Category: Books

“Without Remorse” starring Michael B. Jordan – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Finally a movie I cannot wait to see.  Check out the poster above and trailer below for Without Remorse starring Michael B. Jordan and Guy Pearce based on character created by Tom Clancy.  I know what I’ll be watching on April 30th.

In a war-torn region of Syria, an elite team of Navy SEALs led by Sr. Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) rescues a CIA operative taken hostage by ex-Russian military forces. Three months later, in apparent retaliation for his role in the mission, Kelly’s pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) is murdered in the U.S. by a squad of masked Russian assassins. Despite being shot multiple times himself, Kelly manages to kill all but one of the attackers before being rushed to the hospital.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., Kelly’s friend and former SEAL team member Lt. Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) meets with CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) and Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) to discuss their response options. Leaked news of Russia’s unprecedented attack on American soil has caused the already-strained relations between the two nations to sour further. If something isn’t done soon the result could be a full-scale war.

Healed from his injuries, a rogue Kelly tracks down the corrupt Russian diplomat who issued the passports to his wife’s murderers, and forces him at gunpoint to give up the name of the surviving assassin. Sent to prison for the crime, Kelly bargains his way out by revealing the escaped operative is one Victor Rykov (Brett Gelman), an ex-Special Forces officer currently hiding in Murmansk, Russia.

With Secretary Clay’s reluctant approval, Kelly joins Greer and Ritter on a top-secret mission to capture Rykov and bring him back to the U.S. to face justice. But en route to Murmansk, their plane is shot down by the Russian Air Force and plummets into the Bering Sea. Using their SEAL skills to survive the crash, they eventually make their way to Rykov’s location, only to discover that the murder of Kelly’s family was part of a vast international conspiracy orchestrated by powerful political figures. Torn between personal honor and loyalty to his country, and with the fate of nations hanging in the balance, Kelly has no choice but to expose the truth, no matter the cost. The explosive origin story of action hero John Clark, one of the most popular characters in author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe, Without Remorse is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Stefano Sollima (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Gomorrah, ZeroZeroZero).

THE CHAOS KIND by Barry Eisler is Coming!

Barry Eisler has a new book coming out on September 21st.  If you’re a fan, you’ll be happy to hear that The Chaos Kind features many of Eisler’s most popular characters…

The assassins of Barry Eisler’s #1 bestseller The Killer Collective are back—and this time, it’s chaos.

Assistant US Attorney Alondra Diaz hates traffickers. And she’s determined to put one of America’s most powerful financiers, Andrew Schrader, in prison forever for his crimes against children.

But Schrader has videos implicating some of the most powerful members of the US national security state. To eliminate Diaz, the powers that be bring in a contractor: Marvin Manus, an implacable assassin whose skills have been forged in intelligence, the military, and the hardest prisons.

Enter former Marine sniper Dox and black-ops veteran Daniel Larison with an unusual assignment: not to kill Diaz, but to keep her alive.

A lot of players are determined to acquire the videos and the blackmail power they represent. But with Seattle sex-crimes detective Livia Lone, “natural causes” killer John Rain, and Mossad honey-trap specialist Delilah, the good guys might just have a chance.

They’re not going to play by anyone else’s rules. They’re not going to play by any rules at all. They want a different kind of fight. The chaos kind.

I’m looking forward to this one!  The Chaos Kind is available for pre-order now.

“Conan: The Animated!”

Before you click on the Conan animation below, be aware that it contains realistic cartoon violence.  I realize that’s an oxymoron, but it applies.  The animation is NOT a type you would see on Saturday morning.  It is more along the lines of what you might see in an “R” rated Conan feature film.  The action is extremely well directed and I would love to see a full-length Conan film done like this.

Hats off to Mostapha Dhaouadi and everyone involved.

Stephen King’s New Novel BILLY SUMMERS is Coming!

