Sunday, August 12, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 665th Edition

Welcome to the 665th Edition of my series.  The show is getting closer and closer.  BIRTH, DEATH, AND THE SHIT in BETWEEN is on August 24th, 25th, 31st, and September 1st at the upstairs Heorot Pub and Draught House in Muncie at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are 10$ and $5 for BSU students.  This has four short plays and between each one there will be live music and poetry.  There will also be food prepared after each one and extra cost will apply to these.  Go see this link for further information.  I will get on with my selections for the week.

My Country, My Country (2006):  I start the week out with this political documentary where they are in post-Saddam Iraq.  Laura Poitras directed this film in the summer of 2004 where Iraq is to have elections and mainly centers around local physician Dr. Riyadh al-Adhadh who is an everyday person in the community seeking election.  I suppose this looks at the pros and cons of a democracy after a dictatorship.  This is a very compelling film to watch and has some really good footage.  Poitras would go onto direct such documentaries as THE OATH and CITIZENFOUR that are looked at as a trilogy and she has been quite the thorn in the side of our wonderful government.

Gigantic:  A Tale of Two Johns (2002):  I go from the world of politics to some more enjoyment in the way of a music documentary.  AJ Schnack directeed this documentary that takes a look at the two Johns that the title implies in John Flansburgh and John Linnell who are part of the alternative band They Might Be Giants.  I think most by now have at least heard of the band and if you have no familiarity with them, their biggest claim to fame is likely having the theme song for MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.  This goes mostly into the inner workings of the band in their work like concerts, music videos, and the use of their music on television.  This is a pretty fun and informative look into the band

Night on Earth (1991):  Jim Jarmusch directed this film that has five different short films that involve cab rides and manages to do them in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki.  Each one has its own interesting and unique story.  Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Isaach De Bankole, Beatrice Dalle, Roberto Benigni, Paolo Bonacelli, Matti Pellonpaa, Kari Vaananen, Sakari Kuosmanen, and Tomi Salmela all play those involved in the cab rides.  I think my favorite one was the one in Paris where the cab driver underestimates a blind woman but they are all well done.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Now Hear This (1962):  This is my animated short for the week from Warner Brothers.  This is a very abstract cartoon that involves a British elderly man who finds a red horn and uses it as a megaphone not knowing it belongs to the Devil.  The best I can describe this is that it is much different that other Looney Tunes animated shorts.  This is available to watch on the dvd of last week's feature CRITIC'S CHOICE.

Crime School (1938):  This is part two of my two-part Humphrey Bogart series.  This stars the youth group the Dead End Kids who end up doing a two year sentence in reform school.  In the beginning, the conditions are very tough and harsh until Deputy Commissioner of Correction Mark Braden, played by Bogart, gets appointed to run the place in the hopes to change conditions and create a fair environment for the youth to learn.  Gale Page, Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Bernard Punsly, Gabriel Dell, George Offerman Jr., and many others co-star in this film.  This takes a look at the juvenile system in this era.  This is in a time where Bogart was usually typecast as gangsters and gets to play someone on the right side of the law fighting corruption in the juvenile system.  This is a pretty decent watch and is available to see on Filmstruck.

