Sunday, November 5, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 625th Edition aka the 12 Year Anniversary and the Madness: 10 Years- Week 4

Welcome to the 625th Edition of my series and yes you read that correctly, 12 years.  How have you managed some might ask and I really have no answer except this is just something I enjoy doing each week and exploring what is out there.  I was going to do a theme with this but I got too busy with my show and the Madness that I just did something a little more conventional and even had some selections I used for the Madness.  This started during the days of Myspace and has gone on since then.  I just want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years from old to new.  I also have my last week of the Madness in this edition.

American Crime Story (2016):  I start this off with this FX mini-series so technically not a movie but I make the rules so I can decide.  This is a mini-series based on the "Trial of the Century" with the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., who was accused and ultimately acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman.  Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, John Travolta, Kenneth Choi, Christian Clemenson, Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, David Schwimmer, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, Max Greenfield, Edgar Ramirez, Rob Morrow, Jordana Brewster, Evan Handler, Cheryl Ladd, Malcolm Jamal-Warner, Selma Blair, Connie Britton, and many others co-star in this mini-series.  I remember being in middle school when this very publicized trial was going on practically making many of these people into celebrities when it was all said and done which unfortunately include the Kardashians who were just kids at the time.  I also noticed that they gave a lot of attention to detail making me feel like I was pretty much reliving this period of time.  This includes the actors were cast pretty well to their parts especially Courtney B. Vance as Johnny Cochran.  Even actor Joseph Siravo who has a very small role as Fred Goldman might have some people thinking he was very over the top but I remember those interviews and Siravo was very spot on as Goldman.  Even things like the camera angles from the televised spots were quite accurate as I recall.  This is ten episodes long and each are usually specific on what they focus upon like some are centered around the large defense team whose egos could not co-exist, the prosecution's ups and downs, even a couple episodes centered around the jury.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986):  Frank Oz directed this popular musical from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken that is always a sure winner in the community theater world.  This takes place in the very poor town of Skid Row where Rick Moranis stars as the nerdy and bumbling Seymour Krelborn who works at the struggling flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik, played by Vincent Gardenia, which also employs Seymour's friend and crush Audrey, played by Ellen Greene, who is in a very abusive relationship with the unscrupulous dentist Orin, played by Steve Martin.  Things change for them when Seymour buys a very mysterious plant that he calls the Audrey II, voiced the Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, whose presence wins them more business but at a price when the plant shows a lust for blood making Seymour question how far he should go to continue the success.  Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, Bill Murray, and many others co-star or have cameos.  This is a remake of Roger Corman's 1960 b-movie of the same name which I still watch from time to time feeling I need to give credit where credit is due for this musical.  Those who have seen the stage version and this movie version are aware that the endings are quite different and that is because they were forced to make the ending by the producers but Oz had shot the alternate ending that resembles the more dark ending that happens in the stage version and is now available on dvd as the Director's Cut.  A lot of the time that phrase "Director's Cut" does not mean much but in this case it means everything.  I think this is the only version I'll be able to watch from here on out.

Empire Records (1995):  Allan Moyle directed this record store comedy.  This centers around an independent record store and the lives of each employee as well as their biggest concern is that the store will not make it and will be bought by a corporate store.  The employees must all band together in hopes of saving what they do not want to be corporate.  Anthony LaPaglia stars as the very lenient owner Joe Reaves who struggles with decisions he must make.  Maxwell Caulfield, Debi Mazar, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth, Robin Tunney, Renee Zellweger, Ethan Embry, Coyote Shivers, Brendan Sexton III, Liv Tyler, and many others co-star in this film.  It's hard to really describe this further.  I know kids of the '90s can mostly relate to this film that is more driven by the characters as well as its '90s soundtrack

Son of Frankenstein (1939):  This is the 3rd in the classic Universal series and it was also the last time Boris Karloff would play Frankenstein's monster.  It was also the last in the series before Universal started combining characters like Dracula and the Wolf Man.  Basil Rathbone stars as Wolf Von Frankenstein who brings his wife and son back to the town where his name is hated because of his father's creation.  Wolf has the idea to recreate the creature but try to see to his father's vision of creating a good person.  Soon, murders start to happen making the village believe the Monster is back to killing and Frankenstein must figure out what is behind these murders.  Bela Legosi co-stars as Ygor who is the assistant of Dr. Frankenstein and appears to have his own agenda.  Lionel Atwill and Josephine Hutchison co-star in this rather underrated sequel in my opinion.  This also might be Legosi's best performance of his career.  Rathbone did a good job of continuing where Colin Clive left off.  This is available to watch on the Hoopla Digital website.

