Sunday, May 20, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 653rd Edition

Welcome to the 653rd Edition of my series.  I am now done with LEND ME A TENOR, the show was very well received and was glad to be a part of the cast.  As of now I'm doing nothing but who knows when that will change?  I have some prospects and will announce when I know for sure.  There is not much else happening for me right now so I'll just get on with my selections.

Munich (2005):  This is part one of a two-part Eric Bana series. Steven Spielberg directed this historical film which was based on the book by George Jonas's book VENGEANCE.  This takes place during the aftermath of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich where a terrorist group took hostage and killed eleven Israeli athletes.  A group of five people led by Avner, played by Bana, is put together in a secret mission to kill those involved.  Others in the group include Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, and Hanns Zischler and must look over their shoulder during their "unknown" operation.  Geoffrey Rush, Ayelet Zurer, Michael Lonsdale, Mathieu Amalric, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very compelling and thought provoking film that does not take sides.  I'm not one to usually mention reviews but in looking at reviews, many people that were usually anti-Spielberg really liked this work of his.  This is not easy and requires a lot of attention but is rewarding in the end.

The Rocker (2008):  Peter Cattaneo directed this rock comedy which stars THE OFFICE alum Rainn Wilson who stars as drummer Robert "Fish" Fishman.  The movie starts in likely the 80s where Fish is the drummer for the band Vesuvius who is about to go big but are told they must use another drummer and go onto a lot of success.  Flash Forward 20 years where Fish is now working in a call center and gets fired making him end up living with his sister Lisa, played by Jane Lynch, in the attic.  His nephew Matt, played by Josh Gad, is part of a high school rock band called A.D.D., along with his friends Curtis, played by Teddy Geiger, and Amelia, played by Emma Stone, and they are in need of a drummer reluctantly asking Fish to be the drummer.  He now has a second chance at fame but has trouble keeping himself in line to do so.  Christina Applegate, Jeff Garlin, Jason Sudeikis, Will Arnett, Howard Hesserman, Fred Armison, Bradley Cooper, Jon Glaser, Lonny Ross, Jane Krakowski, Aziz Ansari, Keir Gilchrist, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is loosely based on and an homage to original Beatles drummer Pete Best, who has a cameo in the film.  I have always enjoyed this rock comedy that made me laugh throughout and can be very enjoyable if not taken too seriously.  I also say it's time for Pete Best to have a documentary done on his own life.

Grease Live (2016):  Now I feature a live musical adaptation of the hit musical from Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.  I think we all know the basics of this show where we start out in a summer romance of Danny Zuko, played by Aaron Tveit, and Sandy Young, played by Julianne Hough, who must go their separate ways until an unexpected reunion when Sandy goes to Rydell High where Danny just happens to go to that school.  She is excited at first but sees he acts much different there with his friends in the T-Bird gang.  Vanessa Hudgens stands out the most as the cynical Rizzo.  Keke Palmer, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mario Lopez, Carlos PenaVega, Kether Donohue, Jordan Fisher, David Del Rio, Andrew Call, Wendell Pierce, Boys II Men, Jessie J., Ana Gasteyer, Didi Conn, Barry Pearl, Elle McLemore, Noah Robbins, Eve Plumb, and many others co-star in this live tv musical.  This may very well be the first time I have featured SAVED BY THE BELL alum Mario Lopez.  This was a pretty well done adaptation that was well cast and well performed.  If only seeing the 1978 version, I say don't be closed to this version whether or not you like the older movie version as this one has some differences in it.

Case of the Missing Hare (1942):  This is my animated short for the week which features Bugs Bunny.  Bugs becomes a bit dismayed when a magician, also voiced by Mel Blanc, posts flyers all over his own tree.  For payback, he goes to the magic show to heckle the magician.  This has some pretty funny moments and is worth a few minutes to check out.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime through Cartoon Classics Vol. 2.

