Sunday, April 14, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 700th Edition


Welcome to the 700th edition of my series.  What a number to have in the number 700.  Sometimes I make a bit of a theme but this year I just did it like I do every week  I have finished with A FEW GOOD MEN.  This was a great experience and thank everyone involved with the show.  Now I move onto normal life again for now but I will keep everyone posted as I look to make my way into a show.  For now I'll just give the selections for the week.


Slavery and the Making of America (2005):  I start the weekend out with this documentary mini-series brought to us by viewers like us on PBS.  This covers the subject of slavery which started in the British Colonies up to Civil War reconstruction.  This covers many things like our former president and declaration writer Thomas Jefferson and him seemingly against slavery but continued to be an owner which was analyzed by various historians.  It also covers former slaves like Frederick Douglas, Harriet Jacobs, Louis Hughes, Solomon Northup who the movie 12 YEARS A SLAVE was based upon, among many others.  Morgan Freeman narrates this documentary and features Joan Collins, Carl Lumbly, and many others as the reenactors.  This has four episodes that are each around an hour long and covering various things on the issue of slavery.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.


Betty Boop and Grampy (1935):  This is my animated short for the week which obviously features Betty Boop as well as her Grampy.  Betty gets a message to come to his home so she walks over there singing and is joined by various other people as she walks who seem to know that is the place to be at that time.  This is some pretty fun classic animation and is available on Amazon Prime as part of "Betty Boop Vol. 1".


Suddenly, Last Summer (1959):  This was presented last week at my local library as part of their Coffee and Classics series.  Joseph L. Mankiewics directed this film which the screenplay was written by Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams and based on the play by Williams.  Montgomery Clift stars as Dr. Cukrowicz who is a psycho-surgeon and is offered a lot of funding from the wealthy Violet Venable, played by Katherine Hepburn.  Mrs. Venable's only son has died while on vacation with her niece Catherine, played by Elizabeth Taylor, and wants her niece's memories to be lobotomized in order to cover up the truth making Cukrowicz investigate the circumstances.  Albert Dekker, Mercedes McCambridge, Gary Raymond, Mavis Villiers, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very deep and intense film which has quite a cast and was likely a subject that was touched much in the way of film.  Clift was addicted to drugs and alcohol at this time and was nearly fired but Taylor said she would not do the movie without him.  I have also heard a lot of the addiction started after a car wreck.


First Man (2018):  Damien Chazelle directed this biopic which was based on the book by James R. Hanson.  Ryan Gosling stars as astronaut Neil Armstrong from the years of 1961 to 1969 where he would become the first man to walk on the moon.  This takes a look at both the professional and personal life of Armstrong at that time and the difficult of balancing his career and family.  It also shows the difficulty for his wife Janet, played by Claire Foy, not knowing if her husband would be back for survival and raising kids on her own at times.  Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Ciaran Hinds, Olivia Hamilton, Pablo Schneider, Shea Whigham, Lukas Haas, Ethan Embry, Brian d'Arcy James, and many others co-star in this biopic.  This is a pretty decent biopic depicting the life of a man that would go onto make history.  Armstrong's sons have spoken very highly of this film saying it is a very accurate portrait of their parents.


Last Hurrah of Chivalry (1979):  This is my Hong Kong martial arts film for the week which was an early directorial effort for John Woo who would go onto direct a lot of action movies that would use guns and in this one he uses martial arts and swords.  This features a son who is looking to avenge the murder of his father and hires two assassins that are master swordsman.  With this movie there is a lot of violence, betrayal and deception that happens.  This is kind of a precursor for Woo and the violence he would use in his later movies that was a work of art in many ways.  This is a very good story with good action and characters.


