Author: Craig Zablo

“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” (2022) starring Donald Sutherland & Jaeden Martell / Z-View

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022)

Director: John Lee Hancock

Screenplay by: John Lee Hancock based on Mr. Harrigan’s Phone  by Stephen King

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Jaeden Martell, Joe Tippett, Thomas Francis Murphy, Randy Kovitz and Cyrus Arnold.

Tagline: Some connections never die.

The Story:

Craig’s mother dies when he is still very young.  John Harrigan (Sutherland), an older, reclusive, billionaire is impressed when he hears Craig (Martell) speak at their small town church.  Mr. Harrigan hires Craig to read to him three times a week.  Over the years they develop a friendship.

When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig slips Harrigan’s cell phone in his coffin.  The phone was a gift that Craig gave Mr. Harrigan.  That night after the funeral Craig’s phone receives a text that appears to be from Mr. Harrigan.

“All ghosts aren’t holy.”

Thoughts (beware of spoilers) 

If you’re looking for a Stephen King horror movie, this isn’t it.  Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is more of a character student or psychological drama.  Mr. Harrigan’s Phone could have been an extended episode from The Twilight Zone.  It is well done, but if you go in expecting straight out horror, you’ll be disappointed.

Bird Box: Barcelona (2023) written & directed by Álex Pastor & David Pastor / Z-View

Bird Box: Barcelona (2023)

Director: Álex Pastor, David Pastor

Screenplay by: Álex Pastor, David Pastor based on BIRD BOX  by Josh Malerman

Starring: Mario Casas, Georgina Campbell.

Tagline: Fear the ones who see.

The Story:

An unexplained, unknown entity has wiped out the majority of the world’s population.  Most people who see it are compelled to quickly commit suicide, often by brutal means.  A few who look upon it, react differently.  Instead of killing themselves, these “seers” look to harm others.

The people who have survived have done so by covering their eyes when outside.  Although that method isn’t always effective, it provides the best chance to live.  Dangers are everywhere.  Not only from the entities, but also from the seers and normal people just fighting to survive.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers) 

I almost quit Bird Box: Barcelona early on.  A character did some things that seemed so out of character and stupid that I was ready to bail.  I’m glad I didn’t.  The actions were part of a twist that I didn’t see coming.  That twist (which I won’t give away) made Bird Box: Barcelona a nice advancement to the Bird Box universe.

If you liked Bird Box, you should enjoy Bird Box: Barcelona.

George Miller’s “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” – starring Anya Taylor-Joy & Chris Hemsworth – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster is okay, but the trailer rocks.

Deal me in!

This is her Odyssey. #Furiosa – Only in Theaters 2024

Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth star in Academy Award-winning mastermind George Miller’s “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” the much-anticipated return to the iconic dystopian world he created more than 30 years ago with the seminal “Mad Max” films. Miller now turns the page again with an all-new original, standalone action adventure that will reveal the origins of the powerhouse character from the multiple Oscar-winning global smash “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The new feature from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures is produced by Miller and his longtime partner, Oscar-nominated producer Doug Mitchell (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Babe”), under their Australian-based Kennedy Miller Mitchell banner.

As the world fell, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and falls into the hands of a great Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland, they come across the Citadel presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance, Furiosa must survive many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home.

Taylor-Joy stars in the title role, and along with Hemsworth, the film also stars Alyla Browne and Tom Burke.

Miller penned the script with “Mad Max: Fury Road” co-writer Nico Lathouris. Miller’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes first assistant director PJ Voeten and second unit director and stunt coordinator Guy Norris, director of photography Simon Duggan (“Hacksaw Ridge,” “The Great Gatsby”), composer Tom Holkenborg, sound designer Robert Mackenzie, editor Eliot Knapman, visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson and colorist Eric Whipp. The team also includes other longtime collaborators: production designer Colin Gibson, editor Margaret Sixel, sound mixer Ben Osmo, costume designer Jenny Beavan and makeup designer Lesley Vanderwalt, each of whom won an Oscar for their work on “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, A Kennedy Miller Mitchell Production, A George Miller Film, “Furiosa.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, in theaters only nationwide on May 24, 2024 and internationally beginning on May 22, 2024.

“Fast Charlie” (2023) – “He’s a Pig” Clip – starring Pierce Brosnan & James Caan!

Here’s another clip from Fast Charlie is based on Victor Gishler’s novel GUN MONKEYS. This one features Pierce Brosnan and James Caan. Fast Charlie is shaping up to be on par with the book.  If so, we’re in for a treat.

Deal me in.

ComingSoon is debuting an exclusive Fast Charlie clip from the Pierce Brosnan-led upcoming action thriller. The film is set to debut in select theaters and through video-on-demand platforms on Friday, December 8.

“Charlie Swift, aka ‘Fast Charlie,’ is a fixer with a problem: the target he’s whacked is missing his head,” read the synopsis. “And he must prove it’s the intended target to the man who paid for the hit — New Orleans’ most prominent and most ruthless mobster, Beggar Mercado. Charlie enlists Marcie Kramer, the victim’s ex-wife and a woman with the backbone and skillset Charlie needs. Dragging Marcie back into a past she was determined to escape sends the two of them on a wild and unpredictable odyssey that’s unexpectedly amusing, action propelled, and ultimately heartfelt. Along the way, Charlie and Marcie fight to protect the legacy of Charlie’s best friend and mentor, Stan Mullen, while bringing down Beggar and his entire operation.”

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, James Caan
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Release Date: 12/8/23

RIP: Frances Sternhagen

Frances Sternhagen died on November 27, 2023.  Ms. Sternhagen was 93.

