Skip to content

Month: November 2017

50 Movie Trivia Facts You (Probably) Don’t Know

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and Trivia

Gem Seddon and GamesRadar present 50 Movie Trivia Facts You (Probably) Don’t Know.  Here are three of my favorites…

46. Rocky (1976)  Did you know? There’s a scene when Rocky Balboa points out a mistake in the poster at the match venue, and it was in fact entirely unscripted. Sylvester Stallone was forced to add the line because the art department made a genuine mistake when producing the prop, making the Italian Stallion’s boxing trunks completely the wrong colour. Although, it does work to signify how Rocky isn’t treated with much respect as an underdog.

41. Alien (1979)  Did you know? When the Nostromo crew explore the Derelict ship they discover a gigantic chamber full of xenomorph eggs. It’s a dark, sinister room that required a certain type of lighting to create the right feeling. Ridley Scott found a practical solution to lighting it by borrowing blue laser lighting from The Who, who were rehearsing their stage show in the soundstage next door.

31. American Psycho (1998)  Did you know? After catching an episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, on which Tom Cruise guest-starred, Christian Bale decided to base his portrayal of Patrick Bateman on the actor. According to director Mary Harron, Bale said it was Cruise’s “very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes” that he thought would be perfect for Bateman.

Preview of John Wick #1!

Posted in Art, Comics, Crime, and Movies

John Wick #1 from Dynamite Comics is available now…

JOHN WICK: BOOK OF RULES PART ONE

When a young John Wick emerges from prison and embarks upon his first, epic vendetta, he comes up against a strange, powerful community of assassins and must learn how to master the Book of Rules that guides their lethal business. What are the Three Bills? Who is Calamity? And who was John Wick before he became the Baba Yaga? Here for the first time, read the thrilling origin story of John Wick, from “Planet Hulk” writer Greg Pak and “Dark Horse Presents” artist Giovanni Valletta.

If you’d like to see a 5 page preview plus all of the variant covers you can by clicking over to The Outhousers.com.

More Sean Phillips “Night of the Living Dead” Criterion Art!

Posted in Art, Horror, Movies, and Zombies

Yesterday we took a look at the art Sean Phillips created for the Criterion release of Night of the Living Dead.  Phillips posted two more pieces of NOTLD art that he created and will appear with release.  You can see a much larger version of the art above as well as the other NOTLD painting at Sean’s site.

New Criterion Release of “Night of the Living Dead”!!

Posted in Art, Horror, Movies, and Zombies

Sean Phillips’ painting is being used for the new Criterion release of Night of the Living Dead which is set to drop February 13, 2018.  The new release features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, coscreenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner
  • New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary R. Streiner, and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
  • Night of Anubis, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film
  • New program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez
  • Never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel
  • New piece featuring Russo about the commercial and industrial-film production company where key Night of the Living Dead filmmakers got their start
  • Two audio commentaries from 1994, featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, actor
    Judith O’Dea, and more
  • Archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley
  • New programs about the editing, the score, and directing ghouls
  • New interviews with Gary R. Streiner and Russel W. Streiner
  • Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans

This will be a must-have for me.

How Rocky Props Saved Paul Wintner’s Business in 2017

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and TV

Paul with Sly at The Expendables Premiere (Thanks Randy!)

Paul Wintner is a long-time SZoner and one of the most die-hard Sylvester Stallone fans in the world.  We’ve shined a spotlight on Paul’s Stallone Collection several times over the years. It’s always a pleasure interacting with Paul.  Until you see his collection, you’d never know the quality of his pieces or the number of props he has.  You probably wouldn’t know that he is also the CEO of Wintner Artists where he works with voice-over talent for movies and television.

When I recently visited Paul’s business site, I noticed he had a new logo (Hey, Yo! Eye of the Tiger!) and had posted on his front page the famous quote from Rocky Balboa (“Life is not about how hard you can hit…).  I knew that Paul’s agency had worked on several of Sly’s biggest films (Rocky Balboa, Rambo, The Expendables) but I wondered if something else was at play.

So, I asked.

Paul went on to tell me how Rocky saved him again.  Let me turn it over to Paul…

Last year my business partner and best friend of over 22 years decided to leave Wintner Artist Management.  Looking back, the signs were all there, but at the time it came as a huge surprise.  Over the years I had worked extremely hard to help talent of Wintner Artist Management build their careers.  My company became much more successful than most thought would be possible with me as the CEO (myself included).  And then an unfortunate thing happened.  I became complacent.  Like Rocky Balboa in Rocky III, I lost the eye of the tiger.

Paul's Rocky Fedora and Glove

Things were going well.  The company was established. I had guided some of these guys from their first jobs to being the biggest names in the business. I had taken my huge love for films and memorabilia and turned it into a career I loved.  My partner was working closely with the talent.  I was steering the ship and we were coasting along.  Maybe, looking back it was me who was coasting along.  It was like the saying, “Things were going great, until they weren’t.”  When my partner decided to quit Wintner Artist Management, every single voice-over artist except one decided to go with him.

Who could blame them?  He had been working closely with the talent.  He had their booking schedules and spent more time dealing with the daily grind.  Lately they felt he was their manager.  While I was still there making sure our talent were reading for the projects I wanted them to land since I had always kept a log of all the great movies coming soon. But I had lost some of the old Wintner fire. Going with my partner must have seemed like the smart move to all of them… all of them except one.

Lucky for me, it was my number one guy, Ashton Smith, who decided to stay with me.  Ashton had done voice-over work for Rocky Balboa, Rambo and Creed.  It meant the world when Ashton told me, “I’m staying with you my man, you always believed in me and I will always believe in you. I sit here in my studio in my beautiful home with my plane all because of you!”  It was almost like Burgess Meredith as Mickey, telling Rocky to get up ‘cuz he didn’t hear no bell.

