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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“The Prey” Poster and Trailer are Here!

The Prey – check out the poster and trailer.  It definitely has a Most Dangerous Game feel (and one that has been copied many times) but when done right, these films are fun.

Undercover Chinese cop Xin (newcomer Gu Shangwei), is on a secret international mission when a surprise raid puts him in a remote Cambodian jungle prison that plays by its own rules.Ruthless warden (Vithaya Pansringarm) sells prisoners as human prey for rich hunters looking for thrills in the jungle.

After years of hunting down ruthless criminals, Xin suddenly finds himself running for his life. If Xin manages to survive this sadistic game, he’ll walk out of the jungle the same way he came in: as a free man. If Xin fails, he’s just another hunting trophy.

“Sputnik” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Sputnik looks like something that I’d love to see late night at a drive-in.  Check out the poster and trailer!

Director: Egor Abramenko
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Fedor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov

Due to her controversial methods, young doctor Tatiana Yurievna (Oksana Akinshina) is on the precipice of losing her medical license. Her career may not be over, though. After she’s recruited by the military, Tatiana is brought to a secure science research facility to assess a very special case, that of Konstantin Sergeyevich (Pyotr Fyodorov), a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and has returned to Earth with a unique condition: there’s something living inside of him that only shows itself late at night. The military has nefarious plans for it. Tatiana wants to stop it from killing Konstantin. And the creature itself thrives on destruction.