Sunday, July 5, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 759th Edition

Welcome to the 759th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone had a good and safe Fourth of July and I just hope everyone is staying safe.  This week are the performances of YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at the Elwood Opera House.  They are on the 7th, 8th, and 9th which is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 7pm and tickets are $8 a person.  We will be limited to a crowd of 100 and will be social distancing with seating.  This is at the Attic Theater and can get tickets at .

The Truman Show (1998):  This is part four of my Paul Giamatti series and another earlier role for him.  Peter Weir directed this satire on reality television that came out before its big rise.  Jim Carrey stars as Truman Burbank who is an insurance salesman and seems to have the perfect life with his wife Meryl, played by Laura Linney.  What he does not know is that his whole life is a 24/7 reality tv series and everyone around him are actors in the show.  Truman starts to get suspicious of things going on and slowly discovers this secret but that it will not be easy to get out of the world.  Ed Harris co-stars as Christof who is a God-like figure that sees over the elaborate television series.  Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Brian Delate, Blair Slater, Peter Krause, Harry Shearer, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Glass, O-Lan Jones, and many others co-star in this sci-fi film.  Carrey was perfectly cast in the title character and gets to show more of a dramatic side while still being funny.  It was also a very cleverly done sci-fi film and as mentioned this came out in a time where reality tv was far more limited than it is today.

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009):  Damien Chazelle wrote and directed this black and white musical which is also his feature directorial debut.  This is a love story between Jazz trumpeter Guy, played by Jason Palmer, and the more shy Madeline, played by Desiree Garcia.  While the couple drifts apart, twists and turns in their lives make it seem they were made to be together.  Sandha Khin, Karen Adelman, Anna Chazelle, and many others co-star in this musical.  This movie does not live on in greatness but was a start of things to come with Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz, especially with their hit LA LA LAND.  A good triple feature would be to start this one and then watch WHIPLASH and LA LA LAND after to see how far Chazelle and Hurwitz have come in their career.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012):  Derek Cianfrance directed and co-wrote this film.  Ryan Gosling stars as Luke who is a motorcycle stunt rider and quits that profession after learning he has a child to support the family.  He has trouble finding work to help his child and turns to bank robbery.  Bradley Cooper also stars as Avery who is a rookie cop trying to fight corruption within the department.  An encounter between the two changes their lives forever and everyone else around them including the next generation.  Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Mahershala Ali, Ben Mendelsohn, Olga Merediz, Rose Byrne, Brian Smyj, Harris Yulin, Bruce Greenwood, Gabe Fazio, Robert Clohessy, Emory Cohen, Dane Dehaan, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good film showing how our choices effect others as well as the effects on leaving people in the dark.  To explain that statement only means I will give away this very complex film.

Trailer Horn (1950):  This is my animated Disney short for the week that feature Donald Duck, voiced by Clarence Nash.  Donald is trying to have a peaceful time in the forest but is disrupted by chipmunks Chip and Dale, voiced by James MacDonald and Dessie Flynn, who drive Donald nuts with their antics.  This is only about six minutes long but is a very entertaining Disney short and is available to watch on Disney Plus.

You Only Live Once (1937):  Fritz Lang directed this classic crime drama.  Sylvia Sidney stars as public defender Joan Graham who is in love criminal Eddie Taylor, played by Henry Fonda.  She uses her influence to get Taylor out of prison to start their life together and he is determined to go straight.  He finds that is very difficult to do and things happen making them go on the lam.  Barton MacLane, Jean Dixon, William Gargan, Jerome Cowan, Chic Sale, Margaret Hamilton, Warren Hymer, Guinn Williams, John Wray, and many others co-star in this film.  This remains relevant today and shows a lot of gray areas in the legal system.  Fonda and Sidney work so well together in what could be considered a love story.  This is available on Amazon Prime.

