Sunday, March 19, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 592nd Edition

Welcome to the 592nd Edition of my series.  Nothing new happening besides the announcements of THE LITTLE MERMAID in April and Shaun's 7 Night Karaoke Madness in May.  That being said, I will just get on with my selections.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988):  Philip Kaufman directed this film based on the novel by Milan Kundera.  Daniel Day-Lewis stars as '60s Czechoslovakian doctor and ladies man Tomas.  Juliette Binoche co-stars as Tomas' wife Tereza while Lena Olin co-stars as his mistress Sabina who Tereza does know about.  They are trying to maintain their lives in the time of the Prague Spring which was a very dangerous time of Russian invasion of the era.  Derek De Lint, Erland Josephson, Pavel Landovsky, Donald Moffat, Daniel Olbrychski, Stellan Skarsgard, and many others co-star in this film.  This was something that came out long before we had 50 shades of anything and is probably more compelling than those.  I am sure the book is just as good and better but as a limited reader, I have never read it so I just enjoyed what I saw in this compelling film that is really hard to put into words and just has to be seen.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015):  Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed this film based on the novel by Jesse Andrews who also wrote the screenplay.  Thomas Mann stars as Greg who is the "me" in the title.  He is a 17 year old and rather socially awkward.  RJ Cyler plays his friend Earl who have always made movies of their favorite movies which are mostly foreign films.  Olivia Cooke co-stars as Rachel who would be the "dying girl" in the title and does have Leukemia.  Greg's mom convinces him to befriend Rachel after she learns she has cancer and finally gives in forming quite a friendship where Greg and Earl decide to make a movie for Rachel.  Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, Matt Bennett, Katherine Hughes, Masam Holden, Bobb'e J. Thompson and many others co-star while we also have a rather unique cameo that I won't give away.  This is a pretty good independent film with a clever narrative out of Greg.  Foreign film buffs can get nerdy over the numerous foreign film references in this movie and others can probably learn and be introduced to a new world of cinema.  I suppose a good double feature could be this movie and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

Tuesdays With Morrie (1999):  This is my tv movie for the week which is based on the novel by Mitch Albom, played by Hank Azaria in this film.  Albom is a sports journalist who does not seem to really know what he wants personally and professionally.  He learns that a former professor of his named named Morrie Schwartz, played by Jack Lemmon, is dying and decide to go visit which turns into a life changing experience for both of them.  Albom decides to make weekly visits with Morrie in part to work on a story and in another part to have his former professor continue to teach him about life before he dies of Lou Gehrig's Disease.  Wendy Moniz, Caroline Aaron, Bonnie Bartlett, John Carroll Lynch, and many others co-star in this film.  Azaria does a great job getting away from his usual comedy and Lemmon complements him very well as the title character.  This is a very moving film that is based on a true story.

Brave Little Tailor (1938):  This is my animated short for the week featuring the iconic Mickey Mouse.  Mickey is at work and boasts of killing some flies and townspeople believe he is referring to giants as there is a giant on the loose.  Mickey is soon forced to go up against a giant and proves his resourcefulness in the process but have to ask if that giant really did anything wrong or if they were just stereotyping giants.  This is available on the special features of the dvd for last week's feature THE SWORD IN THE STONE and can be found on youtube so you be the judge on if the giant got what he deserved.

Zorba the Greek (1964):  This is another sort of soul searching film.  Mihalis Kakogiannis directed this film which stars Alan Bates as an uptight English writer named Basil who is traveling to Crete on business.  He soon meets the the more outgoing Alexis Zorba, played by Anthony Quinn, and his life changes forever when Zorba shows him how to live a better life.  Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova, Giorgos Foundas, and many others co-star in this film.  This had some beautiful scenery, a great script and really good performances in this rather inspirational movie.

Pillow Talk (1959):  This is my romantic comedy for the week and a vehicle for the duo of Rock Hudson and Doris Day.  For the younger generation, there have not always been cell phones were we could be reached all the time.  In this era, not all phone lines were private and these center around an apartment complex.  Doris Day stars as Jan Morrow who is an interior decorator and whenever she wants to use the phone, fellow tenant Brad Allen, played by Hudson, always seems to be on the other line wooing the ladies.  By chance, Brad realizes that he is in the presence of Jan but she does not know so he poses as a man named Rex Stetson and forms a relationship with her.  Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter co-star in this film as go betweens in a sense and a lot to the comedy.  For me, this is one of the better romantic comedies I have seen through the years and thought it was a very clever story.

