Sunday, August 23, 2020
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 766th Edition
Welcome to the 766th Edition of my series. I spent some time in northern Indiana this weekend visiting some family and seeing a friend get married so it's been a good weekend. I don't have much else happening right now so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.
Bombshell (2019): I start the week out with this biographical film which was directed by Jay Roach. Nicole Kidman stars as Gretchen Carlson who places a sexual harassment lawsuit claim on her employer and Fox News founder Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow. Shortly after this happens, outspoken correspondent Megyn Kelly, played by Charlize Theron, joins her as well as various others. Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Rob Delaney, Mark Duplass, Stephen Root, Robin Weigert, Amy Landecker, Mark Moses, Nazanin Boniadi, Ben Lawson, Josh Lawson, Alanna Ubach, Andy Buckley, Brooke Smith, Bree Condon, D'arcy Carden, London Fuller, Sedona Fuller, Kevin Dorff, Richard Kind, Michael Buie, Marc Evan Jackson, Anne Ramsey, Jennifer Morrison, Ashley Greene, Ahna O'Reilly, Lisa Canning, Elisabeth Rohm, Alice Eve, Rachael Drummond, Katie Aselton, P.J. Byrne, Spencer Garrett, and many others co-star in this film. I liked the way Theron essentially did narration throughout the movie. It was a good look at sexual harassment in the workplace. Those who really favor Fox News may not like this movie.
Brother Bear (2003): This is part four of my five-part Joaquin Phoenix series and my Disney selection for the week which was directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker. Phoenix stars as Inuit hunter Kenai needlessly goes after and kills a bear. As a consequence, Kenai becomes a bear himself to see life from another perspective. Along the way, he meets a younger bear named Koda, voiced by Jeremy Suarez, and reluctantly joins him on a journey to help Koda get home. Along the way, Kenai forms a new understanding while meeting a lot of other friends. Jason Raize, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, D.B. Sweeney, Joan Copeland, Michael Clarke Duncan, Harold Gould, Estelle Harris, and many others provide their voices to this film. Most might know Phil Collins for his great soundtrack in the Disney movie TARZAN but he also had a really good soundtrack for this movie as well. Moranis and Thomas reunite as the voices of elks Rutt and Tuta and do a parody of their duo the MacKenzie Brothers. I had not seen this but found this to be a very moving story and even a rather underrated Disney film that uses traditional animation. This is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Crazy Horse (2011): This is my documentary for the week which was directed by Frederick Wiseman. Some when seeing this title will think maybe a documentary about the member of the Lakota Tribe but that is not the case. This is about a Parisian cabaret that has prided itself on having "the best nude dancing show in the world. This is more than just some strip club. They have nude dancing that is inspired by burlesque, Bob Fosse, and Cirque du Soleil. This documentary mostly shows the acts and the work that goes into putting it together. There is no commentary or interviews. This has a camera capturing moments and shows very clearly how hard everyone works.
Alain Mimoun (1959): I follow up with this documentary short that features the French long distance runner that was a 1956 Olympic champion. This takes a look at his days in the military during WWII that consisted of a brutal injury he had to overcome. It then goes into his athletic accomplishments. This is about 24 minutes long and does cover quite a bit of ground in the short period. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
Speedy (1928): Now I bring my silent comedy for the week which was directed by Ted Wilde. Silent comedian Harold Lloyd stars as the character nicknamed Speedy. He is a New Yorker and a very loyal fan to the Yankees. After a few mishaps, he must try to save the last horse-drawn trolley from going out of business that his girlfriend's grandfather. Look for a cameo from Babe Ruth who gets a ride from Speedy when he is a cab driver. This is Lloyd's last silent feature film that he would do before his transition to sound. There are lots of funny moments in this movie and silent film buffs will really like this one. This is also available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967): Jacques Demy wrote and directed this French film which is my third French selection for the week and might be a record. Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac star as sisters Delphine and Solange. They have been hired as carnival singers and are also looking for love which is right in front of them but they do not know it. George Chakiris, Jacques Perrin, Michel Piccoli, Henri Cremieux, Gene Kelly, Danielle Darrieux, and many others co-star in this French musical. Damien Chazelle has said this was a key inspiration for his movie LA LA LAND. I think those that have seen that can get an idea of the feel for this movie. This was a pretty fun film that is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
Gridlock'd (1997): Vondie Curtis-Hall wrote and directed this film in his directorial debut. Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth star as buddies Spoon and Stretch whose friend Cookie, played by Thandie Newton, has a drug overdose. They see this as a wake up call and look to enter a rehab facility where their efforts become very difficult through the red tape in their misadventures. Charles Fleischer, Howard Hesseman, James Pickens Jr., John Sayles, Eric Payne, Tom Towles, Tom Wright, Lucy Liu, Richmond Arquette, Debra Wilson, Rusty Schwimmer, Elizabeth Pena, Bokeem Woodbine and many others co-star in this film. While the topic was very serious, this was a pretty funny movie with the duo of Shakur and Roth who I kind of thought as a pre-Harold and Kumar. This was the second of three movies that came out after Tupac's death.
The Proud Rebel (1958): This is my western for the week which was directed by Michael Curtiz. Alan Ladd stars as Confederate veteran John Chandler who is looking to find a doctor to help his son David, played by Alan's son David Ladd, who has not been able to speak since he saw his mother die. Olivia de Havilland co-stars as Linnett who owns a struggling farm and saves Chandler from a 30 day sentence and has him help on the farm in return. She forms a relationship with both of these people and becomes a mother figure to David. Dean Jagger, Cecil Kellaway, Harry Dean Stanton, James Westerfield, Henry Hull, John Carradine, and many others co-star in this western. I was surprisingly really engaged in this western, especially with the interactions of the leads and their efforts to keep a local landowner from taking it over. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Pretty Baby (1978): Louis Malle directed this very controversial film. This takes place in a New Orleans brothel in 1917 where a 12 year old Brooke Shields stars as Violet whose mother Hattie, played by Susan Sarandon, works as a prostitute. Keith Carradine co-stars as photographer Bellocq who forms an attraction to Violet. Frances Faye, Antonia Fargas, Diana Scarwid, Barbara Steele, Gerrit Graham, Don Hood, and many others co-star in this film. This is partly based on a true story where Bellocq was a real person but his storyline in this movie is fictional from what I can tell. This is not for everyone but times were different then. This kind of goes along the lines of movies like LOLITA and TAXI DRIVER. I came across this when I was looking for a movie for the Banned film category in Filmopoley which is the "Go Directly to Jail" spot. This has been banned in quite a bit of countries for its controversial content.
Mr. Turner (2014): I end the week with this biopic which was written and directed by Mike Leigh. Timothy Spall stars as British painter J.M.W. Turner which takes a look at the last 25 years of his life. While he was a great painter, he also lead a very wild and complex life. Dorothy Atkinson co-stars as Hannah Danby who was Turner's housekeeper and sometimes a sexual partner. Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Karl Johnson, Ruth Sheen, Sandy Foster, Lesley Manville, and many others co-star in this film. I kind of feel for Spall and his rat-like looks where many will likely only associate him as Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter franchise. He was still very good as the artist I had never heard of until I came across this movie. It is hard for me to describe this any further than what I have except that it is a good look at a controversial painter.
Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Marion Cotillard, Scarlett Johansson, Meg Ryan, Will Ferrell, Burt Lancaster, and many others.
at 3:32 PM