Sunday, September 20, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 770th Edition


Welcome to the 770th Edition of my series.  Glad to see that football is going again.  It has been a really good weekend and hate to see it end.  I don't really have much else happening right now so I'll just get to my selections for the week.

Prisoners (2013):  Denis Villeneuve directed this film that takes a look at every parent's worst nightmare of children being kidnapped.  Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello star as Keller and Grace Dover whose younger daughter Anna, played by Erin Gerasimovich, and her friend Joy, played by Kyla-Drew, get kidnapped.  Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as Detective Loki who does what he can to get the kids back while within the book while Keller takes some very extreme measures in his own search for the girls.  Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Soul, Wayne Duvall, Len Cariou, David Dastmalchian, and many others co-star in this film.  This was very heart-wrenching to watch at times.  This was not an easy watch by any means but was a very compelling film that works on so many levels, most importantly the performances.

Crooked House (2017):  Gilles Paquet-Brenner directed this murder mystery based on the novel by Agatha Christie.  Max Irons stars as private investigator Charles Haywood whose old flame Sophia, played by Stephanie Martini, enlists him to investigate the murder of her wealthy family member Aristide Leonides.  His investigation leads to just about everyone in the family having a motive to murder Leonides and must use his skills to figure out the crime.  Glenn Close, Christina Hendricks, Terence Stamp, Julian Sands, Gillian Anderson, Christian McKay, Honor Kneafsey, Amanda Abbington, Preston Nyman, John Heffernan, Jenny Galloway, and many others co-star in this whodunit.  Christie has said this was her favorite novel.  This one is a little darker than her other stories.  Not quite as dark as my first selection but still an interesting climax.

Higher Learning (1995):  John Singleton wrote and directed this film which takes a look at racial tension and other things at Columbus University.  This focuses on the freshman characters of Malik, played by Omar Epps, Kristen, played by Kristy Swanson, and Remy, played by Michael Rapaport.  They all deal with various things while trying to make it in college.  Jennifer Connelly, Ice Cube, Jason Wiles, Tyra Banks, Cole Hauser, Laurence Fishburne, Regina King, Busta Rhymes, Jay R. Ferguson, Andrew Bryniarski, Trevor St. John, Adam Goldberg, J. Trevor Edmond, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Kari Wuhrer, Vitamin C, and many others co-star in this film.  This is also not that upbeat and really wants us to think.  Rapaport is almost unrecognizable in his early role with longer hair but as soon as he starts talking, we hear the voice that only comes out of Michael Rapaport and I don't even think his voice can be imitated.  With the things going on now and how things went in this movie, nothing has really changed.  Each person can make the conscience decision to treat all people fairly and this movie makes us think about that.

One Week in October:  Cuban Missile Crisis (1964):  This is my documentary short for the week which was directed by Thomas H. Wolf.  This is an NBC news broadcast about that infamous uncertain time we had with Cuba.  This talks about what went on before and during this crisis and the peaceful conclusion that President Kennedy made.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime with "Films of the Cold War" which is about 90 minutes worth of short films.

The Roaring Twenties (1939):  Raoul Walsh directed this Warner Brothers gangster film.  James Cagney stars as Eddie Bartlett who is returning home from WWI along with his friends George, played by Humphrey Bogart, and Lloyd, played by Jeffrey Lynn.  Bartlett expects to be able to get his old job back but finds that he has been passed by in his town and turns to bootlegging.  He is able to form a partnership with George but have a falling out in the process.  Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly, Elisabeth Risdon, Edward Keane, Joe Sawyer, and many others co-star in this film.  This would be Cagney's last gangster film for a decade when he would return to the genre in WHITE HEAT.  Bogart would also start moving away from the genre and become a leading man but was a great villain in this one.  This is based on a true story on bootlegger Larry Fay and is kind of a character study on a veteran trying to make it.

