Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 584th Edition

Welcome to the 584th Edition of my series.  It's politics as usual and very sad how they make some people so hateful towards one another and maybe I'm supposed to become that way but just cannot do it so that is all I will say.  Not a lot of other things happening so on with my selections.

Gandhi (1982):  This is part one of a possible Daniel Day-Lewis trilogy where in this film he has a small speaking role in the beginning.  I start the week out with this biopic on civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi, played to perfection by Ben Kingsley, who fought for the India's independence from the British empire.  Richard Attenbourough directed biopic on the civil rights leader from his beginnings as an attorney who is mistreated which inspires his movement for independence and involving non-violence to get what he wants.  Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Ian Charleson, Saaed Jaffrey, Geraldine James, Amrish Puri, Ian Bannen, Richard Griffiths, Day-Lewis, and many others co-star in this film.  This covers a lot of ups an downs in the life of Gandhi and is a very well done biopic of a man who inspired people like Martin Luther King in his own civil rights movement.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011):  I bring a little more humor now in this documentary by Morgan Spurlock who takes a look at the world of advertising.  Spurlock sets out to make a documentary about branding, advertising, and product placement that is financed by getting sponsors to fund what he is doing penning the slogan, "He's not selling out, he is buying in".  This is a very humourous while rather interesting and informative.  There are things like what he is to do when someone sponsors him and the demands that sponsor can make.  This has happened more since the internet and things like DVR where people just don't see those commercials any longer.  I have mixed opinions on how I feel about this, I usually do not think much of it though there are some obvious scenes from tv and film that are just advertising.  I for one feel that if someone like an auto company becomes a sponsor, then they are obligated to show the car in some way in the movie or tv series.  This is a good look on part of the film process which is advertising.

The Great Muppet Caper (1981):  Now I bring a little more family entertainment from Jim Henson and his Muppets.  The story of this is that Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo are struggling reporters who go to Britain to interview a rich victim of jewel thieves and get help from her secretary Miss Piggy.  Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, and Richard Hunt all provide the voices of our favorite muppets while live action actors include Charles Grodin, Diana Rigg, John Cleese, Robert Morley, Peter Ustinov, Jack Warden, Peter Falk, and Steve Whitmire.  This is the second feature film of the Muppets after THE MUPPET MOVIE.  This is available to watch on HBO On-Demand.

What Do You Think? (1937):  This is my short film for the week which takes a look at extrasensory perception.  This is based around a screenwriter named Basil who experiences some strange events happen making him a bit late but then realizing these events saved his life and explores if telepathy exists.  This is a pretty good few minute entry.  Jacques Tourneur directed this short and would go onto direct films like CAT PEOPLE and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.

One Foot in Heaven (1941):  Irving Rapper directed this biopic which is based upon a memoir by Hartzell Spence is the eldest son of William Spence.  Fredric March stars as William Spence who has a promising career in the medical world but decides that his calling is as a minister.  His fiance Hope, played by Martha Scott, accepts this decision despite the dismay from her own parents who had high hopes for their future son-in-law.  This really documents the highs and lows of the lives of him and his family.  Beulah Bondi, Gene Lockhart, Harry Davenport, Laura Hope Crews, Grant Mitchell, Grant Mitchell, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a rather unknown film by today's standards.  It is a good look at a minister trying to live his faith but is also human at the same time and how it can be rather difficult for the kids to be expected to live up to higher standards than other kids.

Carry on Cleo (1964):  This is a series of British comedies that are part of the "Carry On" series with a variety of storylines and this one is based in Roman times.  Kenneth Connor and Jim Dale star as Hengist and Horsa who are two Britons captured and enslaved by the invading Romans.  They eventually get caught in a power struggle which involves Julius Caesar, played by Kenneth Williams, Cleopatra, played by Amanda Barrie, and Marc Antony, played by Sidney James.  This is the 10th Carry On film that is out of 31 comedies.  This is a pretty funny take towards the history of Rome and Connor does a great portrayal of Caesar in my opinion while Barrie is also very good as Cleopatra while Connor and Dale also do good as the fictional characters that make the story happen.  For people who enjoy British humor, this is a series that maybe you should take a look at with this being a pretty good entry into the series.

