Sunday, August 16, 2020
Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 765th Edition
Welcome to the 765th Edition of my series. I hope we're all staying safe out there. Next week I'll be heading north in my state of Indiana to attend a theater friend's wedding so I have that to look forward to. For now I'll just get on with my selections for the week.
Don't Worry, He Won't Get that Far on Foot (2018): This is part three of my possible five-part Joaquin Phoenix series. Gus Van Sant directed this film which is based on the novel by John Callahan, played by Phoenix. Callahan lead a very wild lifestyle which would lead to him being in a car accident that caused him paralysis and putting him in a wheelchair. With encouragement from his girlfriend, he finally enters treatment from the encouragement of his girlfriend Annu, played by Rooney Mara, and through his sponsor Donny, played by a nearly unrecognizable Jonah Hill. Through this, John gets a new lease on life and begins drawing humorous and often controversial newspaper comics. Jack Black, Tony Greenwood, Beth Ditto, Mark Webber, Ronnie Adrian, Kim Gordon, Udo Kier, Carrie Brownstein, Heather Matarazzo, and many others co-star in this film. This is a really moving story and one of hope as well as forgiveness. As I mentioned, I don't think I would have known that was Jonah Hill if I did not already know he was in the movie and was possibly his best performance. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Gangs of New York (2002): Martin Scorsese directed this violent period piece from 1800s Lower Manhatton known as Five Points where the Civil War is still happening. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Amsterdam Vallon whose father was murdered by the ruthless Bill "The Butcher" Cutting, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. A few years after the incident, Vallon returns to the town to avenge his father's murder while also falling for pickpocket Jenny, played by Cameron Diaz. Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Lewis, Stephen Graham, Eddie Marsan, Alec McCowen, David Hemmings, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Cara Seymour, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Cian McCormack, and many others co-star in this film. This is not for everyone and holds nothing back in the way of violence. It is a very well done though with great performances, action, and cinematography. For fans of this era, this is a must.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): Taika Waititi directed this comedy based on the novel WILD PORK AND WATERCRESS by Barry Crump. Julian Dennison stars as the troubled youth Ricky who is placed in a foster home with New Zealand couple Hector and Bella, played by Sam Neill and Rima Te Wiata. Bella embraces this placement but Hector is not crazy about fatherhood life and when Bella dies, child services decides to take Ricky back. Not wanting to go back into the system, Ricky runs away and there is a national manhunt going on with Ricky and Hector. Rachel House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Oscar Kightley, Stan Walker, Mike Minogue, Cohen Holloway, Rhys Darby, Troy Kingi, and many others co-star in this film. Dennison and Neill work very well together where they must learn to appreciate the differences of one another for survival. While dark at times, this does have a lot of very funny moments, especially some pop culture references from Dennison. This is available to watch on Hulu.
One Week (1920): This is my silent comedy short for the week which stars silent comedy legend Buster Keaton. Keaton and Edward F. Cline co-directed this short which stars Keaton and Sybil Seely as a newlywed couple. They receive a portable house in which they try to put together but one of Keaton's rivals for Sybil's affections does what he can to sabotage them. This ranks as one of the best silent shorts of all time with some creative gags and some pretty extreme stunts that look pretty hard even by today's standards. This is Keaton's first performance without his mentor Fatty Arbuckle. Fans of silent comedy should take a look at this one which is available to watch on Tubi for free with ads.
Casablanca (1942): Michael Curtiz directed this classic film which is based on the unproduced play EVERYBODY COMES TO RICK'S by Murray Bennett and Joan Allison. Humphrey Bogart stars in one of his most iconic roles as Rick Blaine who runs a nightclub in Morocco in the early stages of WWII. Claiming to not stick his neck out for anyone, his former lover Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman, comes to visit his gin joint along with her husband Victor, played by Paul Henreid, who is a Czech resistance leader on the run from the Nazis. Rick and Ilsa rekindle the relationship they once had leading to one of the most memorable climaxes of all time. Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine Lebeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page, John Qualen, Leonid Kinskey, and many others co-star in this classic film. I don't think much else needs to be said about this movie. There are lots of memorable characters and lines that get quoted a lot as well as misinterpreted which most notably what people say as "play it again, Sam" which would be the title to a Woody Allen parody that could make a good follow-up to this one.
Beware of a Holy Whore (1971): Rainer Werner Fassbinder wrote and directed this German film about the struggles of making a movie. On the film set, both the director and the material are missing so the crew must make the most of the situation until those two things come onto the set. Lou Castel, Eddie Constantine, Marquard Bohm, Hanna Schygulla, Margarethe Von Trotta, and many others co-star in this film. This is really hard to describe beyond what I already have described. In some ways, it is similar to Fellini's 8 1/2 in the way it is shot. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000): Robert Redford directed this film based on the novel by Steven Pressfield. Matt Damon stars as Rannulph Junuh who is a disillusioned war veteran and at one time was a great golfer but has "lost his swing". Will Smith co-stars as the title character who becomes Junuh's caddy when he reluctantly takes part in a game of golf and not only helps him find his swing but also find the meaning of life. Charlize Theron, Bruce McGill, Joel Gretsch, J. Michael Moncrief, Peter Gerety, Lane Smith, Michael O'Neill, Thomas Jay Ryan, Dermot Crowley, Harve Presnell, Bob Penny, Carrie Preston, Jack Lemmon, and many others co-star in this film. This is a pretty moving film and a good look at the early days of golf. Damon was great as Junah and Smith was really good in his more subdued role. This movie is partly about golf but is so much more and is available to watch on Amazon Prime with imdb tv which is free with ads.
