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Category: Z-View

The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Director: Fritz Lang

Screenplay: Charles Hoffman

Stars: Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern, Raymond Burr, George Reeves and Nat “King” Cole

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a murder mystery with Anne Baxter!”

Tagline: There was nothing lily-white about her!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Norah Larkin (Baxter) is on the rebound having just learned (on her birthday of all days!) that her fiance is leaving her for another woman.  When a man she has just met offers to take her to dinner, she accepts.  The man proceeds to get her drunk at his apartment and attempta to take advantage of her.  When he continues despite her wanting to leave, she hits him with a poker and passes out.  She awakens to find him dead on the floor.  She quickly leaves believing she’s killed him.

Soon she is the subject of a police hunt… but what she really the murderess?

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Dracula (1931)

Posted in Celebs, Horror, Movies, and Z-View

Dracula (1931)

Director: Tod Browning

Screenplay: Hamilton Deane & John L. Balderston  from the play by Garrett Fort based on characters created by Bram Stoker

Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s bring Dracula to the silver screen!”

Tagline: Carl Laemmle Presents The VAMPIRE THRILLER!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

THE classic!  Bela Lugosi is the evil vampire Count Dracula who has journeyed to England with plans to make the lovely Nina is bride!

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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Director: John Sturges

Screenplay: Millard Kaufman

Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s send a one-armed Spencer Tracey into a remote town that wants him dead!”

Tagline: Suddenly you realize murder is at your elbow! – and there’s no way out!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

World War II veteran shows up in the remote town of Black Rock for unknown purposes.  The people of the town want him to move on and when he refuses, he puts his life at risk.  What are the town folk hiding?

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Train to Busan (2016)

Posted in Horror, Movies, Z-View, and Zombies

Train to Busan (2016)

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Screenplay: Joo-Suk Park and Sang-ho Yeon

Stars: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jung and Dong-seok Ma

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

Tagline: None

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Passengers on a train to Buscan (including a father and his young daughter, a husband with his very pregnant wife and others) have to come to grips that a zombie apocalypse has begun and there are infected on the train!

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Them! (1954)

Posted in Horror, Movies, and Z-View

Them! (1954)

Director: Gordon Douglas

Screenplay: Ted Sherdeman and Russell S. Hughes from a story by George Worthing Yates

Stars: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness, Fess Parker, Richard Deacon and Leonard Nimoy.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a movie about giant ants!”

Tagline: FANTASTIC MONSTERS ATTACK EARTH!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Nuclear testing in the desert has turned ants into gigantic killing machines.  Before the nests are discovered some of the ants make their way to the LA sewer system.  If they’re not all destroyed it could be the end of mankind.

What could have been another silly movie about giant bugs is actually one of my favorite horror movies of all time.  It’s played straight with an excellent cast.  Fans of my age will love that you get Matt Dillon, Davy Crockett and Spock in the same movie!

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Where Eagles Dare (1968)

Posted in Movies, and Z-View

Where Eagles Dare (1968)

Director: Brian G. Hutton

Screenplay: Alistair MacLean (from his novel)

Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn ‘Where Eagles Dare’ into a movie!”

Tagline: They dare to climb a terrifying new peak in suspense… all the way up to hell!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

During World War II an American General is held captive by the Nazis in a mountain top fortress.  An English Officer (Burton) and American Ranger (Eastwood) are dropped behind enemy lines to rescue the General.  Yet there may be more to this mission than either are aware…

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A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and Z-View

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Director: Elia Kazan

Screenplay: Tennessee Williams (adapted from his play) and Oscar Saul

Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ into a movie!”

Tagline: …When she got there she met the brute Stan, and the side of New Orleans she hardly knew existed.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When creditors take over the family estate Blanche Dubois (Leigh) is forced to move into her sister, Stella (Hunter) and Stanley (Brando) brother-in-law’s cramped New Orleans working class apartment.  Blanche considers herself a lady which doesn’t sit well with Stanley who believes that he and Stella are due money from the estate.  Stella and Stanley already have a antagonistic relationship which becomes even more strained with Stella there.  Things reach a brutal climax when…

I originally saw Streetcar Named Desire years ago and loved it.  Recently re-watching it, I still really liked it (especially Brando’s performance) but dropped the rating from an “A” to a “B”.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Posted in Horror, Movies, and Z-View

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Screenplay: Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly from a story by John Gatins based on the character created by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace

Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly and John Goodman

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a King Kong movie!”