I Shot Jesse James (1949):  Samuel Fuller make his directorial debut in this film which might be the first movie to center around Bob Ford, played by John Ireland, over Jesse James, played by Reed Hadley.  Just about everyone knows this moment of history where James Gang member Bob Ford assassinates Jesse James.  This is a mostly fictional account into the aftermath of Ford's life.  Barbara Britton co-stars as his love interest Cynthy and have not really found if she is based on someone in his life and Preston Foster co-stars as Kelley which is based on someone in Ford's life.  J. Edward Bromberg, Tom Tyler, Tommy Noonan, and many others co-star in this film.  In his era, most movies portrayed James as a folk hero and Robin Hood type but Fuller did not seem him this way favoring Ford's actions.  Many years later, a similar and more accurate movie would come out in THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD would come out and anyone that knows me just a little bit know it is one of my favorites.  This is also a pretty good story about Ford and is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Boiling Point (1990):  This is my Japanese film for the week which was written and directed by Takeshi Kitano and co-stars in the movie as his acting name 'Beat' Takeshi.  This centers around a couple of players in a Japanese baseball minor league team who go after the Yakuza when their coach is attacked.  It is very hard to put this into description.  It is a very dark comedy to say the least with a pretty interesting premise.  This is also available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Garment Jungle (1957):  Vincent Sherman directed this film centered on a garment business.  Lee J. Cobb stars as business owner Walter Mitchell whose business is under mob muscle keeping out the unions he is determined to keep away from the business.  His son Alan, played by Kerwin Matthews comes back to town and joins the business but not liking what he sees becoming determined to convince his father that his business needs a union.  Gia Scala, Richard Boone, Valerie French, Robert Loggia, Joseph Wiseman, and many others co-star in this film.  I usually favor these types of movies from this era.  Cobb is great as the business owner who slowly sees that the mob rule is not good for business.  This is one that gets overlooked but maybe this will help get at least some exposure.

Our Time (1974):  Peter Hyams directed this film that takes place in the 1950s in a strict boarding school for girls.  Pamela  Sue Martin stars as Abby who is the new girl in school.  She soon meets Michael, played by Parker Stevenson, but meets difficulties and disapproval from everywhere.  Betsy Slade co-stars's as Abby's friend Muffy who is the opposite personality wise contrasting very well in her part of the story. George O'Hanlon Jr., Debralee Scott, Edith Atwater, Carol Arthur, Hope Summers, and many others co-star in this film. This is a good look into a teen relationship of this era where the stars of the movie Martin and Stevenson would go onto play amateur sleuths in Nancy Drew and one of the Hardy Boys.  This is another one available to watch on Filmstruck.

Certain Women (2016):  I end the week with another multiple stories movie and this was directed by Kelly Reichardt.  Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart star in their segments of the film.  Dern is dealing with a disgruntled client, played by Jared Harris, who is about to fly off the handle at any time.  Williams and her husband, played by James Le Gros, are looking to build a new home but clearly have marital issues that complicate what they are trying to do.  Stewart plays a young attorney teaching an adult education class having a female ranch hand, played by Lily Gladstone, take an interest in her.  Ashlie Atkinson, Guy Boyd, John Getz, Sara Rodier, Rene Auberjonois, and many others co-star in this movie.  I think the story involving Laura Dern was the best one in my opinion.  This is very subtle and driven by the characters.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

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

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 664th Edition

Welcome to the 664th Edition of my series.  I have started rehearsals for my new show BIRTH, DEATH, AND THE SHIT IN BETWEEN.  Showdates for this show are August 25th, 26th, 31st, and September 1st and is at the upstairs of the Heorot/Valhalla in Muncie.  I do not know as of now how much tickets will be but will provider more info as is comes out.

Idiocracy (2006):  I start the week out with this satire on modern-day society.  Mike Judge directed and co-wrote this comedy which stars Luke Wilson as Private Joe Bauers.  He is trying to do little as possible before his discharge and could be the definition of the "average American".  He agrees to take part in the Army's secretive program the Human Hibernation Project.  Things go awry and him and another test subject Rita, played by Maya Rudolph, end up 500 years later where society has dumbed down more and more with the corporate media and finds that he is now the smartest man there.  Terry Crews, Anthony Campos, David Herman, Justin Long, Patrick Fischler, Darlene Hunt, Andrew Wilson, Scarface, Thomas Haden Church, and many others co-star in this film.  This delivers a lot of laughs and has a rather good message for us to think about and we do not end up like them at some point.  It is also a very clever sci-fi comedy.  There is an end credit scene so don't just stop at the credits.

Grand Canyon, Pride of Creation (1943):  This is one my short film for the week and is part of the Traveltalks series of this era.  This obviously takes a look at the Grand Canyon or as they call it America's Painted Desert.  This gives a couple of views with one being from the rim looking down in an automobile and the other being within the canyon  where mules take tourists along the various trails.  This is a pretty informative short and gets quite a bit in within the nine minutes.

