Sunday, November 4, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 677th Edition and the Madness: Holidaze- Week 5

Welcome to the 677 edition of my series.  This is also the final week of the Madness which is really one of my favorite times of the year.  I don't have anything coming up at this time but that could easily change so just stay tuned.  I'm still saddened over the Filmstruck streaming service that ends on the 29th of this month.  I have had a lot going on this week and have decided to not release with pictures this year.  Next week, everything will be back to normal and will be the 13 year anniversary.  I think I have said what I needed to so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

Batman:  Return of the Caped Crusader (2016):  I start the week out with this animated superhero movie of the dynamic duo in Batman and Robin.  For the first time in many years, Adam West and Burt Ward reprise the roles they played in the popular '60s sitcom BATMAN.  The main villains of the sitcom in the Joker, voiced by Jeff Bergman, the Riddler, voiced by Wally Wingert, the Penguin, voiced by William Salyers, and Catwoman, reprised by Julie Newmar which is the third person from the sitcom, all team up against them.  Sirena Irwin, Thomas Lennon, Lynne Marie Stewart, Jim Ward, and Steven Weber also provide their voices.  For those who prefer the more humorous approach to Batman should really enjoy this movie.  This is a pretty good homage to the series and and to the Batman franchise in general.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Little Mermaid (1989):  I go from animated superheroes to animated mermaids.  Ron Clements and John Musker directed Disney's take of the classic story by Hans Christian Anderson.  Jodi Benson stars as the out of place mermaid Ariel who is fascinated by life on land much to the dismay of her father King Triton, voiced by Kenneth Mars, .  She also takes a liking to Prince Eric, voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes, after saving his life to the point that she makes a dangerous pact with sea with Ursula, voiced by Pat Carroll, to become human but only has three days to win over the prince.  She also must sacrifice her voice in order to become human and Ursula along with her eel henchman Flotsam and Jetsam, voiced by Paddi Edwards, do what they can from stopping her.  Buddy Hackett, Edie McClurg, Will Ryan, Ben Wright, Samuel E. Wright, Rene Auberjonois, and many others provide their voices.  This is my first time seeing this movie since being in the show last year at the Jay County Civic Theater where I played the prince's guardian Grimsby, played by Wright in his final film.  The Broadway production like other Disney adaptations add a few music numbers like having songs from King Triton.  Another interesting thing about actor Ben Wright is many years earlier he would provide the voice of Roger in 101 DALMATIONS.  I suppose this is the start of the new era of Disney princesses.  Benson is great as Ariel and also has a really good singing voice.  It also has some very memorable music numbers like the Oscar winning UNDER THE SEA as well as PART OF YOUR WORLD.  Don't be a poor unfortunate soul and check this out, especially if there are kids.

Repo!  The Genetic Opera (2008):  My first couple selections are pretty well family oriented but I'm afraid this one is not so much.  Darren Lynn Bousman directed this rock musical which is based on a play by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich.  This takes place in a not-so-distant future where body organs are purchased and meant for repossession of they are not paid.  Alexa Vega stars as Shilo Wallace who is a sheltered girl looking for a cure to her rare disease and does not know that her father Nathan, played by Buffy alum Anthony Head, is a repo man.  Zdunich, Paul Sorvino, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, Sarah Power, Briana Buckmaster, and many others co-star in this musical.  I really liked seeing Head in a more starring role and getting to show off his singing talent.  Brightman is most known as Christine in the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and makes her first film appearance.  Please don't run for the hills when seeing the name Paris Hilton.  She does pretty good in her relatively small role.  This is not for everyone, but has some pretty good rock oriented music numbers and some great imagery.  This is a musical I would love to be in someday.

Just Spooks (1925):  This is my animated short for the weeks and one of the early ones to combine live action and animation.  This features the early animated character of Dinky Doodle which was created by animator Walter Lantz who would go onto create the character of Woody Woodpecker.  Dinky Doodle and his dog Weakheart were serialized characters and in this one they witness some paranormal activity.  These classic shorts are still available on Filmstruck until the time it gets shut down.

