Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 328th Edition

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1.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (154 mins.)
“ I start the week with this very violent Oscar-winning film that was directed by Quentin Tarantino that made him into the known director he is today. This is a film in which there are four different stories that are woven together and jump around a lot. We start with Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer who are at a cafe and plotting a robbery of the cafe. John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson star as hitmen Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield who are hired by Marsellus Wallace, played by Ving Rhames, to retrieve a briefcase which is stolen. Wallace also hires Vincent to take his wife Mia, played by Uma Thurman, out for a few days while he is out of town. Bruce Willis plays a boxer named Butch who is paid by Marsellus Wallace to throw a fight. Willis was great in his supporting role. All these set off some very compelling scenes and some great dialogue. This was considered a comeback film for John Travolta. I feel this was really star-making roles for people like Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and Ving Rhames. Many others make cameos like Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, and many others. Tarantino's debut feature was in 1992 with RESERVOIR DOGS in which I like better but this film is really what got exposure to the 1992 film. Tarantino also has a great way with the soundtrack and always knows when to put a song into a film. This is one that many will love but many will absolutely hate. You will need to pay attention to the film closely to understand the out of order timeline because I know that is some people's problem. Others might have issues with the violence and language. No matter what one might thinks, there will be many scenes and many lines that will stay with them forever. ” - shaun2000us
 
2.
The Descendants (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident. (115 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ This might be a record for me. I have featured a film from the movie theaters for three weeks in a row. Before this I used HUGO and THE ARTIST and while this one did not quite top those two for me, this one still stands very tall. Alexander Payne wrote and directed this Oscar nominated film. ER alum George Clooney stars as Hawaiian land baron Matt King whose wife is in a coma after a boating accident. He soon learns after that his wife was having an affair. In this, he becomes a single father with two daughters who he must reconnect with, especially his older daughter Alexandra, played very well by Shailene Woodley. Amara Miller also does good as the younger sister Scottie. Matt soon learns who was having an affair and decides to go from Oahu to Kauai to confront him along with the two daughters and Alexandra's pothead friend Sid, played by Nick Krause. What really drives this movie is the characters and the relationship between him and his daughters where he must adjust to being a single father. Beau Bridges has a small part as Matt's cousin Hugh. Robert Forster has a small part as Matt's father-in-law who seems to always blame Matt for what happened to his daughter. George Clooney was great in this film and was worth the theater price for me. This is a great portrait of a dysfunctional family. I also liked hearing Clooney narrate in the beginning and let know that his life in Hawaii is not that much different that anyone else. They also put town images that are not so beautiful which was also quite good. I am not sure how much longer my theater phase will last. ” - shaun2000us
 
3.
The Burning Plain (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A drama with a two-tiered storyline concerning a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman's difficult childhood. (107 mins.)
“ Like my first selection, this movie has multiple storylines which all come together. Kim Basinger co-stars as Gina who is married with some kids but soon has an affair. Charlize Theron plays Sylvia, a restaurant manager whose past comes to haunt her. I really feel if I go any further into the plot that I will just give it away. This is a pretty easy to follow as long as you stick to it. I really did not know what to expect but ended up really enjoying this film of betrayal and redemption. Robin Tunney, John Corbett, and Joaquim de Almeida co-star in this film. Corbett seems a little darker than usual as he usually plays real laid-back characters. This movie is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us
 
4.
The Great Train Robbery (1903 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels. (11 mins.)
“ This is my short film for the week and decided to feature this after the last couple weeks of including films that pay homage to early cinema to use one of the most significant films from that era. This is credited to being one of the first westerns and is a twelve minute film which was probably more feature length at the time. This short movie shows a group of train robbers and the sheriff's posse out to stop them. Edwin Porter is the director and did a lot of films in that era and the star is Brocho Billy Anderson who was one of the bandits. When this movie was first shown, there was a gunshot fired at the camera and audiences reacted in panic not knowing where it was coming from. This was actually produced at Thomas Edison's studio in New Jersey. This is one of the earliest surviving films which is available on the Pub-D-Hub app on my Roku player but it also many other silent films as I learned for all the silent film buffs. ” - shaun2000us
 
5.
Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Monsieur Hulot comes to a beachside hotel for a vacation, where he accidentally (but good-naturedly) causes havoc. (114 mins.)
Director: Jacques Tati
“ This is my French film for the week which was directed and co-written by Jacques Tati. Tati also stars as the title character who is on a vacation at a seaside resort where accidents and misgivings follow him wherever he goes. He always has good intentions but something goes quite awry. Now this is a slapstick comedy and is very fun. The dialogue is a bit limited and is more focused on the situations. It is also a very light-hearted comedy that anyone can enjoy as long as you tolerate subtitles. This is a character that Tati has played more than once and this is the first one. ” - shaun2000us
 
