“O.I.” – Some Ideas are Dangerous! Check Out this Fun Short!

O.I. is one of the best short films I’ve seen in a while.  Hats off to all involved!

Barry has a unique problem. He came up with a truly original idea. And sharing it has consequences.

Chris revisits the Tiki bar where he made his first ever deal. He wants to celebrate the biggest deal he’s ever made by drinking down memory lane. It is early morning and there is only one other customer, Barry, and the Barman.

Barry is drinking to forget and is in no mood to celebrate anything. Only Chris’ offer of free drinks for a week if he can’t solve Barry’s problems makes Barry change his mind. Barry has a unique problem. He came up with a truly original idea. And he is the only one immune to it. Chris doesn’t believe a word of it and is determined to prove Barry a liar and win the bet.

Written & Directed by N’cee van Heerden

Tax Collector (2020) / Z-View

Before we get into my review of Tax Collector, let me say that I’m a David Ayer fan and after seeing the poster and trailer for Tax Collector back in July, I posted them both saying that I looked forward to seeing the movie.

ComingSoon.net  recently had a contest for a free DVD of Tax Collector.  I entered and won a copy.  That copy is what I am reviewing.

Tax Collector (2020)

Director: David Ayer

Screenplay: David Ayer

Stars:  Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, Shia LaBeouf, Jose Conejo Martin, Cheyenne Rae Hernandez, George Lopez and Brian Ortega.

The Pitch: “David Ayer is ready to make another movie!”

Tagline: From the Creator of  “Training Day” and “End of Watch”

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

David Cuevas (Soto) and his crime partner, Creeper (LaBeouf) are tax collectors for a crime lord known as The Wizard.  They collect a 30% tax on all illegal gang activity in the city.  If the money isn’t on time or the count comes up short, Cuevas and Creeper resolve the issue so it doesn’t happen again.

Cuevas is living a double life of sorts.  He has a beautiful wife and two children. He wants to be a good husband and father.  The life Cuevas lives has given him a nice house, lots of money and respect, but the things he does to earn them are hard to justify.  While Cuevas is a religious man, his partner, Creeper has come to terms with who they are and what they do.

Things go smoothly until a Conejo (Martin), a rival gang lord, returns to the city with intent to take over the Wizard’s operation.  Conejo meets with Cuevas and offers him a choice: join Conejo or Cuevas and his family will be killed.

To tell more would be to give away too much.  The movie contains more than a few twists, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone going to see Tax Collector that there are scenes of brutal violence.  If you’re a fan of David Ayer, then you know what to expect.

As a screenwriter, Ayer got my attention with Training Day.  As a director, it was with Street Kings.  Then as a writer/director he brought us Harsh Times, End of Watch, Sabotage (one of Arnold’s best), and Fury just to name a few.  Ayers’ films take us into a world where men are placed in violent situations and there are consequences to their actions.

I’ve never been a big Shia LaBeouf fan, but man, he owns every scene he is in.  His character, Creeper, is a stone cold killer, and LaBeouf was perfect for the part.  Remember No Country for Old Men and the character Anton Chigurh played by Javier Bardem?  Remember the universal praise Bardem rightly received?  I’d rate LaBeaouf’s performance at the same level.

Other standout performances include Cheyenne Rae Hernandez as Gata and  Jose Conejo Martin as Conejo.  It was also cool to see George Lopez playing against character and Brian Ortega from the UFC in a supporting role.

I really liked the Tax Collector.  If you’re a David Ayer fan, you probably will as well.


Rating:

RIP: Conchata Ferrell

Conchata Ferrell passed away yesterday as a result of complications following a cardiac arrest.  She was 77.

Best known as Berta on Two and a Half Men, this is just one of her 131 acting credits!  Check out all the appearances.  What a career, but even if Conchata had only been on Two and Half Men, her career would have been made.  She was perfect in that role.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Conchata Ferrell’s family, friends and fans.

“The Informer” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like the poster but REALLY like the trailer for The Informer.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing it!

An ex-convict working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison.

Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Ana de Armas, Rosamund Pike, Common and Clive Owen
Directed by: Andrea Di Stefano

“Rouge City” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

In Rogue City, a complex case of rivalry between gangs and a group of cops unfolds in Marseille, where the border between personal and professional justice is blurred. A dark and intense thriller directed by Olivier Marchal.

Caught in the crosshairs of police corruption and Marseille’s warring gangs, a loyal cop must protect his squad by taking matters into his own hands.

The All-Time Best Final Horror Movie Scares

  • Carrie (1976):  I saw Carrie at a midnight movie with my girlfriend.  I thought the movie was over except for the credits when Carrie’s hand reached out of the grave and grabbed her friend.  I came out of my seat and am pretty sure I let out a yell.  Not my most macho moment.
  • Friday the 13th (1980): Another late night movie, but this time I was watching alone.  My wife was in bed asleep and I was on the couch and it was well past midnight.  I thought the movie was over, again except for the credits.  I walked over to turn off the tv (no remote in those days – at least for us) and the kid/monster came out of the water to grab the girl.  I backed up so fast you’d have thought it was reaching through the tv for me.
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): I saw this on cable and thought it was ok.  I like the original a lot better, but I have to give credit to the final scare.  It still gives me chills to think about it.

