“My Name is Vendetta” (2022) / Z-View

My Name is Vendetta (2022)

Director:  Cosimo Gomez

Screenplay: Sandrone Dazieri, Franco Fraternale, Cosimo Gomez

Stars: Alessandro Gassmann, Ginevra Francesconi

The Plot…

Santo, a former mob hitman, has been living a quiet life with his wife, daughter and brother for years.  When his former boss learns where Santo lives, a hit team is sent in to kill him.  The team takes out Santo’s brother and Santo’s wife.  His daughter gets away.  Santos arrives home to the massacre.  He finds his daughter and then begins to take revenge…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I was expecting better for My Name is Vendetta.

Santos’ daughter creates the situations that leads to her mother and uncle’s death by not listening to her dad.  Then after they are murdered she disobeys him again causing their location to be known again.  This makes her character pretty unlikeable from the start.

The action ranges from good to boring.  The fact that Santos’ former mafia employers have access to technology that can find him so easily is just too unrealistic.  The ending was also unsatisfying.  All of these issues point to a need for tighter writing.

My Name is Vendetta earns 2 of 5 stars.

“Matri-Phony” (1942) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Matri-Phony (1942)

Director:  Harry Edwards, Del Lord (uncredited)

Screenplay: Monte Collins, Elwood Ullman

Stars: Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Vernon Dent, Bobby Barber, Cy Schindell and Max Wagner

Tagline: Goofiest comedy you ever saw!

The Plot…

When a woman on the run enters the boy’s Ye Olde Pottery shop they learn that Emperor Grabus plans to marry her against her will.  The boys help her hide.  When she is discovered they are taken into custody.  Grabus condemns the boys and moves forward with his marriage plans.  The boys must escape and save the young lass.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Matri-Phony was plagued with problems, most of which were caused by the director, Harry Edwards.  Most Stooges shorts were filmed in 3 to 5 days.  Matri-Phony took three weeks to complete.  Edwards was abusive towards the actors and crew.  Reshoots were needed.  Some shots are out of focus, some scenes lacked coverage for smooth edits.  The Stooges worked with him on one other short and then asked to never have him direct them again.

The highlight is an extended scene with Curly in drag and chased around the room by the nearly blind Emperor Grabus!

Matri-Phony earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Bill Russell: Legend” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I’m looking forward to this documentary on Bill Russell.  The fact that it is on Netflix makes watching a no brainer.  Deal me in.

On the court, Bill Russell was a force to be reckoned with – a champion who sacrificed himself for his teammates and love of basketball. Off the court, Bill Russell was a force in the fight for human rights – marching with the great Martin Luther King Jr., pioneering NBA boycotts and fighting against racism. BILL RUSSELL: LEGEND tells the remarkable life and legacy of an NBA superstar and civil rights icon.

RIP: Lance Kerwin

Lance Kerwin, one of the most popular children actors of the 1970s, died on January 24, 2023.  He was 62.

Lance Kerwin began his career in 1974 with guest appearances on seven popular television series and two made for tv movies!  Mr. Kerwin stayed busy with roles in feature films throughout his career.  He retired from acting in 1995.  Lance Kerwin is best known for the television series James at 16 and the tv movie Salem’s Lot.

Some of Lance Kerwin’s television appearances include: Emergency!; Shazam; Little House on the Prairie; Police Story; Cannon; Gunsmoke; ABC Afterschool Specials (5 episodes); The Loneliest Runner (tv movie); Wonder Woman; The Bionic Woman; James at 16 (21 episodes); The Boy Who Drank Too Much (tv movie); Hotel; Trapper John; Simon & Simon and Murder She Wrote. 

Some of Lance Kerwin’s feature film appearances include: Enemy Mine and Outbreak.

My favorite Lance Kerwin role was in the made-for-tv adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.  If Mr. Kerwin was only known for that film, his passing would still be noted due to the impact that movie has on horror movie fans.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lance Kerwin’s family, friends and fans.

“65” starring Adam Driver – A Second Poster and Trailer are Here!

Here we have a second poster and trailer for 65 starring Adam Driver.  I like this poster even better than the first.  The outline of the T-Rex behind them is ominous.  The trailer kicks the action up a notch as well. Deal me in!

They must fight to survive. From the writers of A Quiet Place and producer Sam Raimi, #65movie is Only In Cinemas March 17.

