Category: Celebs

“Frank Miller: American Genius” – The Poster & Trailer are Here!

This is a must-see for me.  I am a HUGE Frank Miller fan.

FRANK MILLER: AMERICAN GENIUS documents the unique journey of an unparalleled American artist. The film explores the half-century career of the legendary comic book artist and writer. Made for his fans following a near death experience, the documentary delves into Miller’s radical and defining influence on art, storytelling and culture. Following his small town beginnings in Vermont, to New York City, Hollywood, and beyond; this intimate documentary delves into his failures, successes, self-destruction and re-discovery.

June 6th – Sneak preview at New York’s, the Angelika. With guest moderator Neil Gaiman. @neilhimself…

June 10th – Premiere at Cinemark Theaters. Moderated by Rosario Dawson. @rosariodawson…

“Countdown” (1967) starring James Caan & Robert Duvall / Z-View

Countdown (1967)

Director: Robert Altman

Screenplay: Loring Mandel based on THE PILGRIM PROJECT by Hank Searles

Stars: James Caan, Robert Duvall, Joanna Moore, Barbara Baxley, Charles Aidman, Steve Ihnat, Steve Ihnat, Bobby Riha, Robert Buckingham, William Conrad (voice), Mike Farrell and Ted Knight.

Tagline: The motion picture that puts a man on the moon … and you will follow him every terrifying second of the way …

The Plot…

The time is the late 1960s.  Russia and the United States are in a race to be the first to land a man on the moon.

At NASA astronauts training to be on the first team to land on the moon have their session cut short.  The mission commander, Chiz (Duvall) is called to a meeting.  The Russians have moved up their timeline.  They are launching in just four weeks.  There is no way the US squad will be ready, but there was a contingency plan in case something like this happened.

The US will send up one astronaut to land on the moon.  Supplies and a pod will be sent up first.  The astronaut will then live there for several months until a properly trained team will be launched to retrieve him.

Chiz is excited.  He will be the first man on the moon!

Then Chiz learns that Russia, in a political move is sending up civilians to prove that theirs is a nonmilitary operation.  The President has decided that NASA must do the same.  Because Chiz is an Air Force colonel, he is eliminated from the mission.  Lee (Caan), a civilian being trained as part of Chiz’s team, will be the one to go.

Chiz argues that Lee isn’t ready, he doesn’t have the training and will die if he’s sent.  When it becomes clear that Lee is the chosen one, Chiz demands to lead the completion of Lee’s training.

The race is on…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

NASA gave complete cooperation for filming and it shows!  Cape Canaveral was a location.

Countdown was Robert Altman’s return to feature films after directing television projects for ten years.  Things did not end well.  When Altman had completed shooting, he was fired.  Further, he was not welcome on the studio lot.  The studio head, Jack Warner, hated that in some scenes Altman had two actors speaking at the same time.

Altman would go on to use overlapping dialogue in his future feature films.  Robert Altman was an Academy Award nominee as Best Director five times (M*A*S*H; Nashville; The Player; Short Cuts and Gosford Park).

Because of Altman’s firing, new footage including a more upbeat ending was filmed by William Conrad.  Conrad was an Executive Producer on the film as well as the voice of the television announcer.  Altman’s ending had James Caan’s character, as his air supply ran out, walking in the wrong direction from the lunar pod.

Countdown was released a year and a half before the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Countdown (1967) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Follow Me Quietly” (1949) / Z-View

Follow Me Quietly (1949)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Screenplay: Lillie Hayward story by Anthony Mann, Francis Rosenwald

Stars: William Lundigan, Dorothy Patrick, Jeff Corey, Nestor Paiva, Paul Guilfoyle, Frank Ferguson, Douglas Spencer, Paul Bryar and Fred Aldrich.

Tagline: Police baffled by the FACELESS KILLER!

The Plot…

Police Lieutenant Harry Grant (Lundigan) is frustrated.  A serial killer known as The Judge has struck again.  At the crime scene a note from the killer taunting the police was found. How many more people have to die before The Judge is brought to justice?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Lawrence Tierney was scheduled to star, but off-screen antics (arrests for public intoxication and fighting) led to a change.

Follow Me Quietly (1949) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Crazies” (1973) written & directed by George A. Romero / Z-View

The Crazies (1973)

Director: George A. Romero

Screenplay: George A. Romero based on The Mad People by Paul McCollough

Stars: Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar, Richard France, Ned Schmidtke, George A. Romero and A.C. McDonald.

Tagline: Why are the good people dying?

