Miami Blues (1990) / Z-View

Miami Blues (1990)

Director:  George Armitage

Screenplay:  George Armitage from a novel by  Charles Willeford

Stars:   Fred Ward, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Charles Napier and Paul Gleason.

The Pitch: “How about a crime movie based in Miami?”

Tagline: “Real badge. Real gun. Fake cop.”


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ex-con, Frederick J. Frenger Jr. [Baldwin] heads to Miami for a fresh start.  A fresh start means stealing and conning.  When Frenger ends up with a cop’s gun and badge, he finds that it makes stealing and conning easier.  The cop [Ward] makes it his life’s mission to track down the thief using his identity.  Oh, and there’s a sweet prostitute [Leigh], too.


High Sierra (1941) / Z-View

High Sierra (1941)

Director:  Raoul Walsh

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

Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis, Henry Hull and Cornell Wilde.

The Pitch: “Raoul Walsh. John Huston. WR Burnett. Ida Lupino. Bogart.”

Tagline: “The Blazing Mountain Manhunt for Killer ‘Mad-Dog’ Earle!”


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Roy Earl [Bogart] an infamous bank robber [think Dillinger] is sprung from prison by an old crime boss who wants Earl for a big robbery.  Obligated for his freedom, Earl drives west to check out the set up.

Once he meets up with his old boss, Earl discovers the robbery plan is good and the money is right, but his partners are young, inexperienced thugs looking to make a name for themselves… plus they have a woman [Lupino] with them and everyone knows women weaken legs and crime plans don’t work out.

Before it is over there will be a robbery, people killed, double-crosses and a manhunt for the “Mad Dog Killer” Roy Earl.



EW’s First Look at Pennywise from “It”

Image Credit: Marco Grob

Entertainment Weekly provides a first (and much bigger look) at Pennywise from director Andrés Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel, It.

I like the look of Pennywise and the creepiness of the photo.  The bar has been raised, now it is up to the movie to meet or exceed expectations.

Bob Peak Takes Sly to “Paradise Alley”

The drawings above are of Sly from Paradise Alley and were created by the legendary Bob Peak.  The sketches appear in The Drawings of Bob Peak.  The book was offered through a successful Kickstarter campaign and I can’t wait to get mine.

If you missed the Kickstarter for The Drawings of Bob Peak, you can still order a copy from The Art of Bob Peak website.

Source: Thomas Peak.

Tarzan of the Movies: Ranking the Lord of the Jungle’s Greatest Films

Tarzan by Rafael Kayanan

Tarzan has appeared in more than sixty films played by over twenty actors since making his first appearance on the big screen.  When I think of Tarzan, the first actor that comes to my mind is Johnny Weissmuller.  Of course I grew up watching Weissmuller Tarzan movies.

Over the years, I’ve seen and enjoyed many other Tarzan portrayals including those by Lex Barker, Gordon Scott, Denny Miller, Jock Mahoney, Mike Henry, Ron Ely, Miles O’Keefe and Christopher Lambert.

When I think of Tarzan movies, again, it is the Weissmuller ones that come to mind. Other versions remind me of Hercules of the Jungle, Tarzan as James Bond, Tarzan has to be here so we can justify Bo Derek as Jane, etc.

Tarzan expert Ron Marz selects his favorite Tarzan flicks in Tarzan of the Movies: Ranking the Lord of the Jungle’s Greatest Films.

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry

What do you do when the power goes off?


