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Month: July 2017

The 50 Best Crime Movies Of The 21st Century So Far

Posted in Crime, and Movies

Oliver Lyttelton and  The Playlist recently posted their choices for The 50 Best Crime Movies Of The 21st Century So Far.  Here are three of my favorites…

4. “No Country For Old Men” (2007)
Even knowing the high quality of the Coen Brothers’ work in general, and knowing their love for crime fiction, no one was quite prepared for “No Country For Old Men.” Their first adaptation (it’s adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel), it maintained the greatest qualities of their earlier work — dry wit, careful plotting, unforgettable characters, bursts of ultraviolence — but with a darker, more apocalyptic mood than ever before. Even though its story of the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong, and the men pursuing the money that Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) has taken, is set in 1980s Texas, it somehow feels predictive of the world that we’ve ended up in a decade later in some strange ways, and we’re sure it’ll only continue to resonate further over time.

33. “John Wick” (2014)/“John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017)
We couldn’t pick between the two Keanu Reeves-reviving badass-fests here: the first has a purity to it, plus Willem Dafoe and that adorable puppy for the first reel, the second embellishes and extrapolates the film’s strange world and amps the arthouse-action vibe up to eleven. And while they’re action movies first and foremost, they’re also definitely crime films, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch building a fascinating pulp-comic-book underworld more compelling, and full of more intriguing characters and rules, than we’ve seen in this genre for a while. Plus, of course, it has Reeves at his taciturn, quietly psychotic best, it looks beautiful, and it has some of the best shootout sequences since Sam Peckinpah shuffled off the mortal coil. Bring on ‘Chapter 3,’ as soon as humanly possible.

39. “A History Of Violence” (2005)
The first and best of the two crime pics that David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen made together back-to-back, “A History Of Violence” doesn’t initially seem like the sort of thing that the body-horror master would make, but like its lead character, soon reveals itself to have all kinds lurking under the surface. Based on a graphic novel, it sees Tom, a seemingly ordinary family man (Mortensen) praised as a hero after killing two men trying to rob his diner, only for a mysterious, scarred criminal (Ed Harris) to turn up and claim that Tom has a past, and that these were far from the first people he’d killed. Cronenberg and his cast (particularly William Hurt, whose Oscar-nominated supporting turn can practically be seen from space) don’t hide from the comic book nature of the material, but for all the ultraviolence (and two of the most narratively effective sex scenes in history), there’s something deeply human here, about an attempt to escape your nature, and whether there really are second acts in American life.

George Romero Interview ‘Road of the Dead,’ & More!

Posted in Celebs, Horror, Movies, and TV

George (Night of the Living Dead) Romero was working to arrange financing for Road of the Dead, a proposed new installment in Romero’s zombie franchise before he passed on. Romero pitched Road of the Dead by saying…

“In the darkest days of the zombie apocalypse, the last safe place on earth is anything but, as a mad despot uses the spectacle of high-octane carnage to keep control of his populace… “It’s ‘Fast and the Furious’ with zombies at the wheel”…

While Road of the Dead doesn’t sound like the zombie film that I’d like to see, I’d give it a go and hope to be pleasantly surprised.  Romero is the man who redefined the genre.

You can check out Romero’s thoughts on Road of the Dead, modern zombie films and more by clicking over to  George Romero Talks ‘Road of the Dead,’ His Disdain for ‘World War Z’ and Why He Liked ‘La La Land’ More Than ‘Moonlight’.

Source: IndieWire.

45 Things We Learned from Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s ‘This Is the End’ Commentary.

Posted in Celebs, Horror, Humor, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects recently posted 45 Things We Learned from Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s ‘This Is the End’ Commentary.   Here are three of my favorites…

8. The front of James Franco‘s house is mostly CG. The interior was built in a coffee bean warehouse. There were so many movies filming in New Orleans at the time that there were no proper sound stages available.

41. Franco fought them on his character dying as he didn’t think it should happen. Once he realized it was a losing argument he suggested the false rapture bit instead. “That joke’s literally from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.”

43. The movie originally ended with Seth and Jay rising up into heaven as the final shot, but early audiences demanded to see heaven.


