Sunday, February 17, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 692nd Edition

Welcome to the 692nd Edition of my series.  I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day or Singles Awareness Day however celebrated.  I have some things going soon and will likely announce it next week as well as this week on social media.  I don't have much else going on so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

September 11 (2002):  I start the week out with what is essentially an experimental film made shortly after the infamous tragic day of the title which happened in the year 2001.  This is a movie of 11 short films that take place in different countries and the effects the terrorist attacks had on the respective country.  Yousseff Chahine, Amos Gitai, Shohei Imamura, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Claude Lelouch, Ken Loach, Samira Makhmalbaf, Mira Nair, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Sean Penn, and Danis Tanovic are the 1l directors on hand for this film for each country.  The diverse group of actors include Nour El-Sherif, Dzana Pinjo, Keren Mor, Liron Levo, Tomer Russo, Tanvi Aszmi, Taleb Adlah, Maryann Towne, Ernest Borgnine, Tomoro Taguchi, Kumiko Aso, and many others.  This was a pretty well put together film where each story was very different and some worked better than others.  For me, my favorite was the one from Ouedraogo which was in the small country of Burkina Faso but everyone is bound to have their own favorite.  This does not have excessive 9/11 footage, more the feelings of those affected in some way.  This is available to watch on Kanopy.

C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005):  I follow up with a French-Canadian film which was directed and co-written by Jean-Marc Vallee.  This takes place in the '60s and '70s and centers around the character of Zach, played by Emille Vallee as a child and by Marc-Andre Grondin as a teen, who was born on Christmas Day in a devout Catholic family and has a hard time fitting in with his other siblings.  He tries to deal with his homosexuality and has a hard time getting accepted by his conservative father, played by Michael Cote, and takes refuge in his music that includes Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones.  Danielle Proulx, Pierre-Luc Brillant, Maxime Tremblay, Alex Gravel, Mariloup Wolfe, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a character driven film and a coming of age film in a sense.  It also has a very good soundtrack to go along with the movie.  The characters are all very well-written and really deserves a look.

The Long Walk Home (1990):  This is part one of a possible two-part Whoopi Goldberg series.  Richard Pearce directed this film which takes place in Montgomery, Alabama and during Martin Luther King's bus boycott.  Goldberg stars as Odessa who works as a maid for Norman and Miriam Thompson, played by A-TEAM alum Dwight Schultz and Sissy Spacek.  Odessa decides to go along with the boycott and walks to her work which is a long walk.  Slowly Miriam becomes sympathetic to her employee.  Ving Rhames, Dylan Baker, Erika Alexander, Lexi Randall, Jason Weaver, Crystal Robbins, Schuyler Fisk, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a good look at the affect of a black woman who feels the need to fight for her rights and the sacrifice made to make it happen.  This was a very bad time in this era and the movie conveys the racial tensions very well.  It is also very rare to see Schultz in top billing for a feature film and is most known for playing Murdock in the popular '80s action series THE A-TEAM.

Count Me Out (1938):  This is my animated short for the week which features '30s Merry Melodies character Egghead.  In this one, Egghead takes interest in boxing and decides to learn it even if he has not athletic or fight experience.  Things get more difficult when he takes on the champion Biff Stew.  This is a more unknown character but still a pretty amusing short.  This is a must for classic animation buffs and I'm sure it can be found on Youtube.

Shaft (1971):  Now I bring in the Blaxploitation genre and possibly the best one which was directed by Gordon Parks and based on the novel by Ernest Tidyman who also co-wrote the screenplay.  Richard Roundtree stars as the suave private detective John Shaft who reluctantly takes job from crime boss Bumpy Jonas,  played by Moses Gunn, to find his kidnapped daughter and the character of Bumpy is a loose basing on real-life black gangster Bumpy Johnson.  Taking the job puts him in the middle of a gang war that only Shaft can stop.  Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John, Lawrence Pressman, Victor Arnold, and many others co-star.  This is also highlighted by a great soundtrack written by Isaac Hayes including but not limited to the theme song.  Interestingly enough, John Shaft was white in the novel but Parks felt this would be good for the Blaxploitation genre and decided upon Roundtree.  This has inspired a couple sequels and the 2000 movie of the same name that stars Samuel L. Jackson which I think is more of a passing the torch continuation rather than a remake or reboot.  There is also set to be a new one in 2019 where Jackson plays Shaft working with his son John Shaft Jr.  This is a very fun and iconic film in the action genre.

