Sunday, February 16, 2020
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 739th Edition
Welcome to the 739th Edition of my series. I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day however celebrated and that the singles of the world were able to make the most of it. A week from today I start my rehearsals for YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU in Elwood, Indiana so I hope those in or around the area can come out for that one which is the first weekend in April. We inch closer to the end of this month and hopefully the warmer weather will start coming. There is not much else going on right now so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.
Night at the Museum (2006): This is part two of a possible five-part Steve Coogan series where he plays museum statue Octavius which comes to life along with the other statues in the museum. Shawn Levy directed this comedy which is based on a children's book by Milan Trenc. Ben Stiller stars as Larry Daley who is desperate for work and accepts the job of night watchman in the Museum of Natural History. While this seems like it will be a pretty simple job, he learns that all the statues in the museum come to life. Robin Williams is very good as our former president Teddy Roosevelt. Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs are quite the trio who have worked in the museum for a long time but are retiring but there is a lot more to those guys. Carla Gugino, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Kim Raver, Patrick Gallagher, Rami Malek, Pierfrancesco Favino, Mizuo Peck, Paul Rudd, Anne Meara, Brad Garrett, Owen Wilson, and many others co-star in this comedy. Malek makes his film debut as pharaoh Ahkmenrah. I liked seeing the way historical figures interact with one another at the museum and even working together during the climax to save it. This could be a good double feature to go along with TOY STORY.
Water Wrackets (1975): This is my short film for the week which was directed by Peter Greenaway. This is some hypnotic photography of swirling rivers and ponds with a music score to go along with it. It also has some narration about people in the future building dams. Greenaway did a lot of these unusual short films that gave way into a very successful career of feature films. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
Gas! - Or - it Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It (1970): Roger Corman directed this movie that is usually billed as GAS-S-S-S-. This is a comedy that is post apocolyptic where an accidental gas leak resulted in the deaths of those above 25. The few surivvors where they flee from some Gestapo-like police officers. Bob Corff, Elaine Giftos, Bud Cort, Talia Shire though billed as Tally Coppola at this time, Ben Vereen, Cindy Williams, Alex Wilson, Bruce Karcher, and many others co-star in this movie. What more can I say besides being directed by Roger Corman. It is pretty funny and I believe meant to be more in the intentionally funny. This is Corman's last movie made with American International Pictures. Karcher is amusing as the a biker Edgar Allen Poe who was the wise man to the hippie community. Deserves a look for those that are into Roger Corman.
Killer Diller (2004): Tricia Brock directed this movie which is based on the novel by Clyde Edgerton. William Lee Scott stars as Wesley who is both a car thief and guitar player. He ends up in a halfway house run by a very religious man named Ned, played by Fred Willard, who takes in the convicts to be part of his church choir group. Wesley soon meets Vernon, played by Lucas Black, who is an autistic man and Wesley discovers he is very gifted on the piano which motivates him to start a blues band with the other people at the halfway house. John Michael Higgins, W. Earl Brown, Taj Mahal, Mary Kay Place, Robert Wisdom, Ashley Johnson, Niki J. Crawford, RonReaco Lee, and many others co-star in this movie. Decent movie driven by Scott and Black in their performances with Black very good in his role as an autistic man slowly seeing that there is more to life than just being at his home. This is a buddy movie of sorts with Wesley and Vernon and was really worth a watch.
Tomorrow at Seven (1933): Ray Enright directed this B-movie murder mystery. Chester Morris stars as crime novelist Neil Broderick who decides to use his writing skills to help find the serial killer they call "The Black Ace". This serial killer would announce their crime through use of playing cards. Vivienne Osborne, Frank McHugh, Allen Jenkins, Henry Stephenson, Grant Mitchell, Charles Middleton, Oscar Apfel, Virginia Howell, Cornelius Keefe, and many others co-star in this movie. This is a pretty entertaining murder mystery that has a touch of comedy in it. It's only a bit over an hour long. This can be seen on Amazon Prime for those looking for an old murder mystery.