“Billie” – The Trailer is Here!

I want to see the documentary, Billie!

Billie Holiday had one of the greatest voices of all time and changed the face of American music. She was a woman of breath-taking talent and global popularity while also stirring controversy. She started a notable rebellion singing “Strange Fruit” which exposed the realities of Black life in America and earned her powerful enemies. Raw, emotional and brutally honest, Billie is filled with never-before-heard interviews from musical greats like Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie.
Director: James Erskine

David Fincher’s “Mank” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

David Fincher is back with Mank!

1930s Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane.

Starring Academy Award Winner Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, Tom Pelphrey, Sam Troughton, Ferdinand Kingsley, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Burke, and Charles Dance. MANK is directed by David Fincher.

In Select Theaters November and on Netflix on December 4.

“News of the World” starring Tom Hanks – The Trailer is Here!

The trailer for News of the World starring Tom Hanks is here!

This Christmas, Universal Pictures is proud to present Tom Hanks starring in News of the World, a moving story written and directed by Paul Greengrass, reuniting for the first time with his star from their 2013 Best Picture nominee Captain Phillips.

Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks), a widower and veteran of three wars, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe.

In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel, System Crasher), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Johanna, hostile to a world she’s never experienced, is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will.

Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

News of the World is directed by Greengrass (the Bourne films, United 93) from his screenplay with Luke Davies (Lion), based on the National Book Award finalist and best-selling novel by Paulette Jiles. The film is produced by Gary Goetzman (Mamma Mia! franchise, Greyhound), Gail Mutrux (The Danish Girl, Donnie Brasco) and Gregory Goodman (22 July, 8 Mile). The executive producers are Steven Shareshian and Tore Schmidt. The film’s music is by eight-time Academy Award® nominee James Newton Howard.

“The 355” Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for The 355 are here and both look good.

A dream team of formidable female stars come together in a hard-driving original approach to the globe-trotting espionage genre in The 355.

When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, wild card CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown (Oscar®-nominated actress Jessica Chastain) will need to join forces with rival badass German agent Marie (Diane Kruger, In the Fade), former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist Khadijah (Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o), and skilled Colombian psychologist Graciela (Oscar® winner Penélope Cruz) on a lethal, breakneck mission to retrieve it, while also staying one-step ahead of a mysterious woman, Lin Mi Sheng (Bingbing Fan, X-Men: Days of Future Past), who is tracking their every move.

As the action rockets around the globe from the cafes of Paris to the markets of Morocco to the wealth and glamour of Shanghai, the quartet of women will forge a tenuous loyalty that could protect the world—or get them killed.

The film also stars Sebastian Stan (Avengers: Endgame) and Edgar Ramírez (The Girl on the Train).

The 355 is directed by genre-defying filmmaker Simon Kinberg (writer-director-producer of Dark Phoenix, producer of Deadpool and The Martian and writer-producer of the X-Men films), from a script by Theresa Rebeck (NBC’s Smash, Trouble) and Kinberg, and is produced by Chastain and Kelly Carmichael for Chastain’s Freckle Films and by Kinberg for his Genre Films. The film is executive produced by Richard Hewitt (Bohemian Rhapsody).

Ranking Every Arnold Schwarzenegger Sci-Fi Movie!

Phil Pirrello at Syfy.com took on the task to Rank Every Sci-Fi Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie.  I decided to play along.  Below is the chart comparing our rankings and some thoughts after.

Phil Pirrello

Craig

9. Terminator: Salvation (2009)

** Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

8. Terminator: Genisys (2015)

8. The Running Man (1987)

7. The Sixth Day (2000)

7. The Sixth Day (2000)

6. The Running Man (1987)

6. Terminator: Salvation (2009)

5. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

5. Terminator: Genisys (2015)

4. Predator (1987)

4. Total Recall (1990)

3. Total Recall (1990)

3. The Terminator (1984)

2. The Terminator (1984)

2. Predator (1987)

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

  • I haven’t seen Terminator: Dark Fate, yet so I didn’t include it in the ratings.
  • I was surprised The Running Man rated so high for Phil.  I’m not a fan of it.
  • Seems neither of us are fans of The Sixth Day.
  • I was surprised Phil didn’t rate Predator higher.
  • I almost rated Terminator at #2 and Predator at #3.

“Thief” Gets the Cinephilia Treatment!

Thief, directed by Michael Mann and starring James Caan gets the Cinephilia and Beyond Treatment.  Click over and you’ll get…

  • Rarely seen production and behind-the-scenes photos
  • Thief script
  • Michael Mann video interview
  • James Caan interviews
  • Johannes Schmoelling of Tangerine Dream interviewed about Thief
  • Michael Mann on his filmmaking process
  • An evening with Michael Mann
  • Robert Rodriguez’s The Director’s Chair with Michael Mann
  • and much more!