Sunday, August 26, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 667th Edition

Welcome to the 667th Edition of my series.  We just got through our first weekend of LIFE, DEATH, AND THE SHIT IN BETWEEN and has been well received.  We still have performances on Friday and Saturday at the Heorot Pub and Draught House in Downtown Muncie.  Shows are at 7:30 and tickets are $10.  Come out and support this independent theater if you can.  I also want to take this time and talk on my Facebook friend Robert Joseph Butler who is a filmmaker in Michigan.  He has put out quite a few short films that have gone over well with independent film festivals and is now doing a feature film and is looking for help in funding.  If you are able to help, even if it is a $10 donation, please go to the website and there is a preview to it as well as a place to donate if you can.  I will now get to my selections for the week.

Jerry Maguire (1996):  This is part one of a possible Tom Cruise trilogy.  I start the week out this this romantic comedy but please don't run for the hills when seeing that sub-genre name.  Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this film which falls into the romantic comedy genre and also takes a look at the behind the scenes of the sports world.  Our favorite Scientologist Tom Cruise stars as the title character who is a high profile sports agent seeing that all they focus on is how they benefit in the end and not really focusing on their athlete clients enough.  He goes into work with a new moral epiphany and shortly after expressing it, he gets fired from his job.  When leaving, he looks to become an independent agent with the help of his former employee Dorothy, played by Renee Zellweger, who admires his philosophy and risks all by going with him.  They soon form a relationship while also bonding with her son Ray, played by Jonathan Lipnicki.  Cuba Gooding Jr. co-stars as football player Rod Tidwell who keeps Jerry by his side while everyone else goes with the corporate agents.  Kelly Preston, Jerry O'Connell, Jay Mohr, Bonnie Hunt, Regina King, Todd Louiso, and many others co-star in this film as well as many athletes that have cameos as themselves.  This takes a good look at both the romantic relationship as well as the professional one he has with Rod as both his agent and friend.  I used to complain about the length which is a little under two and a half hours but then I started thinking further and I think they needed that time to show the depth of the relationships.  My friend Brandon named this as one of the movies for the 10 day Facebook Cinematic Challenge, so they obviously had him hello, hopefully they'll have the rest of you at hello.

Goofy Goofy Gander (1950):  This is my animated short for the week which features the character Little Audrey.  This takes place in a school setting where she must recite a Mother Goose rhyme but Audrey does not like rhymes and recites a comic book of bank robbers instead which gets her in a little trouble.  The comic stuff in it really makes this worth it.

The Battle of the Sexes (1960):  This is part one of a possible Peter Sellers trilogy.  Charles Crichton directed this comedy which was based on a short story by James Thurber.  This centers around what has been a British men only factory until American businesswoman Angela Barrows come in and shakes its foundation.  Sellers stars as staff member Mr. Martin who does not like the newer ways that Barrows is bringing in and goes through some comedic schemes in an attempt to stop her.  Robert Morley, Ernest Thesignor, Donald Pleasence, and many others co-star in this comedy.  It is really more the new ways versus the old ways and the newer ways just happen to have a woman.  I had not heard of this movie until I came across it and I laughed quite a bit when watching this movie.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Oliver Twist (2007):  This is my mini-series for the week which was directed by Coky Ciedroyc and based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens.  William Miller plays the orphaned boy Oliver Twist who when asking for more gruel at the orphanage and his life spirals from there.  I don't think I need to give much explanation as I think most of us know the basic story and even the characters like the Artful Dodger, played by Adam Arnold, Mr. Bumble, played by Gregor Fisher, Nancy, played Sophie Okonedo, Fagin, played by Timothy Spall, Bill Sikes, played by Tom Hardy, Mr. Brownlow, played by Edward Fox, just to name a few.  Connor Catchpole, Morven Christie, Sophie Okonedo, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Nicola Walker, Rob Brydon, and many others co-star in this BBC mini-series.  There have been many movie adaptations as well as the popular musical that most of us know this story by and this actually is one of my favorite musicals.  This is about three hours long or so and obviously has the basic stuff we know if we have seen the musical on stage or some of the movie adaptations but this obviously covers more ground.  Usually we know BMill Sykes as the villain and Fagin as more of the gray area but most seem to leave out another villainous character from the story that I did not know about until watching this version in Mr. Monks, played by Rhind-Tutt, who had much different motivations than Sykes.  I felt this was pretty well done and is available on Amazon Prime.