Stephen King has a new book coming out on August 3rd.  Billy Summers is described as “…a thrilling new novel about a good guy in a bad job.”

Tell me more.

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can’t-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won’t put this story down, and you won’t forget Billy.

Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt if you’d like to know more.  As for me, I’m in.

“The Godfather, Part III” Trivia!

I imagine that most folks reading this would agree that The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II are two excellent films.  I wonder how many of us would agree that The Godfather, Part III, while not on the same level as I or II is still a good film? 

Todd Gilchrist at Mental Floss presents 20 Facts About The Godfather Part III.  Before you click over, here are my thoughts on three from Gilchrist’s list and one that didn’t make the cut.

ROBERT DUVALL WAS WRITTEN OUT OF THE GODFATHER PART III DUE TO A SALARY DISPUTE.  It was a mistake to not bring Duvall back.  Then they replaced him with George Hamilton as a new character.  It felt wrong and didn’t help the film.

ANDY GARCIA HAD A LOT OF A-LIST COMPETITION FOR HIS ROLE IN THE GODFATHER PART III.  Some of the actors in the running included Alec Baldwin, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Val Kilmer, Charlie Sheen, and Billy Zane.  I thought Garcia did an excellent job in the role. From those listed my second choice would have been Alec Baldwin.

THE GODFATHER PART III FEATURED MANY FAMILIAR FACES BOTH IN FRONT OF AND BEHIND THE CAMERA.  This helped strengthen the film… and only made Duvall’s absence felt that much more.

A Godfather III fact that didn’t make the list is that at one point when it didn’t look like Francis Ford Coppola was going to return there were discussions of getting Sylvester Stallone to direct and star along with John Travolta.  While that would have been very interesting, critics would have been all over it with negativity… and we’d have never gotten Coppola’s return.

For Gilchrist’s complete list and his thoughts on each, click over.

RIP: Peter Mark Richman

Peter Mark Richman died yesterday at the age of 93 from natural causes.  Richman was an accomplished actor who appeared in feature films, television and on Broadway, an author who wrote plays, short stories and novels, and an artist.  Talk about being a Renaissance Man.

I’d be willing to bet that you’ve seen Peter Mark Richman perform, even if you don’t recognize his name.  Richman has 159 credits on his IMDb resume.  I remember him best from the classic Twilight Zone episode The Fear, but that was one of well over 100 appearances Peter Mark Richman made on television.  In addition to Cain’s Hundred (which he starred in), you could see Richmond regularly show up on tv shows starting in the 1960s through the 1990s.  He had reoccurring roles on Longstreet, Three’s Company, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, and guest appearances on just about every other major television show.  

 Richman’s features films include The Strange One, Black Orchid, Naked Gun 2 and Friday the 13th, Part 8, and Vic (a short film co-written and directed by Sage Stallone).  Starting the in the 1990s, Richman began doing voice work for Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series.  

Mr. Richman appeared on Broadway, had several of his one-act plays, novels and short stories published.  He also had 17 one-man exhibitions of his paintings.  

Peter Mark Richman was married to his wife, Helen for 67 and they have five children.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter Mark Richman’s family, friends and fans.  What an amazing creative life he led.

TWO IN THE HEAD by Eric Beetner is Coming Soon!

Eric Beetner’s new book, Two in the Head, drops in less than a week.  Here’s the synopsis…

When Samantha awakes she is half buried in bricks and the smoke still swirls in the air. The car bomb didn’t killed her-small miracle. Her unfocused eyes see a figure coming nearer. A shape she recognizes somehow. As the person passes by the orange glow from the car fire’s light, she sees the face. Her face. But how?
The other Samantha stands over her and regards her twin. Something is off about this new face. It is her, sure, but harder somehow. The new Sam turns and walks away, back toward the building she came out of before her car exploded. Back to see the two drug kingpins in the top floor offices. And somehow Samantha knows-back to take the deal she just turned down.

