Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 554th Edition

Welcome to the 554th Edition of my series.  It's been quite a week.  I got to be the doorman for the 2nd annual John Dillinger Birthday Celebration which had music, burlesque, and even a Dillinger historian.  It was a fun night and might look to do it again next year.  Not much else happening at the moment so I will get to my selections.

Pride (2014):  This is part four of my four-part Paddy Considine series.  Matthew Warchus directed this film based on a true story of United Kingdom gay activists do what they can to help mine workers during their strike in 1984 but meet complications with the preconceived thoughts of gays.  George MacKay stars as Joe who is a closet gay and decides to join the gay rights group but keeping a secret from his family.  Dominic West co-stars as the very flamboyant Jonathan who is essentially the leader of the group.  Considine, Monica Dolan, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun, Faye Marsay, Freddie Fox, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, and many others co-star in this film.  I start the movie out with a rather inspirational film of two very different groups coming together to help each other out.  They were able to keep the movie rather comedic but still get their point across.

Anonymous (2011):  Roland Emmerich directed this period piece.  This is a rather intriguing take on William Shakespeare but is centered around Edward De Vere, played by Rhys Ifans, who was the Earl of Oxford and is said to have written what is credited to Shakespeare, played by Rafe Spall.  It also takes place during the rule of Elizabeth I, played by Vanessa Redgrave and by her own daughter Joely Richardson in flashback scenes, and a political film during that era that centers around a theater.  Sebastian Armesto, David Thewlis, Edward Hogg, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Jamie Campbell Bower, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, and many others co-star in this film.  This is something that has been the subject of debate and Emmerich's possibly theory which he financed this whole thing.  It was a different take on Shakespeare that did get my interest and could be a good double feature to go along with SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.

Stay Until Tomorrow (2004):  Laura Colella wrote and directed this independent film.  Eleanor Hutchins stars as Nina who is a former child star and now a world traveler deciding to crash at her friend Jim's, played by Barney Cheng, home.  It starts out as a bit of a romantic comedy but then turning into a film within a film where both characters are trying to change storylines of what is going on leading into both character having narration.  It is hard to really explain beyond that description.  It is very different which has lead to mixed reactions of the film but also did not get a lot of exposure.  I believe it is meant to be more of an experimental film and there were good performances out of the leads.

The Dentist (1932):  This is my comedy short for the week.  Comedy legend W.C. Fields stars as the dentist who does his work without any pain killer, leading into a comedic climax where he tries to get a tooth out which reminded me of a scene when I was in THE GOOD DOCTOR.  There are also some really good bits at the golf course.  This is a pre code film which had some interesting sexual innuendo that would not have been approved years later.  This is a pretty entertaining half hour with Fields possibly at the top of his game.

The Big Noise (1944):  I go from W.C. Fields to the legendary comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy.  Laurel and Hardy star as a couple of janitors of a detective agency who decide to pose as detectives when an inventor of a bomb hires them to protect what he invented.  This takes place during WWII and they do a really good job of making comedy out of a really serious time with an interesting ending that was a bit of WWII propaganda..  A young Robert Blake co-stars in this comedy.  This is a really good one for fans of Laurel and Hardy.

Dillinger (1973):  I figured with what I got to do over the weekend, how fitting to feature this version which is my favorite version.  John Milius wrote and directed this film on the famed bank robber from my own state of Indiana.  Warren Oates plays Dillinger and plays him to perfection even to the point of just looking the part.  Ben Johnson co-stars as G-Man Melvin Purvis who is determined to bring down Dillinger and his gang.  Cloris Leachman plays Anna Sage who most people know the part she played in his life.  Richard Dreyfuss and Steve Kanaly co-star as other famed criminals of Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd.  Michelle Phillips, Harry Dean Stanton, John P. Ryan, Frank McRae, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one of the best gangster movies made in my opinion.  It had some good performances and some good action scenes which were quite realistic.

