Author: Craig Zablo

“Under Paris” (2024) / Z-View

Under Paris (2024)

Director: Xavier Gens

Screenplay: Yannick Dahan, Xavier Gens, Maud Heywang, Yaël Langmann

Stars: Bérénice Bejo, Nassim Lyes.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Three years ago Sophia, a marine researcher, barely survived a shark attack that killed everyone else in her group. Now Sophia, still not fully recovered from the attack, works at an aquarium in Paris. She keeps up with the location of the killer shark thanks to a tracking beacon on it.

When the beacon shows the shark has traveled into the Seine River, Sophia can’t get anyone to believe her.  When mutilated bodies begin to appear, it becomes clear that sharks have mutated and are indeed in the river.  Despite this, the mayor refuses to cancel a huge event that includes a triathlon in the, you guessed, Seine River.

Didn’t anyone learn anything from Jaws, Jaws II, Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Under Paris suffers from bad cgi, cliched characters and supposedly smart characters who die because of simply stupid choices.  The mayor knows there are mutated sharks in the river and still allows hundreds of swimmers to compete there.  A “smart” woman who has survived several shark attacks and has had her boat destroyed decides to swim towards the shark feeding frenzy.  Bombs from World War II are inadvertently detonated by sharks destroying bridge after bridge.  And so on…

I made it through the whole thing so it barely earns a 2 star rating.

After writing this, I saw a Tweet (er, X) from Stephen King which read…

I thought UNDER PARIS would be a jokey movie, like SHARKNADO, but Twitter convinced me to give it a watch, and it’s really quite good. The last 25 minutes were amazing.

Now, I’m not one to argue with Stephen King.  My opinion stands, as does King’s.  So, I’ll just say, “Your mileage may vary.”

Under Paris (2024), (for me) rates 2 of 5 stars.

RIP: Tony Lo Bianco

Tony Lo Bianco, award-winning actor of stage and screen, died June 11, 2024. Mr. Lo Bianco was 87.

Tony Lo Bianco graduated from William E. Grady CTE High School.  He then attended the Dramatic Workshop, where he studied acting and theater production.  In 1963, Tony Lo Bianco founded the Triangle Theater where he served as the artistic director for six years.

In 1963, Mr. Lo Bianco made his first television appearance in an episode of The Doctors.  In 1964, he performed as an understudy on the Broadway play Incident at Vichy.  In 1965, Tony Lo Bianco appeared in the Broadway production of Tartuffe.  Mr. Lo Bianco followed that with a starring role in The Royal Hunt of the Sun on Broadway.  Tony Lo Bianco’s film debut came in 1965 in The Sex Perils of Paulette.

For the rest of his career Tony Lo Bianco would appear on stage, television and in feature films. In 1975, Mr. Lo Bianco won an OBIE (Off Broadway Theater) Award in the category Distinguished Performance by an Actor for Yanks-3, Detroit-0, Top of the Seventh.  In 1983, he was nominated for a Tony Award and won the Outstanding Actor in a Play Award for the Outer Critics Circle for his performance in A View from a Bridge.  In 1985, he won a New York Emmy for Outstanding Individual Crafts for his performance in Hizzoner!

Television appearances of Tony Lo Bianco include: The Doctors; Get Smart; Hawk; NYPD (2 episodes); Hidden Faces; Love of Life; Madigan; The Story of Jacob and Joseph; The Streets of San Francisco; Jesus of Nazareth (4 episodes); Police Story (6 episodes); Magee and the Lady; Champions: A Love Story; A Last Cry for Help; Marciano; Marco Polo (2 episodes); Another Woman’s Child; The Paper Chase; Hizzoner!; The Twilight Zone (1985); Welcome Home Bobby; Blood Ties; Police Story: The Freeway Killings; Night Heat; The Ann Jillian Story; CBS Summer Playhouse; Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen; Fredrick Forsythe Presents; Palace Guard (8 episodes); Murder, She Wrote (2 episodes); The Maharaja’s Daughter (4 episodes); Homicide: Life on the Street (3 episodes); Tyson; F/X: The Series; Rocky Marciano; Walker, Texas Ranger; Law & Order (3 episodes); Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Somewhere in Queens.

