Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 634th Edition

Welcome to the 634th Edition of my series and my first post of the new year.  Next Sunday is when I will be going out for auditions for THE VOICE.  I never thought I would be doing this again but here I am giving it a go through persuasion of some of my friends.  I will give it what I have, I doubt I'll make it far but that's what I said the last time.  Other than that, there is nothing going on with fantasy football and my team is not in the plays.  I will say though that this Jimmy Garopollo, who brought some life into the 49ers at the end of the year, is giving me some hope for next year.  I will get to my selections for the week.

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi (2017):  I start the year out with this big blockbuster and part 1 of a possible Benicio Del Toro trilogy.  I went to see this at the Muncie theater in Imax 3D sitting in a recliner chair and was glad I made that decision.  I am no more than a casual fan of the franchise so I'm not going to find a bunch of things to get knit picky about and like the others, I go in with very little knowledge.  I avoid reading reviews and I avoid all trailers which I mostly succeeded with the exception of reading social media posts on if they liked it or did not like it.  All I'm even going to say about this is that it is a battle between the resistance and First Order.  Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, Justin Theroux, and many others co-star in this film.  Unfortunately, this was Fisher's last movie before her death.  For those that are like me that have not seen it yet and are trying to avoid any sort of spoilers I'm not going to give out any other details for the movie.  I sat back and just enjoyed a new STAR WARS film.  For me, everything worked with the characters, action, and even some good humor, and look forward to all the other ones set to come out in the future.

A Late Quartet (2012):  This is part two of my possible four-part Catherine Keener series.  Yaron Zilberman directed this film centered around a world-renowned string quartet of 25 years.  Christopher Walken stars as Peter their cellist and oldest member of the group and learns he is in stages for Parkinson's Disease announcing his retirement from the band.  With the rest of the quartet trying to figure out their future, other hidden resentments and secrets come out making them question their place in the band.  Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Mark Ivanir are the other three members of the quartet.  Imogen Poots, Madhur Jaffrey, Liraz Jaffrey, Liraz Charhi, Wallace Shawn, and many others co-star in this film.  I was pleasantly surprised with this movie.  It is not really an inspirational film but is able to convey its point without getting really intense.  I found this to be a very good look at an aging band.

Finisterre (2003):  Kieran Evans and Paul Kelly directed this documentary which is mostly a visual look at London.  This is mostly a journey through the suburbs through the heart of the city along with some interviews of various people mostly in the art and music world.  There is also a good music score from Saint Etienne to go along with the journey through the various parts of London.  This is only about an hour long and is worth a look in my opinion.

House Cleaning Blues (1937):  This is my animated short for the week which stars Betty Boop who is struggling to clean the house.  Grampy makes a visit wanting to take Betty somewhere and she declines in order to clean the house so he takes it upon himself to clean it for her in a very unconventional way.  This is a pretty entertaining six minutes of entertaining ways to clean a house mostly a kitchen.

Dr. No (1962):  Terence Young directed this film which was the first in the franchise of Ian Fleming's spy James Bond not counting the 1954 teleplay CASINO ROYALE which is what kept United Artists from doing that first and would do it many years later.  Sean Connery makes his first appearance as ladies' man agent 007 where he is to investigate the murder of a colleague which leads him to the fortress of Dr. No, played by Joseph Wiseman, who like many are out for world domination.  Ursula Andress co-stars as Bond girl Honey Ryder and Jack Lord plays Bond's CIA ally Felix Leiter which was one of many different portrayals of the character through the years.  Bernard Lee, Zena Marshall, John Kitzmiller, Eunice Gayson, Lois Maxwell, Peter Burton, and many others co-star in this action film.  This is a really good start to the series.  I have come to favorite Daniel Craig as Bond but still like to go back to the old ones.  This has many very iconic moments in the franchise and still holds up today.

Dial M For Murder (1954):  Alfred Hitchcock directed this film based on the play by Frederick Knott.  Ray Milland stars as ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice who devises a play to murder his unfaithful wife Margot, played by Grace Kelly.  Tony knows she is having an affair with American crime novelist Mark Halliday, played by Robert Cummings, so he looks to kill his wife and when that does not go as planned, he is very well prepared.  John Williams and Anthony Dawson co-star in this crime film.  This is a pretty clever murder mystery with a good amount of dark comedy.  This is a play I would like to be in someday.

American Teen (2008):  Nanette Burstein directed this documentary which takes place in the Indiana town of Warsaw.  This takes a look at various high school seniors and most from different cliques.  This takes a look at their struggles and their plans for the future.  I'm sure just about all of us will find someone to relate to in the movie.  All of these kids are troubled in some way and it shows the working for their struggles.  It has been a few years since this was made so I hope these kids are doing well.  I have driven through Warsaw to see my family up north and have driven by that school many times.  This is available on Amazon Prime.

Sex and the Single Girl (1964):  I got the idea to check this one out upon a post from my Facebook friend Todd.  Richard Quine directed this film based on the novel Helen Gurley Brown.  Tony Curtis stars as tabloid reporter Bob Weston who is part of a magazine that is very proud to be very sleazy.  He looks to get a story on world renowned psychologist Helen Brown, played by Natalie Wood, by posing as his neighbor Frank, played by Henry Fonda.  Lauren Bacall, Mel Ferrer, Fran Jeffries, Leslie Parrish, Edward Everett Horton, Stubby Kay, Howard St. John, Otto Kruger, and many others co-star in this film.  This is more of a parody to the romantic comedy.

I Accuse My Parents (1944):  This is my episode of MST3K for the week and one of the few times they dealt with a movie that did not have any sci-fi, fantasy, or horror elements.  Joel and the bots were forced to watch this juvenile propaganda b-movie.  Robert Lowell stars as Jimmy Wilson who is on trial and decides to blame his parents for his recent crime due to him feeling ignored.  It then goes into flashback of how end ended up where he was so I'll try to remember to blame my parents if I have a crime spree.  This was meant to be a message film but then ended up in the hands MST3K where they had a really good time riffing on it.

Timer (2009):  I end the week with this romantic comedy fantasy movie.  Jac Schaeffer wrote and directed this film which takes place in a future where some people have a timer implanted on their wrist that is supposed to tell them they when they meet their soulmate.  This is done in hopes that people might not hurt as much.  BUFFY alum Emma Caulfield stars as Oona who is a big advocate for it but at the moment has a blank timer.  She breaks her own rules and falls for a younger man named Mikey, played by John Patrick Amedori, who does not have a timer which is looked down upon by this society and must consider what she wants in life.  Scott Holroyd, Jobeth Williams, Desmond Harrington, Kali Rocha,  and many others co-star in this film.  It is really hard to explain this beyond what I have done.  I know I would not want one of these timer things.  This does have an interesting message about love and loss and how it could be lessened.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Catherine Keener, Joan Crawford, Brad Pitt, and many others.

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