Sunday, October 14, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 674th Edition and the Madness- Holidaze- Week 2

Welcome to the 674th Edition of my series.  I don't like cooler weather, I'm not really a hoodie kind of person, and I find bonfires overrated but what I do love about the season is the Madness and participating in it.  I would say football but I haven't really had any time for it this year and I'm not liking all these rule changes I've been hearing about.  Next weekend we open our show DRACULA at the Richmond Civic Theater.  Tickets for the show are $18 and $15 for students and seniors.  Dates and times are on the photo below.  I will get on with my selections for the week.

Stay (2005):  Marc Forster directed this psychological film which was written by David Benioff.  Ewan McGregor stars as Dr. Sam Foster whose latest client Henry, played by Ryan Gosling, appears to be suicidal.  While trying to help Henry, the lines of imagination and reality become blurred for Sam.  Naomi Watts, Kate Burton, Elizabeth Reaser, Bob Hoskins, B.D. Wong, Jessica Hecht, Sterling K. Brown, Amy Sedaris, and many others co-star in this film.  This film takes you through the psychological journey of Sam and Henry with things like the camera work and other things.  It is hard to really put this into words and is one that just has to be watched.

Walter (2015):  Anna Mastro directed this film comedy which was written by Paul Shoulberg.  Andrew J. West stars as movie theater ticket taker Walter Gary Benjamin who is convinced he has a job through God to judge whether others get to heaven or hell.  He always maintained an everyday routine in life but was thrown off when meeting Greg, played by Justin Kirk, who is a ghost in limbo and trying to figure out when side he was to go after his death.  Milo Ventimiglia, Neve Campbell, William H. Macy, Virginia Madsen, Peter Facinelli, Leven Rambin, Jim Gaffigan, Brian White, Michael Patrick McGill, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This was actually set in the town of Indianapolis which is about an hour from where I live.  Macy is a lot of fun as the psychiatrist trying to understand Walter.  This is a pretty fun independent film and in watching this I did not expect to see my Facebook friend Kelsey Zukowski as an extra so while I'm at it I might as well plug her website of which has some of her modeling photos and work she has done as well as being able to watch some of her short films so check this and and get to know Kelsey.

Isle of Dogs (2018):  This is my animated movie for the week which was directed by and co-written by Wes Anderson.  This is set in Megasaki, Japan where their is an outbreak of dog flu being spread and the mayor banishes all dogs to Trash Island.  A young boy named Atari, voiced by Koyu Rankin, comes to the island in search of his dog Spots, voiced by Liev Schreiber, with the help of five other dogs.  Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Oto, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Roman Coppola, Anjelica Huston, and many others provide their voices to this film.  I have found that Wes Anderson is an acquired taste to many and some just don't like that guy.  I will give it to him that he does have his own style that he sticks to for the fans that he has.  This is stop animation and is a really interesting dystopian future film.  There is also some influence from Japanese legend Akira Kurasowa.  There is not much else to describe this except that it is quite different.

Roaming Through Michigan (1950):  This is my short film for the week which is part of the Traveltalks series where we are taken through the lower peninsula as well as the upper peninsula.  We get to see things like the Sleeper Bear sand dunes, Traverse City which is the cherry capital of the world, a place where bears roam free, among other things.  As usual, this is narrated by James A. Fitzpatrick and was probably a good thing for movies to open up to in a time where short films were just about always shown.

