TV Shows to Watch: A Reel Charlie List

October 9, 2017

Friends often ask how I keep track of television I’m interested in. I have a simple analog way of doing it. Perhaps someone out there will come up with a better alert system in the form of an app. Meanwhile, this how Reel Charlie rolls.

  1. I keep a permanent list of all the TV currently in production I love. It’s an alpha list with the next season up included. It’s in a sticky note program on my laptop’s desktop.
  2. Once I hear a show’s next season has an air date, I add it to my Google calendar.

Yup, that’s it.
What’s your system?

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25 Films With the Best Cinematography of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

October 8, 2017

Get your big ass 4K television fired up because Indiewire‘s posted the 25 most beautiful films of the 21st Century. The past 17 years has produced a gorgeous body of work from cinematographers worldwide. From Indiewire,

Cinematography is tough to judge on its own merits, because it can be hard to extract it from the other powers of great visual storytelling. At the same time, every beautiful movie shows the signature of a talented director of photography as much as a filmmaker. In the process of considering the finest cinematographic achievements of this decade, this list includes on gorgeous films that — in some cases — achieve more on the level of cinematography than anything else. The past two decades have found the craft of cinematography making extraordinary advances on the level of digital technologies and other innovations, but at the end of the day, these particulars matter less than the sheer impression left by the images and movements captured by cinematographers operating at the peak of their abilities.

Included in the list are Reel Charlie favorites Moonlight, The Great Beauty, Carol, Hero, Mr. Turner, Children of Men, Far from Heaven (a second Todd Haynes and Ed Lachman collaboration!), and In the Mood for Love.

See the full list of films at Indiewire.

The 15 Best Monster Movies of the 21st Century (Indiewire)

October 8, 2017

I’m not big on Monster Movies, but it is October so I thought it best to broaden my horizons at least in a post. From Indiewire,

From a certain perspective, monster movies might not seem to be as relevant during monstrous times. But in an age when our fears seem larger than life and the world constantly seems as though it’s on the brink of collapse, the best examples of the genre can almost assume a documentary-like authenticity, reflecting our reality as vividly as vérité ever could.

The list does include a Reel Charlie favorite, The Cabin in the Woods.
See the full list at Indiewire.

OutFilmCT: Desert Hearts; 10/12/17 – Hartford, CT

October 7, 2017

OutFilmCT is hosting a 30th anniversary screening of the classic lesbian drama, Desert Hearts in Hartford, CT Thursday, October 12, 2017.

DESERT HEARTS – Thursday, OCTOBER 12 @ 7:30 PM – Cinestudio
The fall is here, and we are bringing you back all-time lesbian classics! Watch it again, 30 years later, or discover one of the first masterpieces of queer cinema if you haven’t seen it before.

For October we’re celebrating the first widely released film to feature a positive lesbian relationship on-screen: no one is self-destructive, drinks to excess, or morosely pines for straight girls! Directed by Donna Deitch (who is planning a sequel), this breakthrough movie is set in 1959, as a Columbia University literature professor (Helen Shayer) arrives in Reno to divorce her husband. Staying at a local ‘divorce ranch’ in the Nevada desert, she meets a free-spirited casino worker and potter (Patricia Charbonneau), who opens her heart to self-acceptance, sensual exploration, and love.
Directed by Donna Deitch, 1986, USA, 97 min.

Cast: Helen Shayer, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley.

Desert Hearts (1985)

 

Netflix is raising its prices for US subscribers (The Verge)

October 5, 2017

Do  you care about spending $2 more per month for Netflix? From The Verge,

Netflix is raising two of its pricing tiers for US subscribers beginning next month, Mashablereports. The standard tier, which allows subscribers to watch on two screens at once, will be bumped up from $9.99 to $10.99 per month. The premium tier, which is available in Ultra HD and allows users to watch on up to four screens, will go up from $11.99 to $13.99. The Basic $7.99 per month plan will remain the same.

Read the full article on The Verge.