The Plot…

When a military plane crashes near a small town, the water supply is contaminated with a powerful bio-weapon.  Soon townspeople are starting to act violent towards themselves and each other.  When the military shows up the town is put on lockdown.  As more citizens and soldiers become infected, the decision to nuke the town becomes more likely.

Will anyone survive?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Romero was given a micro-budget for filming.  Most of the actors had little to no training and were locals.  Even some high school students played soldiers in hazmat suits.

The burning house was actually being used by local firefighters for a training exercise.  Romero got permission to film it.

Remade in 2010 starring Timothy (Justified) Olyphant and Radha (Pitch Black) Mitchell

The Crazies (1973) rates 3 of 5 stars.

RIP: Dabney Coleman

Dabney Coleman, the award-winning actor of stage and screen, died yesterday. Mr. Coleman was 92.

Dabney Coleman attended both the Virginia Military Institute and the University of Texas at Austin.  Mr. Coleman was drafted and served in the U.S. Army.  After his service, Dabney Coleman attended the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

In 1961, Dabney Coleman made his Broadway debut in A Call on Kupri.  That same year, Mr. Coleman appeared in an episode of Naked City.  For the rest of his career Dabney Coleman would appear on television and in feature films.

In 1987, Dabney Coleman won a Primetime Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for his role in Sworn to Silence.  Mr. Coleman was nominated for five other Primetime Emmys: 1983 and 1984 – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Buffalo Bill; 1988 – Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for Baby M; 1988 – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for The Slap Maxwell Story and 1991 – Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Columbo.

Television appearances of Dabney Coleman include: Naked City; Armstrong Circle Theater (3 episodes); Alcoa Theater; Ben Casey; Breaking Point; Arrest and Trial; The Movie Maker; Kraft Suspense Theater (2 episodes); Dr. Kildare; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (2 episodes); The Outer Limits (3 episodes); Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theater (2 episodes); Hazel; The Donna Reed Show; 12 O’Clock High (2 episodes); The Fugitive (4 episodes); Please Don’t Eat the Daisies; Run for Your Life; That Girl (8 episodes); I Dream of Jeannie (2 episodes); The Flying Nun; The Invaders (2 episodes); Iron Horse; Judd for the Defense; Death Valley Days; Mod Squad; Then Came Bronson; Bonanza (2 episodes); Dan August; Nanny and the Professor; The Bold Ones: The New Doctors; Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law; Banyon; Room 222 (2 episodes); Ironside; Search; Savage; Kojak; The FBI (7 episodes); Mannix (3 episodes); Medical Center; McMillian & Wife (2 episodes); The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Cannon (2 episodes); Switch; The Streets of San Francisco (2 episodes); Police Story (2 episodes); Petrocelli; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (148 episodes); Fernwood Tonight (2 episodes); Quincy (2 episodes); Forever Fernwood (130 episodes); The Love Boat; Apple Pie (8 episodes); Diff’rent Strokes (2 episodes); Barnaby Jones (5 episodes); Buffalo Bill (26 episodes); Fresno (6 episodes); Dolly; The Slap Maxwell Story (22 episodes); It’s Gary Shandling’s Show (2 episodes); Columbo (2 episodes); Drexell’s Class (18 episodes); Lincoln; Madman of the People (16 episodes); The Wonderful World of Disney; Recess (14 episodes); The Guardian (67 episodes); Courting Alex (13 episodes); Heartland (6 episodes); Boardwalk Empire (24 episodes); Pound Puppies (4 episodes); Ray Donovan; NCIS and Yellowstone.

Feature film appearances of Dabney Coleman include: The Slender Thread; The Scalphunters; The Trouble with Girls; Downhill Racer; Cinderella Liberty; The Towering Inferno; Black Fist; Bite the Bullet; Midway; Viva Knievel!; Rolling Thunder; Go Tell the Spartans; North Dallas Forty; How to Beat the High Cost of Living; Melvin and Howard; 9 to 5; On Golden Pond; Modern Problems; Tootsie; War Games; Cloak and Dagger; The Muppets Take Manhattan; The Man with One Red Shoe; Dragnet; Amos & Andrew; The Beverly Hillbillies; Clifford; You’ve Got Mail; Inspector Gadget; Where the Red Fern Grows and Domino.

The first time I saw Dabney Coleman on screen was probably in The Fugitive or Invaders.  But man, he sure did appear in many other shows I regularly watched.  My most memorable performance by Dabney Coleman is from 9 to 5.  He was perfect.  Of course that’s not surprising because any time you saw Dabney Coleman, you knew the program/movie would be better because of him.  It’s evidence of his talent that he could move from television to feature films or drama to comedy with ease.

Out thoughts and prayers go out to Dabney Coleman’s family, friends and fans.