The Upside of Anger (2005):  Mike Binder wrote and directed this film that I'm not really sure how I'd describe.  Joan Allen stars as Terry Ann Wolfmeyer who is a suburban wife whose husband disappears leaving her alone with her four daughters, played by Erika Christensen, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, and Evan Rachel Wood.  Also coming into the picture is her neighbor Denny, played by Kevin Costner takes a liking to her forming a complicated relationship.  Mike Binder also co-stars in this film as Denny's radio producer Shep.  This is a movie that is driven by the characters and each one being an a complicated situation and the daughters handing their missing father differently.  This has a good amount of comedy and drama and was very watchable for me with the characters.

Jeanne Eagels (1957):  This is my fictional biopic for the week that is based on the real-life actress of the title name.  Kim Novak stars as Eagels who joins the carnival ran by Sal Satori, played by Jeff Chandler, who features her in his variety shows eventually leading to a Broadway career and is in film in the '20s in a short lived career and life that was shortened by alcohol problems.  Agnes Moorehead, Charles Drake, Larry Gates, Virginia Grey, Gene Lockhart, and many others co-star in this film.  Novak plays Eagels very well and Chandler is good as Satori.  This is a good look at the acting world of this era.  This is a fictionalized account which was very common for biopics especially in this era but still not a bad watch for classic film buffs.

The Professionals (1966):  This is my western for the week which was directed by Richard Brooks and written by Frank O'Rourke.  Ralph Bellamy plays Texas millionaire J.W. Grant who hires four adventurers, played Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, and Burt Lancaster, to rescue his kidnapped wife Maria, played by Claudia Cardinale, from Mexican bandit Jesus Raza, played by Jack Palance.  Last week, I featured the latest version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN which was similar in the way that a diverse group of people get hired to take on a villain.  This was just as good with the really different four people and each having their own talents.  There were also some very good action and quite a bit of twists that happen.

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016):  I end the week with this animated film directed.  Art Parkinson provides the voice of Kubo who lives a quiet and normal life living with his ill mother Sariatu, voiced by Charlize Theron.  Kubo inadvertently awakens an old feud as many gods and monsters go after Kubo and he must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father who was a legendary samarai warrior.  Joining Kubo in his fight is Monkey, also voiced by Theron, and Beetle, voiced by Matthew McConaughey.  Ralph Fiennes, Brenda Vaccaro, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Meyrick Murphy, George Takei, and many others provide voices in this film.  This is a very beautiful and moving fantasy film with really good animation that gives Disney a run for its money.

Well, that is it for this week but continue to read for the new segment "Movie Time in the Town of Pottersville".  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Uma Thurman, and many others.


Peter Gabriel:  Growing Up Live (2003):  This is the first of this segment which happened at my friend Stephanie's house whose last name just happens to be Potter so I named her home Pottersville and even made it into a town.  Most of my friends know I'm a big fan of Peter Gabriel, some have even said obsessed.  On Super Bowl Sunday, Steph and I got to talking and she revealed she really likes him.  This was very unexpected as her favorite singer is Marilyn Manson and she's a bit younger than me.  I proceeded to quiz her a little bit and she passed so I insisted we watch this DVD of a live concert that I own.  Last Tuesday, I picked up our friend Matt and we hung out at her house and watched this dvd in which both really enjoyed his live performance.  This particular show was in Milan, Italy but I did have the pleasure of seeing this show in Noblesville, IN at which was at the time Verizon Wireless Music Center which was at one time Deer Creek Music Center and has since become the Klipsch Music Center.  It was an absolutely amazing concert in which I feel Peter Gabriel is one of the rare singers that is better live than on cd.  He also has a really good band around him that includes his daughter Melanie Gabriel as well as Tony Levin and many others.  Unfortunately, when I mention Peter Gabriel, all they think is SLEDGEHAMMER and then dismiss him but he is so much more than that song.  I started becoming a fan of his as early as middle school starting with his unusual music videos.  Things started to really change one day when I was at my dad's house and had a music player called a DMX player, I have no idea why I remember that name, and heard his song GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS which was performed at the live show I was at but unfortunately not in this DVD.   Hearing that song really had me fully sold on Peter Gabriel and started getting more of his cds including some that when he was the lead singer of Genesis.  This show had a really cool round stage which I did not get this experience.  When it was all said and done Matt and Stephanie really enjoyed this concert and the effort the band put into the music and theatrics.

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