Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

Halt Citizen! 15 Facts About “Robocop”

Jake Rossen and Mental_Floss present Halt Citizen! 15 Facts About Robocop. Here are three of my favorites…

7. Weller Refused to Answer to His Real Name.
According to co-star Miguel Ferrer, Weller instructed the producers to issue a memo to the cast and crew advising that no one should refer to him by his real name: he preferred to be called by his character’s name, Murphy, or “Robo.” Ferrer went on to say that, having known Weller for years prior to the film, he enjoyed greeting him with “Hey, Pete.” Weller ignored him.

3. Stan Lee Turned It Down.
In 1984, Neumeier decided to see if he could spin the RoboCop script into a comic book to use as a launching pad for a feature. He ran the idea by Stan Lee; before Lee could commit one way or the other, he and Neumeier attended an early screening of The Terminator, which also had a humanoid as the main character. An impressed Lee told the writer, “Boy, you’re never going to top that!” and passed.

11. Some of the Actors Got Unsolicited Stunt Pay.
Kurtwood Smith and Ray Wise had been standing in such close proximity to a building explosion that the production—without any sense of humor—paid both men for “stunt work,” which amounted to roughly $400 apiece for the scene. But the actors didn’t feel their pay justified the risk to their life: neither was aware the explosion would be that big, and Smith’s coat ended up catching on fire.

Digitally Remastered “Rififi” Heading to Theaters!

The Playlist has news that should make ever fan of crime stories happy…

Rialto Pictures will be bringing the first ever digital restoration of “Rififi” to theaters this fall, and we have the exclusive trailer below. While the film’s setup may be standard —a crew of thieves plot one last job— the execution is anything but. The film’s centerpiece heist sequence, running a half-hour long and presented in nearly complete silence, is still one for the ages and has arguably never been topped. Meanwhile, Dassin brings a coolness of touch and eye for style for elevates “Rififi” far beyond its noir aesthetics.

Hopefully Rififi will show within driving distance!

15 Fateful Facts About “Gilligan’s Island”

Kara Kovalchik and Mental_Floss present 15 Fateful Facts About Gilligan’s Island.   Here are three of my favorites (and this was one of the hardest to get down to top three )…


The pilot for the series was filmed over several days in November of 1963 on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The last day of shooting was scheduled for November 23, 1963 in Honolulu Harbor for the scenes showing the S.S. Minnow embarking on its fateful three-hour tour. Late in the morning on November 22, a crew member ran to the set and announced that he’d just heard on the radio that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. As Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President, it was announced that all military installations (including Honolulu Harbor) would be closed for the next two days as a period of mourning. Filming was delayed by several days as a result, and in the opening credits—as the Minnow cruises the harbor—the American flag can be seen flying at half-mast in the background.

After getting a green light from CBS for the pilot, Schwartz went about assembling his cast. He chose the name of the bumbling first mate—Gilligan—from the Los Angeles telephone directory. Gilligan’s first name was never mentioned during the series, but according to Schwartz’s original notes, it was intended to be “Willy.” Yet Bob Denver always insisted that “Gilligan” was the character’s first name. “Almost every time I see Bob Denver we still argue,” Schwartz once admitted. “He thinks Gilligan is his first name, and I think it’s his last name. Because in the original presentation, it’s Willy Gilligan. But he doesn’t believe it, and he doesn’t want to discuss it. He insists the name is Gilligan.”

All of the actors signed contracts that guaranteed them a certain amount of money per original episode plus a residual payment for the first five repeats of each episode. This was a pretty standard contract in 1965, when as a rule most TV shows were only rerun during the summer months as a placeholder between seasons.

Even though the word “syndication” wasn’t yet a standard term in the TV production glossary, Dawn Wells’ then-husband, talent agent Larry Rosen, advised her to ask for an amendment to that residual clause in her contract, and the producers granted it, never thinking the series would be on the air nearly 50 years later. As a result, the estate of the late Sherwood Schwartz (who reportedly pocketed around $90 million during his lifetime from his little microcosm-on-an-island show) and Dawn Wells are the only two folks connected to the show who still receive money from it.

30 Things We Learned from Tarsem Singh’s “The Cell” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 30 Things We Learned from Tarsem Singh’s The Cell  Commentary

I’ve always thought The Cell was an under-rated film.  Here’s three of my three favorite things learned…

5. Tarsem recalls when Vincent D’Onofrio arrived for lighting tests, “and he came in and he just got into character and he came out with that look, and mmm, just how he moved, how he breathed, his base, just so so perfect throughout.”

13. He recalls a problem with actress Tara Subkoff that bled into her appearance in the film. She was asked if she could swim, and after stumbling briefly she said yes adding “I’m a lifeguard.” Tarsem had already lost the actress he had wanted for the role, and they were nearing the shooting date, so he hired her. “You can lie to a certain extent when somebody says ‘are you a horse rider’ and say yes and then go learn it, but you don’t say you’re a jockey!” He says it ended up being a disaster because he ended up having to do long shots. “I feel no sympathy for the girl when she gets saved in the end, and you can tell because of how I covered her. I just could not get near her.” She couldn’t go in the water without holding her nose, and it resulted in time lost and mounting frustrations. By contrast, the girl playing the bleached corpse, Catherine Sutherland, was great, and he wishes he had switched the two.

15. Peter Sarsgaard makes an uncredited appearance in the film, and Tarsem says he wishes he had more for him to do. “That guy is a great actor.”


Free Preview of Gravedigger #1 by Chris Mills and Rick Burchett

Long time readers will know how much I love the Gravedigger crime comics created by Chris Mills [writer] and Rick Burchett [artist].  Hard to believe I’ve been talking Gravedigger up for over a decade.

The great news is that Gravedigger is back in print and the first issue is available now.  If my hyping it hasn’t been enough to get you to spring for one of the best crime comics going, then maybe the preview of the first issue provided by TMStash will.

Before you click over, know that the comic contains explicit language and bad guy-on-bad guy violence.  Oh, and there’s a thug in there named Zablo but I’m sure any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

TMStash preview of Gravedigger #1.