Samantha Whelan is a DEA agent, and not always a straight and narrow one. She’s been taking bribes and doing favors for Calder and Rizzo-twin brothers and big players in narco traffic in southern California-for years. She turned down a deal that night, a deal to make her millions, but it meant killing her fiancé, an assistant district attorney building a case against Calder and Rizzo. And it meant betraying her DEA brethren more deeply than she had so far. It was too much. So Calder and Rizzo tried to blow her up.

What happened then…she split. Samantha became Samantha and Sam. Two halves of the same person. The good side and the bad side. The two opposing forces living within her for so long were now free to fight it out to see who will win control.

So begins a nightmarish rocket ride for Samantha to save her life and the lives of everyone she holds dear before Sam, her bad half, can burn it to the ground.

Praise for TWO IN THE HEAD:

“Two In the Head is a straight shot between the eyes. A gangbusters plot, punch-drunk pace, and gut-punch action propel this black hearted thriller from Eric Beetner.” -J. Todd Scott, author of The Far Empty and Lost River

Regular readers know that Eric Beetner is one of my must-read authors.  If Beetner isn’t for you,  you probably haven’t tried one of his tales.  Perhaps Two in the Head would be a good place to start.

Craig’s Best of 2020: Novels, Movies and Blog Posts

End of the Year lists are fun and so I decided to compile a few of my own. I hope you enjoy them.

Movies

In 2020, I watched 453 movies. Most were streamed. I usually see a little over 200 movies per year so retirement and the pandemic helped increase my viewing. My favorite films released in 2020 included:

  • Arkansas: An under-rated, quirky crime drama.
  • Dracula: Technically a 3 part mini-series, but the first two episodes were near perfect and the third didn’t ruin the experience (but did fall off quite a bit).
  • Extraction: A surprisingly well done action film that had heart.
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: My favorite film of the year – the screenplay, acting and direction were top shelf. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom deserves a boatload of Oscars.Who’d have thought that two of my favorite films would star the Hemsworth brothers?

Books

In 2020, I read 34 books. I usually read about 20 – 24 per year so retirement and the pandemic also worked to increase my novel consumption. My favorites from this year included:

My Most Popular Posts of the Year

I always find some surprises in the most popular posts from the year. Here are the top ten for 2020 and some thoughts for each…

10. David Fincher’s “Mank” – The Poster and Trailer are Here! Fincher is always a fan favorite, and Mank’s poster and trailer were no exception.

09. Facts About Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. The popularity of this post surprises me since it deals with a short story, but horror is always a favorite subject with many of our readers.

08. Peter Stults’ “28 Days Later” Starring Richard Burton. I love that this remains a top post. Stults’ alternative movie posters are a blast. He chooses great stars to recast in cool movies.

07. Jack Benny in “Casablanca”. This one makes me smile. I love that it made the top ten.

06. Sly Stallone Starring in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” Video! Sly Stallone makes the list!

05. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! I told you horror posts are popular.

04. Dracula Through the Ages. I wasn’t kidding. Horror posts are popular.

03. Jackie Daytona Commercial for “Lucky Brews Bar and Grill”! The popularity of this post surprised me. Sure, it has the horror connection, but mixed in is a great amount of humor. Add to that it is for an under-rated horror/comedy (that I hope you are watching) and we get our third most popular post of the year!

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer. Any post about the Zodiac Killer always get a lot of views. This one has even racked up the most comments. 

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. This posts gets more hits than any other post on the site. It’s not horror, it’s not about a real life killer or Sly Stallone, but it is our #1 post again this year.

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

I thought it might be fun to close out with a look at our all-time most popular posts. Did any or most of 2020’s greatest hits make the all-time list? Let’s see…

10. The Life and Times of Deputy U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves. I’m glad that this post remains popular. Our post about Marshall Bass Reeves (a true life hero) went up years before a comic series and movie about him were made. Don’t you love it when we’re ahead of the curve?

