RIP – Reni Santoni

Reni Santoni, 81, died on August 1, 2020, at hospice after a long illness.  Sanotni appeared in over 100 film and television roles.  Most folks probably know Santoni best from his role as Poppie on Seinfeld.  My favorite Santoni performances were in Dirty Harry and Cobra but it was always a pleasure when Santoni appeared on any show or movie.

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

Rocky Balboa & Apollo Creed by Jarrod Alberich & Mark Hatherley!

Check out this sweet Rocky / Apollo poster created by Jarrod The Yardsale Artist Alberich and Mark Hatherley.  Jarrod took on Rocky and Mark brought his talents to Apollo.

What makes this even cooler is that the created the art during one of their weekly Livestream sessions.  They were joined by John Beatty (creating a commission for one of his fans).  I also provided some color commentary for the video.  I’ve embedded the video below, if you’re so inclined.

Also if you’re interested, Jarrod has made the Rocky / Apollo print available for fans!

“Seized” Starring Scott Adkins & Mario Peebles – Poster and Trailer!

The poster and trailer for Seized are here.  Glad to see Mario Peebles in this Scott Adkins action movie.  Hopefully it will be a fun couple of hours.

Hiding out with his son Taylor on the Mexican coast, Nero (Scott Adkins, Doctor Strange) hopes to put his violent Special Forces career behind him. But after Nero’s home is attacked and Taylor is abducted, the mysterious Mzamo (Mario Van Peebles, Heartbreak Ridge) orders Nero to slaughter the members of three rival crime syndicates. If he fails, Taylor will die. With bullets flying and bodies dropping, Nero must now complete his mission ― and find Mzamoʼs hideout, to exact his revenge.

Director: Isaac Florentine

“Airplane” Trivia

I saw Airplane in a packed theater when it was initially released.  The laughter was non-stop.  Airplane is a film that benefits from a crowd.  I’ve watched it several times since and the bigger the crowd the bigger the laughs.   Airplane is still worth a watch either alone or with others.

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 31 Things We Learned from the ‘Airplane!’ Commentary.   Before you click over, here are three of my favorite comments…

These early drafts (of the script) were initially titled The Late Show as they intended to include their commercial gags as well with the spoof movie itself being filler. They brought it to Lloyd Schwartz who suggested that the airplane story was “funnier and more interesting” than the commercial spoofs.

(I think that they were wise to drop the commercial gags.  Playing it straight made for a much funnier film. – Craig)

Lloyd Bridges had a lot of questions trying to understand his character, his motivation, and his dialogue, and Robert Stack pointed out that the visual gags were so frequent and nonsensical that no one in the audience was going to care. “Lloyd, we are the joke,” said Stack to Lloyd.

(Can you imagine you’re the director prepping the scene and Bridges wants to discuss background and motivation for his, “I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue” line? – Craig)

Stack was apparently offered a percentage of the film or an extra $20k, and he chose poorly.

($20K in the hand or a percentage on a risky film with Hollywood bookkeeping?  Not an easy choice. – Craig)

RIP – Wilford Brimley

Wilford Brimley died yesterday at the age of 85 after being hospitalized for two months with kidney problems.

I first saw Wilfred Brimley in an uncredited role with John Wayne in True Grit.  At that point I had no idea who Wilfred Brimley was, but that would all change with his tv appearances in Kung Fu, The Waltons, How the West was Won and The Wild, Wild West Revisited.  After that it wasn’t surprising to see Brimley popping up in movies (The Electric Horseman, Brubaker, Absence of Malice) or television (Walker, Texas Ranger; Seinfeld).

My favorite Wilfred Brimley roles were in The Thing and Hard Target, but it didn’t matter the role or movie, Wilfred Brimley always made it better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wilfred Brimley’s family, friends and fans.

“Fargo: Season 4” Trailer starring Chris Rock!

Below is a teaser for the 4th season of Fargo.  I love that each season tells a complete story and the following season, while may be related in some aspect to the previous, features new characters and new situations.

The fourth installment of Fargo is set in 1950 Kansas City, where two criminal syndicates fighting for a piece of the American dream have struck an uneasy peace. Chris Rock stars as Loy Cannon, the head of the African American crime family who trades sons with the head of the Italian mafia as part of tenuous truce.

The Breaking Point (1950) / Z-View

The Breaking Point (1950)

Director: Michael Curtiz

Screenplay: Ranald MacDougall (Based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not)

Stars: John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter, Juano Hernandez and Wallace Ford.

The Pitch: “Let’s redo To Have and Have Not but make it closer to Hemmingway’s novel!”

Tagline: There’s nothing more deadly than a gentle man pushed too far!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Harry Morgan was a war hero that doesn’t mean much any more.  Times are tough. Morgan is a charter boat captain with a wife, two little girls and a stack of bills he needs to take care of.  When a sleazy lawyer offers Morgan a chance at some easy money, he turns it down.  Morgan knows something legal will come along.

And it does.  Morgan gets a week’s rental from a business man wanting a fishing trip to Mexico.  Things start to go sideways when the man unexpectedly brings along his sexy, flirtatious girlfriend.  The woman is trouble and she knows it.

