Den of Thieves (2018) / Z-View

Den of Thieves (2018)

Director: Christian Gudegast

Screenplay: Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring

Stars: Gerard Butler, Jordan Bridges, Pablo Schreiber, Evan Jones,O’Shea Jackson Jr., 50 Cent, Cooper Andrews and Michael Bisping.

The Pitch: “Think The Shield meets Heat!”

Tagline: None.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

Big Nick Flannagan (Butler) leads a LA Sheriff’s office strike force on the trail of an elite team of thieves who’ve staged several bank robberies executed with military precision.  Flannagan’s team considers themselves a gang with badges and they’re not above doing whatever it takes to solve cases. When they find themselves head-to-head with thieves that are their equals it becomes clear that a final showdown is looming.

Den of Thieves is more than just a good guys vs bad guys or heist movie.  I really liked it and the 2 hours and 20 minutes flew by.  Everyone with me felt the same.  It was interesting in that the most likable character wasn’t Big Nick Flannagan, yet, like The Shield‘s Vic Mackey, you find yourself pulling for him.  Den of Thieves hits all the right notes and has a great twist ending that I won’t spoil.  I have a feeling that Den of Thieves will be one that I like even better on subsequent viewings.


Pathfinder (2007) / Z-View

Pathfinder (2007)

Director: Marcus Nispel

Screenplay: Laeta Kalogridis

Stars:  Karl Urban, Clancy Brown, Moon Bloodgood, Russell Means and Ralf Moeller

The Pitch: “Indians and… what for it… Vikings!!”

Tagline: Two Worlds, One War. The Ultimate Battle Begins.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

A Viking child left behind after a brutal battle with American Indians is taken in by the tribe and raised to manhood as an Indian Warrior.  When the Vikings return years later, his loyalty is tested.


This Island Earth (1955) / Z-View

This Island Earth (1955)

Director: Joseph Newman

Screenplay: Franklin Coen and George Callahan

Stars:  Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason and Russell Johnson

The Pitch: “Let’s make a big budget sci/fi movie!”

Tagline: 2-1/2 YEARS IN THE MAKING ! …to bring you sights of FANTASTIC AMAZEMENT never before possible on the motion picture screen!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Dr. Cal Meacham is a well-known scientist who mysteriously receives components and instructions to create a never-before-seen communication machine.  Once constructed, Meacham is contacted by a strange being who offers Meacheam a chance to join his research team.  Meacham accepts and is taken to a secret location where he meets other scientists, including Dr. Ruth Adams, a former girlfriend.  When strange things begin to happen Meacham, Adams and another scientist discover that they are working for aliens preparing for war!

The special effects should be listed as a star!


Harvey (1950) / Z-View

Harvey (1950)

Director: Henry Koster

Screenplay: Mary Chase & Oscar Brodney from the play by Mary Chase

Stars:  James Stewart, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn

The Pitch: “Let’s turn ‘Harvey’ into a movie!”

Tagline: The Wonderful Pulitzer Prize Play… becomes one of the Great Motion Pictures of our Time!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Folks know Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) to be a bit, uh, eccentric.  After all he believes that his best pal is a six-foot tall invisible rabbit.  When his sister has had enough and decides to have Elwood committed a comedy of errors ensues.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) / Z-View

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Screenplay: James Gunn, Dan Abnett based on the Marvel comics

Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice), Michael Rooker,  Sylvester Stallone, Jeff Goldblum and Kurt Russell.

The Pitch: “Time to make another Guardians of the Galaxy!”

Tagline: You only get one chance to save the galaxy twice.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

Although the Guardians are now considered heroes, they earn their living as mercenaries.  On the run after barely escaping with their lives from a job gone wrong (Thanks, Rocket!), they meet a being claiming to be Peter’s father.  Although he/it may be Peter’s dad, something’s not right…

Stallone’s cameo is a bonus!


The Conjuring (2013) / Z-View

The Conjuring (2013)

Director: James Wan

Screenplay: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes (as Carey W. Hayes)

Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston

The Pitch: “A remote house… spooky going-ons… evil!”

Tagline: None

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
When strange things continue to happen in their remote farm home, Carolyn and Roger Perron contact paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warren’s discover that true evil lurks there


Navy Seals vs. Zombies (2015) / Z-View

Navy Seals vs. Zombies (2015)

Director: Stanton Barrett

Screenplay: Matthew Carpenter from a story by A.K. Waters

Stars: Ed Quinn, Michael Dudikoff, Rick Fox

The Pitch: “Zombies, and, wait for it… Navy Seals!”

Tagline: None (Perhaps the budget was so low they couldn’t afford one.)

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

The title says it all. Navy Seals are sent in to rescue folks during a zombie outbreak. High concept – low execution.


The Last of the Mohicans (1936) / Z-View

The Last of the Mohicans (1936)

Director: George B. Seitz

Screenplay: Philip Dunne based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper

Stars: Randolph Scott, Binnie Barnes, Henry Wilcoxon.

The Pitch: “Let’s turn the classic Last of the Mohicans into a movie!”

Tagline: James Fenimore Cooper’s Greatest Tale Of Rousing Adventure!