Waking Ned Devine (1998): Kirk Jones wrote and directed this comedy which takes place in a small Irish village. The title character wins the lottery but unfortunately dies of shock literally. Ned's close friends Jackie and Michael, played by Ian Bannen and David Kelly, scheme to be able to get the money and split it among the town because they believe that is what Ned would have wanted. They look to get the town to go along with the scheme and find that it is not the easiest thing to do. Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch, James Nesbitt, and many others co-star in this comedy. This is a very underrated comedy that depicts small town, or in this case small village, life and the town coming together to help each other out. This is very funny and is also pretty moving and just about anyone can enjoy this film.
I Walk Alone (1947): Now I pay homage to Kirk Douglas who recently left us but he did lead a long life and had a long and great career. Byron Haskin directed this film noir which is based on a play by Theodore Reeves. Burt Lancaster stars as Frankie Madison who has just been released from prison after spending 14 years in the facility. He confronts his old partner Dink, played by Douglas, to hold up his end a "50/50" bargain they made with Frankie gets himself caught and takes the rap. Dink has since bought a successful nightclub and is showing no gratitude for his former partner in crime . Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey, Kristine Miller, George Rigaud, Marc Lawrence, Mike Mazurski, Mickey Knox, and many others co-star in this film. This is the first of seven films that Lancaster and Douglas would do together. This is a really good start for what is more of a drama duo as most two man teams are in comedy. This was a very good start and is a pretty compelling film that is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
A Kid From Brooklyn (1946): Norman Z. McLeod directed this comedy which is based on a play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. Danny Kaye stars as timid milkman Burleigh Sullivan who accidentally knocks out the boxing champion Speed McFarlane and some see potential into making Burleigh into a boxer the way he is able to move. They make Burleigh think he is a great fighter much to the dismay of his girlfriend Polly, played by Virginia Mayo. Vera-Ellen, Eve Arden, Walter Abel, Fay Bainter, Clarence Kolb, and many others co-star in this comedy. This is a pretty fun movie where Kaye is great as the deluded "fighter" but is motivated in a very interesting way. Below is a side by side photo of Virginia Mayo and my friend Ashley who I have had the pleasure of working with on stage on a couple of occasions. As soon as I saw Mayo, I thought of Ashley right away thinking she'd be perfect to play Mayo in a biopic. This movie is available on Hoopla Digital.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005): Shane Black directed this dark comedy which is based on a novel by Brett Halliday. Robert Downey Jr. stars as petty thief Harry Lockhart who accidentally ends up in an audition room for a movie. He gets the part of a private investigator and wants him to get training from an actual investigator named Gay Perry, played by Val Kilmer. They stumble onto an actual murder that also involves Harry's childhood friend and struggling actress Harmony, played by Michelle Monaghan. Corbin Bernson, Dash Mihok, Larry Miller, Rockmund Dunbar, Shannyn Sossamon, Angela Lindvall, Indio Falconer Downey, Ariel Winter, and many others star in this comedy. This comedy takes on all kinds of twists and turns. Downey provides some great narration which kind of calls us out as the audience at times. Downey and Kilmer are a great team and this movie really set in motion his iconic casting of Tony Stark when Jon Favreau took note of his performance. This one is not for the family but is so funny and violent.
Sorry to Bother You (2018): I end the week with this satire on corporate greed and corruption in which Boots Riley wrote and directed. LaKeith Thompson stars as Cassius Green who takes the job as a telemarketer where he struggles in the beginning until he is encouraged to use his "white voice". He is soon promoted to "Power Caller" and as he starts to enjoy the success, he finds there is something far more sinister at hand. Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, Michael X. Sommers, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Robert Longstreet, Armie Hammer, David Cross, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson, and many others co-star in this movie and some provide their voice like in the "white voices". I didn't really know much of what to expect in this one which is essentially a sci-fi comedy but rather subtle on the sci-fi elements. I'm sure most who have worked at a call center can relate a bit though I did not work at this type of call center. This is available to watch on Hulu.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Steve Coogan, Sylvester Stallone, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, and many others.
at 12:17 PM