RIP: Ned Beatty

Ned Beatty, 83, passed away in sleep this morning from natural causes.  Mr. Beatty who was equally adept in both comedic and dramatic roles, alternated between feature films and television roles making whatever production he was in better.

Ned Beatty began his career in John Boorman’s highly regarded adaptation of James Dickey’s novel Deliverance starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight and Ronny Cox.  Mr. Beatty then went on to have a career in feature films and television that lasted over 40 years and packed his resume with 166 acting credits.  He was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Network. 

Ned Beatty was one of this character actors who was good in any role he took on and that kept him in demand.  Mr. Beatty’s feature film highlights include six films with Burt Reynolds, Superman and Superman II with Christopher Reeve, as well as Nashville, Network, 1941 and Back to School.  His television credits include: Gunsmoke. The Execution of Private Slovik, MASH, Hawaii 5-0, The Rockford Files and so many more.

Ned Beatty was always a welcome addition whenever he appeared on screen.  The enormity of his resume would make any actor proud.  What a career!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ned Beatty’s family, friends and fans.

 

“Kiss Me, Judas” by William Christopher Baer & Jefferson Costa!

I’m always on the look out for a great crime story whether it is a novel, movie, graphic novel or comic book. Originally written as a novel by William Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas came to my attention thanks to a Kickstarter for the graphic novel adaptation by Baer and artist Jefferson Costa.

Check out the synopsis and a couple of pages of art from the book below.  Who knows, maybe you’ll want to jump on board the Kiss Me, Judas Kickstarter.  I did. 

The All-Time Greatest Action Movies!

Matthew Jackson, at Mental Floss, posted his list of The 30 Greatest Action Movies of All-Time. I took Jackson’s list and compiled my top ten (using just choices from his 30 greatest).  Here are how things shook out.  (Jackson’s list is by year and mine is alphabetical — they’re all great action movies.)

Jackson

Zablo

1. THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953)

1. DIE HARD (1988)

2. SEVEN SAMURAI (1954)

2. ENTER THE DRAGON (1973)

3. GOLDFINGER (1964)

3. FIRST BLOOD (1982)

4. SHAFT (1971)

4. JOHN WICK (2014)

5. ENTER THE DRAGON (1973)

5. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

6. THE DRIVER (1978)

6. THE MATRIX (1999)

7. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

7. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (2018)

 

8. FIRST BLOOD (1982)

8. POINT BREAK (1991)

9. ROBOCOP (1987)

9. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

10. DIE HARD (1988)

10.TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY(1991)

There are 4 in his top 30 that I haven’t seen: THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953); DRUNKEN MASTER II (1994), BATTLE ROYALE (2000) and THE VILLAINESS (2017).

There are two on his list that I saw and didn’t like much at all: CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) and ONG-BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR (2003).

Here are some movies that didn’t make Jackson’s list but would have made mine: Predator; Casino Royale, Atomic Blonde; Aliens; and Army of the Dead. (And those are just off the top of my head!)

Snyder School: Making the Cut!

I love these Snyder Film School insights.  More directors should do this.

In ‘Snyder School,’ Zack Snyder takes us on a four episode journey into his creative process as a filmmaker. In Episode 3, Zack explains his philosophy on color, how he finds the final cut with his editor, and how music and sound design complete the emotional experience of watching his films.

“Blood Red Sky” – The Trailer is Here!

Blood Red Sky – The Trailer is Here!  Free on Netflix?  Yeah, deal me in.

A woman with a mysterious illness is forced into action when a group of terrorists attempt to hijack a transatlantic overnight flight. In order to protect her son she will have to reveal a dark secret, and unleash the inner monster she has fought to hide.

Watch Blood Red Sky, only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/BloodRedSky

“No Sudden Move” – The Trailer is Here!

Deal me in.

In 1955 Detroit, a group of small-time criminals are hired to steal emerging car technology. When their plan goes horribly wrong, their search for who hired them – and for what ultimate purpose – weaves them through all echelons of the race-torn, rapidly changing city. From Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh and starring Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Ray Liotta, Jon Hamm, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin and Amy Seimetz and Julia Fox. #NoSuddenMove streaming on HBO Max July 1.

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (2021) / Z-View

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

Director: Michael Chaves

Screenplay:  David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (story: James Wan & David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick; based on characters created by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes)

Stars:  Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook and John Noble.

Tagline:  The Demonic Case That Shocked America

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a change of pace in that the Warrens are working to save a man from death row by using the “he was possessed by the devil” defense.  Talk about a Hail, Mary!

