Sunday, June 12, 2016

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 552nd Edition

Welcome to the 552nd Edition of my series.  There is not a lot of new things going on to get into right now though I will be going to watch roller derby later today at Gibson's Skating Rink.  With it being waking distance of my home, I have gotten into that for the first time this year and might look to get a little more involved next year maybe as a referee.  I will now get into my selections for the week.

Heights (2005):  Chris Terrio directed this film based on the play by Amy Fox.  This is centered around a few New Yorkers.  James Marsden stars as Jonathan who is a successful attorney about to get married to Isabel, played by Elizabeth Banks, but harbors a secret she does not know about while she is having her own reservations about marriage.  Glenn Close co-stars as Isabel's mother Diana who is successful in the theater.  Jesse Bradford also co-stars as Alec who is a theater actor who Diana sees potential.  John Light co-stars as Peter who is a journalist and biographer.  They all have different lives but things come together in the end.  Thomas Lennon, Matthew Davis, Isabella Rossellini, Jim Parsons, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty well done character driven and independent film that takes a good look into the world of theater.

Morning Glory (2010):  Roger Michell directs this romantic and career comedy.  Rachel McAdams stars as Becky who gets hired as a producer for a struggling daytime news program.  She finds that it is a very difficult job with her bickering anchors Mike and Colleen, played by Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.  She is trying to save a struggling program while also deal with a relationship with Adam, played by Patrick Wilson, who works in the same building.  McAdams was a lot of fun as the overzealous and optimistic Becky.  Ford also does good in his comedic role as the rather uncooperative and grumpy anchor.  Jeff Goldblum, John Pankow, Ty Burrell, Patti D'Arbanville, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This gave a good backstage look on putting together a news program while delivering some laughs to go with it.

Dead Man's Shoes (2004):  This is part two of my Paddy Considine series.  Shane Meadows directed this British film and co-wrote with Considine who also stars in the film.  Considine stars as Richard who is returning to his home after military service.  When getting home, he has revenge on his mind toward some local bullies who did some bad things to his mentally impaired brother Anthony, played by Toby Kebbell.  Richard becomes the Angel of Vengeance on the group that wronged his brother.  Gary Stretch also co-stars in this film.  This is a really well done tale of vengeance that Considine was able to bring to life.  This is available on the website which you can use with a card to the Muncie Public Library.  This is very dark and gritty so not for someone looking for an upbeat film or some fun action movie.

What's a Nice Guy Like You Doing in a Place Like This (1963):  This is my short film for the week and is an early film for Martin Scorsese when he was a student at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  Zeph Michelis stars as a writer named Algernon but called Harry by his friends.  When buying a painting, he becomes very intrigued of it making his life very difficult.  This is about 10 minutes long and shades of what Scorsese would become in his later career.  This is available on youtube and is worth a look.

Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House  (1948):  Cary Grant stars in this comedy as Jim Blandings who finds living in a New York apartment with his wife Muriel, played by Myrna Loy, and his two daughters Joan and Betsy, played by Sharyn Moffett and Connie Marshall, very difficult.  He then sees a home for sale in the country and decides right away that is what he wants but must have it built.  Through this, he finds that it is very difficult to get everything together the way he wants and finds he is getting more than he bargains for.  Melvyn Douglas co-stars as family friend Bill Cole who tries to help the family through the difficult times even if he may not agree with what Jim is doing.  I believe this comedy has gone onto become pretty underrated through the years.  Anyone who has ever went through building a house I'm sure can relate.  Just about everything works in this realistic comedy.  This might be my favorite Cary Grant film.

Hot Water (1924):  This is my silent film for the week which stars legendary silent comedian Harold Lloyd.  This takes a look at married life and problems with the in-laws.  This has many comedic gags like a trolley scene, a ride in an automobile and inadvertently having his mother in law chloroformed.  Lloyd is known as "The Third Genius" which is obviously to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, to other silent comedians.  He may not be as known as the other two but I a lot of times find him more relating.  From what I understand, he was actually more successful at the time in terms of box office.  This is about an hour long which was about the time of a feature film in this era.

The Intruder (1962):  Roger Corman directed this film based on a novel by Charles Beaumont.  This takes place in a very segregated southern town where they are about to try putting a few black kids in a public school.  A pre-STAR TREK William Shatner stars as Adam who arrives in the town in his white suit and stirs up the town who is mostly opposed to the integration being passed turning the town into a mob.  Tom McDaniel co-stars as newspaper editor Tom McDaniel who seemed to have a more neutral attitude of race relations until he saw Adam in action and decides it is right to stand by the blacks.  I heard about this movie maybe two or three years ago when watching a documentary called CORMAN'S WORLD.  We all know Corman has been known to direct and/or produce a lot of movies that make a lot of money but is not always known for his quality of work except making rather watching B movies.  What stuck out to me was when they were talking about this movie, they were saying how this was the only one where he lost money but is thought by many to be his best work and I am inclined to agree after watching this.  This was a really good look at race relations.  I had always thought of BUCKET OF BLOOD as my favorite Corman film until I watched this one.  I will also go so far as to say this is Shatner's best work.  It is too bad this was never one of Corman's more known films and that I had to watch it on Youtube.

The Danish Girl  (2015):  This is part three of my potential six part Eddie Redmayne series.  Tom Hooper directed this film based on Lili Elbe who is one of the first known transgender which was in the 1920s.  Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander star as married couple Einer and Gerda Wegener who are also both artists.  Gerda needed Einer to pose in women's clothing for a painting and when doing this, Einer begins to find a new identity and begins to change his appearance to the point of renaming himself Lili eventually getting gender reassignment surgery.  Redmayne is really good in his appearance transitioning and Vikander is also really good as his unconditional loving wife.  Amber Heard, Adrian Schiller, Emerald Fennell, Ben Whishaw, and many others co-star in this film.  Vikander had quite a year being in this and in the well-done sci-fi film EX MACHINA, both very different roles but great performances.  Also of worth to see the perfectly cast Redmayne.

The Wings of Eagles (1957):  I go from a biopic of a transgender to a biopic of a naval pilot.  John Ford directed this this one which is based on Frank "Spig" Wead, played by John Wayne.  This starts out in his younger days when he is just joining the navy where he is very dedicated the navy which make his marriage and family life suffer.  An accident leaves him mostly paralyzed which makes him turn to screenwriting.  Maureen O'Hara plays his wife Min who stands by him even after lengthy absences.  Ward Bond co-stars as John Dodge which is based on director John Ford.  Dan Dailey, Ken Curtis, Edmond Lowe, Kenneth Tobey, Dorothy Jordan, and many others co-star in this biopic.  This is not the best collaboration between Ford and Wayne but still worth a look especially the cameo of Ward Bond.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011):  I end the week with this comedy that was directed by John Madden.  A few British retirees for various reasons decide to go to India when they saw what appeared to be a newly restored hotel.  When arriving, they find that it is not as luxurious as it appeared to be but they try to make the most of it especially with the charm of the owner Sonny, played well by Dev Patel.  Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilson, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, and Celia Imrie are some of the elderly.  Ronald Pickup was actually my favorite as Norman.  Patel was very amusing as Sonny and was a very underrated part of the film in my opinion.  The rest also gave good performances in a diverse group of pretty likable people with different stories.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Kevin Spacey, Ricky Gervais, and many others.

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