Sunday, September 10, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 617th Edition

Welcome to the 618th Edition of my series.  Usually I have these written by Friday or sometimes Saturday during the day.  Today was not one of those days.  I had some of it written but I was more obsessed over getting my murder mystery TO WAKE THE DEAD cast all the way and have a full cast before we start rehearsing tomorrow and I'm glad to say we finally have that cast.  Another thing that delayed my writing was a vacation I took to see some family down south where there was no internet service so I ask you forgive my lackluster writing this week but still check out my selections for the week.

Midnight Special (2016):  This is my sci-fi film for the week which was written and directed by Jeff Nichols.  Michael Shannon stars as Roy whose son Alton, played by Jaeden Lieberher, possesses special powers and has many people after him.  They are on the run fro the National Security Agency lead by Paul Sevier, played by Adam Driver.  Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Sam Shepard, Paul Sparks, David Jensen, Sean Bridgers, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty decent independent sci-fi film which does revolves more around the father and son relationship than the sci-fi.  It also has pretty good special effects for an independent film when it calls for them.  So I guess if you are looking for an all out sci-fi film, this is not the one.  However, if you want one that is centered more around the characters, this could be a good watch.

Spooking About Africa (1957):  This is my animated short for the week.  This one features that friendly ghost Casper which does the usual of trying to be friendly but everyone still gets scared.  This time Casper is in an African jungle and after scaring a few animals, he meets an elephant with a sneezing problems and uses his resourcefulness as a ghost to help him.

Too Busy to Work (1932):  This is my classic comedy for the week which stars the legendary Will Rogers.  In this one, he plays a depression era tramp named Jubilo who is out looking for his wife that left him.  Through his journey, he deals with an assortment of characters.  Marian Nixon, Dick Powell, Charles Middleton, Louise Beavers, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is mostly for those who enjoy classic comedy and enjoy the comedy of Will Rogers.  I'm sure many can relate to its title.

20,000 Days on Earth (2014):  Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard directed this film which combines drama and reality in the life of writer and singer Nick Cave.  This has him preparing for upcoming concerts and him putting together some of his songs with his bandmate and song co-writer Warren Ellis.  Came is not exactly the most known singer which is unfortunate.  Some mayhave heard his song RED RIGHT HAND which gets used in a lot of soundtracks.  Ray Winstone and Kylie Minogue play themselves in the film and interact with their friend.  Cave has also written some music scores like to one of my favorites THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD.  He has also written screenplays like THE PROPOSITION and LAWLESS which were both received pretty well.  Before watching the movie, you might want to check out some of music and then see a fictional but rather realistic day in his life.  It is really hard to describe this one future but was a very clever and well done.

Death in Venice (1971):  Luchino Visconti directed this film that was based on the novel by Thomas Mann.  Dirk Bogarde stars as composer Gustav von Aschenbach who travels to a Venetian resort hoping to get away from everything but not finding that peace he was hoping for.  He forms an unhealthy fixation on an adolescent named Tadzio, played by Bjorn Andresen.  This is another one that is hard to describe.  It mostly centers around the world of Gustav and the feelings he just cannot help but feel.  It has a limited amount of dialogue and it is enhanced with the music of Gustav Mahler whose life this was loosely based upon.  A lot of this is left to our own interpretation.  This is available to watch on

Tea With Mussolini (1999):  Franco Zefferelli directed this film which was based on his own life.  This is based on WWII Italy and centers around a group of elderly British women, played by Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Lily, Tomlin, and their American friend Elsa, played by Cher.  They all each have something going on and try to make the most of the really bad times.  Baird Wallace, Charlie Lucas, Paolo Seganti, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very good cast with some very good performances in a very intriguing story that happened in WWII Italy.

Dumbo (1941):  Now I bring in a more family oriented film that is a Disney classic.  We first meet a stork who is giving animals their children.  Now I'm not sure where this stork concept started but this really emphasizes how it's a stork that delivers babies.  Circus elephant Mrs. Jumbo finally gets her elephant baby who she calls Jumbo Jr.  The elephants of the group are full of women and Jumbo seems to be the only nice one as the others are very judgmental of her baby elephant because of his really big ears.  One of them soon dubs the baby elephant as the title name.  Dumbo soon gets separated from his mother and also finds he does not fit in the circus act with the other elephants.  He soon gets relegated to doing work with the clowns.  He soon meets a very energetic mouse named Timothy who does not judge Dumbo for his ears and tries to help him get to good spirits eventually exposing a pretty cool gift that Dumbo has.  This is a movie that really teaches acceptance and has some pretty funny moments.  There is some crows later in the movie and one even named Jim but they are pretty funny while being a bit stereotypical.  There is also a really good pink elephant sequence.

Headhunters (2011):  This is my Norwegian film for the week.  Morten Tyldum directed this action film based on the novel by Jo Nesbo.  Aksel Hennie stars as Roger Brown who is a successful headhunter which is another word for art thief.  He looks to steal a painting that was inherited by a man named Clas Greve, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, not knowing he is a former member of a special tactical military force and looks to do whatever possible to get Roger out of the picture.  Elvind Sander, Julie Olgaard, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, and many others co-star in this film.  This has some really good and natural scenery with a lot of good action with its cat and mouse game.  If you can get past the English subtitles, this is really worth a look to action fans.  This is available on Netflix.

At the Earth's Core (1976):  This is my MST3K episode of the week and is the season, hopefully not series, finale of the new one with Jonah.  They must watch their second movie based on a non-Tarzan novel by Edgar Rice Borroughs, the first being THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT and they both started Doug McClure where they get right to THE SIMPSONS jokes.  Legendary horror star Peter Cushing stars as Victorian era scientist Dr. Abner Perry who along with his American backer David, played by McClure, where they have an earth-boring machine which they find is more powerful than expected and end up in a world of enslaved humans and prehistoric birds with Caroline Munro as an eye-catching slave.  As the show this was riffed on would indicate, this is more guilty pleasure with a really fun cameo in the episode with Joel McHale.  If they bring this back, I would like to see them incorporate more of the short films they have done in this past.  This is available on Netflix along with the rest of the series.

Untamed Heart (1993):  Tony Bill directed this romantic drama.  Marisa Tomei stars as Caroline who is a waitress at a restaurant and has trouble finding love.  She never really notices that the shy busboy Adam, played by Christian Slater, has a crush on her until he rescues her from a brutal attack and slowly gets to know him while liking him enough to have a relationship.  Rosie Perez, Kyle Secor, Willie Garson, Vincent Kartheiser, and many others co-star in this film.  This was one that I was pleasantly surprised and wondered how I have missed out on this one.  This was a romantic that really sucked me in with very likable characters in my opinion and found myself wanting for them this whole movie.  Many may find their heart of the title when watching this film which has a lot of heart.

Well, that is it for this week, tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Tom Hanks, Casey Affleck, Matt Dillon, James Stewart, Burt Lancaster, Vivien Leigh, and many others.

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