Category: Books

“Truman & Tennessee” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!


The poster and trailer for Truman & Tennessee can be found here.  Truman and Tennessee are, of course, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.  I don’t know much about either man other than they were considered great writers. They created excellent books (Capote) and plays (Williams) which in turn led to excellent movies.  I didn’t often see either of the men on talk shows because I was too young to be interested, but I have seen the movies made from their work.  I’d like to know more about these creatives and so I look forward to seeing Truman & Tennessee.

A story of two of the greatest writers of the past century examined in a dialogue that stretches from their early days of friendship to their final, unsparing critiques of each other.

“Shadow and Bone” – Posters and the Trailer are Here!

Shadow and BoneHere are several character posters and below is the trailer.  I’ve never read any of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, but will give Shadow and Bone a try.  It looks interesting, although not my normal viewing/reading genre.  Who knows, maybe Shadow and Bone will change that.

There are no others like her. And there never will be. Get ready to enter the Grishaverse. Shadow & Bone premieres April 23, only on Netflix.

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (A Reckless Book) by Brubaker and Phillips is Coming!

In his newsletter that came out yesterday, Ed Brubaker shared the cover of the third book in his and Sean Phillips’ Reckless series.  Titled Destroy All Monsters, it features their character Ethan Reckless.  Brubaker also announced:

Our original plan was to do the first three books in the series, then take a break and do something else and then come back for more Reckless adventures, but then I had ideas for two more… so we’ll be doing five of these in a row unless something goes wrong.

If you’re not up to speed on the Reckless series check out Ed Brubaker gets Reckless with Sean Phillips at The Beat.

Eddie Muller’s Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir is Getting a Revised & Expanded Hardcover Edition!

Fans of film noir will be excited to learn that Eddie Muller’s classic Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir is getting a revised and expanded hard cover edition!

This revised and expanded edition of Eddie Muller’s Dark City is a film noir lover’s bible, taking readers on a tour of the urban landscape of the grim and gritty genre in a definitive, highly illustrated volume.

Dark City expands with new chapters and a fresh collection of restored photos that illustrate the mythic landscape of the imagination. It’s a place where the men and women who created film noir often find themselves dangling from the same sinister heights as the silver-screen avatars to whom they gave life. Eddie Muller, host of Turner Classic Movies’ Noir Alley, takes readers on a spellbinding trip through treacherous terrain: Hollywood in the post-World War II years, where art, politics, scandal, style — and brilliant craftsmanship — produced a new approach to moviemaking, and a new type of cultural.

I’ve already pre-ordered mine.  You can too, if you’re so inclined.  Here is the Amazon link (at a discounted price).

Eddie Muller has teamed with Larry Edmund’s Bookshop in Hollywood California to provide autographed copies that will also contain an exclusive graphic stamp.  These copies can be ordered here.

“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.