Sunday, November 3, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 724th Edition and the Madness: Kings and Masters- Week 4

Welcome to the 724th Edition of my series.  This will be the last week of the Madness and will go back to normal next week.  Next week is also my 14 year anniversary of this blog.  I know, I can't believe it either.  Last Monday, the Encore Awards had their annual show.  This is a community theater award show in Indianapolis that determines awards through eleven different community theaters.  The Center Stage Community Theater is one of them and that is where I was in THE LARAMIE PROJECT where our show received an Encore Judge's Special Award.  I am very proud be a part of this award and something that will always stay with me.  I've gone on long enough so I'll just get to my selections for the week.

Malcolm X (1992):  I start the week out with this biopic which was directed by Spike Lee and based on the novel by Malcolm X and Alex Haley.  Denzel Washington stars as the controversial civil rights activist which covers an important moment in his childhood, his younger days when he lead a life a crime, and his learning the ways of Elijah Muhammed, played by Al Little Jr.  Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Delroy Lindo, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon, Lonette McKee, James McDaniel, Ernest Thomas, Debi Mazar, and many others co-star in this film.  This covers a lot of ground as a man who was very controversial, even among civil rights activists.  Lee had trouble getting the money necessary from the movie studio and got help from other black celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and even Denzel Washington who put up his salary.  It all paid off in the end as they made a very good biopic which shows many layers of Malcolm X.

The Dead Zone (1983):  I follow up with an adaptation of a Stephen King novel which was directed by David Cronenberg.  Christopher Walken stars as Johnny Smith who had a good life going for himself in his personal and professional life until a car accident puts him in a coma for five years.  When waking from the coma he learns he has psychic abilities when he touches someone.  It seems like a gift at first but ends up being more of a curse but comes across a very dark vision which he must find a way to stop.  Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Anthony Zerbe, Colleen Dewhurst, Martin Sheen, Nicholas Campbell, Sean Sullivan, Jackie Burroughs, and many others co-star in this film.  I had not seen this movie until now but have watched a lot of the tv series which I enjoyed.  I see they had to rewrite it a little bit for episodic television but I think it worked for both this movie and the show.  This was a very compelling film with a really good climax.

You Were Never Really Here (2017):  Lynne Ramsay directed this film that was based on the novel by Jonathan Ames.  Joaquin Phoenix stars as Joe who is a traumatized veteran and tracks down missing teens for a living.  His latest job brings complications and really tows the line of fantasy and reality not really knowing one from the other.  Dante Pereira-Olson, Vinicius Damasceno, Judith Roberts, Frank Pando, John Doman, Alex Manette, and many others co-star in this film.  Joaquin Phoenix brings an intensity that only Joaquin Phoenix can bring to a film.  I would say if you liked JOKER, I don't see any reason to dislike this one.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

24 Frames Per Second (1977):  This is my short film for the week.  Shirley Clarke directed this very experimental short film which is about three minutes of images and doing multiple frames each second just like the title implies.  This is an interesting experimental effort and only takes about three minutes, hopefully Eric Bischoff does not order the team of Three Minute Warning to attack those who watch it.  They did not attack me.  This is available on the Criterion Channel.

Chandu the Magician (1932):  William Cameron Menzies and Marcel Varnel directed this early film.  Edmund Lowe stars as Chandu who is a powerful hypnotist and yogi.  His brother-in-law Robert Regent, played by Henry B. Walthall, is kidnapped by the evil Roxor, played by Bela Lugosi, who wants to use Regent's death ray for world dominance and his only hope is Chandu.  Irene Ware, Herbert Mundin, Weldon Heyburn, June Lang, Virginia Hammond, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty fun adventure film and is worth a watch from classic movie lovers.

