Archive for the ‘REVIEWS’ Category

Streaming–Netflix: 3 movies, 2 documentaries, 1 series–reviews   Leave a comment

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1) “Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All”–Netflix–documentary–2 parts–total 4 hours. No matter what you may think of the man there is no denying he is the greatest American singer who made each song ‘a 4-minute movie’!
2) “Holding The Man”–Netflix–Australian movie–2 hours and 8 minutes. Based on a true story and book written by Timothy Conigrave who died 10 days after finishing the book at the age of 34. It is about the love between him, a drama student, and John Caleo, a football player, who met in school, came of age during the AIDS crisis and were together for the next 15 years. Though some parts may have called for it the movie is free of maudlin sentiment, nor is it indignant or evangelizing, just a beautiful love story that may have a ‘happy ever after ending’ depending on how you see it.
3) “Almost Love”–Netflix–New York set movie–1 hour and 34 minutes. The movie is about 4 couples all at different points in their relationships. There are a black man and white woman who has been together 15 years, 2 gay men celebrating their 5th anniversary, a fat woman and homeless man and a teacher who tutors a high school student who is in love with her. It is a film about intimacy and the difficulties of having a long-lasting meaningful relationship.
4) “365 Days”–Netflix–Italian movie–1 hour and 53 minutes–a very wealthy man kidnaps a woman and gives her 365 days to fall in love with him. It’s not THAT bad though the premise might offend people.5) “Fear City: New York vs The Mafia”–Netflix–2 hours 34 minutes–3 episodes–“The Godfather” is a lot more exciting to watch while this puts you to sleep. I did learn that Trump, among many other builders, paid $19 million to the mob.6) “The Baby-Sitters Club”–Netflix–series–First season–10 episodes–4 hours and 55 minutes–takes place in Stoneybrook, Connecticut. Mostly for teenage girls and since I am not a teenager or a girl it was NOT for me.

Posted August 5, 2020 by greatmartin in Netflix, REVIEWS, Streaming

Finally–3 funny comedians!!   Leave a comment

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1) Jeanne Robertson– videos–6’2″, former Miss North Carolina, former Physical Education teacher, formerly a blond, now white-haired (her words), a motivational speaker who believes humor is a strategy for success! Just watch her “Don’t let a Man Go Shopping”, “The Great Marmot Standoff” or “The Baton”–the first about her husband, the second about her son (in the audience) and the third about a potential beauty contest winner and a baton! I laughed constantly at all 3 as I did at many other of her videos! Here’s the first!

2) Jim Gaffigan–Amazon Prime–“The Pale Tourist”–2 episodes–the first is 45 minutes and takes place in Canada and the second in Spain 50 minutes. Known as “The Clean Comedian” he is slightly off-color regarding body parts but he doesn’t yell, didn’t use the ‘f’ word, talks about food a lot, especially in the Spain segment but mostly talks about everyday life including his 5 kids!3) Jack Whitehall–Netflix–“I’m Only Joking”–58 minutes–Yes, he is loud, uses the ‘F’ word, does a lot of dirty bits but he is young, thin, English and funny! And then there is “Travels With My Father”– 3 seasons with the first 6 episodes totaling 3 hours and 4 minutes, the second 5 episodes totaling 2 hours and 13 minutes and the third 2 episodes totaling 1 hour and 39 minutes. Father and son don’t have chemistry but both are very funny. The father, Michael, is very sarcastic–to his son–“You couldn’t score in a brothel!”–as only an elderly British man can be while Jack is hilarious with his reactions to his father in some everyday situations in their travels. The episode when the father is faced with a very ultra bidget or in another country with having to use an outdoor facility—or not–is laugh out loud funny. They may not appear to have chemistry between them as comedians but they certainly have a positive, caring, loving relationship as father and son!Another Jeanne Robertson video

