Sunday, April 7, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 699th Edition

Welcome to the 699th Edition of my series.  A FEW GOOD MEN has gone very well.  We still have another weekend of it next week from April 12-14 at the Marion Civic Theater.  Friday and Saturday is at 7:30 pm and Sunday is at 2 pm.  It has been nice not having to do my actual work this week and good to see the weather getting better.  Also, tonight is WRESTLEMANIA, I don't know if I'll be able to watch it in its live format but I'll get to it eventually.  There is not much else happening this week so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

The Greatest (2009):  This is part three of my Susan Sarandon trilogy.  Shana Feste wrote and directed this film that deals with grief.  Pierce Brosnan and Sarandon star as married couple Allen and Grace Brewer whose son Bennett, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dies in a car accident.  Carey Mulligan co-stars as Rose who was the girl in love with Bennett and was in the car during the accident.  She shows up at their home revealing she is pregnant and has nowhere to go.  Johnny Simmons co-stars as Ryan who is Bennett's younger brother.  Amy Morton, Deirdre O'Connell, Miles Robbins, Cara Seymour, Ramsey Faragallah, Jennifer Ehle, Colby Minifie, Zoe Kravitz, Portia, Michael Shannon, Dante E. Clark, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good look at showing the different ways that people handle their grief over a loved one and how it can either bring people together or tear them apart making Rose someone the family needs more than they know.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Drafty, Isn't It (1957):  This is my animated short for the week.  Chuck Jones wrote and directed this animated propaganda short for the United States Army.  This centers around a young man having nightmares about the possibility of being in the military.  A pixie-like figure named Willie N. List, what a clever name, enters his dream to paint a more favorable image of the industry.  This is available on Amazon Prime on the "Patriotic Cartoon Classics" which involve a lot of military propaganda shorts.

Lady Sings the Blues (1972):  This is my music biopic for the week which was directed by Sidney J. Furie.  Diana Ross stars as the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday.  This starts in her troubled teen life and early adulthood into her rise into the world of Jazz but would also have a fall with her drug issues.  Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan, Paul Hampton, Sid Melton, Virginia Capers co-star in this film.  This is singer Diana Ross's film debut and does a great job as the Holiday.  This covers a lot of ground and is a very compelling biopic.

Won't You Be My Neighbor (2018):  Morgan Neville directed this documentary based on the iconic Fred Rogers of MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD.  This is a man studying to be a minister but found a calling in giving children something safe to watch having not liking what he is seeing on television.  This has interviews from Fred's wife and kids as well as friends and people he worked with on the show.  His show would sometimes deliver a bold message in a very subtle way.  This is a very good tribute to Mr. Rogers and a man who just wanted to bring kindness to a dark world.  There is not much else to describe in the way of words so just watch it already.

Death Takes a Holiday (1934):  Mitchell Leisen directed this film which is based on the play by Alberto Casella.  Fredric March stars as the Grim Reaper who takes a little time off his usual job to see what it is like to be human.  He poses as a man named Prince Sirki and spends three days with Duke Lambert, played by Guy Standing, and his guests.  He also ends up falling in love with Grazia, played by Evelyn Venable.  Katherine Alexander, Gail Patrick, Helen Westley, Kathleen Howard, Kent Taylor, Henry Travers, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a rather clever and interesting love story.  It kind of reminded me of what years later would become MEET JOE BLACK so maybe a double feature there.  This is available to watch on Hoopla.

Splash (1984):  I go from Death to mermaids.  Ron Howard directed this romantic comedy which stars Tom Hanks as business owner Allen Bauer who is convinced he will never be loved again.  In his childhood, he is saved by a mermaid and in many years he is saved once again by a mermaid, played by Daryl Hannah.  Allen falls for the mermaid but does not know she is one as she can change herself to human.  John Candy co-stars as Allen's older brother and Eugene Levy co-stars as a scientist named Walter who is determined to prove he saw a mermaid.  Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene, Richard B. Shull, Howard Morris, Patrick Cronin, Royce D. Applegate, Joe Grifasi, Clint Howard, and many others co-star in this romantic comedy.  I suppose in a way, this is a variation of THE LITTLE MERMAID.  It is a good '80s classic with Hanks and Hannah working very well together and Candy and Levy providing us with some great comedy.  Hannah is also a site to look at in both human and mermaid form.  This would be a good selection for date night.

