Top 10 Comic Books That Should Become R-Rated Movies

Alex Maidy and JoBlo.com posted their choices for the Top 10 Comic Books That Should Become R-Rated Movies.  By now you know how this game is played.  Using just their list I present my top three choices…

  • Goon by Eric Powell:  Set in a universe that has all sorts of supernatural monsters and our hero Goon.  Definitely a tongue-in-cheek comic series full of fun.  The Goon was part of a Kickstarter campaign (and I was in!) but a movie hasn’t been made yet.  The promotional video looked great though.

 

  • Pax Romana:  Although I never read this series, I’m going to have to look it up.  Who wouldn’t want to see a “world where The Vatican discovers time travel and sends modern weapons back to Ancient Rome to change the future”?

 

  • Black Widow: A former Russian spy/assassin now in the US.  Think of Atomic Blonde or A Long Kiss Goodnight, now you’re on board, right?

Other series that didn’t make the list but would be excellent candidates:  100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso;  Sleeper by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips; Gravedigger by Chris Mills and Rick Burchett, Polar by Victor Santos and Scout by Tim Truman.

TCM’s Noir Alley!

Film Noir fans are going to love TCM’s Noir Alley.  Each week at 10am Eddie Muller will introduce a classic film noir that will then run on TCM.  Fans will live tweet as enter “a shadowy cinematic world populated by tough guys, femmes fatales and assorted thugs and slugs.”

First up is the Maltese Falcon staring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet in the classic adapted (from Dashiell Hammet’s novel) and directed by John Huston.

Click here for the full TCM Noir Alley schedule.

Child 44 (The Child 44 Trilogy) by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 (The Child 44 Trilogy) by Tom Rob Smith

First sentence…

Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

1953.  Soviet Russia. Leo Demidov, a young decorated war hero, now an idealistic security officer, is beginning to see the hypocrisy of the Soviet government.  Because all are equal there will be no crime.  Murder, especially is a symptom of Western corruption.  Soviet murderers like all criminals must be mentally ill.

When Leo looks into the case of a boy supposedly killed when struck by a train, he discovers the boy may have been murdered by a serial killer of children.  Told to back off, Leo refuses and finds himself at odds with not only his fellow officers but higher ranking Soviet officials.  Soon enough Leo and his wife are under investigation and from there the book really takes off.

To say more would deprive the reader of a great ride.  Child 44 has more twists and turns than any book in recent memory.  Tom Rob Smith has created a page turner that shocks, surprises and thrills.  I loved every page of it and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

 

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Better Dead: A Nathan Heller Thriller by Max Allan Collins

Better Dead: A Nathan Heller Thriller by Max Allan Collins

Publisher: Mysterious Press

First sentence…

I was there when the Commies took over.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

 

Better Dead is actually two interconnected novellas.

In the first Nathan Heller is hired to find evidence to exonerate Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a married couple sentenced to die for providing Russia with secret information on how to build nuclear bombs.  Senator Joe McCarthy, who is leading the hunt for American Commies, wants Heller to serve as a double agent and provide him with whatever information Heller learns about the Rosenbergs.  Before long Heller is on the wrong side of government agents and gangsters and a possible death sentence of his own.

In the second story, Heller learns about government-funded mind control experiments on unknowing subjects from a scientist who has a change of heart.  When the scientist turns up missing, Heller knows that he’s next up unless he can figure a way out.

I’m a huge fan of Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller series.  Heller is a fictional detective who finds himself in the middle of real crimes.  Heller ages as the series progresses and fiction is mixed with extensive research and historical fact.  It’s fun watching Heller interact with famous (and infamous) folks right out of our history books.  Equally enjoyable is Collins’ take on the crimes and what may have really happened (if it is not as we’ve been taught).

In Better Dead Heller interacts with Joe McCarthy, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Roy Cohen, Bettie Page, Bobby Kennedy and others.  I also like that Heller in these outings is a bit more hardboiled.  Perhaps it’s the decade.

Better Dead is another great addition to the Nate Heller legacy.  I’m hoping for more!

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“Reservoir Dogs” Trivia from Quentin Tarantino

Matt Hoffman and Film School Rejects present What We Learned While Revisiting Reservoir Dogs with Quentin Tarantino.  Here are two of my favorite things…

Tarantino learned a lot about his characters when a producer gave him the advice to search for the subtext.
“Just writing down the obvious opened up different avenues, different thoughts, and so you think you’re writing one line and you write three, or four, and all of a sudden I started realizing, ‘Oh wow, this is kind of a father-son story.’ “Isn’t it interesting that throughout the whole piece Mr. White keeps telling Mr. Orange ‘Wait for Joe, wait for Joe and when Joe gets here he’s going to take care of everything.” Well when Joe gets there he’s come to kill Mr. Orange. And the whole interesting thing at the end, which I hadn’t thought about frankly, which is that Mr. White is kind of almost a de facto son character for Joe, and Mr. Orange has become a de facto son character for Mr. White. At the end, Mr. White has to choose between his father and his son and he chooses his son but he’s wrong, but he’s wrong for all the right reasons. All that kind of started coming to me. So I finished it and I go, ‘Oh wow, that was a really interesting exercise…I never want to do this ever again.’