Posted July 27, 2020 by greatmartin in REVIEWS, Streaming, TELEVISION

“Eastsiders”–series–A MUST SEE for all adults   Leave a comment

Netflix–4 seasons–total 10 hours and 21 minutes—yes, many episodes are 15 minutes or less.I don’t recall what season I started watching this show but it certainly wasn’t the first. In any case, after a few minutes, I was ready to turn it off as I thought it was one of those tacky, stereotypical badly made soft porn gay movies but before I knew it I was caught up and watching it, going back to the first season and first episode.“Eastsiders” started out as a web series on Youtube funded by a Kickstarter campaign then was picked up by for distribution through Logo TV’s website, went on Vimeo’s demand service and then was sold to Netflix and also was made available on DVDs by Wolfe.It is a show about relationships, all kinds, though the main focus is on Thom and Cal who, when we meet them, have been together for 6 years. We quickly get to met Cal’s mother who is divorced from his father, doesn’t really like Thom but acknowledges their relationship. We also meet Kathy, who goes on a “Cats” tour though she can sing but not dance and has been going with Cal’s best friend non-gay Ian for 6 months, her longest relationship. Cal’s sister has broken up with her boyfriend and is now ‘seeing’ a woman. Yes, it is about all kinds of relationships from a drag queen and his manager both defining what ‘versatile’ means and couples who have an ‘open’ relationship and those who don’t but cheat on each other and a black doctor and his desire to have a family and who’s white lover is a house husband and doesn’t want children until they foster a young Latina.  There is the leather crowd, the asexual woman, the old couple staying together because they would be alone otherwise. There are people who drink too much causing problems not only for themselves but for those around them.Yes, there is soft porn and a lot of stereotyping but there isn’t a gay person who won’t learn something not only about themselves and other gay people but also non-gay people just as non-gays will find out that in many ways they are no different than gay people, especially when it comes to relationships. There are implied orgies along with all sorts of combinations just as there all kinds of friendships between men and women, men and men, women and women along with a lot of new terms to viewers.It has, to me, the annoying going back and forth in time and too many of the guys are look-alikes but there was no way I was going to not watch it and I am going to give it a little time before I watch it again. There is nudity, not frontal, and the ‘f’ word along with other ‘4 letter words’ but they are used as people use them in real life. You can see the difference as to when the producers didn’t have much money and when they started getting a ‘bankroll’.
Anyone who watches this will learn some things they never knew and might even see themselves reflected.

Posted July 18, 2020 by greatmartin in Netflix, REVIEWS, Series, Streaming

Netflix & Amazon Pride movie and series reviews week of July 13, 2020   Leave a comment

1) “The Old Guard”–movie–2 hours–action Sci Fi thriller–Took me a few minutes to recognize Charlize with the black hair–she is excellent–breakout turn by Kiki Layne–a good movie–definitely looks like a set up for a series NETFLIX
2) “Stateless” –series–6 episodes–total 5 hours 16 minutes–true story–revolves around 4 people–very involving and interesting–the main location is an Australian detention center NETFLIX
3) #AnneFrank–documentary–1 hour 32 minutes–I’ve read Anne Frank’s diary, seen a play based on the diary, saw the movie based on the diary–she is a part of my growing up–don’t believe I am saying this but Helen Mirren shouldn’t have read the diary as she is distracting. We follow a young girl who tries to recreate Anne’s journey and how she identifies with her today. The horror of the camps, the burying of hundreds of bodies in one grave, are too real to ever forget. “When you destroy children you destroy possibilities.” NETFLIX
4) “Disclosure”–documentary–1 hour 40 minutes–it is about transgender representation in TV and movies and the lack of same in the past–an interesting look at a subject not too many people know about or understand. NETFLIX
5) “ZERO-ZERO-ZERO”–series–8 episodes–7 hours 28 minutes–a film about the drug trade revolving around the cocaine made by a Mexican Cartel, the transportation from America to Italy by an American family and then the Italian crime syndicate will distribute throughout the world. Starts slowly and somewhat confusing but gets to you.  AMAZON PRIDE6) “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”–film–2 hours 3 minutes–I have never liked Will Ferrell and this didn’t help. The only redeeming feature was the appearance of Pierce Bronson. NETFLIX7) “Fatal Affair”–movie–1 hour 29 minutes–watch only the last 15 minutes and you will see a good movie and know what proceeded it without having to watch it. Where is Glenn Close when you need her?  NETFLIXA complete separate review of “Eastsiders” tomorrow because it deserves one–a MUST SEE SERIES!