“Never Let Go” starring Halle Berry – The Teaser & Trailer are Here!

Never Let Go – in theaters September 27! Starring Halle Berry, Percy Daggs, and Anthony B. Jenkins

From visionary director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Crawl) and producers of Stranger Things and Arrival comes NEVER LET GO.

In this new psychological thriller, as an evil takes over the world beyond their front doorstep, the only protection for a mother, played by Academy Award® Winner Halle Berry (Actress in a Leading Role, 2001 – Monster’s Ball), and her twin sons is their house and their family’s protective bond. Needing to stay connected at all times – even tethering themselves with ropes – they cling to one another, urging each other to never let go. But when one of the boys questions if the evil is real, the ties that bind them together are severed, triggering a terrifying fight for survival.

“The Specialist” (1994) starring Sylvester Stallone & Sharon Stone / Z-View

The Specialist (1994)

Director: Luis Llosa

Screenplay: Alexandra Seros based on THE SPECIALIST novels by John Shirley

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Rod Steiger, Eric Roberts, Mario Ernesto Sánchez, Emilio Estefan Jr. and Tony Munafo.

Tagline: The government taught him to kill. Now he’s using his skills to help a woman seek revenge against the Miami underworld.

The Plot…

May Munro (Stone) wants revenge.  When May was a young girl, hidden in a closet, she witnessed Thomas Leon (Roberts) brutally murder her mother and father.  Leon is the son of Joe Leon (Steiger), a notorious organized crime boss.  To get close enough to kill him will be impossible.  So may seduces Ray Quick (Stallone) to do it.  Quick is an ex-CIA demolition expert.  Although reluctant at first, Quick can’t resist May’s charms.  What Quick doesn’t know is that May is playing him… or is she?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Reportedly at one point David Fincher was set direct.  Stallone was on board with Fincher at the helm, but the studio balked due to the box office of Alien 3.

In 1993, The L.A. Times reported that The Specialist was the best unproduced thriller script in Hollywood according to a poll of agents, producers and studio executives.

Sharon Stone plays a character much younger than she was at the time of filming.  Stone was supposed to have witnessed Eric Roberts kill her parents when she was a child.  Roberts is just two years older than Stone.

Sly Stallone wrote the scene where Eric Roberts threatens him with a knife.  He wrote the scene since otherwise they had no scenes together.

The cat that Stallone adopts in the film also would go on to appear in Assassins, another Stallone movie.

It’s no secret that I’m a Stallone fan, so keep in mind your mileage may vary.

The Specialist (1994) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Murder Company” starring William Moseley & Kelsey Grammer – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Who doesn’t love WWII movie?  Here we have the poster and trailer for Murder Company.

In the midst of the D-Day invasion, a group of US soldiers are given orders to smuggle a member of the French resistance behind enemy lines to assassinate a high-value Nazi target.

The film is directed by Shane Dax Taylor from a screenplay by Jesse Mittelstadt.

William Moseley, Pooch Hall, Gilles Marini, Joe Anderson, and Kelsey Grammer star.

Murder Company opens in select theaters, digital and On Demand on July 5, 2024.

“Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1957) written & directed by Ed Wood Jr., featuring Bela Lugosi / Z-View

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957)

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.

Screenplay:  Edward D. Wood Jr.

Stars: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Tor Johnson, Lyle Talbot, Conrad Brooks, Maila Nurmi, Bela Lugosi, Edward D. Wood Jr. and Criswell.

Tagline: Unspeakable Horrors From Outer Space Paralyze The Living And Resurrect The Dead!

The Plot…

Aliens are worried that humans will produce a doomsday bomb that could destroy the universe.  To stop them, the aliens put into motion Plan 9.  They resurrect the recent dead.  Humans will be so horrified that they will follow the aliens’ directives.  If not, the aliens will use the zombies to destroy them!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Plan 9 From Outer Space is Bela Lugosi’s last film.  Ed Wood and Lugosi were friends.  They had filmed snippets of scenes for an Ed Wood movie in development.  Bela Lugosi died and Ed Wood decided to incorporate these clips into Plan 9.  Wood also used the fact that Plan 9 would be Lugosi’s last film to induce some of the actors to join the project.

It’s funny to note that scenes featuring Lugosi’s character not played by Lugosi were completed by Wood’s wife’s chiropractor.  He was much taller and looked nothing like Bela Lugosi.  So Ed Wood told him to hunch over and always keep the cape in front of his face.  Problem solved.