Genevieve (1953):  I have some pretty dark selections so far but now I bring a comedy directed by Henry Cornelius.  This centers around the annual antique car rally in London.  John Gregson and Kenneth More star as Alan McKim and Ambrose Claverhouse who are usually friends but rivals this time of year.  This has them going to London to Brighton where they make a friendly wager which is not so friendly as they go along making their wives suffer along for the ride.  Dinah Sheridan, Kay Kendall, Geoffrey Keen, Reginald Beckwith, Arthur Wontner, Joyce Grenfell, and many others co-star in this British comedy.  This pays really good homage to antique cars and there are a lot of funny moments.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Love, Gilda (2018):  This is my documentary for the week which was directed by Lisa D'Apolito.  This centers on the legendary SNL alum Gilda Radner.  This starts out in her childhood where she would start to develop her comic personality which was a lot in response to being made fun of by other children.  It also goes into her time as one of the first cast members of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and then go into her bout with cancer.  This shows how she tried to make the most of her situation up until her untimely death.  This has a lot of her friends as well as current comedians reflecting on her writings of the title.  This is available on Hulu and really deserves a look from fans of Radner or from those that do not know a lot, if anything, about her to get to know the legendary comedienne.

Man in the Wilderness (1971):  Richard C. Safafian directed this film on an expedition in the 1800s.  Richard Harris stars as Zachary Bass who is maimed by a bear and left for dead by the others feeling there is no way for him to survive, mostly by Captain Henry, played by John Huston.  He miraculously survives the bear attack and sets out for revenge.  Henry Wilcoxan, Percy Herbert, Dennis Waterman, Prunella Ransome, Sheila Raynor, Norman Rossington, James Doohan, Bryan Marshall, Ben Carruthers, Robert Russell, John Bindon, Bruce M. Fischer, and many others co-star in this film.  Many have probably thought, "This sounds like THE REVENANT" and yes, this movie is based on the real-life Hugh Glass.  This movie and THE REVENANT has similarities and some differences.  They are both really good and I did not know about this movie until I featured THE REVENANT a couple week ago.

Poverty and Nobility (1954):  This is my Italian film for the week which was directed by Mario Mattoli and based on a play by Eduardo Scarpetta.  Toto stars as a writer named Felice who along with his photographer friend Pasquale, played by Enzo Turco, live in poverty.  They are asked by their friend Eugenio to help him woo the beautiful Gemma, played by a young Sophia Loren, where they pose as aristocrats.  This leads to some very funny moments, misunderstandings, and double crosses.  Toto was a legendary comedic actor and rather underrated by today's standards with his comedic timing.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and is worth a look as long as you don't mind English subtitles.

Forky Asks a Question:  What is a Computer (2019):  I end the week with this animated short written and directed by Bob Peterson.  In TOY STORY 4, they introduced the character Forky, voiced by Tony Hale, which became a very popular character.  They made a series of short episodes with the character.  In this one, he becomes very interested in a computer but has a hard time understanding it.  Trixie, voiced by Kristen Schaal, struggles to teach him about it.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus as well as others in the FORKY ASKS A QUESTION series.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Russell Crowe, Judi Dench, Michelle Williams, Roddy McDowell, Jonathan Demme, Michael Rapaport, Richard Attenborough, and many others.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 769th Edition

Welcome to the 769th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone is remaining safe out there.  I don't have a lot to say so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

The Irishman (2019):  Martin Scorsese directed this film based on the book I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES by Charles Brandt and reunites with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci for the first time since 1995.  De Niro stars as Frank Sheeran who reflects on his times in the mafia, most notably the Bufalino family, and his friendship with Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino, and Russell Bufalino, played by Pesci.  Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Stephen Graham, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Jack Huston, Katherine Narducci, Jesse Plemons, Domenick Lombardozzi, Paul Herman, Gary Basaraba, Marin Ireland, Lucy Gallina, Welker White, Louis Cancelmi, Bo Dietl, Sebastian Maniscalno, Aleksa Palladino, Steven Van Zandt, Jim Norton, Daniel Jenkins, Kevin O'Rourke, Jake Hoffman, Paul Ben-Victor, and many others co-star in this film.  It was good to see Scorsese, De Niro, and Pesci return to their mob roots.  Pesci has mostly been in retirement and has been said that Scorsese had to be very persistent in getting Pesci in this movie saying he refused many times before finally giving in.  Pacino was a really good Hoffa and it was good to see him join the world of Scorsese.  I admit, I was not really familiar with these people besides Hoffa.  This is not a short movie by any means but I enjoyed the three and a half hours spent watching this mafia epic.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

Dope (2015):  Rick Famuyiwa wrote directed this coming of age film.  Shameik Moore stars as Malcolm, who along with his Jib, played by Tony Revolori, and Diggy, played by Kiersey Clemons, are a group of nerds and love their '90s rap and hip-hop.  They get invited to a party where things happen that put them on some misadventures and put their college future in jeopardy.  Kimberly Elise, ASAP Rocky, Quincy Brown, Blake Anderson, Amin Joseph, Chanel Iman, Ricky Harris, Rick Fox, Bruce Beatty, Zoe Kravitz, Roger Guenveur Smith, Allen Maldonado, Ashton Moio, Lidia Porto, LaKeith Stanfield, Tyga, Forest Whitaker and many others co-star in this film.  This does pay some good homage to '90s rap and hip-hop.  This has a really good blend of drama and comedy and really has a good message on escaping stereotype.