Peter Gabriel:  Still Growing Up Live and Unwrapped (2005):  This is my music live perforance and documentary for the week.  While at rehearsal for my show, I joined my castmate Burke to go get something to eat and saw he had a pretty big bag of dvds and saw he had quite a bit of Peter Gabriel and one I had not seen yet.  This has both a concert of the 2004 "Still Growing Up" tour and has a documentary with interviews from band members.  I have the dvd of the "Growing Up" tour which happened the year before this one and had the honor of seeing him in concert.  This has some awesome concert footage and a very insightful documentary.  Just about everyone knows me well enough knows I am a big fan of Peter Gabriel.  I have been since around middle school which was very weird.  I started out being intrigued by his music videos and then really got enhanced one day when I was at my dad's house, he had a music player called the DMX and the song GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS came on.  This was the first time I had heard the song and one I did not need a video to see a video to really enjoy the song.  I think this event was what propelled me to become the fan I am today.  If all you know Peter through is his song SLEDGEHAMMER, I suggest watching this to see his very broad array of songs.


Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring (1971):  This is my tv movie for the week which was directed by Joseph Sargent.  A young Sally Field stars as Dennie who is coming home after running away from home to join the hippie lifestyle.  In the return to her suburban home, she finds that things are very difficult with her parents, played by Jackie Cooper and Eleanor Parker, disapproving of what she did and not try to understand.  She also has a sister Susie, played by Lane Bradbury, who is heading into Dennie's footsteps.  David Carradine co-stars as Dennie's ex-lover Flack who she was with in her hippie days and trying to reconnect.  Field is good in one of her early and more unknown roles.  It is a pretty good look at the difficulty in fitting in which happens in more than one way for Dennie.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.


Dirty Grandpa (2016):  Now I turn to some raunchy comedy which was directed by Dan Mazer.  Zac Efron stars as the uptight Jason whose grandfather Dick, played by Robert De Niro, wants Jason to drive him to Florida for Spring Break after his wife dies.  Jason has a hard time dealing with his grandfather who is chasing the younger girls.  Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Mantzoukas, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Hough, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Brandon Mychal Smith, Jake Picking, Michael Hudson, Adam Pally, Mo Collins, Henry Zebrowski, Danny Glover, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Fans of the raunchy comedy genre should love this one.  De Niro is a lot of fun as the title character and if nothing else, him singing Ice Cube's IT WAS A GOOD DAY made this truly worth watching.


There was Once a King... (1955):  This is my Czechoslavakian film for the week which was directed by Borivoj Zeman.  Jan Werich stars as the selfish and self-centered King Ja I who is barely tolerated by his subjects.  When asking his three daughters how much they love him, one gets banished for saying "more than salt" not knowing she was trying to compliment him.  His arrogance then leads him to gather all the salt in the kingdom and destroy it but slowly learns through an "herb woman" how to be a good king.  This was really a pretty funny movie about royalty and does not appear to have gotten much released as there are not fan reviews on imdb but it is available now on Amazon Prime.


Henry Fool (1997):  I end with this movie which was written and directed by Hal Hartley.  James Ubaniak stars as Simon Grim who is a socially inept garbage man.  He is soon befriended by the title character, played by Thomas Jay Ryan, who is a very charismatic but talentless writer and brings out a writing talent in Simon which Simon would take farther than Henry ever would.  As Simon becomes a controversial Nobel Price novelist, Henry would descent into alcohol.  Parker Posey, Maria Porter, James Saito, Kevin Corrigan, Liam Aiken, Miho Nikaido, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a very well done and interesting film that was driven by the script and actors.  Urbaniak and Ryan worked very well together and the underrated Posey was great as always.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Viggo Mortensen, and many others



Sunday, April 7, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 699th Edition


Welcome to the 699th Edition of my series.  A FEW GOOD MEN has gone very well.  We still have another weekend of it next week from April 12-14 at the Marion Civic Theater.  Friday and Saturday is at 7:30 pm and Sunday is at 2 pm.  It has been nice not having to do my actual work this week and good to see the weather getting better.  Also, tonight is WRESTLEMANIA, I don't know if I'll be able to watch it in its live format but I'll get to it eventually.  There is not much else happening this week so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.


