Sunday, May 12, 2019
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 704th Edition
Welcome to the 704th Edition of my series. I hope everyone is enjoying their Mother's Day however celebrated. I don't really have any selections that are very "motherly" but hope you'll still read on anyways with the return of the "Fun and Useless Facts" segment.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007): This is part three of my Jeremy Renner trilogy where he plays James Gang member Wood Hite. Andrew Dominik directed this film based on the novel by Ron Hansen. I believe this one to be a rather misunderstood film. Some when they hear the name Jesse James, they automatically think western and then either they don't like westerns or it was not enough of one. I believe this to be more of a drama and character study more than anything. This mostly focuses on the relationship between Jesse James and Bob Ford from when Ford joins the James Gang up to his life after he kills Jesse. The title already gives away that particular part and anyone that has any history knowledge usually knows what happened. Many movies on Jesse James portray him as an outlaw but as a Robin Hood figure but this one is different. This shows how the heroism of Jesse James is surrounded by the hype on articles and dime novels that people write. Casey Affleck stars as Bob Ford who has always idolized Jesse James, played by Brad Pitt, and when he finally joins he begins to realize that Jesse is not the man portrayed in novels and is really very ruthless and a cold-blooded killer. Sam Shepard has a part in the beginning as Frank James who is at the end of his life of crime and leaves around the time Ford joins. Mary-Louise Parker, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Schneider, Alison Elliot, Zooey Deschanel, Pat Healy, James Carville, and many others co-star in this film. This is a movie in my opinion that works on every level. Affleck was phenomenal as Bob Ford and Pitt also does a great job as Jesse James. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is beautiful. Even the narration and the music score by Nick Cave comes in at the absolute right times. In many ways, this is a story of the disappointment that one might have when meeting their idols. If you are looking for some action packed western, then find another Jesse James movie but if you are looking for a more realistic interpretation, this is it. This movie is both compelling and beautiful in so many ways.
High and Dizzy (1920): This is my silent comedy short for the week which was directed by Hal Roach. Silent comedic legend Harold Lloyd stars as Dr. Hale who is just getting out of college and gets tipsy with a friend while encountering a sleepwalking girl he must deal with that he also really likes. This is some very early Lloyd and was a start to a lot of his stunt comedy that he would go onto be known for. Lloyd has not gone onto be quite as known as Chaplin and Keaton have but still has his own image and is every bit as good in my opinion. I do not usually comment on the featured photo but it shows how far we have come as this was 26 minutes and at this time billed as a two part special. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
The Lineup (1958): Don Siegel directed this crime drama which stars Eli Wallach as Dancer who along with his mentor Julian, played by Robert Keith, and their driver Sandy, played by Richard Jaekel, are instructed to pick up some Heroin but gets picked up by unsuspecting tourists and they kill many get killed in their pursuit of the Heroin. Lt. Ben Guthrie, played by Warner Anderson, leads the police on the hunt for the criminals. Mary LaRoche, William Leslie, Emile Meyer, Marshall Reed, Raymond Bailey, Vaughn Taylor, Robert Bailey, and many others co-star in this film. I think what sticks out to me most is how Wallach was a villain to the core with no redeeming qualities at all which might be something he was rather underrated at in playing villain characters. This is a very suspenseful and probably pretty daring movie from this era that has quite the action climax at the end.
Begin Again (2013): This is part two of a two-part Mark Ruffalo series. ONCE director John Carney directed this film on the music industry. Mark Ruffalo stars as Dan who has just been fired from his job as a music producer and decides to drink himself away at a bar while having a chance encounter toward a singer named Gretta, played by Keira Knightley, who he believes has some raw talent and is marketable. She is having her own problems with a recent breakup with her boyfriend Dave, played by Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, after his new found fame as a singer. Dan is soon determined to help Gretta get herself out there as a singer and they find many clever ways using the limited resources that they have. Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, Rob Morrow, Ceelo Green, James Corden, Yasiin Bey and many others co-star in this film. I really enjoyed this one and thought Knightley did a pretty good job on the singing. I also thought it was a good story on a father trying to reconnect with his teen daughter, played by Steinfeld. This has a good soundtrack, story and cast and is a really good homage to the independent music scene.
The Iron Rose (1973): This is my French film for the week which was directed by Jean Rollin. Francoise Pascal and Hugues Quester star as a young couple who decide to go to a cemetery on a date. As it gets darker, their fears begin to consume them and are unable to leave in this more visual horror film. It is really hard to put this one into any real words. It might need more than one viewing and it is a horror film without a lot of blood and gore so horror fans can decide in that regard. It is also a really good watch for foreign film buffs.
