Sunday, September 21, 2014
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 462nd Edition
Welcome to the 462nd Edition of my series. I am now 0-2 in Fantasy Football but I'm not giving up yet. If I can win this week I will stay in the running. I am pretty busy right now though with my 1776 rehearsals and look forward to signing the declaration soon. Also, a reminder that on October 18th, Action Packed Wrestling returns to Chesterfield where I continue my quest to take over the promotion. All that said, I'll just get to my selections for the week.
The Rock (1996): Michael Bay directed this action film and is one of his better works. Nicolas Cage stars as Stanley Goodspeed who is a biochemist that works for the FBI. He is very inexperienced in the field but his expertise comes into play when a very bitter general named Francis Hummel, played by Ed Harris, leads a group who take hostages at Alcatraz island. Joining him is a convict named John Mason, played by Sean Connery, who once successfully escaped Alcatraz but the info was classified. Together, they look to stop Humel and his men who have very dangerous motives involving chemicals. John Spencer, David Morse, William Forsythe, Michael Biehn, Vanessa Marcil, John C. McGinley, Tony Todd, Bokeem Woodbine, Steve Harris, Danny Nucci, Claire Forlani, Willie Garson, Anthony Clark, and many others co-star in this film. This has some really good action and well-written characters. This movie actually made it to Criterion and likely Michael Bay's last that ever will. I really thought Ed Harris did a good job of a man whose bitterness clouded his judgement but was not necessarily wrong in how he felt, just wrong on how he goes about it. I was very glad to revisit this action film.
Once Upon a Honeymoon (1930): This is my short film for the week which was the short film on last week's fearture NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 guys had to watch first. Some angel tries to bless a couple to live easier and letting the housewife do what she wants while she sings a song. This is entertaining at best with a really weird angel who in some ways made things too easy. Just remember, it was watched by MST3K.
Nothing Sacred (1937): William Wellman directed this romantic comedy. Carole Lombard stars as Hazel Flagg who has been diagnosed with terminal radium poisoning but then learns it was a misdiagnosis. Fredric March is a newspaper reporter named Wally Cook who is looking for a story and he finds the one about Hazel not knowing the truth as Hazel is advised to keep the lie. She becomes the toast of the town but begins to feel bad about living such a lie and is falling in love with Wally. Charles Winninger, Walter Connelly, and Margaret Hamilton all have parts. There was an interesting scene where Wally takes Hazel to a wrestling show and comments that it is fake. This is a pretty good romantic story with the leads having good chemistry and I always enjoy an appearance from Margaret Hamilton. This is available on Instant Netflix.
Angel Heart (1987): Alan Parker directed this film based on the novel by William Hjortsberg. Mickey Rourke stars as private investigator Harry Angel who is hired by a man named Louis Cyphre to find a singer named Johnny Favorite who no one knows if he is alive or dead. Harry's investigation leads him into a strange and dark work and questions the motives of Cyphre. It's really hard to describe this any further without giving a lot away. Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Dann Florek, Pruitt Taylor Vance, and many others co-star. Rourke is great in his performance as well as De Niro. It also has a good ending in my opinion. This might be Mickey Rourke's best performance of his career along with THE WRESTLER.
Fantastic Voyage (1966): Richard Fleischer directed this sci-fi film. A man is close to death so new technology is being used to shrink a submarine and its crew to microscopic size in order to enter the body to try saving his life. William Redford, Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasance, and Arthur Kennedy are part of the crew who go into the body. The story is actually pretty compelling and goes beyond B-movie. The special effects were really pretty good and made it pretty believable without having to use GCI. Look for James Brolin as one of the technicians. This is a pretty good sci-fi entry and is available on Instant Netflix.
Blue Jasmine (2013): This is part two of a two-part Woody Allen series. He wrote and directed this one but was not in it. Cate Blanchett stars as New York socialite Jasmine who is very troubled and in denial. She once had a life of privilege but is now down and out while imposing on her sister Ginger, played by Sally Hawkins. She begins to reflect on her past when she was married to Hal, played by Alec Baldwin, who made a lot of money but not very honestly. The decisions that were made in those scenes affected many in the scenes of the current era. Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cavanale, Max Casella, Louis C.K., and many others co-star in this film. Blanchett was great as an emotionally unstable person and Hawkins is good as her low-income sister who has problems of her own. This is loosely based on Tennessee Williams' A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE which looking back I can kind of see that. This is billed as a comedy but is not very upbeat. I kind of liked seeing Clay in a small part in a feature film which I have not seen in a while. I felt this was different for a Woody Allen film and while it was not his best, it was still pretty enjoyable. This is available on Starz On-Demand.
