Sunday, May 2, 2021

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 802nd Edition


Welcome to the 802nd Edition of my series.  Today, I'm going to the Richmond Civic Theater to do a recording of their radio play called SUE 'EM.  This is apparently the first play that was ever written for radio and the first broadcast had John Huston in the role I'm doing.  I don't know of the broadcast as of now but will keep everyone informed as I learn when it happens.  I don't have much else happening so I will get to my selections for the week.

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021):  I decided to start the week with this superhero film which was directed and extremely expanded from the 2017 version by Snyder.  Ben Affleck reprises his role as Bruce Wayne aka Batman and is teaming with Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, reprised by Gal Gadot, to recruit a group of heroes to help stop a threat of catastrophic proportions.  They manage to bring Barry Allen aka the Flash, played by Ezra Miller, Arthur Curry aka Aquaman, played by Jason Mamoa, Victor Stone aka Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, and later Clark Kent aka Superman, played by Henry Cavill.  They must work together to defeat Steppenwolf, voiced by Ciaran Hinds.  The 2017 version had been edited a lot courtesy of Joss Whedon and this is more the vision that Snyder had.  This introduces a lot of people not in the original cut.  This has a lot more character development and emotional depth as well.  This is available on HBO Max which was part of what made me break down and subscribe.

Old School (2003):  Todd Phillips directed this raunchy comedy.  Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, and Luke Wilson star as Beanie, Frank, and Mitch who are three best friends kind of looking to relive their youth.  When Mitch gets a new house on campus, Beanie gets the idea to form their own fraternity which consists of students and non-students.  This gets the attention of the new Dean of Students Pritchard, played by Jeremy Piven, who still holds a grudge against these guys for things that happened when they were younger.  Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Craig Kilborn, Seann William Scott, Matt Walsh, Perrey Reeves, Elisha Cuthbert, Patrick Fischler, Sara Tanaka, Harve Presnell, Bryan Callen, James Carville, Rick Gonzalez, Simon Helberg, Rob Corddry, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is not going to be for those easily offended.  For those that aren't, there were all kinds of funny moments and a rather clever comedy to boot.

Cannonball Run II (1984):  Hal Needham directed this sequel to the 1981 cult classic.  Jamie Farr reprises his role as the Sheik who after losing the first big road race is ordered by his father to put on another Cannonball Run race.  Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise return to the illegal race as well as some of the others with a few new faces.  Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Marilu Henner, Telly Savalas, Shirley MacLaine, Susan Anton, Catherine Bach, Sid Caesar, Jackie Chan, Tim Conway, Tony Danza, Jack Elam, Michael V. Gazzo, Richard Kiel, Don Knotts, Ricardo Montalban, Jim Nabors, Charles Nelson Reilley, Alex Rocco, Frank Sinatra, Joe Theisman, Mel Tillis, Abe Vigoda, and and many others co-star in this comedy sequel.  This is the last theatrical movie for Sinatra, the last of the car stunt comedies for Reynolds, and the final movie for the Rat Pack to appear together with it being Martin's last movie.  I liked the spoofing the THE GODFATHER in this comedy.  I also like how these movies are produced by Hong Kong company Golden Harvest which must be how Chan got one of his earlier roles.  This and its predecessor are very fun movies if not taken too seriously.

The Girl at the Ironing Board (1934):  This is my animated short for the week which comes from Merrie Melodies.  This is an animated short where the the clothes come to life late at night.  What more needs to be said here?  Animation has come a long way since this one but it is good to look at some of these older ones when they were still feeling their way through.  This is available to watch on HBO Max on the Looney Tunes season one.