  • Terrorists have acquired a terrible new weapon that can crash the power grid and plunge America into a new dark age. A coordinated attack is planned to shut out all lights and emergency services to ten major cities. Planes will fall, hospitals will go dark, no help will come.
  • And in that terrible darkness, a dreadful plague will be released. If the lights go off, nothing can stop the bioweapon from killing millions.
  • At the same time, the intelligence services are being torn apart from within by a plague of betrayal, murder, and suicide. Even the Department of Military Sciences is stumbling in its response to the growing threat.
  • Time is running out, and Joe is being hunted by a terrifying new kind of assassin. A team of remote viewers have the ability to take over any person and turn ordinary citizens into killers. Where can you turn when there’s nobody left to trust?
  • Joe Ledger faces his deadliest challenge as friends and allies become enemies and all of the lights begin to go out…

Maberry puts the DMS in the worst place yet against perhaps their toughest adversaries.  The clock is ticking down to an bio-weapon attack on ten cities.  The terrorists have the ability to take over the minds of anyone to do their bidding and the DMS has been ordered to stand down by the President.

You know that’s not going to happen.  Sadly people we have grown to know and care for are going to die trying to save our country.  Maberry creates characters that feel real so when we lose them (and we do throughout the course of the series) it hurts.

Kill Switch mixes just the right amount of actions (tons), suspense (much), and humor (as needed) to propel you to the bloody climax.  I can’t wait for Ledger’s next mission!

HeroesCon 2016 / Z-View

HeroesCon 2016 was, as are all HeroesCons, a blast.  Read on and I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Pre-Show:

Doralya and I left Thursday morning.  Several of our friends were going up early and so we decided to meet them for dinner the night before the show.  We met at Merts Heart and Soul.  By we, I mean Doralya, John Beatty, Little John and his bride Patricia, Mike Cross, Richard Cox and his wife.  The food was good, but the company was even better.

The Convention Hotels:

This was the first year that we stayed at two hotels.  Usually we can either be found at the Westin or the Hampton Inn Charlotte – Uptown.  This year, depending on the night we could be found at either.  When we decided to go up early the Westin (our main hotel that we had already booked for the con) couldn’t fit us in.  Thankfully, the Hampton came through.


  • Hung with John Beatty at his table on and off throughout the con.  Joined by Doralya, Little John & Patricia and Mike Cross while John sketched in his room on Friday.  A lot of laughs.
  • Went to the start of the HeroesCon auction.  Saw a lot of nice art.  Happy that Little John won a few pieces!  It was cool seeing DMC from RUN DMC take the podium and get the crowd rocking.
  • Even cooler meeting DMC in the hotel gift shop later that night.  What a nice celeb!  Very gracious and willing to pose for photos.


  • Picked up HeroesCon Black Panther by Brian Stelffreeze t-shirts for me, John Higashi, The James and one of his friends.
  • Picked up sketches from Mike Torrance: 1] Jack Carter and Lono from 100 Bullets, 2] Jack Carter and Marv from Sin City, 3] The Specialist Card, 4] Capone (Sly as Frank Nitti) Card and two Sly Artist’s Choice Cards.  Mike came through like a champ and selected Rocky from Creed and Judge Dredd for the Artist’s choice cards.
  • Picked up Jack Carter sketch from Uko Smith.  Iconic.  Second year in a row for an Uko piece!
  • Picked up Jack Carter and Lono piece from Megan Levens.  First time commission from Megan but will not be the last.
  • Picked up Bullet to the Head mugshot by Dave Wachter.  The HeroesCon/Dave Wachter sketch streak stays alive.
  • Picked up Rocky sketch by Shamus Murphy.  Dug it so much, I went back for a bigger sketch by Shamus and he came through with Sly as Jack Carter.
  • Saw Casey Jones, who was drawing for Heroes Initiative, and was able to serve as the middle man to get John Higashi the Audrey Hepburn piece he wanted.
  • Commissioned and got a head sketch from Joe Delgatta.  I love Joe’s art and the Cobra sketch he did for me is a real highlight!
  • Met Reid Beaman and got a Jack Carter sketch from him.
  • Met (after many mail commissions) Thomas Boatwright and got a Rocky and Apollo watercolor sketch from him.
  • After hearing Little John talk about a sketch he got of Gargoyle on Batman on a Gargoyle all weekend, I got Chris Flick to do a Rocky with arms raised in victory on a gargoyle.