Critic's Choice (1963):  Don Weis directed this comedy which is based on the play by Don Weis.  Bob Hope and Lucille Ball star as married couple Parker and Angela Ballantine.  Parker is a New York theater critic and a pretty harsh one at that.  Angela decides that she wants to write a play herself and Parker must choose between his principles or jeopardize his marriage.  Marilyn Maxwell, Rip Torn, Jessie Royce Landis, John Dehner, Jim Backus, Rickey Kelman, Dorothy Green, Marie Windsor, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is nothing great but good to see Hope and Ball working together and this is the last of their four teamings.  I also found it of interest to see a young character Rip Torn in kind of a leading man role before he would go to play more authority type roles that I have mostly seen him.

Free State of Jones (2016):  This is my Civil war film which was directed and co-written by Gary Ross.  Matthew McConaughey, I will never be able to memorize that spelling, stars as Newton Knight who is a disillusioned Confederate soldier and becomes a deserter.  He is able to get together a group of fellow deserters to form the Free State of Jones to revolt against the local Confederate government.  Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Materhala Ali, Christopher Berry, Sean Bridgers, Jacob Lofland, Thomas Francis Murphy, Thomas Francis Murphy, Bill Tangradi, Brian Lee Franklin, Kerry Cahill, Joe Chrest, Jessica Collins, Donald Watkins, and many others co-star in this film.  This is based on a true story of Newton Knight who is probably more famous down south where he is a rather controversial figure.  Maybe this is another reason the Confederate did not win.  This is a pretty compelling Civil War film to focus mostly on the Confederate side.

Olympia Part Two:  Festival of Beauty (1938):  Last week I featured the first of this two-part documentary series of the 1936 Berlin Olympics which was directed by Leni Riefenstahl.  This one takes a look at the gymnastics, equestrian, cycling and boating events.  This also features the seemingly great leader Adoph Hitler as one of the main spectators and who commissioned Riefenstahl to do this fim.  The camera work is absolutely amazing with the sporting events and has some really good footage.  Along with the first one, this is available to watch on Filmstruck.

I, Daniel Blake (2016):  Ken Loach directed this British film which takes a look at the employment system.  Dave Johns stars as the title character who is a carpenter and has a heart attack making him unable to work.  He must fight the bureaucratic system in his struggle to get Employment and Support Allowance while he really just wants to get back to work.  In his battle, he meets and befriends the younger single mother in Katie, played by Hayley Squires, and tries to help her and her two children.  Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Sharon Piercy, and many others co-star in this film.  Many could read the plot and if they don't see something about Britain could easily think "Murica" but this happens everywhere.  While having its comedic moments, this is a pretty sad movie about what people might resort to if they are screwed by the system.  Johns makes his film debut in this movie and does a great job making us take the journey with him.  Unfortunately, this has gone onto become quite underrated but maybe this will help.

Dark Passage (1947):  This is part one of a two-part Humphrey Bogart series.  Delmer Daves directed this film noir based on the novel by David Goodis.  Humphrey Bogart stars as Vincent Parry who is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and escapes prison hoping to clear his name and prove his innocence.  He meets Irene Jansen, played by Lauren Bacall, who is aware of his situation and believes in his innocence agreeing to help him try to prove his innocence.  Bruce Bennett, Agnes Moorehead, Tom D'Andrea, and many others co-star in this film.  The most intriguing part of this film is that it is from a first person point of view from the camera where we do not see that face of Bogey's until later in the film when he gets plastic surgery.  This is driven by a great cast where the supporting players do just as good as the leads.  This is a rather overlooked film for Bogey and this is available to watch on Filmstruck.

21 Jump Street (2012):  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed this reboot of the popular '80s series of undercover cops in high school.  Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as Schmidt and Jenko who are a couple underachieving cops being sent to undercover to be high school students in order to bring down a drug ring from within the school.  Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis, Ice Cube, Dax Flame, Chris Parnell, Ellie Kemper, Jake Johnson, Nick Offerman, and many others co-star in this comedy and some of the tv show alums have cameo appearances.  Jonah Hill co-wrote the screenplay.  I don't have much knowledge of the show so I have no way of knowing how faithful this was to the series.  Watching this movie, I got quite a bit of laughs when knowing not to take it too seriously.  The plot mostly speaks for itself so no sense in saying much more so check out this comedy.

Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968):  I continue my week with more comedy than usual and this is my Asian comedy for the week.  Nagisa Oshima directed this film which is a comedy but also a satire on social injustice from what I can see.  Three Japanese friends are mistaken for illegal Koreans after their clothes were stolen and replaced with the other clothes that get them mistaken leading to a lot of comic misadventures.  This was pretty interesting as one does not usually associate slapstick comedy with Japan but this is the one.  There is a song that plays throughout the film that some might think the Japanese Alvin and the Chipmunks.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Look of Silence (2014):  I end this week with this documentary which was directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.  This is Oppenheimer's sequel or companion piece to his 2012 film THE ACT OF KILLING.  I want to touch on that one first which takes a look at survivors of the former Indonesian death squad who in the '60s killed many people during the "Communist" purge.  They are asked to reenact the murders in very unorthodox ways.  On this one, Adi Rukun, whose brother was one of the victims, watches the 2012 movie and decides to confront some of these people on what happened as well as their families.  I will start by saying that it is best in my opinion to start with the 2012 movie and then watch this one.  These are some pretty compelling documentaries and this particular one is available on Netflix while the 2012 film unfortunately is not available on Netflix.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder, Humphrey Bogart, and many others.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Official Stills for the Upcoming Netflix film "To All The Boys I've Loved Before"

Netflix recently send us over still for their upcoming release "To All The Boys I've Loved Before". The film stars Lana Condor (Alita: Battle Angel, X-Men: Apocalypse), Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars) and Noah Centineo (Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, The Fosters).

"To All The Boys I've Loved Before" hits Netflix on August 17th.

Plot Synopsis:

Lara Jean Song Covey's love life goes from imaginary to out of control when the love letters for every boy she's ever loved-five in all -- are mysteriously mailed out. From New York Times Bestselling Author, Jenny Han, the film adaption of the popular YA novel stars Lana Condor (Alita: Battle Angel, X-Men: Apocalypse), Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars) and Noah Centineo (Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, The Fosters) directed by Susan Johnson.

Monday, July 30, 2018

"Three Identical Strangers Review by Tim Hellman

'THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A documentary about three identical triplets who were separated at birth, and neither they or their families were aware of it, until the siblings all accidentally meet at the age of 19. Then they later learn why. The film was directed by Tim Wardle, and it's received nearly unanimous positive reviews from critics. I found it to be extremely intriguing, but it's also highly disturbing. It's a really well made doc!

Eddy, David and Robert were three identical triplets who were separated at birth, and put into different families. Neither they or their families knew this, until the three siblings accidentally meet at 19-year-old. They are amazed to learn just how similar they all are, right down to the women they like and their career choices. Their fascinating story becomes a huge news story as well, as the trio tours different talk shows, and then they later learn why this knowledge was kept secret from them (and their families).

The triplets were separated as part of a scientific 'nature vs. nurture' twin study, and the results of it are the most fascinating part of the film (and the most disturbing). This is why the movie reconfirmed my beliefs that were socially conditioned to make almost all of the choices we make in life, and how we accept and tolerate others. It's why we believe we need to consume meat and dairy, and it's also why all the same people are perceived to be unattractive, by almost everyone, and vice versa. There's a really established and controlled hierarchy, and everyone has their set place in it. We can break this social conditioning (and go vegan, and learn to find unique looking people beautiful), but it's like breaking an addiction. It takes a lot of conscious effort and determination. That's what this movie reconfirmed in me.

Official Trailer for "The Great Escape" Documentary "The Coolest Guy Movie Ever"

Virgil Films recently released the official trailer for the upcoming documentary "The Coolest Guy Movie Ever". The film focuses on the making of "The Great Escape".