Uncle Buck (1989):  John Hughes wrote and directed this comedy.  John Hughes stars as Buck whose brother Bob, played by Garrett M. Brown, and his wife Cindy, played by Elaine Bromka, have a family emergency and must turn to Buck to watch their three kids even if he may not be the most ideal person to watch kids.  He does not have trouble with the younger kids in Miles, played by Macauley Culkin, and Maizy, played by Gaby Hoffman, but has a really hard time dealing with the teenage Tia, played by Jean Louisa Kelly.  Amy Madigan, Laurie Metcalf, Jay Underwood, Brian Tarantina, Mike Starr, Suzanne Shephert, Anna Chlumsky, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Chlumsky has a bit role and would reunite her and Culkin in MY GIRL.  Candy is cast perfectly in the role of Buck while also hearing of people like Jack Nicholson and Joe Pesci being considered for this role which would have been interesting I suppose but can't imagine anyone else but John Candy.  Some scenes with Culkin would inspire Hughes to cast him in his movie HOME ALONE the next year as young Jigsaw making Culkin an iconic child star.  Candy does make some epic pancakes for pancake lovers out there.  This is a lot of fun and is mostly a family watch if you don't mind some profanity.

Revolt of the Toys (1945):  This is my stop-animation short for the week that features Czech animator Hermina Tyrvola who was the first female Czech animator.  This is very clearly anti-Nazi propaganda where a very clever toymaker is able to fight hardship with his toys.  This is one that is not featured on the imdb website but is on Youtube.  Tyrlova appears to be an unsung hero in the world of animation, especially stop-motion and hope to get her some recognition.

A Woman's Face (1938):  This is my Swedish film for the week which was directed by Gustaf Molander and based on the play by Francis de Croisset.  Ingrid Bergman stars as Anna Holm who has always lead a life of crime and has a disfigured face.  A chance encounter with a plastic surgeon, played by Anders Henrikson, and agrees to help fix her face.  When this happens, she becomes the governess to a family and has very criminal intentions at first but has a change of heart.  Tore Svennberg, Georg Rydeberg, Gunnar Sjoberg, Hilda Borgstrom, Karen Kavli, and many others co-star in this film.  This would be remade in America in 1941 with Joan Crawford in the lead role.  This is a pretty moving story and is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Funny Girl (1968):  This is one of two musicals for the week which is pretty rare for me.  William Wyler directed this musical with the music written by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and written by Isobel Lennart.  Barbra Streisand stars as Fanny Brice who was a famed singer and comedienne.  This charts her rise as a Ziegfeld girl who was rather different from the other dancers and managed to win the audience over through her comedy and singing abilities and was determined to make it in show business somehow.  This also focuses on her relationship with Nick Arnstein, played by Omar Sharif.  Kay Medford, Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon, Mae Questel, Gerald Mohr, Frank Faylen, Gertrude Flynn, and many others co-star in this musical.  Streisand originated this role on Broadway and makes her film debut in this one.  This is a very well done musical with some great music numbers like PEOPLE and DON'T RAIN ON MY PARADE.  Musical lovers should really enjoy this one.

House of Flying Daggers (2004):  Yimou Zhang directed this martial arts film that branches into fantasy and into a love story.  Zhang Ziyi stars as Mei who is a blind girl and part of a rebel group of the title name.  She is arrested by a cop named Leo, played by Andy Lau.  He sends Officer Jin, played by Takeshi Kaneshiro, undercover to investigate this group starting with breaking Mei out of jail and earning the trust of the group.  Everything is far more complicated than it seems and we are in for all kinds of twists and turns.  This movie worked for me on so many levels from the acting, fight choreography, the love story, and the cinematography.  This might be my favorite in martial arts movies and is altogether a beautiful film.  This is available to watch for free on the Crackle app.

