Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 278th Edition

This is the 278th Edition of my long-running series. To see past installments go to http://blog.myspace.com/shaunberk.
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1.
“ Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music (2001): This is part 18 of the chain and this link is for Kevin Bacon who was one of the actors to pay tribute to Lennon. This is really a tv special that took place at Radio City Music Hall and maybe not technically a movie but I make the final judgments for this blog and I say it is a movie. This was seemingly done shortly after the 9/11 attacks where they paid tribute to John Lennon and his beliefs which were to love and peace. Kevin Spacey hosted this special and even sang one of the songs which he did pretty good. Some of the actors who speak on him include Steve Buscemi, Kevin Bacon, Leelee Sobieski, Benjamin Bratt, and many others. Some of the singers and bands paying tribute include Alanis Morrisette, Nelly Furtado, Moby, Sean Lennon, Natalie Merchant, Cyndi Lauper, Marc Anthony, Dave Matthews and a few others. Julian Lennon or the surviving Beatles did not appear on here. There has been a lot of shows making it clear though that him and Julian did not have the best relationship and that he is very bitter towards Yoko Ono. Yoko actually speaks at the end of the show and said some very good things. I'm not one of those people who blame her for breaking up the Beatles. I feel that Lennon and the others wanted to do their own thing so they broke up. Lennon has always been my favorite of the Beatles and this was a pretty nice tribute with decent performances. I just wish they would have done WORKING CLASS HERO which is my favorite song from him. Next week, The Chain continues with one of the actors, actress, music artists, or director of this one. ” - shaun2000us
 
2.
Broken Embraces (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. He was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie. (127 mins.)
“ Broken Embraces (2009): This is my Spanish film for the week. Lluis Homar stars as blind screenwriter Harry Caine who has had a pretty successful career but must look back on the past when he learns of the death of a man he knows named Ernesto Martel who was a successful businessman. We then see things unfold through the modern day and through flashbacks which also show how Harry comes to be blind as well as the adjustments necessary to his career. Penelope Cruz co-stars Lena who gets a part in one of Harry's films while being in a relationship with Ernesto as well as him which was one of the conflicts between Harry and Ernesto. I was not sure what to expect out of this movie but ended up really liking what I saw. I thought the film played very well through the two different time periods where everything comes together in the end which is the reward for sticking with it. Pedro Almodovar wrote and directed this film and Homar and Cruz were very good in their roles. ” - shaun2000us
 
3.
Creation (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Torn between faith and science, and suffering hallucinations, English naturalist Charles Darwin struggles to complete 'On the Origin of Species' and maintain his relationship with his wife. (108 mins.)
Director: Jon Amiel
“ Creation (2009): This is one of Travis' selections for the Co-Op film series selection which is a biopic on the very controversial Charles Darwin and the events that lead up to his very famous book THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES. This was a BBC film so made in Britain and when first hearing of this, I could not figure out why I had never heard of this when it had some pretty high-profile actors like Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as well as being a pretty recent film. I then learned through Travis that this was movie had a pretty limited distribution in the states. In England, they are more comfortable with the theory of evolution whereas here in the United States of America, we tend to dismiss these ideas that were not based upon religion. Okay, so now let's get to the movie at hand. Paul Bettany stars as Charles Darwin while Jennifer Connelly stars as his wife Emma Darwin. Charles struggles with his beliefs and is made more difficult with his wife's very strong beliefs even bringing about bouts of insanity for Charles with some strange dream sequences. Martha West co-stars as their eldest daughter Annie who is very close with his father and part of the events that happen that make Charles want to write his book that he struggles to write because of the lack of religion. Bettany and Connelly worked so well together and is a very good historical portrait of a man who used scientific beliefs but was not necessarily a non-religious person. The young West was also very good as their rather free-spirited 10 year old daughter. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us
 
4.
Demolition Man (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A police officer is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent nemesis who is loose in a non-violent future society. (115 mins.)
Director: Marco Brambilla
“ This is my sci-fi comedy for the week and part one of a two-part Sylvester Stallone series. Stallone stars as a cop named John Spartan and Wesley Snipes is a master criminal named Simon Phoenix. In 1996, Spartan has Phoenix captured and his sentence was to be frozen for many years with the possibility of parole. Spartan is set-up in this time and becomes frozen himself. Many years later in the 21st century, Phoenix is up for a parole hearing but then escapes resuming his life of crime. In this new, world the police force has no idea how to handle him because they have become a world of peace and love but Phoenix is ruining that world. In this world, "dangerous" activities like eating spicy foods and playing football are against the law. Not knowing how to handle him, they decide they must bring Spartan out of his state of being frozen to go against the criminal he helped capture but also ruined his own life. Sandra Bullock, LAW AND ORDER alum Benjamin Bratt, and Denis Leary all co-star. This was a very fun action film to watch if action is what you want which has a great blend of comedy to the future of pop culture like Taco Bell being the big empire of that era. There is also a good title song sung by Sting. Simon Phoenix was declined by the likes of Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal , and Jean-Claude Van Damme, all not wanting to play villains. Look for Jack Black and Jesse Ventura in small roles. ” - shaun2000us
 