In Mexico, the man decides to cut his trip short and agrees to pay Morgan in the morning before they head back.  The next day Morgan learns that the man skipped out and flew back to the states.  Morgan is stuck in Mexico with no money, the guy’s girlfriend and no way home.

Of course the easy money offer is still available…

The Breaking Point is an under-rated gem.  If you like noir, then this is for you.

This is Garfield’s best role.  Patricia Neal is perfect as the sexy, trouble-making young woman with experience beyond her years.  Thaxter is great as the wife trying to keep things together as her husband makes increasingly bad decisions.  Juano Hernandez, as Morgan’s best friend, isn’t there with Walter Brennan comic relief.

I can’t believe I waited so long to finally watch The Breaking Point.  Part of the problem may be the poster and trailer aren’t good indicators of how great the film is.  And that final scene!

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More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale / Z-View

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books

First sentence…

I folded the check and put it in my shirt pocket and tried not to grin.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ed Edwards is a used car salesman and a big believer in buyer beware.  Ed’s not above rolling back an odometer, telling little lies or flirting with a customer if it means a sale.  Ed’s doing okay, but is okay ever enough?  Ed dreams of bigger things than being top salesman in a two man used car lot.

When Ed’s boss sends him to repossess a Cadillac, he meets Nancy.  At first Ed just wants the caddy, but Nancy is beautiful and flirty.  When Nancy invites Ed in for a drink, he doesn’t hesitate.  Sure, she’s married, but that’s on her, right?  Unhappily married as it turns out.  Even better.  One thing leads to another and before too long Ed and Nancy’s hot affair turns to thoughts of murder.

See if Nancy’s big, dumb brute of a husband wasn’t in the picture, she and Ed could make some real money with the drive-in and pet cemetery businesses that her husband owns.  You can guess the rest… except you can’t because Joe Lansdale is writing this tale!

Joe crafts More Better Deals with the dark humor and memorable characters that we’ve come to expect from this master storyteller.  I blazed through loving every page and unexpected twist.  If you’re a fan of noir and stories like The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity then More Better Deals is for you.  (And don’t say I didn’t warn you about a scene so creepy it will stay with you for days!)

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RIP – John Saxon

John Saxon died yesterday of pneumonia. He was 83. Saxon is best known to fans for his role as Roper in Enter the Dragon, but that was just one of his nearly 200 acting credits. 

Saxon began is career in the mid 1950s playing teen idol parts.  In the 60s, Saxon alternated between movies and guest starring television roles.  In 1972, Saxon co-starred with Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd and the following year with Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly in Enter the Dragon.  Saxon continued to alternate between movie and tv roles for the rest of his career.  Any time Saxon was in the production, you know it got just better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to John Saxon’s family, friends and fans.

Dia de los Muertos by Riley Rossmo and Friends / Z-View

Dia de los Muertos is a paperback that collects the three issue mini-series published by Image Comics.

  • Scripts: Ed Brisson, Alexander Grecian, Joe Keatinge, Alex Link, Christopher E. Long, Dirk Manning, Jeff Mariotte, Kurtis J. Wiebe, Joshua Williamson
  • Artist: Riley Rossmo
  • Colorists: Riley Rossmo, Nick Johnson, Megan Wilson, Jean-Paul Csuka
  • Letters by: Kelly Tindall
  • Cover Artist: Riley Rossmo

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

Inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, artist extraordinaire Riley Rossmo (Debris, Green Wake, Cowboy Ninja Viking) joins forces with nine different writers to tell tall tales from beyond the grave!

Riley Rossmo teams with 9 different writers to present 9 stories set against the backdrop of Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations.  There is a supernatural undercurrent running through each tale.

It is interesting how Rossmo changes his art style to compliment each story being told.  I enjoyed each of the tales, but I’d the standout for me was Mine by Joshua Williamson and Rossmo.  It has a great set-up and leads the reader to a surprise ending.  If you’re a fan of Rod Serling’s The Night Gallery, then you should like this collection.


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Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry / Z-View

Rot & Ruin by Scott Frank

Hardcover: 458 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

First sentence…

Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Rot & Ruin is the first in a five book series geared to teens and young adults.  Set nearly a decade and a half after the zombie apocalypse, humanity is still struggling.  Most of the surviving humans live in small fortified strongholds fenced away from the “rot and ruin” of the zombie wastelands.

Benny Imura was just 18 months old the night the zombies rose.  Both of Benny’s parents were killed. Benny would have been as well if his teenage half-brother, Tom hadn’t saved him. For that Benny has never forgiven Tom.  Benny believes Tom is a coward for running away and not trying to save his parents.

Benny spends his days talking with friends (especially Nix, a girl that has a crush on him) and dreaming about life beyond the fences that protect them.  He looks up to the bounty hunters that venture into the rot and ruin to find food, supplies and lost souls.  Benny thinks that maybe one day he’ll become a bounty hunter.

When it is discovered that a group of bounty hunters have killed two of the townspeople and kidnapped Nix, Tom and Benny head out into the rot and ruin hoping to save her.

Maberry scores again!  I look forward to reading the other books in the series.  (PS – If I was a younger reader I know I would have scored Rot & Ruin even higher.)

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