Sunday, September 22, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 718th Edition

Welcome to the 718th Edition of my series.  As I have announced, I am going to be in the original production of THE INTERROGATION OF BIBLICAL CHARACTERS where I play the role of Peter which is the biblical character in a more modern setting.  That will be October 18-20 in Alexandria, Indiana at the Commons Theater.  I also got recruited for the annual Beech Grove Cemetery Walk in Muncie on October 12th and in that one, I will be playing a historical figure from Muncie.  I will have more information as time goes on but for now I will just get to my selections.

The Expendables 2 (2012):  This is part two of my two-part Sylvester Stallone series.  Simon West directed this sequel which was co-written by Stallone who also reprises his role of Expendables leader Barney Ross.  His other misfits of Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, and Randy Couture while also being joined by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger who have more expanded roles than just the cameos they had in the first one.  They also get some help by Liam Hemsworth, Chuck Norris, and Nan Yu in going up against the main villain in Jean-Claude Van Damme and his henchman being played by Scott Adkins.  Amanda Ooms, Charisma Carpenter, Nikolette Noel, and many others co-star in this film.  What more needs to be said on this?  While I was a little disappointed we didn't get Mickey Rourke back, I actually liked this one better than the first.  This has some really good unrealistic action, lots of humor and some great insider dialogue among the actors making less than subtle references to their careers.  I recommend starting with the first one if you have not seen it.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004):  I go from an extremely violent mercenary group to a couple of stoners.  Danny Leiner directed this comedy which stars John Cho and Kal Penn as Harold Lee and Kumar Patel who have had a long day and decide to get stoned.  They get the munchies when they see a commercial for White Castle and decide to go on a road trip to get to the closest one.  Along the way they encounter a number of obstacles including Neil Patrick Harris who is playing a parody of himself.  Ethan Embry, Rob Tinkler, Steve Braun, Paula Garces, Christopher Thompson, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Angelo Tsarouchas, Anthony Anderson, Siu Ta, Ryan Reynolds, Christopher Meloni, Gary Anthony Williams, Malin Akerman, and many others co-star or have cameos in this comedy.  Like my first selection, this has also inspired quite a franchise with the title characters.  For me the highlight of this film was a nearly unrecognizable Christopher Meloni who was far from his usual LAW AND ORDER:  SVU type roles and even his conventional look.  This was also the start of Harris reinventing himself and the next year would go onto star in the popular sitcom HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.  There are all kinds of laughs to be had in this film and is a great advertisement for White Castle that I'm sure many relate to in their lives.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019):  Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz co-wrote and co-directed this independent film.  Zack Gottsagen stars as Zak who is a 22 year old man with Down Syndrome and decides to escape from his group home in hopes of getting to a wrestling school that he heard about in pursuing his dreams of being a wrestler.  He meets an unlikely friend and coach in Tyler, played by Shia LeBeouf, who is on the run from some locals and agrees to help Zak get to his location.  Dakota Johnson co-stars as the nursing home employee Eleanor who gets roped into joining them on their journey.  Thomas Haden Church co-stars as Zak's wrestling idol the Salt Water Redneck.  John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf, and many others co-star in this film as well as wrestling legends Jake Roberts and Mick Foley having cameo appearances.  I had vaguely heard about this when I saw it was in the movie theaters and was looking for a movie to see on AMC's $5 Tuesdays so I decided to support independent film.  I was so glad I made this decision.  This is a great modern-day Mark Twain type adventure story that was driven by a really good script and well-written characters.  Gottsagen was really good in his role of Zak and LeBeouf shows he has come a long way in his career.  Wrestling is one of the elements to make this movie interesting but any wrestling or non-wrestling fan can enjoy this movie and hope this gets more exposure.

The Blacksmith (1922):  This is my silent comedy short which stars the deadpan comedy legend Buster Keaton.  He plays an assistant to a blacksmith while also making horseshoes and repairing cars with very mixed and funny results.  This has a good variety of laughs and gags in its 21 minutes.  This is available to watch on Hoopla as part of the "Buster Keaton Short Films Collection III" and has a lot of his other work for those that love Keaton and silent comedy.

The Vicious Circle (1957):  Gerald Thomas directed this crime drama which stars John Mills as Dr. Harold Latimer who picks up a famous German actress from the airport.  That actress is found dead in Latimer's flat and the evidence continues to point to him leading him into a world of blackmail and intrigue as he tries to clear his name.  Derek Farr, Noelle Middleton, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Roland Carver, Mervyn Johns, Rene Ray, Lionel Jeffries, Lisa Daniely, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one that has not gone onto be a real famous movie but is one that kept me intrigued throughout.  This is one that requires full attention and is available to be watched on Amazon Prime.

