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Month: June 2017

Breakfast to Honor Jim Ivey!

Posted in Art, and Comics

What a fun morning!  About every six months I try to pull together a group of folks to get with our buddy Jim Ivey for a marathon breakfast session.  This time we belatedly celebrated Jim’s 92nd birthday!  That’s Jim Ivey to the far right, me, Mike Sikes, Bill Black, John Beatty, Cliff Weikal and Jim (missed his last name). Taking the photo was Steven Martinez.

Jim Ivey is one of my oldest [as in been a friend the longest], oldest [as in age] and dearest friends. I first met Jim in the mid 1970’s when he was running The Cartoon Museum in Orlando, Florida. At the same time Jim was working as a syndicated cartoonist [The Thoughts of Man], a political cartoonist [The Orlando Sentinel], a publisher [CartooNews], teacher [UCF cartooning class] and even a comic book convention organizer [OrlandoCon]. I was just graduating high school and into collecting comic books and later original art. Jim’s shop was like heaven.

Going to The Cartoon Museum became a weekly trip [almost always accompanied by my best friend, John Beatty]. When I moved to Orlando to attend UCF, my trips to Jim’s Cartoon Museum became even more frequent. We’d spend the day shooting the breeze and playing cards [blackjack, gin, hearts, poker] and would occasionally stop for lunch or Jim to make a sale. Jim hated it when business got in the way of fun!

You never knew who would come through the store. Sometimes it was other buddies like Bill Black [pictured in the photo above with Jim and I], Mike Kott, Rafael Kayanan, or Robert Smith. Sometimes it was established artists like Mike Zeck, Bob McLeod, Bruce Stark or so many others.

As the years have gone by and we’ve all gone in different directions.  Many of us correspond via e-mail, but Jim doesn’t mess with computers. So it’s snail mail correspondence for us. I love getting my letters from Jim. Just like when we’d go to his shop and you’d never know what would be waiting; it’s the same experience opening an envelope from Jim.

Getting back to today’s breakfast…

John Beatty, Cliff and I went in on stogies for Jim — got him some really nice cigars individually rolled ones from a specialty shop.  Other gifts included a nice Prince Valiant book, a Bill Black movie, a homemade carrot cake and more.  Jim was truly touched that so many old friends made the trip to honor him.  Old stories followed faster that our ice tea refills.  It was a wonderful time for all.  My guess is that our next get-together will be more of the same.  How could it not be when old friends make a point to re-connect?

Point Blank (1967)

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

Point Blank (1967)

Director: John Boorman

Screenplay: Alexander Jacobs and David Newhouse & Rafe Newhouse based on the Donald E. Westlake novel written as Richard Stark

Stars: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O’Connor, Lloyd Bochner, John and James B. Sikking

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s get Lee Marvin to star in a crime movie!”

Tagline: There are two kinds of people in his up-tight world: his victims and his women. And sometimes you can’t tell them apart.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Walker (Marvin) is double crossed and left for dead after helping his friend steal money to pay off his friend’s mob debt.  Walker recovers and vows to get revenge and his share of the money.

 

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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Posted in Movies, and Z-View

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick & Michael Herr & Gustav Hasford from the novel by Gustav Hasford

Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard,  Arliss Howard and Ed O’Ross.

The Pitch: “Hey, Kubrick wants to make a war movie!”

Tagline: One rifle, one gun. One for killing, one for fun.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Full Metal Jacket follows a bunch of young, raw recruits from boot camp to war in Viet Nam.  One of Kurbrick’s best movies with special props to R. Lee Emey and Vincent D’Onfrio.

 

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Jonathon Maberry Interview!

Posted in Authors, and Books

I was stoked to learn that Jonathon Maberry will be a keynote speaker on July 8th at the Orlando Book Festival.  Maberry will also be a featured speaker at the graphic novel panel.  It is always cool to meet a favorite author!

Here’s a recent interview with Mr. Maberry where he speaks about the Orlando Book Festival, writing and a whole lot more.

Cat People (1942)

Posted in Horror, Movies, and Z-View

Cat People (1942)

Director: Jacques Tourneur

Screenplay: DeWitt Bodeen

Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith

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

Tagline: A Kiss Could Change Her Into a Monstrous Fang-and-Claw Killer!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Kent Smith meets, falls in love and quickly marries Irena Dubrovna only to discover that Irena believes she is cursed to turn into a panther when her passions rise.  I kid you not.