Demon Seed (1977):  Donald Cammell directed this film based on the novel by Dean R. Koontz.  Fritz Weaver and Julie Christie star as married couple Alex and Susan Harris.  Alex is a computer scientist working on a computer of artificial intellence and calls it the Proteus IV, which is voiced by an uncredited Robert Vaughn, who forms a mind of his own and takes an unhealthy obsession with Susan.  Gerrit Graham, Berry Kroeger, Lisa Lu, Larry J. Blake, and many others co-star in this film.  When watching this, I kind of saw this as a cross between FRANKENSTEIN and 2001:  A SPACE ODYSSEY.  This is a pretty clever and underrated film which is also available to watch on Filmstruck.

Hansel and Gretel (1954):  John Paul directed this stop-motion puppet animated version of the Brothers Grimm story and based on the Englebert Humperdinck opera.  As the basic story goes, the title characters are brother and sister, both voiced by Constance Brigham, who go into the woods and are abducted by a witch, voiced by Anna Russell.  This was some pretty cool animation from the era while a bit of a weird film but the story of the title is a bit out there anyways.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Cronos (1993):  Guillermo Del Toro wrote and makes his directorial film debut in this Mexican film.  Federico Luppi stars as antiques dealer Jesus Gris who finds the ancient device Cronos while clearning with his daughter Aurora, played by Tamara Shanath.  This is said to be a device to provide eternal life and Jesus slowly appears to be looking young but comes at a price.  Ron Perlman co-stars as the mysterious Angel de la Guardia who seems to be after the device.  Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Mario Ivan Martinez, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty clever film and a really good debut for Del Toro who would go onto have a great career.  This is also available to watch on Filmstruck.

Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975):  I now go to Japan to this horror film which was directed by Masahiro Shinoda.  A mountain main, played by Tomisaburo Wakayama, abducts a woman, played by Shima Iwashita, in an enchanted forest who agrees to be his wife but it is at a price which includes beheading his other six wives while sparing one to become a servant.  He finds she is a wife never satisfied.  There is not much more I can do to explain this particular movie except that it is Japanese horror.  While a rather disturbing film, it also has some really good imagery.  This is another one available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Boy and the Beast (2015):  I end the week with this Anime film.  Mamuro Hosoda wrote and directed this Japanese animated film which takes place in a human world and also has a beast world.  This centers around orphaned boy Kyuta, voiced by Luci Christian when young and Eric Vale when younger, who ends up in a world full of beasts and meets the rough around the edges warrior beast Kumatetsu, voiced by John Swasey, who is looking for an apprentice taking in Ren despite the dismay of all around him for being a human.  Despite their bickering, they train together and slowly form a bond and must work together when a new threat ensues.  This was some pretty enjoyable Anime with a good action climax.

Well, that is it for this week but continue to read on for the final week of the Madness.  I'm sorry for my lackluster writing and lack of photos but things will be back to normal next week as mentioned.  Stay tuned for next week which so far includes Laura Dern, Marilyn Monroe, and many others.


This is the final week of the Madness.  As you see, I did not do much this week and just put everything in alphabetical order instead of the categorization I usually do.  I do enjoy having this contest every year and maybe next year we can finally have the theme of Women in Horror.

Batman:  Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016, 78 minutes, 666):  Batman is a character that has always counted so now should be no different.

The Boy and the Beast (2015, 119 minutes 666):  This anime film should count as a creature feature.

Cronos (1993, 94 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is a movie billed as horror and the price of immortality so this should count.

Demon Seed (1977, 94 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is a computer with a mind of its own forcing Julie Christie to do some pretty horrific things.

Hansel and Gretel (1954, 72 minutes, 66 1/2):  This has a witch so that is all I need to say.

The Little Mermaid (1989, 83 minutes, 666):  This involves a sea witch so this fairy tale counts.

Repo!  The Genetic Opera (2008, 98 minutes, 666 1/2):  This rock opera that involves the repo of body parts should have no problem getting counted.

Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975, 95 minutes, 666):  This is some Japanese horror that involves an enchanted forest and beheadings.

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