Sunday, June 5, 2016

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 551st Edition

Welcome to the 551st Edition of my series.  Soon, I will be starting my next movie THE VENGEANCE SQUAD where I am to play a psycho and from what I have seen will be the meanest I have ever been and I have played some dark characters.  I will have more details as they come.  I am glad to see this warm weather happening.  I don't have much else so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

Side By Side (2012):  I start the week out with this documentary on the film industry.  Keanu Reeves hosts this documentary and also produced.  This explores the history of film editing and the changes that are coming with digital along with the debate of photochemical and digital film.  There are interviews with many people in the film industry that include Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, James Cameron, Lena Dunham, David Fincher, Barry Levinson, Richard Linklater, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez, Joel Schumacher, Steven Soderbergh, Lars Von Trier, and many others.  This is a documentary which film buffs should really take a look upon and is very insightful.  There are lots of very different opinions on the preference how to film.  Some actors also give insight on how much different it is for them when it comes to digital vs photochemical.  There is some discussion on how we watch film.  I know I'm that nerd with a laptop that will go to a coffee shop and stream a movie.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001):  I follow with a rock film based on the book by John Cameron Mitchell who also stars as the title character and the lyrics were written by Stephen Trask who stars as band member Skszp.  Hedwig is a transsexual punk rock singer who underwent a botched sex change operation.  She is telling her life story through songs.  Michael Pitt co-stars as former lover Tommy Gnosis whose career Hedwig helped but ended up surpassing Hedwig which is a source of her bitterness.  I noticed Pitt's character has some rather interesting religious beliefs which I did not pick up on last time I saw it.  Miriam Shor and Andrea Martin co-star in the film.  Mitchell does a great job as Hedwig and this has gained quite the cult following since its release.  It has some really good music numbers.  It has also been a Broadway musical with Neil Patrick Harris.

Blitz (2011):  This is part one of a possible Paddy Considine series.  Elliott Lester directed this film based on a novel by Ken Bruen.  Jason Statham stars as Detective Sergeant Tom Brant who is investigating serial killings of his own colleagues in the police force.  Considine co-stars as Nash who is the new head of the force that does not always agree with Brant's methods, teams up with him to take down the killer.  Aiden Gillen, Zawe Ashton, David Morrissey, Ned Dennehy, Mark Rylance, Luke Evans, and many others co-star in this film.  With Statham, one might expect a lot of action and this does not have much in the way of action but is more of a murder mystery.  In watching this, I did find it to be rather compelling.  I also liked the dynamic between the characters of Brant and Nash who were quite different but understood each other.  This British crime thriller is available on Instant Netflix.

Sword Fishing (1939):  This is my documentary short film for the week.  This is a short which shows archer Howard Hill who shows his arching skills among a group of fisherman.  What is of most interest is that future president Ronald Reagan provides the narration which kept me pretty compelled for the few minutes.  Not a 10 minutes from this era.

The Bellboy (1960):  Jerry Lewis makes his directorial debut in the comedy in which he wrote.  Lewis stars as Stanley who is a mute bellboy.  He performs his duties but anything that can go wrong does go wrong.  Lewis also plays himself and people see a striking resemblance.  It has a really good beginning in my opinion and many really good gags happen within the film.  Lewis also does a really good job with silent comedy as he plays a mute.  Lewis does a good job in his directorial debut with the limited time and resources that he had.

Behind Green Lights (1946):  This is my B murder mystery of the week.  William Gargan stars as Lieutenant Dan Carson who must go an investigate a political murder after finding the body dumped at the door of police headquarters.  Richard Crane, John Ireland, Carole Landis, and many others co-star in the film.  I found this one when I was looking for older movies and on an app called Movie Vault on the Roku television that my dad has.  This is only about an hour long and is not a bad B list film noir if into this genre and era.

The Yellow Handkerchief (2008):  This is part two of an Eddie Redmayne series whose movie BIRDSONG I featured last week and this week unexpectedly came across this one.  Udayan Prasad directed this road film based on a story by Pete Hamill.  Kristen Stewart stars as Martine who is a lonely teen and decides to hitch a ride with stranger Gordy, played by Redmayne, who is a rather awkward person.  She also meets an ex-con named Brett, played by William Hurt, who Martine invites to tag along not wanting to be alone with Gordy.  The unlikely trio set off on a road trip through Louisiana where they all learn a lot about each other.  Maria Bello co-stars as May who is Brett's love and debates on if it is a good idea to see her.  There is a lot of flashback scenes between Brett and May.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this film.  I thought the three actors worked so well together and were a very believable trio.  I even thought Kristen Stewart did a good job in the film and had a good script to work with.  This was more of a character driven film with three very compelling characters to take part in a road trip which manages to become more than a road film.  I had never heard of this film until I got it at the library but turned out to be an unexpected gem that I hope to get on the radar.

Niagara (1953):  Marilyn Monroe's birthday would have been Friday so I'll just celebrate here.  Another crime drama for the week which was directed by Henry Hathaway.  Joseph Cotten and Marilyn Monroe star as married couple George and Rose Loomis who are honeymooning in Niagara Falls with Rose plotting to kill her own husband.  Max Showalter and Jean Peters co-star as Ray and Polly Cutler who are very significant to the mystery, especially Polly.  It is hard to go into further detail without giving things away.  Monroe takes a more dramatic turn and does quite well in her more villainous role.  It does have some beautiful locales like a really good waterfall shot in the beginning.  It is rather complicated at times so be real attentive when watching this film and in the end it is quite worth it.

The Wicker Man (1973):  I was looking for something that was not too long and from this era.  When looking through free movies On-Demand for Comcast, I came across this which I had not seen for a while and was ready for a Britt Eklund fix.  Edward Woodward stars as Sergeant Howie who goes to a Scottish village after reports surface that a local girl has gone missing.  He finds that are a very strange group of people and is not getting much cooperation.  It was an island that practiced a form of Paganism much to the dismay of Howie who was a devout Christian and did not like the rituals he was seeing on the island  Christopher Lee co-stars as Lord Summerisle who is essentially the head of the island.  This is a horror film but much different from most.  It gives a very legit creepy feel and rather bizarre musical numbers at times.  This movie also shows the music talents of Christopher Lee who does very well and one of my disappointments towards Tim Burton's SWEENEY TODD is that Lee was originally to be in it singing much of the reprisals of THE BALLAD OF SWEENEY TODD but Burton eliminated the song except playing the instrumental.  Many years later was a 2006 remake which starred Nicolas Cage which did not go over well and still have yet to see it.  I read that Lee liked the script so much to the point that he did it for free and finds this role of his to be his best.

El Beso (2014):  I end the week with this Mexican short film directed by Carlos G. Davila.  Rob Cavazos and Ana Gonzalez Bello star as neighbors and friends for a long time.  Cavazos has a date and asks Bello to let him kiss her to get a critique of how he kisses forcing them to consider the feelings they might have for each other after being friends all these years.  This does have some good performances and had some success on film festivals.  This is available on HBO On-Demand and worth a few minutes.

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

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