Goin' South  (1978):  This is my western comedy for the week where Jack Nicholson takes the helm of director and stars as outlaw Henry Moon.  Moon is about to be hanged but is saved through bachelorette Julia Tate, played by Mary Steenburgen in her film debut, in a law where if a single woman agrees to marry the accused, then that person gets to be free.  Henry must soon deal with a marriage that he realizes is more business-oriented than anything and must deal with those from his past.  Christopher Lloyd, John Belushi, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Bradford, Jeff Morris, Tracey Walter, Danny Devito, Luana Anders, Lucy Lee Flippin, Ed Begley Jr., and many others co-star in this western comedy.  This reunites Nicholson, DeVito, and Lloyd from the 1975 hit ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST so if you expect this to match that one, this may not be one to watch.  This is still a pretty fun movie with a good blend of humor and action.  This is also available to watch on Amazon Prime.

3 Men and a Baby (1987):  Now I bring a comedy about unexpected fatherhood.  Dr. Spock, I guess he used the alias Leonard Nimoy, goes behind the camera to direct this comedy.  Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg star as Manhattan bachelors Peter, Jack, and Michael who all live in an apartment together living the bachelor life to the core.  Things change when Jack is filming a movie in Turkey and the other two discover a baby outside of their apartment that is Jack's daughter.  They both adjust to the world of fatherhood and all rethink their lives.  Nancy Travis, Margaret Colin, Alexandra Amini, Philip Bosco, Derek de Lint, Dave Foley, Paul Guilfoyle, Earl Hindman, Colin Quinn, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This has a perfect '80s feel to it and Danson and Selleck were on the rise at that time with their respective tv shows.  There has always been a rumor of a ghost but was unable to the the ghost unfortunately.  The stars of the movie made a real good comedy trio in a comedy that has a bit of a message.

The Story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men (1952):  Most people when they associate Robin Hood with Disney think of that fox but before Robin Hood became a fox, Disney made this live action version.  Richard Todd plays the young Robin Hood who becomes an outlaw when his father is murdered and goes after the corrupt Prince John, played by Hubert Gregg, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, played by Peter Finch before he would ask us all to open a window and yell out "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore", while trying to woo Maid Marian, played by Joan Rice.  James Hayter, James Robertson Justice, Martita Hunt, Bill Owen, Patrick Barr, Anthony Forwood, and many others co-star in this Disney film.  This is a pretty enjoyable family adventure of the famed anti-hero with Todd really taking the helm.  This is available to watch on Hoopla.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974):  Sidney Lumet directed this adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel.  Albert Finney stars as her famed detective Hercule Poirot who manages to get onto the Orient Express train.  As one might guess, a murder occurs on the train and there are many people who had motive to kill this person and Poirot is appointed to investigate and find the murderer.  Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York, Colin Blakely, and many others co-star in this film.  Finney is able to put himself aside and become Poirot in this movie.  Christie was still alive at the time of this premier and has said this is the only adaptation of her novels she was fully satisfied with this version.  This is a pretty intriguing whodunit and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Cuddler (2017):  I end the week with this rather raunchy short film.  Rick Kellard directed this short film and was written by Karola Raimond who also stars.  Raimond stars as Samantha who is a single woman with commitment issues.  Those ideals get challenged after first-date sex with a man named David who does not want to leave prompting Samantha to think of ways to get him to leave.  This is pretty funny and is worth about seven minutes.  This is available to watch on on Amazon Prime.

Well, that is it for this week but I have brought by my segment of "Movie Time in the Town of Pottersville".  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Ethan Hawke, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Moss, Boris Karloff, Orson Welles, John Carpenter, and many others.


The Afflicted (2011):  I never really had any thoughts of watching this or really knew anything about it until I suggested to Stephanie a movie night at her house and she suggested this having fallen asleep the night before.  I accepted this selection as long as we could restart the movie.  Jason Stoddard wrote and directed this film which is loosely based upon the crimes of Theresa Knorr.  Leslie Easterbrook stars as Maggie who is a very abusive and beyond to her children which she always justifies through her religion.  This is the account of the youngest daughter Grace, played by Randi Jones.  J.D. Hart, Michele Grey Hartsoe, Sims Holland, Kane Hodder, Ron Stafford, and many others co-star in this film.  This is based on true events and there is a book called WHATEVER MOTHER SAYS by Wensley Clarkson.  This is not an easy one to watch and if you could not get through the 2007 films AN AMERICAN CRIME or THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, this one will not be one to watch as this holds nothing back.  If into this some of film, this is a good one to watch and I'm even curious to read the book now even though I cringed a lot.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

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