Sunday, September 29, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 719th Edition

Welcome to the 719th Edition of my series.  Next week officially starts the annual contest of The Madness and this is a bit of a preview to the Madness.  A couple things going on with me, on October 12th, I am going to a be a part of the annual Historic Beech Grove Cemetery Walk which is at Beech Grove Cemetery.  This is an educational tour of historical figures in my town of Muncie.  On October 18-20 is when I'm in THE INTERROGATION OF BIBLICAL CHARACTERS in Alexandria which is a locally written biblical story set in more modern times and I play Peter.  Nothing else really happening so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

The Purge (2013):  James DeMonaco wrote and directed this horror movie which has started quite a franchise.  This takes place in a society where one time a year criminal activity is legal for a 12 hour period.  The movie centers around the Sandin family, played by Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, and Adelaide Kane, who get put into the middle and must fight for survival and their humanity for that matter.  Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, Tony Oller, Arija Bareikis, Tom Yi, Chris Mulkey, Tisha French, and many others co-star in this horror film.  This was a pretty interesting concept that I thought was pretty well excecuted.  I suppose it is not absolutely original but what is these days?  It was pretty inventive and enjoyable for its targeted crowd.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014):  Now I bring an Marvel Cinematic Universe selection and the introduction to this Marvel group.  James Gunn directed this superhero movie where a group of intergalactic criminals come together to become unlikely heroes to save the world from villain Ronan the Accuser, played by Lee Pace, who is working for Thanos, played by Josh Brolin.  Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt, Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, Drax, played by former WWE champion Dave Bautista, Rocket the Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, are the unlikely team of heroes.  Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Haddock, Sean Gunn, Peter Serafinowicz, Alexis Denisof, and many others co-star in this film.  There is not much explanation I need to give to this one.  This is has a good amount of humor and action.  It also is known for its soundtrack that goes along well with the movie.  This has one of the best end credit sequence in my opinion.  If you're looking for a fun superhero movie to watch, this is a great selection.

Us (2019):  This is the name of a Peter Gabriel album but this movie has nothing to do with that album or singer.  Last year, Jordan Peele brought us the unconventional horror film GET OUT, now he brings us this unconventional horror film which he wrote and directed.  Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex star as the Wilson family who are on vacation in Santa Cruz, California.  They are enjoying themselves until they find they have intruders at the home where they are staying and becomes worse when knowing they are all doppelgangers to the family.  Tim Heidecker, Elizabeth Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, Madison Curry, and many others co-star in this horror film that could be the best of the year.  It is hard to really put this into words without giving a lot away.  They all do well in their dual roles and has an interesting ending.  It was also best watching it, not really knowing anything about it.

Bewitched:  I, Darrin, Take This Witch, Samantha (1964):  I am calling this my short film for the week which is really an episode of a tv series and the first episode of BEWITCHED.  While this is a tv show, I make the rules and can name anything I would like in this movie list.  Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York star as newlyweds Samantha and Darrin Stephens who have just gotten married and Darrin does not know yet that his wife is a witch.  Agnes Moorehead co-stars as Samantha's witch mother who clearly does not approve of Darrin.  C. Lindsay Workman, Nancy Kovack, Jose Ferrer, and many others co-star in this episode and this show would last eight seasons.  Montgomery, York and Moorehead would work well together for many years bringing laughs to many a home on a weekly basis.  This is available to watch on the Crackle app.

Frankenstein (1931):  James Whale directed this horror classic which is based on the novel by Mary Shelley.  Colin Clive stars as Dr. Henry Frankenstein who is a scientist obsessed with creating life.  He finally accomplishes what he sets out to do when he creates the Monster, played Boris Karloff, but gets more than he bargains for when the Monster becomes very misunderstood by the town inadvertently causing death in the village.  Mae Clarke, Edward Von Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye, Lionel Belmore, Marilyn Harris, and many others co-star in this film.  This is the first feature adaptation of Shelley's novel and Karloff being the most iconic of the actors to play the role.  This was the first of a pretty decent series, my favorite being the first sequel THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1935.  I'm not quite sure why the main character's name was changed from Victor to Henry.  In this movie, Dr. Frankenstein is portrayed as more of a mad scientist with no real motivation to do what he is trying to do while the novel and later adaptations portray him as a scientist that hates death and has good intentions that go awry.  Having said all that, this still deserves to get credit where it is due and deserves a look.