So, there’s a lot of courtroom action?  No, just two brief scenes.  But you have to understand this isn’t about that.  It’s about finding out why the man was possessed and curing that.  But, we know why he was possessed, he asked the devil to take him instead of the boy.  Yes, but as we learn, he wasn’t possessed by the devil, he was cursed by a Satanist!  But, the title is “The Devil Made Me Do It”?  Yes, but it wasn’t through the Devil directly.  But, the movie is scary and full of tension like the other “Conjuring” movies, right?  Well… not really.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is all over the place.  There are exorcisms, a cold case murder mystery, a story of young love, old love, a possession, a curse, a demonic/satanic controlled murder, there’s ESP, raising the dead, a hospital drama, and keeping a man off death row.  For me, it was a bit too much.

I like the chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.  The nod to the original Exorcist when the priest arrives for the exorcism of the little boy is a nice touch.  The set-up with the little boy and the waterbed was creepy.  John Noble was a nice addition but needed more to do.

Nits to pick: It wasn’t as scary or filled with tense scenes as past Conjuring films.  The lighting in every indoor scene was as if to remind us “this is a horror movie” and something scary could be in the shadows.

The set-up of Patrick Wilson’s heart problems were well done but then for the rest of the film the threat of a heart attack looms despite his constant running, straining to lift his wife as she goes over a cliff, etc.  I didn’t think that the whole “Here’s Johnny” with a sledge hammer instead of an axe scene worked.  We know he’s not whacking his wife with it.

I didn’t buy at all that a man in jail for murder and who is using the devil made me do it defense would be allowed out of a cell to mop floors in a semi-dark (spooky, huh?) room.  That he would be come possessed, levitate off the floor, windows would be blown out and not a single cop or orderly shows up?

Overall, I found The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It to be an okay viewing experience.  So it gets 2 of 5 stars.

RIP: Clarence Williams III

Clarence Williams III, the actor best known for his role as Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad, died on Friday, June 4th from colon cancer.

Mr. Williams began his acting career in 1959 with an uncredited role in Pork Chop Hill. The following year he appeared on Broadway in The Long Dream. Clarence Williams III then alternated between stage and television roles until he was cast in his signature role, as Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad.  When the series ended after five seasons, Mr. Williams alternated between movie and television roles.  

Some of his best known television appearances were in The Return of Mod Squad, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice and Twin Peaks.  Clarence Williams III’s feature films include Purple Rain, I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka,  The Genreral’s Daughter and Reindeer Games.

I wasn’t a big fan of The Mod Squad, but when I did watch I always thought Clarence Williams III was the best part of the show.  It was always nice to see him show up in other television and movie roles.  

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clarence Williams III’s family, friends and fans.

Al Capone: Interesting Trivia You May Not Know!

Sean Hutchinson at Mental Floss recently posted 17 Facts About Al Capone.  You know the drill, before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

AL CAPONE GOT THE NICKNAME SCARFACE FROM A BARROOM FRACAS. (It’s not surprising to note that Capone hated the nickname Scarface.  Even more interesting is that he preferred friends to call him Snorky.  Somehow Snorky doesn’t seem as threatening as Scarface, and you can be sure if Capone was around and he wanted to be called Snorky, Snorky it would be. – Craig)

AL CAPONE’S “CHICAGO OUTFIT” MADE A LOT OF MONEY.  (Reportedly Capone’s outfit made $100 million in 1920.  Today the equivalent would be $13,352,700,000.00.  That’s 13 Billion plus dollars!  Wowzers! – Craig)

AL CAPONE RAN A SOUP KITCHEN DURING THE DEPRESSION.  (You’d think that this showed that Capone had a good heart.  Remember this was the same guy who beat to death three men with a baseball bat after serving them dinner, and the same guy who killed or had killed many, many people.  The soup kitchen was done to win public good will for his upcoming trial! – Craig)

Jack Carter and John Wick by Tom Richmond!

Tom Richmond of MAD magazine fame opened up his commission list and I jumped on with a request for Jack Carter (Sly Stallone) and John Wick (Keanu Reeves).  As you can see Mr. Richmond came through with a winner, which is no surprise.

This is my second commission from Tom Richmond, the first was a Rocky (Stallone) and Clubber Lang (Mr. T.).  I’ll post it once I get it scanned.  It is larger than my current scanner and a photo doesn’t do it justice.

If you’re a sketch collector, I highly recommend Tom Richmond.  He does great art, has wonderful communication and packages the art securely.  

“Five: A Tenet Short Film”

This short film becomes even more impressive when you learn it was filmed in one night on a $300.00 budget.  Stephen Ford is a guy to keep an eye on.

Starring: Josh Han, Brennan Mejia, Kasey Landoll, JB Tadena, Colton Eschief Mastro, Romeo Armand and @Cerberusarms .
Written & Directed by: Stephen Ford
Editing, VFX, Cinematography, Costumes by: Stephen Ford
Produced by: Jennifer McDonnell, Daniel “D” Kim, Jeremy Scott, Stephen Ford
Stunt Coordinator: Brennan Mejia
Military Advisor: Michael Lieberman