Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 402nd Edition

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1.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The Batman has returned after a 10-year absence. The Gotham authorities want to arrest him. An old foe wants a reunion. The Feds want the Man of Tomorrow to put a stop to him. (76 mins.)
Director: Jay Oliva
“ I start the week out with this animated superhero movie and is the sequel based on the graphic novel from Frank Miller. I am usually not that quick to get to a sequel but after featuring the first one maybe a month ago, I was hooked on this dark portrayal and decided to take a look at this one. In the first one, we find Bruce Wayne, voiced by Peter Weller, who has retired from the superhero game but feels the need to return even in his older age but has a mixed reaction from the public. He is soon joined by Carrie Kelly, voiced by Ariel Winter, who takes it upon herself to become the new Robin and is a pretty good character. In this sequel, Commissioner James Gordon, voiced by David Selby, is retiring and is being replaced by Ellen Yindel, voiced by Maria Canals-Barrera, who declares Batman as a fugitive. Batman must deal with the Joker, voiced by LOST alum Michael Emerson, who has just gotten out of Arkham Asylum and immediately returns to his old ways. Batman's other issue is dealing with Superman, voiced by BOSTON LEGAL alum Mark Valley, who now works for the government and is being sent to apprehend Batman. Other characters include an aging Selina Kyle who in the past was Catwoman and Oliver Queen who was the Green Arrow. Oliver forms an alliance with Batman and have some good interactions in their reflections of the past. I always like a dark take to Batman and this really does it for me. There is also quite a battle with Superman and I always hear people say Superman would always win. While Batman has no special powers, he is still very resourceful and turns into a really good fight between the two. The only problem that I have is with Emerson as the Joker. I have nothing against him and like him as an actor and I'm not even saying he was bad as the voice. It is just not the same as Mark Hamill's voice as the joker. Other than that, I really enjoyed this animated series. ” - shaun2000us
 
2.
Cinema Verite (2011 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the first American family to be the subjects of a reality TV show. (86 mins.)
“ This is part four of my tribute series to James Gandolfini. This is a behind the scenes look at the 70s PBS series AN AMERICAN FAMILY which is considered to be the first reality tv show. Diane Lane stars as Pat Loud, who is the matriarch of the family and one that producer Craig Gilbert, played by Gandofini, takes an interest for his idea for what would soon be known as reality tv. Gilbert found this to be a hard sell to the board of PBS who did not know how watchable this would be but finally gave the green light to get it going after the family accepts not really knowing what they are getting into. The camera begins to bring out many secrets like her swinger husband Bill, played by Tim Robbins, and their gay son Lance, played by Thomas Dekker, who makes it very obvious. Patrick Fugit, Kaitlyn Dever, Kathleen Quinlan, and Lolita Davidovich co-star in this HBO original movie. Gandolfini was really good as Gilbert who at first has pretty good intentions but then just wants ratings. Lane is also good as Pat who tries to keep her family together as she begins to question her decision. This is an interesting look into the start of reality tv which we all know is at a big rise no matter how much we may like or hate it. ” - shaun2000us
 
3.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Set in Cincinnati at the height of the Great Depression, Kit Kittredge, a resourceful young girl, helps her mother run a boardinghouse after her father loses his job. (101 mins.)
Director: Patricia Rozema
“ I now bring a more family oriented selection. This takes place in Cincinnati in the great depression which stars Abigail Breslin as the title character who is an aspiring reporter and must deal with the struggle of the depression. Julia Ormond co-stars as her mother Margaret who must turn the house into a boardinghouse so that they can make more money and help others who are staying with them. Chris O'Donnell co-stars as her father Jack who has lost his job. Jane Krakowski, Wallace Shawn, Joan Cusack, Max Thierot, Willow Smith, Glenne Headly, Colin Mochrie, and Stanley Tucci co-star in this movie. The main plot consists of a chest full of money and other belongings that is stolen and the suspect is a homeless person named Will, played by Thierot, who is a homeless teen doing yardwork for the family in return for food. Kit refuses to believe that he would do this and starts her own investigation. This has a really good variety of characters and is a really good look into the depression which really affected just about all walks of life. It is also interesting how everyone looks down on "hobos" and no matter what happens they are the ones to blame. I also liked the element of everyone working together in order to survive. Breslin is also very good as the title character who can serve as an inspiration to other children. She is someone who is very loyal and goes after what she wants like never giving up in getting an article published in the local newspaper no matter how much she is looked down upon due to her age. The American Girl series started out with a series of dolls and books from the perspective of girls 9-11 varying in ethnicity and other things which deal with very significant topics that can be understood from a young audience. There are a few direct to video movies but this is the first theatrical one and would be very good for a family to watch. ” - shaun2000us
 
4.
Two Gun Goofy (1952 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Bandit Pistol Pete enters a lawless western town and robs a bank. The town is in desperate need of a sheriff... (7 mins.)
Director: Jack Kinney
“ This is my animated short for the week which features Disney's Goofy. This is a western parody in which a bandit dog named Pistol Pete is running roughshot in a lawless town until Goofy enters the picture and unintentionally foils Pistol Pete's plans. This is some good classic Disney fun and has some pretty funny moments in it. You can find this on DVD on The Complete Goofy put out by Disney. ” - shaun2000us
 