The film was made on a miniscule budget.  Tor Johnson’s home was used as a location.  Johnson’s son was a San Fernando Police officer.  They got use of the police car and uniforms through him.  The alien’s flying saucer was adapted from a popular UFO model kit.  Bela Lugosi supplied his own cape (from playing Dracula on stage). The gravestones were made of cardboard or styrofoam and can be seen wiggling when actors brushed against them.

Harry Thomas did the make-up for Plan 9.  He become upset and asked his name be removed from the credits.  Thomas wanted the aliens to have elongated chins using appliances he would make, cat’s eye lenses (special contacts) and green hair (wigs). Ed Wood said that those ideas would be too expensive.  Ironically, the year before Henry Thomas worked on Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments which was the most expensive movie ever made to that time.

Plan 9 From Outer Space gained popularity after being named The Worst Film Ever Made.  It is a bad film, but far from the worst ever made.  The low budget, bad script, Lugosi stand-in, wooden performances, outlandish idea for a movie and more make for a humorous viewing, especially with friends.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Green Slime” (1968) starring Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi & Richard Jaeckel / Z-View

The Green Slime (1968)

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Screenplay: William (Bill) Finger, Tom Rowe, Charles Sinclair, story by Ivan Reiner

Stars: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel.

Tagline: The Green Slime are coming!!

The Plot…

Commander Jack Rankin (Horton) and Commander Vince Elliott (Jaeckel) are sent on a suicide mission to destroy a giant asteroid headed for earth.  Although successful, one of the crew members accidentally carries a green slime substance back to the space station.

Soon the green slime transforms into monstrous beings that multiply and kill members of the crew!  If the green slime monsters get back to earth it could be the end of humanity.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi and Richard Jaeckel were the stars attached.  The rest of the cast consisted mainly of amateur and semi-professional actors.  Many of the monsters were played by school aged children.

Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman, is one of the screenwriters of The Green Slime.

The Green Slime was the first film featured on featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Green Slime (1968) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Violent City” aka “The Family” (1970) starring Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas & Jill Ireland / Z-View

Violent City (1970)

Director: Sergio Sollima

Screenplay: Sauro Scavolini, Gianfranco Galligarich, Lina Wertmüller, Sergio Sollima, story by Dino Maiuri, Massimo De Rita

Stars: Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas, Jill Ireland and Michel Constantin.

Tagline: CHARLES BRONSON: A murderer whose love for a woman was VIOLENT. TELLY SAVALAS: A man who owns both the woman and the CITY.

The Plot…

Jeff Heston (Bronson) is a hitman who was ambushed and left for dead.  Heston believes he was set up by a former boss.  Now healed and ready for revenge… Heston discovers the person who set him up may have been his lover!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Violent City received a second release in the U.S. but retitled as The Family in an effort to cash in on The Godfather‘s success.

Jon Voight and Sharon Tate were considered for the leads.  At the time Charles Bronson was a bigger star in Europe and just becoming a leading man in the United States.  Bronson agreed to star on the condition that his wife, Jill Ireland would co-star.

Violent City (1970) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Westworld” (1973) written & directed by Michael Crichton, starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin & James Brolin / Z-View

Westworld (1973)

Director: Michael Crichton

Screenplay: Michael Crichton

Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold, Alan Oppenheimer, Linda Gaye Scott, Steve Franken, Michael T. Mikler, Terry Wilson, Majel Barrett, Anne Randall, Charles Seel and Dick Van Patten.

Tagline: Boy, have we got a vacation for you…

The Plot…

In the near future those that can afford it go to an adult theme park named Delos.  Delos is divided into three separate sections: West World, Medieval World and Roman World.  Each world is designed to replicate the eras of their name.  Robots almost indistinguishable from humans populate each world.  Guest interact and act out their greatest fantasies.  Want to be a bank robber in the old west?  Overthrow a king?  Partake in Roman orgies?  You can do all these things and more.

Repeat visitor John Blane (Brolin) and his buddy, first timer Peter Martin (Benjamin) are visiting West World. They’re having a blast.  Until things start to go wrong… very wrong.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I saw West World when it was first released in 1973.  I was 15 and loved it.  I’ve re-watched it many times over the years and still love it. I thought that James Brolin would be the last man standing.  I was so shocked when it turned out I was wrong.

Years after West World Michael Crichton created another amusement park that goes sideways with his novel (and later a film) Jurassic Park.

The film is set in the near future… 1983.

Silent film star, Harold Lloyd’s estate was used for Roman World filming and is listed in the credits!

Alan Oppenheimer plays one of the technicians in charge of the robots.  Oppenheimer in the following year will play Dr. Rudy Wells, in a similar role on The Six Million Dollar Man.