Fast Workers (1933):  Tod Browning directed this B-movie drama based on a play by John McDermott.  John Gilbert and Robert Armstrong star as friends and riveter co-workers Gunner and Bucker.  They both end up taking an interest in the same girl in Mary, played by Mae Clarke, which becomes more complicated when a tragic accident occurs on the job.  Muriel Kirkland, Vince Barnett, Virginia Cherrill, Muriel Evans, Sterling Holloway, and many others co-star in this drama.  This was a pretty decent film that was a little over an hour that emphasizes a long time friendship put to the test.  I also noticed some pretty unsafe working conditions from this era that that no one seemed to think nothing of and I would like to think have come a long way.

Play Misty for Me (1971):  Clint Eastwood makes his directorial debut in this psychological thriller where he also stars as radio disc jockey Dave Garver who has a fling with a woman named Evelyn, played by Jessica Walter, only to find that she is very unstable and obsessive in a deadly way.  Donna Mills co-stars as Tobie who is more of a love interest to Dave.  John Larch, Jack Ging, Irene Hervey, James McEachin, Clarice Taylor, Don Siegel, and many others co-star in this film.  I have always enjoyed this very suspenseful film that never lets up.  Walter does a great job as Evelyn while Eastwood plays off her very well.  This is not for everyone, but if looking for a good psychological thriller, this one still holds up today and could be a good triple feature to go along with FATAL ATTRACTION and MISERY.

Sondheim:  A Celebration at Carnegie Hall (1993):  Technically, this is an episode of GREAT PERFORMANCES and is a live performance of various numbers of Stephen Sondheim productions SWEENEY TODD, COMPANY, FOLLIES, MARRILY WE ROLL ALONG, ASSASSINS, and even some numbers written for DICK TRACY.  Bill Irwin, Madeline Kahn, Liza Minnelli, Patti Lupone, Patrick Cassidy, Victor Garber, Bernadette Peters, Glenn Close, and many others take part in this tribute to Sondheim.  These were all pretty well performed, I really liked THE BALLAD OF BOOTH from ASSASSINS from Patrick Cassidy and  when I hope one day to be a part of and I played Beadle Bamford in SWEENEY TODD.  If a musical fan and a Sondheim fan, I think you will enjoy this one.

Crazed Fruit (1956):  This is my Japanese film for the week which was directed by Ko Nakahira.  This is a Japanese coming of age story in a sense where brothers Natsuhira and Haruji spend a summer at the beach where Haru meets a girl named Eri.  Natsu learns a secret of Eri and blackmails her unbeknownst to Haru leading into a love triangle.  This is also a very subtle tale of revenge that has quite the climax.  Fans of the foreign and Japanese cinema should really enjoy this film.  This is available on the Criterion Collection and deserves a look.
The Guy From Harlem (1977):  This is my blaxploitation movie for the week where Loye Hawkins stars as Al Connors who is a charismatic private investigator being hired hired to guard an African princess.  There is not much that can describe this movie.  There are some Blaxploitation that is halfway decent but this is not one of the better ones.  The acting was horrid and the fight scenes were laughable which was why RIFFTRAX took this and ripped it apart.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime with or without commentary but I would recommend with comedy unless you have your own group of friends for a riff session.

Blood Father (2016):  I end the week with this low-budget action film.  Jean-Francois Richet directed this film based on the novel by Peter Craig who co-wrote the screenplay.  Mel Gibson stars as John Link who has had a violent past and not on parole trying to get his life together.  Things become complicated for him when his estranged daughter Lydia, played by Erin Moriarty in her breakthrough role, contacts him when she is on the run from some drug dealers out to kill her and must go back to his old ways to protect her.  Diego Luna, William H. Macy, Dale Dickey, Michael Parks, and many others co-star in this film.  This was not the greatest movie but still very enjoyable on what a father will do for his kids.  Gibson and Moriarty are great together as a father and daughter trying to reconnect while fighting for their lives.  This has some good action and a story I'm sure many fathers can relate to in what they would do for their daughter.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes James Franco, Shelley Duvall, Eric Bana, and many others.

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