Sergeant York (1941):  This is my war film biopic for the week which was directed by Howard Hawks.  Gary Cooper stars as country boy and sharpshooter Alvin York who is drafted to World War I and while reluctant to join due to his religious principles, he joins and goes onto become a war hero from that war.  The first part of the movie is mostly on him as a southern boy and shows his good shooting.  The next part focuses on him getting through the war and manages to capture many Germans using a tactic from his hunting.  Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie, George Tobias, Stanley Ridges, Margaret Wycherly, Ward Bond, Noah Beery Jr., June Lockhart, Dickie Moore, Clem Bevans, Howard Da Silva, Charles Trowbridge, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty moving war movie which is essentially a biopic.  The real-life Alvin York never had anything done on his accomplishments until this movie was done and even then only allowed this movie to be made if Cooper played the role with Cooper himself feeling he was too old but decided to do it upon meeting York.  I also just want to voice that character actor Ward Bond should get a documentary done about him.

Breathe (2017):  I follow with another true story which was directed by Andy Serkis in his directorial debut.  Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy star as married couple Robin and Diana Cavendish who are quite the adventurers but things change when Robin is diagnosed with Polio at the age of 28 years old.  He is given a short time to live until Diana's twin brothers, both played by Tom Hollander, and their inventor friend Teddy, played by Hugh Bonneville, make an invention that gets Robin out of the hospital and is still able to have his adventures.  Ed Speleers, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Miranda Raison, Camilla Rutherford, Jonathan Hyde, Amit Shah, David Wilmot, Diana Rigg, and many others co-star in this film.  Robin and Diana Cavendish's son Jonathan Cavendish is the real-life son of the couple and a friend of Serkis.  This is both sad and moving at the same time and Serkis makes a good directorial debut.  This takes place in the '50s and were some very groundbreaking times in the medical profession.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976):  This is my western for the week which was directed by Clint Eastwood and based on the book by Forrest Carter.  Eastwood also stars as the title character who is a Missouri farmer and seeks vengeance on a group of Union soldiers after they murder his family.  With the intentions of working alone, he gets joined by a few others including a Cherokee Indian named Lone Watie, played by Chief Dan George, and Laura Lee, played by Sondra Locke.  Bill McKinney, John Vernon, Paula Trueman, Sam Bottoms, Geraldine Keams, Woodrow Parfrey, Joyce Jameson, Sheb Wooley, Royal Dano, and many others co-star in this western.  Eastwood was up to the game in front of and behind the camera with a good array of supporting characters and action in the Civil War era.

Godzilla Raids Again (1955):  This is my Japanese film for the week and the first sequel after the 1954 classic GODZILLA.  The Iconic kaiju continues to wreak havoc all over Osaka while doing battle with new monster Anguirus which is a mutated ankylosaurus dinosaur.  I don't really see any need to go into the plot among the humans as the two Kaiju are the stars of the film.  Anguirus would go onto do a handful of other movies in the later years and was more of an ally to Godzilla in his many battles.  Fans of this genre will enjoy and a decent sequel.

Twister (1996):  I end the week with this natural disaster film which was directed by Jan de Bont and co-written by Michael Crichton.  Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt stars as estranged married couple Bill and Jo Harding who are also a couple of storm chasers.  Bill has moved on with his life as a tv weatherman and is in another relationship and goes to town in hopes of getting Jo to sign the divorce papers but gets roped in when a tornado hits town.  Cary Elwes co-stars as their rival Dr. Jonas Miller who is the biggest reason that Bill rejoins the group during the disaster in town.  Jami Gerts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lois Smith, Alan Ruck, Sean Whalen, Todd Field, Joey Slotnick, Wendle Josepher, Jeremy Davies, Zach Grenier, Anthony Rapp, Abraham Benrubi, Jake Busey, Richard Lineback, Rusty Schwimmer, Alexa Vega, and many others co-star in this film.  This is not something that was going to win any awards and is more of a summer blockbuster than anything.  Watching this again made me forget how enjoyable this movie really is with the action going on and the characters.

Well, that is all for this week but I did return with my "Movie Night in the Town of Pottersville" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Julianne Moore, Winona Ryder, Oliver Platt, Bette Davis, and many others.


