Sunday, August 5, 2018
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 664th Edition
Welcome to the 664th Edition of my series. I have started rehearsals for my new show BIRTH, DEATH, AND THE SHIT IN BETWEEN. Showdates for this show are August 25th, 26th, 31st, and September 1st and is at the upstairs of the Heorot/Valhalla in Muncie. I do not know as of now how much tickets will be but will provider more info as is comes out.
Idiocracy (2006): I start the week out with this satire on modern-day society. Mike Judge directed and co-wrote this comedy which stars Luke Wilson as Private Joe Bauers. He is trying to do little as possible before his discharge and could be the definition of the "average American". He agrees to take part in the Army's secretive program the Human Hibernation Project. Things go awry and him and another test subject Rita, played by Maya Rudolph, end up 500 years later where society has dumbed down more and more with the corporate media and finds that he is now the smartest man there. Terry Crews, Anthony Campos, David Herman, Justin Long, Patrick Fischler, Darlene Hunt, Andrew Wilson, Scarface, Thomas Haden Church, and many others co-star in this film. This delivers a lot of laughs and has a rather good message for us to think about and we do not end up like them at some point. It is also a very clever sci-fi comedy. There is an end credit scene so don't just stop at the credits.
Grand Canyon, Pride of Creation (1943): This is one my short film for the week and is part of the Traveltalks series of this era. This obviously takes a look at the Grand Canyon or as they call it America's Painted Desert. This gives a couple of views with one being from the rim looking down in an automobile and the other being within the canyon where mules take tourists along the various trails. This is a pretty informative short and gets quite a bit in within the nine minutes.
Critic's Choice (1963): Don Weis directed this comedy which is based on the play by Don Weis. Bob Hope and Lucille Ball star as married couple Parker and Angela Ballantine. Parker is a New York theater critic and a pretty harsh one at that. Angela decides that she wants to write a play herself and Parker must choose between his principles or jeopardize his marriage. Marilyn Maxwell, Rip Torn, Jessie Royce Landis, John Dehner, Jim Backus, Rickey Kelman, Dorothy Green, Marie Windsor, and many others co-star in this comedy. This is nothing great but good to see Hope and Ball working together and this is the last of their four teamings. I also found it of interest to see a young character Rip Torn in kind of a leading man role before he would go to play more authority type roles that I have mostly seen him.
Free State of Jones (2016): This is my Civil war film which was directed and co-written by Gary Ross. Matthew McConaughey, I will never be able to memorize that spelling, stars as Newton Knight who is a disillusioned Confederate soldier and becomes a deserter. He is able to get together a group of fellow deserters to form the Free State of Jones to revolt against the local Confederate government. Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Materhala Ali, Christopher Berry, Sean Bridgers, Jacob Lofland, Thomas Francis Murphy, Thomas Francis Murphy, Bill Tangradi, Brian Lee Franklin, Kerry Cahill, Joe Chrest, Jessica Collins, Donald Watkins, and many others co-star in this film. This is based on a true story of Newton Knight who is probably more famous down south where he is a rather controversial figure. Maybe this is another reason the Confederate did not win. This is a pretty compelling Civil War film to focus mostly on the Confederate side.
Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty (1938): Last week I featured the first of this two-part documentary series of the 1936 Berlin Olympics which was directed by Leni Riefenstahl. This one takes a look at the gymnastics, equestrian, cycling and boating events. This also features the seemingly great leader Adoph Hitler as one of the main spectators and who commissioned Riefenstahl to do this fim. The camera work is absolutely amazing with the sporting events and has some really good footage. Along with the first one, this is available to watch on Filmstruck.
I, Daniel Blake (2016): Ken Loach directed this British film which takes a look at the employment system. Dave Johns stars as the title character who is a carpenter and has a heart attack making him unable to work. He must fight the bureaucratic system in his struggle to get Employment and Support Allowance while he really just wants to get back to work. In his battle, he meets and befriends the younger single mother in Katie, played by Hayley Squires, and tries to help her and her two children. Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Sharon Piercy, and many others co-star in this film. Many could read the plot and if they don't see something about Britain could easily think "Murica" but this happens everywhere. While having its comedic moments, this is a pretty sad movie about what people might resort to if they are screwed by the system. Johns makes his film debut in this movie and does a great job making us take the journey with him. Unfortunately, this has gone onto become quite underrated but maybe this will help.
Dark Passage (1947): This is part one of a two-part Humphrey Bogart series. Delmer Daves directed this film noir based on the novel by David Goodis. Humphrey Bogart stars as Vincent Parry who is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and escapes prison hoping to clear his name and prove his innocence. He meets Irene Jansen, played by Lauren Bacall, who is aware of his situation and believes in his innocence agreeing to help him try to prove his innocence. Bruce Bennett, Agnes Moorehead, Tom D'Andrea, and many others co-star in this film. The most intriguing part of this film is that it is from a first person point of view from the camera where we do not see that face of Bogey's until later in the film when he gets plastic surgery. This is driven by a great cast where the supporting players do just as good as the leads. This is a rather overlooked film for Bogey and this is available to watch on Filmstruck.
21 Jump Street (2012): Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed this reboot of the popular '80s series of undercover cops in high school. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as Schmidt and Jenko who are a couple underachieving cops being sent to undercover to be high school students in order to bring down a drug ring from within the school. Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis, Ice Cube, Dax Flame, Chris Parnell, Ellie Kemper, Jake Johnson, Nick Offerman, and many others co-star in this comedy and some of the tv show alums have cameo appearances. Jonah Hill co-wrote the screenplay. I don't have much knowledge of the show so I have no way of knowing how faithful this was to the series. Watching this movie, I got quite a bit of laughs when knowing not to take it too seriously. The plot mostly speaks for itself so no sense in saying much more so check out this comedy.
Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968): I continue my week with more comedy than usual and this is my Asian comedy for the week. Nagisa Oshima directed this film which is a comedy but also a satire on social injustice from what I can see. Three Japanese friends are mistaken for illegal Koreans after their clothes were stolen and replaced with the other clothes that get them mistaken leading to a lot of comic misadventures. This was pretty interesting as one does not usually associate slapstick comedy with Japan but this is the one. There is a song that plays throughout the film that some might think the Japanese Alvin and the Chipmunks. This is available to watch on Filmstruck.
The Look of Silence (2014): I end this week with this documentary which was directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. This is Oppenheimer's sequel or companion piece to his 2012 film THE ACT OF KILLING. I want to touch on that one first which takes a look at survivors of the former Indonesian death squad who in the '60s killed many people during the "Communist" purge. They are asked to reenact the murders in very unorthodox ways. On this one, Adi Rukun, whose brother was one of the victims, watches the 2012 movie and decides to confront some of these people on what happened as well as their families. I will start by saying that it is best in my opinion to start with the 2012 movie and then watch this one. These are some pretty compelling documentaries and this particular one is available on Netflix while the 2012 film unfortunately is not available on Netflix.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder, Humphrey Bogart, and many others.