Sunday, December 30, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 685th Edition

Welcome to the 685th Edition of my series.  This is my last post of the year.  I hope everyone had a good holiday however celebrated.  I think I can look back and say this was a good year.  For those who have had the bad year, I hope 2019 gets better.  I still have a little bit of holiday selection for those still in holiday movie.  I will get to my selections for the week.

Gremlins (1984):  I start out with this popular holiday creature feature.  Joe Dante directed this horror comedy which was written by Chris Columbus.  Zach Galligan stars as Billy who is given the gift of a mogwai creature he named Gizmo, voiced by Howie Mandel.  There are three rules to follow with the creature which are to not feed after midnight, no water, and no bright lights.  When the rules inadvertently broken, it results in more mogwais and while Gizmo was a very nice creature, the others are not so much.  Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Keye Luke, Don Steele, Corey Feldman, Scott Brady, Harry Carey Jr., Dick Miller, Polly Holliday, Donald Elson, Belinda Balaski, Danny Llewelyn, Edward Andrews, Judge Reinhold, Nicky Katt, Frank Welker, Bob Bergen, and many others co-star in this film.  This has remained quite the holiday classic through the years.  It has always bothered me a little bit that they never really specify on when the mogwais can be fed.  Still some funny moments and a really good climax.  There has been a sequel and there is to be a part three coming at some point.

Let's Talk Turkey (1939):  This is my short film for the week and is more Thanksgiving oriented but people have turkey on Christmas as well.  This is a Pete Smith Specialty where he narrates a man demonstrating the carving a turkey and another man not able to do it so well in comical ways.  This is a pretty funny series of short films that the era that get shown on TCM a lot.

Gimme Shelter (1970):  This is one of my documentary selections and it was shown at my local library as part of the Cinemuncie series.  David and Albert Maysles directed this rock documentary which centers around a free Rolling Stones concert in California which also includes Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Ike and Tina Turner.  This was meant to be a Woodstock for the west area but does not maintain the peace anywhere near Woodstock.  Part of the problem was having Hell's Angels as their security and a large portion on the crowd being high on drugs.  There is also tragedy that takes place during the concert.  This is as some would say the end of the '60s both literally and figuratively as this concert happened in December of 1969.  It would be a good double feature to have this along with WOODSTOCK to compare and contrast the two.

Cirque du Soleil:  World's Away (2012):  Andrew Adamson wrote and directed this film that while usually filmed live was shot more like a movie.  Erica Linz stars as Mia, a young woman enchanted by an aerialist, played by Igor Zaripov, at the circus and fall into the dreamlike world of Cirque du Soleil where they are separted and set out for each other.  There is not much more to describe this expect that it combines a great story with some amazing aerial footage.  This was shown in theaters in 3D when first coming out and this might have been worth the price to see.

The Wild One (1953):  Laslo Benedek directed this film which is based on a story by Frank Rooney.  Marlon Brando stars as Johnny Strabler who is the leader of the Black Rebels biker gang.  The gang ends up terrorizing a small town but when Johnny meets Kathie, played by Mary Murphy, he slowly starts changing his ways but not before his ruthless rival Chino, played by Lee Marvin, arrives into town.  Robert Keith, Jay C. Flippen, Peggy Maley, Hugh Saunders, Ray Teal, Will Wright, Robert Osterloh, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good rebellion biker film with a Brando doing well as the biker.  It had a very good small-town feel with well-done photography.  This is one that really deserves a look.

She Stoops to Conquer (2003):  This is my live theater selection for the week.  Robin Lough directed this stage play which was written by Oliver Goldsmith.  This is a period piece farce comedy.  Monica Dolan stars as heiress Kate who poses as a barmaid to win over Charles Marlow, played by Christopher Staines.  In doing this, their friends have schemes of their own.  Stephen Beresford, Nigel Cooke, Fritha Goodley, Bella Merlin, Ian Redford, Owen Sharpe, Matthew Sim, Christopher Staines, Jason Watkins, and Jane Wood co-star in this production.  This is one that will be most appreciated by those who are into period pieces but this is enhanced with comedy.  I try to get a hold of live theater productions when I can and this was a pretty good and funny watch.

Blossoms in the Dust (1941):  Mervyn Leroy directed this biographical film that stars Greer Garson as the real-life Edna Gladney.  Gladney becomes an early fighter for the rights of children, especially those labeled as "illegitimate" just because they were born out of wedlock.  She starts an orphanage service of matching children with adoptive parents and also fights congress to make better laws for children.  Walter Pidgeon, Felix Bressart, Marsha Hunt, Fay Golden, Samuel S. Hinds, Kathleen Howard, George Lessey, William Henry, Henry O'neill, John Eldridge, and many others co-star in this film.  Pidgeon plays Edna's husband and is the first of eight teamings for the actors.  This is both sad and moving at the same time and really deserves a look.