The Greatest (2009):  This is part three of my Susan Sarandon trilogy.  Shana Feste wrote and directed this film that deals with grief.  Pierce Brosnan and Sarandon star as married couple Allen and Grace Brewer whose son Bennett, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dies in a car accident.  Carey Mulligan co-stars as Rose who was the girl in love with Bennett and was in the car during the accident.  She shows up at their home revealing she is pregnant and has nowhere to go.  Johnny Simmons co-stars as Ryan who is Bennett's younger brother.  Amy Morton, Deirdre O'Connell, Miles Robbins, Cara Seymour, Ramsey Faragallah, Jennifer Ehle, Colby Minifie, Zoe Kravitz, Portia, Michael Shannon, Dante E. Clark, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good look at showing the different ways that people handle their grief over a loved one and how it can either bring people together or tear them apart making Rose someone the family needs more than they know.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.


Drafty, Isn't It (1957):  This is my animated short for the week.  Chuck Jones wrote and directed this animated propaganda short for the United States Army.  This centers around a young man having nightmares about the possibility of being in the military.  A pixie-like figure named Willie N. List, what a clever name, enters his dream to paint a more favorable image of the industry.  This is available on Amazon Prime on the "Patriotic Cartoon Classics" which involve a lot of military propaganda shorts.


Lady Sings the Blues (1972):  This is my music biopic for the week which was directed by Sidney J. Furie.  Diana Ross stars as the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday.  This starts in her troubled teen life and early adulthood into her rise into the world of Jazz but would also have a fall with her drug issues.  Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan, Paul Hampton, Sid Melton, Virginia Capers co-star in this film.  This is singer Diana Ross's film debut and does a great job as the Holiday.  This covers a lot of ground and is a very compelling biopic.


Won't You Be My Neighbor (2018):  Morgan Neville directed this documentary based on the iconic Fred Rogers of MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD.  This is a man studying to be a minister but found a calling in giving children something safe to watch having not liking what he is seeing on television.  This has interviews from Fred's wife and kids as well as friends and people he worked with on the show.  His show would sometimes deliver a bold message in a very subtle way.  This is a very good tribute to Mr. Rogers and a man who just wanted to bring kindness to a dark world.  There is not much else to describe in the way of words so just watch it already.


Death Takes a Holiday (1934):  Mitchell Leisen directed this film which is based on the play by Alberto Casella.  Fredric March stars as the Grim Reaper who takes a little time off his usual job to see what it is like to be human.  He poses as a man named Prince Sirki and spends three days with Duke Lambert, played by Guy Standing, and his guests.  He also ends up falling in love with Grazia, played by Evelyn Venable.  Katherine Alexander, Gail Patrick, Helen Westley, Kathleen Howard, Kent Taylor, Henry Travers, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a rather clever and interesting love story.  It kind of reminded me of what years later would become MEET JOE BLACK so maybe a double feature there.  This is available to watch on Hoopla.


Splash (1984):  I go from Death to mermaids.  Ron Howard directed this romantic comedy which stars Tom Hanks as business owner Allen Bauer who is convinced he will never be loved again.  In his childhood, he is saved by a mermaid and in many years he is saved once again by a mermaid, played by Daryl Hannah.  Allen falls for the mermaid but does not know she is one as she can change herself to human.  John Candy co-stars as Allen's older brother and Eugene Levy co-stars as a scientist named Walter who is determined to prove he saw a mermaid.  Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene, Richard B. Shull, Howard Morris, Patrick Cronin, Royce D. Applegate, Joe Grifasi, Clint Howard, and many others co-star in this romantic comedy.  I suppose in a way, this is a variation of THE LITTLE MERMAID.  It is a good '80s classic with Hanks and Hannah working very well together and Candy and Levy providing us with some great comedy.  Hannah is also a site to look at in both human and mermaid form.  This would be a good selection for date night.