The Little Foxes

October 4, 2017

Every so often, I watch a classic film for the first time and get blown away. Such was the case with The Little Foxes. Talent lives in every inch of this movie. The remarkable cast includes Bette Davis, Teresa Wright, Herbert Marshall, Richard Carlson, Dan Duryea, and Patricia Collinge (two years away from reuniting with Teresa Wright in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt). Directed by the luminous William Wyler (The Best Years of Our LivesThe Heiress, Funny Girl), screenplay by Lillian Hellman with additional scenes and dialogue written by Arthur Kober, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell, and music by Meredith Willson, with costume design by Orry-Kelly. But honestly it’s the writing and delivery which makes this film so strong, so lasting. Nearly every minute captivated me. Not an easy task for a 75-year-old work. The Little Foxes does that and more. It rises above melodrama and Southern stereotypes to become that illusive perfect classic film. 5 out of 5 for the Bette Davis masterpiece.

If We Took a Holiday (Short)

October 3, 2017

Oh my lord. I love Glenn Gaylord (Eating Out, I Do). Can’t believe I took this much time to see his short film, If We Took a Holiday. From YouTube,

If We Took a Holiday tells the story of a struggling L.A. actress (Nadya Ginsburg) who agrees to impersonate Madonna all day long as a birthday present for her recently dumped gay best friend (Dennis Hensley.) Shenanigans and life lessons ensue. The film is produced and written by Glenn Gaylord, Nadya Ginsburg and Dennis Hensley and directed by Glenn Gaylord.

This was so much fun! Nadya Ginsburg is a genius impersonator and Dennis Hensley was perfect as her gay best friend recovering from a break-up. Birthday celebrations abound. The nearly 18 minutes flew by. I laughed, I felt all gooey inside. Really outstanding. Yea! 5 out of 5.

Watch If We Took a Holiday on YouTube.

 

Wonder Woman (Blu-ray)

October 2, 2017

Congratulations to Wonder Woman for being the most successful DC comic book adaptation of all-time raking in over $820 million dollars worldwide. That makes director Patty Jenkins the most sought after female director in Hollywood. Wonder Woman is what the comics call an origin story telling the story of where Wonder Woman came from and how she came to be a super hero. I enjoyed some of the story. Especially the beginning with the Amazons in their all-female world. Considering the editors were able to sneak in a number of conversations about sex between men and women as well as a scene where Gal Gadot’s Diana goes to bed with Chris Pine’s Steve within a PG-13 framework, I was hoping for some same-sex relationships in Amazon. Of course the original Wonder Woman is written as bisexual and that never came out in the film either. So much for diversity. I get why the film was so popular. Again, I will repeat what I always say about these super hero films – I am not their target audience. The formula feels as tired as Broadway to me. The music, the build-up, the inevitable fighting with thousands of people killed and global destruction. The ending tied up in a neat bow. Are we all immune to war and violence because of this? Perhaps it’s not as complicated as that. Perhaps Wonder Woman is simply a fun super hero film that takes on the patriarchy. And I’m definitely behind that. 3 out of 5.

Transparent: Season 4

October 1, 2017

“Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and anoint you…”

Who knew the Pfeffermans were as obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar as I was when I was a little boy. And they remember the words to the songs after all these years. Even Maura’s sister! Such a magnificent and glorious television series Transparent continues to be. Is this the most loving, dysfunctional family you’ve ever met? Does yours rival them? Mine sure doesn’t. Which is probably why I love watching them tick. This season the family connects with their spiritual and social roots on a trip to Israel. Every one comes together and then proceeds to find their own corner and take some time out to contemplate life: Josh at meetings, Sarah with Len, Ali at the farm, and Maura and Shelly meditating in the midst of the chaos. The only logical family member of Maura’s who gets any back story time this season is the luminous Davina, my favorite non-Pfefferman. We dig deeper into Davina’s past to find her vulnerabilities. I love Davina even more after this season. She is the heart, soul, and calm of the show. Alexandra Billings brings nuance and wisdom to the role. Can’t say enough how much I adore Transparent. 5 out of 5 for this family ensemble.

The Five

September 30, 2017

Honestly enjoyed the U.K. mystery series, The Five created by Harlan Coben. The 10-episode story features solid performances from O-T Fagbenle (Looking), Tom Cullen (Weekend, Downton Abbey), Sarah Solemani, and Lee Ingleby. The four play childhood friends facing the resurrection of a sibling gone missing case from 20 years ago. Although the middle of the story veers into several non-realistic plot turns, I hung in there and was rewarded with an exciting story filled with extremely satisfying characters. Normally I’d give something like this a 3.5 out of 5. But the addition of a librarian character with the major discovery scene taking place in a public library, the beautiful use of pop music, and the way each episode ends on a nail-biting question left me no excuse but to give The Five a 4 out of 5.


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