A Better Life (2011):  Chris Weitz directed this independent film.  Demian Bichir stars as Carlos who is a decent, hard working man but also an illegal immigrant.  He is a single father trying to make a good life for him and his son Luis, played by Jose Julian.  He also fears that Luis might fall into the gangster culture and does what he can to stop that from happening while taking a business risk that could make or break him.  Eddie Soleto, Joaquin Cosio, Nancy Lenehan, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good father and son film and one that shows some rather gray areas to illegal immigrants.  Bichir and Julian are a great father and son team and this is a very moving independent film.

High Noon (1952):  This is my western for the week and one of my favorites of a genre I am not huge with. Gary Cooper stars in this western as Marshall Will Kane who has just gotten married and is set to be leaving the town and walking away from his dangerous life as a Marshall. Things begin to change when Will is informed that a man he put in prison has been pardoned and feels obligated to stay and help when three other men roll into town obviously waiting for Frank Miller, who has just gotten out. Things do not go as planned though when the town refuses to help Kane, including an all-talk deputy Marshall in Harvey Pell, played by Lloyd Bridges. Grace Kelly plays Will's wife who is not big on him staying in that town. Lee Van Cleef makes his film debut here in a very silent role but conveys a lot through his actions and facial expressions. Lon Chaney Jr. also has a part. John Wayne at one point felt this was very "un-American" and Wayne has also conveyed he wish he had gotten the part to make it more like his own westerns. With that being said, all I have to say is thank you for casting Gary Cooper and not John Wayne. It was also meant to be a statement towards Hollywood for not standing up to the Joe McCarthy witch hunts. This is available on Stars On-Demand.

The Illustrated Man (1969):   This is my sci-fi selection for the week which is based on the book by Ray Bradbury and directed by Jack Smight.  It is based on three short stories called THE VELDT, THE LONG RAIN, and THE LAST NIGHT OF THE WORLD which all mostly intertwine.  Rod Steiger stars as Carl who is the tattooed title character but don't call them tattoos, they are illustrations.  He meets Willie, played by Robert Drivas, who becomes very intrigued by Carl and listens to his stories which have startling visions of humankind and all play into the three stories that the novel is based upon.  Claire Bloom co-stars as Felicia who was responsible for Carl's tattoos.  This was quite the financial failure and it does not beat Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 but it was still an intriguing and dark film about the future that was able to keep my interest pretty well.  It is also the first time I have seen anything else based on work by Bradbury besides his well known one so good to see some alternative work.

Tess of the D'urbervilles (2008):  I end the week with this BBC mini-series and part five of my five-part Eddie Redmayne series.  Gemma Arterton stars as Tess Durbeyfield who has always lived in poverty but learns of noble connections.  She is soon sent to live with the D'urbervilles to work where she meets Eric, played by Hans Matheson.  She takes a disliking to him in his attempts at seduction, eventually forcing himself on her.  Ashamed and back at home, she meets and falls in love with Angel Clare, played by Eddie Redmayne, eventually marrying him.  However, she harbors a rather dark secret that complicate the marriage.  Ruth Jones, Ian Puleston-Davies, Jo Woodcock, Kenneth Cranham, and many others co-star in this BBC mini-series.  It is a little less than four hours long which is four episodes.  Arterton shines really well as the title character and helped make this mini-series quite enjoyable.

Well, that is it for this week thought I have brought back my Movie Night at the Shera Segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes the late Anton Yelchin, Audie Murphy, Ralph Fiennes, and many others.


Daddy's Home (2015):  Lately our schedules just have not met up like they used to but this week we were finally able to get together and watch a movie together.    We went through some titles and she took some interest in this one so I decided to check out he second teaming of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg after THE OTHER GUYS.  Ferrell stars as Brad Whitaker who is married to Sara, played by Linda Cardellini, who has her own children that Brad is trying to win over.  Things become complicated when their biological dad Dusty, played by Wahlberg, returns provoking a competition between the two.  Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, Hannibal Buress, Bill Burr, Bobby Cavanale, and many others co-star.  I did like their first teaming better but I felt this still had its moments while I believe the part at the basketball game was a bit much.  The competition with the different styled fathers did entertain me quite a bit.  We both laughed quite a bit with this comedy.  She has not seen THE OTHER GUYS so she might want to watch that soon now that we checked this one out and hopefully soon I'll talk her into checking out BUBBA HO-TEP.

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