Sunday, August 2, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 763rd Edition

Welcome to the 763nd edition of my series.  Yesterday, I became very excited and some may think it's silly but it's who I am.  My local library announced a contest Filmopoloy where a Monopoly board is provided and each space has a different category.  Filling in all the spaces will get potential prizes and this contest lasts for a year and more than one board can be done.  I will likely get one when I do my pickup this week and will look to keep everyone updated on my progress.  I hope everyone is staying safe right now and I am just going to get on with my selections for the week.

Pain and Glory (2019):  Pedro Almodovar wrote and directed this film that I believe would qualify as a character study.  Antonio Banderas stars as aging filmmaker Salvador Mallo who is suffering from chronic illness and having a struggling period in his career.  He starts to reflect on his childhood in the moments that lead him where he is today while also trying to reconnect with actor Alberto Crespo, played by Asier Etxeandia, who have been on the outs for 32 years.  Leonardo Sbaraglia, Nora Navas, Julieta Serrano, Cesar Vicente, Asier Flores, Penelope Cruz, Cecilia Roth, Susi Sanchez, Raul Arevalo, Pedro Casablanc, and many others co-star in this film.  This was inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2 and it shows but does have its own image as well as being easier to follow in my opinion.  Banderas is great as the protagonist character.  This is a pretty compelling portrait on a filmmaker reflecting on his life and times as well as his current struggles.

Love and a .45 (1994):  This is the last part of what is my eight-part Renee Zellweger series.  C.M. Talkington wrote and directed this lovers on the lam story.  Gil Bellows and Renee Zellweger star as Watty Watts and Starlene Cheatham who go on the run after a convenience store robbery gone wrong and look to make it to Mexico.  Along the way, they develop a cult following in their cause.  Rory Cochrane, Jeffrey Combs, Jace Alexander, Ann Wedgeworth, Peter Fonda, Charlotte Ross, Michael Bowen, Wiley Wiggins, and many others co-star in this film.  Bellows and Zellweger worked very well together and Cochrane plays a good villain to them.  This is a very violent movie and is not for everyone.  I really enjoyed the story and dark humor in it as well as the characters.  This is available on Amazon Prime as part of imdb tv which is a free watch with ads.

The Little Prince (2015):  Now I go to a more family oriented stop-animated movie and the last of the eight-part series I have had for Paul Giamatti.  This is based on  the novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  Mackenzie Foy stars as a young girl who is being over scheduled in the way of education without any time of fun.  She soon meets her eccentric neighbor who is credited as "The Aviator", voiced by Jeff Bridges, and opens up a new world with his favorite story THE LITTLE PRINCE.  Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Riley Osbourne, James Franco, Bud Cort, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Albert Brooks, Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and many others lend their voices to this animated movie.  There is a 1974 version of the same which is more based on the book.  This movie is partly based on the book and is based around the book with another story.  I really liked this version which has a really good message on not forgetting who you are when becoming a grown-up.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

Yankee Doodle Bugs (1954):  This is my animated short for the week.  Bugs' nephew Clyde, both voiced by Mel Blanc, is visiting and is struggling with learning American history.  Bugs educates his nephew by putting himself in historical situations like with Ben Franklin and George Washington.  To be honest, I do not remember Bugs having any relatives.  This is on the dvd of YANKEE DOODLE DANDY in the extras.  This was a pretty fun short work a few minutes.

The Kennel Murder Case (1933):  Michael Curtiz directed this murder mystery which is based on the novel by S.S. Van Dine.  William Powell stars as investigator Philo Vance, accompanied by his losing Scottish Terrior, who is investigating the death of a much-hated collector and does not buy into the suicide.  Just about anyone could have done this murder and the debonair detective Vance is determined to find the killer.  Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette, Ralph Morgan, Robert McWade, Robert Barrat, Frank Conroy, Etienne Girardot, and many more co-star in this murder mystery.  Look for a cameo from the dog Asta who is well known for THE THIN MAN series which would come out the next year so I guess Powell liked Asta better than the dog in this movie.  This is the last appearance Powell would make as Philo Vance and would take up Nick Charles in THE THIN MAN as mentioned.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Battle of Britain (1969):  This is my war film for the week which was directed by Guy Hamilton and based on the book THE NARROW MARGIN by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster.  This centers around the the British Royal Air Force which fights a desperate air battle against the Luftwaffe that can determine a significant invasion from happening.  This takes a look at the point of view of both the British and German sides.  Michael Caine, Harry Andrews, Trevor Howard, Curt Jurgens, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Patrick, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Robert Shaw, Susannah York, Ralph Richardson, Patrick Wymark, Robert Flyming, Isla Blair, Barry Foster, Edward Fox, and many others co-star in this war film.  This has a very good cast and even more important has some great air sequences.  This is a well done war film and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