Working with Lawrence Tierney (Joe) was a nightmare.
“The worst moment on set was the last ten minutes of the last day of the first week we were shooting. Me and Larry got into a fist fight. It was more of a shoving match frankly. Harvey Keitel and Lawrence [Bender] broke it up. I fired Larry in front of everybody, the crew applauded because they’d hated him. Harvey told us to settle down and then he ran out and then Larry ran out. I took a walk around the trucks. I’d done nothing but shoot Lawrence Tierney all week long, so if I wanted to get fired, I’m going to get fired because they’re going to keep Larry. We have a week’s worth of footage. But I wasn’t going to put up with his ****. So I’m literally walking around the trailers thinking, “Well okay, you wanted to know how it’s going to end well it’s going to end this way. I guess it was nice while it lasted but I guess you’re not going to put up with ****, you’re going to go back to the video store but you’re not going to put up with ****. Aren’t you the smart guy?”

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Director: Chad Stahelski

Screenplay: Derek Kolstad

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan and David Patrick Kelly.


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a sequel!”

Tagline: None

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

John Wick [Reeves] is still grieving the death of his wife when Santino D’Antonio shows up. D’Antonio expects Wick to fulfill a blood oath made when Wick was still in the business.  Wick plans to complete the hit and once again leave the life.  Instead Wick learns that D’Antonio has placed an open contract on him!

If you liked John Wick, you’ll dig Chapter 2.  Bring on Chapter 3!

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John Wick (2014)

John Wick (2014)

Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch (uncredited)

Screenplay: Derek Kolstad

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Keith Jardine and Kevin Nash.


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make an action movie that takes it to the next level!”

Tagline: Don’t Set Him Off!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

John Wick [Reeves] is grieving the death of his wife.  A chance meeting with Iosef Tarasov, the privileged son of a Russian mobster, leads to  Tarasov and some of his thugs breaking into Wick’s house, beating him badly, killing his dog and stealing his prized vintage Mustang.

Tarasov learns way to late that Wick is a legendary retired hit man.  And now Wick is coming for revenge.

Chad Stahelski, David Leitch, Derek Kolstad and Keanu Reeves have created a unique world that is just slightly different from the one we live in.  It feels real.  Each character has a backstory that is told without it feeling like backstory.  The action is amazing.  I loved this movie and want more!!

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“The Big Sleep” Character Connections Score Card

The Big Sleep is a classic adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name.  There’s so much going on on-screen and off with so many twists and character interactions you can enjoy the ride without getting all of the details.  And don’t feel bad if you don’t.  Even the actors and film makers weren’t sure who committed one of the murders!

TATJANA SL has provided us a score card to keep track of all the characters and their relationships.

Amazing “John Wick: Chapter 2” Poster by Denys Cowan, Bill Sinkiewicz and Elizabeth Breitweiser

“Yeah.  I’m thinkin’…” this is the poster that they should have used for John Wick: Chapter 2.

I am so diggin’ this poster by Denys Cowan, Bill Sinkiewicz and Elizabeth Breitweiser.  As I was looking up the artist links I came across the slightly different version of the poster below.

Chef’s choice.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Director: John Huston

Screenplay: Ben Maddow and John Huston from a novel by W.R. Burnett 

Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marc Lawrence, Barry Kelley, Anthony Caruso and Marilyn Monroe.

The Pitch: “Hey, John Huston wants to make The Asphalt Jungle!”

Tagline: The City Under the City

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ex-con,  “Doc” Riedenschneider (Jaffe) brings together a team for a $750,000 heist.  Even though the job goes sideways, they get away with the money.  Then the double-crosses start.

Marilyn Monroe has a bit part — she wasn’t even listed in movie poster credits on the film’s initial release — but she made such an impact future posters featured her prominently.  The Asphalt Jungle made Marilyn a star!

John Huston with another classic!

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Thinner (1996)

Thinner (1996)

Director: Tom Holland

Screenplay: Michael McDowell  and Tom Holland

Stars: Robert John Burke, Lucinda Jenney, Bethany Joy Lenz, Howard Erskine, Joe Mantegna and Stephen King.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Thinner.”

Tagline: Let The Curse Fit The Crime.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When an obsese small town attorney accidentally runs over a gypsy woman, his friends (a judge and town cop) set things up to get him off without a charge.  The gypsy leader then places a curse on the three men that will leave them dead after suffering horribly.

My problem with Thinner is that there is no one to root for.  All of the leads are bad people. The lawyer, his wife, his friends — even the gypsies.   Also about three quarters in the film changes into an action/revenge movie with lots of shooting and blowing up things… but since you don’t know or care about the characters…

An somewhat interesting misfire…

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