Category: Celebs

RIP: Louise Fletcher

Louise Fletcher died yesterday at the age of 88.  No cause of death was given.

Ms. Fletcher is best known for her Best Actress Academy Award wining role as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  That role also won her Best Actress BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards.  Louise Fletcher began her career in television.  She would go on alternate between television and feature films throughout her career.

Some Louise Fletcher television appearances include: Bat Masterson; Yancy Derringer; Maverick; The Untouchables; Wagon Train; Perry Mason; Medical Center; The Twilight Zone (1988); In the Heat of the Night; Tales from the Crypt; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; ER and Heroes.

Louise Fletcher feature film appearances include: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Exorcist II: The Heretic; The Cheap Detective; The Lady in Red; Strange Invaders; Brainstorm; Firestarter and Invaders from Mars.

Louise Fletcher became a household name because of her role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  It took a strong screen presence to match Jack Nicholson and she more than held her own.  With over 135 credits on her resume and her nearly 60 years in show business she was much more than Nurse Ratched.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Louise Fletcher’s family, friends and fans.

“Goodnight Mommy” (2022) Starring Naomi Watts / Z-View

Goodnight Mommy (2022)

Directors:  Matt Sobel

Screenplay:  Kyle Warren  based on Goodnight Mommy (2014) written and directed by Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala

Starring: Naomi Watts, Cameron Crovetti, Nicholas Crovetti, Peter Hermann, Jeremy Bobb and Crystal Lucas-Perry

Tagline:  None

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

When twin brothers, Elias and Lukas arrive at their mother’s remote home for the summer, they’re surprised to find her face covered in bandages.  She explains that she’s had cosmetic surgery. Pretty quickly they see that their mother isn’t acting normal… and they begin to wonder if it is their mother!  When she takes their cell phone they have no way to contact anyone and mom’s behavior is getting worse.

Goodnight Mommy is a fun ride in the tradition of The Twilight Zone or a good M. Night Shyamalan film.  There are at least three “What?!” moments.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Goodnight Mommy.

Goodnight Mommy earns 4 of 5 stars.

“The Return of Dr. X” (1939) – Humphrey Bogart’s Only Horror Film / Z-View

The Return of Dr. X (1939)

Directors:  Vincent Sherman

Screenplay:  Lee Katz based on The Doctor’s Secret (1938) story in Detective Fiction Weekly by William J. Makin

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Wayne Morris, Rosemary Lane, Dennis Morgan, John Litel and Huntz Hall

Tagline:  Back from the Grave He Came!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Walter Garrett is a newspaper reporter following leads on a story involving murders where bodies are drained of their blood.  Garrett consults with his friend, Dr. Michael Rhodes (Morgan) who then joins the investigation.  Garrett and Rhodes discover that Dr. Marshall Quesne (Bogart) bears a strong resemblance to Dr. Maurice Xavier.  Xavier was executed in the electric chair for horrible experiments that killed a child.  As Garrett and Rhodes get closer to the truth, they may be getting closer to their deaths…

When The Return of Dr. X was released, Humphrey Bogart wasn’t yet Bogart the star.  He ended up with third billing, reportedly hated the film and never again worked on a horror movie again.  The Return of Dr. X is a fun Warner Brothers B picture.  Getting Bogart is a bonus!

The Return of Dr. X earns 3 of 5 stars.

“Knock At The Cabin” Directed by M. Night Shymalan, Starring Dave Bautista – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like both the poster and trailer for Knock At The Cabin.  M. Night Shymalan looks like he has another winner.  Deal me in.

While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. With limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.

From visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, Knock at the Cabin stars Dave Bautista (Dune, Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), Tony award and Emmy nominee Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Mindhunter), Ben Aldridge (Pennyworth, Fleabag), BAFTA nominee Nikki Amuka-Bird (Persuasion, Old), newcomer Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn (Little Women, Landline) and Rupert Grint (Servant, Harry Potter franchise).

Universal Pictures presents a Blinding Edge Pictures production, in association with FilmNation Features and Wishmore Entertainment, an M. Night Shyamalan film. The screenplay is by M. Night Shyamalan and Steve Desmond & Michael Sherman based on the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. The film is directed by M. Night Shyamalan and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, Marc Bienstock (Split, Glass) and Ashwin Rajan (Servant, Glass). The executive producers are Steven Schneider, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Ashley Fox.

