Sunday, August 12, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 665th Edition

Welcome to the 665th Edition of my series.  The show is getting closer and closer.  BIRTH, DEATH, AND THE SHIT in BETWEEN is on August 24th, 25th, 31st, and September 1st at the upstairs Heorot Pub and Draught House in Muncie at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are 10$ and $5 for BSU students.  This has four short plays and between each one there will be live music and poetry.  There will also be food prepared after each one and extra cost will apply to these.  Go see this link for further information.  I will get on with my selections for the week.

My Country, My Country (2006):  I start the week out with this political documentary where they are in post-Saddam Iraq.  Laura Poitras directed this film in the summer of 2004 where Iraq is to have elections and mainly centers around local physician Dr. Riyadh al-Adhadh who is an everyday person in the community seeking election.  I suppose this looks at the pros and cons of a democracy after a dictatorship.  This is a very compelling film to watch and has some really good footage.  Poitras would go onto direct such documentaries as THE OATH and CITIZENFOUR that are looked at as a trilogy and she has been quite the thorn in the side of our wonderful government.

Gigantic:  A Tale of Two Johns (2002):  I go from the world of politics to some more enjoyment in the way of a music documentary.  AJ Schnack directeed this documentary that takes a look at the two Johns that the title implies in John Flansburgh and John Linnell who are part of the alternative band They Might Be Giants.  I think most by now have at least heard of the band and if you have no familiarity with them, their biggest claim to fame is likely having the theme song for MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.  This goes mostly into the inner workings of the band in their work like concerts, music videos, and the use of their music on television.  This is a pretty fun and informative look into the band

Night on Earth (1991):  Jim Jarmusch directed this film that has five different short films that involve cab rides and manages to do them in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki.  Each one has its own interesting and unique story.  Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Isaach De Bankole, Beatrice Dalle, Roberto Benigni, Paolo Bonacelli, Matti Pellonpaa, Kari Vaananen, Sakari Kuosmanen, and Tomi Salmela all play those involved in the cab rides.  I think my favorite one was the one in Paris where the cab driver underestimates a blind woman but they are all well done.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Now Hear This (1962):  This is my animated short for the week from Warner Brothers.  This is a very abstract cartoon that involves a British elderly man who finds a red horn and uses it as a megaphone not knowing it belongs to the Devil.  The best I can describe this is that it is much different that other Looney Tunes animated shorts.  This is available to watch on the dvd of last week's feature CRITIC'S CHOICE.

Crime School (1938):  This is part two of my two-part Humphrey Bogart series.  This stars the youth group the Dead End Kids who end up doing a two year sentence in reform school.  In the beginning, the conditions are very tough and harsh until Deputy Commissioner of Correction Mark Braden, played by Bogart, gets appointed to run the place in the hopes to change conditions and create a fair environment for the youth to learn.  Gale Page, Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Bernard Punsly, Gabriel Dell, George Offerman Jr., and many others co-star in this film.  This takes a look at the juvenile system in this era.  This is in a time where Bogart was usually typecast as gangsters and gets to play someone on the right side of the law fighting corruption in the juvenile system.  This is a pretty decent watch and is available to see on Filmstruck.

I Shot Jesse James (1949):  Samuel Fuller make his directorial debut in this film which might be the first movie to center around Bob Ford, played by John Ireland, over Jesse James, played by Reed Hadley.  Just about everyone knows this moment of history where James Gang member Bob Ford assassinates Jesse James.  This is a mostly fictional account into the aftermath of Ford's life.  Barbara Britton co-stars as his love interest Cynthy and have not really found if she is based on someone in his life and Preston Foster co-stars as Kelley which is based on someone in Ford's life.  J. Edward Bromberg, Tom Tyler, Tommy Noonan, and many others co-star in this film.  In his era, most movies portrayed James as a folk hero and Robin Hood type but Fuller did not seem him this way favoring Ford's actions.  Many years later, a similar and more accurate movie would come out in THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD would come out and anyone that knows me just a little bit know it is one of my favorites.  This is also a pretty good story about Ford and is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Boiling Point (1990):  This is my Japanese film for the week which was written and directed by Takeshi Kitano and co-stars in the movie as his acting name 'Beat' Takeshi.  This centers around a couple of players in a Japanese baseball minor league team who go after the Yakuza when their coach is attacked.  It is very hard to put this into description.  It is a very dark comedy to say the least with a pretty interesting premise.  This is also available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Garment Jungle (1957):  Vincent Sherman directed this film centered on a garment business.  Lee J. Cobb stars as business owner Walter Mitchell whose business is under mob muscle keeping out the unions he is determined to keep away from the business.  His son Alan, played by Kerwin Matthews comes back to town and joins the business but not liking what he sees becoming determined to convince his father that his business needs a union.  Gia Scala, Richard Boone, Valerie French, Robert Loggia, Joseph Wiseman, and many others co-star in this film.  I usually favor these types of movies from this era.  Cobb is great as the business owner who slowly sees that the mob rule is not good for business.  This is one that gets overlooked but maybe this will help get at least some exposure.

Our Time (1974):  Peter Hyams directed this film that takes place in the 1950s in a strict boarding school for girls.  Pamela  Sue Martin stars as Abby who is the new girl in school.  She soon meets Michael, played by Parker Stevenson, but meets difficulties and disapproval from everywhere.  Betsy Slade co-stars's as Abby's friend Muffy who is the opposite personality wise contrasting very well in her part of the story. George O'Hanlon Jr., Debralee Scott, Edith Atwater, Carol Arthur, Hope Summers, and many others co-star in this film. This is a good look into a teen relationship of this era where the stars of the movie Martin and Stevenson would go onto play amateur sleuths in Nancy Drew and one of the Hardy Boys.  This is another one available to watch on Filmstruck.

Certain Women (2016):  I end the week with another multiple stories movie and this was directed by Kelly Reichardt.  Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart star in their segments of the film.  Dern is dealing with a disgruntled client, played by Jared Harris, who is about to fly off the handle at any time.  Williams and her husband, played by James Le Gros, are looking to build a new home but clearly have marital issues that complicate what they are trying to do.  Stewart plays a young attorney teaching an adult education class having a female ranch hand, played by Lily Gladstone, take an interest in her.  Ashlie Atkinson, Guy Boyd, John Getz, Sara Rodier, Rene Auberjonois, and many others co-star in this movie.  I think the story involving Laura Dern was the best one in my opinion.  This is very subtle and driven by the characters.  This 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.

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