Archive for the ‘Violent’ Category

Big Little Lies

August 8, 2017

HBO’s limited series, Big Little Lies based on the Liane Moriarty book packs a powerhouse of acting punch to the already crowded room of outstanding American television series. I have to say I was hesitant about wrapping myself up in a world so similar to the one I live in. Think of me being the male librarian background character who sees Shailene Woodley’s Jane on a semi-regular basis – Jane being the only character who doesn’t buy her books online. But wow, what a surprise this series ended up being. Reese Witherspoon acted crazy good as Madeline, Nicole Kidman continued showing off massive talent as Celeste, Laura Dern nailed a razor-sharp performance as Renata, and Zoe Kravitz floated as easy, breezy Bonnie. There’s been lots of talk this year about a woman’s gaze in television and film. Not sure if Big Little Lies falls into that category? The book was written by a woman, and the cast and stories are all female-centric. But the direction is Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) with screenplay by David E. Kelly. So it’s definitely not a female gaze. In the end, the mix makes for some very juicy, sophisticated story telling. I loved it. 4 out of 5 for Big Little Lies.

Ozark

August 1, 2017

Laura Linney and Jason Bateman star as married couple Wendy and Marty Byrd in Netflix’s new creepy crime drama, Ozark. There’s now a solid sub-genre of crime drama where an otherwise ordinary person or family gets involved in high crime. I’m not talking white-collar crime. I’m talking kill people and dissolve them in acid crime. Ozark definitely follows this trend as a child of Breaking Bad. And that’s not a bad thing. Especially when the acting is top-notch and the location shoot is beautifully eerie. There are of course the many plot thrusters which have to be ignored, such as people not hearing gun shots from close range, police not being called when someone destroys a hotel room, or FBI agents drinking on the job. But if you can suspend your belief for an hour at a time, you’ll be rewarded with a scary and exciting first season of life in rural Midwest. Yes, there’s a few scenes that are disgusting. But it’s fun and worth the watch if you can stand the violence. 4 out of 5.

The Wire on Blu-ray

July 27, 2017

Watched the first episode of The Wire on Blu-ray this weekend and I have to say the picture quality is outstanding. Well worth the investment. Or a simple loan from your local library.

Did you know you can access reviews of Blu-ray releases that rate video, audio and extras qualities to help you determine if it’s worth owning? Many remastered Blu-rays really change the way you see and hear a film or series. And with 4K right around the corner, our viewing pleasure keeps getting better and better.

Read all about The Wire on Blu-ray.

Deep Water on Netflix

July 13, 2017

The outstanding Australian murder-mystery mini-series, Deep Water finally streams on Netflix. Add this one to your queue now. If you need more detail, click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s review from earlier this year.

Orange is the New Black: Season 5

June 15, 2017

Damn ladies. Orange is the New Black just keeps getting better and better. How is that even possible? Every season builds on the previous. Not a misstep in this season. Absolute amazing acting, directing, editing, and writing. Highlights include,

Natasha Lyonne as Nicky getting clean and reaching out
Uzo Aduba as Suzanne falling apart again and again (another Emmy?)
Danielle Brooks as Taystee negotiating the deal of the century
Taylor Schilling as Piper realizing her fate and future
Lea DeLaria as Boo proving butch girls look good doing romance
Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero as Flaca & Maritza proving the ridiculousness of our instant fame culture
Selenis Leyva as Gloria delivering a powerhouse performance and becoming my favorite character for S5
Taryn Manning as Tiffany (Pennsyltucky) navigating the complicated waters of rape culture, forgiveness, and desire
Adrienne Moore as Black Cindy full of comfort and relief in the final episode
Yael Stone as Lorna crazy as ever
Kate Mulgrew as Red full of revenge
Laura Prepon as Alex filled with PTSD and remorse  and just wanting to stay free (of drama and violence)
Kimiko Glenn as Brook walking the long road of grief
Brad William Henke as Piscatella leading with misdirected spite and evil in the face of homophobia
Elizabeth Rodriguez as Aleida figuring out how to be free
Dascha Polanco as Dayanara facing her consequences

I’m sure I missed someone. What a roller coaster ride this season was and what a cliff hanger. All bets are off that everyone will survive the final moments of the raid. It’s Netflix after all. Unbelievable. Thank you Jenji Kohan and crew for this gift. 5 out of 5.

Animal Kingdom: Season 1

June 7, 2017

I blew through five episodes of the American television series adaptation of the Australian film, Animal Kingdom based on a true crime family. Ellen Barkin executes a strong performance as the matriarch of a California crime family – four sons and a grandson. The testosterone spews everywhere in this household. Raw, hardcore, feral. These boys barely contain themselves enough to get the job done. Scott Speedman, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, and Shawn Hatosy deliver fine performances as the Cody brothers with Finn Cole entering the family as the youngest member now that his mother has OD’d. There’s definitely a pull with this series. It’s hypnotic, gritty, forbidden. It’s also homoerotic with all the guys hanging out shirtless around the pool half the time. You can’t help but keep watching. I made it through five episodes. There’s one awful homophobic bashing I got through early on, but another begins in episode five and I just couldn’t stomach it. Both make sense per the plot. Perhaps you may have a higher tolerance to violence. I simply could no longer watch. Animal Kingdom performs well. 3 out of 5 for me. Higher if you can stomach the violence.

Bloodline: Season 3

June 5, 2017

Saying goodbye to the Rayburns of Bloodline I felt sadness and relief. Sadness because I came to love several of the characters. Relief because I felt exhausted watching the siblings dig themselves deeper and deeper into their lies and deceit. So many unnecessary deaths. I still blame Danny who brought plague onto his family. This season in particular felt biblical. I was on the edge of my seat each episode wondering what might go wrong next and who might screw up the most. The final two episodes were a bit surreal, but I think it gave the fans what they needed – a final dose of Danny. Trying to side step any spoilers here. Sally drove me crazy, Kevin couldn’t get one thing right and Meg just fled. Poor John left to clean up everyone’s mess. All in all I loved Bloodline. It was a fun romp in the Florida Keys through the eyes of a very damaged family. 4 out of 5.

The Wire turns 15

June 4, 2017

Happy 15th to The Wire which premiered on HBO June 2, 2002. Congrats to creator David Simon and the fantastic crew and actors who created legendary characters Bunk, McNulty, Kima, Bubbles, Lester, Stringer, Avon, Ziggy, Prop Joe, Omar (sigh), Bunny, Stanfield (shudder), Clay Davis (shiiittt), and so many others. If you’ve been meaning to find out what all the buzz is about, now is the time. If you haven’t visited Baltimore recently, revisit The Wire which continues to be one of the best television shows ever created in America. The Wire streams on HBO Now and Amazon Prime.

Reel Charlie reviews:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5

Orange is the New Black | Season 5 Official Trailer (YouTube)

May 11, 2017

I’m taking my time absorbing the second season of Sense8 slowly and methodically. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer for Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.

Prisoners of War: Season 1

April 22, 2017

Watched the first few episodes of the excellent Israeli series, Prisoners of War which Homeland is based on. Prisoners of War was a completely different show. First there’s no Carrie Mathison character. Second the action takes place inside the minds of the characters. The stories revolve around two former Israeli POWs reliving the horrors of their torture and their families readjusting to their appearance after 17 years in captivity. A fairly simple series with excellent writing and many profound moments. I stopped watching because the flashback torture sequences were too much for me to stomach. Definitely worth investing time into even with the violence. 4 out of 5.


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