Star Wars:  Episode IV- A New Hope (1977):  George Lucas directed this sci-fi film that started quite the phenomenon.  I know just about everyone who has wanted to see this has by now and there are those who are not afraid to tell us they have never seen them which I doubt I will convince so I'm not even going to try.  I suppose I could target any of the younger generation whose parents might be close minded to give this a shot.  Maybe get some of your friends and have a STAR WARS party.  I'll just give a basic plot of the characters of Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Alec Guinness, Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, the wookie Chewbacca, played by Peter Mayhew, and the droids C-3PO, played by Anthony Daniels, and R2-D2, played by Kenny Baker, all come together in order to rescue Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, from the empire lead by Darth Vader, in costume by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones.  Again, what more can I say that will convince those that have not seen this to finally break down and watch it?  Phil Brown, Shelagh Fraser, Peter Cushing, and many others co-star in this film.  I know that Lucas nor any of the actors would ever foresee this becoming what it is today and is still going through many other movies, tv series, books, video games, just to name a few.

The Killer Shrews (1959):  I decided to bring a b-movie into the mix and brought this movie that takes place on a remote island by a hurricane where there is a hurricane and even worse some shrews that have been genetically modified to be bigger and extremely deadly.  What more do I need to say really?  The shrews are sometimes puppets but when close up they are dogs.  Mostly watch this for what it is, a b-movie and it is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008):  With this being the first week of November, I just wanted to remind everyone that this month is November.  This is a tv movie that is based on a short story by Louisa May Alcott of LITTLE WOMEN fame.  Helene Joy stars as the widowed mother Mary whose family has fallen on hard times since her husband died but does what she can to pull through.  She has an estranged mother in Isabella, played by Jacqueline Bisset, who she will not ask for any help so her daughter Tillie, played by Tatiana Maslany, takes it upon herself to write her grandmother and in turn she unexpectedly shows up.  Kristopher Turner, Ted Atherton, Vivien Endicott Douglas, Gage Munroe, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  This is a Hallmark movie so don't expect anything suspensful and intense.  I know this movie has its audience so if looking for something on Thanksgiving, this is a good place to start.

Godzilla (1954):  Ishiro Honda directed this Japanese film that started it all and like my other feature of STAR WARS started quite a phenomenon with with the iconic giant lizard Godzilla.  In this film, nuclear testing results in a Godzilla who begins to wreak havoc all over the place.  Takashi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, and many others co-star in this film.  This is the one as I said started it all and has not been topped.  Since this one, there have been some sequels and battles with many others Japanese creatures like Mothra and King Ghidorah.  There have also been quite a few remakes of this movie including a reworked American version of this one.  These are usually pretty enjoyable but don't forget this one that got things started, I don't think I need to say much more.

The Panic in Needle Park (1971):  Jerry Schatzberg directed this film based on the book by James Mills.  This movie is centered around a group of heroin addicts that frequent  the "Needle Park" section of New York.  Al Pacino stars as Bobby who is an addict and small-time hustler forming a relationship with a homeless girl named Helen, played by Kitty Winn, who forms her own addiction leaving a very complicated relationship between the two.  Alan Vint, Richard Bright, Kiel Martin, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Raul Julia, and many others co-star in this film.  This could be referred to as Al Pacino's transitional star-making role.  Francis Ford Coppola saw this movie and found his Michael Corleone in THE GODFATHER that came out the next year.  Coppola had to fight the producers which wanted a more known actor at the time.  This is a very good early performance from Pacino that really deserves a look.  This is available on Netflix.