Disney Plus: Bambi, Newsies, Hamilton   1 comment

Disney collage Bambi Hamilton Newsies

I know I am the only one who subscribed to Disney Plus just to see “Hamilton” and then plan to cancel–right? WRONG!! In any case after watching “Hamilton” I saw 3-4 other movies I wanted to see so I may keep the subscription until the end of the month! :O)
1) “Bambi”–the animated movie–1 hour 10 minutes– Has it really been 78 years since I have seen this movie? All I know it was great seeing friends like Thumper, Flower the skunk, the old owl and Faline! And did I really cry–at 84!–when Bambi’s mother was shot? And did I really hold my breath the whole time father and son were running through the forest fire? I laughed when the baby duck’s first time in water and I marveled at the first drop of rain fell on the leaf! It was a joy watching Bambi ‘skate’ on ice. I truly felt like a 6-year-old kid again. The only negative are the songs that really don’t add anything to the film but they are maunly used as background sound. “Bambi” is still my all-time favorite Disney movie. Now I will have to see if “Dumbo” lives up to my memories!
2) “Newsies”–a Broadway musical, based on a movie, and a filmed performance–2 hours 14 minutes–I first saw the Broadway show in February 2015 and my review started with “At times it seems the ensemble dancers are defying gravity by flying through the air. The choreography by Christopher Gattelli is definitely the star of this show and the cast do him proud.” I didn’t remember breathing during any dance scene and I couldn’t wait until the show moved up to Fort Lauderdale so I can see it again but it never did! I saw it last night in all its glory with the dancing a standout, the songs lingering in your mind, the cast excellent and the book touching and funny at the same time. The exchange between Katherine and Jack always makes me smile! Katherine: “You’re not really scared of my father, are you?” Jack: “No, but I am pretty scared of you!” Come on, how more romantic can you get? I will see this a few more times before July is over if for no other reason than to see the encore dance ending the film.
3) “Hamilton”–the filmed version of the original Broadway production with the original cast–2 hours 40 minutes–I am in a small minority in that I didn’t rave about “Hamilton” when I saw it on stage in December 2018. I do like many of the songs and the cast are top rate. I admire the multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film uses close-ups that make the movie more intimate than the stage performance. I do suggest that you become familiar with the score and words before you watch the show and use closed caption while watching it.

Posted July 4, 2020 by greatmartin in REVIEWS, Streaming, Uncategorized

Netflix–Reviews–Week of June 29, 2020   Leave a comment

TV reviews week of June 29 2020

1) “Rectify”–4 seasons–23 hours–I am watching this because it was recommended–I am now at the end of the 3rd season–the positives: an interesting story with many twists and turns and each episode basically ending with a cliffhanger–excellent acting–watching a man, after years being locked up on death row, dealing with freedom though in his mind still locked up. Negative–way too long even if stripped of commercials as it obviously is.
2) “Roped”–movie–1 hour 31 minutes–an old fashioned ‘they don’t make them like they used to romance–not 1 ‘f’ word–no nudity except for one scene where a cowboy takes his shirt off!! You aren’t missing anything if you don’t watch but if you do it is pleasant.
3) “The Show Must Go On: The Queen and Adam Lambert Story”–documentary–1 hour 25 minutes–for fans of Queen, Lambert, The American Idol–realistic account with plenty of performance footage showing Lambert taking over for Freddie Mercury but not imitating him.
4) “George Lopez: We’ll Do It For Half”–stand up comedy special–51 minutes–take away the f word (said at least 30 times in the first 10 minutes) used continuously plus so many passing gas gestures and sounds you are left with maybe 30 minutes of anger–I don’t recall laughing once.
5) “Wasp Network”–movie–2 hours 9 minutes–Cruz and Ramirez excellent–based on the real-life story of Cuban defectors who infiltrated anti-Castro Miami groups–very confusing at some points–having followed the story before, during and after all this happened I found it interesting plus I always like watching Penelope Cruz but I don’t know if the average moviegoer would be able to sit through it.