“Chato’s Land” (1972) Starring Charles Bronson / Z-View

Chato’s Land (1972)

Directors:  Michael Winner

Screenplay:  Gerald Wilson

Starring: Charles Bronson, Jack Palance, James Whitmore, Simon Oakland, Ralph Waite, Richard Jordan and Victor French

Tagline:  What Chato’s land doesn’t kill, Chato will.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Chato (Bronson) is forced into a gunfight and kills a man in self-defense.  He then rides out of town.  Quincey Whitmore (Palance), a former Confederate Captain, pulls together a blood-thirsty posse to track and kill Chato.  Realizing that Chato can hide and survive off the land longer than they can, the posse goes to Chato’s home.  They rape his wife and stake her out as bait.  Chato stops running and goes to war.

Chato’s Land has many of the same beats as First Blood.  Bronson, like Rambo, says little and let’s his actions do the talking.  This was the first teaming of director, Michael Winner and Charles Bronson.  The would go on to work on five other movies together.

Chato’s Land earns 3 of 5 stars.

Tulsa King | Inside Tulsa King | Paramount+

TULSA KING follows New York mafia capo Dwight “The General” Manfredi (Sylvester Stallone), just after he is released from prison after 25 years and unceremoniously exiled by his boss to set up shop in Tulsa, Okla. Realizing that his mob family may not have his best interests in mind, Dwight slowly builds a “crew” from a group of unlikely characters, to help him establish a new criminal empire in a place that to him might as well be another planet. The series also stars Andrea Savage (“I’m Sorry”), Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley”), Max Casella (“The Tender Bar”), Domenick Lombardozzi (“The Irishman”), Vincent Piazza (“Boardwalk Empire”), Jay Will (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), A.C. Peterson (“Superman & Lois”) with Garrett Hedlund (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”).

The series will be executive-produced by Sheridan, Winter, Stallone, David C. Glasser, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, David Hutkin and Allen Coulter. Braden Aftergood is also set to executive-produce.

Stream the new series on November 13, exclusively on Paramount+.

“White Buffalo” (1977) Starring Charles Bronson and Will Sampson / Z-View

White Buffalo (1977)

Directors:  J. Lee Thompson

Screenplay:  Richard Sale based on his novel The White Buffalo

Starring: Charles Bronson, Jack Warden, Will Sampson, Kim Novak, Clint Walker, Stuart Whitman, Slim Pickens, John Carradine, Ed Lauter and Martin Kove

Tagline: Two legendary enemies unite to fight the charging white beast!!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Wild Bill Hickcock (Bronson) tormented by dreams of being killed by a giant white buffalo, heads west to face his fears.  While on the hunt for the beast, Hickcock meets Chief Crazy Horse (Sampson) who also wants to kill the creature.  Although natural enemies, Hickcock and Crazy Horse slowly develop a mutual respect as they attempt to track and kill the monster.

While Hickcock did wear his guns in a sash, sunglasses weren’t invented until decades later and look so out of place in Bronson’s characterization.  The White Buffalo is a giant creature that works best, and is almost hypnotizing in dream sequences.  In the final scenes (where Sampson has jumped on it’s back), the buffalo looks silly.  The most fun in the film is seeing star cameos by Kim Novak, Clint Walker, Stuart Whitman, Slim Pickens, John Carradine, Ed Lauter and Martin Kove.

White White Buffalo earns 3 of 5 stars.

“You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man” (1939) Starring W.C. Fields / Z-View

You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man (1939)

Directors:  George Marshall, Edward F. Cline (uncredited)

Screenplay:  Everett Freeman, Richard Mack, George Marion, Jr.  from a story by Charles Bogle (W.C. Fields)

Starring: W.C. Fields, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy & Mortimer Snerd, Constance Moore and Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson

Tagline: AT LAST YOU CAN SEE THESE FAMOUS FEUDSTERS CLASH ON THE SCREEN!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Larson E. Whipsnade (Fields) owns a struggling circus.  They’re just one step ahead of the law and nearly broke.  Despite being in love with The Great Edgar (Bergin), the ventriloquist in her father’s circus, Vickey (Moore) decides to marry a rich suitor thinking that the money will fix things for her dad.  Will love win out?

W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen had popular radio shows and a “running feud”.  It was a natural to get them on film.  The great thing about You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man is the jokes/gags keep coming.  Eddie “Rochester” Anderson doesn’t get a lot to do, but it’s always a joy to see him on film.

You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man earns 4 of 5 stars.