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
A classic love story set against the background of the Colonial Indian Wars. A half-breed Indian scout becomes entangled in a blood dispute between Magua and Colonial Munro, when Munro’s daughters are targeted for execution by Magua and his warriors.


Phantom Lady (1944) / Z-View

Phantom Lady (1944)

Director: Robert Siodmak

Screenplay: Bernard C. Schoenfeld (screenplay), Cornell Woolrich based on his novel written as William Irish

Stars: Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, Elisha Cook Jr., Regis Toomey and Milburn Stone.

The Pitch: “A romantic thriller with a man’s life on the line!”


The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
Scott Henderson (Curtis), who is in an unhappy marriage, spends his night at a bar drinking with a woman he’s just met. When Henderson gets home he discovers his wife has been murdered and the woman he’d just met is his only alibi… only no one seems to remember seeing her with him.


Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) / Z-View

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Director: Charles T. Barton

Screenplay: Hugh Wedlock Jr. & Howard Snyder

Stars:  Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff

The Pitch: “It’s time for Bud and Lou to meet Boris!”


The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When the bellboy (Costello) becomes the prime suspect of a murder in a remote hotel full of shady characters, only the hotel dick (Abbott) believes his innocence.  The race is on to find the killer before he kills again… and the bellboy is in the killer’s sights!

I was surprised that Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff didn’t hold up as well as I remembered it.  I was sure it would get a “B” rating or higher.  As a kid, it would have gotten an “A” — yet it is still fun with some good laughs.


Blood Simple (1984) / Z-View

Blood Simple (1984)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Screenplay: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Stars:  John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh

The Pitch: “Let’s make a noir!”

Tagline: Breaking up is hard

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When a vengeful husband (Hedaya) learns that his wife is cheating on him, he hires a sleazy PI to kill them.  What follows is a classic throwback film noir that jumpstarted the Coen brothers’ career.


Rio Bravo (1959) / Z-View

Rio Bravo (1959)

Director: Howard Hawks

Screenplay: Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett based on a short story by B.H. McCampbell

Stars:  John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, John Russell and Claude Akins.

The Pitch: “The Duke wants to make Rio Bravo.”

Tagline: You’ve seen nothing like ’em together… and in the heat and hate of Rio Bravo nothing can tear ’em apart!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When Sheriff John T. Chance (Wayne) refuses to let a rich rancher’s brother walk after committing a murder, Chance finds himself up against nearly 2 dozen hired guns.  Coming to Chance’s aid is an old man, a drunk who used to be a gun fighter and a kid with a fast draw.

The basis of Rio Bravo was used to a comedic effect in Blazing Saddles.


20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) / Z-View

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

Director: Nathan Juran

Screenplay:  Robert Creighton Williams (as Bob Williams) & Christopher Knopf from a story by  Charlotte Knight (as Charlott Knight)

Stars:  William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Thomas Browne Henry

The Pitch: “Let’s make a monster movie!”

Tagline: Greatest Monster Since King Kong Ravishes the Earth!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When the first spacecraft returning from Venus crash-lands in the ocean it releases a small creature that quickly grows to gigantic proportions and terrorizes Rome!


The Most Underrated Episodes of the Twilight Zone

Me-TV took a look at The Most Underrated Episodes of the Twilight Zone.  The article is worth a look.  Here are their choices and my ratings for each.

  • “THE SHELTER”  Season: 3  Episode: 3  My Rating: A+

  • “SHADOW PLAY”  Season: 2  Episode: 26  My Rating: C

  • “THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD”  Season: 3  Episode: 37  My Rating: C

  • “AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE”  Season: 5  Episode: 22  My rating: B

  • “THE HOWLING MAN”  Season: 2   Episode: 5  My Rating: A+

  • “A WORLD OF HIS OWN”  Season: 1  Episode: 36  My Rating: A

  • “THIRD FROM THE SUN”  Season: 1  Episode: 14  My Rating: A

  • “BLACK LEATHER JACKETS”  Season: 5  Episode: 18  My Rating: C

  • “IN HIS IMAGE”  Season: 4  Episode: 1  My Rating: C

  • “VALLEY OF THE SHADOW”  Season: 4  Episode: 3  My Rating: B


Journey Into Fear (1942) / Z-View

Journey Into Fear (1942)

Director: Norman Foster, Orson Welles (uncredited)

Screenplay: Joseph Cotten from the novel by Eric Ambler

Stars:  Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio and Agnes Moorehead

The Pitch: “Let’s bring back Welles and Cotten and try for another ‘The Third Man!’’”

Tagline: Welles and Del Rio together! as Terror Man vs. Leopard Woman–for possession of a mysterious stranger in the powder-keg Middle East…a man with a military secret worth more than his love and his life!…It’s menace melodrama thrilled with mighty mystery and suspense…SEE IT!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Howard Graham (Cotten) finds himself pursued by Nazi agents out to kill him.  In an effort to shake them, Graham ends up on an old frieghter heading out to sea… and discovers that the Nazis are also on board.

Welles has a small but important role. Cotten is more than capable of carrying the film.  The cat and mouse chase on the high ledge during a torrential downpour is classic.