Frances Sternhagen was an award-winning actress who appeared on stage, television and in movies in a career that spanned nearly 70 years.  During her career she was nominated for seven Tony awards (winning two) as well as three Primetime Emmy award nominations.

Some of Frances Sternhagen’s television appearances include:  Love of Life; The Secret Storm; Omnibus; Studio One (2 episodes); Play of the Week (2 episodes); The Defenders; Profiles in Courage; The Doctors (42 episodes); NET Playhouse (2 episodes); Great Performances (2 episodes); Spencer (1985 – 7 episodes); At Mother’s Request (2 episodes); Golden Years (7 episodes); Tales from the Crypt; Cheers (7 episodes); The Road Home (6 episodes); The Outer Limits (1985); Law & Order (2 episodes); The Simpsons; Sex & the City (10 episodes); ER (21 episodes) and The Closer (16 episodes).

Some of Frances Sternhagen’s feature films include: Up the Down Staircase; The Hospital; Starting Over; Outland; Bright Lights, Big City; Misery; Doc Hollywood; Raising Cain and The Mist.

My favorite Francis Sternhagen role was when she played Dr. Marian Lazarus in Outland.  She and Sean Connery had great chemistry.  Another favorite role is when she played Irene Reppler in The Mist.  Any time Francis Sternhagen appeared the production improved.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Frances Sternhagen’s family, friends and fans.

“Fast Charlie” starring Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, & James Caan- Official Clip – “How Does That Sound?”

Fast Charlie is based on Victor Gishler’s novel GUN MONKEYS.  I read the books years ago.  If the movie is as good, we’re in for a treat.  The trailer looks like it might be.

Deal me in.

Charlie Swift is a fixer with a problem: the target he’s whacked is missing his head and the only way Charlie will be paid is if the body can be identified. Enter Marcie Kramer, the victim’s ex-wife and a woman with all the skills Charlie needs.

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, James Caan
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Release Date: 12/8/23

“The Ballad of Maddog Quinn” (2022) written & directed by Matt Inns / Z-View

The Ballad of Maddog Quinn (2022)

Director: Matt Inns

Screenplay by: Matt Inns

Starring: Maggie Pirie, Jed Brophy, John Bach, Ben Stewart.

Tagline: None.

The Story:

Maddog Quinn is on the run.  Pursued by a posse across a desert wasteland, Maddog will complete the mission or die trying.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers) 

The Ballad of Maddog Quinn is an award-winning short.  Set in an alternate time-line, think Steampunk meets Mad Max.  Writer/director Matt Inns is someone to watch.  I’d love to see a feature length Maddog Quinn adventure.  You can check out the short here.



First sentence…

The cashier at the 7-11 on Water Street leaves to take a leak.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Kraj is an expatriate Croat.  He makes his living as a bouncer and occasional enforcer for his boss Tricky Ricky Gutierrez.  It’s a job Kraj was built for.  Tricky Ricky sees potential in Kraj.  That makes Mikael, nervous.  Mikael manages the strip club that serves as the front for Tricky Ricky’s various “businesses”.   Kraj continues to prove his worth and gain more trust from Ricky.  With the trust comes more responsibility.  Kraj is making the right moves.  Now that Kraj’s new girlfriend has been promoted to manager at the McDonald’s things are looking up.  Of course the higher up, the farther the fall.

Rusty Barnes presents 14 Kraj The Enforcer short stories.  Each story is a complete tale.  Read together they form a bigger yarn.  Kraj isn’t your typical anti-hero.  While he has some of the characteristics you’d expect, his supporting characters ground him in a reality you’d get visiting most small Appalachian towns. Plus his origin is unique and makes him standout in his new adopted country.  I enjoyed KRAJ THE ENFORCER: STORIES.  I hope we see more.


“Strange Bargain” (1949) starring Jeffrey Lynn, Martha Scott & Henry Morgan / Z-View

Strange Bargain (1949)

Director: Will Price

Screenplay by: Lillie Hayward from a story by J.H. Wallis

Starring: Martha Scott, Jeffrey Lynn, Harry Morgan, Richard Gaines and Walter Sande.

Tagline: “$10,000 If You Make My Suicide Look Like MURDER!”

The Story:

On the day that Sam Wilson (Lynn) asks his boss, Malcolm Jarvis (Gaines) for a raise, Jarvis offers him a deal. Jarvis will give Sam $10,000.00 if Sam will make Jarvis’ suicide look like a murder!  Jarvis explains that the company is probably going to go out of business in a matter of weeks.  Jarvis is himself broke despite the fact that he lives in a big house and looks rich.  Jarvis plans to shoot himself that very evening while his wife and son are out.  Before he kills himself, he will mess up his home office to look like a robbery.  All Sam has to do is get rid of the gun.  Sam refuses and tries to talk Mr. Jarvis out of killing himself.  Jarvis says there is no other way to leave money for his family and he’s ready to die.

That evening Sam receives the call.  He heads over to talk sense into Mr. Jarvis.  When he arrives, Mr. Jarvis is lying dead from a gunshot.  There is an envelope with $10,000 in it addressed to Sam.  Realizing that he will soon be out of a job and Jarvis is beyond help, Sam takes the money.

The next day police begin to investigate.  Things aren’t adding up.  It doesn’t look like suicide.  Any guesses on who the main suspect is?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers) 

Strange Bargain runs a quick 68 minutes.  It’s got a likable cast. There’s a nice twist on the suicide.  If I were to pick any nits is that it all wraps up a bit too nicely.  But in this day and age, why complain about things that end up that way?