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Category: Z-View

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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Better Dead: A Nathan Heller Thriller by Max Allan Collins

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

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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Rabid (1977)

Posted in Horror, Movies, and Z-View

Rabid (1977)

Director: David Cronenberg

Screenplay: David Cronenberg

Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore and Joe Silver

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a low-budget horror movie!”

Tagline: You can’t trust your mother…your best friend…your neighbor next door…

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

In an effort to save Rose [Chambers], the victim of a motorcycle crash, a doctor performs experimental plastic surgery. Rose recovers with a taste for blood and her victims become zombies.

If you can survive the micro budget, bad acting and silly story then you might enjoy Rabid.

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Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Posted in Humor, Movies, and Z-View

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Director: Howard Hawks

Screenplay: Dudley Nichols & Hagar Wilde from a story by Hagar Wilde

Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Charles Ruggles

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a screwball romantic comedy!”

Tagline: And so begins the hilarious adventure of Professor David Huxley and Miss Susan Vance, a flutter-brained vixen with love in her heart!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

From the moment Susan [Hepburn] meets David Huxley [Grant], a mild mannered zoologist who is about to be married, she falls for him.   Hoping the opposites attract, the crazy, fun-loving Susan tricks David into a road trip.

Bringing Up Baby reminded me of an extended episode of I Love Lucy and that’s a good thing.

 

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Captain Blood (1935)

Posted in Movies, and Z-View

Captain Blood (1935)

Director: Michael Curtiz

Screenplay: Casey Robinson

Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill and Basil Rathbone

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

Tagline: THE MOST MAGNIFICENT & THRILLING SEA ADVENTURE EVER FILMED

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

After unjustly condemned to slavery for being a traitor against England, Dr. Peter Blood [Flynn] escapes and becomes a infamous pirate.

Most folks like this much better than me so be aware your mileage may vary greatly.

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Gilda (1946)

Posted in Movies, and Z-View

Gilda (1946)

Director: Charles Vidor

Screenplay: Marion Parsonnet and Ben Hecht (uncredited)

Stars: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and George Macready

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

Tagline: There NEVER was a woman like Gilda!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Johnny Farrell [Ford] befriends the shady owner of an Argentine casino and quickly works his way to being the boss’ right-hand man.  Things are going swell until the boss returns from a short trip with a wife.  It turns out that the boss’ new bride had a prior relationship with Johnny… and they still have strong feelings for each other.

 

 

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Forbidden Planet (1956)

Posted in Movies, and Z-View

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Director: Fred McLeod Wilcox

Screenplay: Cyril Hume based on a story by Irving Block and Allen Adler

Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, James Drury, Gavin Macleod and Robby the Robot.


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a big budget sci-fi film!”

Tagline: IT’S OUT OF THIS WORLD!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

An interplanetary crew sent to a distant planet to discover what happened to the colony set up there years ago, are contacted as they enter the planet’s atmosphere and told to stay away.  Upon landing they meet the two remaining colony survivors, a doctor and his daughter — the rest were killed by a giant monster.

As the ship’s commander digs deeper he becomes aware that all is not as it seems.  He doubts the doctor’s story until the monster kills some of his crew.  Then he learns that the doctor is hiding even more information and things go really bad.

Forbidden Planet is a lot of fun.  I absolutely loved it as a kid and it still holds up pretty well.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

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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