Go Ask Alice (1973):  This is my tv movie for the week which I seem to be on a kick these couple weeks.  John Korty directed this tv movie which is based on a book by Beatrice Sparks referring to herself as Anonymous.  Jamie Smith-Jackson stars as the shy teen Alice whose parents have to move and she must start over.  She forms a relationship with a college boy named Richie, played by Danny Micheal Mann, and succumbs to the world of drugs.  William Shatner, Andy Griffith, Ayn Ruymen, Robert Carradine, Mackenzie Phillips, Charles Martin Smith and many others co-star or have cameos.  Shatner was nearly unrecognizable as Alice's father and had a mustache.  This is a fictional story even though the movie says it is based on a true story but a good look at how this can happen to anyone.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002):  This is my Asian film for the week.  Sijie Dai directed and co-wrote this film based on his own novel.  This takes place in 1971 China where best friends Luo and Ma, played by Kun Chen and Ye Liu, are sent to a mining village as part of their reeducation to purge them of their western oriented education.  They find the presence of beautiful young women as the only pleasant part of their life.  They meet the granddaughter, played by Xun Zhou, of a tailor and fall in love with her while coming across American novels that are banned in their country.  This is in a sense a Chinese coming of age film.  It is a very compelling story of communist China.


Suddenly (1954):  This is my film noir for the week.  Lewis Allen directed this film that takes place in a small town which is called Suddenly.  Nancy Gates stars as widowed wife Nancy Gates who lives with her son Pidge, played by Kim Charney, and her father, played by James Gleason.  She opposes guns but must rethink her stance when learning of the president coming to town and her house getting taken hostage by a group of people planning an assassination lead by John Baron, played by Ol' Blue Eyes himself Frank Sinatra.  Yes you heard, that right Sinatra was planning an assassination of our president.  Sterling Hayden co-stars as the sheriff who has tried courting Nancy and now is trying to protect the family.  Some would think if seeing the cast and hearing the plot that Hayden would probably be the assassin but that is not the case.  This is a pretty well done film where I stayed at the edge of my seat.  Also a bit of pro-gun propaganda on how guns can be beneficial.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.


The Answer Man (2009):  John Hindman wrote and directed this romantic comedy if you want to call it that.  Jeff Daniels stars as the reclusive Arlen Faber who has written a lot of inspirational books but now wants to be left alone and keep his identity a secret.  Lou Taylor Pucci co-stars as bookstore owner Kris Lucas who is fresh out of rehab and learns of Arlen agreeing to barter books for advice.  Lauren Graham co-stars as chiropractor and single mother Elizabeth who is just starting a business and meets Arlen after he ends up in her place of business with back issues.  Olivia Thirlby, Kat Dennings, Nora Dunn, Tony Hale, Annie Corley, Max Antisell, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Daniels is good as the author who just does not have the answers that everyone wants him to have.  This also takes a good look at two different relationships he has with Elizabeth and with Kris.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Well, that is it for this week though I did return with my "Movie Time in the Town of Pottersville" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Taylor, Ryan Gosling, John Woo, and many others.



MOVIE TIME IN THE TOWN OF POTTERSVILLE

The Purge:  Anarchy (2014):  A Few weeks ago we watched the very first and now finally got around to the second of this newer cranchise.  James DeMonaco wrote and directed this sequel to the hit film from 2013.  This continues on Purge Night where crime becomes legal for 12 hours.  Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez all star as an unlikely group that comes together for survival with Grillo being the only one who intends to kill in his vengeance for the murder of his son.  Grillo plays a police sergeant who reluctantly becomes a protector to those trying to survive the holiday.  Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael Kenneth Williams, Edwin Hodges, Lakeith Stanfield, and many others co-star in this sequel. This had an interesting enough story with the characters to get behind them.  The first one was more centered in a home, this one takes it further into the streets.  They meet the granddaughter, played by Xun Zhou, of a young tailor and fall in love with her while coming across American novels that are banned in their country.



Sunday, March 31, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 698th Edition


Welcome to the 698th Edition of my series.  It's good to see the weather getting warmer and good to see we are getting closer to A FEW GOOD MEN.  Opening night is on Friday at the Marion Civic Theater at 7:30.  Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 pm and Sunday shows are at 2 pm.  Shows are April 5-7 and April 12-14.  We have been working like crazy to get this thing together and now it comes to life.  If you are in the area, please come see me as a religious obsessed marine.  There is not much else going on so I will just get to my selections for the week.