How I Live Now (2013):  Kevin Macdonald directed this film that is based on a novel by Meg Rosoff.  Saoirse Ronan stars as Daisy who is an American teen sent to live with some British relatives.  She meets her distant cousins in Isaac, played by Tom Holland, Eddie, played by George Mackay, and Piper, played by Harley Bird.  She also meets her Aunt Penn, played by Anna Chancellor, who seems to be very busy in her efforts to prevent a World War 3.  This is set around a world that is on the verge of a war and is more about trying to make the most of such horrible times.  I also feel this is about the maturity of Daisy who starts out rather distant and cynical and slowly starts to warm up to them even forming a relationship with Eddie.  It is very difficult to explain this film except that it is not exactly a war movie, just one that is based around a war and people still trying to live their lives.  This is based on a young adult novel but still accomodates to the older ones and the rather underrated Ronan gives a good performance.  This is available on Instant Netflix.

The Sea of Grass (1947):  This is my western for the week which was directed by Elia Kazan and based on a novel by Conrad Richter.  Katherine Hepburn stars as St. Louis resident Lutie who marries cattle baron Jim Brewton, played by Spencer Tracy, after a short courtship.  Lutie begins to learn that Jim is considered a tyrant by much of the community and begins to disagree with his ways leading to a separation and estrangement from their kids.  Robert Walker, Melvyn Douglas, Phyllis Thaxter, Edgar Buchanon, Harry Carey, Robert Armstrong, and many others co-star in this film.  This is the fourth of nine teamings out of Tracy and Hepburn.  Their first three were romantic comedies and they try something different to limited success.  I thought this was at its best in the later scenes when the kids are grown and Jim sees what his rigidity has cost him and the people around him in life.  Mostly to watch to see a more different Tracy/Hepburn entry.

Terminal Island (1973):  I guess you could call this my exploitation film for the week.  This takes place in a world where the death penalty becomes abolished and convicted murderers are to live on an island together where they can do as they please on the island but not leave.  The island is run by the tyrannical A.J., played by Don Marshall, where women are treated as sex slaves and a group becomes tired of their ways and a power struggle develops.  A young Tom Selleck co-stars in this film as Dr. Milford.  Phyllis Davis, Marta Kristen, Barbara Leigh, Roger Mosley co-star in this cult film.  I have heard that many versions have been edited but this did not seem that way.  Fans of the exploitation film should enjoy this and it was good to see a pre-Magnum P.I. Tom Selleck.  I found this on TCM On-Demand and is still available on the day of the release of this edition.

Lamb (2015):  I end the week with this independent film.  Ross Partridge directed this film based on the novel by Bonnie Nadzam.  Partridge also stars in this film as David Lamb who is having some marital, employment, and family issues in the city of Chicago.  He sees a group of kids and one of which as a dare asks him for a cigarette.  He takes interest in this 11 year old girl named Tommie, played by Oona Laurence, who he sees that the other kids she hangs with are not friends and slowly sees that her parents, which consist of a mother, played by Lindsay Pulsipher, and stepfather, played by Scoot McNairy, do not treat her very well and is afraid for her future.  David decides that he needs to show Tommie what he feels is much better and takes her on a road trip to take her to the Rockies.  I must also add that he did this without informing anyone that he was doing it so essentially is kidnapping her.  Jess Weixler, Tom Bower, Jennifer Lafleur, Joel Murray, and Ron Burkhardt co-star in this film.  I know with what I explained, many will be turned off by this but if you can get past it, the movie becomes quite thought provoking in my opinion.  The two main characters are having a very tough time in life and do not feel they have anyone that cares, then they find each other and form a very unusual bond even if it is very wrong but maybe understandable.  Partridge and Laurence worked very well together and was well performed by this relatively unknown cast.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and can be a good watch for people like me that are never able to see anything as black and white.

Well, that is it for the week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Harrison Ford, Daniel Day-Lewis, and many others.

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