The Great Escape hits DVD and VOD on August 21st.

Press Release:

From filmmaker and film historian Chris Espenan comes The Coolest Guy Movie Ever — a fascinating forensic documentary about the making of the classic World War II adventure film The Great Escape — to DVD and digital HD from Virgil Films on August 21, 2018, after a special screening earlier this year at Marché du film in Cannes.

Before Evans, Hemsworth, and Downey Jr. there was McQueen, Garner, and Bronson. These men represented what it meant to be tough guys in the 1960s, and they had the acting chops to play the toughest characters around – including the real life airmen who pulled off one of the most improbable escapes in war history.

The filming locations of the enormously popular World War II adventure The Great Escape have become enshrined over the years by film buffs and historians alike, forever changing the landscape of the small German towns that once played host to these Hollywood heavyweights. Now for the first time, Filmmaker Chris Espenan set out to visit all of the locations in Germany where the 1963 film was made, while compiling facts, behind-the-scenes stories, and inside information on how the film was produced.

From visiting Geisel Gastag Studios in Munich to the Bavarian town of Füssen, Espenan assembled a unique team of cameramen, historians, film buffs, and local experts who painstakingly found the exact spots where actors Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, David McCallum, and others toiled in the summer of 1962.

Uncovering treasures such as footage from a German television news shoot — which included a rare interview on the set with Steve McQueen — to getting first person interviews from the locals who were there during filming, The Coolest Guy Movie Ever is a true labor of love, fashioned by filmmakers who exult The Great Escape as one of the most memorable World War II movies ever made, featuring one of the greatest casts ever assembled, and for many, indeed, The Coolest Guy Movie Ever.

“The Great Escape is my favorite film of all time,” said Producer Steve Rubin. “It is the first film I started researching for my book ‘Combat Films 1945-2010’, the subject of my 1993 documentary Return to The Great Escape, and the reason I was nominated for Best Classic Commentary in 2004 for The Great Escape: Special Edition. When filmmaker Chris Espenan came to me with the idea for The Coolest Guy Movie Ever, I literally dropped everything to help him.”

Executive Producer and Virgil Films CEO Joe Amodei echoed Rubin’s sentiments when he said “As a young boy exploring the big wide world of motion pictures for the first time The Great Escape excited me, thrilled me and cemented a love for movies that has stayed with me forever. This is the film that started it all.”

"The Coolest Guy Movie Ever": Official Trailer

Terror Runs Wild on the Web with the Official Trailer for "e-Demon"

Dark Cuts Pictures recently send us over the official trailer for their upcoming release of "e-Demon". The film marks the first theatrical release from Dark Cut Pictures. "eDemon" hits theaters in limited release and VOD in September.

Press Release:

Dark Cuts Pictures has acquired North American rights to Jeremy Wechter’s e-Demon, planning a fall theatrical and VOD release.

The pic, produced by Wechter, Michael Gonzalez, PJ Starks, and Emily Pojman, tells of an escaped demon on a dark and twisted mission that manipulates a group of friends hanging out on a video-chat. The film is craftily structured – it takes place completely on a computer screen via the webcams being shown.

Kendra, AJ, Mar and Dwayne are old college friends who find themselves growing apart. Attempting to hang on to their good old Ohio State days, the gang gets together online for a night of stories, pranks and drinking via web-cam. As the evening progresses, they unknowingly release a deviously clever demon that had been trapped for centuries in Salem, Massachusetts. Since the demon can possess multiple people at once, the group of friends must determine who they can still trust in order to survive the demon’s dark and twisted mission.

Dark Cuts is planning a September theatrical roll-out with a day-and-date VOD release.

"Dark Cuts couldn’t be more excited about unleashing e-Demon upon the world. It’s an exciting and very unique supernatural horror film that audiences will really enjoy. What makes the film so unique is the blend of the classic Salem witch legends with the technological backdrop. We’re ecstatic to bring Jeremy Wechter’s work to North American audiences”, says Warner Davis, president of Dark Cuts Pictures.

e-Demon scored writer and helmer Wechter best director at the New York Horror Film Festival.