Grand Prix (1966):  John Frankenheimer directed what I guess you could call a sports epic.  This centers around the Formula One racing league in Monaco leading up into the Grand Prix.  This is one of those movies that center around something with a few subplots around it.  The main one is through James Garner who plays American racer Pete Aron and his struggles.  Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter, Antonio Sabato, Francoise Hardy, Adolfo Celi, Claude Dauphin, Enzo Fiermonte, Genevieve Page, Jack Watson, Donald O'Brien, and many others co-star in this racing film.  This has a very diverse cast from the world.  This movie shows some great racing footage and does nothing to hold back the dangers even for racing standards.  The stories around it are all pretty good as well and is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

El Camino:  A Breaking Bad Movie (2019):  Vince Gilligan wrote and directed this tv movie and as the title implies, it is based on the hit tv series BREAKING BAD that was created by Gilligan.  Aaron Paul reprises his role as Jesse Pinkman who has escaped from torture and slavery and is now on the run from the police and his captors while trying to make right with his life.  Jonathan Banks, Matt Jones, Charles Baker, Todd Terry, Julie Pearl, Larry Hankin, Jesse Plemons, Tom Bower, Gloria Sandoval, Tess Harper, Michael Bofshever, Scott MacArthur, Marla Gibbs, Robert Forster, Brendan Sexton III, Kevin Rankin, Bryan Cranson, Krysten Ritter, and many others co-star or have cameos in this tv movie.  Some scenes are through flashback.  The tv series was for five seasons and ended in the year 2015.  I admit, I did not watch it until we were told by our Indiana governor to stay at home.  As soon as I started, I was absolutely hooked.  I do believe that it is best to have watched the series first.  The prequel spinoff BETTER CALL SAUL is not needed for this movie though still a good series.  This movie is more of a closure story for Jesse and was pretty well done.  This is available to watch on Netflix as well as BREAKING BAD and BETTER CALL SAUL.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942):  This is my song and dance musical for the week.  Michael Curtiz directed this biopic on George M. Cohan, played to perfection by James Cagney, who took on many hats in the theater as a composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer with much of his work living on today.  This starts out with Cohan in childhood and part of the Vaudeville act with his parents and sister and then as he goes off on his own.  Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp, Jeanne Cagney, Frances Langford, George Barbier, S.Z. Sakall, Douglas Craft, Eddie Foy Jr., and many others co-star in this film.  Cagney had been known for his gangster films so this was very big at the time.  The real-life Cohen served as an adviser despite failing health and lived to enough to see the movie in which he really liked Cagney's portrayal.  There is a lot of patriotism in this movie so it is the perfect time to watch this though it is always good to watch.

The Man in the Iron Mask (1977):  Mike Newell directed this adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas novel.  Richard Chaimberlain stars in the dual role of the tyrannical King Louis XIV and his secretly imprisoned twin brother Phillipe who should be the rightful king.  Louis Jordan co-stars as D'Artagnan who does not like the ways of the king and hatches a plot, along with the aging musketeers, to rescue Phillipe and for them to trade places.  Patrick McGoohan, Jenny Agutter, Ian Holm, Ralph Richardson, Vivien Merchant, Brenda Bruce, Edmond Knight, Godfrey Quigley, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  I thought this was a pretty good adaptation with Chaimberlain very good in his absolute dual role and Jordan was very good as D'Artagnan.  I have never read the book and the other versions have different variations.  This one really did not emphasize the musketeers much like the others do so that was the only critique I really have.  Other than that, this was was entertaining and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Cold Mountain (2003):  I end the week with part four of my Renee Zellweger series where she co-stars in this Civil War film.  Anthony Minghella directed this film which is based on the novel by Charles Frazier.  This takes place in the later part of the Civil War where Jude Law stars as Inman who is a wounded soldier trying to get home to his love Ada, played by Nicole Kidman.  This also emphasizes Ada and her trying to survive in such dangerous times and eventually getting help from Ruby, played by Zellweger.  Eileen Atkins, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland, Ray Winstone, Kathy Baker, James Gammon, Charlie Hunnam, Jack White, Ethan Suplee, Jena Malone, Melora Walters, Lucas Black, Taryn Manning, Tom Aldredge, James Rebhorn, Emily Deschanel, Cillian Murphy, and many others co-star in this Civil War epic.  This is a very complex film that cannot really be explained through what I described because it is so much more.  This shows the horrors of war for those fighting and those just trying to maintain their home but it also conveys hope and redemption.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on as I brought back my "Fun and Useless Facts" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Paul Giamatti, and many others.


I decided to bring back this segment.  As always I focus on actors from different movies in my selections and not so much actors that are in the same movie.

Jim Carrey (The Truman Show) and Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) were in the 2000 comedy ME, MYSELF, AND IRENE.