The Giant Claw (1957):  Now I bring a B-movie worthy of being riffed by MST3K and Rifftrax but has not been as of yet as far as I know but a couple years ago a group in Farmland called "Don't Shoot the Projectionist" got together to present this with some local riffing.  Something very mysterious is encountered.  You might say a plane, you might say Superman but no it was as bird this time and a very big bird at that and no I'm not talking about that friendly yellow bird that lives at Seseme Street.  Jeff Morrow stars as Mitch MacAfee who is an Air Force pilot and is the first to say he saw this really big and destructive bird that does not seem to be there to make any friends.  The special effects in this are laughable which is one of the many things to make this a very fun watch to have among friends.  This bird never got a name and was never able to take on creatures like Godzilla and Mothra but is a worthy one hit wonder in the monster universe.

Thirst (2009):  This is my Korean film for the week and my vampire film for the week which was directed by Chan-wook Park.  Kang-Ho Sang stars as a priest who volunteers himself for a secret vaccine intended to eradicate a virus but things go wrong through his near death.  He is brought back from the accidental use of vampire blood and becomes one himself.  This is not for everyone and is a rather erotic tale.  This is a pretty fascinating vampire tale and is a good watch for those looking for vampire films.

Three Cases of Murder (1955):  This is a movie which has three short stories involving murder and the supernatural which were directed by Wendy Toye, George More O'Ferrall, and David Eady.  The first story involves a museum worker who is introduced into the world beyond the painting.  The second story involves two best friends falling in love with the same woman and the woman is murdered making both of them suspects.  The third story of a vengeful politician using his enemy's dreams to get revenge.  Orson Welles, John Gregson, Elizabeth Sellars, Emrys Jones, Alan Badel, Andre Morrell, Leueen MacGrath, Eddie Byrne, Helen Cherry, and many others co-star in these films.  I thought the first one was the best and thought about it as an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE before the popular series had even come out.  The others were still pretty good and really worth a look.

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976):  John Carpenter wrote and directed this action film and ranks up as one of my favorites in that genre.  Austin Stoker stars as police officer Ethan Bishop who is being assigned an abandoned police station.  He gets an unexpected visit from a prison vehicle with a sick prisoner and needed to hold some criminals for a time.  They find themselves under attack by a very brutal and ruthless gang where the staff at the precinct and the criminals must band together in their limited firepower and phone line that got cut off.  Darwin Joster, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West, Tony Burton, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Kyes, and many others co-star in this film.  This has some pretty intense action and has a very low-budget that works perfectly for this movie.  It also has a very simple but effective music score that Carpenter himself wrote that gets played at the perfect times.  This last viewing made me realize that Joster's character Napoleon should have gone down as one of the top 50 movie heroes and most notably that AFI's top 50 heroes and villains they did a few years ago.  That character is a death row inmate who helps fight off the gang.  There is a remake from 2005 and maybe it's time for me to finally give that a look.  I just don't see it topping what this one did though.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Slaughter High (1986):  I end the week with this cult classic which was co-directed and co-written by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Mackenzie Litten.  Simon Scuddamore stars as the high school outcast Marty who has a prank played on him by a group of popular students resulting in a lifetime of physical trauma.  Ten years after the prank, he gets his revenge by inviting those involved claiming to be a high school reunion but find he is out for revenge.  Caroline Munro, Carmine Iannaccone, Gary Martin, Michael Safran, John Segal, Kelly Baker, Josephine Scandi, Dick Randall, and many others co-star in what is essentially a slasher film.  Unfortunately, Scuddamore would die of a drug overdose shortly after this was filmed.  This has a really nice over-the-top feel to it and has lots of good violence and might be a good slasher for the season.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on for my segment of "The Bookworm Corner".  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Emily Blunt, Kurt Russell, Bela Lugosi, Walter Huston, Angela Lansbury, and many others.


Muncie Murder and Mayhem by Douglas Walker and Keith Roysdon (2018):  I go to a book that takes a look at my own hometown with events from the late 1800s to about the 1960s.  This takes a look at a smallpox epidemic, Ku Klux Klan stories, theft stories, a doctor that lead a very complex life, and many murders.  This was written by local journalists and bring up a lot of very interesting stories that happened in the Muncie, Indiana area.  They also wrote the book WICKED MUNCIE that I will try to take a look at some point.  This is essentially a series of short stories that take a look at various true crime events in the Muncie area and very well researched by the authors.

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