Posted July 3, 2020 by greatmartin in Netflix, REVIEWS

TV Reviews week of June 21 2020   Leave a comment

Week of June 21 Television reviews

Must See: 1) “Ann” written and performed brilliantly by Holland Taylor in a one-woman show about Ann Richards, former governor of Texas–PBS–Amazon Prime Video–1 hour and 53 minutes
Must See 2)  “Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am” Documentary–PBS–Brilliant writer and claims to make THE best carrot cake ever–how could you not love her?–if you haven’t read all her books or heard her speak you are missing the experience of a lifetime!–2 hours
3) “Athlete A”–Documentary–Netflix–When you hear an adult woman says she was ashamed to be a member of the Olympic team as a child you know some of the pain these young girls, and later as women, felt. This is the story of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar and the cover-up by the USA Gymnastics leaders–1 hour and 43 minutes.
4) “Nobody Knows I’m Here”–Spanish movie–English subtitles–Netflix–starring Jorge Garcia of “Lost”-I’m still waiting for the ‘big moment’ which is given away at the beginning–1 hour and 31 minutes wasted
5) “The Night Clerk”–Movie–Netflixcould/should have been much better–1 hour and 30 minutes
6) “Dave Chappelle Sticks & Stones”–Netflix–1 man show–Gross–not funny–nasty–1 hour 5 minutes
7) “Lost Bullet (Balle Perdue)”–French movie with English subtitles–Netflix–for fast, furious, violent car chases, bullets and fight fans–not me–1 Hour and 33 minutes
8) “Pass Over”–play adapted for the screen by Spike Lee about 2 Black homeless guys–Netflix–loses something major in the translation from stage to film–1 hour and 15 minutes.
9) “The Politician”–series–2nd season–Netflix–worth it just to see Bette Midler and Judith Light as they shine on the screen–Ben Platt sort of flat til the last half hour when he comes through (and sings!)– typical Ryan Murphy production and you get what you expect–7 episodes–4 hours and 39 minutes

Posted June 26, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, REVIEWS, TELEVISION, Uncategorized

TV Reviews week of June 14, 2020   Leave a comment

TV reviews week of June 14

1) Beecham House PBS Sunday 10 PM–6 episodes–I was really impressed with the settings and cast– looking forward to the next 5 Sundays BUT I just read in the Hollywood Reporter that it has a major cliffhanger but hasn’t been renewed for a 2nd season so watch it at your own risk.
2) Da 5 Bloods–Netflix–Spike Lee’s new movie–at 2 hours and 36 minutes too long–he tries to cover too much–direction is excellent as is the cast but needed/needs more editing.
3) Grantchester–PBS Sunday 9 PM–Season 5 (first 4 seasons available on Prime Video) It is my first time seeing this show and while not ‘a must-see’ it is enjoyable enough for me to see the whole season.
4) The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour and 45 minutes–Something that should have interested me but didn’t–instead of concentrating on the title person, a rule breaker in many ways starting with being a transgender activist, 2/3rds of the film is given to non-interesting people.
5)  *What Happened, Miss Simone?–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour and 42 minutes–if you are familiar with Miss Simone or ever heard her sing “Mississippi, G-d Damn” or you are not familiar with her this is still a MUST SEE! Okay, I am a huge fan of hers, used to have every recording of hers and saw her in person 8 times but was totally unaware of her being brutalized by her policeman husband, who wasn’t/isn’t the least apologetic among other surprises. The fact that I never fail to get a tear in my eye when she sings “I Loves You Porgy” always amazes me.
6) The Woods–Netflix–Series–6 episodes–5 hours and 6 minutes–I know I watched the first episode but I don’t remember it at all nor do I remember if I watched any of the other episodes–can I blame old age? Or it was/is just bad? And/or boring?
Reminder: *MUST SEE “Hamilton” on Disney+ July 3–Hasan Minhaj, a political comedian on Netflix–Money Heist series on Netflix–What Happened, Miss Simone (see #5)

Posted June 19, 2020 by greatmartin in REVIEWS, TELEVISION, Uncategorized

Do you know Hasan Minhaj?   Leave a comment

Patriot Act

I had watched 2 bad movies on Netflix and I needed something, anything, that would make me forget them so I looked at the Netflix most-watched list and saw “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” and decided to see what it was all about. I almost turned it off immediately as it looked like a standup comedy act and that is NOT my thing! Before I knew it I was watching the next 7 episodes!
It is a political comedy show dealing with current events. Not only is he funny but he looks at a subject from all angles, offers solutions, goes into depth about all the topics with each running about 20-25 minutes. I might be dumb about all the world’s problems but I listened, laughed and learned.
He has been doing this show for about 6 seasons with 32 episodes, different topics each episode. I understand originally they were done on youtube and at this end of this, I put one of the segments you can watch and get an idea about him.
Not knowing much about him I did some research and was surprised to learn that he has won 2 Peabody awards—not that he won them because he certainly deserves them–but that I hadn’t heard of him. He was also on The Daily Show.
Depending on which segment you watch first you may think he is a raving liberal or a far right-wing conservative but he rails against both sides, mainly against politicians who don’t do their job.
Some of the topics he cancels are: old age over 65, CONVID-19 virus, meat plants, weed, defining racists, equity programs, most hoarded item during epidemic (no, not toilet paper), the recent protests, obesity, the rent problem and if you can’t pay it (see below), 2.3 million didn’t pay rent on April, the end of affirmative action and more. Remember he tackles only one subject a week and because of his background—Indian-American of South Asian parents, raised in California–he can and does go further on a topic than most political ‘comics’ would.
He had me laughing, thinking and learning and I plan on seeing all of his 32 sessions whether on Netflix or youtube. He introduces a new episode on Sunday.
Here is one of his episodes which really stayed with me as it goes somewhere I wasn’t aware of and though landlords won’t appreciate a lot of what he says at the beginning they should hang in there— come on, it is only 21 minutes!–and see what’s in store for them. If you don’t get Netflix watch some of his episodes on youtube!