My Name is Jerry (2009):  I end this edition with this independent film which was shot in my own town of Muncie, Indiana and one where I was actually an extra.  This was not really planned but found the dvd at my local library and thought it was time to revisit this one.  This was shot through Ball State University where they asked their own alum Doug Jones to star in the title role.  Morgan Mead directed this independent film where Jones stars as Jerry who is a door to door salesman who did not know what to do with his life until he met a girl named Jordan, played by Katlyn Carlson, and a group of college age kids that make him go through a phase of reliving youth.  Don Stark, Catherine Hicks, Jonathan Keaton, and many others co-star in this film.  For those who are not sure of who Doug Jones is, he is known for roles like Abe Sapien in the HELLBOY films, Silver Surfer in FANTASTIC 4:  RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, Fauno and Pale Man in PAN'S LABYRINTH, and Billy Butcherson in HOCUS POCUS so he is in rare human form in this movie.  He is also part of the Star Trek world as Saru in the new series STAR TREK:  DISCOVERY.  I got to meet him a couple of times and is a very pleasant man to be around.  It was also cool watching this movie and knowing most of the places and recognizing a few people.  I have a couple photos on the bottom, one of me which is unfortunately my side profile in the funeral scene which happened at.  I am to the left of the tree and you will see a beard.  The other one is of my friend Olivia who I did not know at the time but when watching this I recognized her right away at this scene which was at the time Doc's and is the girl to the right.  This used to be available for streaming on Netflix but is no more.  It is available for rental on Amazon Prime.

Well, that is it for this week.  Continue on for the last week of this Year's Madness and stay tuned for next week.

This is the last week of the Madness in which I thought I was going to have to release this on Thursday but learned I have until today so I decided to go ahead and combine the two.


Attack the Block (2011, 98 minutes, 666):  I believe this sci-fi British comedy should qualify due to the nature of the aliens.

Final Fantasy:  The Spirits Within (2001, 106 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is an animated movie based on the video game.  I feel the aliens are scary enough to make this one count.



Anna is not a wild card but found a couple selections with her so decided upon a category for her.

Into the Woods (2014, 125 minutes, 666):  Anna co-stars as Cinderella in this adaptation of the Sondheim musical.  This has a witch, giant and wolf so should not be hard to get qualified.  I have seen this musical quite a few times and while this had its flaws, I did really like the casting of it.

Trolls (2016, 92 minutes, 66 1/2):  Anna stars as lead troll Poppy.  This is based on those toys that were very popular at least during our childhood.  This is a really fun one for the family to watch.  Has a lot of music numbers with popular songs, some worked and some didn't in my opinion.  I feel this should qualify as a creature feature.



Last week I featured his father Stellan in some selections so I thought I'd look for a selection of his to keep my King of the Loophole title as his family are all billed as Wild Cards.

Simon and the Oaks (2011, 122 minutes 66 1/2):  Bill stars in this coming of age WWII drama making this movie count in this year's madness.



Christopher is a director and he is not a wild card but I found a couple common selections from him so he became a Madness category for the week.

Black Death (2010, 102 minutes, 66 1/2):  This movie centering around the Black Death which has some witching and some bringing back from the dead so should count for the contest.

Triangle (2009, 99 minutes, 66 1/2):  This horror movie takes part on a ghost cruise ship where a group of people are hunted down and nothing is what it seems.



Gojira (1954, 96 minutes, 666 1/2):  The introduction to the iconic creature which at this time was a statement towards nuclear weapons.  Godzilla would go onto take on many other creatures along with remakes.  No argument needed here.

The Killer Shrews (1959, 69 minutes, 66):  This has some very violent shrews in this B Movie.



Ethan is a wild card this year so I can make any movie of his count.

Empire Records (1995, 90 minutes, 666):  Ethan plays the part of Mark though at the time billed as Ethan Randall.  This cult comedy of the local record store counts this year as a wild card



Gemma is a wild card this year so I thought I'd find something of hers to count for only this year.

Gemma Bovery (2014, 99 minutes, 666):  Gemma plays the title character that happens to share the same first name.  This is a movie that centers around the obsession of a book and would not usually count but does this year.