Bonnie's Kids (1972):  I have an Aunt Bonnie who has a couple kids but they are nothing like the kids in this movie.  Tiffany Bolling and Robin Mattison star as sisters Ellie and Myra who kill their abusive stepdad and go on the run taking refuge with their wealthy uncle.  When there, they have a change of personality and start living life on the wild side when finding $400,000 in stolen loot. Steve Sandor, Scott Brady, Alex Rocco, Max Showalter, Leo Gordon, Lenore Stevens, Timothy Brown, and many others co-star in this movie.  Quentin Tarantino's bit "The Bonnie Situation" in PULP FICTION was inspired by this movie.  This is pretty enjoyable if not taken too seriously.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

State Fair (1945):  This is my second musical for the week and this one comes from Rodgers and Hammerstein and centers around the state fair in Iowa.  Walter Lang directed this musical which centers around the Frake family.  The patriarch Abel, played by Charles Winninger, is determined to win the pig judging contest for his beloved Blue Boy.  His wife Margy, played by Jeanne Crain, is in her own pie contest at the fair.  Their kids Melissa and Wayne, played by Fay Bainter and Dick Haymes, manage to each find love at the fair.  Dana Andrews, Vivian Blaine, Donald Meek, Frank McHugh, Percy Kilbride, Harry Morgan, Jane Nigh, William Marshall, Phil Brown, and many others co-star in this musical.  Andrews is mostly known for his Film Noir roles, at least to me, so it was nice to a change of pace in this one.  I was in the chorus for this musical years ago at the Muncie Civic Theater.  This is a pretty upbeat musical and can be enjoyed by the family.

Cravings from Within (2019):  I end the week with this horror short film which was written and directed by Dina McNeil.  A family take a camping trip which takes a turn for the worst.  Ryan McNeil, Maddey Pierson, Duke McNeil, and Kyla Russell star in this short film.  I did find this to be a very well done short film but I will also say that it is not for everyone as described with the key word horror.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and on Vimeo.  This does not appear to have gotten much exposure as of yet so let's help these people out and give about seven minutes of your time if you are a horror fan or at least tolerant.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Hugh Jackman, Glenn Close, Jennifer Connelly, James Cagney, and many others.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 768th Edition

Welcome to the 768th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone is able to stay safe in these times.  I don't really have much to say right now so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

You Can Count on Me (2000):  I start the week out with this character study which was written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan who also co-stars.  Laura Linney stars as Upstate New York single mom Sammy whose brother Terry, played by Mark Ruffalo, returns to town.  He immediately bonds with her son Rudy, played by Rory Culkin, but is concerned of his influence over him.  Matthew Broderick co-stars as Sammy's boss who is also complicating her life.  Adam LeFevre, Halley Feiffer, J. Smith-Cameron, Jon Tenney, Gaby Hoffman, Amy Ryan, Michael Countryman, Nina Garbiras, Josh Lucas, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a movie driven more by the characters.  Culkin does not make his debut but it is his first major role in a motion picture and does very well as Rudy.  He would years later come to my dad's hometown of Columbus, Indiana to co-star in COLUMBUS.  This is a nice film to watch that is driven by everyday characters.

Popstar:  Never Stop Never Stopping (2016):  Now I go to a mockumentary which was directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone who both also co-star as part of the Style Boys.  Andy Samberg stars as Conner who mostly lead the Style Boys before going into his own career as Conner 4 Real.  His new solo album fails to sell and does what he can to maintain his celebrity status.  Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Imogen Potts, Chris Redd, Edgar Blackmon, Danny Strong, Kevin Nealon, Bill Hader, Will Forte, Marielle Heller, and many others co-star in this comedy.  There are also a lot of cameos from people in the music world including Michael Bolton who sings another song with the Lonely Island guys.  I had never seen this and was pleasantly surprised.  I have always liked what I have heard from the Lonely Island but was not really aware of this movie honestly.  I laughed very hard at this and enjoyed much of the songs.  One of my favorite elements of this movie was the joke about '90s band Tony! Toni! Tone! and I will always believe it to be true.  If you do not like anything put out by the Lonely Island, this likely is not something to watch but any fan of the Lonely Island and mockumentaries should love this one.

