Sunday, September 20, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 770th Edition


Welcome to the 770th Edition of my series.  Glad to see that football is going again.  It has been a really good weekend and hate to see it end.  I don't really have much else happening right now so I'll just get to my selections for the week.

Prisoners (2013):  Denis Villeneuve directed this film that takes a look at every parent's worst nightmare of children being kidnapped.  Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello star as Keller and Grace Dover whose younger daughter Anna, played by Erin Gerasimovich, and her friend Joy, played by Kyla-Drew, get kidnapped.  Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as Detective Loki who does what he can to get the kids back while within the book while Keller takes some very extreme measures in his own search for the girls.  Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Soul, Wayne Duvall, Len Cariou, David Dastmalchian, and many others co-star in this film.  This was very heart-wrenching to watch at times.  This was not an easy watch by any means but was a very compelling film that works on so many levels, most importantly the performances.

Crooked House (2017):  Gilles Paquet-Brenner directed this murder mystery based on the novel by Agatha Christie.  Max Irons stars as private investigator Charles Haywood whose old flame Sophia, played by Stephanie Martini, enlists him to investigate the murder of her wealthy family member Aristide Leonides.  His investigation leads to just about everyone in the family having a motive to murder Leonides and must use his skills to figure out the crime.  Glenn Close, Christina Hendricks, Terence Stamp, Julian Sands, Gillian Anderson, Christian McKay, Honor Kneafsey, Amanda Abbington, Preston Nyman, John Heffernan, Jenny Galloway, and many others co-star in this whodunit.  Christie has said this was her favorite novel.  This one is a little darker than her other stories.  Not quite as dark as my first selection but still an interesting climax.

Higher Learning (1995):  John Singleton wrote and directed this film which takes a look at racial tension and other things at Columbus University.  This focuses on the freshman characters of Malik, played by Omar Epps, Kristen, played by Kristy Swanson, and Remy, played by Michael Rapaport.  They all deal with various things while trying to make it in college.  Jennifer Connelly, Ice Cube, Jason Wiles, Tyra Banks, Cole Hauser, Laurence Fishburne, Regina King, Busta Rhymes, Jay R. Ferguson, Andrew Bryniarski, Trevor St. John, Adam Goldberg, J. Trevor Edmond, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Kari Wuhrer, Vitamin C, and many others co-star in this film.  This is also not that upbeat and really wants us to think.  Rapaport is almost unrecognizable in his early role with longer hair but as soon as he starts talking, we hear the voice that only comes out of Michael Rapaport and I don't even think his voice can be imitated.  With the things going on now and how things went in this movie, nothing has really changed.  Each person can make the conscience decision to treat all people fairly and this movie makes us think about that.

One Week in October:  Cuban Missile Crisis (1964):  This is my documentary short for the week which was directed by Thomas H. Wolf.  This is an NBC news broadcast about that infamous uncertain time we had with Cuba.  This talks about what went on before and during this crisis and the peaceful conclusion that President Kennedy made.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime with "Films of the Cold War" which is about 90 minutes worth of short films.

The Roaring Twenties (1939):  Raoul Walsh directed this Warner Brothers gangster film.  James Cagney stars as Eddie Bartlett who is returning home from WWI along with his friends George, played by Humphrey Bogart, and Lloyd, played by Jeffrey Lynn.  Bartlett expects to be able to get his old job back but finds that he has been passed by in his town and turns to bootlegging.  He is able to form a partnership with George but have a falling out in the process.  Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly, Elisabeth Risdon, Edward Keane, Joe Sawyer, and many others co-star in this film.  This would be Cagney's last gangster film for a decade when he would return to the genre in WHITE HEAT.  Bogart would also start moving away from the genre and become a leading man but was a great villain in this one.  This is based on a true story on bootlegger Larry Fay and is kind of a character study on a veteran trying to make it.

Genevieve (1953):  I have some pretty dark selections so far but now I bring a comedy directed by Henry Cornelius.  This centers around the annual antique car rally in London.  John Gregson and Kenneth More star as Alan McKim and Ambrose Claverhouse who are usually friends but rivals this time of year.  This has them going to London to Brighton where they make a friendly wager which is not so friendly as they go along making their wives suffer along for the ride.  Dinah Sheridan, Kay Kendall, Geoffrey Keen, Reginald Beckwith, Arthur Wontner, Joyce Grenfell, and many others co-star in this British comedy.  This pays really good homage to antique cars and there are a lot of funny moments.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Love, Gilda (2018):  This is my documentary for the week which was directed by Lisa D'Apolito.  This centers on the legendary SNL alum Gilda Radner.  This starts out in her childhood where she would start to develop her comic personality which was a lot in response to being made fun of by other children.  It also goes into her time as one of the first cast members of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and then go into her bout with cancer.  This shows how she tried to make the most of her situation up until her untimely death.  This has a lot of her friends as well as current comedians reflecting on her writings of the title.  This is available on Hulu and really deserves a look from fans of Radner or from those that do not know a lot, if anything, about her to get to know the legendary comedienne.

Man in the Wilderness (1971):  Richard C. Safafian directed this film on an expedition in the 1800s.  Richard Harris stars as Zachary Bass who is maimed by a bear and left for dead by the others feeling there is no way for him to survive, mostly by Captain Henry, played by John Huston.  He miraculously survives the bear attack and sets out for revenge.  Henry Wilcoxan, Percy Herbert, Dennis Waterman, Prunella Ransome, Sheila Raynor, Norman Rossington, James Doohan, Bryan Marshall, Ben Carruthers, Robert Russell, John Bindon, Bruce M. Fischer, and many others co-star in this film.  Many have probably thought, "This sounds like THE REVENANT" and yes, this movie is based on the real-life Hugh Glass.  This movie and THE REVENANT has similarities and some differences.  They are both really good and I did not know about this movie until I featured THE REVENANT a couple week ago.

Poverty and Nobility (1954):  This is my Italian film for the week which was directed by Mario Mattoli and based on a play by Eduardo Scarpetta.  Toto stars as a writer named Felice who along with his photographer friend Pasquale, played by Enzo Turco, live in poverty.  They are asked by their friend Eugenio to help him woo the beautiful Gemma, played by a young Sophia Loren, where they pose as aristocrats.  This leads to some very funny moments, misunderstandings, and double crosses.  Toto was a legendary comedic actor and rather underrated by today's standards with his comedic timing.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and is worth a look as long as you don't mind English subtitles.

Forky Asks a Question:  What is a Computer (2019):  I end the week with this animated short written and directed by Bob Peterson.  In TOY STORY 4, they introduced the character Forky, voiced by Tony Hale, which became a very popular character.  They made a series of short episodes with the character.  In this one, he becomes very interested in a computer but has a hard time understanding it.  Trixie, voiced by Kristen Schaal, struggles to teach him about it.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus as well as others in the FORKY ASKS A QUESTION series.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Russell Crowe, Judi Dench, Michelle Williams, Roddy McDowell, Jonathan Demme, Michael Rapaport, Richard Attenborough, and many others.

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