5.
Little Dorrit (2008 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father... (30 mins.)
“ This is my mini-series for the week and possibly the first time I have ever used to BBC produced films in one edition. This is a mini-series based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Claire Foy plays the title character of Amy Dorrit whose father was in debtors prison which was a big focus of this film as Dickens' own father spent much of his own life there. Matthew Macfadyen co-stars as Arthur Clennam whose mother Amy is working for and finds that there lives are intertwined. Andy Serkis, most known as Gollum in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, plays the villain Rigaud. This was a pretty good adaptation to the Dickens novel and one of his more unknown ones in today's age but a great rags to riches story that also focuses on greed and betrayal also really emphasizing the debtors prisons. ” - shaun2000us
 
6.
Are You Popular? (1947 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  
The issue of popularity, specifically amongst the high school set, is dramatized. Jerry occasionally goes on dates with Ginny... (10 mins.)
Director: Ted Peshak
“ This is my short film for the week which I found on my Pub-D-Hub app on my Roku player under the educational section. This 10 minute video focuses on high school students and what it takes to be popular. It focuses on one girl trying too hard to be popular and what others are doing to become popular. This is really more entertaining than anything which was meant to be taken seriously but like REEFER MADNESS, it just cannot be taken that seriously. This is very much worth a look. ” - shaun2000us
 
7.
The Last Laugh (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society. (77 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
“ This is my silent film for the week which was directed by F.W. Murnau and stars Emil Jannings. Jannings stars as a doorman and has a great job but is soon replaced and working a more menial job as a restroom attendant and must face the scorn of his family, friends and neighbors. He also struggles to move on with his life. Jannings conveys the character very well and is a great look at human nature. There is also a lot of good camera work for a silent film and only one title card to indicate an end sequence. This movie was made in Germany where movies were forced to have happy endings so Murnau came up with a very sarcastic happy ending. This is a must for silent fans and it holds up very well. ” - shaun2000us
 
8.
The Outlaw (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Western legends Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald. (116 mins.)
Director: Howard Hughes
“ This is my tribute to Jane Russell who recently left us and this is really the movie that introduced the world to Jane Russell. This is my western for the week which is credited as Howard Hughes as the director but it was really Howard Hawks and Jules Furthman who did most of the work. The film centers around Billy the Kid, Doc Holiday, Pat Garrett, and a girl named Rio. Pat Garrett, played by Thomas Mitchell, has become sheriff of Lincoln, New Mexico where Doc Holida, played by Walter Huston, comes into town tracking his stolen horse and finds it was stolen by Billy the Kid, played by Jack Beutal. The two of them soon become friends but also rivals much to the dismay of Garrett and they even fight over a girl. This like my short film was more for the entertainment as this was very inaccurate historically and the dialogue is pretty bad as well but still something that should be viewed and if you get a few friends over, you might be more entertained. I have not found any documented information on Doc Holiday and Billy the Kid having any association but any history buffs out there reading this, feel free to elaborate on this if wanted. Most know the story of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid which is very easy information to find but I'll leave that for you all to look up and not give that away. This movie really paints Pat Garrett into an absolute buffoon which I do not believe he was. Much of the focus is on some pretty suggestive shots at the time for Jane Russell who makes her film debut here. ” - shaun2000us
 
9.
The Ruling Class (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A member of the House of Lords dies, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other, somewhat more respectable, members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensue. (154 mins.)
Director: Peter Medak
“ I found this one on TCM which stars Peter O'Toole as Jack Gurney. When a member of the House of Lords dies, he leaves his estate to his son Jack. The bad part for the more respectable members of the family is that Jack believes he is Jesus Christ and later Jack the Ripper. This is a great social satire that has just about everything, even musical numbers. O'Toole is great as Jack and this film seems to have gone underrated through the years so I hope to get this back on the radar. ” - shaun2000us
 
10.
Return to Macon County (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
In 1958, two teenagers take their pride and joy, a hopped-up Chevy, and start a cross-country journey... (90 mins.)
Director: Richard Compton
“ I found this one on Impact On-Demand which features a very young Nick Nolte and MIAMI VICE alum Don Johnson. They are two buddies who take a hopped-up Chevy and set out to go to California to enter a drag-race competition. They also hook up with a young waitress who quits her job but proves to be a lot of trouble putting a bit of a wedge between them and getting a cop after them. This is mostly of worth to see Nolte and Johnson in their early days. ” - shaun2000us