Category: Celebs

“Tommy” (2017) / Z-View

Tommy (2017)

Directors:  Gentry Kirby, Erin Leyden

Tagline: His Toughest Fight Was Outside the Ring

The Plot…

Tommy Morrison rose from poverty and a broken home to co-star in Rocky V, and become a World Champion Boxer.  Morrison was on top, but his inability to control his addiction to drugs, partying and women led to his downfall.  Morrison made repeated comebacks, but sabotaged himself every time.  Finally he received news that ended his career and ultimately his life.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Tommy Morrison’s story is a sad one.  This is especially true since Morrison’s own behavior caused his downfall.  I give him credit for his initial press conference when he announced he had HIV.  Sadly, his behavior went south after that.  He had a doctor give him bicep implants, he claimed he no longer had HIV and he began getting in trouble with the law (DUIs, drugs and weapons convictions, etc.).  He continued to lie and cheat on the two women he truly loved him.

Tommy Morrison with better self-control could have had a career in boxing and maybe even movies or television.  I thought it was funny that Tommy’s boxing nickname was “The Duke” because John Wayne was a distant relative.  It’s funny because it wasn’t true and Morrison was surprised no one ever checked.

Tommy (2017) rates 5 of 5 stars.

BRUCE LEE: IN MY OWN PROCESS by Bruce Lee is Coming!

Bruce Lee fans are going to love this.  BRUCE LEE: IN MY OWN PROCESS by Bruce Lee is set to premiere on April 23rd.  Here’s the synopsis…

‘Many of you know that I am a martial artist by choice, an actor by profession, and, by daily actualizing my potentiality through soulful discoveries and daily exercising, I hope to become also an artist of life.’ – Bruce Lee

‘I venture that 95% of people have heard of Bruce Lee. They might not know everything about him, but they know his name. Isn’t that just incredible? And what excites me about this book is that it’s an opportunity for the reader to have a better understanding of why you continue to know his name.’ – Shannon Lee

‘Bruce draws you in with his martial strength and prowess, fascinates you with his aggression and superlative masculinity, and then you go deeper and learn about his philosophy, his depth as a thinker and a scientist, and that really hooks you.’ – Ang Lee

‘Bruce Lee exemplified discipline and finding your own path to success while committed to doing something you love.’ – Tony Hawk

‘Every time he spoke I would shudder because it was like poetry. He was like the first Asian rapper without a beat!’ – Steve Aoki

Bruce Lee’s blockbuster movies, pioneering martial arts practice and motivational philosophy continue to inspire millions worldwide. Published in the fiftieth year of his passing, In My Own Process celebrates Lee’s legacy as a martial artist, actor and philosopher, offering readers the definitive book of his spectacular career.

Collating rare photographs, drawings and writings, In My Own Process opens up the Bruce Lee family archives. A wealth of fascinating items are shared, including handwritten poems; personal affirmations and diary entries; movie scripts; workout regimes; teaching notes; martial arts drawings and philosophical observations. Hundreds of photographs reveal Bruce Lee in action, starring in classic movies such as Enter the Dragon, as well as during private moments away from the spotlight.

Reflecting on key areas of his life, in 1973 Bruce Lee wrote a series of letters titled ‘In My Own Process’. Lee’s writings introduce the chapters of his career, from developing his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, to his first screen test, to his big Hollywood breakthrough.

Alongside an extensive commentary in Lee’s own words, contributions from today’s leading figures in music, film, and sport examine Lee’s work and legacy, including Oscar-winning movie director Ang Lee, prolific actor and martial artist Jackie Chan, world-renowned skateboarder Tony Hawk, basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and more. Exclusive interviews with Lee’s associates and family members, such as his close friend and training partner, Dan Inosanto, add further personal insight.

In partnership with the family of Bruce Lee, Genesis Publications is proud to present In My Own Process, the official book documenting the life and work of one of the most significant cultural icons of all time.

Alex Garland’s Second Trailer for “Civil War” is Here!

Below is the second trailer for Alex Garland’s Civil War.  I am looking forward to this.

From writer/director Alex Garland and starring Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Cailee Spaeny. CIVIL WAR – In Theaters April 12, 2024.

RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2024
DIRECTOR: Alex Garland
CAST: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Cailee Spaeny

“Attack of the Hollywood Cliches!” (2021) hosted by Rob Lowe / Z-View

Attack of the Hollywood Cliches! (2021)

Directors:  Sean Doherty, Ricky Kelehar, Alice Mathias

Writers:  Dane Baptiste, Ben Caudell, Sean Doherty

Stars: Rob Lowe, Andie MacDowell

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Rob Lowe hosts an exploration of movie cliches like the hero walking calmly away as something behind him explodes, one-man super-soldiers, kissing in the rain, a character coming from the grocery store always has a loaf of French bread sticking out of the bag and more.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

A harmless way to spend an hour.

Attack of the Hollywood Cliches! (2021) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Legend of Lead Belly” (2013) / Z-View

Legend of Lead Belly (2013)

Director:  Alan Ravenscroft

Stars: Huddie Ledbetter (aka Lead Belly), Bob Dylan

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Huddie Ledbetter aka Lead Belly, despite being born in poverty, growing up in a time of extreme racism, and serving several jail/prison terms, became an accomplished musician whose influence spanned music genres and generations.  Although crowned the “King of the Twelve-String Guitar”, Lead Belly was an accomplished musician who could also play piano, mandolin, harmonica and violin.  His songs have been covered by Frank Sinatra to Nirvana.  His influence in music is still felt 75 years after his death.  Legend of Lead Belly provides an excellent overview of his life.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Lead Belly was serving time for murder.  He wrote and recorded a song asking for clemency from the Governor… and received it!

It’s interesting that late in life, Lead Belly wanted to play a movie singing cowboy.  Unfortunately he never achieved that goal.

If you know the name Lead Belly, but don’t know much about him, Legend of Lead Belly is a great starting point.

Legend of Lead Belly (2013) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“The Strain”: Season 4 (2017) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 4 (2017)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  J. Miles Dale (eps. 1 – 2, 10); Kevin Dowling (eps. 3 – 4); Norberto Barba (eps. 5 – 6); Thomas Carter (ep. 7); Paco Cabezas (ep. 8); Jennifer Lynch (ep. 9)

Screenplay: Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (ep. 1, 10); Liz Phang (ep. 2, 8); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (ep. 3, 9); Chuck Hogan (ep. 3); Mickey Fisher (ep. 4); Jeff Wadlow (ep. 5); Paul Keables (ep. 6); Andy Iser (ep. 7)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Max Charles, Ruta Gedmintas, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samantha Mathis, Joaquín Cosío, Adriana Barraza.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Nine months have passed since the bombs went off.  A nuclear winter envelopes the world.  The strigoi have formed a “partnership” with surviving humans.  Humans donate blood to feed the strigoi.  Despite people disappearing most humans feel the partnership is their only hope.

Setrakian, Fet, Mr. Quinlan, Gus and the others continue to work separately and together to find a way to kill the Master.  If they can do that, the strigoi will be mindless and easier to destroy.  When the group comes up with a suicide plan, there is little doubt that all will not survive… the real question is will the Master be killed.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  In different episodes, different characters get the spotlight but viewers don’t get the feeling that it is by the numbers.  David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde continue to shine.  Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte continue to be great villains.  Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan makes a great anti-hero.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 4 (2017) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“Badland Hunters” (2024) starring Don Lee / Z-View

Badland Hunters (2024)

Director:  Heo Myeong Haeng

Screenplay: Kim Bo-tong, Kwak Jae-min

Stars: Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee), Lee Joon-young

Tagline: The world has come to an end, The world calls upon the hunter.

The Plot…

A series of earthquakes have turned Seoul into a wasteland.  Nam San (Lee) and his young sidekick, Choi ji-wan (Joon-young) are hunters who provide meat for their settlement.  When Dr. Yang Gi-su sends in a team promising the people of the settlement a better life, several families decide to leave.

Dr. Gi-su actually wants the young people for his mad experiments and the adults as slave labor.  He has the elders killed.  Gi-su’s experiments turn people into thinking zombie-like beings.  Nam San and Choi discover what has happened and go to free them.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I’m a Don Lee fan.  He deserved a better film.  So did his fans.  The story is weak and the effects are okay at best.  Still, there is plenty of action… and Don Lee.

