Sunday, May 25, 2014
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 445th Edition
Welcome to the 445th Edition of my series. It's been a week of ups and downs. I had a great birthday and my very dear friends Ashley and Stephen came back to town and celebrated with me. We had a great time at the Selma American Legion during my celebration which had a good turnout. We then went to Downtown Muncie and had a great time there as well and then the karaoke bar. This year is possibly the best birthday I have had. A down point of the week was learning that my cousin Alex died. My thoughts go out to the rest of the friends and family. He was a really good person and really loved music. Don't ever take your loved ones for granted for we do not know what can happen the next day in life. I hope he is doing well in heaven and maybe jamming with musicians he really liked including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, the Who drummer Keith Moon, Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Rolling Stones member Brian Jones, The Clash member Joe Strummer, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Joey Ramone, and Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, among others. With all that, let's get to my recommendations for the week.
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Amy Poehler (2009): This technically may not be considered a movie but as I have said before, I get to decide on what is considered a "movie". This is a few of the SNL sketches which featured Amy Poehler which include her Hilary Clinton impersonation, Dakota Fanning impersonation, the Bush twins, and many others from her days as a member. A really good one is her rapping. This compilation is of her later work so it would have been nice to see some of her earlier material but still provides entertainment and is still quite funny.
Cirque du Soleil: Quidam (1999): This is the first time I have actually seen one of these. For those who don't know, they are a group founded in Canada in the mid-80s. They do live shows that featured a lot of circus acrobatics, dance, and a lot of other theatrical techniques. There are different groups and this one was founded in 1996 and is based on young, jaded girl named Zoey, played by Audrey Brisson, and the performance is the source of her daydream. This had both music and lots of amazing acrobatics. This was in French and unfortunately some of the subtitles did not work. Brisson did do a great job in her role and all kinds of eye-popping action. I'll probably start looking into more of these in the future. This was a lot of fun and very compelling.
Man on Wire (2008): This is a documentary on tightrope walker Philippe Petit who walked across the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. This goes into some background of his early life and the way he became a tightrope walker. Most of it is interviews with him and the people closest to him which helped make his daring and illegal walk possible. Petit may have been the one to walk but the event was a team effort in making it possible. This is a very compelling documentary on what some call the "Artistic Crime of the Century". This is available on both Instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Betty Boop for President (1932): This is my animated short for the week and Betty Boop tackles political satire on this one. She is running for president and going against a stick figure candidate named Mr. Nobody. She parodies other candidates and even addresses a group of elephants and a group of donkeys called "asses". Very interesting satire and decent Betty Boop. This is available on the Pub-D-Hub app.
Jack and the Witch (1967): This is my animated selection for the week. Taiji Tabushita directed this one. Jack and his friends which are a bear, fox, mouse, and puppy. He meets a girl named Allegra who works for the evil queen named Auriana who turns children into her slaves. The mouse friend is abducted so Jack races to save his friend but also Allegra. This is a pretty good early anime film that the family can watch together. This is available on Amazon Prime and is really worth a look, especially for anime fans.
All About Eve (1950): Joseph L. Mankiewicz wrote and directed this great drama taking place in the world of theater. Anne Baxter stars as the title character who makes her way into the world by claiming to be a fan of star Margo Channing, played well by Bette Davis, and her circle while maneuvering her way into stardom at their expense. George Sanders co-stars as cynical theater critic Addison DeWitt who is the only person that sees through Eve's naive and humble personality. Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Thelma Ritter, and Hugh Marlowe co-star as part of Margo's circle who take in Eve. Also look for a young Marilyn Monroe who plays actress Miss Casswell. This is a great tale of ambition and betrayal that holds up today.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988): Last week I featured this in the "Movie Night at the Shera" segment so now I will put it into this section. Frank Oz directed this comedy which stars Michael Caine and Steve Martin as rival con men. Caine plays Lawrence who is more classy and Martin plays Freddy who is more small time though more underhanded. They first tried working together but found the place was not big enough for the two of them and end up making a wager to each other that they can cheat an heiress, played by Glenne Headly, out of $50,000. This was a very funny crime comedy and a really good ending. This was available in the free movie section of the ATT Uverse on-demand.
Crime Wave (1954): This is my film-noir for the week. Gene Nelson stars as ex-con Steve Lacey who is married and trying to get his life together. Ted de Corsia, Charles Bronson, and Nedrick Young all co-star as escapees who end up killing a cop and taking refuge in Lacey's home against his wishes. Steve must decide the safest way to handle his old cronies. Sterling Hayden co-stars as detective Sims who is trying to bring down the criminals and figure out how Steve is involved. This is a pretty good unknown film with good performances and really deserves to get a look.
Spencer's Mountain (1963): Delmer Daves directed this movie based on a novel by Earl Hamner Jr. and serves as the inspiration for the popular tv series THE WALTONS. Henry Fonda stars as Clay Spencer who is a rather poor but very hard-working and respected person who has a wife and quite a few children. He does not agree with the ways of the church though helps a minister saves his congregation. The main storyline here is that his eldest son Clayboy, played by James MacArthur, is graduating at the top of his class and really wants to go to college but finds that is very difficult in his poor family. Maureen O'Hara co-stars as Clay's wife who is far more god-fearing. It is not the greatest movie but a decent portrait of a family in that era and even Henry Fonda trying to push the envelope a bit with his viewpoints.
This is Martin Bonner (2013): I end the week with this independent film from director Chad Hartigan. Paul Eenhoorn stars as the title character who has just moved from east coast to Nevada. He takes a job as the volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization which helps people released from prison to get their life together. Richmond Arquette co-stars as Travis who has just gotten out of prison and having a hard time adjusting to life. They soon form an unlikely friendship. This is more of a character driven movie and the characters were very well written and the actors did a good job to make this quite watchable. This is available on Instant Netflix.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike. Stay tuned for next week which so far includes George C. Scott, Kevin Smith, Sandra Bullock, John Barrymore, Hilary Swank, Nick Nolte, and many others.
at 6:17 PM