5.
Bullets or Ballots (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him... (82 mins.)
“ I now bring a Warner Brothers gangster film. Edward G. Robinson stars as detective Johnny Blake who soon gets screwed out of his job when Captain Don McLaren, played by Joe King, becomes police commissioner. He soon joins the mob who is headed by notorious mobster Al Kruger, played by Barton MacLane. Humphrey Bogart co-stars as the more villainous mobster of "Bugs" Fenner who does not buy into Blake. I liked in the beginning how Al and Bugs go to the movie theater knowing there were propaganda shorts about mobsters and how they are bad for society. Joan Blondell co-stars as Lee Morgan who is trying to maintain her numbers game. Louise Beavers also co-stars and has a very well-developed black character for the time who went beyond the usual servants they would usually portray. This is a classic gangster film that is packed with some pretty good action with good performances and a good story. I will leave it at this so that I don't give too much away. This is based some on real events like Al Kruger is based on Dutch Schultz and Bogart is based on "Lucky" Luciano though keep in mind they are more character inspirations than actual portrayals of the people. ” - shaun2000us
 
6.
Laserblast (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.5/10 X  
A teenager stumbles upon an alien weapon, which transforms him into a grotesque killer. (85 mins.)
Director: Michael Rae
“ This is more my "so bad, it's good" movie for the week which was viewed through an episode of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. Kim Milford stars as Billy Duncan who is a teenager who stumbles upon a high-tech laser gun and decides to take revenge on those he feels wronged him. One thing I found interesting was how Billy was made fun of people who seemed even dorkier than him. One good element was the stop-motion animation of the aliens, otherwise it had to be enjoyed for how bad it was. Gianni Russo, Roddy McDowell, and Keenan Wynn all co-star in this movie. I liked how in the episode there were jokes about Leonard Maltin's 2 and a half star review and comparing other movies that were better that he gave the same rating. This would be one to bring over some friends and maybe make your own MST3K version or just watch it that way. ” - shaun2000us
 
7.
Apocalypto (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw, a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate. (139 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
“ Mel Gibson directed and co-wrote this film along with Farhad Safinia. This takes place in the Mayan era. Rudy Youngblood stars as Jaguar Paw who along with his tribe are captured for sacrifice while his own wife and son are trying to survive their own situation. He soon makes a daring escape and sets out to find his wife and son. Gibson and Safinia did a lot of research on the Maya civilization before bringing this to life. The costumes and the set were very realistic. I liked that Gibson did not cast a bunch of stars but real-life Mayan people who have not acted but provide authenticity. It also has the movie in Yucatec Maya language to add more realism to the film. I liked that the movie started out with a rather laid back tribe who is portrayed just like any family having its ups and downs. They were then invaded by a far more barbaric tribe. It is very violent but it is realistic and even inspirational. I really do not care about all of Mel Gibson's rants when he can put out a movie like this one. ” - shaun2000us
 
8.
Raw Deal (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Joe Sullivan has taken the rap for Rick who double-crosses him with a flawed escape plan and other means intended to get rid of him. (79 mins.)
Director: Anthony Mann
“ This is my film noir for the week. Dennis O'Keefe stars as Joe Sullivan who is in prison because he took the rap for Rick, played by Raymond Burr, and looks to escape. Rick soon arranges for an escape believing he will not be successful and either get shot or locked up even longer. He then gets further with a love struck girl named Pat, played by Claire Trevor and his sympathetic case worker Ann, played by Marsha Hunt. Once this happens, we know that a showdown is set to happen. While they are in the car, they do not get along very well making things difficult for Joe. There is some very interesting voiceovers from Trevor. There is also that really good tension between the two women who vie for his affections. This has many good elements and I am so glad that Instant Netflix really emphasizes this genre. ” - shaun2000us
 
9.
The Jerk (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis. (94 mins.)
Director: Carl Reiner
“ Carl Reiner directed this rags to riches back to rags comedy that stars Steve Martin in his film debut and a very good one. Martin stars as the very naive Navin who has grown up in Mississippi with a poor but very loving black family. He soon learns he was adopted and decides he wants to see what else is out there which I never really realized this but it's really the plot element of ELF. Navin soon sets out for St. Louis and is taken advantage for his naivety but a simple invention earns him fortune. Bernadette Peters, Mabel King, Catlin Adams, Bill Macy, M. Emmet Walsh, Dick O'Neil, and Maurice Evans all co-star in this comedy. Martin was so perfectly cast in this film and even co-wrote the film. This is available on Instant Netflix and is a great comedy for the adults. ” - shaun2000us
 
10.
High Art (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young female intern at a small magazine company becomes involved with a drug-addicted lesbian photographer, both of whom seek to exploit each other for their respective careers, while slowly falling in love with each other. (101 mins.)
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
“ I now end with this independent film written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Radha Mitchell stars as Syd who is an assistant editor for a magazine. She then must go to the apartment above her and meets photographer Lucy Berliner, played by Brat Pack alum Ally Sheedy, who is a drug addict and lesbian and has not worked in photography in years. Syd soon sees some of her work and takes a liking to the work as well as becoming intrigued by her world. She looks to get Lucy involved with the magazine while also falling in love with her. Patricia Clarkson also co-stars as Greta and very good in her role. Sheedy also does very good as Lucy. This was a pretty well-done independent film with good performances and a good plot. This is available on Instant Netflix. ” - shaun2000us