A division of Petri Entertainment, an independent production company focusing on genre driven films, distribution arm Dark Cuts is headed up industry veterans Warner Davis and Andy Palmer. Past and present releases include Butcher the Bakers, Karate Kill, and the Volumes of Blood horror series.

"e-Demon": Official Trailer

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 663rd Edition

Welcome to the 663rd Edition of my series.  Last week, I announced the play I'm doing at the Heorot in Muncie and this week I start rehearsals.  More information to come along as time goes on so for not on with my selections for the week.

Rosewater (2014):  Former DAILY SHOW host Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut in this film based on the autobiography of journalist Maziar Bahari, played by Gael Garcia Bernal.  Bahari has a good life with his wife Paola, played by Claire Foy, who is pregnant but things change when he is detained by the Iranian forces where he is suspected of being a spy.  He is held and brutally interrogated for months in an Iranian prison.  Kim Bodnia, Dimitri Leonidas, Haluk Bilginer, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Golshifteh Farahani, Amir El-Masry, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good directorial debut for Stewart whose segment on his own show of THE DAILY SHOW was used as evidence by Iran that Bahari was a spy.  This is a very compelling true story to watch and I'm sure makes a good read if you want to read the book first.

The Bottle and the Throttle (1961):  This is my short film for the week and is a Driver's Ed movie from this era.  This takes a look at the dangers of drinking and driving which talks more about drinking in general where one thinks they have not had much but that it can still impair their judgment.  This is part of the Sid Davis productions which is both informative but entertaining by today's standards.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime as part of "Driver's Education Scare Films".

The Lost Weekend (1945):  I continue with another film dealing with alcohol.  Billy Wilder directed this film based on the novel by Charles R. Jackson.  Ray Milland stars as Don Birnam who is an alcoholic trying to go on the mend but finds it is not that simple.  His brother Wick, played by Phillip Terry, and his girlfriend Helen, played by Jane Wyman, try to get him to come to a country weekend but decides not to go and goes on a drinking binge which also has flashbacks that show situations gone wrong because of the bottle.  Howard Da Silva, Doris Dowling, Frank Faylen, Mary Young, Anita Sharp-Bolster, and many others co-star in this film.  This was probably the first look at alcolholism in film, at least the first known one.  Milland is great as Birnam and does a lot of preparation even to the point of having himself admitted to Bellevue Hospital to the drunk ward.  This was probably a pretty daring movie to do in this era with the liquor industry not wanting it released.  This is one of my favorites from this era and is still relevant today.

Danny Collins (2015):  Dan Fogelman wrote and directed this music film which stars Al Pacino as the title character who is an aging rock star and starts to rethink his life after discovering a letter that John Lennon wrote to him but never saw until later in his life.  One of the things he does is meet the grown son he never met in Tom, played by Bobby Cannavale, and looks to connect with his him and his wife, played by Jennifer Garner, and daughter, played by Giselle Eisenberg.  Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening, Katarina Cas, Melissa Benoist, Josh Peck, Brian Thomas Smith, Scott Lawrence, Michael Patrick McGill, Kirk VandenHeuval, Nick Offerman, Eric Michael Roy, and many others co-star in this music film.  Like Stewart, Fogelman also makes his directorial debut and makes a good debut.  This is inspired by real-life musician Steve Tilston who discovered a letter written to him by John Lennon much later in his life.  Pacino does well as a rock star in this film that has a lot of emotional depth as well as a lot of comedy.