As with all reviews, your mileage may vary, but I think that most people will like Cat People better than me.  I found it to be slow and silly (but not funny).  Meow.

 

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55 Things We Learned from “The Rock” Commentary with Michael Bay and Nicolas Cage

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 55 Things We Learned from The Rock Commentary with Michael Bay and Nicolas Cage.  Here are three of my favorites…

20. Sean Connery suggested that Bay “needed to rehearse more and just slow down in the morning,” and the director took the advice.

33. Cage was concerned that he “looked like a little Japanese schoolboy” in his SCUBA gear while the other actors all looked cool. Bay admits to intentionally making him look ridiculous.

39. It took a while for Bay to convince both Cage and Connery to go underwater while flames blasted above the surface at the 1:22:40 mark, but both actors eventually agreed. There are safety divers immediately outside of frame during the sequence. “It was very frightening,” adds Cage. “And Sean wasn’t happy about it.”

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Posted in Horror, Movies, and Z-View

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Director: Don Siegel

Screenplay: Daniel Mainwaring based on a story by Jack Finney

Stars: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, Carolyn Jones, Sam Peckinpah, Whit Bissell and Richard Deacon

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

Tagline: “Something is happening! Send your men of science quick!” The panic stricken cry went over the phone to Washington D. C. until the lines went dead!……

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When a couple of Dr. Miles Bennell’s patients show up with the concern that their family members have been replaced by identical look-alikes, he becomes concerned.  He wants to find out what is causing the delusions, but discovers that they ARE being replaced by things from outer space.  Now Bennell is their next target!

 

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Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Walter White

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Trivia, and TV

Craig Elvy and ScreenRant present Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Walter White.  Here are three of my favorites…

15. HE HAS MUCH IN COMMON WITH THE REAL HEISENBERG

It’s common knowledge that Walter White’s Heisenberg alias is inspired by real life scientist Werner Heisenberg, but like so much else in Breaking Bad, this was not a random choice, and the two figures share more than just a name.

Like Walter, the real life Heisenberg also suffered from cancer, albeit not of the lung. Both men also followed a similar career trajectory, in the sense that they started off on the straight and narrow before becoming involved in something darker. In the case of Werner Heisenberg, the scientist won a Nobel Prize in 1932 but would eventually form part of the Nazis’ Nuclear Research team.

Perhaps the main reason why Walter White was given the Heisenberg alias, however, is because of the scientist’s famous Uncertainty Principle. This theory claims that a particle’s momentum and exact position cannot both be known for certain. This acts as an metaphor for Walter White’s transformation from humble teacher to hardened criminal – as he gains momentum, his moral position becomes less clear.

9. JOHN CUSACK AND MATTHEW BRODERICK WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE PART

John Cusack and Matthew Broderick Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didnt Know About Walter White

Before AMC was sold on Bryan Cranston’s suitability for the role of Walter White, several other actors were strongly considered, including big names such as John Cusack (High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich) and Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

Although AMC’s apparent determination to cast an eighties coming-of-age movie icon is certainly odd, both actors would’ve likely been talented enough to portray White’s everyman-turned-criminal character. Cusack in particular has proven himself to be equally effective as both a protagonist and an antagonist.

With hindsight, however, it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Cranston in the role, and Vince Gilligan has previously stated that he was actively against casting big-name actors, as he felt this would be detrimental to the show. Breaking Bad’s major success proved he knew exactly what he was doing.

4. WALT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO DIRECTLY KILL JANE

One of the most despicable acts Walter White commits during Breaking Bad is allowing Jesse’s girlfriend Jane to die of a drug overdose during the season two offering “Phoenix,” especially since he could have at least made some attempt to save her. As uncomfortable as this scene is, however, the original draft was far, far darker.

Vince Gilligan’s original intention was for Walt to kill Jane in a more direct way, either by injecting her with drugs himself or by actually moving her into a position that would make her choke. Other members of the writers’ room disagreed with this idea and felt that it would make viewers hate Walt more than was necessary at that point in the show.