A Quiet Place (2018):  I had this movie in my possession at the time and thought this was a Steph sort of film so I messaged her that night and was up for watching in her Pottersville home.  John Krasinski goes behind the camera as director and writer while also starring in this low-budget horror film.  This takes place in a post-apocalyptic world full of creatures who hunt others upon sound.  Krasinski stars in this film as Lee Abbott who along with his wife Evelyn, played by Krasinski's real-life girlfriend Emily Blunt, try to protect their three kids, played by Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Cade Woodward, and many remain as silent as possible to avoid the creatures.  This movie is in many ways a silent film where the family communicates a lot with sign language while actress Simmonds is a real-life deaf person and use subtitles for the signing.  This was a very compelling and admirable effort from Krasinski and was considered by many to be the best horror film of 2018.  I always respect when actors take on low-budget projects like these and hope Krasinski will continue work like this one.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 691st Edition

Welcome to the 691st Edition of my series.  We are officially done with the NFL for the year and while I would have liked to have seen the Rams win, I still had a good night last week and look forward to the NFL this year where I will look to get my fantasy team this time unlike this year where I was just too busy.  Not much else is happening right now thought I hope to have some announcements soon but for now I will just get to my selections.

Starlet (2012):  I start the week out with this independent film which was co-written and directed by Sean Baker.  Dree Hemingway stars as young adult film actress Jane and meets the elderly Sadie, played by Besedka Johnson, and form an unexpected friendship with each other.  The title refers to Jane's chihuahua.  Stella Maeve, James Ransome, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a good look at a cross generational friendship and helping each other in different ways.  Hemingway is the great granddaughter of famed author Ernest Hemingway.  Keep in mind this does center some around the adult film industry so are some graphic scenes.  If you can get past those scenes, it is a decent character driven film and is available to watch on Hoopla.

Frozen (2013):  I go from an independent film to this popular Disney film.  Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee directed this film which is based on the Hans Christian Anderson story THE SNOW QUEEN which I venture to say Disney took some liberties with this movie.  This centers around royalty sisters Elsa and Anna, voiced by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell.  Elsa is the newly crowned queen and finds she has some powers that are dangerous when able to control.  Things happen when Elsa accidentally traps her kingdom into winter and runs away finding her own place feeling she is too dangerous.  The fearless Anna sets out to find her sister in hopes of saving the kingdom from permanent winter.  Anna is joined by mountain man Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff, his loyal reindeer Sven, and a live snowman named Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad.  Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Williams, Stephen J. Anderson, Edie McClurg, Robert Pine, Maurice LaMarche, Livvy Stubenrauch, Eva Bella, and many others provide their voices.  While this was a very popular film, I know it has a lot of haters to go around.  In watching this, I really do not understand the hatred especially if it is from Disney fans.  It had a pretty good story in my opinion and even had a pretty good message in the end.  It also had some good music numbers.  Maybe all the hype lead others to their hatred and I suppose parents, more with daughters I would say, with little kids really got tired of it after non-stop watches.  I watched this very openly trying to ignore the hype, the awards won, and the fact I'm not a parent.  While I hate winter, I still really liked this movie and while I won't be building a snowman I will just let it go.

A Lego Brickumentary (2014):  Now I follow up with my documentary for the week which was directed by Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge and narrated by Jason Bateman who was the voice for an animated Lego man.  This goes into the history of Lego which started in Denmark, some rough times up into the ultimate rise where the toy has become very equally popular for children and adults.  It takes a look at collectors, hobbyists, artists, architects, engineers, scientists, and doctors who have found a variety of uses for this product.  It also goes into the rise of Lego in film and video games including even some independent filmmakers.  These are the kinds of documentaries that I enjoy most.  Something I may not really be into but enjoy seeing the passion of others getting into it like the conventions out there, the movies people make with them, and the many ways this little toy brick gets put to use.  This is a very fun and very informative documentary that just about anyone can enjoy.

Destination Earth (1956):  This is my animated short for the week.  This starts out on planet Mars where the supreme dictatorial leader Ogg looking to Earth to overcome some of their problems and sends Colonel Cosmic to Earth to look into ways to help save Mars.  This is corporate-sponsored propaganda and is more entertaining than anything.  From what I can see, MST3K and Rifftrax has not used this but would be a good short feature to start.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime with "American Cold War Cartoons".

