Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 274th Edition

This is a long-running series that I have written for over ten years. To see past installments, check out http://blog.myspace.com/shaunberk.
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1.
Dave (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
To avoid a potentially explosive scandal when the U.S. President goes into a coma, an affable temp agency owner with an uncanny resemblance, is put in his place. (110 mins.)
Director: Ivan Reitman
“ This is my 14th link on The Chain and this week I feature Kevin Dunn who plays Alan Reed. Also with this being Black History Month I thought I should also mention Ving Rhames who plays a secret service agent. The next year he would make quite a name for himself in the 1994 film PULP FICTION. Ivan Reitman directed this idealistic political comedy which stars Kevin Kline as the title character who runs a temp agency and also plays President Bill Mitchell. Mitchell suffers a very severe stroke and Dave is brought in to be his stand-in because of his resemblance. Frank Langella plays corrupt Chief-of-Staff Bob Alexander who concocts this plan of bringing in a stand-in not knowing that Dave was going to take the job very seriously and actually try to do good. I think we should make a new requirement for every politician and political candidate to watch this film and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and maybe that would make this country a better place. Sigourney Weaver co-stars as the estranged first lady who takes a liking to the replacement president. Ben Kingsley, Laura Linney, and Charles Grodin also co-star. Klein is great in his dual role and this ranks as one of my favorite candidates. Next week The Chain continues with Kevin Dunn. ” - shaun2000us
 
2.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal. (99 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
“ Just as I mention a James Stewart film in my last selection, I include this one. For those of you that do not know, the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film YOU'VE GOT MAIL is the technological remake of this selection. This film takes place in a very successful gift shop where Stewart plays the long-time employee Alfred Kralik and his life gets a bit complicated when a new hire named Klara Novak, Margaret Sullivan comes to work there. The two of them are constantly bickering and disagreeing with each other not knowing they are each other's pen pals that are writing letters to each other. Frank Morgan, who most know as the Wizard and many other parts in the 1939 classic THE WIZARD OF OZ, plays the owner of the shop who also has a complicated employer/employee relationship with Kralik. This is a very fun romantic comedy which deserves a chance. The remake was pretty decent in its own right. ” - shaun2000us
 
3.
Jammin' the Blues (1944 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
This Warner Bros. short is a jam session with several outstanding African-American jazz musicians, including Lester Young... (10 mins.)
Director: Gjon Mili
“ This is my short film for the week which I found on TCM On-Demand and a selection for Black History Month. This is the filming of an actual Jazz session from some high-profile jazz artists from the 40s. I admit I do not know any of these people but it was a very entertaining 10 minutes which includes the JITTERBUG. This is a must find for Jazz fans. ” - shaun2000us
 
4.
Mo'Nique: I Coulda Been Your Cellmate (2007 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Comic sensation and internationally known movie star, Mo'Nique brings her unique brand of humor to the most unlikely of places... (58 mins.)
Director: Gary Binkow
Stars: Mo'Nique
“ This is another Black History Month which is obviously for Mo'Nique who will likely be included in the next couple of weeks. This is actually a live comedy show that she put on at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. In the beginning of the film, she is interviewing prisoners and treating them like she does anyone else. She also put on some statistics for women who are in prison like a large percentage have been sexually abused which while not mentioning that here, Mo'Nique was sexually abused as a child which may have been a reason why she wanted to do this. From then on, she did some comedy which related to the women in prison while encouraging them to not give up. It was pretty inspiring and I admire Mo'Nique doing this very unusual show. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us
 
5.
One False Move (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In Los Angeles, after a violent drug rip-off, the Los Angeles Police Department detectives find the identity of the trio - the sadistic I.Q... (105 mins.)
Director: Carl Franklin
“ This is a selection for Black History Month and wanted to pay tribute to Cynda Williams who is a graduate from Ball State University which is where I went and in the town of Muncie, Indiana where I live. I actually saw her perform live years back at a Ball State University show which I now forget the name but while it was a great effort and everyone played their parts well really lacked story where I just could not get past in this situation but it was cool seeing her perform live though. Now, we'll get to the movie. The first time I saw this I believe I was in high school and at my dad's house where I was just beginning to take interest in the IFC channel which he had. This movie has always stayed with me since watching it and these kinds of movies are the reason I do this. This is the first of I believe three times where Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton worked together. Also, at this time Billy Bob Thornton and Cynda Williams were married and appeared to have divorced shortly after this movie. Paxton plays police chief Dale "The Hurricane" Dixon in a small Arkansas town who works with a couple L.A. detectives to get some criminals taking refuge in the small town while also trying to impress the LAPD in hopes of being able to get a job with them. Thornton, Williams, and Michael Beach play the three criminals who are on the run for crimes in L.A. to take refuge in the small town. This is a great good vs. bad film but with quite a twist. Anything I say will just give this away but it is available on Comcast On-Demand section in the free movie section. It's actually under the Fearnet category for some reason as I don't feel it qualifies for that but I'll accept it since it is an independent film that deserves more exposure so I hope I can help the film get more exposure. Film critic Gene Siskel named this as the best movie of 1992. ” - shaun2000us
 