Tagline: All hail the King!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

A group of scientists led by a military team are brought together to chart a mysterious island. Immediately they encounter Kong and get the worst of it.  Trapped on the island they must fight their way to a pickup location.  To get there the survivors will have to deal with natives, the island’s giant monsters and Kong!

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White Heat (1949)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

White Heat (1949)

Director: Raoul Walsh

Screenplay: Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts from a story by Virginia Kellogg

Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo and Edmond O’Brien

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s get Cagney back as a gangster!”

Tagline: James Cagney Is Red Hot In “White Heat”!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Psychotic and sadistic gang leader Cody Jarrett leads his gang on a crime frenzy.  When an undercover cop infiltrates the gang, it is just a matter of time until one of them is dead.

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Story of G.I. Joe (1945)

Posted in Movies, and Z-View

Story of G.I. Joe (1945)

Director: William A. Wellman

Screenplay: Leopold Atlas & Guy Endore & Philip Stevenson

Stars: Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum,

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn Ernie Pyle’s reports from the front lines into a movie!”

Tagline: The mightiest action drama ever filmed!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Based on Ernie Pyle’s Pulitzer prize winning reports from the front lines, Story of GI Joe, made Robert Mitchum an international super star.  Pyle’s reports focused on the foot soldiers, putting a human face on their day-to-day lives.

Pyle and his typewriter went where the action was most intense.  Sadly Pyle was killed by enemy fire while covering the war in the Pacific.

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Witness (1985)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Witness (1985)

Director: Peter Weir

Screenplay: Earl W. Wallace & William Kelley

Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Alexander Godunov, Danny Glover and Viggo Mortensen.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s have an Amish boy be a fish out of water in the big city – he’ll be the sole witness to a murder.  We’ll then send the big city cop to Amish country to protect the kid and he’ll be the stranger in a strange land! Let’s do it!”

Tagline: Harrison Ford is John Book – A big city cop who knows too much. His only evidence: a small boy who’s seen too much…

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Samuel, a small Amish boy in the big city for the first time, is the sole witness to a murder.  Detective John Book comes to realize that the murder Samuel witnessed is the key to a much bigger corruption.

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“12 Angry Men” (1957)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

12 Angry Men (1957)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Screenplay: Reginald Rose

Stars: Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb Lee, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec and Robert Webber.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn ’12 Angry Men’ into a movie!”

Tagline: Life Is In Their Hands — Death Is On Their Minds!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

A jury moves into the deliberation room to decide the fate of a young man accused of first degree murder.  It appears open and shut until one of the jurors demands that they discuss the case and introduces a small reason for doubt.  Tensions mount as the jurors decide the fate of a man’s life.

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Extraction (2015)

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Extraction (2015)

Director: Steven C. Miller

Screenplay: Max Adams and Umair Aleem

Stars: Bruce Willis, Kellan Lutz, Gina Carano and D.B. Sweeney

The Pitch: “Hey, I can get Bruce Willis for a day, let’s make a movie!”

Tagline: Vengeance runs in the family..

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Bruce Willis plays a veteran CIA field agent. Lutz is his son who desperately wants to follow in dad’s footsteps, but is instead kept in an office.  When Willis goes missing while on a mission, Lutz leaves the office to rescue him.

I was hoping for a lot more from Extraction.  Miller is a good director.  Lutz has star potential.  Carano has proven she can carry a film (Haywire).  Yet Extraction falls short of the potential that they bring.

I didn’t include Willis in the equation, because Extraction is just another film that he appears in.  Although getting top billing, Willis reportedly filmed all of his scenes in one day and other than name recognition, doesn’t bring anything special to the role.  I’m a Bruce Willis fan and look forward to the next project that really excites him.  Extraction wasn’t it.

 

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Close Range (2015)

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Close Range (2015)

Director: Isaac Florentine

Screenplay: Chad Law and Shane Dax Taylor

Stars:Scott Adkins, Nick Chinlund, Caitlin Keats and Jake La Botz

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a Scott Adkins action movie!”

Tagline: Colton MacReady…is coming home.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

When Colton MacReady (Adkins) learns that his shady brother-in-law has endangered MacReady’s sister and niece, it’s up to him to save them.

If you’re after an action-packed movie starring Scott Adkins, you’re going to be happy with Close Range.

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

Posted in Authors, Books, Crime, and Z-View

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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