Sunday, February 7, 2021

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 790th Edition


Welcome to the 790th Edition of my series.  I hope everyone is staying safe out there.  Tonight is the Super Bowl and I seem to be a minority when I say I'm watching it for the game.  I'm kind of rooting for the Buccaneers just to see an uproar from everyone but I also just want to see a close game.  I don't have much else to say so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

True Confessions (1981):  This is part six of my seven part Robert De Niro series.  Ulu Grosbard directed this film based on the novel by John Gregory Dunne.  After playing father and son in different time periods in THE GODFATHER PART II, Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall reunite to be on screen together as brothers Des and Tom Spellacy.  Des is a Catholic priest and Tom is a homicide detective that have been estranged but reunite in the aftermath of a brutal murder of a prostitute.  Charles Durning, Kenneth McMillan, Ed Flanders, Cyril Cusack, Burgess Meredith, Dan Hedaya, Gwen Van Dam, Thomas Hill, Jeanette Nolan, James Hong, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty well done character piece with good performances out of the leads.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Faraway, So Close (1993):  Wim Wenders directed this sequel to the sequel to the German 1987 film WINGS OF DESIRE.  Otto Sander and Nastassja Kinski star as angels Cassiel and Raphaela who are looking over the reunited Germany together.  Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Peter Falk, Horst Buchholz, Heinz Ruhmann, Rudiger Vogler, Willem Dafoe, Lou Reed, Monika Hansen, Gunter Meisner, Ronald Nitschke, Hanns Zischler, and many others co-star in this film.  Lou Reed and Peter Falk both play themselves and Mikhail Gorbechev also has a cameo in the film.  It is very hard to describe this movie without spoiling its mentioned predecessor which really needs to be watched first so if you like that movie, this should be a really good continuation.  This does have some very good visuals just like the first movie and a good soundtrack.

Beavis and Butthead Do America (1996):  I did not mean this to be an homage to the late Cloris Leachman but she did pass away when I already had this planned.  Mike Judge directed this animated which was continued from Judge's popular animated series of the inept adolescent heroes, both voiced by Judge himself.  Beavis and Butthead have their television stolen and as they set out to find it, they accidentally become wanted criminals in their epic journey across America in an investigation lead by ATF agent Flemming, voiced by our beloved UNSOLVED MYSTERIES host Robert Stack.  Leachman, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Eric Bogosian, Tim Guinee, David Letterman, Richard Linklater, Greg Kinnear, and many others provide their voices in this animated film.  Those who prefer them watching the music videos from their couch may not like this as much.  Also, if anti- Beavis and Butthead, then this movie probably is not going to be for you.  I enjoyed the great adventure they went on and all their antics in their journey.  I still am in the hopes that if they ever do a live-action movie that Neil Patrick Harris and Benedict Cumberbatch are cast as the American heroes.

Neighbours (1952):  This is my short film film for the week which was directed by Norman McLaren.  This stars two people as neighbors that come to blows over a flower.  While this plot sounds very absurd, it is more the stop-animation that is the highlight of this short animation movie.  This is available to watch on Criterion Channel and is a very entertaining eight minutes.

Back Street (1932):  I know some might have thought I'm writing something about the Backstreet Boys so I'm sorry to disappoint.  John M. Stahl directed this film based on the novel by Fannie Hurst.  Irene Dunne stars as Ray Schmidt who falls in love with a man named Walter Saxel, played by John Boles.  The only problem is that he is married and has children which is something that happens through the years.  George Meeker, Zasu Pitts, June Clyde, William Bakewell, Arletta Duncan, Doris Lloyd, Jane Darwell, Shirley Grey, Walter Catlett, Robert McWade, and many others co-star in this pre-code film.  I guess this could be considered a tragic love story, at least on Ray's end and even Walter's in his feeling that he must stick around with his marriage.  This also leads into a very interesting ending.  This is available to watch on Criterion Channel.

The Death Collector (1976):  Ralph De Vito wrote and directed this gangster film.  Joe Cortese stars as Jerry Bolanti who needs money and takes work under a local crime boss, played by Lou Criscuolo, to become a collector and hold-up man.  Jerry's wreckless personality slowly gets the best of him and effects his friends as well.  Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Victoria Hale, Richard Ward, and many others co-star in this low-budget movie.  This is not a bad movie but mostly of high note of a young Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent who were very frustrated in their early career.  However, Martin Scorsese saw this movie and took note of those two actors and cast him in some movie called RAGING BULL where they would remain successful after that one.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Soul (2020):  I finally decided to check out the latest from the world of Pixar.  Pete Docter and Kemp Powers directed this animated film that takes a look at the world of Jazz and the world of the "Great Before".  Jamie Foxx stars as Joe Gardner who is a middle school music teacher but dreams of hitting it big in Jazz.  He finally gets his big break but falls into a manhole ending up in the afterlife where he resists going in so ends up in the "Great Before" where souls go into they man a body on Earth.  There, he meets a soul named 22, voiced by Tina Fey, who is a very cynical soul that has stayed in the Great Before feeling there is no point in going to Earth.  Mistaken as a counselor, he is assigned to mentor 22 and when on Earth, she learns more about life and he learns more about having a soul.  Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove, Angela Bassett, Cora Champommier, Daveed Diggs, Wes Studi, John Ratzenberger, and many others co-star in this Pixar film.  This is the first Pixar film to have an African-American protagonist in it.  This kind of reminds me of INSIDE OUT where in that one, moods get humanized and in this one, souls kind of get humanized.  When just looking into this movie, it would be easy to say this movie is all about the world of Jazz and trying to get back what he lost but goes a lot deeper in exploring the meaning of life.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus.