  • Danniel Warren Johnson – my Space Mullet trade.  So happy for his success!
  • Eric Bonhomme – his pinup in my The Package trade
  • Vanessa Del Rey – my Hit 1955 and Hit 1957 trades
  • James Harren – my Rumble 1 and 2 trades
  • Jason LaTour – his new sketchbook, my Noche Roja hardcover, my Southern Bastards 1 hardcover, and my HeroesCon 2016 Southern Bastards print.


  • The Inkwell Awards (and keeping with tradition, LittleJohn312 and Patricia joined me — or did I join them?) were fun. It is always great to see deserving artists receive recognition.  It’s even better when Steranko is the keynote speaker!
  • Went to the Drink & Draw at Buffalo Wild Wings on Friday.  Got a Chris Flick Sly from Rhinestone sketch.
  • Crime Panel – Joe Rauch talked crime/noir comics, tv and movies with Justin Greenwood (The Fuse), John Lees (And Then Emily was Gone), Rich Tommaso (Dark Corridor), Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes).

The biggest surprise is that we only ate at Fuel once. It was good to keep that tradition alive, but not over do it.

In closing:

HeroesCon this year was huge. The wider aisles made movement easier. There were also additional sections this year with chairs and tables for con guests to sit, eat and visit.

Seeing old friends and meeting new ones is always a fun part of the show. I won’t try to list them all because invariably I would leave some out.

This year I was able to talk Doralya into coming into the show on Sunday. We walked the floor and met a lot of artists (new and old friends).

Thanks to Shelton and his crew for another great HeroesCon — see everyone next year!

12 Facts About “The Outsiders” That Will Stay Gold

Jake Rose and Mental_Floss present 12 Facts About The Outsiders That Will Stay Gold.  Here are three of my favorites…

S.E. Hinton was Susan Eloise Hinton, a 15-year-old high school student in Tulsa who had grown bored with the trite plots of books targeted to her demographic. “Mary Jane wants to go to the prom with the football hero … didn’t ring true to my life,” Hinton told The New Yorkerin 2014. So she decided to write a more authentic look at teenage struggles. When she finished, she handed the manuscript to a friend’s mother, who had contacts at a book agent in New York. Editors suggested she go by “S.E.” so readers could infer a male author was responsible for the testosterone-heavy characters. It has sold more than 14 million copies.

In The Outsiders, the Curtis boys are part of a clique of “Greasers,” lower-income Tulsa residents in perpetual conflict with the socials, or “Socs,” the sweater-sporting affluent kids. To perpetuate that rift, Coppola divided the actors in Tulsa according to their fictional social status: the Socs got better rooms, more spending money, free room service, and leather-bound scripts.

Although Coppola’s production company, Zoetrope, was so low on funds at the time of optioning The Outsiders that they could pay Hinton only $500 of her $5000 rights fee, the author was friendly with the director and agreed to shoot a cameo. Hinton appears in the scene where Dallas (Matt Dillon) is being looked after by a nurse. Hinton also had cameos in other adaptations of her work, including 1983’s Rumble Fish (which Coppola also directed) and 1982’s Tex.

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Notebook

I can’t imagine a book that movie fans will want more than Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Notebook.

When Coppola realized that he would direct The Godfather, he re-read Mario Puzo’s novel and made important notations right on the book’s pages. Check out the example below or better yet, click here, to see a full-size version.

The notations would be Coppola’s road map to make The Godfather and he considered them as important as the screenplay.  Coppola explains his process and importance of making his Godfather Notebook in the video below.

The Godfather Notebook will reprint Francis Ford Coppola’s notes and annotations on The Godfather novel by Mario Puzo.  I can’t wait to get my mits on a copy.  “Leave the gun, and take the cannoli… and The Godfather Notebook.”