A Bucket of Blood (1959):  Robert Corman directed this horror-comedy.  Dick Miller stars as Walter Paisley who is a dim busboy in a Bohemian cafe.  He is admirable and jealous of other artists that frequent the place and wants to get recognized.  The accidental killing of a cat results as him plastering it up and claiming it to be a sculpture which gets him the recognition he desires.  His newfound popularity leads to killing others and doing the same thing.  Antony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, Judy Bamber, Myrtle Vail, Bert Convy, and many others co-star in this film.  This has always been one of my favorite movies.  It looks like a place I'd at least hang out at and the element of a nerdy man becoming a murderer to continue their new life.  Corman's follow-up LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS that came out the next year has a rather similar premise.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Unbreakable (2000):  M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this film which is now the 1st of a trilogy.  Bruce Willis stars as David Dunn who is in a bad train accident which not only left him the sole survivor but also unhurt.  He meets a mysterious stranger in Elijah Price, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who tries to convince David that he has a gift and should be used to help others.  Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Eamonn Walker, Leslie Stefanson, Johnny Hiram Jamison, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty cool homage to the comic book world told in an M. Night Shyamalan way and in some ways was an early Nick Fury role for Jackson who would go onto play that character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Foxy Brown (1974):  This is my Blaxploitation selection for the week which was written and directed by Jack Hill.  Pam Grier plays the title character who is out for some revenge after her boyfriend is murdered by Steve and Katherine, played by Peter Brown and Kathryn Loder.  Foxy poses as a model to infiltrate the gang leading to quite the action climax.  Antonio Fargas, Terry Carter, Sid Haid, Juanita Brown, and many others co-star in this film.  This has always been a guilty pleasure of mine for many reasons.  This is one of those where the blacks are good and the villains are white.  There are a few stereotypes but this was a different era.  I would say before watching this, look up Blaxploitation if this is the first one that has been watched and understand the genre better before getting into these types of movies.

Dragonwyck (1946):  Joseph L. Mankewicz directed this film in his directorial debut and is based on the novel by Anya Seton.  Long before we had the McMahon family in Greenwich, Connecticut, we had the Wells family in the mid-1800s.  They get a letter from a distant and wealthy relative named Nicholas Van Ryn, played by Vincent Price, inviting one of the daughters to work in his home and be a guardian figure to their daughter.  Miranda, played by Gene Tierney, likes the idea of travelling and through much convincing of her father, played by Walter Huston, finally gets to do it.  Glenn Langan, Anne Revere, Spring Byington, Connie Marshall, Harry Morgan, Vivienne Osborne, Jessica Tandy, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really hard one to describe except maybe that Miranda thinks she has a dream life but slowly sees the tyranny in Nicholas despite deciding to marry him.  This is a very complex and atmospheric film that really deserves a look.

Sunshine (2007):  Danny Boyle directed this sci-fi film.  A group of astronauts in 2057 are sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying sun.  This group of people must do what they can to save the world and are prepared to do whatever it takes to get this done but tensions flare during these times of stress.  Cliff Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rose Byrne, Benedict Wong, Troy Garrity, and Mark Strong co-star in this film.  This is another one that is really tough to describe beyond the basic description I gave it.  I guess this is a look at humanity and maintaining sanity at the worst of times.  It is driven by a good story and well-written characters to keep it going.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on for the last week of the Madness.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for the 14 year anniversary of this blog.


This is the last week for the Madness.  This along with football are the only parts I really enjoy about the fall season.  I use these to mostly clean out my Netflix list.  I also love organizing it and putting it together the way I do.  I have a moniker of "The King of the Loophole" which I never really strove to get that, I just need the non-horror selections in order to keep up with the variety factor in my blogs.  I have featured a lot of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL which I have been binging.  Here's to the last week.


Alan is not a wild card but has a couple selections so I thought I'd make him into a a category this year.

Reefer Madness:  The Movie Musical (2005, 112 minutes, 666 1/2):  Alan plays the lecturer in this musical comedy that does have horror elements to make this count.  The is the devil and there are the "effects" of marijuana going on that lead to a very dark world.  This is a musical I would love to see someone do one day.

The Smurfs (2011, 103 minutes, 66 1/2):  Alan voices the Smurf known as Gutsy.  I would say Gargamel the sorcerer should make this count and the Smurfs should should qualify as a creature feature.


Bruce is not a wild card this year but found a couple movies on my list that qualify so made a category for him.

12 Monkeys (2019, 129 minutes, 666):  This takes place in a futuristic world that was destroyed by a virus where Willis stars as convict James Cole who is sent back in time to stop the virus.  I think the virus element should make this one count.

