Shaun Berk's 10 movie Recommendations- 371st Edition

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1.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A screen adaptation of Eric Bogosian's one man show, 'Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.' (76 mins.)
Director: Michael Rauch
“ I start the week out with this stand-up act from Bogosian. Bogosian has done acting, writing plays, screenplays, and even novels. He is most known for his play TALK RADIO in which was made into a movie in 1988 in which he stars and a play that I had the honor of co-starring in. He talks about his views on the world, human nature, and even portrays characters like Satan, a Hollywood producer, and a spiritual guru. Bogosian holds nothing back in this act so not for the weak of heart or even people who are very religious. Before watching this, it might be a good idea to research Bogosian a bit and watch a movie or two. ” - shaun2000us
 
2.
Winner Take All (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Young boxer Jim Kane, resting at a New Mexico "health ranch," meets and falls for Peggy Harmon, former nightclub table singer... (66 mins.)
Director: Roy Del Ruth
“ I now go to this older boxing movie. James Cagney stars as boxer Jimmy Kane who wants to help someone raise $600 and takes a tough fight in Tijuana. Marian Nixon co-stars as Peggy who needs that money to save her sick son. Jimmy soon meets Joan who is a far more manipulative woman who temps him in more ways than one. In Cagney's big career, this is by no means one of the best and it follows the better boxing film THE CHAMP that was put out the year before. This was not bad though and was worth a watch and to see Cagney earlier in his career before his big rise. ” - shaun2000us
 
3.
The Efficiency Expert (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An expert on productivity shows wacky workers in 1966 Australia how to run their moccasin factory like clockwork, despite laying off more than half the workforce. (97 mins.)
Director: Mark Joffe
“ This is my Australian movie for the week. Anthony Hopkins stars as the title character named Errol who is assigned to downsize a small-town moccasin factory. Like my last selection, this is not one of the more known movies on his career. He slowly begins to reconsider his plans of downsizing when he gets to know the eccentric people of the factory and take a liking to them. Toni Collette co-stars as factory worker Wendy and a young Russell Crowe co-stars as another one of the workers. This movie does a good job of explaining the human element of a workplace and that money is not always everything. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us
 
4.
The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree (1979 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Papa Bear and the cubs search the woods for the perfect Christmas tree, but run afoul of the woodland animals who live in the trees they aim to cut down. (30 mins.)
“ This is one of my holiday selections and this would be more to watch with the children. This was a series of children's books from Jan and Stan Berenstain which started in the early 60s and have remained very popular through the years going way beyond just children's books. In this tv special, Mama Bear sends Papa Bear and and the two cubs out to get a Christmas Tree. Papa Bear was not satisfied with the one Mama Bear wanted him to get and sets out on a journey for what he would feel would be a better tree. In this journey, they encounter many other critters who are just trying to have their own Christmas and getting a bit disrupted by the bears. This was a pretty good special that is good for the children and has a pretty good message. It may not be a Christmas special just for the adults unless still a big fan of these Bears. ” - shaun2000us
 
5.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. (96 mins.)
Director: George Seaton
“ This is a timeless classic that is for everyone and this year is the 65th Anniversary of the holiday classic. This movie starts out at the Macy's Day parade in which the Santa Claus hired for the parade was quite drunk. Maureen O'Hara stars as Doris Walker who runs the parade and is given word by a person who looks perfect to play the part and hires that person to replace the drunk Santa. Edmund Gwenn plays this person named Kris Kringle who while being Santa in the parade and continuing his job in the mall also claims to be the real thing. Doris has a lot of misgivings on his claims as she lives in a more reality based world and teaches her daughter Susan, played by Natalie Wood, to not believe in anything fantasy or make-believe. Soon, many people including Susan begin to really take to Kris who is a very nice person. John Payne co-stars as good-hearted attorney Fred who bonds with Doris and Susan and tried to get them to not be so serious all the time. Fred takes to Kris the most and soon Kris is committed to a mental ward and put on trial which Fred gladly takes and is determined to prove that he is Santa Claus. This movie does a good job of addressing the commercialism of Christmas without showing it down people's throats. This is a beautiful holiday film that anyone can enjoy. ” - shaun2000us
 