Charlotte's Web (2006):  This is part four of my four part Steve Buscemi series where he provides the voice of Templeton the Rat.  Gary Winick directed this live action version of the classic novel by E.B. White.  Dakota Fanning stars as Fern who is the daughter of a farmer and stops the killing the a runt pig which would go onto be named Wilbur, voiced by Dominic Scott Kay.  Wilbur is still in danger of being killed for food and meets a nice spider named Charlotte, voiced by Julia Roberts, who lives in his pen.  They form a friendship and Charlotte looks to find a way to save Wilbur's life.  John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford, Thomas Haden Church, Andre Benjamin, Abraham Benrubi, Kevin Anderson, Essie Davis, Gary Basaraba, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Beau Bridges, and many others co-star in this family movie.  Sam Shepard provides the narration.  I found this live-action adaptation to be pretty enjoyable.  I'm hoping this helps people who have arachnophobia to have a newer respect towards spiders and not fear them so much.  I found Buscemi's performance as the rat to be the most entertaining part of the movie.  This is one that can be watched by the family and venture to say this has made some people become vegetarians.  This could be a good to watch as a double feature with the movie BABE which both have a rather similar statement.


Murder on the Orient Express (2017):  I go from an adaptation of a book centering around a spider and farm animals to an adaptation of a famous murder mystery.  Kenneth Branagh directed this adaptation of the novel by Agatha Christie.  Branagh also stars as detective Hercule Poirot who decides to leave on the Orient Express train where a murder occurs and must investigate everyone on the train to get to the bottom of the situation.  Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Lucy Boynton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, and many others co-star in this film.  I will first say that I have never read the book and it has been awhile since I have seen the 1974 version.  I did enjoy what I saw and thought the characters were well developed and well cast.  I am going to seek out the other version at some point but was guessing throughout in this version which was worth a look.


Snitch (2013):  This is part two of my Susan Sarandon trilogy.  Ric Roman Waugh directed this film that is based on a true story.  Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as successful business owner John Matthews whose son Jason, played by Rafi Gavron, was arrested for drug trafficking and has a harsh sentence for a first time offender.  The Rock offers to go undercover for the DEA in hopes of laying the smackdown on the drug cartel in order to get his son's sentence reduced.  Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Michael Kenneth Williams, Melina Kanakaredes, Nadine Velazquez, Benjamin Bratt, Lela Loren, JD Pardo, David Harbour, Harold Perrineau, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty compelling watch and focuses on the minimum sentence laws that can be very unjust for people with minimal involvement.  This is based on a 1992 case where a man named James Settembrino assisted prosecution to get a lower sentence for his son who was serving ten years.


Educated Fish (1937):  This is my animated short for the week.  This centers around a school of fish and one that is very rebellious and will not listen to his teacher.  He soon ventures out to the real world to learn that education is important.  This has some pretty fun elements and worth a few minutes.  This is available on Amazon Prime as part of "Cartoon Classics Vol. 3".


All About Eve (1950):  Joseph L. Mankiewicz wrote and directed this film into the cutthroat world of theater.  Bette Davis stars as the established and aging theater actress Margo Channing and Anne Baxter stars as Eve Harrington who makes her way into the group as a seemingly innocent fan offering to help wherever she can but has other deceptive plans.  George Sanders co-stars as the cynical theater critic Addison Dewitt who is the only person that sees through Eve.  Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Barbara Bates, Marilyn Monroe, Thelma Ritter, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good look at the world of theater.  This is an early role for Monroe and has a very amusing line about a butler.  There is not much else I can say except that it is one of the best from the era.  I also learned this has been done as a play in London starring Gillian Anderson so sounds like a play that would be up my alley.