Unbreakable (2000, 106 minutes, 666):  Bruce plays David Dunn who comes out unhurt in a train wreck that kills everyone else.  Samuel L. Jackson co-stars as Elijah who tries to convince David that he has a gift that he should use.  This is M. Night Shyamalan's take to the superhero genre and the dark tones of the film should make this qualify.


Caleb is not a wild card this year but could see his name getting in there one day.

Byzantium (2012, 118 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is a subtle vampire tale where Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan are in danger when one of them exposes their secret.

X-Men:  First Class (2011, 131 minutes, 666):  Caleb co-stars as Banshee in this origin tale of the X-Men.  I liked how they worked the Cuban Missile Crisis and involved the X-men.



Cillian is not a wild card name but have a couple movies that he was in that should qualify.

Retreat (2011, 90 minutes, 66 1/2):  Cillian and Thandie Newton star as a married couple staying on a remote Scottish island.  They soon have a visitor in Jamie Bell who claims there is a virus all over the area.

Sunshine (2007, 107 minutes, 666):  This sci-fi film should count this year seeing as there is a group of astronauts that must reignite the dying sun.  Chris is one of the astronauts in this movie.


Ernest is on the guest list this year.

Malcolm X (1992, 202 minutes, 666):  This biopic movie would not usually count but Dickerson is the cinematographer for this one and that qualifies the movie for this year.


Poltergeist (2015, 93 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is the remake and was watchable for me.  It has been awhile since I saw the original.  I watched this with Stephanie and Drew and we all agreed that Kennedi Clements, who played Madison, is quite the doppelganger to the daughter of our mutual friends Josh and Jessie.  Below is a photo of Josh and Jessie with their daughter Minerva on the left and on the right is Kennedi Clements.


Jeremy is not a wild card this year but found a couple worthy selections for him to be a category.

Angel:  Somnambulist- Episode 1.11 (2000, 41 minutes, 666 1/2):  Jeremy had a guest appearance in his earlier career before he became such a big name.  He co-stars in this episode as a vampire named Penn who was a protege of Angel in his evil days and comes to L.A. making a series of killings.  The working relationship of Angel and Kate becomes more complicated when Kate learns who Angel really is and of his dark past.

The Avengers (2012, 143 minutes, 6666):  Jeremy plays Hawkeye and has been a big part of the MCU.  I still consider this possibly my favorite from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I just really thought they lead into it perfectly with the other movies unlike how DC lead into their own JUSTICE LEAGUE.  This counts with the gods like Thor and Loki, the creature of Hulk, and those creatures near the end.


Jessica is most known as Daisy in DRIVING MISS DAISY.  She is not a wild card this year but found a couple older selections to use for her.

The Birds (1963, 119 minutes, 666):  Jessica plays the mother Lydia in this film.  This is an Alfred Hitchcock movie and likely the most conventional horror movie he ever made where the birds are just on the attack and no one can figure out why.

Dragonwyck (1946, 103 minutes, 66 1/2):  Jessica plays a disabled servant in this movie.  I believe this Vincent Price movie should count with the gothic tones of the film.


Ken is not a wild card but found a couple qualifying selections.

Angel:  Expecting- Episode 1.12 (2000, 41 minutes, 666):  I already had this category for Ken but did not know he would come up in my Buffy/Angel binge but here is another person that guest starred in ANGEL at one point.  In this one, Cordelia finds that she is all of a sudden eight months pregnant after a date with Wilson Christopher, played by Marino, who is not what he seems.  Angel and Wesley look to figure it out and stop what is happening.

Bad Milo (2013, 85 minutes, 66):  Ken stars in this movie as Duncan who learns he has a demon living in his intestines.  For me, it had funny moments but got to be a bit much.

Goosebumps (2015, 103 minutes, 666 1/2):  Ken plays the coach in this movie.  Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine himself whose books as it turns out contain his actual characters from the popular book series and a book gets opened letting his characters out.


Lynne is on the Guest List this year so found a couple selections for her.

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011, 112 minutes, 666):  Lynne directed this very dark film about a mother trying to deal with a son that just seems very evil.

You Were Never Really Here (2017, 89 minutes, 666):  Lynne directed this psychological film that stars Joaquin Phoenix.


