Sunday, October 20, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 722nd Edition and the Madness: Kings and Masters- Week 2


Welcome to the 722nd Edition of my series.  We have our final performance today for THE INTERROGATION OF BIBLICAL CHARACTERS.  It has gone well and has been well received.  I am grateful to have been a part of this first time production.  I doubt I do anything in the winter unless I find something in Muncie.  I will get on with my selections for the week and the second week of the Madness.


The Purge:  Election Year (2016):  This is the third of the franchise which was written and directed by James DeMonaco.  Frank Grillo reprises his role as Leo Barnes and works as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, who is running for president.  Roan's biggest priority if elected is to get the purge outlawed.  For those that don't already know, the Purge is a twelve hour period where crime is legal for that period of time.  Leo does what he can to protect Charlie from those targeting her and gets help from others that are against the day.  Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel, Terry Serpico, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor, Liza Colon-Zayas, Ethan Phillips, Adam Cantor, Raymond J. Barry, and many others co-star in this film.  I actually found this one to be the most enjoyable.  This had an interesting statement about survival of the lower class.  I will say, that the first one is not absolutely necessary for this one but this second one THE PURGE:  ANARCHY still needs to be watched before this one but I say still watch them all.


Halloween (2018):  David Gordon Green directed this latest in the franchise which brings back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode.  Laurie has mostly shut herself off from everyone, even her daughter Karen, played by Judy Greer and her granddaughter Allyson, played by Andi Matichak, whose relationship with Laurie is very difficult.  Laurie must face her rival Michael Myers, played by Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney, who continues to go after her and everyone around her.  Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton, Rhian Rees, Jefferson Hall, Toby Huss, Virginia Gardner, Dylan Arnold, Miles Robinson, Drew Scheid, and many others co-star in this film.  This essentially takes place after HALLOWEEN II I would say and H20 does not figure into this one.  This was a good way of bringing back Laurie Strode and pulling the franchise more to what it was before.  This is a good one for the season and all year round if you ask me.


What We Do in the Shadows (2014):  Now I go into some vampire comedy which was co-written and co-directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi who also co-star as vampires Vladislav and Viago.  This movie is shot as a mockumentary where there two vamps and Deacon, played by Jonny Brugh, all live in the same flat and talk about their struggles in the modern world like paying rent, doing household chores, and getting into nightclubs.  Ben Fransham, Jackie Van Beek, Jason Hoyte, Chelsie Preston Crayford, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This was shown in my local library as part of the Cinemuncie series and the entire room was just cracking up.  This was a very hilarious take to the vamp genre and just a great homage in general to the history of vampires.


Six Men Getting Sick (1966):  This is my animated short for the week.  This is some very early work of David Lynch of basically what the title says but in a way that only the mind of David Lynch would be able to come up with.  That's the best explanation I can give, it's only about five minutes long and worth it to see early Lynch.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.


The Mummy (1959):  This is my Hammer Films selection for the week.  Terence Fisher directed this mummy film which stars the icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.  Usually, we think of the mummy character Imhotep but in this one the mummy is Kharis, played by Lee.  Cushing co-stars as archaeologist John Banning whose group accidentally wakes Kharis who looks to exact revenge from what happened to him.  Yvonne Furneaux, Eddie Byrne, Felix Aylmer, Raymond Huntley, George Pastell, and many others co-star in this film.  This is the third of the Hammer Films after shooting DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN adaptations. I preferred the first two but this is still a pretty decent selection into the mummy genre.


King Kong (1933):  Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack directed this film that introduced us to the big ape.  Robert Armstrong stars as sleazy movie producer Carl Denham who is trying to finish a production and has an island in mind but struggles to find a female.  He finally finds struggling and aspiring actress Ann Darrow, played by Fay Wray, who is willing to take whatever she can get.  They find that this island is very dangerous and Ann gets kidnapped by an indigenous tribe only to be saved by King Kong who takes quite a liking to her.  Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher, Sam Hardy, and many others co-star in this film.  In 2005, Peter Jackson directed a remake which I would go onto like better than this one but I must give credit where it is due with this one.  This still has a great story with the really good climax which makes Fay Wray quite an icon..


The Devil's Backbone (2001):  This is my ghost story for the week which was directed by Guillermo Del Toro and set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War.  Fernando Tielve stars as 12 year old Carlos whose father died in the war and is now staying at an orphanage.  Shortly after his arrival, he encounters a ghost that no one else can see and learn it was a kid from the orphanage named Santi.  He slowly learns dark secrets of the orphanage as he learns about Santi.  Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Inigo Visedo, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a project that Del Toro had been working on for years before finally getting it off the ground.  This was a pretty decent and compelling story that was essentially a drama with the ghost element added into it.