SpaceCamp (1986):  This is my tribute to Kelly Preston who recently left us.  This is my sci-fi selection for the week which is directed by Harry Winer.  This centers around the Space Camp program at NASA where a group of kids including Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston, Larry B. Scott, Tate Donovan, and Leaf Phoenix, who we now know as Joaquin, and their instructor Andie, played by Kate Capshaw, get the opportunity to sit in a shuttle but end up accidentally being launched into space by an overzealous robot named Jinx, voiced by Frank Welker.  They must learn to work together if they have any hopes of getting back onto earth.  Tom Skerritt, Barry Primus, Terry O'Quinn, Mitchell Anderson, and many others co-star in this space movie.  I am sure that there are plenty of flaws one can point out in their going into space.  Just take it for what it is though which is an '80s movie and one the family can watch.  This is the feature film debut for Phoenix and at his elementary age, he does show shades of what I call the "Joaquin Phoenix intensity".  This could be a good double feature for the actual true story of APOLLO 13.

Moonshine County Express (1977):  This is my homage to John Saxon who recently left us and I thought I'd look for something more unknown.  Gus Trikonis directed this action movie.  When a hillbilly moonshiner is murdered by a competitor, his three armed daughters, played by Susan Howard, Claudia Jennings, and Maureen McCormick, set out for revenge with the help of local outlaw J.B. Johnson, played by Saxon.  William Conrad, Morgan Woodward, Jeff Corey, Dub Taylor, Albert Salmi, Len Lesser, and many others co-star in this movie.  This was a pretty popular genre in this era involving car chases, inept cops on the lines of movies like SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT.  McCormick was most known for Marcia Brady from THE BRADY BUNCH.  This can be a very fun watch if not taken too seriously and is also available on Amazon Prime.

New Faces (1954):  Harry Horner and John Beal directed this movie which essentially are a series of sketches and based on the Broadway show NEW FACES OF 1954.  Eartha Kitt was likely the highlight of this movie with her music numbers which were likely pretty daring at the time and does perform SANTA BABY.  Ronny Graham, Robert Clary, Alice Ghostley, Paul Lynde, Bill Mullikin, Carol Lawrence, and many others co-star in this movie.  Melvin Brooks wrote a lot of this material and would go onto become Mel Brooks.  This is of interest to see a lot of people before they became big and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Dangerous Liaisons (1988):  Stephen Frears directed this period adaptation of CRUEL INTENTIONS.  Wait, maybe that is the other way around and that named movie was the modern-day version of this story which is based on the novel by Choderlos de Laclos and the play by Christopher Hampton.  Glenn Close stars as Marquise de Merteuil who is a scheming widow that makes a wager with the dashing Valmont, played by John Malkovich, that he can seduce the soon to be married Cecile, played by Uma Thurman, but really wants to seduce Madame de Tourvel, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.  Valmont ends up breaking the rule of not falling in love to tragic consequences.  Swoosie Kurts, Keanu Reeves, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi, Joe Sheridan, and many others co-star in this period piece.  I honestly do prefer the the modern-day version mentioned but this period piece was still a pretty compelling film with great performances from Close and Malkovich.  I would be interested in being in the theatrical version.

Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back my "Movie Time in the Town of Pottersville" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for for next week which so far includes J.K. Simmons, Keanu Reeves, Heath Ledger, Harold Lloyd, Michelle Williams, and many others.


The Snowtown Murders (2011):  I ended up hanging out at Stephanie's house and took this movie over knowing it is up her alley.  She decided to have me put in the dvd and off we went.  Justin Kurzel directed this film based on the story by Shaun Grant.  Lucas Pittaway stars as Jamie who is a 16 year old who falls in with a group lead by his mom's boyfriend John, played by Daniel Henshall.  John is very homophobic and shows lot of violent tendencies while teaching Jamie his ways of "justice".  Richard Green, Bob Adriaens, Louise Harris, Matthew Howard, Anthony Groves, and many others co-star in this film.  This is unfortunately a true story that happened in Australia that involved a series of murders.  This is not something for everyone to watch.  This has a really good low-budget feel and is the only way this could have worked the way it did.  Steph and I both took well to this film and was really worth a look.

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