After a catastrophic crash on an unknown planet, pilot Mills (Adam Driver) quickly discovers he’s actually stranded on Earth…65 million years ago. Now, with only one chance at rescue, Mills and the only other survivor, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), must make their way across an unknown terrain riddled with dangerous prehistoric creatures in an epic fight to survive. From the writers of A Quiet Place and producer Sam Raimi comes 65, a sci-fi thriller starring Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, and Chloe Coleman. Written and directed by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods and produced by Sam Raimi, Deborah Liebling and Zainab Azizi. Also produced by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods.

Written and Directed by:
Scott Beck & Bryan Woods

“We Have a Ghost” starring David Harbour, Jahi Winston & Anthony Mackie – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

We Have a Ghost starring David Harbour, Jahi Winston and Anthony Mackie looks like a lot of fun.  Deal me in.

Finding a ghost named Ernest haunting their new home turns Kevin’s family into overnight social media sensations. But when Kevin and Ernest go rogue to investigate the mystery of Ernest’s past, they become a target of the CIA.

“The Black Phone” (2021) starring Ethan Hawke / Z-View

The Black Phone (2021)

Director:  Scott Derrickson

Screenplay: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill based on “The Black Phone” short story by Joe Hill

Stars: Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Davies and E. Roger Mitchell

Tagline: Never Talk to Strangers

The Plot…

A sadistic serial killer of children has been dubbed The Grabber by news media.  Despite multiple kidnappings and murders, the killer leaves no clues.  When Finney, a thirteen year old boy, wakes up in a locked basement, he comes to realize that The Grabber plans to torture and kill him… unless Finney can find a way out.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Although The Grabber’s “name” isn’t that scary, the masks he wears are.  The scene (picture below) of the serial killer sitting shirtless, in a mask, whip in hand waiting in the kitchen to see if Finney will come up is truly creepy.

The Black Phone has a supernatural aspect to it that makes it less scary in my opinion.  A kid, alone in a serial killer’s basement is frightening.  When he begins getting “help” from beyond, it is much more likely that he’ll survive.

There are couple of cool plot twists and the ending works well.

The Black Phone earns 3 of 5 stars.

“Restless Knights” (1935) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Restless Knights (1935)

Director:  Charles Lamont

Screenplay: Felix Adler

Stars: Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Stanley Blystone and Walter Brennan

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

The boys learn they’re royalty!  Larry is the Duke of Durham, Moe the Count of Fife  and Curly is Baron of Grey Matter.  They are tasked with protecting the Queen.  Little do they know that a plan is underway to kill her and make our boys the fall guys!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Restless Knights was the first Stooges short to feature the now famous triple slap!  The castle sets were originally created for Boris Karloff’s The Black Room.

Restless Knights earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Jack Ryan”: Season 3 (2022) starring John Krasinski / Z-View

Jack Ryan: Season 3 (2022)

Written by: Vaun Wilmott (episode 17, 24); Amy Berg (episodes 18, 22); Jennifer Kennedy (episode 19); Dario Scardapane (episode 20, 23); Marc Halsey and Amy Berg (episode 21)

Directed by: Jann Turner (episodes 17 – 20, 24); Kevin Dowling (episode 21); Kevin Dowling & David Petrarca (episodes 22 – 23);

Stars: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Nina Hoss, Peter Guinness

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Jack Ryan discovers rouge Russian operatives have a plan to detonate a nuke that will start World War III.  Ryan lacks enough evidence and is told to stand down.  Denying orders, Ryan goes back into the field and soon has the CIA and foreign operatives trying to stop him.  Meanwhile, plans proceed to detonate the nuke!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

It’s interesting to see Jack Ryan’s development over three seasons.  He’s gone from an brilliant analyst to a capable John Bourne-ish agent.

Season three’s story has a great deal of depth with flashbacks to 50 years ago.  There are tense moments and unexpected plot twists.  Bring on season 4.

Jack Ryan: Season 3 (2022) earns 4 of 5 stars.

“G.I. Wanna Home” (1946) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

G.I. Wanna Home (1946)

Director:  Jules White

Screenplay: Felix Adler

Stars: Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Symona Boniface and Al Thompson

Tagline: The Stooges on a Hilarious Hunt for a Home!

The Plot…

The boys are discharged from the army ready to marry their girls.  First they need housing. Our guys search everywhere but nothing is available.  In desperation, the boys turn a deserted lot into their new home.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Curly’s health had deteriorated to the point that much of the business scripted for him was given to Larry.  It was obvious from Curly’s weight loss, the lines now creasing his face and his timing that his career was coming to an early end.

G.I. Wanna Conga earns 4 of 5 stars.