Jessica is a wild card this year so anything of hers counts.

American Horror Story:  Dark Cousin (2012, 42 minutes, 666)

American Horror Story:  Unholy Night (2012, 42 minutes, 666)

American Horror Story:  The Coat Hanger (2012, 42 minutes, 666)

American Horror Story:  The Name Game (2012, 42 minutes, 666)

American Horror Story:  Spilt Milk (2012, 42 minutes, 666)

American Horror Story:  Continuum (2012, 42 minutes, 666)

American Horror Story:  Madness Ends (2012, 42 minutes, 666):  Seven episodes of AHS which always count but don't have to make any sort of argument thanks to Jessica Lange.

Normal (2003, 110 minutes, 666):  This is my Jessica Lange loophole this week where she plays a wife who learns that her husband of many years wants to be a man.



Joel is a wild card for this year so I decided to look for a little something of his.

Saturn's Return (2001, 26 minutes, 666):  This is an early short film for Joel Edgerton that counts this year since Joel Edgerton is a wild card.



Lionel is not a wild card but was a very respected actor of the 30s and 40s and happened to have a couple Universal films of his.

House of Dracula (1945, 67 minutes, 66):  This should get bonus points due to having Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster.

Son of Frankenstein (1939, 99 minutes, 666):  One of the more underrated in the series in my opinion.  Like the other selection in this category, Lionel stars as a police officer of some sort.  Karloff's last appearance as the creature and possible Bela Legusi's best performance of his career as Ygor.


Malcolm is a wild card this year so anything of his counts.

Caligula (1979, 156 minutes, 66 1/2):  I don't know what to say about this one.  Malcolm plays Caligula and if you can get past what is pretty much porn, it is a pretty good portrayal of the psychotic Roman emperor.  A little bit a bonus point for the movie time.



Little Shop of Horrors (1986, 102 minutes, 666 1/2):  This movie musical based on the 1960 Roger Corman counts and goes without saying with the carnivorous plant.  I also want to say, this is the director's cut version that director Frank Oz originally wanted which has an ending more like the stage version that is far more dark than than the original version which was forced to do a more happy ending on account of the producers.  I think this is now the only version of the film I will watch.



This horror legend counts this year for automatic triple points and is essentially a wild card.

Asylum (1972, 88 minutes 66 1/2):  This would count any year but having Peter part of this ensemble cast makes it count without any argument and I get automatic triple points for Cushing.

Star Wars:  Episode IV- A New Hope (1977, 121 minutes, 666 1/2):  This does not usually count for the Madness unless we count all Sci-fi but does count this year thanks to Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin so Triple points for this one.



Elle (2016, 130 minutes, 666):  I know I won't get this argued through the psychological thriller element.  What I do want to argue is this takes place at a place where they make video games and there is footage of a game in parts of the movie where a demon type creature makes a very brutal killing and it is in the full part of the screen.

The Return (2006, 85 minutes, 66):  I didn't really know how to categorize this one but still horror of having nightmares of a past murder.



Ron is not a wild card but had a couple with him so I decided to make him into a category

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016, 133 minutes, 666):  This also has witches and wizards and many other things that should make this count for the Madness.  Perlman has more of a cameo as Gnarlack.

Hellboy II:  The Golden Army (2008, 120 minutes, 666):  This easily counts, Ron plays the title character.  This also co-stars Doug Jones and Selma Blair who were both featured in my recommendation section in non-Madness selections but I hope to make Mr. Jones into a future wild card.


Vampire Killers (2009, 86 minutes, 66):  This is a vampire comedy so no argument needed to qualify this one.



Winona counts this year and this week have more of a conventional Madness selection.

Beetlejuice (1988, 92 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is a Halloween cult classic that counts any year but includes our wild card of this year in Winona Ryder.


Well, that is the end of the Madness for this year.  This is always my favorite part of the Halloween season and look forward to it every year.  I hope for next year, they will consider the category I've wanted to do for a long time which is WOMEN OF HORROR.  Come on Liz.......

No comments:

Post a Comment