Katherine (1975):  Now I follow with a tv movie which was written and directed by Jeremy Kagan and based on a true story.  Sissy Spacek stars as Katherine Alman who is born into a wealthy family but goes her own path in becoming part of a radical group against Vietnam the Vietnam war.  Henry Winkler co-stars as her love interest Bob Kline.  Art Carney, Julie Kavner, Jane Wyatt, Joe De Santis, Hector Elias, Jenny Sullivan, Rene Enriquez, Mary Murphy, Todd Bridges, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  This is likely the first time I have ever featured Todd Bridges in this series.  This is shot in semi-documentary format.  This is based on the life of Diana Oughton who was an Illinois heiress and joined the radical group Weather Underground.  Spacek does well as the title character.  This is available on Amazon Prime and deserves more exposure.


Mary and Tim (1996):  I follow with another tv movie which was directed by Glenn Jordan and based on the novel by Colleen McCullough.  Tom McCarthy stars as Tim who is a mentally challenged young man who works hard in his community and ends up getting hired by an older and lonely widowed woman named Mary, played by Candice Bergen.  This focuses on the friendship and love between these much different people.  Richard Kiley, Louise Latham, Kelli Williams, Shirley Knight, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  This is a remake of the 1979 film TIM which stars a young Mel Gibson.  I feel both versions have their qualities and like this movie just as much as the 1979 movie.  Bergen and McCarthy are great together and this really deserves a watch.


Thunderball (1965):  Now I bring in the fourth James Bond film which was directed by Terence Young and stars Sean Connery as Agent 007.  Bond must take on S.P.E.C.T.R.E. agent Emilio Largo, played by Adolfo Celi who steals two nuclear warheads.  Claudine Auger co-stars as Domino who is Largo's mistress not knowing that her brother was murdered by him.  Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Molly Peters, Martine Beswick, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Philip Locke, Anthony Dawson, and many others co-star in this film.  Paluzzi is good as the female villain and Auger has always been one of my favorite Bond girls.  Maybe that is why this is my favorite from the Connery era.  I also like a lot of the underwater action scenes and other elements that have always drawn me to this Bond film.  I admit I'm more into the Daniel Craig era of Bond but still get into the older ones.  This is available on Netflix.


Joan of Arc (1948):  Now I bring a historical biopic which was directed by Victor Fleming in his last film and based on the play by Maxwell Anderson.  Ingrid Bergman brings this fifteenth century heroine to life.  This starts out with the young farm girl Joan of Arc claiming to hear voices from heaven asking her to lead God's army against Orleans and the crowning of Charles VII as King of France.  She gets arrested and put through a painful political trial and must question her principles and calling.  Francis L. Sullivan, J. Carrol Naish, Ward Bond, Shepperd Strudwick, John Emery, Leif Erickson, Cecil Kellaway, Jose Ferrer, Selena Royle, Robert Barrat, John Ireland, Alan Napier, and many others co-star in this film.  I don't think Joan of Arc movie will ever beat the silent film THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC.  Bergman brings the martyr to life very well as she tried for a long time to get this movie off the ground.  I saw the version that is 145 minutes long as opposed to the 100 minute version and venture to say this one is a lot better.


At Close Range (1986):  I end the week with another movie based on a true story which I seem to be doing a lot of this week.  James Foley directed this film which stars a young Sean Penn as Brad Whitewood Jr. whose estranged criminal father Brad Sr., played by Christopher Walken, comes back into his life luring his son into a life of crime.  Penn's real-life brother Chris Penn co-stars as his brother Tommy in the only movie they worked together in and their mother Eileen Ryan plays their grandmother.  Mary Stuart Masterson, Millie Perkins, Tracey Walter, R.D. Call, David Strathairn, J.C. Quinn, Candy Clark, Kiefer Sutherland, Crispin Glover, Noelle Parker, Alan Autry, and many others co-star in this film.  This is loosely based on gang leader Bruce Johnston Sr. who lead a gang in the late '70s which involved his family.  This is not an upbeat movie by any means but is extremely compelling.  This is also the introduction of Madonna's hit song LIVE TO TELL where we hear the haunting instrumental music throughout the movie and eventually hear the song as a whole.  This is available on Amazon Prime.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on for my "Fun and Useless Facts" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Susan Sarandon, and many others.



