Sunday, October 28, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 676th Edition

Welcome to the 676th Edition of my series.  DRACULA is officially at an end and will be hard to see that go.  I am not in anything at this time but I'll keep everyone posted.  The Madness continues but the last week is not required until Thursday so I will be releasing it separately this time.  I also learned of the sad news of Filmstruck shutting down at the end of November.  My dad bought me a year subscription for my birthday and has been a source of a lot of my selections, especially the older ones.  Nothing else really happening now so on with my selections.

X-Men:  Days of Future Past (2014):  I start the week out with this Superhero film that features both generations of X-Men including those that had been in the first three movies and much of them from X-MEN:  FIRST CLASS.  Bryan Singer directed this film in which the basic premise is that the X-Men and in a never-ending and unwinnable war that will result doom for all humans and mutants.  Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart in this era, has Kitty Pryde, played by Ellen Page, sends Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, back to 1973 to convince his younger self, played by James McAvoy in that era, to prevent an assassination by Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence, to make a better world.  This is at a time when Professor X was going off the deep end and must also convince him to team with Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender in the earlier era and sir Ian McKellan in the current era, so it was not an easy assignment for Wolverine.  That is your basic premise and add to it that Peter Dinklage is the main villain.  Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Bingbing Fan, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit, Mark Camacho, and many others co-star in this film.  I really though they did a good job of featuring the eras and all the characters.  I watched the extended cut of this movie being dubbed as "The Rogue Cut" which expands the role of Rogue, played by Paquin, a little bit whereas in the original cut, she practically has top billing and makes a very short cameo.

The Boxtrolls (2014):  I follow up with this animated movie from Focus Features.  Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi directed this animated movie which centers around the group of creatures of the title.  They are mischievous and very misunderstood and have raised a boy named Eggs, voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright, as one of them.  They must do what they can to defeat the evil trash collector Archibald Snatcher, voiced by Ben Kingsley, and convince the rest of the human race that they are very harmless.  Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, Nika Futterman, Dee Bradley Baker, Elle Fanning, Steve Blum, Maurice LaMarche, James Urbaniak, Brian George, Toni Collette, Simon Pegg, and many others lend their voice to this film.  This uses the stop animation technique and is a pretty good look at fearing the unknown.  A bit dark but still good for the family, maybe for older kids and has some pretty funny moments.

It (2017):  Andy Muschietti directed this remake of the Stephen King novel and will have a sequel or continuation, I never really known which is which and seems rather subjective, next year.  In a small town in Maine, a group of bullied kids must band together to take on the evil clown Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgard, who feeds upon one's fears.  Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, and many others co-star in this film.  It has been awhile since I have seen the 1990 mini-series.  I thought this was a pretty good blend of comedy and horror but the movie is not for everyone by any means.  Skarsgard had some big shoes to fill in a role originated by Tim Curry and does very well as the evil clown.  The relatively unknown actors also held their on in this film.  This only covers about the first half, the next one will have the kids all grown up.

The Fable of the Jolly Rounders (1923):  This is my animated short for the week and take another look into the really early era of animation.  Paul Terry directed this animated short that centers around Harry Hippo who is always at the pub instead of at home with his wife and kids so his wife kicks him out.  Harry then conjures up a plan to make his wife jealous.  For the seven minutes it was on, I had a wtf face the whole way through.  At this time, this was apparently geared towards kids which would probably not go over today with the scene involving spousal abuse.  It is very interesting to watch for historical purposes and is available to watch on Filmstruck in the Cartoon Roots section.

Isle of the Dead (1945):  Mark Robson directed this film that takes place during the 1912 war.  Boris Karloff stars as General Pherides who is suspicious of a plague happening and suspecting of one of the young girls being a vorvolaka, a vampiric sort of demon.  This causes a lot of tension and suspecting that something more sinister is at hand.  Ellen Drew, Marc Kramer, Katherine Emery, Helene Thiming, Alan Napier, Jason Robards Sr., and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty creepy and atmospheric film with Karloff putting on a good performance.  It also keeps us guessing up until the end.  This is some classic horror for the season that is available on Filmstruck.