Beauty and the Devil (1950):  This is my French film for the week which was directed by Rene Clair and is a various on the story of FAUST.  Michel Simon stars as the aging Professor Henri Faust who has an encounter with Mephistopheles, played by Gerard Philipe, and is offered eternal youth for his soul where they essentially exchange bodies.  They are soon in a game of one-ups with each other in the way of temptation from Mephistopheles.  This is a pretty well told story with a good touch of
comedy like when they must adjust to their new bodies.  The leads work with together in in their role changes in this devilish fun.


Saturday Night Fever (1977):  This is part one of a two-part John Badham series.  Badham directed this classic disco film and based on an 1976 article by Nik Cohn called TRIBAL RIGHTS OF THE NEW SATURDAY NIGHT which was in New York Magazine.  On the rise at the time actor John Travolta stars as Brooklyn 19 year old Tony Manero who has a rather dysfunctional family and dances at a local disco on the weekends to escape the harsh reality of life.  He meets fellow dancer Stephanie, played by Karen Lynn Gorney, and teams up with her to compete in a bigger dance contest.  Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape, Donna Pescow, Julie Bovasso, Martin Shakar, Sam Coppola, Nina Hansen, Denny Dillon, Bert Michaels, Fran Drescher, and many others co-star in this film.  Yes, you read that right, a young Fran Drescher has a small role as Connie and does not have nearly as thick of an accent as she would in the later years.  I know in the beginning of this I referred to this as a "disco film" which is a bit of an exaggeration.  Disco music is a big focus for both the soundtrack and Tony Manero's enjoyment of a disco bar but this movie is more than that.  It's more about a young man trying to escape his mundane lifestyle.  By today's standards some might find this a bit offensive and is rather politically incorrect at times.  If you can get past that and the fact that Travolta in real-life is part of an extreme "religion", this is a good classic story.


El Mariachi (1992):  I end the week with this independent classic which was written and directed by Robert Rodriguez in his directorial.  Carlos Gallardo stars as a drifter who is looking for work in bars as a mariachi singer.  He goes into a small town where he is mistaken for a murderous criminal who carries around a guitar case full of guns in which the drifter ends up with and is targeted by the local mob.  Consuelo Gomez, Jaime de Hoyos, Peter Marquardt, Reinol Martinez, and many others co-star in this film.  For those who do not know, this is the first of a trilogy that would lead to the two more known films in DESPERADO and ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO which would star Antonio Banderas as the title character.  This does not have the sort of violence the later two would have but still has some really good action scenes with the mariachi doing what he must to survive.  Rodriguez worked very hard in this movie taking on just about all the behind the camera roles needed and would go onto have a great career as a director.  For those who have only seen the later two, give credit where it is due and check this one out.

Well, that is it for this week but continue to read on for the second week of the Madness.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes John Goodman, Uma Thurman, John Carpenter, and many others.



THE MADNESS:  KINGS AND MASTERS- WEEK 2

This is week two of our annual contest.  As always I make categories for my selections where I mostly use the names on the kings, Masters of Horror, and the guest list.  I also have categories for names that I use more than once and come up with other ones like vampires.



BETTY GABRIEL

Betty is not a wild card this year but decided to make a category for her.

Get Out (2017, 104 minutes, 666 1/2):  Betty plays one of the employees in this movie which was written and directed by Jordan Peele.  This is an interesting look at racism and made a pretty good horror film out of it.



The Purge:  Election Year (2016, 108 minutes, 66 1/2):  I don't think I need any explanation for this movie.  Betty plays EMT Laney who is trying to help those injured during the purge.



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CREATURE FEATURES

King Kong (1933, 100 minutes, 666):  This was the introduction of the big ape and what made Fay Wray into an icon.



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DAVID SLADE

David is on the Guest List this year with the Madness so anything produced, written, and directed by him counts.

Hard Candy (2005, 104 minutes, 666 1/2):  David directed this film that I think counts every year due to its torture elements.  Patrick Wilson stars as a photographer who also has a thing for underage girls and meets the wrong one in Ellen Page when she turns the tables on him.  They carried this movie very well and I could see a theatrical play being made of this in the future.


The Twilight Saga:  Eclipse (2010, 124 minutes, 66):  This is the 3rd in the series where vampires sparkle and the love triangle grows stronger as Bella must choose between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob though they must team up to take on a group of vampires killing.


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GUILLERMO DEL TORO

Guillermo is one of the Masters of Horror this year in the Madness.

Cronicas (2004, 108 minutes, 666):  This could probably be argued to count in the madness but Guillermo is the producer so no need.  John Leguizamo is a reporter who travels to an Ecuadorian village to cover a story about a serial killer.  He sets up an interview with a man in prison claiming to have knowledge of the killer.  This is a very underrated film and hope this gives it more exposure.


The Devil's Backbone (2001, 106 minutes, 666):  This would count either way but involves a ghost so will always count.


