Author: Craig Zablo

“Don’t Look Up” Starring DiCaprio, Lawrence, Streep & More! The Trailer is Here!

A large big-name cast which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and others makes Don’t Look Up even more interesting. The trailer hints at a fun time, but I’m not sold… yet.  The great news is Don’t Look Up premieres on Netflix on December 24th so I’ll be able to, uh, look it up.

DON’T LOOK UP tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth. Written and Directed by Adam McKay. Watch DON’T LOOK UP on December 24 only on Netflix.

“The Guilty” Trailer is Here! Fuqua, Pizzolatto, Gyllenhaal & Hawke!

The Guilty poster isn’t bad but the trailer has ,me hooked.  Directed by Antoine Fuqua who helmed Training Day, and The Equalizer with a screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto the writer behind True Detective — these guys are made for this genre. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ethan Hawke co-star.

Deal me in.  October 1st on Netflix!

The Guilty takes place over the course of a single morning in a 911 dispatch call center. Call operator Joe Bayler (Gyllenhaal) tries to save a caller in grave danger—but he soon discovers that nothing is as it seems, and facing the truth is the only way out.

RIP: Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams died today.  He was 54.  No cause of death was given. 

Michael K. Williams is probably best known for his breakout role as Omar on the HBO series The Wire or perhaps it is as Leonard Pine on Hap & Leonard.  Then again you may know him best as Chalky White from Boardwalk Empire.  Of course others may have just discovered Mr. Williams with his role as Montrose Freeman on HBO’s Lovecraft Country (for which he received a 2021 Emmy nomination; his 5th).

Michael K. Williams has over 100 acting credits on his resume.  He appeared in The Sopranos, Boston Legal, Law & Order, with recurring Alias, :Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Community, and When They See Us to name just a few tv series.  Some of Mr. Williams work in feature films included Bullet, Bringing Out the Dead, Gone Baby Gone, Twelve Years a Slave, Triple 9, Ghostbusters, Arkansas, and Motherless Brooklyn.

My favorite Michael K. Williams role was a Leonard Pine on Hap & Leonard, but he was excellent every time he appeared onscreen.  In addition to acting ability Michael K. Williams had charisma.  It’s sad that he left us at such a young age.  We can only imagine the roles he’d yet to entertain us with.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael K. Williams’ family, friends and fans.

The All-Time Greatest War Films

Liam Gaughan at /Film turned his attention to war movies and came up with his list for The 20 Greatest War Films of All Time.  Here are my top 5 (in alphabetical order) selected from Gaughan’s list plus two I thought should have made his list, but didn’t.

Black Hawk Down: Ridley Scott shows us the brutality of war and the heroic young men sent into battle.

Braveheart:  I initially thought this was an odd choice to include on a list of the greatest war movies of all time, but… It did make the list.  Braveheart does deal with war and is a great film.

Full Metal Jacket:  I love how this movie follows raw recruits through basic training and then into war.  The opening scenes with R. Lee Ermy and Vincent D’Onofrio are classic as is their final scene together.

Platoon:  I thought Platoon was just “ok” on my initial viewing.  Maybe I was in a bad mood because each time I give Platoon a rewatch I like it better and better.

Saving Private Ryan: Steven Spielberg created probably the best war movie on the list.  I love this film.

Now two movies that came to mind that I would have included on my list that weren’t on Gaughan’s…

Last of the Mohicans:  Michael Mann’s film is more a love story than war film, but if Braveheart can make the list than Last of the Mohicans should as well.

The Patriot:  Mel Gibson’s most under-rated film.

Vin Diesel’s Best Films (That’s Aren’t Fast & Furious) – Matthew Monagle Picks ‘Em and Craig Reacts

Matthew Monagle at /Film picked out what he considered  The 14 Best Vin Diesel Movies (That Aren’t The Fast And The Furious).  I decided to play along.  Here are my top 5 selected from Monagle’s list plus reasons I didn’t pick a couple of “obvious” choices…

Pitch Black: Diesel’s signature character in his first outing.  I love this film and character.