FUN AND USELESS FACTS

I decided to bring this segment back for the week.  I felt I have enough to work with so here are some facts.  As always, I use actors from different movies and don't to a lot of actors within the same movie unless another actor from another movie is connected.  I also could have a lot more useless facts but I stopped after a certain amount.  Feel free to comment on connections you find.

Julia Roberts (Charlotte's Web) and Susan Sarandon (Snitch) are stepmother and mother in the 1998 movie STEPMOM.


Johnny Depp (Murder on the Orient Express) and Mary Stuart Masterson (At Close Range) were lovers in the 1993 film BENNY AND JOON.


Julia Roberts (Charlotte's Web) and Tom McCarthy (Mary and Tim) are in the 1997 action movie CONSPIRACY THEORY and the 2009 movie DUPLICITY.

Dwayne Johnson (Snitch) and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) were in the 2003 action comedy THE RUNDOWN.

Julia Roberts (Charlotte's Web) and Kiefer Sutherland (At Close Range) were in the 1990 horror film FLATLINERS and were engaged to be married for a brief period of time.


Dwayne Johnson (Snitch) was considered for the role of Willy Wonka in the 2005 movie CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY which would ultimately go to Johnny Depp (Snitch)

Julia Roberts (Charlotte's Web) and Benjamin Bratt (Snitch) dated between 1997-2001


Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) and Barry Pepper (Snitch) were in the 2005 movie RIPLEY UNDER GROUND.

Julia Roberts (Charlotte's Web) and Sissy Spacek (Katherine) play daughter and mother in the 2018 series HOMECOMING.


Benjamin Bratt (Snitch) and Kiefer Sutherland were in the 2014 mini-series 24:  LIVE ANOTHER DAY.


Susan Sarandon (Charlotte's Web) tried to save the soul of death row inmate Sean Penn (At Close Range) in the 1995 film DEAD MAN WALKING.


Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) and Benjamin Bratt (Snitch) were in the 1994 action film CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER.

Steve Buscemi (Charlotte's Web) works for Chris Penn (At Close Range) in the 1992 film RESERVOIR DOGS.

Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express) plays Queen Elizabeth I in her later years in the 1998 film SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.  Bette Davis (All About Eve) plays the queen in the 1939 film THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX and in the 1955 film THE VIRGIN QUEEN.

Steve Buscemi (Charlotte's Web), Johnny Depp (Murder on the Orient Express), and Crispin Glover (At Close Range) were in the 1995 western DEAD MAN.  Buscemi is uncredited in his role as a bartender.

Susan Sarandon (Snitch) portrays Bette Davis (All About Eve) in the 2017 series FEUD.


Steve Buscemi (Charlotte's Web) and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) are in the 1990 film KING OF NEW YORK and the 1994 film PULP FICTION.


Anne Baxter (All About Eve), George Sanders (All About Eve), and Alan Napier (Joan of Arc) were in the '60s sitcom BATMAN where Baxter plays the recurring roles of Olga and Zelda, Sanders played the part of Mr. Freeze in a couple episodes, and Napier was a regular as everyone's favorite butler Alfred.

Steve Buscemi (Charlotte's Web) and Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express) were in the 2004 animated movie HOME ON THE RANGE.

Sissy Spacek (Katherine) and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) were in the 1999 comedy BLAST FROM THE PAST.

Steve Buscemi (Charlotte's Web) and Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) were in the 2000 prison film ANIMAL FACTORY which Buscemi also directed.


Henry Winkler (Katherine), Julie Kavner (Katherine), and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) were in the 2006 comedy CLICK.

John Cleese (Charlotte's Web) and Dwayne Johnson (Snitch) were in the 2009 animated movie PLANET 51

Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) and Sissy Spacek (Katherine) were in the 1997 film AFFLICTION.

John Cleese (Charlotte's Web) plays weapons manufacturer Q in the Pierce Brosnan Bond Era and starts out as R until Desmond Llewellan of this week's 007 feature THUNDERBALL passes the torch to him to become Q in the 1999 Bond movie THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.

