Sunday, October 16, 2016
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 570th Edition and the Madness: Clowns- Week 2
Welcome to the 570th Edition of my series and the second week of the Madness. In the last weekend of October, I am in THE BAD SEED at the Commons Theater in Alexandria, Indiana. When I am done with that show, I am going straight into rehearsals for IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in Marion, Indiana where I make my debut there as Mr. Gower. This is the second week of the Madness so after I am done with the recommendations portion, continue on to the Madness.
The Bible (2013): I start the week out with this mini-series from the History channel which is on many stories of the bible. It consists of ten episodes that include biblical figures like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samson, Delilah, King Saul, David, Mary, Jesus, and many others. Keith David narrates this series and co-stars Diego Morgado, Darwin Shaw, Amber Rose Revah, Roma Downey, and many others co-star in this mini-series. I do not claim to have a lot of knowledge on the bible. I did think this was pretty well done though but I'm sure there is certain thing left out. I believe this is watchable for the religious and the non-religious and is available on Instant Netflix.
The Evil Dead (1981): Sam Raimi wrote and directed this horror film or I guess horror comedy. Bruce Campbell stars as the iconic Ash who is with a few friends to take a trip to a cabin but one can guess that a cabin trip in a movie never goes right. When discovering a book and audio tape, an evil is released which takes them one by one when fighting for survival. Ellen Sandweiss, Richard Demanincor, Betsy Baker, and Theresa Tilly are the co-stars in addition to Campbell. This was a film that made the careers of both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell which went onto have two sequels, a remake, a stage musical, and a tv series. With this, I will also recommend the book IF CHINS COULD KILL: CONFESSIONS OF A B MOVIE ACTOR by Bruce Campbell which is a great autobiography and goes in depth on the difficulty of these guys filming the movie and even after they were done their efforts in distribution which was equally as difficult. I hope that one day, the Muncie Civic Theater will pick this up as a musical in the studio theater. Year ago they were going to do it but their rights got taken away leaving my dreams in smoke. This is a perfect movie for the October series and the start of greatness.
Batman: The Killing Joke (2016): This is part three of my Mark Hamill series. This is an animated film and the first of the DC Universe as far as I know to get an R rating and it did earn that rating. This is based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore and far more intense than most comic stories. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill return to voice Batman and the Joker. In this story, the Joker escapes Arkham Asylum and targets the Gordon family in Commissioner James Gordon, voiced by Ray Wise, and Barbara Gordon, voiced by Tara Strong, aka Batgirl in what he says is to prove a point to Batman. This also goes into a back story of the Joker before he became the deranged clown prince. Conroy and Hamill did not disappoint in reprising their roles. Hamill even has a great musical number as the Joker. This is very dark and intense, even hard to watch at times. This is by no means a family film.
Back to the Woods (1937): This is my short film for the week which stars the legendary trio of the Three Stooges which in this one are Moe, Curly, and Larry. This is set in colonial times where the stooges are banished from England into the American colonies. It is there, they encounter some Indians and when using their woods to hunt, the Indians chase them. This would be considered racist today and hardly any of the Stooges' films would work in our PC society of today. This is still great fun from three guys who got a lot of laughs for hitting each other a lot.
The Jazz Singer (1959): This is part three of my Jerry Lewis series. Technically this is an episode of the show STARTIME. Jerry Lewis stars as Joey Robinowitz though his stage name is Joey Robin during his comedic career. Joey disappoints his rabbi father by choosing an entertainment career instead of going the religious route. This is the third of four versions that I am aware of. The first one was in 1927 and it made history by being the first talkie. Their was another film version in 1952 which I really know nothing about. After this, there was that famous 1980 flop which stars Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier. Honestly, this is more of interest to see Jerry Lewis who makes the most of what he had in my opinion. I never really liked the message of the story anyways and I feel the only reason people talk about the 1927 version is its historical significance of being the first to be a talkie, though most of the talking are Al Jolson's musical numbers. It was still worth an hour look and is available on Amazon Prime.