Graduate First (1978):  This is one of two French films for the week.  Maurice Pialat wrote and directed this film that takes place in Northern France.  This focuses on a group of teenagers as they make the transition from high school into the real world.  It is hard to really describe this film any further.  These are kids from working class families with a lot of uncertainty towards their future and trying to make the most of it.  This does have some well written characters and is a good look at these teens trying to make the most of life.  This is available to watch on Kanopy.

The Rules of the Game (1939):  This is my second French film for the week.  Jean Renoir wrote and directed this French film and even co-stars.  This takes place in France during the onset of World War II as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French Chateau.  Like the other French film I featured, this is kind of an ensemble film depicting the upper-class society and their servants showing their moral callousness on the eve of impending destruction.  This features a variety of characters and situations that all work well together.  This is a social satire and was very controversial during the time of its release.  This is also available to watch on Kanopy.

Tully (2018):  Jason Reitman directed this film which was written by Diablo Cody.  Charlize Theron stars in this movie as Marlo, the overwhelmed mother of three.  While reluctant at first, she accepts her brother's offer to hire a night nanny named Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis.  Life becomes easier with Tully's help and is in Mary Poppins in a sense.  Ron Livingston, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Gameela Wright, Tattiawna Jones, and many others co-star in this film.  Theron and Davis work very well together in this comedic drama that is both funny and moving.  This is a good look on how difficult parenting can be and sometimes does take a village.

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957):  Now I bring some classic sci-fi to the mix.  Jack Arnold directed this sci-fi film based on the novel by Richard Matheson who wrote the screenplay.  Grant Williams stars as Scott Carey who has a great life going for himself in a good marriage with Louise, played by Randy Stuart.  He comes across some chemicals that seem harmless at first but starts to find himself shrinking.  As he gets smaller, he struggles to survive things like a cat and a spider that are now bigger than himself.  April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey, William Schallert, and many others co-star in this film.  This has a really good story of a man's struggle and has really good special effects.  This goes beyond the b-movie that was really pretty known for sci-fi in this era and is really good sci-fi horror.

Mikey and Nicky (1976):  Elaine May wrote and directed this film.  John Cassavetes stars as small-town bookie Nicky who has stolen mob money and begs his childhood friend Mikey, played by Peter Falk, to help him evade the hitman on this trail.  Ned Beatty, William Hickey, Joyce Van Patton, M. Emmet Walsh, and many others co-star in this film.  This movie is about a friendship more than anything and the tests of the friendship brought on by hardship.  Falk shows he is more than Columbo and works well with Cassavetes.  I came across this with the new Criterion Channel streaming service which no longer appears there as they are just getting going on it after the death of Filmstruck.  This is worth a look and hope to help get it more exposure.

Starred Up (2013):  I end the week with this British prison film which was directed by David Mackenzie and written by Jonathan Asser who based this on his own experiences as a volunteer therapist at HM Prison Wandsworth.  Jack O'Connell stars as the 19 year old Eric Love whose violent behavior gets him from juvenile to an adult prison which is the the title means.  While there, he sees his estranged father Neville, played by Ben Mendelsohn, who tries to get his son to settle down and looks to get him therapy.  Gilly Gilchrist, Frederick Schmidt, Raphael Sowole, Anthony Welsh, David Ajala, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very gritty and dark film that in no way glorifies prison life.  It is also a very compelling and realistic film on prison life and another movie that deserves more exposure.

Well, that is it for this week though I do have my "Movie Time in the Town of Pottersville" segment so read on.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Sean Penn.


The Purge (2013):  As I was getting ready to watch this on Thursday, I thought "Steph might want to watch this movie" so I messaged her and I went to her and Drew's home to watch this movie.  I recall seeing if she wanted to watch this week's feature FROZEN but that got shot down right away as I learn she is one of the haters but I knew this would not be a problem.  James DeMonaco wrote and directed this horror movie which has started quite a franchise.  This takes place in a society where one time a year criminal activity is legal for a 12 hour period.  The movie centers around the Sandin family, played by Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, and Adelaide Kane, who get put into the middle and must fight for survival and their humanity for that matter.  Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, Tony Oller, Arija Bareikis, Tom Yi, Chris Mulkey, Tisha French, and many others co-star in this horror film.  This was a pretty interesting concept that I thought was pretty well excecuted.  I suppose it is not absolutely original but what is these days?  It was pretty inventive and enjoyable for its targeted crowd.  I will probably look to do this segment again with the sequels.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 690th Edition