Cape Fear (1962):  Last week I featured its 1991 remake so I thought I'd take a look at the original.  J. Lee Thompson directed this film based on the novel by John D. MacDonald.  Gregory Peck stars as attorney Sam Bowden whose life becomes endangered when a criminal named Max Cady, played by Robert Mitchum, is released from prison eight years after Sam's testimony got him convicted.  In addition to going after Sam, he puts most of his focus on his wife Peggy, played by Polly Bergen, and daughter Nancy, played by Lori Martin.  When Sam goes into unsuccessful extreme measures, it leads to quite the climax.  Martin Balsam, Jack Kruschen, Telly Savalas, Berrie Chase, Paul Comi, Ward Ramsey, Joan Staley, Will Wright, and many others co-star in this film.  This is less violent that the remake and even less intense at times but it still has the same kind of tension that the remake had.  Both versions are very good watches in my opinion and could be a good double feature.

I Am Waiting (1957):  This is my Japanese film for the week which was directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara.  Yujijiro Ishihara stars as former boxer Joji who is banned from boxing.  Mie Kitahara co-stars as nighclub singer Saeko and Joji gets involved in her life in trying to protect her from her gangster boss.  This is a story of both people seeking out certain truths and are lost souls.  This is a pretty compelling story with interesting characters and a good plot.  It is hard to really explain beyond that so just check it out if you like Japanese cinema.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

I Am Love (2009):  I end the week with this Italian film which was directed and co-written by Luca Guadagnino.  Tilda Swinton stars as Emma who is the wife of the industrialist Tancredi Recchi and feels very unfulfilled in the marriage.  She soon has an affair with her son's friend Antonio, played by Edoardo Gabbriellini, that leads to tragedy.  Flavio Parenti, Alba Rohrwacher, Diane Fleri, Waris Ahluwalia, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marisa Berenson, and many others co-star in this Italian film.  There is a lot more to this than having an extramarital affair, it is about a wealthy family with a successful business and how choices can effect everyone.  This is available to watch on Hoopla Digital.

Well, that is all for this week but continue on for another segment of my "Fun and Useless Facts" segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Jennifer Connelly, Emily Blunt, Katherine Hepburn, Naomi Watts, Peter Sellers, Tom Hanks, and many others.


Robert De Niro (True Confessions) and Joe Pesci (The Death Collector) play brothers in the 1980 film RAGING BULL where they would meet and become close friends along with working together on quite a few occasions.

Robert De Niro (True Confessions) plays Max Cady in the 1991 remake CAPE FEAR.  Robert Mitchum plays Cady in this week's 1962 feature CAPE FEAR.  Also, Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and Martin Balsam would go onto make cameos in the 1991 version.

Robert De Niro (True Confessions) and Wes Studi (Soul) were in the 1995 film HEAT.

Robert De Niro (True Confessions) and Peter Falk (Faraway, So Close) were in the 2004 animated movie SHARK TALE.

Robert De Niro (True Confessions) and Demi Moore (Beavis and Butthead Do America) were in the 1989 remake WE'RE NO ANGELS.

Robert Duvall (True Confessions) and Demi Moore (Beavis and Butthead Do America) were in the 1995 adaptation of THE SCARLET LETTER.

Robert Duvall (True Confessions) and Gregory Peck (Cape Fear) were in the 1962 film TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD where Duvall makes his film debut.

James Hong (True Confessions) and Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead Do America) were in the 2013 movie R.I.P.D. 

James Hong (True Confessions) and Robert Stack (Beavis and Butthead Do America) were in the classic 1980 comedy AIRPLANE!

Charles Durning (True Confessions), Cloris Leachman (Beavis and Butthead Do America), and Telly Savalas were in the 1979 movie THE MUPPET MOVIE.

James Woods (True Confessions) and Tim Guinee (Beavis and Butthead Do America were in the 1998 vampire movie VAMPIRES.

Dan Hedaya (True Confessions) and Greg Kinnear (Beavis and Butthead Do America) were in the 2005 animated movie ROBOTS.

Burgess Meredith (True Confessions) and Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear) were in the 1945 film STORY OF G.I. JOE.

Telly Savalas (Cape Fear) and Gabriel Ferzetti (I Am Love) were in the 1969 Bond film ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.

Peter Falk (Faraway, So Close) was considered for the role of Tom Hagen in the 1972 film THE GODFATHER which would ultimately go to Robert Duvall (True Confessions).

Peter Falk (Faraway, So Close) and Barrie Chase (Cape Fear) were in the 1963 comedy epic IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD.

Nastassja Kinski (Faraway, So Close) and Demi Moore (Beavis and Butthead Do America) shared and apartment in the early 1980s.

Willem Dafoe (Faraway, So Close) and Tilda Swinton (I Am Love)  were in the 2014 comedy THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.

Gunter Meisner (Faraway, So Close) and Gregory Peck (Cape Fear) were in the 1978 film THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.

Gunter Meisner (Faraway, So Close) and Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear) were in the 1983 mini-series THE WINDS OF WAR.

Peter Falk (Faraway, So Close) and Bruce Willis (Beavis and Butthead Do America) play themselves in the 1992 comedy THE PLAYER.

Bruce Willis (Beavis and Butthead Do America) and Tilda Swinton (I Am Love) were in the 2012 comedy MOONRISE KINGDOM.

Greg Kinnear (Beavis and Butthead Do America) and Tina Fey (Soul) date one another in the 2008 comedy BABY MAMA.

Cloris Leachman (Beavis and Butthead Do America) and Tina Fey (Soul) are in the 2008 animated movie PONYO.

Cloris Leachman (Beavis and Butthead Do America) and Angela Bassett (Soul) were in the 1999 movie MUSIC OF THE HEART.

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