Posted in Celebs, Humor, and Trivia

Me-TV recently posted 11 FORGOTTEN FACTS ABOUT ABBOTT AND COSTELLO.  Here are three of my favorites…

After several appearances on radio programs, including The Kate Smith Hour, Abbott and Costello were told by producers one of them had to change their voice. Apparently, they sounded too similar and listeners couldn’t distinguish between the two men. That’s when Costello adopted the higher pitch, for which he became known in his later years.

The duo was first featured in the film One Night in the Tropics. Originally a bit part in the film, the duo provided so much good material that the lines of others actors had to be cut in order to meet the 90-minute requirement. Although the film was a flop, Abbott and Costello were a hit with audiences in their supporting roles.

Once the duo arrived in Hollywood, Abbot and Costello earned a 50/50 split of the profits. However, Costello, being the comedian, felt he should earn more than Abbot, the straight man. Eventually, tension reached a peak when Costello threatened to break up the act if Abbott wouldn’t settle for a 60/40 split.

RIP – George Romero

Posted in Authors, Celebs, Horror, Movies, and RIP

George Romero passed away today at the age of 77 from a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer.”  I was shocked and saddened to read those words.  Romero is one of my movie heroes.

Most of you know that Romero co-wrote (with John Russo) and directed Night of the Living Dead, the movie that redefined zombies and created a horror sub-genre.  Romero always did things his way and followed NOTLD with several other “…of the Dead” zombie films.  He was currently working to get financing for Road of the Dead, which was set to become the next feature in his zombie franchise.

Although Mr. Romero was a bit older, I was truly surprised by his passing.  Just last weekend I listened to Jonathon Maberry talking about the joy of working with George Romero on Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology.  I couldn’t wait to order my copy.  Now I want to get it in my mitts even more.  I have a post scheduled to go live in a couple of days about Mr. Romero working on financing for Road of the Dead.  There was no hint that he’d been ill.

Romero died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family while the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” played in the background.  I can’t think of a much nicer way to go.  Thanks to George Romero for not only all of the movies he created but also for those his work inspired.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Source: Los Angeles Times.

Thomas Boatwright and Jack Carter

Posted in Art, Celebs, Comics, and Movies

Thomas Boatwright is back and Jack Carter is with him.

Over the years I’ve gotten several Stallone pieces from Thomas.  Here is what has been posted so far… there are more to come.

If you’d like to see more of Thomas Boatwright’s art check out his blog and his DA site. Send him some love.

If you get commissions, you should consider a piece from Thomas. He keeps you totally in the loop on his progress, finishes his commissions on or ahead of schedule, has very reasonable prices, is a fantastic artist and always gives you more than you’re expecting!   – Craig

The 35 Best Heist Movies

Posted in Crime, and Movies

The Playlist recently posted their choices for The 35 Best Heist Movies.  There are a lot of great movies on this list.  In an effort to narrow it down, I decided to choose from movies where one heist was the focus of the film.

So using just their list here are three of my favorites…

“Rififi” (1955)
Yes, we know. This is the grandaddy of all heist films, the one that tops everyone’s list and is name dropped constantly. But if you haven’t seen the film (and by God, you should remedy that situation quickly) don’t get suckered into thinking this is just some cinematic touchstone that everyone talks about but no one really watches. If anything, Jules Dassin’s “Rififi” remains the template and the standard, with a centerpiece heist sequence that is still yet to be topped. The plot is standard stuff: four guys target a jewelry store, plan the perfect job and things don’t quite go as planned. But Dassin’s masterstroke is the 30-minute, nearly completely silent heist (no dialogue, no soundtrack) that brilliantly throws viewers right into the heart-pounding, tension filled robbery. A masterpiece in every sense of the word, “Rififi” remains the torchbearer for the genre with very good reason.

“The Getaway” (1972)
Based on a novel by the poet laureate of hard pulp Jim Thompson, directed by feminist favorite Sam Peckinpah, and starring a Steve McQueen firmly in the midst of a cocaine-soaked marriage breakdown, “The Getaway” rises out of a dense fog of testosterone: it doesn’t get any more boys-night-in than that. Ali McGraw (somewhat miscast, to occasionally charming effect) uses her wiles to free husband “Doc” McCoy (McQueen) from prison. After a botched bank robbery, the bickering pair go on the run with the loot, pursued by cannon-fodder cops and a variety of goons, led by the astonishingly repellent and malevolent Rudy (Al Letteria). Perhaps inevitably, it all culminates in a bloodbath in El Paso, and a tender reconciliation for the then real-life lovers. This is by no means top-tier Peckinpah; both he and McQueen were desperate for a no-nonsense hit after the commercial failure of “Junior Bonner” (1972). Nevertheless, all the staples are there — stunningly edited montages, patented slo-mo bullet ballet — and “The Getaway” is a solid, straight-ahead action flick that’s always fun to wander into the middle of on late night T.V. Possibly not Robert Evans’ favorite film though…