Badland Hunters (2024) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill!” – Two Posters & Two Trailers!

We have two posters and two trailers for William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill!

Deal me in.

Directed by the visionary filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe (78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, Memory: The Origins of Alien), William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill is an intimate exploration of the life and career of William Shatner. From his unforgettable portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek to his diverse accomplishments of a 70+ year career across film, television, and the arts, the documentary captures the essence of Shatner’s journey and his extraordinary contributions to the entertainment industry.

An intimate portrait of William Shatner’s personal journey over nine decades on this Earth, You Can Call Me Bill strips away all the masks he has worn to embody countless characters, and reveals the man behind it all.

“The Postcard Killings” (2020) starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan / Z-View

The Postcard Killings (2020)

Director:  Danis Tanovic

Screenplay: Tove Alsterdal, Ellen Brown Furman, Liza Marklund, Andrew Stern, Tena Štivičić based on THE POSTCARD KILLERS by Liza Marklund and James Patterson

Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Famke Janssen

Tagline: The art of crime

The Plot…

New York Detective Jacob Kanon (Morgan) heads to London when his daughter is brutally murdered while on her honeymoon.  Kanon starts an investigation of his own and discovers a serial killer is targeting couples throughout Europe.  Kanon is determined to find the killer before he strikes again.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Postcard Killings didn’t resonate with me.  I’m not alone.  The movie currently has a 5.8 rating out of 10 on IMDb and 24% reviewers score and 40% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Postcard Killings (2020) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Greatest Night in Pop” (2024) / Z-View

The Greatest Night in Pop (2024)

Director:  Bao Nguyen

Stars: Lionel Richie, Harry Belafonte, Quincy Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Huey Lewis, Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Sheila E.,  Kenny Rogers, Dan Aykroyd, Christie Brinkley, Lindsey Buckingham, David Byrne, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, Daryl Hall, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Billy Joel, Madonna, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, John Oates, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, Anita Pointer, June Pointer, Ruth Pointer, Prince, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and Waylon Jennings

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

The Greatest Night in Pop chronicles everything from the birth of the idea to the night that dozens of the greatest recording stars in the world came together for a single session to create We Are the World.  The record went on to raise millions for African famine relief.  To this day, the song continues to raise money for the charity.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

It’s amazing that dozens of the biggest singing stars of the era could be brought together for one recording session.  Egos had to be left at the door.  Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones were able to keep the process moving.

At one point Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles both walked to the restroom together.  One of the stars remarked, “That’s truly the blind leading the blind.”

Paul Simon said that if a bomb was dropped on the studio, John Denver would be back on top.

It’s surprising that Madonna wasn’t included.  She was a huge star at the time.  Dan Aykroyd gets to be on the record, but not Madonna?

At one point Stevie Wonder wanted to include some lyrics Swahili.  Quincy Jones and others tried to see if they could make it work.  Waylon Jennings got frustrated with the attempts and left the recording.  Someone ultimately pointed out that Swahili wasn’t the language of the famine area.  The idea was dropped.

Having stars who are star-struck by being in the same room with their idols is fun.  Bob Dylan and others weren’t sure how to sing their solos. Things like that humanized them.  Hats off for having the soloists get parts that made the singers instantly identifiable.

The Greatest Night in Pop (2024) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Woman in Hiding” (1950) starring Ida Lupino, Howard Duff & Stephen McNally / Z-View

Woman in Hiding (1950)

Director:  Michael Gordon

Screenplay: Oscar Saul, Roy Huggins (adaptation) based on the story “Fugitive from Terror” by James Webb

Stars: Ida Lupino, Stephen McNally, Howard Duff, Peggy Dow, Irving Bacon, Don Beddoe and Joe Besser

Tagline: Hounded for money … pursued for love … hunted by a KILLER.

The Plot…

After her father falls to his death at his mill, Deborah (Lupino) decides to marry Selden Clark (McNally), her father’s second-in-command.  Soon Deborah learns that Seldon married her for her father’s business.  Seldon has a girl on the side and may have killed her father.

Realizing that Seldon has plans to kill her, Deborah goes on the run… with Seldon in hot pursuit.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Ida Lupino didn’t want to work with co-star Howard Duff.  She thought he was arrogant.  They married a year after the film’s release.