The Housemaid (1960):   This is my Korean film for the week which was written and directed Ki-Young Kim.  Married man and father Mr. Kim works in a factory giving music classes and piano lessons to the employees and also giving home lessons at time.  He hires a young girl per the recommendation of one of his students as a housemaid.  She begins to exhibit unusual behavior and makes Mr. Kim succumb to temptation when he has an affair.  The maid soon begins to wreak havoc on the household.  I don't want to go too far into this one as I feel I might give too much away.  I will say that this one probably creeped me out more than anything I watched in October although I was a bit confused by the ending.  This was remade in 2010 and I did see that version and as I recall was not into it as much as this one.  This disturbing film is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Horror of Dracula (1958):  Terence Fisher directed this film which is based on the characters from the Bram Stoker novel but have been mostly rewritten and is the start of a long series of Dracula films from the Hammer Films series.  Christopher Lee makes his debut as the iconic vampire and Peter Cushing stars as his rival Van Helsing.  Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, Olga Dickie, John Van Eyssen, Janina Faye, and many others co-star in this film.  Back to what I was saying about this being rewritten.  My understanding is they did not have the budget to get the actual rights for the novel so they did some rewrites on the story with the same characters that include Johnathan Harker visiting Dracula's castle knowing his true nature.  Unfortunately, the character that I have portrayed in Renfield is not part of this story.  I still enjoy this version and find it creepier than others but don't want to get too detailed for those who have not seen this version.  It also has quite a body count for this time period.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Halloween (1978):  I decided to bring in one of the definitive films for the season and the start of quite the franchise of sequels and remakes.  John Carpenter directed and co-wrote this film where Michael Myers, played by Tony Moran, escapes from an institution 15 years after killing his sister and goes to his town of Haddonfield where he sets out to kill again.  Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Laurie Strode in what would become a breakthrough film for her and does what she can to survive Myers.  Donald Pleasance co-stars as Dr. Loomis who has known Myers since he was a kid and knows he will go to his town of Haddonfield.  P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Kyes, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Nancy Stephens, and many others co-star in this film.  This has always ranked very high among the horror genre and still holds up today.  As usual, Carpenter writes his own music score which are usually simple but very effective and this one is no different.  I am hearing really good things about the new version which stars Curtis many years later but don't forget where it all started.

The Beastmaster (1982):  Don Coscarelli directed this sword and sorcery fantasy film.  Marc Singer stars as Dar whose family has been murdered.  Dar is not only a skilled fighter but also can communicate with animals and along with his animal friends that include a black tiger, two ferrets, and and an eagle, he sets out for vengeance against the evil priest Maax, played by none other than Rip Torn, who is responsible for the massacre.  Along the way he is joined by other allies that include John Amos, Joshua Milrad, and Tanya Roberts.  Rod Loomis, Ben Hammer, Billy Jayne, Janet DeMay, Janet Jones, and many others co-star in this film.  I had seen this as a kid as my childhood best friend Ross used to watch this a lot.  I thought the ferrets named Kodo and and Podo stole the film and feel they could have had their own spinoff films being a new Chip and Dale type duo.  This is a rather overlooked fantasy film had a couple sequels and tv series.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994):  Kenneth Branagh directed this adaptation of the classic novel by Mary Shelley and also stars as Victor Frankenstein.  Frankenstein is a well-meaning scientist who becomes obsessed with creating life and in doing so he creates life with none other than Robert De Niro playing the Creature.  Helena Bonham Carter co-stars as Elizabeth who is Victor's stepsister turned fiance but Victor's work keeps them apart.  Tom Hulce, Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm, Richard Briers, John Cleese, Robert Hardy, Cherie Lunghi, Celia Imrie, Trevyn McDowell, and many others co-star in this film.  This is not like the Universal adaptation that is most known and is more like the novel.  Monty Python alum John Cleese is nearly unrecognizable as a mentor figure in Victor's life.  De Niro puts on an interesting performance as the Creature who is mostly left on his own and must learn everything on his own but everybody's fear of the unknown drives him to commit heinous acts.  I have been in a theatrical production of this story which shows a lot of similarities to the film.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for Thursday where I will be releasing the last week of the Madness.


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