The Chronicles of Riddick: While I’m not a fan of the movie’s title, the film has improved with every viewing.  It went from a cool low-budget monster movie to a world (universe) expanding epic.  Kudos for the effort and as I said, it gets better with every viewing.

Knockaround Guys:  This underrated film should be required viewing for an Vin Diesel fan… and he’ll throw a beatin’ on anyone who disagrees.

The Iron Giant:  An animated film with something for kids and adults (or the kid in every adult).

A Man Apart:  Diesel as a DEA agent seeking revenge against the drug cartel that killed his wife.

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A couple of films that I didn’t pick but seem like obvious choices…

Guardians of the Galaxy:  is a great film and Diesel provides the voice for Groot.  I didn’t pick this because Vin doesn’t do more than say variations of the word “Groot” and is that really the best representation of a Vin Diesel movie?

Saving Private Ryan:  is another great film and the argument could be made to include it in the top five.  I didn’t because I don’t really consider it a Vin Diesel film.  It was a Steven Spielberg film.  Diesel wasn’t the star.  In fact his name was nowhere on the poster and came in around 7th on the credits.  That’s not to say Diesel was great in his role, but I didn’t (for this list) consider Saving Private Ryan a Vin Diesel film.

Finally, I would have found a spot for Riddick the second sequel to Pitch Black,

The Best Films by Debut Directors!

Liam Gaughan at /Film compiled his list of The 15 Best Debut Films From Directors.  It’s a good list and so I decided to play along.  Here are my top 5 (in alphabetical order) selected from Gaughan’s 15 plus three that didn’t make his list that would have made mine…

Cohen Brothers: Blood Simple.  What an amazing debut that kickstarted a career that has spanned over three decades in ever changing genres.  I drove over 100 miles round trip to see Blood Simple when it first came out since it wasn’t showing anywhere near me.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Huston, John: The Maltese Falcon.  George Raft turned down the role of Sam Spade because he didn’t want to work with a first time director!  What a mistake.  We’re better off for it, because Bogart makes the perfect lead.

Mann, Michael: Thief.  Mann’s first outing in the director’s chair shows the foundation for his movie trademarks: night scenes, music and noir.

Romero, George: Night of the Living Dead How many directors have directed a debut film that generated multi-billion dollars across movies, books, toys, comics, posters, t-shirts and more?

Welles, Orson: Citizen Kane.  Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane is arguably the best, most revered first time director’s debut of all.  Sadly, Welles never rose to those heights again (who could?), but he did go on to direct and star in other great films.

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The three debut directors that didn’t make Gaughan’s list but that would have made mine are…

Hill, Walter: Hard Times.  Straight out of the shoot, Hill directed Charles Bronson and James Coburn in a depression era macho film that had heart.   He would follow Hard Times with The Driver, The Warriors, The Long Riders, Southern Comfort, 48 hrs, and Streets of Fire!

McQuarrie, Christopher: Way of the Gun.  While Way of the Gun isn’t for everyone, those that love it, LOVE IT.  McQuarrie wouldn’t direct another film for over a decade until he helmed Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise.  McQuarrie then went on to direct Cruise in three Mission Impossible films (two still to be released).

Stahelski, Chad: John Wick.  After Stahelski’s debut, action films took on a new look aka “John Wick” action.

“Red Notice” – Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot & Ryan Reynolds – The Trailer is Here!

Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds headline Red Notice and we’ve got the trailer.  This looks like it will be fun but nothing great.  Since it’s on Netflix, I’ll tune in.

An Interpol-issued Red Notice is a global alert to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted. But when a daring heist brings together the FBI’s top profiler (Johnson) and two rival criminals (Gadot, Reynolds), there’s no telling what will happen.

The “Moonfall” Trailer is Here and it is Nuts!

The trailer for Moonfall is nuts.  It reminds me of any number of disaster movies but that’s not a bad thing if you know what to expect when you start watching and that’s a fun thrill ride where you put you mind in check.

In Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact and the world on the brink of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler (Academy Award® winner Halle Berry) is convinced she has the key to saving us all – but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson, “Midway”) and a conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley, “Game of Thrones”) believes her. These unlikely heroes will mount an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love, only to find out that our Moon is not what we think it is.

Directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser & Spenser Cohen, the film also stars Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak, and Donald Sutherland.

“Mayor of Kingstown” Starring Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest and Kyle Chandler – The Trailer is Here!

The poster of Mayor of Kingstown is nothing to crow about, but the trailer is!  Taylor Sheridan the writer behind Sicario and Hell or High Water brings us Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest and Kyle Chandler in what looks to be a series worthy of our time.

Mayor of Kingstown has earned my vote.

From Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of Yellowstone, Mayor of Kingstown follows the McLusky family – power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.

Stream Mayor of Kingstown, starring Jeremy Renner, November 14!

“Fauci” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for Fauci are here.  The poster is about what you’d expect — a straightforward ad for the movie.  The trailer makes me want to see and learn more about the man who has advised Presidents for decades.

Crafted around unprecedented access to Dr. Fauci, National Geographic Documentary Films’ FAUCI is a revealing portrait of the nation’s top infectious disease expert and one of our most dedicated public servants. The film will debut in select theaters on September 10.

The All-Time Best Heist Movies!

Nick Bartlett at /Film came up with his list of The 20 Best Heist Movies Of All Time.  Using just his list, here are my top five (in alphabetical order) and my thoughts on each.

Asphalt Jungle, The:  John Huston directs a cast that includes: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe and even a young Marilyn Monroe.  Considered by many to be the best heist film of all-time!  A must see for any fan of the genre.

Heat: Michael Mann wrote and directed this modern heist masterpiece with an all star cast that included Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan and Hank Azaria.  Just the cast alone should make you want to watch it!

Killing, The:  Stanley Kubrick directs a screenplay that he co-wrote with Jim Thompson!  Stars include Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr. and (the strange but great) Timothy Carey.

Reservoir Dogs:  Quentin Tarantino’s first film!  Again we get another all-star cast that included Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Edward Bunker and Tarantino!

Rififi:  This is probably the least known film on the list and that’s a shame because it is a classic!  Some won’t give it a shot because it is a foreign film with no big name American stars and that’s a shame.  If you haven’t seen Rififi, give it a shot!

Looking over my choices I was impressed by how many of the films were written or co-written by the director.  They obviously had a love for the genre, created a wonderful screenplay and were able to attract an all-star cast.

“No Time to Die” – Final Trailer and Craig’s “What If..” Ending

No Time to Die is supposed to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond.  He’s had a good run.  In fact he’s my second favorite Bond (behind Connery).  No Time to Die looks to be a good swan song.

I get the feeling that Bond could die in this film.  If so, they would be able to confirm that there is no James Bond, just different agents who take on them name and the 007 moniker.  It would also give them freedom to set up the next Bond.  Can you imagine seeing a desk with pictures of all the past 007s spread across it and then M hitting the intercom and saying, “Send in 007″…

But do I really think there is a chance of that happening?  Not really.

The Best Alien Movies – Have You Seen Them?

Margaret David at /Film came up with her list of 20 Movies About Aliens That You Definitely Need To Watch.  Using just her list, here are my top five (in alphabetical order) and my thoughts on each.

10 Cloverfield Lane: I was glad to see 10 Cloverfield Lane make the list.  While it’s not the first movie to come to mind when most folks think of “alien” movies, it surely qualifies.  I love how it starts as one thing, turns into another and then ends up as a definite alien movie.  I need to see it again!

Alien NationAlien Nation is under-rated. If you haven’t seen it you should.  This is another one I need to rewatch.

Contact:  I’m a big fan!  Contact is another under-rated gem.  Plus Jodie Foster!

They Live: John Carpenter mixes a social message with alien overlords starring Roddy Piper and it works!

Thing, TheJohn Carpenter dared to remake the classic The Thing from Another World and in the process created what some consider his best movie.  I saw The Thing in a nearly empty theater on it’s initial theatrical release.  The Thing was not highly thought of at the time by most fans and critics, but has gone on to develop a following and is considered a classic in the genre.

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The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers didn’t make David’s list, but would have made mine and well ahead of the 1978 sequel (which did make her list).