What Happens when you can’t pay the rent?

Posted June 13, 2020 by greatmartin in REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Netflix–reviews   Leave a comment

1) Marc Maron Netflix “End Times Fun”  1 hour & 11 minutes    6) Patton Oswalt  Netflix  1 hour and 7 minutes “I Love Everything”
Granted I am not a big fan of standup comics but I can honestly say after 2 hours and 18 minutes I laughed a total of, maybe, 3 minutes. I didn’t find either man funny plus their endings were too eerily similar let alone too unfunny.5) Comedian Darrell Hammond stars in a documentary “Cracked Up” Netflix 1 hour and 35 minutes. I was not familiar with Hammond though he played many characters over a 14 year period on “Saturday Night Live” known worldwide for ‘being’ Bill Clinton and Sean Connery among others. Most of his life he was addicted to various addictions and wears a ‘badge of honor’ consisting of self-inflected cuttings on his life arm. At about the 50-minute section, I found myself holding my breath for the next 15-20 minutes learning of the horrible abuse he went through as a child. Not easy to watch but certainly worth your time.2) “Ben Platt Live from Radio City Music Hall” Netflix  1 hour and 25 minutes  I am not familiar with Platt’s movie work and except for a duet with Lin-Manual Miranda of “Story of Tonight” and “You Will Be Found” for March For Our Lives last year plus the fact that he became the sensation of Broadway in 2016 playing the title role. Due to the latter I had listened to the original Broadway cast album a few times and was impressed with his vocals. He was also the lead in the first season of “The Politician” on Netflix. Radio City Music Hall was filled to the rafters with his fans plus his parents and siblings and he is most touching talking about his mother and, especially, father.The best part of the show is his talking between songs when he talks about coming out to his folks when he was 12, which is very funny, his being gay, and his various experiences with men and his constant battle with anxiety.  His songs are from his 2019 debut album “Sing To Me Instead” with all original music written by him. (He does do one Elton John song.)  This is where I had a problem with Platt. His lyrics are fantastic and moving but he sounds the same on all his songs with the same phrasing and sounds. The songs are mainly about his past and they are typical of a young man growing up. I hope his next album will show what he showed in “Dear Evan Hanson”, which by the way he doesn’t sing any of the songs from that show which is a mistake in my opinion as he should have sung one. His most moving song was “If You Have To Hurt Me” and I am looking forward to his next album and/or show.4) “Trial By Media”–documentary–Netflix–6 episodes running from 58 to 64 minutes each.  We follow 6 cases that were just as the title says, the trial blasted across the media. My interest was highlighted by the fact I knew/remembered most of the cases from the Bernard Goetz case of a man who shot 4 black teenagers in a New York subway to a gay man killed by a non-gay man after confessing his crush to him on the Jenny Jones talk show to one case which became an Oscar winner for Jody Foster called “The Accused”.
Both the cases and what you may think were the media influences makes “Trial By Media” worth watching.8) “The Wrong Missy”–Netflix–1 hour and 30 minutes–is a wrong miss from beginning to end! I want my 90 minutes back!9) “Love Jacked”–Netflix–1 hour and 38 minutes–Not bad, not good. If you have nothing to do for 98 minutes you could do worse than seeing this, like watching #8!!!!3) “Dead To Me”–Netflix–Season 1–10 episodes running 27-33 minutes each. A mystery soap opera with constant twists. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini star and bring that something ‘extra’ to keep each episode bringing you to the next.7) “White Lines”–Netflix–10 episodes running from 51 to 63 minutes for a total of 9 hours and 6 minutes. This would have been an excellent series if it had been told in a linear fashion and cut down to about 6 hours. As it is “White Lines” is entertaining, the scenery in Ibiza eye-catching and the adults handling the ever happening twists from the younger kids they were. I had no idea where they were heading but with fast forward skipping some non-essential repetitive scenes I was happy with the ending!

Posted May 22, 2020 by greatmartin in REVIEWS, Streaming

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