As I sat in the middle of my office I realized I was CEO of a talent agency who after 20 plus years was left with no partner and one voice-over artist.  The odds against being able to start over again at 46 were against me.  I looked up and found myself staring at some of my most treasured Rocky memorabilia.  Stallone and Rocky had always resonated with me.  Like them, I was considered a longshot for success.  School was hard for me.  Sly and Rocky had made it.  So had I… once.  Could I do it again?  Could I regain the Eye of the Tiger?

It was almost like I heard the Rocky theme in my head.  I knew what I had to do.  First, I was going to give Ashton the attention he deserved for staying.  He had been my Mickey to inspire me, but now I would be his Mickey and promote him like the champ he was.  I immediately started looking for new voice talents – I wanted a big voice for blockbusters, a nice midrange guy and a few more to round out the roster.  I also knew that I would re-design my logo incorporating the Eye of the Tiger.  I went home and told my wife, my Adrian the news.  And like Rocky’s Adrian, she believed and encouraged me every step of the way.

My talent search led me to Matthew Rhode.  In just ten months I made Matthew a top-notch competitor.  Matthew landed Logan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Blade Runner 2049Ghost in the Shell, Kingsmen 2, The Mountain Between Us, American Made, 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Jumanji, and is now heard on Star Wars: Last Jedi Verizon commercials.  Matthew even landed Star Trek: Discovery for the CBS network.  Ashton Smith (my Mickey) had his best year ever with film campaigns.  Jamie Anderson came on board just two months ago and out of the gates landed four films Roman J. Israel, Esq.; The Star,The Greatest Showman and I, Tonya.  2017 was one of the best years ever for Wintner Artists.  Talk about a comeback!

When I think back to me sitting alone in my office, at the lowest point of my business life, I can truthfully say, that it was my Rocky props and what they represent that gave me the strength and courage to get back up and go the distance!

I also want to thank my family for their love and support.

+++

I asked Paul if he ever speaks to his former partner/best friend.  Paul’s response was perfect: “Absolutely.  Things happen for a reason.  Rocky and Apollo stayed friends,” he laughed.

As my conversation with Paul came to a close, I asked, “So your Rocky props really saved you?”  Without hesitation, Paul responded, “My props, Ashton Smith and every Rocky film ever made and my family.  Because it ain’t over till it’s over.”

Paul’s story is truly inspiring and I’m grateful he was happy to share it.  Paul wishes some how Sly, who is probably sick of hearing it, knew how much that character has inspired people like him.  Like many Stallone fans, Paul was inspired to make fitness a part of his daily life since he was a teenager.  It was Rocky who got Paul through his rough teenage years, gave him the inspiration that he could succeed in business when he was just starting out and it was Rocky again who inspired Paul to make a comeback in business when others thought it would be impossible.

Thanks Paul for sharing your story (and Rocky props)! – Craig

“Life is not about how hard you hit.  It is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa

The Best Movies That Should Be Made Into TV Shows

Posted in Books, Comics, Crime, Movies, and TV

IndieWire recently asked critics to pick the Best Movies That Should Be Made Into TV Shows.  Of all the movies suggested, I liked the idea of Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins Devil in a Blue Dress being turned into a series.  If it did well then other Easy Rawlins’ yarns would be ripe for the picking.

If I was to suggested movies that would make great tv shows, I’d suggest these three for starters…

  • The Expendables (where team members were actually expendable)
  • Sin City (using Miller’s stories)
  • Night of the Living Dead (focus on different stories/casts each season from the first few nights of the zombie outbreak)

21 Things We Learned from “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 21 Things We Learned from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

7. The novel doesn’t spend much time at all with the transit cop character played here by Walter Matthau as Lt. Garber, and the book actually has a separate character named Garber as well. The actor loved the script, written by Peter Stone — who had written two previous films co-starring Matthau — and once he expressed interest they began beefing up the role.

19. Sargent recalled it being a “golden safety rule” during filming that no one get close to the electrified third rail despite the mostly confident belief that it was powered off by the transit authorities. There was apparently always a risk that someone might turn it back on again by accident or because they were unaware that it was off for a reason.

20. They rightly point out that today’s action films would rarely allow the villain to take his own life. “He would have to be shot eighteen times by Walter Matthau, and then fall and then a train would run him over, and that would propel him into the street where he’d get hit by a bus.”

 

Comic Legends: Was Punisher Initially Going to Die in His First Series?

Posted in Art, Comics, and Crime

My buddies, John Beatty and Mike Zeck are at the center of CBR.com’s Comic Legends: Was Punisher Initially Going to Die in His First Series?

That was an exciting time for comics.  The Punisher, up to that point, had been a secondary, guest-starring character who had real potential.  Steven Grant had the right take on Frank Castle and of course, Mike Zeck and John Beatty were the team to bring the project to life.

Sadly, Grant, Zeck and Beatty didn’t get to complete the series. Although as the piece says, “John Beatty’s finishes made it all look as consistent as possible.”  Thankfully, Grant, Zeck and Beatty did re-team on the Punisher graphic novel Return to Big Nothing.

Neal Adams’ Classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow Splash Pages!

Posted in Art, and Comics

Diversions of the Groovy Kind has posted a gallery of Neal Adams splash pages from his run with Denny O’Neil on Green Lantern/Green Arrow.  Those were classic issues that plunged comics into modern day issues.  O’Neil and Adams run of Green Lantern/Green Arrow was as controversial as it was groundbreaking.  It was a joy to see all of the splash pages again.  You can too, and at a much larger size if you click over.