The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe (1972): This is my French film for the week. Yves Robert directed this spy comedy. Pierre Richard stars as Francois Perrin who is an orchestra player targeted by the French Secret Service as a decoy. Mireille Darc co-stars as Christine who is sent to seduce Francois. Bernard Blier, Jean Rochefort, Colette Castel, Jean Saudray, Maurice Barrier, Robert Dalban, Paul Le Person, Jean Carmet, and many others co-star in this French comedy. This is a pretty fun parody on the spy genre with Perrin perfect as the hapless target. This is available to watch on Hoopla
Digital and is worth a look.
Time Without Pity (1957): Joseph Losey directed this crime film. Michael Redgrave stars as David Graham who is an alcoholic author whose estranged son Alec, played by Alec McCowen, is on death row about to be executed the next day. David believes his son is innocent and rushes to gather the evidence to save him from the death penalty. Ann Todd, Peter Cushing, Leo McKern, Renee Houston, Lois Maxwell, Richard Wordsworth, Joan Plowright, and many others co-star in this crime film. This is probably an unrealistic situation but is still very compelling. Redgrave is great as Graham who is trying to overcome his drinking problem to help his son. Later that year, Cushing would become more of a star in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN which is my favorite adaptation Frankenstein. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
A Hole in One (2004): I end the week with this offbeat independent film which was written and directed by Richard Ledes. Michelle Williams stars as Anna who questions her sanity when witnessing her gangster boyfriend Billy, played by Meatloaf, kill someone and the death of her veteran brother Bobby, played by Jonathan Watton. She believes her only cure is to get a lobotomy that she has been hearing about. Billy hires a man named Tom, played by Tim Guinee, to pose as a doctor to talk her out of the lobotomy. Louis Zorich, Bill Raymond, Wendell Pierce, Merritt Wever, Ileen Getz, John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Heidi Von Palleske, Jeremy Akerman, John Dunsworth, and many others co-star in this film. This was a very interesting dark comedy and where can you go wrong with Michelle Williams and Meatloaf? Ledes wrote this movie upon research he did on mental illness and the controversial lobotomy "solution" by the real-life Dr. Walter Freeman.
Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back my Fun and Useless Facts segment. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Charlize Theron, Joaquin Phoenix, Harold Lloyd, Gene Kelly, Tim Roth, Olivia de Havilland, Susan Sarandon, and many others.
FUN AND USELESS FACTS
Jonah Hill (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Leonard DiCaprio (Gangs of New York) were in the 2012 western DJANGO UNCHAINED and the 2013 film THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.
Jonah Hill (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Liam Neeson (Gangs of New York) were in the 2014 animated movie THE LEGO MOVIE.
Jack Black (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Meatloaf (A Hole in One) were son and father in the 2006 musical comedy TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY.
Jack Black (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Will Smith (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 1998 film ENEMY OF THE STATE.
Jack Black (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Cameron Diaz (Gangs of New York) were in the 2006 movie THE HOLIDAY.
Jack Black (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Rhys Darby (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) are in the 2017 movie JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE and the 2019 sequel JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL.
Udo Kier (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Matt Damon (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 2017 movie DOWNSIZING.
Udo Kier (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Cara Seymour (Gangs of New York) were in the 2000 film DANCER IN THE DARK.
Joaquin Phoenix (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) plays Garry in the 1989 comedy PARENTHOOD which was featured on here last week. Leonardo DiCaprio (Gangs of New York) played the role in the short lived 1990 sitcom based on the 1989 movie of the same name.
Joaquin Phoenix (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and David Hemmings (Gangs of New York) were in the 2000 film GLADIATOR.
Joaquin Phoenix (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Cara Seymour (Gangs of New York) were in the 2004 film HOTEL RWANDA.
Heather Matarazzo (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot) and Charlize Theron (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 1997 horror film THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE.
Leonardo DiCaprio (Gangs of New York) and Matt Damon (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 2006 film THE DEPARTED.
Leonardo DiCaprio (Gangs of New York) plays Jay Gatsby in the 2013 film THE GREAT GATSBY. Robert Redford (The Legend of Bagger Vance director) played the role in the 1974 film of the same name.
Leonardo DiCaprio (Gangs of New York) and Michelle Williams (A Hole in One) were a married couple in the 2010 film SHUTTER ISLAND.
Henry Thomas (Gangs of New York) and Matt Damon (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 2000 film ALL THE PRETTY HORSES.
Eddie Marsan (Gangs of New York) and Charlize Theron (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 2012 SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN.
Eddie Marsan (Gangs of New York) and Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) were in the 2018 superhero film DEADPOOL 2.
Eddie Marsan (Gangs of New York) and Will Smith (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the 2015 film CONCUSSION.
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (Gangs of New York) and Sam Neill (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) were in the 2000 tv movie SALLY HEMMINGS: AN AMERICAN SCANDAL.
Liam Neeson (Gangs of New York) has been announced to be playing Philip Marlowe in an upcoming movie called MARLOWE as of now. Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) plays Marlowe in the 1946 film THE BIG SLEEP.
Liam Neeson (Gangs of New York) and Matt Damon (The Legend of Bagger Vance) were in the American version of the 2008 Anime film PONYO.
Sam Neill (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) was directed by Robert Redford (The Legend of Bagger Vance director) in the 1998 film THE HORSE WHISPERER.
Sam Neill (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and Matt Damon (The Legend of BAGGER VANCE) make cameo appearances in the 2017 superhero film THOR: RAGNAROK.
Matt Damon (The Legend of Bagger Vance) auditioned for the role of Jimmy in the 1995 film TO DIE FOR which would ultimately go to Joaquin Phoenix (Don't Worry, He Won't Get That Far on Foot).
at 12:02 PM