Dracula (1931):  Tod Browning directed this version of the Bram Stoker novel.  Bela Legosi is in his most iconic role of vampire Count Dracula who goes from Transylvania to London and targeting Mina Harker, played by Helen Chandler.  Edward Van Sloan co-stars as vampire hunter Van Helsing who does what he can to save Mina and the others from the count.  David Manners, Dwight Frye, Herbert Bunston, Frances Dade, and many others co-star in this classic.  I don't thing much more explanation is needed.  Frye co-stars as Renfield which is who I play in the upcoming play.  Frye is a bit of an underrated actor in my opinion and does really good in this role.  He is the subject of Alice Cooper's song THE BALLAD OF DWIGHT FRYE.  I guess this is the first version to use the names from Stoker's book.  There was NOSFERATU which is also a classic which was made when they could not get the rights and rename the characters.  Legosi reprised his role from the stage version that was going on at the time and Lon Chaney Sr. was considered for the film version until his death before filming.  This is good for the season.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1960):  Ernest Morris directed this movie which is based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe.  Lawrence Payne stars as Edgar, a man a bit socially awkward and takes a liking to his neighbor Betty, played by Adrienne Corri, who agrees to date him.  Dermot Walsh co-star as Edgar's friend Carl and starts getting up close and personal with Betty.  When Edgar sees him, he murders Carl in a fit of jealous rage.  While he did what he could to cover up Carl's death, Edgar continues to hear a heartbeat driving him to insanity.  I have noticed with a lot of Poe stories, a perfect murder is made but their conscience drives them insane trying to deal with what happens.  This was a pretty good adaptation of the story with an ending I felt left a bit to be desired.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975):  Jim Sharman directed this Halloween musical which was written by Richard O'Brien who co-stars as Riff-Raff.  Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon star as newlywed couple Brad and Janet who have a great life ahead of them but right after the wedding, their car gets stuck in the rain.  When trying to find a place which has a phone, to the younger generation out there cell phones did not exist in those days, and end up in a castle which is headed by a transvestite named Dr. Frank-N-Furter.  When ending up at the castle, their lives will never be the same among Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry, and his Transylvanians.  Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Jonathan Adams, Peter Hinwood, Meat Loaf, and Charles Gray star in this film.  I remember the first time I saw this movie, my Dad took me to see this when I was about 14 or 15 years of age in Anderson.  I remember just not really knowing what to think about what I saw besides a shadow cast.  Years later, the Muncie Civic Studio Theater would do this show on an annual or semi-annual basis but have not done it for awhile.  The Cornerstone Center of the Arts has been showing this for a few years and they have their own shadow cast to act out all the characters.  This is not the kind of movie to watch in the comfort of your home and it is also not something to go see in theaters if you are expecting quietness.  This is one that is enjoyed with a group of people and shouting comments when applicable among other things like using squirt guns.  This is a very fun time and if it comes to your town you should go check it out and enjoy it for what it is worth.

Julia's Eye's (2010):  This is my Spanish horror for the week which was directed and co-written by Guillem Morales.  Belen Rueda plays a dual role as identical twins Sara and Julia Levin.  Sara hanged herself in the basement of her home so it is said to be a suicide but Julia does not buy it and does her own investigation to her belief that she was murdered.  Lluis Homar, Pablo Derqui, Francesc, Joan Dalmau, Julia Gutierrez Caba, Boris Ruiz, and many others co-star in this psychological thriller.  Like my first selection, this in another kind of psychological journey we take with Julia in her struggle to find her sister's killer and how nothing is as it seems.  I found this to be very enjoyable and good for the season if you enjoy this type of horror.

Daughter of Horror (1955):  This is also known as DEMENTIA.  John Parker directed this horror film noir which is done through narration, through Ed McMahon, and no dialogue.  We are taken into the world of a young woman, played by Adrienne Barrett, being driven to insanity after waking up from a bad dream.  Another selection that is just really hard to put into words.  As I look further into this film, DAUGHTER OF HORROR is the version that has narration and DEMENTIA does not have narration.  The music and dark imagery carry this movie very well.  Honestly, I think I prefer the narration.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Monster (2003):  I end the week with this serial film which was written and directed by Patty Jenkins and based on serial killer Aileen Wuornos, played by Charlize Theron.  This shows Wuornos as a drifter where she works as a prostitute and forms a relationship with the socially awkward Selby, played by Christina Ricci.  According to this movie, her killing begins when doing it to a man in self defense after being raped and then going on a killing spree.  Bruce Dern, Lee Terguson, Annie Corley, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Marco St. John, Marc Macaulay, Scott Wilson, Kane Hodder, and many others co-star in this film.  Jenkins wrote this movie from letters she was given hundreds of letters from the real Wuornos that were written and received.  Theron plays Wuornos to perfection in her gaining 30 pounds to get into the role and has a pretty uncanny resemblance to the real person.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Well, that is it for this week but continue onto week 2 of the Madness.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week.


This is the second week for the Madness, as usual I have them separated by names along with a couple categories.


Charlize is not a wild card but have a couple selections on my list so I made a category for her.

Mad Max:  Fury Road (2015, 120 minutes, 666 1/2):  This has a rather dystopian future and think this should count for minimum points.  I have to say this is my favorite of the Mad Max series.  I love this adrenaline rush.  Charlize plays Imperator Furiosa.