Feature film appearances of Tony Lo Bianco include: The Sex Perils of Paulette; The Honeymoon Killers; The French Connection; Serpico; The Seven Ups; FIST; Bloodbrothers; City Heat; City of Hope; Boiling Point; Nixon; The Juror; Mafia!; The Day the Ponies Came Back; Friends and Family and Kill the Irishman.

I don’t remember the first time I saw Tony Lo Bianco.  I do remember it seemed he came from nowhere and was holding his own with big name stars: Hackman in The French Connection, Pacino in Serpico, Roy Schneider in The Seven Ups, Sly Stallone in FIST, Eastwood and Reynold in City Heat.  My favorite role is probably his performance as Babe Milano in FIST.  I need to revisit Bloodbrothers.  I remember really liking that film (that had Richard Gere, Paul Sorvino and Tony Lo Bianco as its stars).  It’s evidence of Mr. Lo Bianco’s  talent that he could move from stage to television to feature films with ease.

Out thoughts and prayers go out to Tony LoBianco’s family, friends and fans.

“Those About to Die” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Who doesn’t love gladiator movies?  Just ask Peter Graves.  ; ) (If you know, you know.)

Those About to Die is an epic drama set in the corrupt world of the spectacle-driven gladiatorial competition, exploring a side of ancient Rome never before told — the dirty business of entertaining the masses, giving the mob what they want most…blood and sport. The series introduces an ensemble of characters from all corners of the Roman Empire who collide at the explosive intersection of sports, politics, and dynasties.

Those About to Die is streaming July 18 on Peacock

Creepy Archives Volume 8 is Coming! Featuring Tom Sutton, Steve Skeates, Wally Wood, T. Casey Brennan, Ernie Colón & More!

Creepy Archives Volume 8 is set to drop on September 24, 2024.  It collects Creepy issues 37–41.  Here’s some of what to expect…

Now available in a value-priced paperback edition, Creepy Archives Volume 8 features the best in gruesomely gore-geous tales of horror, fantasy, and science fiction from a capable cadre of celebrated storytellers including Tom Sutton, Steve Skeates, Wally Wood, T. Casey Brennan, Ernie Colón, and many more.

Also featured is a foreword by longtime Creepy scribe Nicola Cuti and a story starring none other than Uncle Creepy himself! Take a break from the mausoleum, hang up your mourning coat, and bury yourself in Creepy Archives!

“Mayor of Kingstown”: Season 2 (2023) starring Jeremy Renner / Z-View

Mayor of Kingstown: Season 2 (2023)

Created by: Taylor Sheridan, Hugh Dillon

Director: Stephen Kay (Eps. 1-3, 7-10); Tasha Smith (Eps. 3-4); Guy Ferland (Ep. 5-6)

Teleplay: Dave Erickson and Taylor Sheridan (Ep. 1); Taylor Sheridan (Ep. 2); Keli Goff (Ep. 3); Evan Ball (Ep. 4); Leon Hendrix III (Ep. 5); Christian Donovan (Ep. 6); Regina Corrado (Ep. 7); Hugh Dillon & Stephen Kay (Ep. 8); Christian Donovan & James Arcega Tinsley (Ep. 9); Regina Corrado & Dave Erickson (Ep. 10)

Stars: Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest, Hugh D illon, Tobi Bamtefa, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird, Derek Webster, Hamish Allan-Headley, Aidan Gillen, Michael Beach, Nichole Galicia, Necar Zadegan, Lane Garrison, Gena Shaw, Frank Licari, Dylan Kenin, George Tchortov, Sandrine Holt, Gratiela Brancusi, Matt Gerald, Nona Parker Johnson, Sandra Holt, Dom Kegel, Jimmy Star and Kenny Johnson.

