Sunday, April 4, 2021

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 798th Edition

Welcome to the 798th edition of my series.  I hope everyone is having a good Easter weekend however celebrated whether through Jesus rising, the Easter Bunny, or both or just none at all.  We are getting close to ARSENIC AND OLD LACE so get your tickets reserved at 765-639-3282 and get a lot of laugh.  There is not much else happening so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

Stallone:  Frank, That Is (2021):  I start the week out with this documentary that I have been waiting to see since hearing about it last year and was directed by Derek Wayne Johnson.  This takes a very in-depth look into the life of Frank Stallone, yes the younger brother of Sylvester Stallone.  While Sylvester went the acting route, Frank was more interested in music even though he has been in a few movies.  He started out with the band Valentine and caught a little break when his older brother needed a song for his low-budget movie called ROCKY.  He would later go onto have his most known song FAR FROM OVER, which I sing on karaoke from time to time, when Sylvester directed STAYING ALIVE.  Interviews include Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Dee Williams, Billy Zane, Joe Mantegna, Talia Shire, Geraldo Rivera, Burt Young, Frankie Avalon, Bon Jovi member Richie Sambora, John Oates, GNR member Duff McKagen, Steven Bauer, Bill Conti, and many others.  This shows how hard-working he is but could never really escape the image of being "Sylvester's Brother" and even "Rocky's Brother".  I was familiar with him to a point before seeing this but this shows so much I did not know and am very sold on how talented he really is with his diversity in his music.  Right now, he's doing a lot of live shows that appear to be like a variety show and something I'd really like to see sometime.  This documentary made me into a full-fledged fan of Frank Stallone and realize he deserves a much bigger career in both music and film.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Dinner With Friends (2001):  Norman Jewison directed this HBO movie based on the play by David Margulies.  Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell star as married couple Gabe and Karen who learn their friends Tom and Beth, played by Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette, are breaking up after 12 years of marriage.  This makes Gabe and Karen reevaluate what they have while trying to understand both sides of their friends.  Taylor Emerson, Holliston Coleman, Angus T. Jones, Beau Holden, Dina Morrone, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  This has a really good blend of drama and comedy and centers a lot around the dialogue.  I'm sure many married couples, together and divorced, can relate to what they see in this movie.  

The Living Daylights (1987):  John Glen directed this Bond film which is the first of two for Timothy Dalton.  Bond is sent to kill KGB General Pushkin, played by John Rhys-Davies, after General Koskov, played by Jeroen Krabbe, reveals Pushkin is part of a big conspiracy to murder agents.  Bond does not buy into this and does his own investigation pitting him against war crazy arms dealer Brad Whittaker, played by Joe Don Baker, and meets beautiful cellist Kara Milovy, played by Maryam d'Abo, who is mostly a pawn in it all.  Art Malik, Andreas Wisniewsky, Desmon Llewelyn, Robert Brown, Geoffrey Keen, Walter Gotell, Caroline Bliss, John Terry, Virginia Hey, John Bowe, Julie T. Wallace, Belle Avery, and many others co-star in this action film.  I was always one of those that really favored this shorter Bond era of Dalton.  I like the darker take to 007 that Dalton brings, I have similar thoughts on Daniel Craig.  This has some really good action and has a really good soundtrack in my opinion that includes one of my favorites A-Ha singing the title song.  

Let it Be Me (1936):  This is my animated short for the week which features the character Rooester Bingo who is a popular radio crooner and a caricature of sorts of Bing Crosby.  He starts dating a hen named Emily which stars a love triangle of birds when a former boyfriend fights to get her back.  As far as I know, this is the only use of the Rooester Bingo character which did not sit well with Crosby who initiated a defamation lawsuit on his negative portrayal.  I don't really know how that went.