THX 1138 (1971): This is part three of my Sid Haig series and a different selection after the exploitation and blaxploitation I have been using. George Lucas wrote and directed this sci-fi film which was developed from his 1967 student film ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH: THX 1138 4EB. This takes place in a Dystopian future where the government controls peoples' thoughts with the use of mandatory drugs. Robert Duvall and Maggie McOmie star as THX and LUH and they look to escape their setting into freedom after LUH starts to change the drugs. Donald Pleasance, Don Pedro Colley, Ian Wolfe, Marshall Efron, and many others co-star in this film. This was made before George Lucas started his iconic space opera STAR WARS and before Duvall really became famous in THE GODFATHER. At first, this had a lot of mixed opinions but has gotten more popular through the years, especially after the success of STAR WARS. I really liked the white background that was used for much of the film and the camera angles of it. Not always easy to watch with its dark story but still very intriguing.
Alice Sweet Alice (1976): Now I bring a more psychological horror film from director Alfred Sole. Paula E. Sheppard stars as the withdrawn 12 year old Alice who lives with her mother Catherine, played by Linda Miller, and her younger sister Karen, played by a young Brooke Shields in her film debut. Karen gets murdered during her first holy communion where all suspicions point to Alice and as more murders happen, we must question if Alice is really capable of these murders. Lillian Roth and Patrick Gorman also co-star in this film. This has a more atmospheric feel to it. The murder scenes were also very well shot. Pretty good and underrated chiller that deserves a look if into the psychological thriller genre.
The Last House on the Left (2009): I now bring the remake of the 1972 horror classic from Wes Craven produced this film so evidently this had his approval. Dennis Iliadis directed this remake which stars Sara Paxton as the teen Mari who is visiting the lake house with her parents. She decides to meet up with her friend Paige, played by Martha MacIsaac, where they befriend a teen named Justin, played by Spencer Treat Clark, where they go to his place to get some pot and him not knowing his really mean father was returning. Mari and Paige are soon brutally assaulted by Justin's father Krug, played by Garret Dillahunt, Francis, played by Aaron Paul, and a girl named Sadie, played by Riki Lindhome. They take refuge in the home of John and Emma, played by Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter, not knowing they are the parents of the victim and learn they are a very resourceful couple. Michael Bowen and Josh Coxx also co-star in the beginning. I have seen both versions and both are very good for the genre. This is still shot in a low-budget way and goes for scares and brutality. Obviously not for everyone but one of the better horror remakes out there.
I Married a Witch (1942): Rene Clair directed this comedic witch film that manages to make a good comedy out of a rather serious situation. This starts during the era of the Salem Witchcraft Trials where father and daughter witches Daniel and Jennifer, played by Cecil Kellaway and Veronica Lake, were burned at the stake by puritan Jonathan Wooley, played by Fredric March who also plays his descendants through the years. Jennifer places a curse on the descendants of Jonathan to marry the wrong woman and be miserable. In the modern era which we'll assume around the time this movie was made, the tree in which their souls were entrapped is struck by lightning and freeing them making them able to go into human form where Jennifer goes after up and coming politician Wallace Wooley, still played by March, and looks to make him fall in love with her before his wedding to his fiance. Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward, Elizabeth Patterson, and many others co-star in this romantic comedy. This is a pretty good twist to the romantic comedy which uses a little bit of witch history leading into the modern era. This was an inspiration to the popular '60s sitcom BEWITCHED and does kind of show.
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999): I end the week with this movie based around the SESEME STREET characters and centered around Elmo, voiced by Kevin Clash. In this movie, a tug of war of Elmo's beloved blanket with his friend Zoe, voiced by Fran Brill, sends it to the world of Grouchland where Oscar the Grouch, voiced by Carroll Spinney, is from sending Elmo into an all-out journey to find his blanket where he learns lessons of sharing and loyalty. Mandy Patinkin plays a human role as Huxley who is the featured leader of Grouchland and Vanessa L. Williams plays the Queen of Trash. Bert and Ernie, voiced by Frank Oz and Steve Whitmire, are the hosts and they have some very funny elements. It never dawned on me until this movie that Bert and Ernie have always been the same voices as Fozzy the Bear and Kermit the Frog, being Jim Henson in the early days. All the other puppets and humans make appearances. This is a really good one for families that have younger children and good to see our friends from Seseme Street again but still no one really able to tell me how to get there. It also has a few musical numbers. This is available on Starz On-Demand.
Well, that is it for this week on this section so continue on to check out week 2 of the Madness. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Christina Ricci, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Ben Affleck, Jerry Lewis, Federico Fellini, Chris Hemsworth, and many others.