Marshall (2017): Now I go to a biopic which was directed by Reginald Hudlin. Chadwick Boseman plays a young Thurgood Marshall who at this point in his life is an attorney working for the NAACP and goes throughout the country to defend African-Americans wrongly accused. His latest case leads him to Bridgeport, Connecticut where a black man named Joseph Spell, played by Sterling K. Brown, who is wrongly convicted of the rape of his employer Eleanor, played by Kate Hudson. Josh Gad also co-stars as attorney Sam Friedman who is used to criminal court and only intends to introduce Marshall as council but he must become lead council when a racist judge forbids Marshall to speak in court. Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp, Roger Guenveur Smith, Derrick Baskin, Barrett Doss, John Magaro, Ahna O'Reilly, Jussie Smollet, TLC member Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, and many others co-star in this film. This is a really good look at Marshall in this era where racism is really on the rise. It was also a really good dynamic of Boseman and Gad having to co-exist to get their client a fair trial.
Two-Faced Woman (1941): Now I turn to this romantic comedy which was directed by George Cukor. Melvyn Douglas stars as Larry Blake who meets ski instructor Karin Borg, played by Greta Garbo, and takes a liking to her to the point of taking ski lessons. Next thing we know they are married which puts Larry in a whole different world. He goes back to New York to work on the magazine he works for but Karin refuses to go. When learning of his old flame Griselda, played by Constance Bennet, she decides to go and claim to be Karin's wife. Roland Young, Robert Sterling, Ruth Gordon, and many others co-star in this film. This is the third of the three films of Douglas and Garbo as well as Garbo's last movie. This is a bit unrealistic but it is still pretty funny with Garbo in her "dual" role. It was also considered very immoral at this time so a bit controversial. This was worth a look so go ahead and have a Garbo/Douglas day starting with their first two being YOU DESIRE ME from 1932 and their most famous of the three in the 1939 NINOTCHKA.
Basic Instinct (1992): Paul Verhoeven directed this film which was directed by Joe Eszterhas. Michael Douglas stars as Detective Nick Curran who has some violent tendencies and is assigned to investigate the murder of a former rock star which leads him to crime novelist Catherine Tramell. Tramell was the girlfriend at the time and is the prime suspect with the murder happening the same way it does in her novel. Nick finds it very difficult for him to overcome temptation. George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dennis Arndt, Bruce A. Young, Dorothy Malone, Wayne Knight, Daniel von Bargen, Stephen Tobolowsky, Benjamin Mouton, Jack McGee, and many others co-star in this film. What can I say about this movie? It has the very famous and imitated scene where Sharon Stone is in the interrogation room in the leg spreading scene. It is a very interesting and provocative movie to say the least with Douglas and Stone working well together.
The Girl Most Likely To... (1973): This is my tv movie for the week which was directed by Lee Phillips and written by Joan Rivers who I did not know has a writing background. Stockard Channing, in her first credited role, stars as college girl Miriam Knight who is very smart and well-meaning but gets bullied because of her looks. She gets into a car accident where her looks change drastically for the better as she is beautiful and ravishing but is very vengeful as she goes after those who tormented her. Edward Asner co-stars as Detective Ralph Varone who is investigating the local murders going on in town. Jim Backus, Joe Flynn, Chuck McCann, Carl Ballantine, Cyril Delevanti, Fred Grandy, Annette O'Toole, and many others co-star in this dark comedy. I had never heard of this movie until I found it at the library. It was pretty funny and is some very underrated work from fashion critic Joan Rivers.
The Wind Rises (2013): For the second week in a row I end the week with some Studio Ghibli anime and this one was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This is based on a real person named Jiro Horikoshi, voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who designed the Japanese fighter planes during WWII. This starts out into his childhood, into his younger years where he has his vision up to Japan's involvement with WWII. Voices for the American version include John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Mae Whitman, Werner Herzog, William H. Macy, Elijah Wood, and many others. This is a really good and complex story and a really good addition to the Studio Ghibli series. Like last week's selection, this is more of an anime drama. It is a very good story of sticking to dreams and a more adult oriented story but appropriate enough for kids.
Well, that is it for this week but continue on for my "Fun and Useless Facts" segment. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week.
FUN AND USELESS FACTS
I don't do this often but I had more time and enough people to work with to come up with a few connections and as always I do not focus one people within the same movie. I know there is plenty more I could have done and might have missed so feel free to comment on something I could have missed.
Mary-Louise Parker (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Michael Douglas (Basic Instinct) were in the 2009 film SOLITARY MAN.