Welcome to the 690th Edition of my series.  It's been quite a week trying to survive this weather but we are here and kicking.  We have survived January and now to get through the worst month of the year but at least it's the shortest month of the year.  I am sure to be watching the Super Bowl tonight and just enjoying the game and commercials.  I don't have much else happening right now so I'll just get on with my selections.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014):  I start the week with some live-action Disney which was directed by Miguel Arteta and based on the book by Judith Viorst.  Ed Oxenbould stars as the 12 year old title character who is and middle child of the family, played by Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, and Kerris Dorsey.  Alexander starts his morning out with gum in his hair and all kinds of other bad things happen.  He feels a lack of sympathy from his family and wishes them to have the sort of bad day that he is used to having and appears to come true.  Bella Thorne, Megan Mullally, Mekai Curtis, Lincoln Melcher, Reese Hartwig, Martha Hackett, Mary Mouser, Alex Desert, Toni Trucks, Eric Edelstein, Donald Glover, Burn Gorman, Jennifer Coolidge, and many others co-star in this movie.  This was good for what it was which was a family movie.  I thought there were some pretty funny moments that kept me engaged.  I also felt like in the end it had a pretty good message about family sticking together.

End of Watch (2012):  I featured this last week in my "Movie Night in the Town of Pottersville" segment and decided to use it in this part this week.  David Ayer wrote and directed this film which is shot in a documentary style.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as L.A. cops Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala who are partners and friends.  They have themselves filmed on their times on the job and in their personal lives much to the dismay of their colleagues.  Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera, and many others co-star in this film.  This is this a very rough and gritty film that is not for everyone.  Gyllenhaal and Pena work very well together.  They did a lot of ride-alongs with actual police officers and Gyllenhaal witnessed a murder on his first ride-along.   It is a really good look about a couple cops trying to get through their shift in having to see such horrific things and maintaining their sanity.

Safe (1995):  This is the title of many movies and the most known if probably the one with Jason Statham so I'm sorry to disappoint if that is what you were expecting.  Todd Haynes wrote and directed this independent film which stars Julianne Moore as California housewife Carol White.  She seems to have quite the life with a rich husband, servants, and a nice home.  We find out that it is not simple and starts to experience things like headaches and even seizures.  The more things she learns, the more she believes it is from environmental factors.  Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris, Jodie Markell, Susan Norman, Chauncey Leopardi, Beth Grant, Peter Friedman, Kate McGregor-Stewart, James Le Gros, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one that is most driven by characters and a script.  Haynes described this movie as a horror movie for the soul and is a reasonable description of someone trying to figure out what is wrong with her when doctors and those around her seem to think she is just fine.

Fifth Column Mouse (1943):  This is my animated short for the week.  This centers around an unnamed cat who intrudes upon the idyllic life of a group of mice.  All but one of them escape to a wall hold and the cat makes a deal with the one who did not escape saying that he will not hurt him or the other mice provided they pamper him.  This proves to not be true provoking the mice to declare war.  This is one of the WWII propaganda shorts from this era and centers around the failure of appeasement.  It also makes some war references like a poster to buy war bonds.  This is available to watch on Patriotic Cartoon Classics.

Nothing Sacred (1937):  William Wellman directed this screwball comedy which stars Carole Lombard as small-town girl Hazel Flagg who gets news she is dying of radium poisoning only to learn it is not true.  New York reporter Wally Cook, played by Fredric March, comes to town looking for the story not knowing that the story is not true and Hazel decides to keep the lie going to get publicity.  Charles Winninger, Walter Connolly, Sig Ruman, Margaret Hamilton, and many others co-star in this film.  This walks the line between comedy and drama.  An interesting scene to me was when they went to a wrestling show and Wally comments that what they are doing is fake.  This might have been a bit controversial during its time and is really worth a look.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and