Eventually, Gilligan came to the same conclusion, and Walt stood by and watched Jane die, rather than killing her directly. As if that’s any better.

“John Wick” Coming to Dynamite Comics!

Posted in Art, Comics, Crime, and Movies

Fans of the John Wick movies may want to check out the new comic series coming from Dynamite Comics.  Written by Greg Pak with art by Giovanni Valletta, the series will delve into John Wick’s world and even feature stories about his origin adding to the John Wick mythos.

(On a side note, I’ve commissioned Valletta for a Jack Carter & John Wick sketch! And if John Wick’s father ever makes a movie appearance he should be played by Sylvester Stallone.)

Souce: SlashFilm.

The Set-Up (1949)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

The Set-Up (1949)

Director: Robert Wise

Screenplay: Art Cohn based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March

Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter and George Tobias

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

Tagline: The Sensational Picture You’ve Been Hearing and Reading About!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Bill “Stoker” Thompson (Ryan) is an over-the-hill fighter on the club circuit.  Although he still packs a punch, his best days are gone.  Stoker’s manager sets up a fixed fight with an up-and-coming prospect backed by the mob.  His manager is so sure that Stoker is going to lose, he doesn’t tell Stoker about the set-up.

 

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The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Posted in Horror, Movies, and Z-View

The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Director: Terence Fisher

Screenplay: Anthony Hinds (as John Elder) based on the novel by Guy Endore

Stars: Clifford Evans, Oliver Reed and Yvonne Romain

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

Tagline: Even the innocent girl who loved him was not safe… once the full moon rose!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Leon (Reed), the son of a nobleman, is born with the curse of the werewolf.

 

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Too Late for Tears (1949)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Too Late for Tears (1949)

Director: Byron Haskin

Screenplay: Roy Huggins

Stars: Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make movie about a woman corrupted by money!”

Tagline: That’s just to remind you… you’re in a tough racket now!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When Jane and Alan Palmer accidentally come into possession of a satchel full of money things quickly go south.  Although they know it’s mob money, they can’t agree what to do with it.  Jane wants to keep it.  Alan wants to turn it over to the police.

Soon enough a rough character shows up wanting the money.  Jane is willingly to do anything to keep at least part of the cash… even if it means murder.  And it does.

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Faster (2010)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Faster (2010)

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Screenplay: Tony Gayton & Joe Gayton

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Maggie Grace, Tom Berenger, Carla Gugino and Mike Epps.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a revenge flick with The Rock!”

Tagline: Justice is swift. Vengeance is faster.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Newly released, ex-con, Driver (Johnson) has one thing on his mind: to kill every one involved in the doublecross that left his brother murdered and him barely alive.  As the bodies pile up, a veteran cop and hired killer get closer and closer to finding Driver.  Will anyone get out of this alive?

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Scarlet Street (1945)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Scarlet Street (1945)

Director: Fritz Lang

Screenplay: Dudley Nichols

Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a really dark movie with Edward G. Robinson!”

Tagline: The things she does to men can end only one way – in murder!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Chris Cross (Robinson) on the night of his retirement is feeling melancholy when he stops in a bar for a night cap.  Leaving his job of 25 years where he was surrounded by people who cared about him, Cross now faces a life with a mean wife who belittles him at every chance.  In the bar Cross meets and becomes enamored with Kitty March.

Cross makes her think he’s a wealthy artist.  She makes him think she’s a young girl in need of help (despite the fact that she’s a con woman being encouraged by her “boyfriend” to take him for everything she can).  Before it is over their lies will lead to murder — but whose?

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Harper (1966)

Posted in Crime, Movies, and Z-View

Harper (1966)

Director: Jack Smight

Screenplay: William Goldman based on the novel by Ross MacDonald

Stars: Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Arthur Hill, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, Robert Webber, Shirley Winters and Strother Martin.

The Pitch: “Hey, get Paul Newman to play Ross MacDonald’s PI Harper!”

Tagline: This is a different kind of cat named Harper… and excitement clings to him like a dame!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Private Eye, Lew Harper (Newman) is hired by the very wealthy, Mrs. Sampson (Bacall) to find her missing husband who is probably shacked up with some broad.  Harper starts digging and things change from a missing persons investigation to a multiple murder case with Harper on the killer’s list.

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