“The Asphalt Jungle” (1950)
John Huston’s 1950 noir may be better known now for the films it influenced (at least half the titles on this list, notably “Rififi”), and for an early luminous performance by Marilyn Monroe, but the film, creaky though it is in places and marred by some didactic, moralistic dialogue, is still a compelling piece in its own right. The narrative arc, (a man has a plan, gets a gang together, pulls off a heist, only to have chance and human nature foil the scheme) has become pretty much the heist film template, but details like the corruption of the police force and the careful characterizations of the gang members keep the proceedings fresh. And while censor-friendly debates on the nature of criminality abound, it’s clear where Huston’s sympathy actually lies; it is power, not lawbreaking, that corrupts here, so the only people with any sort of a code are those on the very bottom of the food chain: Sterling Hayden’s petty hood; the girl who loves him; the hunchbacked getaway driver and the safe-cracking family man. Disgust is reserved for those further up the hierarchy, whose degenerate desires eventually thwart them (both the mastermind and the front/fence character – a suave Louis Calhern – are undone by their interest in young nubile girls), while Hayden’s Dix is rewarded for his staunch, if misplaced loyalty, and perverse nobility, with the kind of tragic, theatrical, poetic death; the greatest honor a movie criminal in oppressive ‘50s America could hope for.

16 Fascinating Facts About Peter Falk and “Columbo”

Posted in Celebs, Trivia, and TV

Me-TV presents 16 Fascinating Facts About Peter Falk and Columbo.  Here are three of my favorites (and it was tough to just choose three):

In 1961, Falk earned the distinction of becoming the first actor to be nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year. He received nominations for his supporting roles in Murder, Inc. and television program The Law and Mr. Jones. Incredibly, Falk repeated this double nomination in 1962, being nominated again for a supporting actor role in Pocketful of Miracles and best actor in “The Price of Tomatoes,” an episode of The Dick Powell Theatre, for which he took home the award.

Though the character Columbo first appeared on television in 1960, it would be nearly a decade before Falk would become synonymous with the rumpled detective. First, Bert Freed played the LAPD flatfoot in a 1960 episode of anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show. A couple years later, Thomas Mitchell (pictured to the left) played the sleuth onstage in a production called Prescription: Murder in San Francisco. When it was decided that the play would be turned into a television movie in 1968, the lead was offered to Lee J. Cobb and Bing Crosby, but Falk landed the part.

Perhaps to add further authenticity to the LAPD detective, Falk personally supplied his character’s shabby clothes. One anecdote purports that when asked whether Columbo’s trademark raincoat was in the Smithsonian, the actor retorted that the garment was in his upstairs closet. Falk also ad libbed extensively as the character, throwing adversaries (and fellow actors) off balance with improvised misdirection.

Stephen Franck’s Silver Volume 3 Kickstarter is Live!

Posted in Art, Authors, Books, Comics, Crime, and Horror

Stephen Franck, the creative genius behind Silver is back with Volume 3 and his Kickstarter for the project is live.  Franck is the writer and artist for Silver which can be summed up as…

…a high-concept, super fun genre-blender, featuring pulp-era conmen and a troubled female vampire-hunter as they try to steal a mystical treasure from a castle full of vampires — what could go wrong with that plan?!

Silver is great fun.  Franck is a talented writer/artist who has created a tale that meshes a horror story with a heist yarn pitting an unlikely team consisting of a rouge thief, his two partners, a con man, a old forger, a ten year old who can catch glimpses of the future and young woman who hunts vampires against Dracula and a castle full of the undead.

But don’t take my word how great Silver is.  Thanks to Nerdist, you can check out Volume 1 here for free.

If you like what you see, you can jump on board with Franck’s Kickstarter for Silver Volume 3.  Volume 1 and 2 are also available through the Kickstarter, if needed.

Man, I can’t wait to get my mitts on Volume 3!