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose. Of course two of the most popular movie stars in the world together in a candid would make our most popular list.

08. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! Our #5 most popular post for 2020 is our all-time #8 most popular post… and of course it’s horror.

07. Real Clown Or Horror-Movie Clown? This is creepy. Normally I don’t have a problem with clowns, but some of those real clowns were downright scary.

06. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville This has been popular one since it first appeared.

05. Steve Reeves as Superman Of course Steve Reeves never got the chance to play the Man of Steel, but if he had, he would have made a good one.

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered This posts hits on crime and history with the chance of a new discovery. That’s a great combination of topics and popular with a lot of folks.

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? Again we have crime, history, a new discovery and I would even argue horror to make for a popular post.

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer This was not only our #2 all-time favorite, but also the #2 favorite for 2020. And it generated quite a few comments and e-mails.

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”.01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The #1 post for 2020 is also our #1 all-time favorite. 

It’s always interesting to see which topics resonate with fans and continue to be popular longer after the initial post.  I wonder how many of our all-time favorites will make the list in 2021?  Time will tell… and so will I…. next year!  

“I, the Jury” – Drew Struzan and Armand Assante

The poster above for I, the Jury is my favorite Drew Struzan poster.  That shows how much I love that print since Struzan also did amazing posters for First Blood, the Indiana Jones films, the Back to the Future series, the Star Wars films… well, you get the idea.

I guess it’s fitting that Struzan’s I, the Jury poster isn’t as highly rated with fans, since the movie is also underrated.  I thought Armand Assante was excellent as Spillane’s Mike Hammer.  Barbara Carrera fit the bill as the sexy fem fatale. Laurene Landon was surprisingly good as Velda.  Geoffrey Lewis and Paul Sorvino are welcome additions to any film.  Perhaps I, the Jury under-performed because Mike Hammer was updated to current times rather than the 1947 period in which it was written.  Larry Cohen the screenwriter, was also set t0 direct, but was let go after just one week of filming.  Reportedly he fell behind a day of shooting and went over budget by $100,000.00 in that first week.  

Initially planned as a trilogy, Cohen was unable to get the other two films made.  Which is a shame.  At least we will always have one good film with Assante as Mike Hammer… and the very cool Drew Struzan  I, the Jury poster.

Happy New Year and a Look Back at 2020!

2021 is almost here.  2020 has been quite a year… and not all in a good way.  I thought before I wish you a Happy New Year (and go in to watch the official dropping of the ball to signify 2021 is indeed here) I’d take a brief look back at 2020.

When the 202o started, I was excited.  I was scheduled to retire after nearly 36 years as an educator.  I had a great career as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal.  I served as a soccer, football and basketball coach.  I was fortunate to work at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  I worked as an administrator on the construction of two new schools (the AP of one and the Principal of the other).  I had decided that my last day with students at the end of the 2020 school year would be my last day of work.  I thought it would be cool to have my last day with students be my last working day.  Unfortunately that was not to be.

Because of the COVID pandemic we went to virtual school after Spring Break.  Students and teachers worked from home for the remainder of the school year.  My AP and I continued to work from school and home (splitting the week so one of us was always at school).  I retired at the end of May.  My wife and I had talked of having a big retirement party (she had retired in December).  We would invite family and friends for an evening of fun.  Thanks to COVID, that idea was shelved.

My plan after retirement was to travel with my wife (short trips around the country).  I also planned to attend several comic conventions with my best bud, John Beatty.  Yep, The pandemic put an end to both.

Since the start of the pandemic my wife and I have stayed at home except for take out meals when not eating at home and our only travelling was the two miles to my oldest son’s house to visit him, his wife and our grandson.  Since the pandemic started I’ve known more than a few people who contacted the disease.  Some had to be hospitalized and two died.  I’ll be so glad to get the vaccine and for things to get back to “normal”.