The Revenant (2015):  Now I go to a more serious film which was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and based on the novel by Michael Punke.  Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass who is a frontiersman in the 1820s and must fight for survival after being mauled by a bear.  He makes a miraculous recovery and goes after fellow hunting member John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy, who betrayed him and left for dead among other things.  Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Joshua Burge, Duane Howard, Lukas Haas, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good tale of survival and revenge and Inarritu did everything possible for authenticity.  This is based on true events

A Reckless Rover (1918):  This is my silent short film for the week.  C.N. David directed this short film that was part of the African-American cinema company the Ebony Film Company and their stab at slapstick comedy.  This involves a man on the run from a cop taking refuge in a Chinese laundry where havoc is wreaked and an interesting scene involving an opium pipe.  This also shows that the transfer was not perfect showing another really neat element showing the decomposing of film.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel and is worth a look.

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950):  Michael Gordon directed this adaptation of the play by Edmond Rostand and Brian Hooker.  Jose Ferrero stars as the long-nosed title character who is a swordsman and poet.  He tries to woo the beautiful Roxane, played by Mala Powers, who lets Cyrano know that she loves another man named Christian.  In turn, Cyrano helps Christian, played by William Prince, to woo her with his own words.  Morris Carnovsky, Lloyd Corrigan, Virginia Farmer, Edgar Barrier, and many others co-star in this film.  Ferrer plays the role of Cyrano to perfection.  This would have a more modern-day version called ROXANNE which stars Steve Martin.  I learned some things are omitted but I have no idea what it was and this was still fun to watch.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Absent-Minded Professor (1950):  This is my Disney selection for the week which was directed by Robert Stevenson and based on the short story A SITUATION OF GRAVITY by Samuel W. Taylor.  Fred MacMurray stars as Professor Ned Brainard who invents a substance called Flubber which benefits the basketball team.  A corrupt businessman named Alonzo Hawk, played by Keenan Wynn, is out to get it for himself.  Nancy Olson, Tommy Kirk, Leon Ames, Elliott Reid, and many others co-star in this Disney classic.  This is a good movie for the family to watch and mostly holds up with the comedy.  This would be remade in 1997 starring Robin Williams in FLUBBER.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus.

The Handmaiden (2016):  If you are watching these in order and watch the last one with the kids, I would suggest waiting until they go to bed to watch this film.  Chan-Wook Park directed this Korean film that takes place in the 1930s during the period of Japanese occupation.  A new girl named Sookee, played by Tae-Ri Kim, is hired as a handmaiden to Japanese heiress Hideko, played by Min-Hee Kim.  Sookee is a pickpocket hired to swindle Hideko but they end up discovering feelings for one another.  It is hard to really describe this any further without really giving it away.  It is a very complex and provocative film.  I don't know how their rating system works and I am pretty sure this would have an NC-17 rating in the states.  This is by no means for everyone but is a very compelling film.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Go-Between (1971):  Joseph Losey directed this film which was based on the novel by L.P. Hartley.  This is period piece from the early 1900s, Dominic Guard stars as Leo, though played by Michael Redgrave later, who befriends the beautiful Marian, played by Julie Christie.  She is engaged to be married to Hugh, played by Edward Fox, but is having an affair with Ted Burgess, played by Alan Bates.  Marian enlists Leo to send messages to Ted which has some unexpected life-changing events.  Margaret Leighton, Michael Gough, Richard Gibson, and many others co-star in this period film.  This is also rather provocative, not to the level of the movie featured before this one.  To those that love the period films should really like this one.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Murder, My Sweet (1944):  Edward Dmytryk directed this film based on the novel FAREWELL, MY LOVELY by Raymond Chandler but was renamed to avoid confusion with the musical which stars Dick Powell.  Dick Powell takes the helm as private investigator Philip Marlowe who is hired by ex-con Moose Malloy, played by Mike Mazurki, to find his missing girlfriend Velma.  While the case seems simple, Marlowe runs into all kinds of deceit and an uneasy relationship with the police.  Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger, Miles Mander, Douglas Walton, Donald Douglas, Ralf Harolde, Esther Howard, and many others co-star in this film noir.  Powell was known for his work in musicals and makes his transition very well.  Chandler has cited that Powell was his favorite actor to play Marlowe on-screen.  This is a really good mystery with lots of twists and turns.

All these Creatures (2018):  I end the week with this short film which was written and directed by Charles Williams.  A young man must unravel the mystery of his father through memories to come to terms with his father's deteriorating sanity.  This has some really good imagery to go along with the main character.  It appears this has not had a lot of exposure having no reviews on imdb but it is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Al Pacino, Kimberly Elise, John Candy, Ingrid Bergman, Barbra Streisand, Ziyi Zhang, and many others.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 767th Edition

Welcome to the 767th edition of my series.  Tomorrow, I start training for a new placement in my work.  Unfortunately, the company I have worked for over five years with is doing away with Concentrix.  I do not know what the future holds after my eight weeks of training but I will just make the most of it while I'm there.  I hope everyone is staying safe and I will just get to my selections for the week.