Shane (1953):  This is my western for the week which was directed by George Stevens and based on the novel by Jack Schaefer.  Alan Ladd stars as the title character who is a gunslinger but trying to live a more peaceful life.  He settles in with a family that lives on the farm with Joe and Marian Starrett, played by Van Heflin and Jean Arthur and their son Joey, played by Brandon De Wilde.  Some locals start to force his hand lead by ruthless land-baron Ryker, played by Emile Meyer, who is out for Starrett's land.  Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Elisha Cook Jr., Douglas Spencer, John Dierkes, Ellen Corby, Paul McVay, and many others co-star in this iconic western.  The highlight of the movie is the idolization from Joey of Shane and his thoughts of wanting to be a good gunslinger as him.  This is one of the most well-known westerns out there of a man trying to move on from his past but gets forced back in to protect the family that has been good to him.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Barry Lyndon (1975):  I know I've been on a bit of a Kubrick kick lately but will probably stop for now after this one.  Stanley Kubrick directed this period film that is based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray.  Ryan O'Neal stars as the title character who is first named Redmond Barry who is an Irish rogue in 18th Century Britain.  He must join the Seven Years War but works his way into nobility which he finds can be as dangerous as a war.  Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Kruger, Steven Berkoff, Gay Hamilton, Leonard Rosssiter, and many others co-star in this period epic.  Kubrick gave a lot of attention to detail in this film.  Those who love the period dramas should really like this one.  

Life of Crime (2013):  Daniel Schechter directed this crime comedy based on the Elmore Leonard novel THE SWITCH.  Yasiin Bey and John Hawkes star as criminals Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara who decide to kidnap the wife of a corrupt business developer for a ransom of a million dollars.  Tim Robbins and Jennifer Aniston co-star as married couple Frank and Mickey Dawson and get more than they bargained for when they kidnap Mickey learning they are not the happiest couple in the world.  Will Forte, Mark Boon Junior, Clea Lewis, Charlie Tahan, Kevin Corrigan, Leonard Robinson, and many others co-star in this crime comedy.  Some may recognize those names of the criminals and they are from Elmore Leonard's book RUM PUNCH which would be renamed into JACKIE BROWN.  This is a prequel to that story of the earlier days of Robbie and Gara.  This does not match the previous movie but still has some laughs.  This is available to watch on Hulu.

Alice in Wonderland (1951):  Now I bring some Disney animation that is based on the Lewis Carroll story.  Alice, voiced by Kathryn Beaumont, is a bored young girl until she sees the White Rabbit, voiced by Bill Thompson, that she follows and ends up down a rabbit hole encountering a lot of unusual characters along the way like Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, the Queen of Hearts, and many others.  Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn, Sterling Holloway, Jerry Colonna, Verna Felton, J. Pat O'Malley, Heather Angel, Joseph Kearns, and many others provide their voices in this Disney classic.  There is not much to really explain about this movie as just about everyone knows the story but this takes stuff from ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS as well.  This is full of interesting characters and fun songs.  This can be seen on Disney Plus.

The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970):  William Wyler directed this film based on the novel by Jesse Hill Ford which is partly about race relations.  Roscoe Lee Browne stars as L.B. Jones who is an undertaker and the richest black man in his Tennessee town.  He is also divorcing his wife Emma, played by Lola Falana, who is committing adultery with a white police officer Willie Joe Worth, played by Anthony Zerbe.  Lee Majors, Barbara Hershey, Yaphet Kotto, Lee J. Cobb, Arch Johnson, Chill Wills, Zara Cully, Fayard Nicholas, and many others co-star in this film.  This is has a lot of racial tension and is a pretty realistic look at the era.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime. 

Barnum (1986):  I end the week with this live musical on P.T. Barnum, played by Michael Crawford.  This traces his life from 1835 to 1881 where he would become the Greatest Showman on Earth.  Having it being Crawford, you can expect some music numbers.  In the later years, we would get the musical THE GREATEST SHOWMAN where Hugh Jackman gives a great performances and is one of my favorites.  However, that one is a more fictionalized version of Barnum while this one shows more of his actual life.  I have not figured out who wrote the music for this particular musical.  This was released in 1986 but was done on stage earlier and was before Crawford would become iconic as the Phantom in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.  This is available to watch on imdb tv with commercials but is still worth a look.

Well, that is it for this week. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes John Turturro, Henry Fonda, Mads Mikkelson, Boris Karloff, Katherine Hepburn, Nicole Kidman, and many others.

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