Sunday, April 8, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 647th Edition

Welcome to the 647th Edition of my series.  My show opens next weekend so see my first selection for the week and my photo at the bottom for information.  This has been a wrestling weekend for me and tonight I am sitting at home watching WRESTLEMANIA.  Not much else happening so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

On Golden Pond (1981):  This is the show that I am putting on next weekend and part two of my possible Henry Fonda trilogy where I use Fonda's last feature film.  Mark Rydell directed this film based on the play by Ernest Thompson who wrote the screenplay.  Fonda and Katherine Hepburn star as the aging couple Norman and Ethel Thayer.  Their estranged daughter Chelsea, played by Henry's real-life daughter Jane Fonda, comes to town with her boyfriend Bill, played by Dabney Coleman, and ask them to watch their son Billy, played by Doug McKeon, while they go to Europe.  Norman and Billy form an unexpected bond while Chelsea looks to reconcile with her father.  I play the part of Bill which has been a lot of fun.  This was a good movie about family differences and on an elderly couple.  Fonda and Hepburn work great together in what as far as I know is their only teaming.  I get to play the part of Bill which has been very enjoyable.  Our show is April 13th and 14th at 7:30 and April 15th at 3;30 at the Commons Theater in Alexandria so call 765-639-3282 to reserve your tickets which are $10 for adults and $7 for students.  Cheap plug but it is my blog so I have the right to make as many cheap plugs as I want.  This is available on Netflix and on Amazon Prime.  Below is a photo of the all-star cast in our play.


Our Old Car (1946):  This is my short film for the week which is part of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series.  Nesbitt narrates this short about his father and the cars he had owned since 1900 along with a lot of changes at this time.  This is a good early look at the history of the car at this time and a pretty good eleven minutes getting to look at some cool cars.  Classic car enthusiasts might enjoy this one.

The Odd Couple (1968):  This is part 2 of my possible Jack Lemmon trilogy.  Gene Saks directed this comedy based on the play by Neil Simon who also wrote the screenplay.  Legendary comedy duo Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau star as Felix Unger and Oscar Madison who become roommates when Felix's wife left him.  As the story goes, Felix is an absolute clean freak while Oscar is a slob.  John Fiedler, Herb Edelman, David Sheiner, Larry Haines, Monica Evans, and Carole Shelley co-star in this comedy.  This has always been one of my favorite comedies and would love to be in the play someday.  This is their second of ten teamings and this one is my favorite.  The absolute opposite personalities deliver all kinds of laughs and would be a great selections if having a comedy night.

Chasing Mavericks (2012):  This is my sports biopic for the week which was co-directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson.  Jonny Weston stars as Jay Moriarty who as a kid discovers the mystic Mavericks surf break and enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson, played by Gerard Butler, to teach him surfing and one day do what he was doing.  In the process, Frosty becomes more of the father figure Jay has been lacking in his life making it more than just surfing.  Elizabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer, Leven Rambin, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good biopic on overcoming the obstacles to achieve what you want in life.  Butler and Weston are great together but also good to see Elizabeth Shue as Jay's single mother.  This went onto be pretty underrated and deserves.

The Phantom Carriage (1921):  This is my silent film for the week.  Victor Sjostrom directed this Swedish film based on the novel by Selma Lagerlof.  Sjostrom also stars as David Holm who is a local drunkard telling his homeless friends of the legend that the last person who dies on New Year's Eve has to drive Death's carriage for those that die the next year and ended up being the last.  The person who told him this and then died was David's friend Georges, played by Tore Svennberg, who was partly to blame for for the poor choices David made.  David ends up dying and finds that Georges is the driver of Death's carriage and must reflect on his selfish life in hopes to find redemption.  Hilda Borgstrom and Astrid Holm co-star in this silent film.  This was a very compelling film that still holds up today and still very watchable even if no dialogue.  Fellow Swedish director Ingmar Bergman has cited this as one of his favorite movies and a big influence on his career.

Glorious 39 (2009):  Stephen Poliakoff wrote and directed this film that takes place during WWII.  Romola Garai stars as Anne Keyes whose life begins to change when on the eve of WWII stumbles upon some pro-appeasement recordings and flees to London to confirm her suspicious leading to intrigue and betrayal.  Eddie Redmayne, Juno Temple, Christopher Lee, Toby Regbo, Corin Redgrave, Charlie Cox, Jeremy Northam, Jenny Agutter, Julie Christie, Hugh Bonneville, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one of those that is just really hard to describe and one that must be watched with full attention.  In the end, it is very worth it, just hard to really put into words on this blog.  This is available to watch on the Hoopla Digital website so free with an account.

Bambi (1942):  Now I bring this Disney classic based on the story by Felix Salten.  I think just about everyone knows that Bambi is a deer that we meet upon birth and learns about life through friends through his mom and through friends like Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk.  He also must learn about survival from the unseen villain Man so I guess in a sense one could say this movie is prejudice towards humans but I won't get that deep.  This is a really good movie about forest animals and a very big project from Walt Disney whose work was never enough no matter how much everyone around him thought.  From this came some very iconic characters who have lived through many generations after the movie.  This is a great family film though can get a little disturbing at times in the scenes that involve "man".

Hell or High Water (2016):  I go to a more gritty film for the week and what could be a modern-day western.  David Mackenzie directed this film which stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers Toby and Tanner Howard.  Toby is desperate for some money and along with his ex-con brother Tanner, they go around robbing banks to raise the money for Toby to make enough money to save their ranch to leave to his son.  On the trail is the nearly retired Texas Marshall Marcus Hamilton, played by Jeff Bridges, and his Indian descent partner Alberto Parker who could not be any more different in personality but have the same cause.  Dale Dickey, William Sterchi, Buck Taylor Kristin Berg, Katy Mixon, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a very compelling film on how far one will go for the ones they love and felt the ending was really pretty satisfying.  I feel this is another one that has gone overlooked and is a very good character driven film.

Cinderella (1965):  This is my musical for the week and is an adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of the classic story.  Lesley Anne Warren stars as the title character who is overworked by her stepmother and two stepsisters with dreams of going to the ball which the stepfamily will not have until a Fairy Godmother, played by Celeste Holm, arranges for her to go and meet the prince, played by Stuart Damon. Ginger Rogers, Walter Pidgeon, Jo Van Fleet, Pat Carroll, and Barbara Ruick all co-star in this tv movie.  This is a pretty good adaptation of the musical with good performances and fun musical numbers.  Fans of musicals and Rodgers and Hammerstein should really enjoy this one.  This is available on Amazon Prime.

Man Bites Dog (1992):  I end the week with this rather controversial French film.  Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, and Benoit Poelvoorde directed, wrote and star in this independent film.  Poelvoode stars as Ben who is a serial killer having his exploits filmed with the other two co-starring as his film crew.  The film crew starts to question their humanity when going along with Ben's crimes.  I will say right away that this movie is not for everyone and is a satire towards media violence so has some very dark comedy at times.  No matter what one might think of the subject matter, the filmmakers made quite an effort in getting this made on a very small budget which a lot was from friends and family and is a pretty compelling film if able to get past the subject matter.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week.

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