6.
The Front Page (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence. (105 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ This is the third time that Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau have teamed up. In this movie they play people who work for a newspaper. Matthau plays the editor Walter Burns and Lemmon plays his top reporter Hildy Johnson. Hildy is just about to quit the paper and get married but burns does what he can to keep him on board to cover an execution of a man who killed a cop. Hildy does stay on board to help cover the case but finds there is a lot more to it and there may be corruption. A young Susan Sarandon plays Jack's fiancee in this film who is trying to get him out of Chicago so they can move to Philadelphia. Carol Burnett has an interesting part as Mollie Malloy who is in loved with the condemned prisoner and actually has a more serious part than usual. Billy Wilder directed this comedy and the leads work well together like always. It is said that Wilder, Lemmon, and Matthau did not get along and at the time they would never work together again. This movie is available on Instant Netflix and I hope to put this back on the radar. ” - shaun2000us
 
7.
Illusion (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Set in Philippine post-American colonialist era, where the American influence was still apparent, Ilusyon tells the story of Miguel... (100 mins.)
“ Michael A. Goorjian directed, co-wrote, and co-starred in this independent film which stars Kirk Douglas as an aging filmmaker named Donald Baines who was on top of the world in the Golden Age of Hollywood but is now bed-ridden and near the end of his life. He soon slips into a dream where he in a movie theater and sees three films of his estranged son in three parts of his life where he pursues his love Isabelle. He also sees through these videos that his son has lead a hard life. It has interesting references that our lives parallel film and real-life and how in life, the plot says pretty much the same. Douglas conveys this part very well but clearly has trouble speaking. He does still do a great job. Goorjian clearly put a lot of thought into this film and plays his son. This was announced as his last film but did end up doing a tv movie called EMPIRE STATE BUILDING MURDERS where I heard he has a non-speaking part. This film also has a great conclusion. ” - shaun2000us
 
8.
Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Set to music, a symphony conductor envisions multiple possible scenarios for dealing with his wife's infidelity. (105 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
“ This was Travis' co-op selection for his film series and uses a rare comedy for him to show. Rex Harrison stars as music conductor Sir Alfred de Carter who believes his wife, played by Linda Darnell, is guilty of infidelity. While he is directing a symphony, he imagines situations where she is committing this infidelity which put very good to the classical music. Preston Sturges directed this great comedy which was probably pretty daring at the time. This movie delivers a lot of laughs and most of his crowd for co-op are the young Ball State students who can be impressed by a movie no matter what the age as long as it is good. Harrison was great in his role of the conductor and had some really good fantasy sequences as well as his dealings after the show. Come out to Bracken library on Tuesday at 9 pm to see the 2010 film INCENDIES. ” - shaun2000us
 
9.
The Big Bird Cage (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Grier and Haig are thieving mercenaries who engineer a prison break from the outside. (88 mins.)
Director: Jack Hill
“ This was Travis' co-op selection for his film series and uses a rare comedy for him to show. Rex Harrison stars as music conductor Sir Alfred de Carter who believes his wife, played by Linda Darnell, is guilty of infidelity. While he is directing a symphony, he imagines situations where she is committing this infidelity which put very good to the classical music. Preston Sturges directed this great comedy which was probably pretty daring at the time. This movie delivers a lot of laughs and most of his crowd for co-op are the young Ball State students who can be impressed by a movie no matter what the age as long as it is good. Harrison was great in his role of the conductor and had some really good fantasy sequences as well as his dealings after the show. Come out to Bracken library on Tuesday at 9 pm to see the 2010 film INCENDIES. ” - shaun2000us
 
10.
Cliffhanger (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains. (112 mins.)
Director: Renny Harlin
“ I started this week out with Willis and I end with Stallone. Sylvester Stallone stars as Gabe Walker who returns to his mountain rescue job when a group of people are stranded on an island. They soon realize that this is a group of criminals who are looking for three suitcases full of money and Gabe must soon fight for survival to keep himself and his co-workers alive. John Lithgow leads this group and is very ruthless. He will do just about anything to get what he wants. Michael Rooker co-stars as Hal, who is also a rescue worker who has some bitterness towards Gabe but must put aside his differences for survival. I really liked him in this part where he is more heroic than usual and is very likable. Janine Turner, Caroline Goodall, and Paul Winfield co-star in this film. This movie has some non-stop action but also has a pretty good storyline with a great beginning. This is one of my favorites from Sly. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us