Albert Einstein’s Letter About a UFO Incident!

On July 19, 1952, a large number of people, including air traffic controllers, saw six unidentified flying objects in restricted air space over Washington, D.C.  The event lasted fourteen minutes and made national news.  It inspired Louis A. Gardner to write Albert Einstein.  He wanted Einstein’s opinion: were UFOs the result of intelligent alien life, top secret technology created by humans or something else.

Albert Einstein wrote back. His letter is above.  I’m surprised by Einstein’s response.  I would have thought he’d be curious.  But then again… maybe he wasn’t because he already knew the answer.

Source:  Albert Einstein’s Letter About UFOs at Mental Floss.

“They Stooge to Conga” (1943) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

They Stooge to Conga (1943)

Director:  Del Lord

Screenplay: Monte Collins, Elwood Ullman

Stars: Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Lloyd Bridges, Vernon Dent, Dudley Dickerson and Christine McIntyre

Tagline:  None.

The Plot…

The boys are are door-to-door repairmen hired to fix a doorbell.  When they discover that the house belongs to Nazi spies, it is up to them to save the day.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

They Stooge to Conga was often edited to exclude the violence where Curly climbs the power pole.  Curly on his way up (and wearing spikes) steps on Moe’s head, then spikes him in the ear and eye! Other violent scenes include: Curly getting his rear set on fire, Moe pulled through a wall, a grinding wheel to the nose, wrench to the nose, multiple electric shocks, sitting on a hot waffle iron, exploding telephone as it is answered, multiple hammer strikes to the head… NYUK-NYUK-NYUK.

Lloyd Bridges has a cameo!

This is the third time that Moe parodies Adolph Hitler.  It cracks me up every time.

They Stooge to Conga earns 5 of 5 stars.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 10 Best Movie Characters!

Simon Bland at /Film took a look at his choices for The 10 Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Roles That Aren’t The Terminator.  I thought I’d play along, so before you click over, here are how are choices play out (in no particular order)…

Bland

Zablo

Dutch – Predator Dutch – Predator
John Matrix – Commando John Matrix – Commando
Jack Slater – Last Action Hero Mark Kaminski – Raw Deal
Julius – Twins Ivan Danko – Red Heat
Dt. John Kimble – Kindergarten Eraser – Eraser
Mr. Freeze – Batman & Robin Rottmayer – Escape Plan
Quaid – Total Recall Quaid – Total Recall
Trench – The Expendables Series Trench – The Expendables Series
Harry Tasker – True Lies John ‘Breacher’ Wharton – Sabotage
Conan – Conan The Barbarian Conan – Conan The Barbarian

“Violent is the Word for Curly” (1938) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Violent is the Word for Curly (1938)

Director:  Charley Chase

Screenplay: Al Giebler, Elwood Ullman

Stars: Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Bud Jamison and Al Thompson

Tagline:  THEY’RE CRACKED IN THE CRANIUM…ON A CUCKOO CAMPUS!

The Plot…

The boys are new hires at a service station.  They screw things up so badly that they take off down the road.  They end up at an women’s college where they are mistaken for three college professors due to arrive that day.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The opening set piece has the boys working at a service station.  There’s an extended sequence where the boys are shining up a car and Curly begins vigorously polishing a bald man’s head.  The slapping sound effect cracks me up every time.

The Three Stooges singing “Swinging the Alphabet” is a classic.

When Violent is the Word for Curly was colorized it became obvious that in the scene where the college girls are playing basketball some are braless.

Violent is the Word for Curly earns 4 of 5 stars.

RIP: Jason Pearson

I was on a road trip to Indiana to attend my father’s funeral when I learned that Jason Pearson had died.  Although he passed on December 19, 2022, his death wasn’t announced until January 16, 2023.  Jason was 52 years old.

Jason Pearson was best known for Body Bags, a comic he created, wrote and drew.  But anything that Jason Pearson drew was worth adding to your collection.  He had a style that was instantly recognizable.  It was dynamic, energetic and brought new life to any character.

I met Jason at Heroescon in 2004.  I was able to get on Jason’s sketch list and asked for his take on Rocky Balboa. Jason was hesitant saying, “I don’t do good likenesses.”  I told him I wasn’t looking for a photo, just his take on the character.  Jason said he’d give it a go.  The result is above with my picture of Jason holding his art. I’m honored to have a Jason Pearson sketch in my collection.  It’s sad that we won’t be getting more Jason Pearson art in the future, but his legacy will live forever.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jason Pearson’s family, friends and fans.