Look for Joe (The Three Stooges) Besser in a small but important role.

Woman in Hiding (1950) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Nefarious” (2023) starring Sean Patrick Flanery & Jordan Belfi / Z-View

Nefarious (2023)

Director:  Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon

Screenplay: Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon based on A Nefarious Plot by Steve Deace

Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Jordan Belfi, Jordan Belfi, Mark De Alessandro and Glenn Beck

Tagline:  Speak of the devil.

The Plot…

Edward Wayne Brady (Flanery), an infamous serial killer, is on death row, soon to be executed.  Brady claims that he’s possessed by a demon (maybe the devil himself).  In an effort to determine Brady’s sanity, Dr. Alan Fischer met with the killer and was ready to declare Brady insane.  After the interview, but before Dr. Fischer could render his official determination, he committed suicide.

Dr. James Martin (Belfi) is brought in to the prison to interview and determine if Brady is sane enough to be executed.  Dr. Martin goes in thinking that Brady is acting possessed in an effort to avoid the electric chair.  As the interview progresses, Brady tells Dr. Martin things he should have no way of knowing.  Then strange things begin to occur.  Brady tells Dr. Martin that before the day is over Martin will kill three people.

Is Brady insane or possessed.  Time will tell…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Nefarious was such a pleasant surprise.  It is so good and yet I haven’t heard much buzz about it.

Sean Patrick Flanery gives a performance throughout the film that is simply first rate.

As the interview progresses it’s interesting to see Dr. Martin’s opinion and confidence change.  He comes in thinking that Brady is trying to pull a scam to save his life.  Then he’s not so sure.  One of the best exchanges between the two (and there are many) occurs when Dr. Martin says, “I didn’t know I was in a fight.” Flannery responds, “That’s why you’re losing.”

Nefarious (2023) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“The Strain”: Season 3 (2016) / Z-View

The Strain: Season 3 (2016)

Created by:  Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

Directors:  GJ. Miles Dale (eps. 1 – 2); Ken Girotti (eps. 3 – 4); Deran Sarafian (eps. 5 – 6); T.J. Scott (eps. 7 – 8); Vincenzo Natali (ep. 9); Carlton Cruse (ep. 10);

Screenplay: Carlton Cruse, Chuck Hogan (eps. 1, 10); David Weddle, Bradley Thompson (eps. 2, 6); Chuck Hogan (ep. 3); Regina Corrado (ep. 4); Liz Phang (ep. 5); Chuck Hogan, Glen Whitman (ep. 7); Regina Corrado, Liz Phang (ep. 8); Vincenzo Natali (ep. 9)

Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Jim Watson, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Jack Kesy, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Max Charles, Ruta Gedmintas, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samantha Mathis, Joaquín Cosío, Adriana Barraza.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

The battle with the strigoi is in full effect.  Police, military and citizens have united.  The virus is spreading across the country and throughout the world.  Eldritch Palmer considers joining Eph, Fet and Setrakian against the Master.

When the stigoi begin winning the battle, police force prisoners, even those who committed misdemeanors into battle.  Gus and Angel find themselves in a no-win situation when they are placed in one of the groups forced to go underground into a strigoi stronghold.

The Ancients, who fear the Master’s reach is growing make an uneasy alliance with Quint.  The Master reveals himself as the battle nears the end.  Humanity may not survive.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have created a modern day vampire tale with a backstory that extends not just decades, but centuries.  The vampires aren’t the classic creatures of the night seen in countless movies.  And the stakes aren’t just a beautiful woman’s soul.  Here the fate of the world is at risk.

The writers should be commended for creating a huge cast of interesting characters with wonderful backstories.  In different episodes, different characters get the spotlight but viewers don’t get the feeling that it is by the numbers.  David Bradley as Professor Abraham Setrakian, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet and Miguel Gomez as Augustin “Gus” Elizalde continue to shine.  Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst, the Nazi vampire acolyte continue to be great villains.  Rupert Penry-Jones as Quinlan makes a great anti-hero.

Although Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan wrote a Strain trilogy of novels, the series doesn’t follow them exactly.

The Strain: Season 3 (2016) earns 5 of 5 stars.