Sunday, November 11, 2018
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 678th Edition and the 13 Year Anniversary
Welcome to the 678th Edition of my series. This is the 13 year anniversary and always a disbelief for me. I did not do anything special for this one, it is just another post but I am back to normal after weeks of the Madness. I just want to thank everything who has supported me through the years. It is something I enjoy putting together every week and I realize I am not normal as a normal person would probably go insane doing what I do and a normal person likely would never try to do what I do. I love the spontaneity I use in putting these together and usually surprise myself with what I come up with in my methodical selection process. Another thing I would like to announce is that I shot a local movie near my town of Muncie in Dalevilled called ASTRO GIRL FROM PLANET ZOLTRON. It was a lot of fun getting this shot as I play the corrupt president. I still have a scene to film but will keep everyone posted, hopefully something will some of this movie. I have rambled on long enough so now to my selections.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982): I start the week out with this rock film which was directed by Lou Adler. Diane Lane stars as Corinne Burns who after her mothers death decides to form a punk rock bank with her sister Tracy, played by Marin Kanter, and her cousin Jessica, played by Laura Dern, despite their lack of musical experience. As they tour with a couple other bands, they start to get a cult following and media attention but through this, tensions arise. Peter Donat, Christine Lahti, Janet Wright, Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, and many others co-star in this film. I had never heard of this until the Muncie Public Library presented this at their event called Attack of the Movie. I was very intrigued seeing a young Laura Dern and Diane Lane in a punk band. I don't really know much on Marin Kanter who did not seem to have a really long career, at least not in film. This has not gotten a lot of exposure but a pretty good look at the music industry and the difficulty in touring and again we get to see Diane Lane and Laura Dern in a punk band.
Wackiki Wabbit (1943): This is my animated short for the week which features Bugs Bunny. The title would lead to some thinking this would feature Elmer Fudd but that is not the case. In this one, Bugs is on a tropical island where a couple castaways are very determined to eat the rabbit but Bugs is able to outsmart them in this enjoyable animated short. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime as part of "Cartoon Classics Vol. 3".
The Misfits (1961): Long before the punk band the Misfits, there were the misfits in this movie. John Huston directed this film which was written by Arthur Miller. Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe star in this film and I don't think anyone at the time knew this would be the last movie for both of them. Marilyn Monroe stars as Roslyn who goes to Reno to get a quickie divorce and meets aging cowboy Gay Langland, played by Gable, and form an unexpected bond. Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach co-star as Gay's friends and Clift, while not his last movie, was pretty close as he would die a few year later. Thelma Ritter, James Barton, Kevin McCarthy, Estelle Winwood, and many others co-star in this film. This is a movie that centers most around the characters, most notably of Gable and Monroe in their complicated relationship. This is possibly Monroe's best performance and Gable has even cited this one as his best role. Unfortunately, Gable would die days after the filming and Monroe died about a year and a half later. This has gone onto be rather underrated in my opinion and hope to get this a little more exposure.
Bleak House (1985): This is my mini-series for the week which was on the BBC network and based on the novel by Charles Dickens. This centers around an inheritance during the Jarndyce and Jarndyce trial and the lives of those involved that gradually fall apart. Diana Rigg, Denholm Elliott, Suzanne Burdon, Peter Vaughan, Philip Franks, T.P. McKenna, Chris Pitt, and many others co-star in this mini-series. Rigg puts on a very good performance as Lady Dedlock This is a really hard one for me to really put into words. For those who like period pieces are sure to love this one and for fans of Dickens, I believe will also really like this one. This consists of eight episodes that are bout an hour long. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Ninotchka (1939): Ernst Lubitsch directed this romantic comedy which introduces Greta Garbo to comedy. Garbo stars as the title character who is a no-nonsense Russian on business in Paris and falls in love with Count Leon, played by Melvyn Douglas. The count becomes fascinated with Ninotchka and does what he can to break her overly serious ways. As they form their relationship, their lifestyles could keep them apart. Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Alexander Granach, Gregory Gaye, Edwin Maxwell, and many others co-star in this film. As mentioned before, Garbo had been known for her drama and goes into the comedy which at the time had a tag line of "Garbo Laughs." Also a rare sort of movie for Lugosi who is known for his sci-fi and horror films but has what is essentially a cameo in this movie so of worth to see. I was really fascinated with this love story of Garbo starting out as very stern and strictly business, slowly becoming more fun. This is available to watch on Filmstruck.
