It’s definitely not the end of the fucking world for Charles Forsman

It’s definitely not the end of the fucking world for Charles Forsman

When the hit Netflix series “The End of the F***ing World” returns to screens Tuesday for a second season, many viewers can be excused for not knowing that the show began life as a comic book. Even fewer probably know that the comic was conceived and created in Adams by cartoonist Charles Forsman. “At the […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Latest News from the Cosmos’ and ‘Black Work’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Latest News from the Cosmos’ and ‘Black Work’

‘LATEST NEWS FROM THE COSMOS’ (OVIDTV) French poet Babouillec isn’t well known outside her home country — I don’t see that her works have ever been translated into English — but the mysterious quality of her writing is revealed in this fascinating documentary film as an integral part of who she is. Babouillec is actually a woman in her […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Herrens Veje’ and ‘First Reformed’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Herrens Veje’ and ‘First Reformed’

‘HERRENS VEJE’ (‘RIDE UPON THE STORM’) (NETFLIX) Series creator Adam Price previously gave the world the infectious and intelligent show “Borgen,” which portrayed the fictional first woman prime minister and launched the international career of actress Sidse Babett Knudsen. Here he takes the same attention to detail he showed to Danish politics and applies it […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Deutschland 83,’ ‘Deutschland 86,’ and ‘Skyggenes Dal’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Deutschland 83,’ ‘Deutschland 86,’ and ‘Skyggenes Dal’

‘DEUTSCHLAND 83,’ ‘DEUTSCHLAND 86’ (SUNDANCE) The final years of East Germany — or, more properly, the German Democratic Republic — have proven fertile ground for German television, partially, it seems, as an act of atonement. But it’s also a period rich in political corruption, espionage, human drama and cautionary tales about the limits of control that lends itself to […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘After Life’ and ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘After Life’ and ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’

‘AFTER LIFE’ (NETFLIX) Appreciating the work of Ricky Gervais has always hinged on your taste, and even then, some of his efforts over the years seem to have lost him fans. His problem is that he’s always pushing the boundaries of good taste in ways that some people find mean-spirited, focusing his comedy on concepts […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’

“THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON” (AMAZON, APPLE, IMDBTV, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU, YOUTUBE) Given the death last week of Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston at the age of 58, it seemed right to write about the 2005 documentary on his troubled life, “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.” I suppose there are many people out there who […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Alena’ and ‘Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Alena’ and ‘Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle’

‘ALENA’ (AMAZON, OVIDTV, SHUDDER) Things aren’t right in a private boarding school for girls, but when are they ever? In this Swedish film, a disadvantaged girl arrives to find animosity among the existing student body, and her already damaged existence becomes further pummeled by elitist bullies. But there might be something else going on as […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘A Very Secret Service’ and ‘Now He’s Out in Public’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘A Very Secret Service’ and ‘Now He’s Out in Public’

‘A VERY SECRET SERVICE’ (NETFLIX) The words “spy comedy” evoke something very specific, but this French period comedy delivers something deliciously outside of those restrictions. Taking place in the early 1960s and featuring an attention to period detail that rivals “Mad Men,” “A Very Secret Service” follows the experience of Andre Merlaux (Hugo Becker) as […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Gentleman Jack’ and ‘Victor’s History’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Gentleman Jack’ and ‘Victor’s History’

‘Gentleman Jack’ (HBO) One of the reasons masculinity has done so well hanging on so long beyond any point of positive usability is that we all love a rogue, at least in fiction. But it’s been a misunderstanding that roguishness is a quality reserved for men. Though certainly examples highlighting this mistake have seen light […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Hail Satan?’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Hail Satan?’

“ Hail Satan?” (Amazon, Apple, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play) Regardless of where you fall on the spiritual or political spectrum, it’s probable that you will be surprised by the revelation that a documentary following the creation of The Satanic Temple and its short history is easily one of the most feel-good, life-affirming movies to be […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘Braguino’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘Braguino’

CHERNOBYL’ (HBO) It might be surprising that a mini-series dramatizing a devastating nuclear power plant accident in the Soviet Union in 1986 has met success, especially considering the show’s embrace of the gloomy and the grotesque, and rightfully so. But if it is a surprise, maybe you haven’t been paying attention to the state of […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Ministry of Evil’ and ‘The Nightmare’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Ministry of Evil’ and ‘The Nightmare’

‘MINISTRY OF EVIL: THE TWISTED CULT OF TONY ALAMO’ (SUNDANCE) We live in a golden age of documentaries about cults and one of the unavoidable thoughts to have once you’ve seen a bunch of them is to wonder when people are going to learn their lesson. Even if the circumstances of the cults are signposts […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Leila’ and ‘Sarah Plays a Werewolf’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Leila’ and ‘Sarah Plays a Werewolf’

‘LEILA’ (NETFLIX) This dystopian series from India has been compared to “The Handmaid’s Tale” and though on first glance that seems fair, a closer look suggests that might simplify both series. And, at the very least, “Leila” takes less than half of the time of “The Handmaid’s Tale” to get its point across, while remaining […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Restaurant’ and ‘Elvis: Strung Out’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Restaurant’ and ‘Elvis: Strung Out’

The Restaurant (Sundance) This new addition to the pantheon of dysfunctional Scandinavian family nightmares, “The Restaurant” (“Var tid ar nu, also known as “Our Time is Now”) distinguishes itself by making its starting-point post-war Stockholm and taking occasional leaps in time to chart the progress of not only the Lowanders and their posh restaurant, but […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Act’ and ‘Granny’s Dancing on the Table’

