Sunday, May 29, 2016

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 550th Edition

Welcome to the 550th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend.  It's been a productive week.  We finished the shooting for PIGFOOT 2.  It will be premiering at the event Gnawbrew in Gnaw Bone, Indiana on July 22nd.  We'll look to have more showings after that and the possibility to view it publicly.  It has been quite an experience working in film.  I will now be starting my second film project THE VENGEANCE SQUAD in Muncie where I will be playing a pscyho.  Time to get on with my selections for the week.

Inside the Actors Studio:  Robin Williams (2001):  Technically, this is an episode of a tv series but it did run over an hour and a half so I can declare it a movie if I want seeing as this is my blog and have no one making rules for me but myself.  Robin was the guest being interviewed with James Lipton but turned into only partly an interview and lots of improv.  The show consisted of him reflecting on his personal and professional life.  He also does a lot of comedy bits and Lipton just had no idea what to expect but he rolled with it.  It is hard to believe that many years later that he would go onto kill himself.  Anytime I would ever see him, he always seemed like he was having all kinds of fun while other comedians make comedy of their misery but I never saw Williams do that with his comedy.  This is likely the most popular episode of INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO and is good for some comedy and insight.

Little Red Wagon (2012):  David Anspaugh directed this movie taking place in the wake of Hurricane Charley.  Chandler Canterbury stars as the 8 year old Zach Bonner who felt the need to help those without food and shelter, especially the children.  With the help of his mother Laurie, played by Anna Gunn, and his sister Kelley, played by Daveigh Chase, he goes around collecting things from neighbors like jugs and such.  He eventually looks to start his own charity from the publicity that he has been getting.  Frances O'Connor and Dylan Matzke co-star as mother and son Margaret and Jim Craig who are not as unfortunate as the Cantebury family and struggle to survive.  This is based on a true story and showing how one person sometimes can make a difference.  This would be my inspirational film for the week.

Birdsong (2012):  This is part two of a two-part Matthew Goode series.  I intended to use this last week not knowing who Matthew Goode was but then found that I was about to feature him twice and found that he is quite unrecognizable from last week's THE LOOKOUT to this week's mini-series which is an episode of the PBS series MASTERPIECE CLASSIC.  This is based on the novel by Sebastian Faulks and stars Eddie Redmayne WWI soldier Stephen Wraysford where he is shown in two eras of 1910 and 1916.  In the earlier era, he is working at a family business and staying in the home of Captain Gray, played by Goode, and having an affair with his wife Isabelle, played by Clemence Poesy.  In the modern era, he is a soldier in WWI where struggling to survive, we learn more what happens in the previous era.  I guess this omits a section of the book from the 1970s but was still pretty well filmed with really good performances.

The Dot and the Line (1965):  This is my Warner Brothers animated short which might also be the ultimate love story as well as an education on Geometry.  This shows a simple line who goes after his true love which is a dot but must learn how to do other things like bending if he is going to woo the dot.  Robert Morley provides the narration.  This is a very innovative short and an enjoyable few minutes.

Our Man in Havana (1959):  Carol Reed directed this spy comedy which is based on the novel by Graham Greene.  Alec Guinness stars as Jim Wormold who runs a vacuum shop but not a very successful one and has a daughter Milly, played by Jo Morrow, who loves to shop and he needs more money to support her habit.  He receives an offer from British Secret Service agent Hawthorne, played by Noel Coward, to be an agent in Cuba.  Jim must decide if the money is worth it when having to lie to friends.  Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara, Ernie Kovacs, Ralph Richardson, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Alec Guinness does a good job as the naive agent and fans of British comedy will love this one.

Steamboat 'Round the Bend (1935):  I continue the comedy route with one directed by the legendary John Ford.  Will Rogers stars as Doctor John Pearly who is a con man selling a patent medicine which has whiskey.  His nephew Duke, played by John McGuire, is accused of murder after killing a man in self-defense but is sentenced to hang.  John does what he can to raise the necessary money and find a person who can serve as a witness.  This is a pretty good entry from Rogers and the wax museum bits are great.  This was one of his last movies and was released shortly after his death.

Tangerine (2015):  Sean Baker wrote and directed this more character film.  Kitana Kiki Rodriguez stars as transgender hooker Sin-Dee who has just gotten out of jail and her friend Alexandra reveals, played by Mya Taylor, that her pimp Chester, played by James Ransone, has been cheating with her.  This provokes Sin-Dee to go and find Chester and his girlfriend leading the friends in a strange odyssey through Hollywood.  One thing notable for this film is that everything was shot on iphone 5S phones and the end result turned out pretty good.  It is hard to really describe the film any further than what I have already.  It is not always easy to watch but has well-written characters and performances.  If you are okay with people being of transgender, this should be pretty well enjoyed.

The Bodyguard (1976):  This is my martial arts film for the week which stars Japanese martial artist Sonny Chiba whose name is actually Chiba and is an anti-drug vigilante.  He offers his bodyguard services to anyone who can provide information of the drug activities and is approached by a mysterious woman who seems legit but may not be as she seems.  This is one of those that have to be watched by people who like older martial arts movies with a bad English dubbing and some rather exaggerated violence.  This can really be enjoyed if not taken too seriously.  This is also referred to as KARATE KIBA.

No Name on the Bullet (1959):  This is my western of the week.  Western legend Audie Murphy stars as hired killer John Gant who arrives in a small town and already has a reputation among the town.  Everyone in town is pretty sure he is there to kill someone but no one knows who it will be.  I do not have a lot to explain on this western but it was really enjoyable for me and I'm not the biggest on this genre but this had a really good story and a lot of suspense.

Clean Before Loading (2013):  I end the week with this short film which was written and directed by my own Facebook friend Jeffrey Scott Richards.  Chris Parsons stars as Eric who meets his ex-wife Jessica, played by another Facebook friend Jenny Rebekah Richards, as she drops off a mysterious package for him while discussing what went wrong in their marriage.  Travis Bock, Kendra Metz, Michael Swisher co-star in this film.  This was a really good look at a failed relationship and good performances from the leads.  I also liked the end song by Jonathan Allen Ray.  This is now available on Amazon Prime and is worth 9 minutes of your time.

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

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