The Devil Commands (1941): Edward Dmytryk directed this older horror movie. Boris Karloff stars as scientist Dr. Julian Blair who seemed like a pretty good person until his wife dies. When she dies, he becomes obsessed with contacting his wife from beyond despite advice from family and colleagues that it will not go well. He continues his research along with his assistant Karl, played by Cy Schindell, and Mrs. Walters who is a phony medium but seems the most sinister of them all. I liked seeing Karloff in a scientist role when he was more known to play the experiment. He did a good job as a scientist who was a good person but had his judgement clouded by tragedy.
Motorcycle (2000): This is my modern day short film for the week which is from Thailand. Aditya Assarat wrote and directed this short which takes place in a remote Thai village. One of the people in the village gets word of his son dying and must look to get the body back in hopes of being able to have a good funeral. This is a task that is not easy with their financial situation. This does a good job of showing the father coping with the loss of his son while trying to be strong. This is available in the Free Movie section on Comcast On-Demand and is worth a 15 minute look.
The Longest Yard (1974): This is my tribute to Richard Kiel who recently left us and plays Samson in this film. Robert Aldrich directed this prison/football comedy. Burt Reynolds stars as Paul Crewe who is a former pro quarterback and is sentenced to jail time. Eddie Albert stars as the corrupt warden Hazen who asks Paul to get together a group of inmates to take on the guards as an exhibition to their small-time football league lead by Captain Knauer, played by Ed Lauter. Michael Conrad, James Hampton, Bernadette Peters, football legend Ray Nitschke, and country legend George Jones all have parts. There are also many real football players including Reynolds who was drafted by the Ravens. If you are looking for a football movie that is more fun and not as inspirational, this is a really good one to check out. This was filmed at a real-life prison where Reynolds often sat with the inmates during meals and socialized with them. This was remade in 2005 where Sandler played Paul and Reynolds co-stars as coach Scarborough. I actually did like the remake and there were some elements of the remake that I like better than this one but this is still a good start and a decent comedy. This is available on Instant Netflix.
Factotum (2005): Bent Hamer directed this comedy/drama based on the novel by Charles Bukowski. Matt Dillon stars as Hank Chinaski which is a fictional alter-ego of Bukowski. Chinaski is a writer but is not very successful financially and tries to work jobs that does not interfere too much with his biggest interest of writing but finds that due to his alcoholism. Along the way, he tries to maintain a relationship but also has a gambling problem. Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Fisher Stevens, Adrienne Shelly, and many others co-star in this film. This is more of a character study and Dillon does a pretty good job as someone who just won't conform to society. I also like the narration from Dillon which I thought was done in a very good way. Bukowski was a writer of mostly short stories and focused on things like the drudgery of work, the act of writing, and relationships which were a lot of the topics on this one. A really good double feature would be this and the 1987 film BARFLY which is also about Bukowski, more on that later. This partcular movie is available on instant Netflix and is a pretty good dark comedy.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and what you dislike. Stay tuned for next week which so far includes Patricia Arquette, Salma Hayek, Jane Fonda, Buster Keaton, James Stewart, Sam Shepard, Roddy McDowell, and many others. Also, continue to read for the return of my Fun and Useless Facts segment.
FUN AND USELESS FACTS
I haven't done this segment for a long time so felt like doing this one. If I have missed any, feel free to comment. Also keep in mind I don't do inter-connections.
JAMES BOND FRANCHISE
-Sean Connery (The Rock) plays James Bond in the 60s and late 70s and is considered by many to be the best Bond and while I like him in the role, I still prefer Daniel Craig.
-Donald Pleasance (Fantastic Voyage) plays Bond's rival Blofeld in the 1967 Bond movie YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. There were other actors to play the role but his look was modeled for Mike Myers' character Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films.
Sean Connery (The Rock) goes after Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) in the 1987 film THE UNTOUCHABLES.
