Sunday, January 12, 2014

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 426th Edition


Welcome to the 426th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone was able to stay safe last week in this crazy weather.  My days consisted of getting movies watched for the most part.  Today, the 49ers play the Carolina Panthers so I hope for the best there.  They played very well in that cold weather in Green Bay so maybe now they can run through Carolina to get to the next round.  I will now get you your recommendations for the week.

 photo beats.jpgBeats, Rhymes, and Life:  The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011):  Last week, I featured a documentary on former Cream drummer Ginger Baker.  This week, I feature the rap group a Tribe Called Quest.  Michael Rapaport directs this documentary of the inner workings and behind the scenes drama where members reflect on their times and to their breakup in 1998.  They were rather innovative in the hip-hop scene with their style which is regarded as alternative hip hop.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of tension with the members of the band which is very well documented in this documentary.  This plays some of their music and has interviews with the group members and their peers.  I believe this is an enjoyable documentary even if you do not like rap music.  This movie is available on the app Crackle.

 photo siege.jpgUnder Siege (1992):  Now I follow up with some Steven Seagal from more in his early career.  Seagal stars as Casey Ryback who is a former Navy Seal who got into some trouble and is now the cook upon a ship.   Soon, terrorists come aboard the ship and reverts to his old ways to save the day.  The group is lead by the XO commander Krill, played by Gary Busey who was quite amusing in his role, and former CIA operative William Stranix, played by Tommy Lee Jones.  BAYWATCH alum Erica Eleniak, STAR TREK alum Colm Meaney, Patrick O'Neal, Bernie Casey and many others co-star.  This is a pretty decent action film if you can suspend your disbelief for a bit.  I do believe this is Seagal's best movie and is very fun in this action film.  This is available on Amazon Prime which I am currently trying their free trial.

 photo giant.jpgThe Iron Giant (1999):  Brad Bird directs this animated feature which features a very big robot who is befriended by a young boy named Hogart, voiced by Eli Marienthal.  He finds that he is a very gentle giant but in our society we fear the unknown.  Most notably government agent Kent Mansley, voiced by Christopher McDonald, who looks to destroy the giant.  Vin Diesel voices the iron giant and I really liked what he did with his voice.  Harry Connick Jr., James Gammon, John Mahoney, Cloris Leachman, M. Emmet Walsh, and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS co-star Rodger Bumpass lend their voices to this film.  This is a really good homage to sci-fi films and is something that is both for kids and adults.  The animation, the voices, and the story are very good and is just a good movie in general.  This is available on HBO On-Demand.

 photo present.jpgThe Present with a Future (1943):  This is my short film for the week which is a war propaganda short.  Bette Davis plays I guess herself who lets her children know that for Christmas, instead of presents she is giving her children war bonds to help with the WWII efforts.  Very interesting watch which at the time was very inspiring. 

 photo struggle.jpgThe Struggle (1931):  D.W. Griffith directed this film which was his last.  This takes a very early look into alcoholism which was not dealt with very much at the time.  Hal Skelly stars as Jimmie Wilson who struggles to keep his marriage and relationship with his daughter.  This really takes a good look in how one might deal with their alcohol problems.  There is a disclaimer in the beginning making a statement on prohibition which was in effect at the time and how these things still happen even with that law.  Griffith is known as quite a pioneer in the film industry with very innovative things like camera techniques.  His most known work is the controversial BIRTH OF A NATION, then his follow-up INTOLERANCE.  Many filmmakers cite him as an influence in their careers.  This movie is available on Instant Netflix and while it is not Griffith's best, it is still pretty good.

 photo norse.jpgLittle Norse Prince Valiant (1968):  I decided to take a look at some early anime.  This takes place during the Iron Age where a boy named Horus finds the Sword of the Sun from the rock giant Moog and learns from his dying father that he must return to his ancestral territory.  In the process, he must defend a village from the attacks of a demon named Grundewald.  He also befriends a girl named Hilda who rather mysterious and sings a lot of songs but harbors a secret.  The animation was very well done in this film as well as the characters most notably Hilda.  This is the directorial debut of Isao Takahata who would go onto do anime films like GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES and POM POKO.  This is a really good one for anime fans to watch as well as fans of animation.  This is available on both Instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.

 photo eye.jpgThe Crawling Eye (1958):  This is actually an episode of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 that I watched.  A series of decapitations occurs which appear to be connected to a mysterious radioactive cloud.  I don't think I really need to go much further.  This was an earlier episode of the show which still had Joel Hodgson.  The episode beginnings were pretty good and made very clear of Forrest Tucker being in this movie and being in the tv series F TROOP.  Probably best to watch either with this show or with a large group of friends. This is available on Amazon Prime.

 photo daley.jpgStephanie Daley (2006):  This might get some mixed opinions but I found this independent film to be rather compelling.  Hilary Brougher wrote and directed this film which stars Tilda Swinton as pregnant forensic psychologist Lydie Crane who must investigate a case where a 16 year old of the title, played by Amber Tamblyn, is accused of concealing her preganancy and killing her newborn.  Stephanie claims to have not killed her newborn nor knew of the pregancy.  Lydie also dealt with a pregnancy loss and must face her own grief in dealing with her job.  The movie flashes back on the lives of both characters and then where they are in a room talking.  Vincent Piazza, Melissa Leo, Jim Gaffigan, and Timothy Hutton co-star in this film.  Swinton and Tamblyn worked pretty well together and are good in their flashback scenes. 

 photo woman.jpgA Woman is a Woman (1961):  This is my French film for the week which was directed by Jean-Luc Godard.  Anna Karina stars as striptease artist Angela who is desperate to become a mother but her boyfriend Emile, played by Jean-Claude Brialy, is reluctant.  When Emile suggests she have a child with his friend Alfred, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, she must decide what to do.  This movie really has a lot of comedic moments and is even a parody in many ways.  This is probably not Belmondo's best movie as he has done others like BREATHLESS which he is most known for.  I did laugh quite a bit and love the parody techniques that were used in this film exaggerated dialogue and actions but still reminds us it is a parody.  This is a good entry into the French New Wave and is available on Instant Netflix.

 photo rivalries.jpgThe Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History (2013):  I end with this World Wrestling Entertainment produced documentary.  This takes a look at their top 25 wrestling feuds which goes beyond WWE and branches out to WCW, ECW, WCCW, and NWA so really diversifies the list.  I did not watch this thinking "why is that in there?", "this should be higher", or "where is this feud?".  I just watched it and enjoyed them going pretty in-depth into each feud.  The one I knew the least about was one between Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard where there was a lot of real-life tension in their feud.  I do like that it features some WWE feuds but also goes beyond it like also featuring the feud between the Von Erichs and Fabulous Freebirds.  Last week, I featured the documentary for the 80s promotion GLOW which is really for just about anyone to enjoy of wrestling and non-wrestling.  This one is probably going to be most enjoyed by wrestling fans and is very educational in the world of wrestling.  I was surprised to see Vince Russo as one of the interviewees.  This is available on Instant Netflix.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week.

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