St. Martin's Lane (1938):  I find this is my third British selection in a row for this week.  Tim Whelan directed this comedy that takes place in the London theater district and centers around the buskers, which we usually call street performers.  Charles Laughton stars as Charles who in a sense in like the leader of the group and soon meets Libby, played by Vivien Leigh, who joins the group but becomes far more.  I don't want to share too much more in fear of giving it away.  Rex Harrison, Larry Adler, Tyrone Guthrie, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This was a pretty good look at the world of street performers in this era and place.  This is also known as SIDEWALKS OF LONDON.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Tangled (2010):  This is my Disney movie for the week that gives their take on the story of Rapunzel, voiced by Mandy Moore.  Rapunzel is known to have healing powers and as a child, she is kidnapped by Mother Gothel, voiced by Donna Murphy, who acts as her mom and uses her to stay looking young.  The most known thing about Rapunzel is her extremely long hair so I thought I would take time to point that out.  Mother Gothel has managed to keep Rapunzel in the house for many years until Rapunzel meets bandit Flynn Rider, voiced by Zachary Levi, who agrees to take her on an adventure outside the home that she has never had.  Ron Perlman, M.C. Gainey, Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett, Paul F. Tompkins, Richard Kiel, Delaney Rose Stein, and many others provide their voices.  This also has a good soundtrack from Alan Menkin and Glenn Slater.  This is also a very fun Disney princess movie that has been turned into a few shorts through the years.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946):  This is my Film Noir for the week that was directed by Tay Garnett and based on the novel by James M. Cain.  This takes place in a small town where married couple Nick and Cora Smith, played by Cecil Kellaway and Lana Turner, own a roadside restaurant.  Nick hires drifter Frank Chambers, played by John Garfield, to work at the restaurant.  Frank and Cora soon fall in love and talks Frank into murdering Nick in a scheme that would make it look accidental.  Obviously these never go as planned and we get what could be the best Film Noir of all time.  Hume Cronyn and Leon Ames add a lot as rival attorneys who do what they can to one-up each other.  Audrey Totter, Alan Reed, and Jeff York also co-star in this film.  Turner is great in this film and has said this is her favorite role.  This is a very gritty tale from the era and really deserves a look.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Tanner Hall (2009):  I guess you could say this is my coming of age movie for the week.  Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg wrote and directed this coming of story in an all-girls boarding school.  Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson, and Amy Ferguson all star as the girls this movie center around and all have their own unique story.  Tom Everett Scott, Amy Sedaris, Chris Kattan, Shawn Pyfrom, Susan Misner, Tara Subkoff, Annika Peterson and many others co-star in this movie.  This would probably be more enjoyed by younger girls.  This is a much earlier film for Rooney Mara and all of them do good playing the contrasting character.  I also really liked SNL alum Kattan in his role against type.  This is available to watch on the Hoopla Digital website.

My Brilliant Career (1979):  Gillian Armstrong directed this film that was based on the novel by Miles Franklin.  Judy Davis stars as Sybylla Melvin in 1890 Australia and is an aspiring young writer wanting to live an independent life without marriage in a time where that was the absolute norm.  She rejects all of her suitors but considers her childhood friend Harry Beecham, played by a young Sam Neill, more than the others but still very complicated with her own not wanting marriage.  Wendy Hughes, Robert Grubb, Max Cullen, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really well-done film done on a shoestring budget from Armstrong.  Davis and Neill are good together and was good to see Neill long before he lead expeditions through Jurassic Park.  This underrated film is available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Mountains of Mourne (2017):  I end the week with this short film.  Jim Cummings wrote and directed this short and also co-stars in this film.  Casey Brown stars as Jordan who appears to be pretty famous in the world of social media and makes the announcement to his viewers that he is making his last post.  Through the next few minutes, we learn more of the reasons.  This is only about twelve minutes long but is still a very good twelve minutes with some great interaction between Cummings and Brown.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck and hope to get this a little more exposure.

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

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