Olympia Part One:  Festival of the Nations (1938):  This is my documentary for the week which takes a look at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 in which directed Leni Riefenstahl was commissioned to create a feature film on the Berlin Olympics and ended up with a two-part documentary.  This takes a look at athletes in the marathon and Men's diving and a closer look at American track star Jesse Owens.  This also takes quite a look at the young male body and has a lot of interesting close-up shots which some say express the Nazi attitude of athletic prowess.  This does have some footage of Hitler and others from Nazi Germany.  This is part one, I intend to check out the second part soon which is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Zootopia (2016):  This is my animated movie for the week.  Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush directed this film which takes place in an animal metropolis.  This movie centers around the bunny Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, who dreams of being a police officer even if she is told it is impossible for a bunny to be a police officer.  She finally gets her wish but finds it is not easy to enforce the law.  To win respect, she decides to investigate a missing persons case in which she must team of with a cynical fox named Nick Wilde, voiced by Jason Bateman, and uncovers a deep conspiracy.  Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, John Dimaggio, Tiny Lister, Kristen Bell, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a good movie on overcoming the odds and teaching acceptance.  It is also very clever and enjoyable, might be best for older kids.

To Catch a Thief (1955):  Alfred Hitchcock directed this film based on the novel by David Dodge.  Cary Grant stars as retired cat burglar John Robie who is reformed but is being framed by a copycat and must find a way to prove his innocence by outing the thief.  Grace Kelly co-stars as Frances Stevens who helps Grant prove his innocence while he is putting on a cover and she sees through it.  Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel, Brigitte Auber, Jean Martinelli, and many other co-star in this film.  I have always enjoyed this movie which has a good combination of action, romance, and comedy.  There is not much else I can put into words except to see this classic from "The Master of Suspense".

After the Wedding (2006):  This is my Danish film for the week which was directed and co-written by Susanne Bier.  Mads Mikkelsen stars as Jacob Pederson who manages an orphanage in a poor India town.  He is sent to Denmark to look into more funding for the orphanage and learns some life-altering information when going there.  Rolf Lassgard, Sidse Babett Knudson, Christian Tafdrup, Stine Fischer Christensen, Mona Malm, Meenal Patel, Neeral Mulchandani, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a pleasant surprise for me as I did not much of what to expect.  That is why I am being rather vague on my description so that others can just watch and many discover this unexpected gem for themselves.

Mean Streets (1973):  Martin Scorsese wrote and directed this film that marked the first of many teamings with Robert De Niro and De Niro's first teaming with Harvey Keitel.  Keitel stars as young Little Italy hood Charlie who is trying to work his way up the local mob ranks.  De Niro co-stars as Charlie's wild and irresponsible friend Johnny Boy who is in debt to many people.  Charlie is loyal to his friend which makes things harder on him with the others that are tired of Johnny Boy's irresponsible ways.  Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo, George Memmoli, Jeannie Bell, David Carradine, Robert Carradine, and many others co-star in this film.  This is mostly centered around the characters and the low budget that Scorsese makes the most out of including the hand-held camera which is something he is known.  This is also available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Foreigner (2017):  I end the week with this film which was directed by Martin Campbell and based on the novel by Stephen Leather.  Jackie Chan stars as restaurant owner Quan whose daughter, played by Katie Leung, is killed in a terrorist act.  We find that Quan has quite a past when he relentlessly pursues the terrorists leading him to target Irish government official Liam Hennessy, played by Pierce Brosnan, who Quan believes knows more than what he is saying.  Rufus Jones, Mark Tandy, Caolan Byrne, Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady, Lia Williams, Michael McElhatton, David Pearse, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Dermot Crowley, Sean Campion, and many others co-star in this film.  It was good to see both Chan and Brosnan play against their type roles, especially Chan who is usually known for his martial arts but also his comedy and there was none in this one.  This is also one that is best not to give too much of a description but to just get the movie going.

Well, that is all for this week but I did bring back my "Fun and Useless Facts" segment so continue reading, maybe one of these will show up in bar trivia sometime or if you are creating questions, this could be a good thing to look upon.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Luke Wilson, Bob Hope, Matthew McConaughey, and many others.


This is a segment I do from time to time and I do mostly connections from different selections so I don't really focus on people in the same movie that have worked together in other movies.  I am sure there are plenty of things I have missed so feel free to comment on others you might find.

Jon Stewart (Rosewater director) and Tommy Chong (Zootopia) were in the 1998 comedy HALF BAKED.

Shohreh Aghdashloo (Rosewater) and Idris Elba (Zootopia) are in the 2016 Sci-Fi movie STAR TREK:  BEYOND.

