Sunday, October 29, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 624th Edition

Welcome to the 624th Edition of my series.  I decided to hold off until later in the week for my final post of the Madness as I am trying to get more selections in.  Next week will be my 12 year anniversary entry.  So hard to believe this vision of starting something.  Most things I start, I really don't finish but this has just kept going and going through Myspace and then the Facebook transition.  I want to thank all my supporters from old to new and now for my selections for this week.

House of Dracula (1945):  I start the week with this later Universal film.  This one has Dracula, played by John Carradine, the Wolf Man Larry Talbot, played by Lon Chaney Jr., and Frankenstein's Monster, played by Glenn Strange.  Dracula and Talbot are both seeking cures to their issues for different reasons.  Martha O'Driscoll, Lionel Atwill, Onslow Stevens, Jane Adams, Ludwig Stossell, and many others star in this monster all-star film.  I have always enjoyed Carradine's Dracula and Chaney is the one person that stuck to his role all the way through as Larry Talbot.  This might be fun to have a marathon of these Universal films.  This would get followed by one of the best horror comedies of all time in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN.

Asylum (1972):  Roy Ward Baker directed this British film that features multiple stories within an asylum and based on short stories written by Robert Bloch.  Robert Powell stars as Dr. Martin who is a young psychiatrist looking for employment and must interview inmates as a requirement for potential employment.  In the process, there are four different stories in the film that are all different from each other.  Barbara Perkins, Richard Todd, Sylvia Syms, Peter Cushing, Barry Morse, Britt Ekland, Charlotte Rampling, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a different one for the season and one that has not gotten a lot of exposure.  It has multiple very interesting stories and is available on Amazon Prime.

Swat the Fly (1935):  This is my animated short for the week which features Betty Boop and her dog Pudgy the Pup.  In this one there is a really annoying fly that they are trying to get rid of but proves to be quite the pest.  Betty goes to absolute extremes in her attempts to get rid of the fly.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime as part of a Betty Boop box set full of her classic shorts.

Road to Moracco (1942):  I went to check out this classic comedy at my local library last week as part of the Coffee and classics program in which I usually do not get to attend but could then because I had the part of the week off.  This stars the comedy team of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby who did many of these "Road To" movies and I believe this one has gone onto become the most popular of them all.  They star as the characters Turkey and Jeff who are castaways competing for Princess Shalmar, played by Dorothy Lamour.  Anthony Quinn, Dona Drake, and many others co-star in this film.  Hope is amusing in his dual role as Aunt Lucy who appears in dream sequences.  There are a lot of other funny gags and even musical numbers in this comedy.

Caligula (1979):  I decided to finally check out this very controversial and erotic film about the sadistic Roman Emperor Caligula, played by Malcolm McDowell, and the means he would go to in order to get the throne.  From what I understand, most versions found are a 90 minute version but I ended up watching the 160 minute version in which I could only find on Youtube in order to watch it.  Teresa Ann Savoy, John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole, Helen Mirren, and many others co-star in this film.  To say this is not for everyone is a huge understatement.  This was the only feature film produced by Penthouse magazine and cast many of the Penthouse pets in this film that is essentially porn.  McDowell still gives a really good performance as Caligula.  This is now widely regarded as a cult classic and i could only find it to watch on Youtube.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016):  David Yates directed this film that was written by J.K. Rowling and a prequel to the Harry Potter stories.  Eddie Redmayne stars as wizard Newt Scamander who is also a writer in '20s New York where there was a secret community of witches and wizards.  Things go awry when his suitcase of magical creatures gets loose.  Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Jenn Murray, Dan Hedaya, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Zoe Kravitz, Johnny Depp, and many others co-star in this film.  The character of Newt gets referenced a little bit in the Harry Potter series.  This is the first in the "Fantastic Beasts" series so I'm sure we are in for more.  If you like the world of Harry Potter, I think this will be pretty enjoyable with Redmayne doing well as Scamander.

Gemma Bovary (2014):  Anne Fontaine directed this film based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds.  Fabrice Luchini stars as Martin who is a baker living in France and becomes very excited about his new neighbors Gemma and Charlie Bovery, played by Gemma Arterton and Jason Flemyng, with their names of Bovery and the Gustave Flaubert novel MADAME BOVARY being one of his favorite books.  Soon, Martin becoem osessed with their behavior feeling like it is  coming out of the novel.  This is a pretty good comedy/drama and an interesting tale centered around a classic novel.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Simon and the Oaks (2011):  Lisa Ohlin directed this coming of age Swedish film based on the novel by Marianne Fredriksson.  This takes place during WWII in Sweden where Bill Skarsgard stars as Simon who after learning he was adopted travels to explore his roots and his love for the arts which his parents did not want him to pursue.  Helen Sjoholm, Jan Josef Liefers, Erica Lofgren, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one that is more centered around the characters.  This one is available to watch on the Hoopla Digital website.

Beetlejuice (1988):  Now I turn to a comedy more centered around the season which was directed by Tim Burton.  Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis star as newlyweds Adam and Barbara Maitland who are about to start a great life but end up dying and becoming ghosts.  They still inhabit the house and even continue to decorate but a live family, played by Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, and Winona Ryder, moves into the house and are not very quite about it.  The dead couple try to scare them off but after being unsuccessful, they hire the services of Betelguise, played by Michael Keaton in a role born for him.  Annie McEnroe, Sylvia Sidney, Robert Goulet, Dick Cavett, Susan Kellerman, Tony Cox, and many others co-star in this classic '80s afterlife comedy.  Below is a photo of my good friend Brittany and her take this year on Beetlejuice.

Saturn's Return (2001):  I end the week with this short film which was directed by Wenona Byrne.  Joel Edgerton and Damian star as Barney and Dimi, a young couple going to visit Barney's dying father Dan, played by Harold Hopkins.  This focuses a lot on relationships like how difficult his relationship with Dimi becomes and Barney trying to get his father to face the mistakes of his past.  This is available on Amazon Prime.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for the 12 year anniversary next week which so far includes John Travolta, Steve Martin, Liv Tyler, and many others.  Later in the week, likely thursday, I will publish my last installment of the Madness for the year.

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