Sunday, April 2, 2017
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 594th Edition
Welcome to the 594th Edition of my series. It's getting closer to my show which is at the end of this month which is THE LITTLE MERMAID on April 27, 28, 29, 30 in Portland, Indiana where I get to play the role of Grimsby. I've been watching my WWE network all weekend and continue tonight for Wrestlemania so not much else to say except i'll just get on with my selections for the weekend.
King Lear (2008): I start the week out with some Shakespeare and an episode of GREAT PERFORMANCES on PBS. Sir Ian McKellan stars as the title character in this Shakespearean tragedy. King Lear is an aging king who is ready to give up the monarchy and divides the kingdom with his three daughters Goneril, played by Frances Barber, Regan, played by Monica Dolan, and Cordelia, played by Romola Garai, which leads to betrayal when he declares that the one who loves him the most gets the biggest share. William Gaunt, Philip Winchester, Monica Dolan, Romola Garai, Sylvester McCoy, Jonathan Hyde, and many others co-star in this adaptation of Shakespeare. This is considered by many to be Shakespeare's best work showing a man slowing falling into insanity. Magneto, I mean McKellan gives a great performance as the show says and the rest of the relatively unknown cast also pull their weight. Mostly for Shakespeare fans and I also wonder if this was Joss Whedon's inspiration for the name Cordelia, maybe even character, in his shows BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL.
Fury (2014): I follow up with this WWII film written and directed by David Ayer. Brad Pitt stars as Dan Collier who leads a WWII unit and like INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, he is all about killing them Nazis. Things become more difficult when he is assigned the very inexperienced Norman Ellison, played by Logan Lerman, who must learn very quickly. Shia LeBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jim Parrack, Brad William Henke, Scott Eastwood, and many others co-star in this film. I looked to see if this was true story and maybe some autobiography that someone wrote and that is not the case in this particular film. Ayer wrote this himself and inspired by people in his family and other books he read. I felt he put together a pretty realistic war film that has some believable characters. It is not easy to watch at times but war is not easy and the horrors of war are shown very clearly. Also for the LeBeouf haters out there, I would not let the mention of his name make you run from this movie as he does a really good job in this film.
School of Rock (2003): Now I get less intense from my first two selections and bring a comedy directed by Richard Linklater and co-written by Mike White who co-stars. Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn who dreams of having a music career but is kicked out by his band that he thought he would be going to the Battle of the Bands with. Now he must look to make some money for rent and manages to pose as his friend and roommate Ned, played by White, as a substitute teacher in a very strict and prestigious elementary school. He does not know what he is doing until he sees the kids in music class to see that his student Zack, Joey Gaydos Jr., is a very talented guitarist at his age and also finds music talent in others to realize he has new shot at Battle of the Bands with a bunch of kids. Some of the kids were in the band and some were given backstage roles to make sure they are not seen see by others in the school. Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Adam Pascal, Lucas Babin, Nicky Katt, Timothy Levitch, and many others co-star in this film. This is a very clever and enjoyable comedy with a very fun Jack Black bringing out talents in the children their parents did not really know because of being at a very stuffy school.
The Herring Murder Case (1931): This is my animated short in the early days of talking cartoons. In this a herring is murdered and detective Bimbo is assigned to the case. Bimbo is a dog and usually featured in Betty Boop cartoons as her love interest but has his own cartoon in this one. There is a cameo from another popular character from that era and classic animation buffs in Ko Ko the Clown. This is available to watch on Youtube.
The Little Foxes (1941): William Wyler directed this film based on a play by Lillian Hellman. Bette Davis stars as Regina Giddons who is a very ruthless woman in the south at the turn of the 20th Century. She is looking to make money and looks to get her estranged husband Horace, played by Herbert Marshall, home and manipulates her daughter Alexandra, played by Teresa Wright, to get him. Richard Carlson, Dan Duryea, Charles Dingle, Russell Hicks, and many others co-star in this film. This is a very good turn of the century film of a wealthy family. Davis plays a villain very well and shows herself well in this one with Teresa Wright playing the younger daughter who must learn who her loyalty is to.
Blazing Saddles (1974): Mel Brooks, who also co-stars as the governor and an Indian chief, directed this ultimate western spoof. Harvey Korman plays the corrupt politician Hedley Lamarr who is out to ruin a western town and sets out to do so by appointing a black man named Bart, played by Cleavon Little, as the new sherriff. Bar turns out to be more formidable than expected. He soon teams up with the Waco Kid, played by Gene Wilder, and looks to overcome the hostile reception of having a black man as a sheriff. Madeline Kahn, Slim Pickens, Alex Karras, David Huddleston, and many others co-star in this comedic western. This is political incorrectness at its finest but makes the racists look real bad. Richard Pryor was originally considered for Bart but due to his controversial nature, Brooks could not get the necessary funding so he stayed on as a writer. This is one of the best comedies ever written and has all kinds of laughs. This is available to watch on Instant Netflix.
My Date With Drew (2004): This is my documentary for the week which was directed by Jon Gunn, Brian Herzlinger, and Brett Winn with Herzlinger trying to get a date with Drew Barrymore and the two others helping him in his journey. Herzlinger is a struggling filmmaker who has had a crush on Drew since he was a kid and seeing her on E.T.: EXTRA TERRESTRIAL and now decides he must try to meet her which proves to be no easy task on his limited budget and time. This is a very enjoyable irrelevant documentary and it becomes very easy to get behind Brian in his quest to get a date with Drew.
On the Beach (1959): This is part one of a possible two-part Anthony Perkins series. Stanley Kramer directed this film which is based on a novel by Nevil Shute. This is not one of those fun and cheesy beach movies that were popular at this era. This takes place in 1964 so a not so distant future at that time where a nuclear war has wiped out most of humanity and for the rest it is a matter of time before they go. Gregory Peck stars as Commander Dwight Towers who falls for a girl named Moira, played by Ava Gardner, but must go on a reconnaissance mission to see if there is any hope. Fred Astaire co-stars as Julian Osbourne who looks to enter the Grand Prix in are likely his last days. Astaire gets to play some against type as a more cynical and bitter person. Perkins in his pre-Norman Bates role rounded out the cast well in this rather diverse sort of cast. It is a rather said but at the same time, kind of inspiring.
The Pink Panther (1963): Now I bring another comedy for the week in part one of what might be a two-part Peter Sellers series. Blake Edwards wrote and directed the start of this comedy series. Peter Sellers stars as his iconic character in the bumbling and inept Inspector Jacques Clouseau. He is on the trail of a renowned thief referred to as "The Phantom". David Niven, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Claudia Cardinale, and many others co-star in this comedy. Sellers is more of a co-star in this one, sharing a lot of time with David Niven as Sellers was not meant to be the star but was liked so much, the rest of the movies focused more on him. This is a pretty good start to the series with a really funny climax.
Blue Jay (2016): I end the week with this newer independent film which was directed by Alex Lehman and written by Mark Duplass who also stars. Duplass plays Jim and Sarah Paulson stars as Amanda who are two high school sweethearts and have a chance encounter when they are both visiting their visiting their old home town for different reasons. They decide to hang out for the day and reflect on their past and how they are now. It is focused on these two characters the whole way through with Duplass and Paulson doing a great job as these very complex characters that have a lot of happy and sad times in their time together. This is available on Instant Netflix and really worth a look to see this character driven film that I was glad to close on this edition.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week.