Haluk Bilginer (Rosewater) and Idris Elba (Zootopia) were in the 2001 film BUFFALO SOLDIERS.

Claire Foy (Rosewater) and Mark Tandy (The Foreigner) were in the 2016 Netflix series THE CROWN.

Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) was directed by Alfred Hitchock (To Catch a Thief director) in the 1954 film DIAL M FOR MURDER which also stars Grace Kelly (To Catch a Thief) and John Williams (To Catch a Thief)

Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) and Robert De Niro (Mean Streets) were in the 1976 movie THE LAST TYCOON.

Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) plays Tony Wendice in the 1954 film TO CATCH A THIEF.  Christopher Plummer (Danny Collins) plays the same character in the 1981 tv movie TO CATCH A THIEF.

Howard Da Silva plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1977 film THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER.  Christopher Plummer (Danny Collins) plays FDR in the 1998 tv movie WINCHELL.

Cary Grant (To Catch a Thief) declined the role of Don Birnam in this week's feature THE LOST WEEKEND which would ultimately go to Ray Milland.

Jane Wyman (The Lost Weekend) was directed by Alfred Hitchcock (To Catch a Thief director) in the 1950 film STAGE FRIGHT.

Al Pacino (Danny Collins) and Robert De Niro (Mean Streets) were in the 1974 film THE GODFATHER PART II, the 1994 film HEAT, and the 2008 film RIGHTEOUS KILL.  They are father and son in one, respectful cop/robber rivals in another, then they are cop partners in the end.

Annette Bening (Danny Collins) and Pierce Brosnan (The Foreigner) were in the 1996 comedy MARS ATTACKS.

Annette Bening (Danny Collins) and Robert De Niro (Mean Streets) were a married couple in the 1991 movie GUILTY BY SUSPICION.

Jennifer Garner (Danny Collins), Jason Bateman (Zootopia) and J.K. Simmons (Zootopia) are in the 2007 comedy JUNO where Garner and Bateman play a married couple.  Garner and Bateman are also in the 2007 film THE KINGDOM and the 2009 comedy THE INVENTION OF LYING.

Christopher Plummer (Danny Collins) and Harvey Keitel (Mean Streets) were in the 2004 movie NATIONAL TREASURE.

Katarina Cas (Danny Collins) and Giselle Eisenberg (Danny Collins) were directed by Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets) in the 2013 film THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.

Melissa Benoist (Danny Collins) and J.K. Simmons (Zootopia) were in the 2014 film WHIPLASH and the 2016 film PATRIOTS DAY.

Michael Patrick McGill (Danny Collins) and Jason Bateman (Zootopia) were in the 2013 comedy BAD WORDS.

Kiff VandenHeuvel (Danny Collins) and J.K. Simmons (Zootopia) were in the 2016 musical LA LA LAND.

Nick Offerman (Danny Collins) and Octavia Spencer (Zootopia) were in the 2005 comedy MISS CONGENIALITY 2:  ARMED AND FABULOUS.

Josh Peck (Danny Collins) and Alan Tudyk (Zootopia) were in the 2002 animated movie ICE AGE:  CONTINENTAL DRIFT.

Don Lake (Zootopia) and Robert De Niro (Mean Streets) were in the 2013 movie GRUDGE MATCH.

J.K. Simmons (Zootopia) and Jackie Chan (The Foreigner) were in the animated movie KUNG FU PANDA 3.

J.K. Simmons (Zootopia) and Michael McElhatton (The Foreigner) were in the 2017 superhero film JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Tiny Lister (Zootopia) and Robert De Niro (Mean Streets) were in the 1997 film JACKIE BROWN.

Alan Tudyk (Zootopia) and Mads Mikkelson (After the Wedding) were in the 2016 film ROGUE ONE:  A STAR WARS STORY.

John Williams (To Catch a Thief) was directed by Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend director) in the 1954 film SABRINA.

Mads Mikkelson (After the Wedding) was directed by Martin Campbell (The Foreigner director) in the 2006 Bond film CASINO ROYALE.