16 Things You Might Not Know About Rambo

Sean Hutchinson and Mental_Floss present 16 Things You Might Not Know About Rambo.  Here are three of my favorites…

Despite his notorious reputation for shooting first and asking questions later, Rambo doesn’t actually do anyone in in First Blood—he only severely wounds the people trying to hunt and harm him. This was a conscious effort on Stallone’s part in his script to change the character into an underdog from the character in the book who, due to his PTSD, goes on a wild killing rampage, which Stallone felt would alienate the audience.

The one character who does die is Deputy Galt, who tracks Rambo through the mountains in a helicopter. Galt, who attempts to shoot Rambo with a rifle, loses his balance and falls from the helicopter after Rambo merely throws a rock toward it to defend himself.

Like the book, Rambo himself was to die at the end of the movie at the hands of Colonel Trautman. The scene where Rambo is killed was filmed, but was scrapped after test audiences hated the fact that it seemed to imply the only way for veterans returning home to cope was by dying.

The veteran movie star actually made it to set and appeared in early advertisements for First Blood, but left the production when he demanded the right to rewrite the script. Douglas favored the ending of the book, and felt that Rambo should die in the end. The actor gave the filmmakers an ultimatum: if the production didn’t let him do what he wanted with the script he’d quit. Kotcheff and Stallone wanted to leave the door open for the possibility for Rambo to live or die at the end of the movie, so they let Douglas quit.

Actor Richard Crenna was then cast with a single day’s notice to fill Douglas’ shoes as Rambo’s mentor and father figure, Colonel Trautman. Crenna would reprise his role in two more Rambo movies before he passed away in 2003. He is the only actor besides Stallone to appear in multiple Rambo movies.

The unused alternate ending of First Blood, in which Trautman shoots and kills Rambo, can be seen briefly in the dream sequence in the fourth film, Rambo.

Morrell first thought of writing a book about a decorated war hero struggling to assimilate back to civilian life when he read about the real-life exploits of World War II soldier Audie Murphy. Murphy was the most decorated American soldier in World War II, earning every possible U.S. military decoration for valor as well as five separate decorations from foreign countries including France and Belgium.

Following the war, Murphy starred as himself in the film adaptation of his own autobiography,To Hell and Back, and would go on to have a film career, appearing in 44 feature films. Murphy—who later suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, which also inspired Morrell’s characterization of Rambo—tragically died in a plane crash in 1971. The Canadian-born Morrell decided to update his novel to the post-Vietnam era due to the political and cultural climate he saw as a grad student at Penn State in the late 1960s.

Morrell would go on to write the novelizations of the second and third Rambo movies. Since he had Rambo die at the end of the first book he had to retroactively change that to have his hero alive and well in the subsequent books.

Source: David Morrell.

Ridley Scott to Direct S. Craig Zahler’s Wraiths of the Broken Land

Ridley Scott is set to direct an adaptation of S. Craig Zahler’s novel Wraiths of the Broken Land. Drew Goddard will take the screenwriting reins.

This is an all-star team:  

  • Ridley Scott is the acclaimed director of Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien and so many more fan favorite films.
  • S. Craig Zahler is the writer and director of Bone Tomahawk as well as the up-coming Brawl on Cell Block 99.
  • Drew Goddard is known for his work on Netflix’s Daredevil, The Martian, World War Z and more.

As for Wraiths of the Broken Land, here’s how Amazon describes it…

A brutal and unflinching tale that takes many of its cues from both cinema and pulp horror, Wraiths of the Broken Land is like no Western you’ve ever seen or read. Desperate to reclaim two kidnapped sisters who were forced into prostitution, the Plugfords storm across the badlands and blast their way through Hell. This gritty, character-driven piece will have you by the throat from the very first page and drag you across sharp rocks for its unrelenting duration. Prepare yourself for a savage Western experience that combines elements of Horror, Noir and Asian ultra-violence. You’ve been warned.


Source: ComingSoon.


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