Sean Connery (The Rock) and Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine) were in the 1990 film THE HUNT FOR THE RED OCTOBER.
Sean Connery (The Rock) plays King Arthur in the 1995 movie FIRST KNIGHT. Boris Karloff (The Devil Commands) plays Arthur in the 1955 movie A CONNECTICUT YANKEE.
Nicolas Cage (The Rock), Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart), and Matt Dillon (Factotum) were in the 1983 film RUMBLE FISH. Rourke and Dillon play brothers.
Nicolas Cage (The Rock) was cast for the part of Randy "The Ram" Robinson in the 2008 film THE WRESTLER but pulled out and the part would ultimately go to Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart). I am very grateful to Cage for this decision.
Nicolas Cage (The Rock) and Pruitt Taylor Vince (Angel Heart) were in the 1990 film WILD AT HEART.
Ed Harris (The Rock) and Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart) were in 2003 film MASKED AND ANONYMOUS.
Ed Harris (The Rock) and Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) were Vietnam buddies in the 1989 film JACKNIKFE.
Ed Harris (The Rock) and Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine) were in the 1992 film GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
John Spencer (The Rock) and Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) were in the 1997 film COP LAND
John Spencer (The Rock) and Matt Dillon (Angel Heart) were in the 1996 movie ALBINO ALLIGATOR.
David Morse (The Rock) and Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart) were in the 1990 movie DESPERATE HOURS.
William Forsythee (The Rock) and Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) were in the 1984 film ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA and the 2002 movie CITY BY THE SEA.
William Forsythe (The Rock) plays boxer Jake La Motta in the upcoming 2014 movie THE BRONX BULL. Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) plays La Motta in the 1980 film RAGING BULL.
William Forsythe (The Rock) plays Chicago mobster Al Capone in the 90s tv series THE UNTOUCHABLES. Robert De Niro plays Capone in the 1987 film THE UNTOUCHABLES. I'm finding that Forsythe and De Niro have quite a bit of connections.
John C. McGinley (The Rock) and Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart) were in the 2000 movie GET CARTER and the 1993 movie THE LAST OUTLAW.
John C. McGinley (The Rock) and and Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine) were in the 1988 film TALK RADIO.
Willie Garson (The Rock) and Matt Dillon were in the 1998 comedy THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY.
Anthony Clark (The Rock) and Lili Taylor (Factotum) were in the 1991 film DOGFIGHT.
Michael Biehn (The Rock) plays gunslinger Johnny Ringo in the 1993 film TOMBSTONE. Arthur Kennedy (Fantastic Voyage) plays Ringo's rival Doc Holiday in the 1964 film CHEYENNE AUTUMN.
Fredric March (Nothing Sacred) plays Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the 1931 film DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Boris Karloff (The Devil Commands) plays the dual personality in 1953 comedy ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.
Fredric March (Nothing Sacred) and Arthur Kennedy (Fantastic Voyage) were in the 1955 film THE DESPERATE HOURS.
Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart) and Marisa Tomei (Factotum) were in the 2008 film THE WRESTLER
Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart) plays Henry Chinaski in the 1987 film BARFLY. Matt Dillon plays Chinaski on this week's feature FACTOTUM. Both movies are based on different times in Charles Bukowski's life.
Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) plays the Creature in the 1994 film MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN. Boris Karloff (The Devil Commands) plays the Creature in three of the Universal films of the 1930s and is very iconic for that role. I cannot say how many times I have had to say the the Creature is not Frankenstein. Dr. Victor Frankenstein is the title character who creates the monster. One of the very few OCD's I have in life.
Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) and Donald Pleasance (Fantastic Voyage) were in the 1976 movie THE LAST TYCOON.
Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) and Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine) were in the 2006 film THE GOOD SHEPHERD which De Niro directed. Baldwin has also done a De Niro impersonation on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE which I thought was possibly the best one.
Robert De Niro (Angel Heart) and Louis C.K. (Blue Jasmine) were in the 2013 film AMERICAN HUSTLE.
Lisa Bonet (Angel Heart) and Marisa Tomei (Factotum) co-starred in the tv series A DIFFERENT WORLD.
Charlotte Rampling (Angel Heart) and Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine director) were in the 1980 film STARDUST MEMORIES.
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Angel Heart) and Matt Dillon (Factotum) were in the 1996 film BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.