Go Ask Alice (1973):  This is my tv movie for the week which I seem to be on a kick these couple weeks.  John Korty directed this tv movie which is based on a book by Beatrice Sparks referring to herself as Anonymous.  Jamie Smith-Jackson stars as the shy teen Alice whose parents have to move and she must start over.  She forms a relationship with a college boy named Richie, played by Danny Micheal Mann, and succumbs to the world of drugs.  William Shatner, Andy Griffith, Ayn Ruymen, Robert Carradine, Mackenzie Phillips, Charles Martin Smith and many others co-star or have cameos.  Shatner was nearly unrecognizable as Alice's father and had a mustache.  This is a fictional story even though the movie says it is based on a true story but a good look at how this can happen to anyone.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002):  This is my Asian film for the week.  Sijie Dai directed and co-wrote this film based on his own novel.  This takes place in 1971 China where best friends Luo and Ma, played by Kun Chen and Ye Liu, are sent to a mining village as part of their reeducation to purge them of their western oriented education.  They find the presence of beautiful young women as the only pleasant part of their life.  They meet the granddaughter, played by Xun Zhou, of a tailor and fall in love with her while coming across American novels that are banned in their country.  This is in a sense a Chinese coming of age film.  It is a very compelling story of communist China.

Suddenly (1954):  This is my film noir for the week.  Lewis Allen directed this film that takes place in a small town which is called Suddenly.  Nancy Gates stars as widowed wife Nancy Gates who lives with her son Pidge, played by Kim Charney, and her father, played by James Gleason.  She opposes guns but must rethink her stance when learning of the president coming to town and her house getting taken hostage by a group of people planning an assassination lead by John Baron, played by Ol' Blue Eyes himself Frank Sinatra.  Yes you heard, that right Sinatra was planning an assassination of our president.  Sterling Hayden co-stars as the sheriff who has tried courting Nancy and now is trying to protect the family.  Some would think if seeing the cast and hearing the plot that Hayden would probably be the assassin but that is not the case.  This is a pretty well done film where I stayed at the edge of my seat.  Also a bit of pro-gun propaganda on how guns can be beneficial.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Answer Man (2009):  John Hindman wrote and directed this romantic comedy if you want to call it that.  Jeff Daniels stars as the reclusive Arlen Faber who has written a lot of inspirational books but now wants to be left alone and keep his identity a secret.  Lou Taylor Pucci co-stars as bookstore owner Kris Lucas who is fresh out of rehab and learns of Arlen agreeing to barter books for advice.  Lauren Graham co-stars as chiropractor and single mother Elizabeth who is just starting a business and meets Arlen after he ends up in her place of business with back issues.  Olivia Thirlby, Kat Dennings, Nora Dunn, Tony Hale, Annie Corley, Max Antisell, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Daniels is good as the author who just does not have the answers that everyone wants him to have.  This also takes a good look at two different relationships he has with Elizabeth and with Kris.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Well, that is it for this week though I did return with my "Movie Time in the Town of Pottersville" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Taylor, Ryan Gosling, John Woo, and many others.


The Purge:  Anarchy (2014):  A Few weeks ago we watched the very first and now finally got around to the second of this newer cranchise.  James DeMonaco wrote and directed this sequel to the hit film from 2013.  This continues on Purge Night where crime becomes legal for 12 hours.  Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez all star as an unlikely group that comes together for survival with Grillo being the only one who intends to kill in his vengeance for the murder of his son.  Grillo plays a police sergeant who reluctantly becomes a protector to those trying to survive the holiday.  Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael Kenneth Williams, Edwin Hodges, Lakeith Stanfield, and many others co-star in this sequel. This had an interesting enough story with the characters to get behind them.  The first one was more centered in a home, this one takes it further into the streets.  They meet the granddaughter, played by Xun Zhou, of a young tailor and fall in love with her while coming across American novels that are banned in their country.

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