6.
50/50 (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (100 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Levine
“ Jonathan Levine directs this movie based on the screenplay by Will Reiser who based this on his life and his own battle with cancer. Joseph Gordan-Levitt stars as Adam who is a writer of radio-show programs and soon learns of a rare form of cancer in which the title shows the survival rate chances. In this difficult moment, he must also deal with a girlfriend who does not seem to be very supportive, his friend Kyle, a young therapist, and his overprotective mother in which hear learns a lot about the relationships in life and people's different ways of coping. Seth Rogan plays his best friend Kyle who never liked his girlfriend, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, and is determined to get him laid which was his way of helping his friend cope. Anjelica Huston plays his mother who loves him but has a difficult relationship. Anna Kendrick plays his therapist Katherine who also does what she can to help him deal. This is a comedy which deals with the subject in a good way and the humor is just more from the people in his life. Gordon-Levitt is great in his role. Philip Baker Hall co-stars as another cancer patient that Adam bonds with in the film. Rogan is a real-life friend of Reiser who helped him deal with his cancer and suggested writing about it. ” - shaun2000us
 
7.
Whistling in the Dark (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Radio crime show host 'The Fox' along with his fiancée and ex-girlfriend are kidnapped by a larcenous cult who demand that he help them plan a perfect murder. (78 mins.)
Director: S. Sylvan Simon
“ Like my last selection, I bring another comedy dealing with a serious situation. Red Skelton stars as Wally who has a very popular radio show where he plays a sleuth called "The Fox" who helps solve murders. Soon, he is abducted by a crime syndicate who want him to come up with a "perfect" murder for them. They also kidnap his fiancee and ex-girlfriend played by Ann Rutherford and Eve Arden in order for Wally to be more inclined to make the plot. Conrad Veidt co-stars as the head of the syndicate who will stop at nothing to get what he wants and things spin out of control in a great Red Skelton way. I have seen a few of Skelton's movies and so far I find this one is my favorite and a very well-written comedy that might have been a bit daring at the time. This is actually the first of a trilogy and may look to view the others in the future. ” - shaun2000us
 
8.
Little Ashes (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
About the young life and loves of artist Salvador Dalí, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico García Lorca. (112 mins.)
Director: Paul Morrison
“ This is part two of my two-part Robert Pattinson series and last week I used WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. This takes place in 1922 Madrid and based on the lives of artist Salvador Dali, filmmaker Luis Bunuel, and writer/poet Federico Garcia Lorca. The three of them form quite a trio in the country. Pattinson plays Dali who is pulled in by Garcia Lorca, played by Javier Beltran, and they form a relationship. Bunuel, played by Matthew McNulty, decides to leave the oppressive country to go to France to start his successful career as a director. I already had some knowledge towards Garcia Lorca and Bunuel in terms of their work but did not know a lot about Dali. The leads in the film did pretty good despite not being of the race but is not a movie for everyone. It might be good to look into the background of these three people before watching this movie. There is not a lot of plot except just focus on the three historical figures though is still compelling. ” - shaun2000us
 
9.
Watership Down (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren and face many dangers to find and protect their new home. (91 mins.)
Director: Martin Rosen
“ This is a selection from the Random Facebook Selection process and this week I chose Bart and had never heard of this so decided to give it a shot. This is my second animated selection for the week and while the first one was one for the family, this one may not be so much. This is based on a novel by Richard Adams and is about a group of bunnies. So far, this may sound very childlike but it is very far from that. A group of rabbits flee a warren in search for a better place to live. In their journey they face many issues of other animals, humans, and even a very disturbing group of their own kind. This was an obvious statement towards our society and is a very entertaining and well-done animated film. John Hurt, Richard Briers, Denholm Elliot, Zero Mostel, and many others lend their voices. Don't let those drawings of cute bunnies fool you as this movie is quite violent and disturbing but at the same time, quite moving. ” - shaun2000us
 
10.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman. (105 mins.)
Director: Tim Burton
“ This is part one of a Johnny Depp series which has at least two but could have as many as six I end this week with this Tim Burton film and a selection for those who prefer Halloween over Christmas. This is an adaptation of the Washington Irving novel. I will say first that I really don't know anything about this novel and just focused on the movie. Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod Crane who is a detective in the late 1700s who is assigned to investigate murders in a town of the title. Ichabod has some new age beliefs in detective work that are quite ahead of its time. He soon learns that the murders consist of the victims being decapitated and is told by the locals that it is the work of the Headless Horseman. He is at first skeptical but then witnesses it happening and becomes a believer and is determined to stop the murders. Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee and many others co-star in this atmospheric film. I have found that the 90s are my favorite period for the many Burton/Depp collaborations and this was no different. The cinematography worked very well and the action scenes were very good. It also has great use of flashback sequences. I won't give too much away accept that it moves very well and keeps people guessing but is not for everyone's taste if you have a hard time with violence. ” - shaun2000us