The Immigrant (2013):  This is part five of my five-part Joaquin Phoenix series.  James Gray directed this film that takes place in 1920s New York.  Marion Cotillard stars as immigrant Ewa Cybulska who along with her sister Magda, played by Angela Sarafyan, are immigrating from Poland to the United States.  Magda is found to be ill and is quarantined while Ewa is about to be deported but is saved by Bruno Weiss, played by Phoenix.  This comes at a price where she is forced into a life of burlesque and prostitution but is willing to do what she must to reunite with her sister.  Jeremy Renner co-stars as the dashing magician Emil who takes a liking to Ewa and tries to help her escape the life she has.  Dagmara Dominczyk, Jicky Schnee, Elena Solovey, Maja Wampuszyc, Ilia Volok, and many others co-star in this film.  This is pretty decent period piece with Phoenix good as always with that intensity only he can bring.  This is available to watch on imdb tv so it is free with ads.

Jojo Rabbit (2019):  Taika Waititi directed this WWII satire that is based on the book CAGING SKIES by Christine Leunens and also co-stars as a rather idiotic Hitler.  Roman Griffin Davis stars as Jojo who is part of Hitler's army and whose life is turned upside-down when he learns his mother Rosie, played by Scarlett Johansson, is hiding a Jewish girl, played by Thomasin McKenzie, in the attic.  Hitler is an imaginary friend to Jojo who must confront what he has learned so far.  Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Archie Yates, Luke Brandon Field, Sam Haygarth, and many others star in this comedy.  This could have easily been a very tasteless comedy with this subject matter but they manage to avoid that happening while also showing how horrible times were at this time.  This could be a good double feature to have along with Chaplin's THE GREAT DICTATOR.

Rich and Famous (1981):  George Cukor directed this film which is based on a play by John Van Druten.  Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen co-star as friends Liz and Merry Noel who are both authors and have gone different routes in their writing careers.  This takes a look at the ups and downs of many years of friendship.  David Selby, Hart Bochner, Steven Hill, Meg Ryan, Matt Latanzi, Daniel Faraldo, Nicole Eggert, Joe Maross, and many others co-star in this film.  This was Cukor's last film where he brought us Meg Ryan who makes her debut in this film as Merry Noel's daughter Debby when she was 18 and portrayed as a child by Nicole Eggert who was a childhood crush on BAYWATCH.  If I didn't already know Ryan was in this movie, I might have mistaken her for Alicia Silverstone.  Cukor had a lot of better movies but was still worth a look for Bisset and Bergen in their younger days as well as a young Meg Ryan.

The Hand (1965):  This is on of two animated shorts I am featuring this week.  Jiri Trnka directed this Czechoslovakian animated short film which centers around a potter that is invaded by a hand.  This hand demands to have a statue made of himself through threats and bribery and the potter refusing to do this deed.  This was a very bizarre short film to say the least which is usually the case in with Czechoslovakian films in my experience.  This was originally banned in the country by the communist regime for depicting a restrictive environment.  This can be seen on Youtube.

Things to Come (1936):  Now I bring a Sci-Fi selection which was directed by William Cameron Menzies and based on the novel by H.G. Wells.  This centers around a global war that starts in 1940 and is many decades long.  Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Sophie Stewart, Derrick De Marney, Ann Todd, Pearl Argyle, and many others co-star in this very complex sci-fi film.  This takes a look at the start of it in 1940 into years later in 1965 and then in the year 2035, where progress is happening but others trying to stop it.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Godzilla Raids Again (1955):  Motoyoshi Oda directed this sequel the 1954 classic film.  Everyone believes Godzilla has been destroyed but is back and in addition to Godzilla, we also get the addition of Anguirus.  These two Kaijus are going at it with full force while also destroying the town of Osaka in the process.  This is the second movie feature Godzilla and I guess is the start of Godzilla taking on other Kaijus.  Anguirus would appear in other Godzilla movies both as an enemy and at times an ally but would never go onto have his own movie.  George Takei has a bit role as the voice of a commander and is his first film project.  Some may recognize actor Takashi Shimura from Japanese films like IKIRU.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel among other Godzilla movies.