Anna Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) and Ryan Gosling (Cold Mountain) were in the 2016 musical LA LA LAND which was directed by Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench director.

Holland Taylor (The Truman Show) and Nicole Kidman (Cold Mountain) were in the 1995 movie TO DIE FOR.

Bradley Cooper (A Place Beyond the Pines) and Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) were in the 2009 horror movie CASE 39.

Ed Harris (The Truman Show) and Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) were in the 2008 film THE APPALOOSA.

Rose Byrne (A Place Beyond the Pines) and Natalie Portman (Cold Mountain) were in the 2002 Sci-Fi film STAR WARS:  EPISODE II- ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

Ed Harris (The Truman Show) and Nicole Kidman (Cold Mountain) were in the 2002 film THE HOURS, and 2013 film THE HUMAN STAIN.

Bruce Greenwood (A Place Beyond the Pines) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Cold Mountain) were in the 2005 film CAPOTE.

Ed Harris (The Truman Show) and Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain) were in the 1989 film JACKNIFE.

Sylvia Sidney (You Only Live Once) and Natalie Portman (Cold Mountain) were in the the 1996 sci-fi comedy MARS ATTACKS.

Paul Giamatti (The Truman Show) and Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) were in the 2005 film CINDERELLA MAN.

Henry Fonda (You Only Live Once) plays our former president and vampire hunter Abraham Lincoln in the 1939 film THE YOUNG LINCOLN.  Walter Huston (Yankee Doodle Dandy) plays Lincoln in the 1930 film ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Paul Giamatti (The Truman Show), Ryan Gosling (A Place Beyond the Pines) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Cold Mountain) were in the 2011 film THE IDES OF MARCH.

Barton MacLane (You Only Live Once) and Walter Huston (Yankee Doodle Dandy) are in the 1948 film THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

Paul Giamatti (The Truman Show) and Dane DeHaan (A Place Beyond the Pines) were in the 2014 movie THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

Adolfo Celi (Grand Prix) plays Bond villain Largo in the 1965 Bond film THUNDERBALL.  Louis Jordan (The Man in the Iron Mask) plays bond villain Kamal Khan in the 1983 Bond film OCTOPUSSY.

Jim Carrey (The Truman Show) and Bradley Cooper (A Place Beyond the Pines) were in the 2008 comedy YES MAN.

Jesse Plemons (El Camino) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Cold Mountain) were in the 2012 film THE MASTER.

Laura Linney (The Truman Show) and Robert Clohessy (A Place Beyond the Pines) were in the 2016 movie TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES:  OUT OF THE SHADOWS.

Scott Shepherd (El Camino) and Jude Law (Cold Mountain) were in the 2013 film SIDE EFFECTS.

Ed Harris (The Truman Show) and Bruce Greenwood (A Place Beyond the Pines) were in the 2007 movie NATIONAL TREASURE:  BOOK OF SECRETS.

Brian Bedford (Grand Prix) and Tom Bower (El Camino) were in the 1995 film NIXON.

Paul Giamatti (The Truman Show) and Bradley Cooper (A Place Beyond the Pines) were in the 2011 comedy THE HANGOVER PART II

Harris Yulin (A Place Beyond the Pines) plays Wyatt Earp in the 1971 movie 'DOC'.  Henry Fonda (You Only Live Once) plays Wyatt Earp in the 1946 western MY DARLING CLEMENTINE.  James Garner (Grand Prix) plays Wyatt Earp in the 1967 movie HOUR OF THE GUN 1988 movie SUNSET.

Philip Baker Hall (The Truman Show) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Cold Mountain) were in the 1997 film BOOGIE NIGHTS.  They were also in the 1999 film THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY which includes COLD MOUNTAIN co-star Jude Law.

Ryan Gosling (A Place Beyond the Pines) and James Garner (Grand Prix) were in the 2004 film THE NOTEBOOK.

Philip Baker Hall (The Truman Show), Jude Law (Cold Mountain), and Philip  were in the 1999 film THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY

Mahershala Ali (A Place Beyond the Pines), Donald Sutherland (Cold Mountain), and Jena Malone (Cold Mountain) were in the HUNGER GAMES FRANCHISE.

Jim Carrey (The Truman Show), Philip Baker Hall (The Truman Show), and Olga Merediz (A Place Beyond the Pines) were in the 2011 movie MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS.

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