Sunday, September 6, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 768th Edition

Welcome to the 768th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone is able to stay safe in these times.  I don't really have much to say right now so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

You Can Count on Me (2000):  I start the week out with this character study which was written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan who also co-stars.  Laura Linney stars as Upstate New York single mom Sammy whose brother Terry, played by Mark Ruffalo, returns to town.  He immediately bonds with her son Rudy, played by Rory Culkin, but is concerned of his influence over him.  Matthew Broderick co-stars as Sammy's boss who is also complicating her life.  Adam LeFevre, Halley Feiffer, J. Smith-Cameron, Jon Tenney, Gaby Hoffman, Amy Ryan, Michael Countryman, Nina Garbiras, Josh Lucas, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a movie driven more by the characters.  Culkin does not make his debut but it is his first major role in a motion picture and does very well as Rudy.  He would years later come to my dad's hometown of Columbus, Indiana to co-star in COLUMBUS.  This is a nice film to watch that is driven by everyday characters.

Popstar:  Never Stop Never Stopping (2016):  Now I go to a mockumentary which was directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone who both also co-star as part of the Style Boys.  Andy Samberg stars as Conner who mostly lead the Style Boys before going into his own career as Conner 4 Real.  His new solo album fails to sell and does what he can to maintain his celebrity status.  Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Imogen Potts, Chris Redd, Edgar Blackmon, Danny Strong, Kevin Nealon, Bill Hader, Will Forte, Marielle Heller, and many others co-star in this comedy.  There are also a lot of cameos from people in the music world including Michael Bolton who sings another song with the Lonely Island guys.  I had never seen this and was pleasantly surprised.  I have always liked what I have heard from the Lonely Island but was not really aware of this movie honestly.  I laughed very hard at this and enjoyed much of the songs.  One of my favorite elements of this movie was the joke about '90s band Tony! Toni! Tone! and I will always believe it to be true.  If you do not like anything put out by the Lonely Island, this likely is not something to watch but any fan of the Lonely Island and mockumentaries should love this one.

The Revenant (2015):  Now I go to a more serious film which was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and based on the novel by Michael Punke.  Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass who is a frontiersman in the 1820s and must fight for survival after being mauled by a bear.  He makes a miraculous recovery and goes after fellow hunting member John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy, who betrayed him and left for dead among other things.  Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Joshua Burge, Duane Howard, Lukas Haas, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good tale of survival and revenge and Inarritu did everything possible for authenticity.  This is based on true events

A Reckless Rover (1918):  This is my silent short film for the week.  C.N. David directed this short film that was part of the African-American cinema company the Ebony Film Company and their stab at slapstick comedy.  This involves a man on the run from a cop taking refuge in a Chinese laundry where havoc is wreaked and an interesting scene involving an opium pipe.  This also shows that the transfer was not perfect showing another really neat element showing the decomposing of film.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel and is worth a look.

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950):  Michael Gordon directed this adaptation of the play by Edmond Rostand and Brian Hooker.  Jose Ferrero stars as the long-nosed title character who is a swordsman and poet.  He tries to woo the beautiful Roxane, played by Mala Powers, who lets Cyrano know that she loves another man named Christian.  In turn, Cyrano helps Christian, played by William Prince, to woo her with his own words.  Morris Carnovsky, Lloyd Corrigan, Virginia Farmer, Edgar Barrier, and many others co-star in this film.  Ferrer plays the role of Cyrano to perfection.  This would have a more modern-day version called ROXANNE which stars Steve Martin.  I learned some things are omitted but I have no idea what it was and this was still fun to watch.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Absent-Minded Professor (1950):  This is my Disney selection for the week which was directed by Robert Stevenson and based on the short story A SITUATION OF GRAVITY by Samuel W. Taylor.  Fred MacMurray stars as Professor Ned Brainard who invents a substance called Flubber which benefits the basketball team.  A corrupt businessman named Alonzo Hawk, played by Keenan Wynn, is out to get it for himself.  Nancy Olson, Tommy Kirk, Leon Ames, Elliott Reid, and many others co-star in this Disney classic.  This is a good movie for the family to watch and mostly holds up with the comedy.  This would be remade in 1997 starring Robin Williams in FLUBBER.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus.

The Handmaiden (2016):  If you are watching these in order and watch the last one with the kids, I would suggest waiting until they go to bed to watch this film.  Chan-Wook Park directed this Korean film that takes place in the 1930s during the period of Japanese occupation.  A new girl named Sookee, played by Tae-Ri Kim, is hired as a handmaiden to Japanese heiress Hideko, played by Min-Hee Kim.  Sookee is a pickpocket hired to swindle Hideko but they end up discovering feelings for one another.  It is hard to really describe this any further without really giving it away.  It is a very complex and provocative film.  I don't know how their rating system works and I am pretty sure this would have an NC-17 rating in the states.  This is by no means for everyone but is a very compelling film.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Go-Between (1971):  Joseph Losey directed this film which was based on the novel by L.P. Hartley.  This is period piece from the early 1900s, Dominic Guard stars as Leo, though played by Michael Redgrave later, who befriends the beautiful Marian, played by Julie Christie.  She is engaged to be married to Hugh, played by Edward Fox, but is having an affair with Ted Burgess, played by Alan Bates.  Marian enlists Leo to send messages to Ted which has some unexpected life-changing events.  Margaret Leighton, Michael Gough, Richard Gibson, and many others co-star in this period film.  This is also rather provocative, not to the level of the movie featured before this one.  To those that love the period films should really like this one.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Murder, My Sweet (1944):  Edward Dmytryk directed this film based on the novel FAREWELL, MY LOVELY by Raymond Chandler but was renamed to avoid confusion with the musical which stars Dick Powell.  Dick Powell takes the helm as private investigator Philip Marlowe who is hired by ex-con Moose Malloy, played by Mike Mazurki, to find his missing girlfriend Velma.  While the case seems simple, Marlowe runs into all kinds of deceit and an uneasy relationship with the police.  Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger, Miles Mander, Douglas Walton, Donald Douglas, Ralf Harolde, Esther Howard, and many others co-star in this film noir.  Powell was known for his work in musicals and makes his transition very well.  Chandler has cited that Powell was his favorite actor to play Marlowe on-screen.  This is a really good mystery with lots of twists and turns.

All these Creatures (2018):  I end the week with this short film which was written and directed by Charles Williams.  A young man must unravel the mystery of his father through memories to come to terms with his father's deteriorating sanity.  This has some really good imagery to go along with the main character.  It appears this has not had a lot of exposure having no reviews on imdb but it is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Al Pacino, Kimberly Elise, John Candy, Ingrid Bergman, Barbra Streisand, Ziyi Zhang, and many others.


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