Clue (1985, 104 minutes, 666 1/2):  Madeline plays the role of Mrs. White in this movie based on the popular board game.  I didn't really think this would count but with my discussion with the Hauntress, turns out it does count.  I guess the multiple murders and the atmosphere qualifies this one.  There is also a dinner party.

Young Frankenstein (1974, 106 minutes, 666 1/2):  Madeline plays the role of Elizabeth in this parody from Mel Brooks.  This parody of the Mary Shelley classic may just be the best parody of all time.


Chandu the Magician (1932, 71 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is some classic adventure that stars Bela Lugosi who has a death ray.


Meagan is not a wild card this year but found a couple legit selections so decided to make her into a category and maybe this is a preview for the possibility of the women in horror category I have been wanting for years.

Saw V (2008, 92 minutes, 66 1/2):  Jigsaw is at it again with his deadly games.  Meagan plays one of five people in a trap together where they learn they are all connected.

The Unborn (2009, 88 minutes, 66):  This movie deals with possession.  Odette Annable fights a spirit that is taking over her.  Meagan plays her best friend Romy.


Rami is not a wild card this year but found qualifying selections so I made a category.  I did previously use his movie BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY as a loophole with Bryan Singer as the director.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014,123 minutes, 66):  This is Spike Lee's vampire take though I guess this was not a vampire.  Dr. Hess Greene develops a thirst for blood after being cursed by an ancient African artifact.  I never really could get into this movie, the music score from Bruce Hornsby helps me a little bit.

The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn- Part 2 (2012, 115 minutes, 66):  This is the conclusion of the series based on the Stephanie Meyer vampire novels where the Cullens must gather other vampire clans to go against the Volturi.


Rob is on the Guest List this year.

31 (2016, 66 1/2):  Rob wrote and directed this horror movie that in holds nothing back in typical Rob Zombie fashion.  Five carnival workers are kidnapped and forced to participate in a game of taking on sadistic clowns for twelve hours.


Roger Corman was not a wild card this year but has been in the past and I'm sure had consideration this year.

A Bucket of Blood (1959, 61 minutes, 666 1/2):  This has always been one of my favorites.  A dim-witted busboy resorts to murder to find his newfound talent in "sculpting".

Little Shop of Horrors (1960, 72 minutes, 66 1/2):  This is the original which inspired the popular musical we know today.  Similar premise of a nerdy person trying to fit into society and when doing so resorts to murder.  The plant should make this qualify.  Fans of the musical need to give credit where credit is due.


Sid is a wild card this year.

Foxy Brown (1974, 92 minutes, 666):  This blaxploition classic does not usually count but having Sid in the movie gives me a loophole.


Big Driver (2014, 87 minutes, 666):  This is based on a book by Stephen King.  Maria Bello stars as a mystery author who gets raped and decides to investigate the situation while getting revenge rather than go to the police.

The Dead Zone (1983, 103 minutes, 666 1/2):  David Cronenberg directed this adaption of the Stephen King novel.  Christopher Walken stars as Johnny Smith who comes out of a coma with psychic abilities.

The Green Mile (1999, 189 minutes, 6666):  Frank Darabont directed this Stephen King adaptation and while I have always enjoyed it, I realized just how great this movie really is.  Good performances, story, and just well-written characters.  I never realized what a beautiful movie this really is and how it can just resonate with just about anyone with its message.

Shawshank Redemption (1994, 142 minutes, 666 1/2):  I always have to get this one in anytime I can use it.  This is King's other prison story which is also directed by Frank Darabont and has many actors who would go onto be in THE GREEN MILE.  This is also a great film with Tim Robbins as a prisoner framed for the murder of his wife and earns the respect of his inmates, including Morgan Freeman, for the things he did within the prison.  This is also a very moving film about redemption more than anything.


Angel:  I Will Remember You- Episode 1.8 (1999, 43 minutes, 666 1/2):  Having learned that Angel was in her town of Sunnydale, Buffy comes to visit.  They encounter a demon which could change everything between Buffy and Angel but Angel must consider what is right.  This is a more emotional episode.

Angel:  Hero- Episode 1.9 (1999, 43 minutes, 666 1/2):  Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle must help a group of mixed-heritage demons that are being targeted by a deadly group called the Scourge.  This was also a very emotional episode.