6.
Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston. (113 mins.)
Director: Darnell Martin
“ I guess you could call this my two-part Oprah Winfrey series because she produced this tv movie as well as last week's feature PRECIOUS. This is based on a novel by Zora Neale Hurston where Berry stars as 1920s black lady named Janie Starks who was a very free-spirited woman which leads to multiple marriages and conflicts with her family morals who do not agree with her lifestyle. This really is not the greatest movie of all time but Berry carries it with her good performance. I have heard the book is a lot better so make your best selection. ” - shaun2000us
 
7.
The Big House (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences. (87 mins.)
Director: George Hill
“ I found this and recorded it on TCM. I love these classic prison films and this one really came through. Robert Montgomery plays a first-time convict who is just starting his prison sentence for manslaughter where he was driving drunk. He clearly has a hard-time adjusting to his new life with his cell-mates John Morgan, played by Chester Morris, and long-time inmate Butch, played by Wallace Beery. This movie takes a look at the rough life in a prison leading up to a pretty violent climax. There were many of these prison films from this era that were propaganda for the "crime doesn't pay" phrase and really wanted people to take note of what they saw. Lon Chaney Sr. was originally going to play Butch but died around the time being replaced by Wallace Beery who proved to be a great replacement. ” - shaun2000us
 
8.
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex. (129 mins.)
“ This is my tribute to Maria Schneider who recently left us. Last week I featured Brando in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and this week I include him here in the follow-up to his other big 1972 hit THE GODFATHER. Bernardo Bertolucci directed this French film which stars Marlon Brando as an American in Paris named Paul whose wife has committed suicide. Schneider plays Jeanne who also has her issues. They meet in an apartment and agree to live their together but Paul did not want to give names to each other. They begin a very steamy affair leading into an intense climax. This is a film which is rated NC-17 so it is not for everyone. It is also not likely the movie to watch for "Girl's Night". However, it is a well-shot and acted film with pretty likable and relating characters. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us
 
9.
The Exploding Girl (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
On a summer break from college, a young epileptic woman struggles to balance her feelings for her fledgling boyfriend while her friend Al crashes with her for the season. (79 mins.)
“ This is another independent film I selected which was wrote and directed Bradley Rust Gray. Zoe Kazan stars as Ivy, who is a college student home for the summer who has a boyfriend but only seems to be able to communicate with him over the phone. She also has a long-time friend named Al who needs a place to stay and lets him stay in her house while she is home for the summer and develops feelings for him so she must figure out what she wants in life. There is also an emphasis on Ivy's Epilepsy which does not really come into play in the movie. This is an absolute character study which has gone to mixed opinions. It was not as good as the other independent feature this week ONE FALSE MOVE but Kazan is pretty good as Ivy and carries the movie. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us
 
10.
Dillinger (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
John Dillinger begins his life of crime as a petty thief, meets his future gang in prison and eventually masterminds a series of daring robberies. (70 mins.)
Director: Max Nosseck
“ This is to my knowledge the first movie on the notorious bank robber John Dillinger who was from my state of Indiana. Lawrence Tierney plays Dillinger and most would probably know him from the independent 1992 classic Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs as Joe. This movie documents his beginnings in petty crime which lead him to prison only to form his future robbery gang and then into his times with his gang and the robberies. This is really more of a b-movie but a pretty entertaining portrait. It was fairly accurate besides not mentioning J. Edgar hoover, Melvin Purvis, and the way the portrayed "The Lady in Red" whose name here is Helen Rogers. The real-life "Lady in Red" was Anna Sage and betrayed Dillinger for different reasons than in this film. I prefer the 1973 version with Warren Oates who pretty much looked like Dillinger but Tierney still did a pretty good job. This was very controversial when it first came out for the violence and subject matter and was banned from being shown in Chicago for two years. ” - shaun2000us