Monster (2003, 109 minutes, 666):  This is a serial killer film so should count on this list.  It was originally going to be used on account of Kane Hodder in his bit role as an undercover cop near the end but qualifies so I used it.  I already said what I needed to up above I think.



I went ahead and made a category for the character that was given to us by Bram Stoker and seeing as I am in the play right now.

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992, 128 minutes 666 1/2):  This is really my favorite adaptation of the story.  Gary Oldman continues his chameleon ways as an actor paying the part of Dracula.  I always love watching a Gary Oldman movie with people and blowing their mind when pointing out "that's Sirius Black".  This follows the novel quite a bit while adding more of a backstory on Dracula as well as a love story that I felt worked very well.  Tom Waits plays my part of Renfield in this version.

Dracula (1931, 75 minutes, 666):  There is no denying this classic version of the Stoker tale with Lugosi, the actor synonymous to the part of Dracula.  Still enjoyable to watch today.

Dracula 2000 (2000, 99 minutes, 66 1/2):  Gerard Butler plays the infamous vampire this this modern-day telling where he goes after the daughter of his nemesis Mary Van Helsing.  I venture to say Gerard is quite possibly the first person to play Dracula and the Phantom.  This was pretty entertaining with a very interesting twist.


Edgar is a wild card this year so any movies based on his stories count for the Madness this year.  I suppose he could be called the father of horror with his early stories.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1960, 78 minutes, 66 1/2):  Pretty good adaptation that could have had a better ending.  A more unknown movie on a Poe story from this era that is enjoyable to watch.



Elizabeth is not a wild card but another one I had multiple selections to feature so I made a category for this actress.

Stay (2005, 99 minutes, 666):  This very dark and psychological film should count for the contest.  The being driven from to the bring of insanity.  I was unable to find Elizabeth in a film photo so I just used something more random.

Twilight (2008, 120 minutes, 66):  I decided to check out the first of this series with Esme being part of the Cullen family.  Nothing great but didn't really hate it.


Daughter of Horror (1955, 61 minutes, 66 1/2):  I couldn't really think of a category for this one but this psychological film is billed as horror and should count.



Julia's Eyes (2010, 118 minutes, 666):  Another psychological film that was produced by Guillermo Del Toro and is billed as horror so should count for this contest.



Harvey actually is a wild card this year and you will see is used a lot this week.  I'm actually not quite sure of what makes him a wild card but I'll take it.

Cop Land (1997, 105 minutes, 666):  This cop drama counts this year where Sylvester Stallone shines with the likes of Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and this year's wild card Harvey Keitel.  Keitel plays the leader of a corrupt cop group.

Isle of Dogs (2018, 101 minutes, 666):  This might count either way with the dystopian future but Harvey's part of Gondo makes it count without a doubt.

Mean Streets (1973, 112 minutes, 666):  This Scorsese film counts this year where Harvey plays local hood Charlie and is his first movie with Robert De Niro who plays Charlie's irresponsible friend Johnny Boy.  It is also the first time Scorsese and De Niro teamed while the second one with Scorsese and Keitel.

Pulp Fiction (1994, 154 minutes, 666 1/2):  This Tarantino classic counts this year with Harvey playing fixer Winston Wolf.

Reservoir Dogs (1992, 99 minutes, 666 1/2):  Harvey co-stars in Tarantino's film debut as Mr. White who is part of a robbery gone wrong and the rest trying to figure out who lead the set-up.  Still one of my favorites.



Neve is not a wild card but found a couple movies from my list where I made her a category.

Reefer Madness:  The Movie Musical (2005, 112 minutes, 666):  This musical should count, it is billed as horror and has the Devil as well as some zombies.  Neve plays the part of Miss Poppy.

Walter (2015, 94 minutes, 666):  The ghost element should make this count.  Neve plays a nurse named Allie.


Susan is not a wild card but another one I found multiple selections from my list making her a category.

Enchanted (2007, 107 minutes, 666):  This counts because of the enchantress, played by Susan, banishes the princess from the animated world into the real world  I kind of forgot how much I like this movie.  I love the premise and the humor.  I also this James Marsden's performance as the Prince was his best.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, 100 minutes, 666):  This popular musical no doubt counts.  This is probably Susan's breakthrough film where she plays Janet.


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