“An Honest Liar” (2014) / Z-View

An Honest Liar (2014)

Directors:  Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom

Written by:  Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom, Greg O’Toole

Starring: James Randi, José Alvarez, Penn Jillette, Teller, Adam Savage, Alice Cooper, Bill Nye, Uri Geller  and Peter Popoff

Tagline:  None.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

James Randi began his career as a carnival magician and escape artist.  His goal was to learn every trick performed by Harry Houdini and improve on them where he could.  In the early 1970s, as “The Amazing Randi” was winding down his escape artist act, his career took an interesting path that led to even greater fame.  Randi turned his sights on con artists such as faith healers, psychics, and folks claiming supernatural powers.  Randi would recreate their “miracles” and then explain how he did them!

Two of his most famous run-ons occurred with Uri Geller and Peter Popoff.  Geller was making the rounds on tv shows, moving objects and bending spoons with just his mind.  Geller was scheduled be a guest on The Johnny Carson Show.  Carson’s staff reached out to Randi who gave specific instructions on how to insure that Geller couldn’t cheat.  When Geller appeared on the Carson show he was unable to perform any of his “supernatural” tricks.  This developed into a long-running feud between Randi and Geller.

Peter Popoff was a faith healer who claimed God spoke to him and used Popoff as a conductor of miracles.  Randi had video tape of Popoff performing his miracles.  It turned out Popoff was wearing an earpiece and his wife was reading information collected from prayer cards of those in attendance. Randi had the audio to prove it! Does it get any lower?

James Randi led an amazing life and these are just two highlights from his long career.  An Honest Liar takes us from his early to his last days.  Along the way Randi met the love of his life and there’s even a twist to that.

I was a fan of The Amazing Randi since I first learned of him in the 1970s.  I loved seeing his appearances and his outlook on life.  Randi wouldn’t rule anything out, but remained skeptical.  That seems like a pretty good way to approach things.

An Honest Liar earns 5 of 5 stars.

“The Poison Rose” (2019) Starring John Travolta, Morgan Freeman and Brendan Fraser / Z-View

The Poison Rose (2019)

Directors:  Francesco Cinquemani, George Gallo

Screenplay by:  Richard Salvatore, Francesco Cinquemani, Luca Giliberto

Starring: John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Brendan Fraser, Famke Janssen, Ella Bleu Travolta and Robert Patrick

Tagline:  A Private Eye. A Public Murder. A Perfect Crime.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Carson Phillips (Travolta) is a Private Eye who drinks and gambles too much.  Both vices have always caused him problems.  Carson used to be a hotshot college quarterback until he was caught shaving points.  Carson left town in disgrace and never went back.  Now he’s been hired to return on a missing person’s case.

All Carson has to do is go to a sanitorium to verify that Ms. Poole is alive and well.  Carson is given the run around by Dr. Miles Mitchell (Fraser), the sanitorium’s director.  As Carson digs deeper he begins to suspect Ms. Poole is dead and evidence points to a conspiracy involving an influential rich behind-the-scenes player named Doc (Freeman).  The same man behind Carson’s fall from grace.

Travolta is good as Carson Phillips.  Brendan Fraser steals every scene he’s in and I wish he was in more.  It’s good to see Robert Patrick, even if his role is a small one.

There’s one scene that should have never made the final cut – Carson is being shot at by a man with a rifle from the top of a stadium.  The sniper keeps missing Carson despite having a rifle with a scope.  Carson’s handgun runs out of bullets so he picks up a football and throws a perfect spiral hitting the would be assassin in the face.  In a later scene the assassin returns with a broken nose.  C’mon, man.

The Poison Rose earns 3 of 5 stars.

“Moonfall (2022)” Starring Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson and John Bradley / Z-View

Moonfall (2022)

Director:  Roland Emmerich

Screenplay by:  Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, Spenser Cohen

Starring: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Michael Peña, Carolina Bartczak and Donald Sutherland

Tagline: Earth… We have a problem.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

When the moon mysteriously goes out of orbit and takes a path to destroy Earth, it is up to Jocinda Fowler (Berry), Acting NASA director, Brian Harper (Wilson), a disgraced former astronaut, and KC Houseman (Bradley) a nerd-genius who was first to discover the problem, to save the day.

Moonfall is a throwback to disaster movies of the 70s.  Movies like The Towering Inferno, and Earthquake, but with a Roland Emmerich sensibility.  So instead of a building full of people or the population of a large city, Emmerich puts the entire planet at risk.  Moonfall gets a lot of mileage from the likeability of Bradley’s character and the special effects.

The movie begins with characters that are hard to like (except for KC Houseman).  Jocinda Fowler doesn’t provide strong support for Harper in a NASA investigation.  Harper comes off as a uninvolved parent who creates more problems for his troubled son.  Michael Peña plays Harper’s son’s stepdad and even he comes off in a bad light.  Of course everyone will have a character arc that shows their growth and that they really are good people.

