Sunday, June 9, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 708th Edition

Welcome to the 708th Edition of my series.  After years of doing this on a weekly basis, I'm about to announce something I have never done.  No, I'm not stopping altogether but I am going to take a break until maybe mid-July.  I am having to work a little bit later than usual and the play I am doing requires me to leave a lot earlier leaving me pretty little time to put the dedication I need.  I am proud to be in THE LARAMIE PROJECT and hope that people in or near my area will be able to come out to the show.  I want to thank everyone for their support and I will return.

Casino (1995):  This is part four of my Robert De Niro series.  Martin Scorsese directed this mob film which is based on the novel by Nicholas Pileggi who co-wrote the screenplay.  Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci star as mobsters Sam "Ace" Rothstein and Nicky Santoro who movie to Vegas where Rothstein becomes a casino owner and Nicky is his very violent enforcer.  The story really revolves around Rothstein's relationship with with Nicky which is very difficult due to Nicky's violent nature and Rothstein's volatile relationship and marriage with socialite Ginger, played by Sharon Stone.  James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak, L.Q. Jones, Dick Smothers, Frank Vincent, John Bloom, Pasquale Cajano, Paul Herman, and many others co-star in this film.  This is based on a true story of mobsters Frank Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro whose characters that De Niro and Pesci and based upon.  This does not hold back much on the violence so that could be a precaution to take.  It is easy to compare this movie to GOODFELLAS but I just say these are both two mob films that each have their own very interesting mob story and could be made into a good double feature.

Creed (2015):  This is my third fight movie in three weeks dealing with either boxing or MMA.  Ryan Coogler directed and co-wrote this film which stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson whose father was the legendary boxer Apollo Creed who died before he was born.  Adonis has had a troubled life and looks to rise up in the boxing ranks.  He decides to move to Philadelphia and enlist the help of former champion Rocky Balboa, reprised by Stallone, who reluctantly takes Adonis on as a trainee.  Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Jacob Duran, Graham McTavish, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a pretty good passing the torch sort of film where we once again get to see the iconic Rocky Balboa and on the other side of the trainer this time around.  I also really liked how Rocky was supportive of Adonis in his relationship with Bianca, played by Thompson, where I have seen others discourage this sort of thing including Rocky's own trainer Mick.  This is a very realistic looking film about boxing with Jordan and Stallone working very well together and a lot of the fighters are real-life boxers including Bellew who plays "Pretty" Ricky Conlon.

The Post (2017):  Steven Spielberg directed this film which has the first teaming of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.  Hanks stars as editor Ben Bradlee and Streep stars as Kay Graham who has the first female published newspaper.  They uncover a scandal regarding Vietnam which spans four different presidents and must fight for their freedom of the press to get their story out.  Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Allison Brie, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Zach Woods, Pat Healy, Michael Stuhlbarg, and many others co-star in this film.  It's a pretty complicated film to really describe.  It is pretty relevant to our society today with politics and the media.  If looking for a good political film, this is one to give a look.

Carrots and Peas (1969):  This is my short film for the week.  This is an experimental short by Hollis Frampton and my understanding is that the narration is the compare and contrast of peas and carrots.  Unfortunately there are no subtitles in what I saw so I don't really know what his thoughts were.  Frampton made a career of short films and as a photographer.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel and is only about five minutes.

Baby Face (1933):  Alfred E. Green directed this film which is part of what they call the pre-code era and based on a story by Darryl F. Zanuck using the pseudonym Mark Canfield.  Barbara Stanwyck stars as Lily who has been sexually exploited all her life and decided to turn the tables by sleeping her way to the top of a bank including a lovesick John Wayne in a much different role than we are used to seeing him in.  George Brent, Donald Cook, Alphonse Ethier, Henry Kolker, Margaret Lindsey, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a pretty daring film for its time and maybe of worth just to see John Wayne as a rather lovesick puppy.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

The Big Heat (1953):  Now I go the Film Noir route which was directed by Fritz Lang and based on a Saturday Evening Post serial by William P. McGivern.  Glenn Ford stars as tough cop Dave Bannion who looks to go against a crime syndicate and goes full force after a car bomb meant for him gets his wife and daughter instead.  Gloria Grahame co-stars as mob girl Debby who does not like her place with them and looks to help Dave in his fight.  Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby, Lee Marvin, Jeanette Nolan, Peter Whitney, and many others co-star in this film.  Jocelyn Brando is the older sister of Marlon and plays Dave's wife in the film.  She obviously did not achieve the fame her brother was able to get.  Grahame is probably most known as Violet in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and always felt she was rather underrated.  This was a pretty hard nosed action film from that era and holds up well today.  This is also available on the Criterion Channel.

Charlie's Angels (2000):  Now I bring the fun guilty pleasure based on the popular tv series from the '70s.  Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu star as our angel trio that work for Charlie Townsend, reprised by John Forsythe in the same sort of format that show does, and are hired on cases.  Bill Murray co-stars as Bosley who also works for Charlie and works with the angels.  Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Matt Leblanc, LL Cool J, Tom Green, Luke Wilson, Sean Whalen, Melissa McCarthy, and many others co-star in this film.  What more do I need to say about this one.  This is an absolute fun action movie with the characters and the action that I just cannot help but enjoy.

Someone I Touched (1975):  This is my tv movie for the week.  Cloris Leachman stars as Laura Hyatt who learns she is pregnant but also learns her husband, played by James Olson, had an affair and has venereal disease.  Glynnis O'connor co-stars as Carrie who had the affair with her husband.  Andrew Robinson, Allyn Ann McLerie, Lenka Peterson, Kenneth Mars, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  These were a pretty popular tv movie subject at the time and essentially propaganda for sexually transmitted diseases.  Nothing great but still of interest and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

It Happened to Jane (1959):  Richard Quine directed this comedy that is part romantic comedy but much more.  Doris Day stars as Jane Osgood who is a single mother of two children and runs a lobster business.  When the train shipment screws up, she turns to her friend and attorney George, played by Jack Lemmon, and sues "the meanest man in the world" Harry Foster Malone, played by Ernie Kovacs, who is the head of the train.  Steve Forrest, Teddy Rooney, Mary Wickes, Philip Coolidge, and many others co-star in this film.  While there was the romantic comedy element in the film, it is more about going after what is right and not settling.  I guess this is the theme of all the injury attorney commercials out there.  This is also available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Home (2008):  I end the week with this Swiss film which was directed by Ursula Meier.  This is centered around a rural family, which includes Isabelle Huppert, Olivier Gourmet, Adelaide Leroux, Madeleine Budd, and Kacey Mottet Klein, who have always enjoyed their isolated life but things change when a highway is opened right by their home.  It really has a different effect on each character and the script really revolves around the characters.  This was a really compelling and sometimes sad film on how quick lives can change.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

That is it for this week and the next few weeks.  I will be back so stay tuned.

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