Sunday, August 11, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 712th Edition

Welcome to the 712th Edition of my series.  I make my return to the theater this week at the Commons Theater in Alexandria where I will be in a locally written production called THE INTERROGATION OF BIBLICAL CHARACTERS and I will be playing the role of Peter.  The show will be in October with the dates being in the photo below.  Not much else happening in my life right now so I will just get onto my selections for the week.

The Island (2005):  This was shown at my local library as part of the "We're Living in the Future" series.  This is also part one of a two-part Steve Buscemi series.  Michael Bay directed this sci-fi film set in a Dystopian future where a group of people are essentially slaves that work in a factory.  Ewan McGregor stars as Lincoln Six Echo who is beginning to question what goes on and soon discovers the truth of "The Island".  This is something everyone is told is a certain paradise but there is far more to it.  Scarlett Johansson co-stars as Jordan Two Delta who is told she is going to the Island but is informed it is not what they say it is by Lincoln prompting her to go on the run with him to figure out the truth of the facility.  Djimou Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clark Duncan, Ethan Philips, Brian Stepanek, Noa Tishby, Siobhan Flynn, and many others co-star in this sci-fi film.  This was a pretty decent sci-fi film that combines a Dystopian society and a realistic modern setting.  I know there are a lot of Bay haters out there but just put your differences aside and give this one a shot.

Broadway:  The Golden Age (2003):  I follow up with this documentary which looks at the world of Broadway and mostly focusing on the '60s which has been called as the title says, the Golden Age.  Rick McKay directed this documentary being a guy from Beech Grove, Indiana, he was curious to understand the world of Broadway and especially this era.  He manages to get interviews with many Broadway actors including Edie Adams, Bea Arthur, Elizabeth Ashley, Carol Channing, Hume Cronyn, Charles Durning, Fred Ebb, Ben Gazzara, Uta Hagen, Jeremy Irons, Angela Lansbury, Frank Langella, Shirley MacLaine, Jerry Orbach, Chita Rivera, and many others.  This was a pretty insightful documentary and also pretty cool that the director is from my state of Indiana in a town about an hour or so from where I live.  Broadway enthusiasts will love this one.

Sometimes in April (2005):  Raoul Peck wrote and directed this film which is based on the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda.  Idris Elba stars as Augustin who was involved with the Rwandan Armed Forces during the time it was happening and ten years later he lives in regret of what happened and is now a schoolteacher.  Debra Winger, Noah Emmerich, Pamela Nomvete, Otis Erhuero, Fraser James, and many others co-star in this film.  It is hard to describe this movie any further.  It is not for everyone as this is based on a true story and based on a very horrid period in Africa where there were countless deaths.  This could be a good double feature to go along with HOTEL RWANDA which is also based on the genocide.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Peeping Penguins (1937):  This is my animated short for the week which was directed by Dave Fleischer.  This centers around a group of penguins who are investigating an abandoned cabin and are warned by their mother that "curiosity killed the cat" but each go on about their curiosities anyway including the mother.  This was done before penguins became the big thing and is pretty funny.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime as part of the "Cartoon Classics Vol. 3".

Black Jack (1979):  Ken Loach directed this film that was based on the novel by Leon Garfield.  This takes place in 1750 Yorkshire where Stephen Hirst stars as Tolly who is a young boy kidnapped by a French thief of the title name, played by Jean Franval, and goes on an unexpected journey that involves traveling fairs, murder and the rescue of a young girl named Belle, played by Louise Cooper, from an asylum.  John Young, Doreen Mantle, and many others co-star in this film.  It does not look like this got much publicity until recently seeing as there are no user reviews on imdb.  This did serve as an inspiration to Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM.  This is a pretty fun movie with some really good cinematography to boot and one at least older kids can watch.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Johnny Tremain (1957):  This is my live action Disney for the week.  Robert Stevenson directed this movie which was based on the novel by Esther Forbes.  This centers around the Revolutionary War and stars Hal Stalmaster as the title character who is an apprentice for a silversmith but gets a hand injury that makes him unable to continue.  Events happen that get him befriended by a group called Sons of Liberty and gets caught up in the war.  Luana Patten, Jeff York, Sebastian Cabot, Richard Beymer, Rusty Lane, Walter Sande, Whit Bissell, Walter Coy, Will Wright, and many others co-star in this Disney film.  I remember being shown this in history class when I was in middle school and remember it was pretty decent and still holds up.  It is one of those that show historic moments with a fictional character involved in the moments.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital to get a live action Disney watch going.