As the robots begin to malfunction and the problem spreads from robot to robot we get one of the first instances of computer viruses!

Yul Brynner’s character dresses almost exactly as the character he played in The Magnificent Seven.

Westworld (1973) rates 5 of 5 stars.

RIP: Roger Corman

Roger Corman,  the award-winning writer, actor, director and producer died on May 9, 2024.  Mr. Corman was 98.

After graduating high school Roger Corman went to Stanford University.  While in the program, Mr. Corman decided he didn’t want to be an engineer.  He enlisted in the Navy and served two years.  He then went back to Stanford to complete his degree.  Mr. Corman’s career as an engineer lasted less than a week.  He quit and got a job in the 20th Century Fox mailroom.

From the mailroom, Roger Corman took various jobs to learn as much as he could about filmmaking.  He sold his first script and worked on the film as an associate producer.  Mr. Corman formed his own production company and raised money to produce his first film.  He never looked back.

Over the course of his career Roger Corman worked as an actor (46 credits), director (56 credits) and producer (493 credits).  He is noted for hiring young, untested talents such as Jack Nicholson, Sly Stallone, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich and others.  Roger Corman won an Honorary Academy Award in 2010.

Roger Corman’s writing resume includes: The Gunfighter (uncredited script consultant); Highway Dragnet (story); The Fast and the Furious (1954) (story); The Little Shop of Horrors (co-writer uncredited); The Terror (uncredited); Frankenstein Unbound (screenplay); Black Scorpion (creator – 22 episodes).

Some of Roger Corman’s acting appearances include: Monster from the Ocean Floor; Highway Dragnet; Day the World Ended; The Crybaby Killer; The Wasp Woman; Battle of Blood Island; Blood Bath; The Godfather Part II; Cannonball; The Howling; Swing Shift; Lords of the Deep; The Silence of the Lambs; Philadelphia; Apollo 13; Beverly Hills 90210; Scream 3; The Manchurian Candidate (2004); Dinoshark; Sharktopus and Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader.

Roger Corman’s directing resume includes: Five Guns West; The Beast with a Million Eyes; Day the World Ended; It Conquered the World; Attack of the Crab Monsters; Not of This Earth; The Undead; Rock All Night; Carnival Night; Machine-Gun Kelly; I, Mobster; A Bucket of Blood; House of Usher; The Little Shop of Horrors; The Pit and the Pendulum; The Premature Burial; The Intruder; Tales of Terror; Tower of London; The Raven; The Terror; X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes; The Haunted Palace; The Masque of the Red Death; The Tomb of Legeia; The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre; The Trip; Bloody Mama; Deathsport; Battle Beyond the Stars and Frankenstein Unbound.

Roger Corman’s producing credits include: Highway Dragnet; Monster from the Ocean Floor; The Fast and the Furious; The Beast with a Million Eyes; Day the World Ended; It Conquered the World; Attack of the Crab Monsters; Machine-Gun Kelly; I, Mobster; The Wasp Woman; Bucket of Blood; House of Usher; The Little Shop of Horrors; The Pit and the Pendulum; The Premature Burial; The Intruder; Tales of Terror; The Raven; X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes; Dementia 13; The Haunted Palace; The Masque of the Red Death; The Tomb of Ligeia; Ride in the Whirlwind; The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre; The Trip; Targets; Pit Stop; Bloody Mama; Boxcar Bertha; Amarcord; Cockfighter; Big Bad Mama; Capone; Death Race 2000; The Romantic Englishwoman; The Story of Adele H; Nashville Girl; Eat My Dust; Jackson County Jail; Cannonball; Grand Theft Auto; I Never Promised You a Rose Garden; A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich; Deathsport; Piranha; Saint Jack; The Lady in Red; Breaker Morant; Battle Beyond the Stars; Shogun Assassin; Space Raiders; Deathstalker; Stripped to Kill; Big Bad Mama II; Bloodfist II; Frankenstein Unbound; Dead Space; Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight; Kyko; Black Scorpion (22 episodes); Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song; Rage and Discipline; Saurian and Death Race (2008).

I admire Roger Corman’s talent and tenacity.  He was able to be successful as a writer, director, actor and producer.  The length of his career is amazing.  He worked with legends such as Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price.  He gave starts to the careers of Sly Stallone, Jack Nicholson and James Cameron to name three.  There were many more.  I always thought it was cool that Mr. Corman was known best for his low budget films, yet we would see him turn up acting in movies like The Godfather Part II, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and Apollo 13.  

I don’t know that we’ll ever see another career to match Roger Corman’s.

Out thoughts and prayers go out to Roger Corman’s family, friends and fans.