Being home so much gave me the opportunity to watch a lot of movies.  I normally see about 200 a year (mostly streaming).  This year I saw 453.  Yep, over two times as many.  I also read more novels.  I usually average about 20 – 25 a year.  This year I read 34.  I would have saw more movies and read more books except I was laid up with my medical emergency in September/October.

As you’re probably aware, I had to go to the emergency room in September.  Ultimately, I had surgery and they discovered my gallbladder had ruptured and gangrene set in.  I was in the hospital for six days and the doc said had they not operated when they did I probably would have died.  Talk about an eye-opener!

As we head in to 2021, I look forward to getting the COVID vaccine.  I probably won’t be able to get mine until the 3rd or 4th wave.  I’ll be thankful whenever it becomes available.  I hope things will begin to return to normal in the summer.  Maybe my wife and I will be able to do a few trips.  Who knows, maybe John and I will have a convention or two to attend.

The StalloneZone turns 25 in 2021!  Hard to believe.  I plan to do more with the site and work on ways to interact with fans more.  I also hope to start doing video reviews on this site, as well as livestream sessions with creators and fans (here and at the SZ).  We have an active forum and I’d love to interact on livestream with those folks and others — we could have some lively discussions!

I hope that 2020 has had some highlights for each of you.  I want to thank you for visiting my site (and the StalloneZone) and appreciate the e-mail and comments you leave me.

Enough rambling.  Time to get ready for the ball drop.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

“The Capote Tapes” Poster and Trailer

I’m not a fan of the poster but I do like the trailer for The Capote Tapes.

Truman Capote became famous for his writing with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.  The fact that they were turned into very well received movies added to his fame.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s was nominated for 5 Oscars and won two.  In Cold Blood was nominated for four Oscars.

Although Capote would go on to write other shorts stories, novels and teleplays, he became best known for being famous.  Capote was popular on the talk show circuit.  He was flamboyant and loved telling stories.  I look forward to seeing The Capote Tapes and someday pulling In Cold Blood off my to-be-read bookshelf and reading it.

In the 35 years since his death, Truman Capote has remained a source of curiosity to many. His works, including ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘In Cold Blood’, have maintained their place in the literary canon of great twentieth century American literature and still appeal to readers across the globe today.

‘Answered Prayers’ was meant to be Truman Capote’s greatest masterpiece, an epic portrait of NYC’s glittering jet-set society. Instead, it sparked his downfall. Through never before heard audio archive and interviews with Capote’s friends and enemies, this intimate documentary reveals the rise and fall of one America’s most iconic writers.
#TheCapoteTapes

“The Heathens” by Ace Atkins is Coming!

It’s been announced that Ace Atkins will have a new Quinn Colson novel coming out on July 13, 2021.  The Heathens will be the 11th novel in the best selling series and I can’t wait.  Here’s the synopsis…

Sheriff Quinn Colson and his former deputy Lillie Virgil find themselves on opposite sides of a case for the first time after a man is found dead and three delinquent teens go on the run.

The Byrd clan is one of the wildest families in Tibbehah County. The three kids are the ire of school resource and truant officers–they peddle pot and steal car parts, doing what they can to survive with a mother who sometimes disappears for months on end. But when their mother returns with a new husband, a registered sex offender, a homicide soon follows, and the kids hit the highway.

U.S. Marshal Lillie Virgil is convinced the Byrd kids are guilty of murder, and sets off on a cross-country hunt to track them down and bring them to justice. Back in Tibbehah, Sheriff Quinn Colson isn’t so sure. And as he digs deeper into the case, he comes to think there may be a larger conspiracy at work.

If you’ve missed out (or are interested in getting started) here our the Quinn Colson novels in order of publication.

  1. The Ranger
  2. The Lost Ones
  3. The Broken Places
  4. The Forsaken
  5. The Redeemers
  6. The Innocents
  7. The Fallen
  8. The Sinners
  9. The Shameless
  10. The Revelators