Bully (2011):  This is another documentary which was directed by Lee Hirsch.  This takes a look at bullying throughout various schools in the United States.  This takes a look at various cases of bullying focusing on them and the families.  I don't really know how else to put into words.  This has been a pretty heated topic lately and something that unfortunately won't go away in all likelihood.  I know there are some out there that say kids just need to stand up to the bully and while I agree with that to a point, I still believe emphasis needs to be put out that bullying is wrong.  Many reading this I'm sure are guilty in some way and I include myself when I was in grade school.  I got bullied and my response to it was bully others thinking I would "fit in" or be "popular" which really did not work.  This movie does a really good job of getting it out in the open like having footage in the bus to the point the filmmakers showed what they had to the school and the parents feeling it was getting to be very dangerous.  I really believe all parents need to be watching this with the kids and just overlook the profanity that gets used.  I think kids on both sides of the spectrum should see this and it is available to watch on Netflix.

An American Christmas Carol (1979):  This will be my last holiday featured for the year.  Eric Till directed this tv movie which was a version of the Dickens classic novel but in an American way, that probably sounds really wrong.  Fonzie himself Henry Winkler stars as ruthless businessman Benedict Slade who is the obvious equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge.  The story then unfolds in the usual way from the Dickens story but I thought was a really good take on it with the characters while equivalent were different people.  David Wayne, R.H. Thomson, Ken Pogue, Gerard Parkes, Susan Hogan, Bill Bermender, Dorian Harewood, Tammy Bourne, and many others co-star in this holiday movie.  I know HAPPY DAYS was still going on while this was made so I'm sure it was good for some to see Winkler in a non-Fonzie role.  For those who are all year round holiday movie lovers, this will be a really good watch.  For those done with Christmas movies, maybe this should get added to the list for next year.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017):  I end the week with this conclusion to what I thought was an excellent trilogy and probably my favorite one to date.  Andy Serkis reprises his role of Caesar who is forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans lead by the ruthless Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson.  After suffering the loss of much of his kind, Caesar finds it more and more difficult to be that reasonable ape we have gotten to know in the first two movies.  Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Terry Notary, Ty Olssen, Michael Adamthwaite, Toby Kebbell, Gabriel Chavarria, Judy Greer, Sara Canning, Devyn Dalton, Aleks Paunovic, Alessandro Juliani, Max Lloyd-Jones, and many others co-star in this film.  I'm sure just about everyone knows this is the third that follows RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.  I thought both were so well done with the story and character development.  I thought this was a really good conclusion to the trilogy.  I truly recommend starting with the first two if you have not seen this one but I also would recommend watching the originals as this pays quite a bit of homage from them while standing on their own ground.

Well, that is it for this week but I do have my segment "Movie Time in Pottersville" so continue reading.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and many others.


The Nun (2018):  I was with my friends Stephanie and Drew on the day before Christmas Eve as I gave them a ride to the home of Steph's parents and her dad wanted to show us his state of the art system having a big screen and some really nice chairs.  Another thing at the house was a Blu-Ray for 3D and since we did not possess any at the time, we drove to Family Video in hopes of renting some.  Unfortunately, they discontinued so we just settled on looking for something horror oriented as Stephanie is a horror fan.  This was a spinoff from THE CONJURING.  Demian Bichir stars priest Father Burke who investigate the suicide of a young nun.  Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Charlotte Hope, Sandra Teles, Imogene Poots, and many others co-star in this horror film.  What I saw of this movie was decent.  The system own by Steph's dad lived up to the hype.  We did get to talking quite bit which was fine but I will need another viewing and maybe see the to Conjuring movies as well.

Green Room (2015):  This was viewed when we got back to Stephanie and Drew's home and Stephanie insisted on watching this movie so I gave in once she described Patrick Stewart running a group of neo-Nazis.  This centers around a punk rock band who gets a gig in a bar outside Portland which turns out to be a neo-Nazi bar where the band witnesses a murder putting them in a lot of danger.  Anton Yelchin plays the leader of the band in his final released film before his untimely death.  ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT fans will rejoice as we see Maeby actress Alia Shawkat playing the female member Sam.  Callum Turner, David W. Thompson, Mark Webber, Macon Blair, Eric Edelstein, and many others co-star in this film.  It was really cool seeing Stewart in a villainous turn.  This is available to watch on Netflix and a decent watch for punk rock fans and horror fans.  I'd say I had a good holiday and maybe next time, we'll be ready with a 3D movie to watch.

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