For me, Moonfall‘s biggest problem is the backstory on why the moon went out of orbit.  It’s like someone said we need a reason to get these three unlikely heroes into space and someone yelled, “I’ve got it.  Moonfall will be Armageddon meets Terminator meets The Matrix Reloaded.”  If you’re a fan of disaster movies, special effects and aren’t overly concerned about logic or real life physics, then Moonfall might be what you’re looking for.

Moonfall earns 2 of 5 stars.

RIP: Henry Silva

Henry Silva died on September 14, 2022.  Mr. Silva was 95.

Henry Silva accumulated over 140 acting credits during his long career.  He alternated between television and feature films roles throughout his career.  Mr. Silva was at his best when the character he played was at his worst.  Henry Silva was often cast as a villain.  He excelled in playing hit men, criminals and mobsters.

Some of Henry Silva’s television appearances include: Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Thriller; The Untouchables; Dr. Kildare; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; The Outer Limits; Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; Wagon Train; Daniel Boone; Tarzan; Laredo; Cimarron Strip; The High Chaparral; I Spy; Mission Impossible; Hawaii Five-O; Night Gallery; Bearcats; The Streets of San Francisco; The F.B.I.; Batman: The Animated Series; The New Batman Adventures and Superman: The Animated Series.

Mr, Silva’s feature films include: The Tall T; A Hatful of Rain; The Bravados; Ocean’s Eleven;  Cinderfella; The Manchurian Candidate; Johnny Cool; Never a Dull Moment; Love and Bullets; Alligator; Sharky’s Machine; Cannonball Run II; Code of Silence; Above the Law; Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Ocean’s Eleven (2001).

Henry Silva had a face you’d never forget.  The villains he played were tough and self-assured.   Any hero Henry Silva went against was in for a tough time.  Mr. Silva is perhaps best known for his role in The Manchurian Candidate (where he has a fantastic martial arts battle with Frank Sinatra — and this was 1962!).  My favorite Henry Silva appearance is in Sharky’s Machine. He played a creepy, coked up, nearly unstoppable hitman.  Henry Silva made a career playing bad guys and that was a good thing for audiences.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Henry Silva’s family, friends and fans.

“Cold in July” (2014) Starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard & Don Johnson / Z-View

Cold in July (2014)

Director:  Jim Mickle

Screenplay by:  Nick Damici, Jim Mickle based on the novel, Cold in July by Joe R. Lansdale

Starring: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw, Lanny Flaherty  and Wyatt Russell

Tagline: How many men can one bullet kill?

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

When Richard Dane (Hall) accidentally shoots and kills Freddy Russell, an intruder in his home, the Chief of Police assures Dane that he did nothing wrong.  The intruder is a known thief who comes from a family of criminals.  In fact, the intruder’s father, Ben Russell (Shepard) will be released from prison later in the week.

Ben Russell ins a real hard case.  He confronts Richard about killing his son and makes a veiled threat to get retribution.  When Richard goes to the police, the Chief says that until Ben does something to break the law, nothing can be done.  Richard starts to storm out of the police station when he sees a wanted poster for Freddy Russell… and the photo on it is NOT the man that Richard killed!

Richard discovers that the Police Chief is lying to him and Ben Russell… but why?  If he can convince Ben that they’re both being played, perhaps they can solve the mystery… if they’re not killed first.

A Cold Day in July is a great adaptation of Joe Lansdale’s novel.  Hall and Shepard are excellent.  Wyatt Russell has a small, but important role and nails it.  Don Johnson was born to play Jim Bob Luke.  I could see a movie or series based on his character.  A Cold Day in July starts as one thing, morphs into a mystery of why the cops are lying and ends as a rescue mission by three men who would have never been friends.

Cold in July earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Frogs” (1972) Starring Ray Milland, Sam Elliott and Joan Van Ark / Z-View

Frogs (1972)

Director:  George McCowan

Screenplay by:  Robert Hutchison, Robert Blees from a story by Robert Hutchison

Starring: Ray Milland, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Adam Roarke, Judy Pace  and Mae Mercer

Tagline:   It’s the day that NATURE strikes back!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Pickett Smith, a wildlife photographer, ends up on the Crockett estate where, grumpy, old Jason Crockett (Milland) has invited family to celebrate his birthday.  Unfortunately that same weekend all of the animals – frogs, lizards, birds, snakes have decided to start killing humans.  Yep.  Killer frogs and other animals with no means of hurting a human are killing them.  Yeesh.

Frogs earns 1 of 5 stars.