THE MADNESS: CLOWNS WEEK 2
Bruce is someone who is a wild card every year and rightfully so.
Army of Darkness (1992, 96 minutes, 666): This is the conclusion of the EVIL DEAD trilogy where Ash is not trapped in medieval 1300 AD where he looks to retain the Necronomican to get home. Possibly the best medieval film of all time.
Crimewave (1985, 83 minutes, 66 1/2): This is an early comedy directed by Sam Raimi and written by the Coen Brothers. Bruce plays Renaldo the Heel. This combines cartoonish violence with a murder mystery. Pretty funny and underrated one from these people.
The Evil Dead (1981, 83 minutes, 666): Bruce's star making film and the creation of Ash.
Evil Dead (2013, 91 minutes, 666): This is a remake of the horror classic though I don't know I call it a remake, I think just more of a continuation. If anything, this one might have done better in the character development part. Bruce may not be in this one but is a producer.
Evil Dead II (1987, 84 minutes 666 1/2): I suppose this is more of a reimagination of the first one. The premise was similar but had a lot of different, if not better moments. In the first one Ash was rather timid and this one he is clearly experienced and more of a badass.
Oz The Great and Powerful (2013, 130 minutes, 66 1/2): This is a prequel to the famous 1939 classic THE WIZARD OF OZ and how the wizard got on the rise. Bruce plays the Winkie Gate Keeper.
I continue with this year's wild card whose movies count for this contest.
The Jazz Singer (1959, 50 minutes, 66): Another loophole from Jerry Lewis. He does portray a clown and I feel his look is that of a hobo clown. See photo in the recommendations section.
The Joker is an actual wild card this year so decided to feature these movies. I was hoping for Mark Hamill and/or Heath Ledger for wild cards but will settle. The photo above is a painting from my friend and karaoke partner Brittany.
Batman: The Killing Joke (2016, 76 minutes, 666): Possibly the most intense Batman with the return of Mark Hamill. Also should be some bonus points with Joker going on a violent rampage.
The Dark Knight (2008, 152 minutes, 6666): This is probably my favorite Batman film. The Heath Ledger Joker should get me some bonus points for killing, I believe that will be the only bonus points I can get.
Lego Batman: The Movie- DC Superheroes Unite (2013, 71 minutes, 66): The Joker is in Lego form where he teams up with Lex Luther to destroy Batman, Robin, and Superman. Joker does hurt some people so hopefully that counts for something, also has Harley Quinn.
Josh is not a wild card but found I have a couple movies with this guy so thought I'd make a category for him.
The Last House on the Left (2009, 110 minutes, 666): Coxx was one of the unlucky cops in the beginning and this film needs no explanation to qualify.
Thor (2011, 110 minutes, 666): Josh plays the frost giant Hailstrum. This Marvel Universe entry should count having someone who is a god, the ice giants, and so on.
Keith is another that is not a wild card but found him for a couple selections that fit the Madness.
The Bible: Episode 6: Hope (2013, 48 mintues, 666): This episode has Satan so this should count. Keith is the narrator
The Bible: Episode 9: Passion (2013, 48 minutes, 666): This episode has Satan.
Pitch Black (2000, 109 minutes, 666): This was a more significant selection last year in our Fear of the Dark category which had both Radha Mitchell and Vin Diesel as wild cards. Still should count as sci-fi horror though with those creatures they were trying to fight. Keith plays Abu.
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999, 73 minutes, 66 1/2): I believe I can justify this as a creature feature with puppets like Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Zoe, and many others.
The Muppets Wizard of Oz (2005, 104 minutes, 66): This take on the L. Frank Baum classic should count with the witches.
Alice Sweet Alice (1976, 98 minutes, 666): This psychological one is billed as horror and should be counted for this contest.
This year, any movie with Sid Haig counts so I continue into this week with him.
THX 1138 (1971, 88 minutes, 666): This may not count in terms of being conventional sci-fi but does count thanks to Mr. Haig.
Back to the Woods (1937, 19 mintues, 66 1/2): This is a western so should count in this year's western category for the Madness.
Bewitched (2005, 102 minutes 6 1/2): This updated version of the classic sitcom in which the below movie inspired falls quite flat but the witches of the movie should make this count.
I Married a Witch (1942, 77 minutes 666): This may not be horror but has a witch as a main character so I say it counts.