Celeste Holm (All About Eve) and Jane Wyatt (Katherine) were in the 1947 film GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT.

John Cleese (Charlotte's Web) is a mentor to Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express) in the 1994 film MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN.

Benjamin Bratt (Snitch) and Candice Bergen (Mary and Tim) were in the 2000 comedy MISS CONGENIALITY.

John Cleese (Charlotte's Web) and Sean Connery (Thunderball) were in the 1981 film TIME BANDITS.

Susan Sarandon (Snitch), Richard Kiley (Mary and Tim), and Millie Perkins (At Close Range) were int the 1985 mini-series A.D.

Kathy Bates (Charlotte's Web) and David Strathairn (At Close Range) were in the 1995 film DELORES CLAIBORNE.

Josh Gad (Murder at the Orient Express) and Tom McCarthy (Mary and Tim) were in the animated 2015 movie PIXELS.

Kathy Bates (Charlotte's Web) and Henry Winkler (Katherine) were in the 1998 comedy THE WATERBOY.

Tom McCarthy (Mary and Tim) and Sean Penn (At Close Range) were in the 2006 movie ALL THE KING'S MEN.

Kathy Bates (Charlotte's Web) and Susan Sarandon (Snitch) were in the 1990 movie WHITE PALACE.


Tom McCarthy (Mary and Tim) and David Strahtairn (At Close Range) were in the 2005 film GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK.

Robert Redford (Charlotte's Web) and Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) were in the 2004 film THE CLEARING.

Louise Latham (Mary and Tim) and Sean Connery (Thunderball) were in the 1964 film MARNIE.

Robert Redford (Charlotte's Web) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) were in the 1996 movie UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL.


Leslie Odom Jr. plays Dr. Arbuthnot in this week's feature MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and Sean Connery (Thunderball) plays Col. Arbuthnott in the 1974 film MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Robert Redford (Charlotte's Web) and David Strathairn (At Close Range) are part of a heist team in the 1992 action movie SNEAKERS.

Desmond Llewelyn (Thunderball) and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) are in the 1985 Bond movie A VIEW TO A KILL.

Thomas Haden Church (Charlotte's Web) and Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) play villains to Spider-Man in Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN trilogy.

Barry Pepper (Snitch) and Tom McCarthy (Mary and Tim) were in the 2006 war film FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.

Abraham Benrubi (Charlotte's Web) and Sean Penn (At Close Range) were in the 1997 movie U TURN.

Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) declined the role of Vivian Ward in the 1990 comedy PRETTY WOMAN which would ultimately go to Julia Roberts (Charlotte's Web).

Dakota Fanning (Charlotte's Web) and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) were in the 2004 film OUT OF TIME.

Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) and Susan Sarandon (Snitch) were in the 1987 film THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK.

Dakota Fanning (Charlotte's Web) and Sean Penn (At Close Range) were daughter and father with Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) representing Penn in his custody battle for Fanning in the 2001 movie I AM SAM

Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) and Christopher Walken (At Close Range) were in the 1992 film superhero film BATMAN RETURNS and the 2007 musical HAIRSPRAY.

Gary Basaraba (Charlotte's Web) and Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express) are in the 1988 film THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST.

Johnny Depp (Murder on the Orient Express) and Barry Pepper (Snitch) were in the 2013 movie THE LONE RANGER.


Beau Bridges (Charlotte's Web) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) were in the 1989 film THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS.


Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express) plays MI6 head M in the Pierce Brosnan era and some of the Daniel Craig era.  Bernard Lee plays M in this week's feature THUNDERBALL as well much of the early franchise.

Sam Shepard (Charlotte's Web) and Penelope Cruz (Murder on the Orient Express) were in the 2000 film ALL THE PRETTY HORSES.

Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express) plays Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot in this week's feature MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.  Francis L. Sullivan (Joan of Arc) played the detective in an episode of the series THEATRE PARADE on the episode THE WASP'S NEST.

Sam Shepard (Charlotte's Web) and Willem Dafoe (Murder on the Orient Express were in the 2013 film OUT OF THE FURNACE.