Goodbye Solo (2008):  Ramin Bahrani directed and co-wrote this independent film.  Souleymane Sy Savane stars as Solo who is a local cab driver in North Carolina trying to support his family.  Red West stars as William who is an older man getting a ride from Solo and takes a liking to William even if he doesn't seem to want the friendship.  They grow to form an unexpected friendship.  Diana Franco Galindo, Lane 'Roc' Williams, Mamadou Lam, Carmen Leyva, and many others co-star in this independent film.  This also takes a look at the changing of America and the passing of generations.  This movie really revolves around the two characters trying to get past their differences.  This shows that a good movie can be made with an unknown cast and with character development.

The Big Noise (1944):  I move to a comedy which stars the legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy in their later years.  Malcolm St. Clair directed this comedy Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as Stan and Ollie who are janitors at a detective agency.  They answer a call where an inventor of a bomb named Arthur Space, played by Arthur Space, who is hiring the agency to protect him and not let the bomb to get into the wrong hands.  As some might have guessed, the janitors pass themselves off as the detectives.  Doris Merrick, Veda Ann Borg, Robert Blake, Frank Fenton, James Bush, and many others co-star.   A young Blake plays the back-talking son of the inventor.  This has been regarded as one of the worst movies ever made but I did not really see that.  It may not have been their best work and a rare feature film but it still had some pretty funny moments with a rather interesting ending.

The Last Waltz (1978):  Last week I featured the rock documentary AIN'T IN IT FOR MY HEALTH which centered around The Band member Levon Helm in his later years.  This week, I feature this concert film which features the last concert by the Band and directed by Martin Scorsese.  This combines interview with the members of the Band and has concert footage.  They also have a lot of peers from the industry including Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Paul Butterfield, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Ronnie Hawkins, Muddy Waters, and Ronnie Wood.  This is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, concert films of all time.  Scorsese does a great job with this one.  I have come to be a fan of member Robbie Robertson's solo work and is good to see this farewell concert of theirs.  This would be a really good double feature to start with this one, then follow it with the one mentioned that I did last week which shows Levon Helm's life after this was all over.  This one is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The 716th (2018):  I end the week with this sci-fi short film which was written and directed by Andrew Bowen.  Bowen also co-stars as Doc and along with his friend fellow medic colleague Ash, played by John Asher, they become unlikely heroes looking to rescue a pair of injured infantry soldiers while having no experience in combat.  Drew Curtis, Steven Huff, Lauren McFall, and Taj Speights all co-star in this short film.  This is a pretty fun and humorous sci-fi short that is available to watch on Amazon Prime and I think has some potential to turn into a feature film.

Well, that is it for this week but stay tuned for 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 Christina Ricci, Alec Baldwin, Sylvester Stallone, and many others.


Freddy's Dead:  The Final Nightmare (1991):  I went and hung out with my friends Stephanie and Drew last week and Steph decided she wanted to put in a movie deciding upon this one.  I had not seen it so I decided to stay and watch this one.  This is the 6th in this NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise which was directed by Rachel Talalay.  Robert Englund reprises his role of Freddy and continues to terrorize the older kids in their dreams but an unexpected connection could mean his doom.  Lisa Zane, Leslie Deane, Ricky Dean Logan, Breckin Meyer, Yaphet Kotto, and many others co-star in this final part of the series, I mean the title says final so it is right?  As most know, they would go onto to do more with the Freddy Krueger character where Englund would play his iconic character a couple more times.  Look for some cameos with Roseanne Barr, Tom Arnold, Johnny Depp, and even Alice Cooper.  There are also some moments where 3-D glasses are provided but Stephanie could not find hers so we weren't able to watch those scenes.  This is pretty enjoyable if not taken too seriously.  As I was leaving, I believe Stephanie was about to watch the fourth one but I needed to go home and get some sleep.

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