‘THE ACT’ (HULU) Based on a 2015 homicide case in Missouri that saw a woman murdered by her daughter, reported as stricken with leukemia and muscular dystrophy, as well as a few other conditions, including brain damage that left her mentally incapacitated, “The Act” takes you into their life together in intimate terms. Following their […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Woman At War’ and ‘Black Lake’

‘WOMAN AT WAR’ (APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE) Talk about unexpected achievements, “Woman At War” manages the near-impossible by offering up a feel-good movie about climate change, but perhaps that’s what you can expect from a film product of Iceland. Never a country to wallow in problems, the Icelandic outlook of “Woman At War” suggests that […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘I Am Another You’ and ‘Rellik

‘I AM ANOTHER YOU’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU, YOUTUBE) In this haunting documentary, Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang heads down to Florida after moving to New York City, and decides to film every aspect of her visit there. She’s in search of some mythical America cowboy spirit that leads to total freedom without ties, and […]

Viewer’s Discretion: “Quicksand” and “Rillington Place”

Viewer’s Discretion: “Quicksand” and “Rillington Place”

‘QUICKSAND’ (NETFLIX) School mass shootings aren’t quite a daily occurrence here in the U.S., but it’s sadly gotten to a point where you could imagine that happening. This Swedish series doesn’t come from that depressing reality. Sweden has faced eight school mass shootings since 1967, while in our own country there have been 148 just […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Akta Manniskor’ and ‘A Harlot’s Progress’

‘Akta Manniskor (Real Humans)’ (Hulu) Mainly known as the inspiration for the series “Humans” rather than for any details of its own, Swedish writer Lars Lundstr m’s original surpasses its English-language remake particularly in its satirical scope. Presenting a world where human-like robots, HuBots, have been created to serve “real humans,” the series questions if the […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘51 Birch Street’ and ‘Making A Murderer’

’51 BIRCH STREET’ (APPLE, SUNDANCE) Thank goodness for people who like to work out their problems in public, because they have single-handedly enlivened the dysfunctional family documentary genre, and I’m a sucker for those. In “51 Birch Street,” filmmaker Doug Block mourns the death of his mother and then is blindsided when his father decides […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Mole Man’

‘MOLE MAN’ (AMAZON, SUNDANCE) Focusing on autistic 66-year-old Ron Heist, “Mole Man” presents a manifestation of compulsive creativity on a grand scale seldom witnessed. Heist qualifies as an outsider artist for sure, but he could also alternately be proclaimed an outsider architect with the huge structures he has crafted at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Nico 1988’

‘BODYGUARD’ (NETFLIX) If you want tense, exciting, hard-to-predict crime conspiracy stories that keep you on the edge of your seat, British television writer Jed Mercurio should be your go-to guy. His series, “Line of Duty,” a labyrinthine display of tension and amazing guest performances in the setting of a police internal affairs investigation unit, is […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ and ‘Requiem’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ and ‘Requiem’

‘AT ETERNITY’S GATE’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU, YOUTUBE) It seems obvious from the moment he appears on the screen that Willem Dafoe was meant to play Vincent Van Gogh, even though there’s nothing particularly Van Gogh-ish about his appearance. And yet, as he wanders through the fever dream of “At Eternity’s Gate,” Dafoe is […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere’ and ‘Trust Me’

‘LOVE & TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, SUNDANCE, VUDU, YOUTUBE) In the winter of 2006, a college professor in Chadron, Neb., disappeared, and once he was found, created a mystery that the residents are still struggling with today. Pronounced a suicide by law enforcement, some in the town think […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘This is England ‘86’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘This is England ‘86’

  THIS IS ENGLAND ’86 (AMAZON) Imagine living in a dystopian society. If you lived in England in the 1980s, and you weren’t of a certain class, you didn’t have to imagine, you were there. The view on the street was a lot worse than the one presented in the media there, full of Mrs. […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Transferts’ and ‘Vox Lux’

TRANSFERTS (NETFLIX) There are two behaviors in science fiction that humans will never disappoint with. One is that if there is an advance in technology that extends life or youth in any way whatsoever, it will only be available to rich people. Another is that if humans have any reason to hate and persecute the […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ’54 Hours’ and ‘The Weissensee Saga’

Viewer’s Discretion: ’54 Hours’ and ‘The Weissensee Saga’

‘54 HOURS’ (SUNDANCE) This tense four-episode German series recounts the events of the Gladbeck Hostage Crisis, which unfolded in 1988 when two bank robbers fled with bank employees as hostages and, in the pursuit, escalated the situation to include multiple innocent people. At the very center, of course, are the bank robbers themselves, with excellent […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Border’ and ‘Watership Down’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Border’ and ‘Watership Down’

‘BORDER’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU, YOUTUBE) There’s something about “Border” that made me think of the current DNA craze, the impulse by people to find the answers to themselves within their own genetic structure. Looking for your ancestry is one way of asking, “Who am I?” especially in a world where we fabricate race […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ and ‘The Cry’

‘ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT’ (NETFLIX) Much has been made of this true-crime documentary in regards to the victim and her parents, with the idea that only stupidity on the part of Mary Ann and Bob Broberg could explain their gullibility in falling for the manipulations of sociopathic pedophile Robert Berchtold that led to his abduction […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Being Frank’ and ‘Doctor Who’

‘BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY’ (AMAZON) British oddball and Renaissance man Chris Sievey isn’t well-known in America beyond his image, which was used in the film “Frank” as a symbol of outsiders and oddballs who create music outside the norm. But his giant paper-mache head is cherished, especially by a generation of British children, […]