Blades of Glory (2007):  This is my sports comedy for the week which was directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.  Will Ferrell and Jon Heder stars figure skating rivals Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy.  They end up tying for a gold medal and their tension gets the best of them when they get into a big fight during the ceremony.  Three years later, a loophole is discovered that they are only banned from individual skating and Jimmy's coach, played by COACH himself Craig T. Nelson, sees potential in them.  Michaels and MacElroy must work to overcome their tensions.  Will Arnett and Amy Poehler co-star as a sibling figure skating duo who will do anything to stay at the top.  Jenna Fischer, William Fichtner, Romany Malco, Nick Swardson, Andy Richter, Greg Lindsay, Rob Corddry, Remy Girard, William Daniels, Luciano Carro, Luke Wilson, and many others co-star in this comedy.  There are also a few cameos from the world of figure skating.  This was very enjoyable for me and wish we had more personalities like these in figure skating.  I loved Ferrell's rendition of MY HUMPS by the Black Eyed Peas.  Ferrell and Heder played off each other so well with the differences in personality.

Come Back, Little Sheba (1952):  Daniel Mann directed this film which is based on the play by William Inge.  Burt Lancaster stars as Doc Delaney who is a recovering alcoholic and in a rather unhappy marriage with his wife Lola, played by Shirley Booth.  Lola is kind of in her own world after they lost a child and is convinced their dog Sheba will return.  They rent out a room to a young suitor named Marie, played by Terry Moore, who Doc becomes interested in but she has two suitors of her own age.  Richard Jaeckel, Philip Ober, Edwin Max, Lisa Golm, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very intense film where Lancaster took on some very deep projects for that time.  Booth plays Lola in the original Broadway production and makes her film debut here.  This is also available to watch on the Criterion Collection.

101 Dalmatians (1961):  This is my Disney selection for the week which is based on the children's novel by Dodie Smith.  Dalmatian couple Pongo and Perdita have a puppy litter of 15 and are abducted by the mean Cruella De Vil and her henchmen in order to make fur coats.  Pongo and Perdita set out to rescue their puppies with the help of some of their dog and other animal friends.  Rod Taylor, J. Pat O'Malley, Betty Lou Gerson, Martha Wentworth, Ben Wright, Clarence Nash, and many others lend their voices to this Disney classic.  This is a very enjoyable movie to watch with all kinds of dogs.  The henchmen in this movie are very inept.  I don't think much else needs to be said here except this is an enjoyable watch the whole family can enjoy.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus.

Ryan (2004):  I end the week with this animated documentary short which was directed by Chris Landreth.  Landreth sits down for an interview with Ryan Larkin who did a lot of work in the 60s and 70s as an animator and has fallen from grace as they say.  Larkin reflects on when he was on his rise and into the modern-day where he is an alcoholic.  Landreth also tries to do an intervention.  This has always been one of my favorite short film.  This has some extremely clever drawings of each person and physically reflects their personal issues.  Larkin got to make a little bit of a comeback in Canada but unfortunately died in 2007 of lung cancer.  This can also be found on Youtube and is really worth a few minutes to check out.

Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back my segment "The Bookworm Corner".  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Laura Linney, Joan Cusack, Leonardo DiCaprio, Fred MacMurray, Julie Christie, and many others.


Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (2017):  I have not really been focused as reading as much lately having the play I was in.  I also tried the historical politics route but that really did not do it for me.  I did want to get back to the reading and I was at Dollar Tree and decided to look at the books that were only a dollar.  This one really stuck out at me and when reading the description and seeing reviews by authors, I decided to give this a shot.  This centers around single mother Lindsey Scott who was in an abusive relationship with a man named Andrew and they had a daughter named Sophie.  She took their daughter and got away and Andrew went to jail.  Now, years later, Lindsey seems to have her life together but learns of Andrew's release and things begin to happen that resemble the things he has done in the past.  I realized that for me, books with fairly short chapters are easiest to read.  This usually has no more than 10 pages a chapter, some a little more and I was usually able to read a couple chapters at a time.  Each time, I looked forward to seeing what happens next.  When the book got to the climax, then I could not put it down.  This is the latest from Chevy Stevens and has written quite a bit of mysteries including her debut STILL MISSING that went on to become a bestseller.  This was obviously worth to me what I paid for this book but now I'm inclined to possibly purchase some of her books.  Learn more about Chevy Stevens at and give this a go.