Tagline: You can’t bury the past.

The Plot…

The prison riot is over but the ramifications will be long-lasting.  The major gangs are without leadership.  Gangs, like the universe, hate a void.  Power struggles in the prison spill over into gang wars in the streets.  Mike comes up with a plan to return to status quo, but there will be a cost.  Since the riot, no one trusts anyone.  To complicate matters, Iris is missing and Milo may be alive.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Mayor of Kingstown continues to be well written, well directed, well acted with production values that rival those of feature films.

Jeremy Renner is perfect as the no-nonsense Mike McClusky.  Other standouts in the acting department include Dianne Wiest, Hugh Dillon, Emma Laird, Nichole Galicia, Tobi Bamtefa and Hamish Allan-Headley.  Actually, I should probably list every supporting actor/actress because they are all perfectly cast.

The surprises, twists and ever building tension make each episode must-see tv.  I look forward to season 3 and beyond.

Mayor of Kingstown: Season 2 (2023) rates 5 of 5 stars.

Creepy Archives Volume 7 is Coming! Featuring Frank Frazetta, Tom Sutton, Nicola Cuti, Syd Shores, Ernie Colón, Richard Corben, Ken Kelly & More!

Creepy Archives Volume 7 is set to release on July 23, 2024.  It collects Creepy issues 33–36.  Here’s some of what to expect…

Now available in a value-priced paperback edition, Creepy Archives Volume 7 features the finest in fiendish fiction from a skilled swarm of comics luminaries, including Tom Sutton, Nicola Cuti, Syd Shores, Ernie Colón, and the inaugural Creepy contributions by industry legends Richard Corben and Ken Kelly!

Also presents a lengthy interview with master illustrator Frank Frazetta. After a hard day at the boneyard, take a nice bloodbath, pour yourself a glass of hemlock, and curl up with Creepy Archives!

“Tomorrow is Another Day” (1951) starring Ruth Roman & Steve Cochran / Z-View

Tomorrow is Another Day (1951)

Director: Felix E. Feist

Screenplay: Art Cohn, Guy Endore, story by Guy Endore

Stars: Ruth Roman, Steve Cochran, Lurene Tuttle, Hugh Sanders, Ray Teal, Morris Ankrum, John Kellogg, Walter Sande, Philip Carey and Lee Patrick.

Tagline: They take their lives in their hands… when they take each other in their arms!

The Plot…

Bill Clark (Cochran) was thirteen when he murdered his abusive father.  That was 18 years ago.  Clark is now 31 and just released from prison.  Although a man, Clark still has the naivety of a child.  Clark quickly learns that life as an ex-con won’t be easy.

When Clark meets a dance hall girl named Cathy (Roman), straight away he’s attracted to her.  Cathy rejects his offers of dinner, saying that she prefers gifts.  When Cathy gets off work, Clark is waiting.  He gives her a beautiful watch.  After a night on the town, Cathy invites Clark up to her apartment.

Almost immediately after they enter, George Conover (Sanders), Cathy’s “boyfriend” busts in.  Conover pulls a gun and orders Clark to leave.  Clark goes for the gun and in the struggle the gun is dropped and Clark is knocked  unconscious.  Cathy grabs the gun and instinctively shoots George when he lunges for her.  George staggers out and into a taxi headed for the hospital.

Clark comes to.  Cathy asks him what he remembers, which is everything leading up to the struggle for the gun.  Cathy leads Clark to believe that he was the one who shot New York Detective George Conover.  When they learn that Conover has died from his wounds and the police have launched an investigation, Cathy and Clark decide to take off.

If they’re caught Cathy will let Clark take the rap.  And if they make a clean getaway, she can always dump him.  Funny how the best made plans…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Both John Garfield and Burt Lancaster were considered for the role of Bill Clark.

