Sunday, March 18, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 644th Edition

Welcome to the 644th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone had a good St. Patrick's Day yesterday however celebrated and hopefully no one is still in pain after being pinched too much for not wearing green.  I'm still in rehearsals for ON GOLDEN POND where I continue to find my character of Bill Ray and look forward to putting the show on for the public.

Limitless (2011):  I start the week out with this sci-fi film.  Neil Burger directed this film based on the novel by Alan Glynn.  Bradley Cooper stars as struggling author Eddie Morra who cannot come up with any ideas for a novel and is dumped by his girlfriend Lindy, played by Abbie Cornish, seeing his lack of drive.  Hitting rock bottom, he decides to take a pill on the black market that enhances the use of his brain instantly being shown a new world drawing the attention of business mogul Carl Van Loon who sees him as a tool to make billions.  The pill carries brutal side effects and people out for him because of the pill.  Andrew Howard, Anna Friel, Johnny Whitworth, Robert John Burke, and many others co-star in this sci-fi film.  This is some very intriguing sci-fi and shows the price of I guess drugged intelligence.  This was also made into tv series after the movie came out.

The Interview (2014):  I follow with this rather controversial comedy that is sure to have very mixed opinions.  Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen co-directed and co-wrote this comedy in which Rogen co-stars.  James Franco stars as Dave Skylark who is a tabloid tv show host and Rogen  is his producer Aaron.  They look for all the celebrity gossip possible but decide they want to do something more meaningful in the world of journalism and seek out an interview with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un, played by Randall Park, and find themselves deeper than expected.  Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang, Timothy Simons, Reese Alexander, James Yi, and many others co-star in this comedy with some pretty amusing celebrity cameos.  This is one that if I describe any further I'll give too much away.  It is not for everyone, especially those that offend easy as the humor is rather politically incorrect.  There were some parts where I thought "wtf" but could not help but laugh.

Ratatouille (2007):  This is my Pixar film for the week which was directed Brad Bird along with Jan Pinklava.  This is also part three of a possible four-part James Remar series where he provicdes the voice of Larousse  This centers around a famous and fancy French restaurant.  A rat named Remy, voiced by Patton Oswalt, is not like the rest of his family and aspires to be a chef despite the warnings of his family on the dangers of us humans.  Lou Romano provides the voice for Linguini who is a kitchen worker that cannot cook but gets unlikely help from Remy who manages to control his body and they soon come up with some of the best dishes of all time while trying to keep the illusion that Linguini is the great new chef.  Remar, Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Brad Garrett, Peter O'Toole, Janeane Garofalo, John Ratzenberger, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good movie centering around a restaurant that I'm sure many restaurant workers can relate adn I suppose there is the fear of the unknown element in this movie.  This delivers a lot of laughs and is sure to be enjoyed by the family.

Censored (1944):  This is my animated short for the week which features the character Private Snafu, voiced by Mel Blanc.  This was a series of WWII sorts from 1943-1945 and some including this one was written by Dr. Seuss.  In this one, Private Snafu is looking to get a letter to his sweetheart and gets his wish to send mail uncensored but not matter where he turns it is censored.  This is a character that has gone onto be pretty unknown excluding classic animation enthusiasts.  This is available on Amazon Prime as part of the "Patriotic Cartoons Collection" which is a very entertaining series of WWII animated propaganda shorts.

Dangerous (1935):  Alfred E. Green directed this pre-code film which stars Franchot Tone as architect Don Bellows who has everything going for him with his job and fiancee Gail, played by Margaret Lindsay.  His life changes when he finds has-been actress Joyce Heath, played by Bette Davis, drunk and passed out so takes her to his home to help her get better.  He starts to form a relationship with her while wanting to help her get her career going again.  Alison Skipworth, John Eldredge, Dick Foran, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty well-done drama from this era and pretty daring for its time.  This really deserves a look among classic film buffs, rather underrated film from Davis.

David and Lisa (1962):  Frank Perry directed this film based on the book by Theodore Isaac Rubin.  Keir Dullea stars as David who is a troubled teen who has emotional problems and has trouble being touched and gets put into a mental institution.  Janet Margolin stars as Lisa who is in the mental instituation and makes non-sensible sentences as well as having another personality.  David takes a liking to her and finds intimacy with her while also trying to help her having read psychiatric books.  Howard Da Silva, Neva Patterson, Clifton James, Karen Lee Gorney, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very beautiful story and a very pleasant surprise having not heard of this movie.  Dullea and Margolin are perfect in their roles.  It is unfortunate how overlooked this movie has been but really deserves to get more exposure.

Riff Raff (1947):  Ted Tetzlaff directed this adventure comedy which stars Pat O'Brien as private investigator Dan Hammer who is hired to be a bodyguard by a man named Hasso, played by Marc Krah, after finding a briefcase with a map in it of unregistered oil wells in Peru.  In the process, Hammer must deal with many others who are not who they seem like femme fatale Maxine, played by Anne Jeffreys.  Walter Slezak, Percy Kilbride, Jerome Cowan, George Givot, Jason Robards Sr., and many others co-star in this film.  O'Brien usually co-stars with people like Bogart and Cagney and does a good job holding his own in this film without them.  This is good for classic movie buffs.

Soundtrack for a Revolution (2009):  This is my documentary for the week.  This focuses on the Civil Rights movement through the songs that protesters on picket lines, mass meetings, and in jail cells would sing.  The songs would help them sing the words that they had a hard time singing.  Singers and bands include the Roots, Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone, Richie Havens, Anthony Hamilton, The Blind Boys of America, Harry Belafonte, and John Legend.  This mostly revolves around the music so if looking for history on the civil rights movement in general, this is not really the one to watch.  This does have some very good music performances.  This is available to watch on the Hoopla Digital website.

Ruby (1977):  This is my horror movie for the week and has commentary from RIFFTRAX.  Piper Laurie stars as the title character whose gangster boyfriend was murdered and 16 years later murders take place at her drive in theater.  Their mute daughter Leslie, played by Janit Baldwin, is acting strangely.  Stuart Whitman, Roger Davis, and many others co-star in this movie.  It is easiest to get through this movie with the commentary of Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy of RIFFTRAX and formerly MST3K as the acting and visuals are not very good but made funny through the commentary which is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Founder (2016):  I end the week with this biopic centered around McDonalds owner Ray Croc, played by Michael Keaton.  John Lee Hancock directed this film that centers around Kroc and his days as a traveling salesman to his meeting with Dick and Mac McDonald, played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch, who own a very innovative restaurant that would later go onto become fast food.  Kroc took interest in this restaurant and talks them into franchising it where the McDonald brothers slowly see the greed Croc.  Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Justin Randell Brooke, Kate Kneeland, Patrick Wilson, Griff Furst, Wilbur Fitzgerald, David de Vries, and many others co-star in this film.  I decided upon this movie last week when I was in Alexandria and had a little time to kill before rehearsal.  Having my computer with me and having wi-fi I thought what perfect movie to watch as in watching a movie about the rise of McDonalds in McDonalds.  Watching this made me think of THE SOCIAL NETWORK and how Facebook came to be making me think this would be a great double feature.  This was a very intriguing film and is available to watch on Netflix.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Sissy Spacek and many others.

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