Hair (1979):  This is my musical for the week which was directed by Milos Forman and based on the musical by Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, and James Rado.  John Savage stars as Claude Bukowski who leaves the family ranch in Oklahoma wanting to see New York before going into the army.  He meets a group of hippies lead by Berger, played by Treat Williams, who take him into their group.  Beverley D'Angelo, Annie Golden, Dorsey Wright, Richard Bright, Nicholas Ray, Charlotte Rae, Michael Jeter, Nell Carter, and many others co-star in this musical.  I don't really know how to describe this movie except a group of hippie friends trying to make the most of life and spread love I guess.  I have seen this done on stage a handful of times, a couple times where they did the nude scene which this movie does not have.  I also noticed how the script for the movie had a bit of a rewrite, most notably the character of Claude.  The movie also has a weird but intriguing ending.  It also has a lot of fun music numbers with Williams in one of his best roles.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime so put on this movie and let that sunshine in.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018):  Jon M. Chu directed this romantic comedy based on the novel by Kevin Kwan.  Constance Wu stars as Chinese-American professor Rachel Chu who is in a relationship with a Singapore man named Nick, played by Henry Golding.  Nick's best friend is getting married and takes Rachel to Singapore to meet his very wealthy family and finds that much of his family, most notably his mother played by Michelle Yeoh, does not approve of her.  Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Harry Shum Jr., Ken Jeong, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Jimmy O. Yang, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is not going to be for everyone and if looking for suspense, this is not really it.  I still was able to enjoy the clash of social class and culture within this romantic comedy and could be good for a date night.

Maigret Sets a Trap (1958):  This is my French film for the week which was directed by Jean Delannoy and based on the novel by Georges Simenon.  Jean Gabin stars as Inspector Maigret who does not buy into the suspect in custody for a serial killer and decides to investigate further.  He goes very deep into the case almost by any means necessary to find the real killer.  Annie Girardot, Jean Debucourt, Paulette Dubost, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a character that has lived on a lot through the years in book, film, television, radio, and comics and has had a recent series..  Gabin fits the role very well and is the first of three times he would play the character.  This is a pretty gritty and intriguing film and has a rather intense climax. Good for the foreign film buffs out there.

Tim (1979):  Michael Pate directed this film which is based on the novel by Colleen McCullough.  A young Mel Gibson stars in this film as the title character Tim Melville who is a mentally handicapped, I believe autism by today's standards but don't quote me on that, young man and does labor work for people at homes.  He meets an woman named Mary, played by Piper Laurie, who is much older than him and she decides to hire him to do work at her home.  She takes a liking to Tim and start becoming friends as well as teaching him to read which was never done in the family.  This came out around the time Mel Gibson's breakthrough film MAD MAX came out and the director of this film got word of his performance in that movie to cast Gibson in post production.  This did not become the big hit film that MAD MAX did but was still a well done film driven by the script and performances.  Gibson and Laurie worked very well together and this is a very moving film.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and on Hoopla and really deserves a watch.

My Winnipeg (2007):  I end the week on this documentary which was shown at the Carnegie Branch of the Muncie Public Library on Thursday as part of the Cinemuncie series.  Guy Maddin directed this documentary about his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba which he narrates with his vision hence the title.  Part of this movie is recounting events that affected him, his family, and the town as a whole.  He also recounts moments of his childhood through the use of actors except his mother who plays herself and are possibly some most interesting moments in the movie.  It is hard to explain this movie except it is done at mostly Maddin's point of view where he weaves fact and fantasy together.  It is kind of a humorous but dark outlook on his town.  I had to brave the cold and the coming snow but was worth getting out to see this at the library.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sci-Fi and Action Collide with Official Stills for Robert Rodriguez Upcoming Film "Alita: Battle Angel"

20th Century Fox recently released stills for their upcoming release "Alita: Battle Angel". The film is executive produced by James Cameron (AVATAR) and directed by Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY). Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson star in the film.

"Alita: Battle Angel" hits theaters on February 14th.

Plot Synopsis:

From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.

Stills for the Wrestling Comedy "Fighting with my Family"

MGM recently released stills for their upcoming film "Fighting with My Family". The film stars Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, with Vince Vaughn and Dwayne Johnson.

"Fighting with My Family" hits theaters on February 22nd.

Plot Synopsis:

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY is a heartwarming comedy based on the incredible true story of WWE Superstar Paige™. Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her family and face this new, cut-throat world alone. Paige’s journey pushes her to dig deep, fight for her family, and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star.