Angel:  Parting Gifts- Episode 1.10 (1999, 41 minutes, 666):  After the death of Doyle, Cordelia finds that he passed on his gift of visions to her.  Wesley Wyndam-Price returns after his stint on the 3rd season of Buffy and sporting a whole new look and lifestyle.

Angel:  She- Episode 4.13 (2000, 43 minutes, 666):  Bai Ling guest stars as a female demon fighting her male oppressors.  Angel must fight demons from an alternate dimension.

Angel:  I've Got You Under My Skin - Episode 4.14 (2000, 42 minutes, 666):  Angel and Wesley must perform an exorcism on a boy possessed by a demon.

Angel:  The Prodigal- Episode 4.15 (2000, 43 minutes, 666 1/2):  Angel investigates Kate's father who seems to be involved with other demons.  There are also flashbacks showing Angel and the problems he had with his father.  The flashbacks also have his maker Darla, played by Julie Benz, who makes her first appearance on the show.

Angel:  The Ring- Episode 4.16 (2000, 42 minutes, 666):  Angel is enslaved in an underground fight ring where demons of all sorts are forced to fight to the death in gladiator type fights.  This episode is the beginning of Angel's rivalry with the corrupt law firm Wolfram and Hart and the introduction of their employee Lilah Morgan, played by Stephanie Romanov.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Something Blue- Episode 4.9 (1999, 43 minutes, 666):  Willow casts a spell that backfires and everything she says becomes the truth including Giles being blind.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Hush- Episode 4.10 (1999, 43 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is probably the most well-known and popular episode of the series.  A group of demons called the Gentlemen, which includes Doug Jones, take the voices from everyone in Sunnydale so a bit of an homage to silent film.  This is also the episode that introduces Amber Benson as Tara.  Before it becomes a silent episode, I thought it had some very funny dialogue.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Doomed- Episode 4.11 (2000, 43 minutes, 666):  The gang must stop a group of demons trying to reopen the Hellmouth.  Buffy and Riley learn they have both been hiding secrets from one another on their lives and try to understand each other more.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  A New Man- Episode 4.12 (2000, 43 minutes, 666):  Ethan Rayne returns to town and talks Giles into going to the bar for some drinks.  The beer Giles drank had a bit of a side effect when he became a demon and his only help was in Spike.  I was not aware until now that Robin Sachs died in 2013.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  The I in Team- Episode 4.13 (2000, 43 minutes, 666):  Maggie Walsh gives Buffy clearance into the Initiative headquarters.  We also get introduced to the main season four villain in Adam.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Goodbye, Iowa- Episode 4.14  (2000, 43 minutes, 666):  Tensions arise with Buffy and Riley as well as the initiative in their investigation of Maggie's murder.  Riley also learns more truth about his life and about Adam

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  This Year's Girl- Episode 4.15 (2000, 43 minutes, 666 1/2):  Faith awakens from her Coma and seeks revenge against Buffy and the gang.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Who Are You- Episode 4.16 (2000, 43 minutes 666 1/2):  Faith and Buffy have switched bodies with one another leading Buffy, not in the body of Faith, captured by a group from the council.  Faith, now in the body of Buffy, looks to make her way into Buffy's group of friends.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Superstar- Episode 4.17 (2000, 43 minutes, 666):  The usual nerdy Jonathan Levinson is now a big hero in Sunnydale who seems to be able to do everything making Buffy suspicious.  This is probably Jonathan's biggest episode after making recurring cameos until the 6th season when he becomes more of a regular.

Let the Right One In (2008, 114 minutes, 666 1/2):  This is not so much a vampire movie but involves a vampire.  This revolves around a young boy named Oskar who is bullied at his school.  He soon meets Eli who he learns is a vampire and they form a friendship with Eli helps Oskar to stand up to the bullies.


Will is not a wild card this year but has a couple animated selections that should qualify so made this comedian a category.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017, 104 minutes, 666 1/2):  Will voices the dark knight in this movie where he once again looks to thwart the Joker.  This is extremely fun and a bit of an homage to Batman while also a parody.  The Batman character as well as the creatures in the Phantom Zone should make this one count.

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009, 94 minutes, 666):  This is another animated movie featuring Will where he voices the Missing Link where he works with other monsters to stop an alien invasion.  Plays great homage to a lot of horror creatures.

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