A Clockwork Orange (1971):  Stanley Kubrick directed this adaptation on the novel by Anthony Burgess.  This takes place in future Britain where Malcolm McDowell stars as gang leader Alex De Large.  They go around terrorizing homes but is betrayed and ends up in prison.  To get out early, he agrees to have unusual therapy developed by the government which makes him fear everything he hates which includes violence and even Beethoven.  When he is out, the people that he wronged are out for revenge where he is left defenseless due to his fear of violence.  This was a very bizarre movie to say the least and was quite ahead of its time.  It was so weird that it was originally rated X but in time got down to R.  The imagery was probably the strangest part of this.  There is a scene where Alex is torturing a couple while singing SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and always feel guilty about how much this amuses me.  Apparently Gene Kelly was not amused by how they used the song he is most known for and remained bitter towards McDowell.  I have heard someone say that this is a statement towards the use of psychological drugs.  This is by no means for everyone but is a very well done film on many levels.  Years ago, when I was in high school, I attempted to read the book but got nowhere with it.  Now that I'm a bit older I might try this again at some point to read the book which many say is better of course.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.  

The Ox-Bow Incident (1942):  This is my western for the week which was directed by William Wellman and based on the novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.  Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan star as drifters Gil Carter and Art Croft who are passing through town and learn of a farmer being murdered.  The townspeople form a posse when they have their suspects and are divided on how to handle as much of the mob just want to kill them on the spot in their belief of justice.  Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, Dana Andrews, William Eythe, Jane Darwell, Matt Briggs, Harry Davenport, Frank Conroy, and many others co-star in this western.  This is a really good look at mob mentality and one that Fonda names as one of his favorites to the point that he worked on scale pay to do this movie.  This has gone onto be a rather underrated western and hope to get this on the radar.

The Cable Guy (1996):  Ben Stiller directed this dark comedy.  Jim Carrey takes a darker turn in this comedy as the mentally disturbed title character named Chip.  He goes to install cable for a guy named Steven who slips the cable guy some money to get free cable.  Chip takes this for friendship and when Steven rejects him, it is at a price.  Leslie Mann, Jack Black, George Segal, Diane Baker, Eric Roberts, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, David Cross, Amy Stiller, Owen Wilson, Joel Murray, Kathy Griffin, Sean Whalen, Charles Napier, Bob Odenkirk, Kyle Gass, and many others co-star or have cameos.  This is not going to be for everyone but I always enjoy this comedy.  I realized it's like a parody of a psychological thriller.  It's also an homage of sorts for to classic sitcom television.  I also read that Chris Farley was intended for the title character but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts, what could have been.  R.I.P. to George Segal who recently left us.

Indiscreet (1958):  This is my romantic comedy for the week which was directed by Stanley Donen and based on the play by Norman Krasna.  Ingrid Bergman stars as actress Anna Kalman who has given up on love but meets the suave Philip Adams, played by Cary Grant, and takes a liking to him even though he is still married.  Cecil Parker, Phyllis Calvert, David Kossoff, Megs Jenkins, and many others co-star in this romantic comedy.  This mostly works due to the chemistry of Grant and Bergman who have a lot of it in the comedy of ulterior motive.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Horror of Party Beach (1964):  With the rise of beach movies at this time, why not combine it into a creature feature that has most of the elements of a beach movie?  Del Tenney directed this B-movie that also has some music that is not very good.  Sea creatures from radioactive sludge terrorize a beach community, what more needs to be said?  People who love their b-movie horror movies should really enjoy this one.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Tangerines (2013):  I end the week with this Estonian film which was directed and co-written by Zaza Urushadze.  This takes place in 1992, war is going on in Abkhazia, a Russian backed separatist region of Georgia.  Limbit Ulfsak stars as Ivo who is a tangerine farmer and decides to stay home while most others are fleeing the country.  Two men are wounded and Ivo takes them into his home despite being on opposite sides.  Giorgi Nakashidze, Misha Meskhi, Elmo Nuganen, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a very touching story of people on opposing sides having to co-exist.  This is the first Estonian film to be nominated for an Academy Award as it was awarded for best foreign language film.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Hugh Grant, Nicole Kidman, Frank Sinatra, Ginger Rogers, J.K. Simmons, Ian Holm, Humphrey Bogart, and many others.

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