Pan's Labyrinth (2006, 118 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is an intriguing story of a young girl dealing with a very sadistic stepfather in Falangist Spain and escapes into an intriguing fantasy world where she finds more meaning.  This counts every year but does this year because of Del Toro's direction.



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JAMIE LEE CURTIS

Jamie is not a wild card this year but has been quite a few times through the years and hopefully one day I'll finally get my wish of women in horror theme which would make her into a category without question.

Halloween (2018, 106 minutes, 666):  Jamie returns to the franchise in is what is more of a sequel to the first two films she was in, not so much H20.  This was a pretty good continuation of Laurie Strode in her early years about to have one last battle with Michael Myers.

Prom Night (1980, 92 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is an earlier one from the scream queen where a masked killer stalks the prom in search of four teens who were responsible for the death of a classmate.


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JOHN BADHAM

John is a wild card this year, last week I used the loophole of baseball movie THE BINGO LONG TRAVELLING ALL-STARS AND MOTOR KINGS.

Saturday Night Fever (1977, 118 minutes, 666):  Badham directed this film so I get the pleasure of getting this disco movie to be part of the Madness.



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JOHN LANDIS

John is on the list of Masters of Horror which counts for anything directed, written or produced.

Coming to America (1988, 116 minutes, 666):  John directed this romantic comedy where Eddie Murphy tires of the pampered life as an African prince and sets out for America in hopes of winning a girl over who loves him as a person instead of a prince.  Arsenio Hall co-stars as his assistant and Samuel L. Jackson has a bit role as a hold-up guy.  Cuba Gooding Jr. also has a bit role as someone getting a haircut.  This would not usually count but John Landis directing makes this count.
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MARY HARRON

Mary is one of the wild cards this year in the madness.

I Shot Andy Warhol (1996, 103 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is a biopic that would not usually count but with Mary Harron directing, I can add this to the list of movies I have managed to include in the Madness.  Lili Taylor stars as Valerie Solanas who was a '60s radical and had a lot of hateful thoughts toward men.  She wrote a screenplay that she wanted Andy Warhol, played by Jared Harris, to produce and it never happened.  This is based on the events that lead to her shooting Warhol.
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MUMMY MADNESS

The Mummy (1959, 88 minutes, 666):  This is Hammer's answer to the genre which stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee so not much need to justify this one.
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ROBERT RODRIGUEZ

Robert is part of the Guest List this year so anything directed, produced, and written by him works this year.

Alita:  Battle Angel (2019, 666 1/2):  I think this will always count for purposes of Dystopian future but I don't have to worry about it this year with Robert being the director.  I actually really enjoyed this futuristic sci-fi film.


El Mariachi (1992, 81 minutes, 666 1/2):  This would not usually count for this contest but Rodriguez made his debut directing this very independent movie.  As mentioned above, Rodriguez put everything he had to get this made and is about as significant as Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell making EVIL DEAD years before.


Predators (2010, 107 minutes, 66 1/2):  Robert did not direct this but he did produce it, not that I need any explanation for this one to count.  The basic premise goes that a group of very different people end up in an unknown jungle where they must band together to stop a group of extraterrestrial predators.


Sin City:  A Dame to Die For (2014, 102 minutes 666):  I think the dark tone in the film makes this and the first one count every year but no need to justify this year due to Robert's direction.  Not as good as the first but still intrigued me enough.
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SATANIC MADNESS

Beauty and the Devil (1950, 95 minutes, 666):  This comedy has Satan in the form of Mephistopheles so this counts for the madness.  This is a pretty clever satanic film that is a comedy more than anything.


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SUPERHEROES

Batman and Harley Quinn (2017, 74 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is an animated superhero selection where Batman and Nightwing have to team with the loose cannon Harley Quinn to stop a global threat from Poison Ivy.  I thought this was an interesting mix of the serious tone of the animated series and even had some comedy that reminded me of the sitcom.  I think it's getting time for Nightwing to have his own animated movie.


Batwoman:  The Rabbit Hole- Episode 1.2 (2019, 45 minutes, 66):  Like a lot of people, I'm a bit on the fence but has a short season from what I have seen so I will just stick with it and many this count on the Madness.


The Flash:  Into the Void- Episode 6.1 (2019, 45 minutes, 666):  I believe season premier this should count with the changing of Caitlyn to Killer Frost.  Also, a lot of black hole vortexes were happening.


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VAMPIRES

What We do in the Shadows (2014, 86 minutes, 666 1/2):  This has vampires so counts no matter what our theme might be and is greatly shot as a documentary.  This is a hilarious take to the vampire genre while also paying homage.


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WITCHY MADNESS

Legacies:  I'll Never Give Up Hope- Episode 2.1 (2019, 45 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is the second season of the third show in the CW universe which follows THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and THE ORIGINALS.  Hope does what she can to escape a hell type universe while Landon and Josie form an unexpected bond with one another.  This could go into just about any category but Hope is a powerful witch so I decided on this one.


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