Mary-Louise Parker (The Assassination of Jesse James) and James Cromwell (Marshall) were in the 2003 mini-series ANGELS IN AMERICA.
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Kate Hudson (Marshall) were in the 1999 film 200 CIGARETTES.
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James) and John Magaro (Marshall) were in the 2016 film THE FINEST HOURS.
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Wayne Knight (Basic Instinct) were in the 1995 dark comedy TO DIE FOR.
Sam Rockwell (The Assassination of Jesse James) and William H. Macy (The Wind Rises) were in the 2002 comedy WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD.
Sam Rockwell (The Assassination of Jesse James) and James Cromwell (Marshall) were in the 1999 film THE GREEN MILE.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
-Jeremy Renner (The Assassination of Jesse James) plays Clint Barton aka Hawkeye.
-Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again) plays Bruce Banner aka the Hulk
-Chadwick Boseman (Marshall) plays T'Challa aka Black Panther
-Michael Douglas (Basic Instinct) plays Hank Pym who was the Ant-Man in his younger days.
Garret Dillahunt (The Assassination of Jesse James), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Wind Rises) and Emily Blunt (The Wind Rises) were in the 2012 film LOOPER.
Paul Schneider (The Assassination of Jesse James) and John Krasinski (The Wind Rises) were in the 2009 film AWAY WE GO.
Pat Healy (The Assassination of Jesse James) and William H. Macy (The Wind Rises) were in the 1999 film MAGNOLIA.
James Carville (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Emily Blunt (The Wind Rises) were in the 2011 action movie THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU.
James Carville (The Asassination of Jesse James), John Krasinksi (The Wind Rises), and Emily Blunt (The Wind Rises) were in the 2011 film THE MUPPETS.
Zooey Deschanel (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Wind Rises) were love interests in the 2009 film 500 DAYS OF SUMMER.
Zooey Deschanel (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Edward Asner (The Girl Most Likely To...) were in the 2003 comedy ELF.
Zooey Deschanel (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Kate Hudson (Marshall) were in the 2000 film ALMOST FAMOUS and they went to high school together in real life.
Zooey Deschanel (The Assassination of Jesse James) and James Corden (Begin Again) were in the 2016 animated movie TROLLS.
Zooey Deschanel (The Assassination of Jesse James), Sam Rockwell (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Yasiin Bey (Begin Again) were in the 2005 Sci-Fi comedy THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.
Brad Pitt (The Assassination of Jesse James) and Catherine Keener (Begin Again) were 1991 film JOHNNY SUEDE.
Brad Pitt (The Assassination of Jesse James) and John Magaro (Marshall) were in the 2015 film THE BIG SHORT.
Eli Wallach (The Lineup) and Michael Douglas (Basic Instinct) were in the 2010 movie WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS.
James Corden (Begin Again) and Emily Blunt (The Wind Rises) play husband and wife in the 2014 musical INTO THE WOODS.
Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again) and Stanley Tucci (The Wind Rises) were in the 2015 film SPOTLIGHT.
Rob Morrow (Begin Again) and Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) were in the 1996 film LAST DANCE.
Catherine Keener (Begin Again) and John Magaro (Marshall) were in the 2013 film CAPTAIN PHILIPS.
Catherine Keener (Begin Again) and Daniel Von Bargen (Basic Instinct) were in the 2002 movie S1MONE.
James Cromwell (Marshall) and Elijah Wood (The Wind Rises) were in the 1998 disaster movie DEEP IMPACT.
James Cromwell (Marshall) and Daniel Von Bargen (Basic Instinct) were in the 1999 movies SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS and THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER.
Jussie Smollett (Marshall) and Elijah Wood (The Wind Rises) were in the 1994 comedy NORTH.
Kate Hudson (Marshall) and Wayne Knight (Basic Instinct) were in the 2016 animated movie KUNG FU PANDA 3.
Wayne Knight (Basic Instinct) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Wind Rises) were in the sitcom 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN.
Wayne Knight (Basic Instinct) and Edward Asner (The Girl Most Likely to...) were in the 1991 film JFK.
Bruce A. Young (Basic Instinct) and William H. Macy (The Wind Rises) were in the 2001 movie JURASSIC PARK III.
Daniel Von Bargen (Basic Instinct) and William H. Macy (The Wind Rises) were in the 1998 movie A CIVIL ACTION.
Stephen Tobolowsky (Basic Instinct) and William H. Macy (The Wind Rises) were in the 2007 comedy WIND HOGS.
at 2:05 PM