Boy (2010): Taika Waititi wrote, directed and co-stars in this New Zealand coming of age film. James Rolleston stars as the 11 year old title character who actually goes by Boy and is a big fan of Michael Jackson. Boy is soon left to take charge of the home for a week and is soon visited by his estranged father Alamein, played by Waititi, who Boy always had a heroic image only to find that he is a gangster looking for a bag of money that was buried in the home. Boy tries to connect with Alamein and slowly starts becoming more like his dad. Rachel House, Cohen Holloway, Pana Hema Taylor, and many others co-star in this film. This has a really good blend of comedy and drama as well as complex characters. There are also some really funny Michael Jackson tribute scenes. This is available on both Hoopla and kanopy, both are run by local libraries.
The Big Sleep (1946): Howard Hawks directed this film which is based on the novel by Raymond Chandler. Humphrey Bogart stars as private investigator Philip Marlowe who is hired by a wealthy family in what seems to be a rather simple case but finds himself in a world of betrayal, blackmail, murder, and organized crime. The daughter of the family Vivian, played by Lauren Bacall, helps Marlowe do what is needed while slowly falling in love. John Ridgely, Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone, Peggy Knudsen, Regis Toomey, and many others co-star in this film. This movie is convoluted to no end but it's easy to forget about that part with the great performances of Bogart and Bacall. It is one of the best of the film noir genre and holds up very well today. This is available to watch on Filmstruck.
Beauty and the Beast (2017): This is my live-action Disney remake of the 1991 animated film. Dan Stevens stars as as a prince whose very selfish act one night makes him cursed to be a Beast along with the rest of the people in the castle becoming other things. The only way to break the curse is to love and be loved in return. Emma Watson stars as the free-spirited Belle who ends up in his castle after her father, played by Kevin Kline, becomes imprisoned and agrees to stay there as long as her dad goes free. The Beast's object servants do what they can to inspire true love. Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Hattie Morahan, Haydn Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Ray Fearon, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, and many others co-star in this film. I think just about everyone has seen 1991 version and this is mostly the same thing while adding some elements that I liked including the enchantress having a little more of an expanded role. I had the honor of being a stage version in 2005 at Muncie Civic Theater where I got to play the part of Lefou and is one of my favorite roles I have played. This has our favorite musical numbers from the 1991 movie and wrote some additional ones for this movie though I hoped the ones from the stage version would end up in the movie, most notably IF I CAN'T LOVE HER. I did really love Watson as Belle and the movie was enjoyable to me. This is available to watch on Netflix.
Age of Consent (1969): Michael Powell directed this film based on the novel by Norman Lindsay. James Mason stars as disillusioned artist Bradley Morahan who while fairly successful is very unsatisfied with his work. He ends up going to an Australian island and while there finds himself a muse in a girl named Cora, played by a young Helen Mirren. He agrees to buy the fish she helps catch while also talking her into posing nude for him. Jack MacGowran, Harold Hopkins, Neva Carr-Glynn, Peggy Cass, Frank Thring, and many others co-star in this film. This is another one that was driven by the characters and is good to see such a young Mirren in practically the start of her career. Mason and her work very well together and this could call for a James Mason double feature with this one and LOLITA. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
The Phone Call (2013): I end the week with this Oscar nominated short film. Mat Kirby directed and co-wrote this short film which is about 22 minutes long. Sally Hawkins stars as Heather who is a volunteer as a crisis center hot-line operator and gets a call from a man named Stan, voiced by Jim Broadbent. Stan is expressing remorse of an event that happened two years ago and how it is very hard for him to continue. The film is the conversation between them and Heather trying to understand Stan's situation. This was a very well done short film and is a very overlooked genre. I'd love to see the movie theaters go back to the old days where they would show a couple short films before the feature. Disney uses this practice quite a bit and hoping to see this more often. This is available on the streaming site kanopy.com which is run through the local library. My library in Muncie is doing this service as well as Hoopla and as far as movie selection, I like Kanopy a lot better and eases me a little bit with this Filmstruck shutdown.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Peter Fonda, and many others. Thanks again everyone for your support through the years.