Tomorrow is Another Day has the set-up to be a classic noir film.  Bill Clark was an abused kid who did time in prison but wants to now lead a good life.  He meets up with a beautiful woman that he’s drawn to, but she takes advantage of the relationship.  When she murders another lover, she lets Bill think that he did the crime.  They go on the run.  Everything lining up to be an excellent noir.  Then in the last couple of scenes we get an ending that makes everything “sunshine and roses” (as Rocky Balboa would say).  Still, Tomorrow is Another Day isn’t a bad film, just one that falls short of being really good.

Tomorrow is Another Day (1951) rates 3 of 5 stars.

Blacking Out by by Chip Mosher, Peter Krause, Giulia Brusco & Ed Dukeshire is Coming!

Blacking Out by by Chip Mosher (writer), Peter Krause (pencils/inks), Giulia Brusco (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters) is going to hit all the sweet spots for lovers of crime fiction, mysteries and graphic novels.  Here’s the goods…

Bad people doing bad things in a tale of fire and murder in Southern California.

A disgraced ex-cop, Conrad, seeks redemption by unraveling an unsolved murder during Southern California’s fire season. Conrad follows a lone clue—a discarded crucifix—to unravel the death of Karen Littleton, whose body was found amid a blaze that scorched 10,000 acres. The search leads him to clash with the victim’s father and prime suspect, Robert Littleton, as well as hostile former colleagues on the local police force. All the while, Conrad combats his consuming alcoholism and fading faculties.

Will his “questionable” methods net him a murderer, or will the grizzled detective be brought to his knees by heartbreak and addiction? Find out, in this all-new edition of Blacking Out, a scorching crime noir comic set in a small town in the dry California desert.

From the minds of comics industry veteran and writer Chip Mosher (Left On Mission) and legendary artist Peter Krause (The Power of Shazam!, Irredeemable) with colors by the amazing Giulia Brusco (Scalped, Django Unchained), and letterers from Ed Dukeshire (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Basilisk)

Blacking Out hits on October 1, 2024.

“Godzilla Minus One” (2023) / Z-View

Godzilla Minus One (2023)

Director: Takashi Yamazaki

Screenplay: Takashi Yamazaki

Stars: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe.

Tagline: Postwar Japan. From zero to minus.

The Plot…

1945.  World War II is nearing the end.  Kōichi Shikishima, a Japanese kamikazi pilot lands his plane on Odo island for repairs.  There is nothing wrong with his plane.  The truth is that Kōichi was afraid to finish his mission.  That night a giant prehistoric-looking creature comes ashore.  It attacks the Japanese stronghold.  Try as they might, the creature is impervious to anything the soldiers can do.  Kōichi is too afraid to help.  The next morning he is one of the only two to survive Godzilla’s attack.

The war ends.  Kōichi returns home to Tokyo.  He discovers his parents were both killed in a bombing. Kōichi meets a homeless woman with an orphaned child. He brings them to his home. As time goes by they become more of a family, but Kōichi still feels like a coward.

Reports of Godzilla attacking ships becomes more frequent.  The government fears Godzilla will come on land and wipeout entire cities.  Nothing has been able to stop the giant creature.  Then the worst is reported, Godzilla is heading inland.

Will Kōichi get a chance to redeem himself and save his country?  What do you think?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The title, Godzilla Minus One, refers to Japan being taken “down to zero” after World War II.  Godzilla’s attacks on the country take it even lower.  This minus one.

After seeing the trailer and the great reviews for Godzilla Minus One I was excited to see the film.  The scenes of Godzilla’s attacks and the destruction caused by the monster are the best in any Godzilla film ever.  This is where Godzilla Minus One shines.  I wanted more of that.  It almost felt like I was watching a more adult film during Godzilla’s attacks and a movie aimed at kids with the Kōichi subplot.

Godzilla Minus One (2023) rates 3 of 5 stars.