and their children. The sets and costumes were all first rate. My issue ended up being more with pulling me into the story than anything else. I kept losing my absorption into the film. Getting lost in a story is one of the reasons I love reading and watching in the first place. Also there were decisions I didn’t agree with, such as no parent in 1969 would check in with their children about a big move. The parent – usually the father would decide and that would be it. That scene felt so 2022 to me. Also, the story started out being told from Buddy’s perspective, but kept waffling around to other characters. I felt like ultimately it was Buddy’s story and the lack of focus detracted from the film. I certainly liked Belfast, I just didn’t love it. Too bad. 3 out of 5.

Belfast is currently available to own digitally and is scheduled for release on disk March 1, 2022.

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