Category: Celebs

“Zone of the Dead” aka  “Apocalypse of the Dead” (2009) Starring Ken Foree / Z-View

Zone of the Dead aka  Apocalypse of the Dead (2009)

Director:  Milan Konjevic, Milan Todorovic

Screenplay by:  Milan Konjevic from a story by Vukota Brajovic, Milan Todorovic

Starring: Ken Foree and Kristina Klebe

Tagline:  This City Is a Living Hell

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Agents Mortimer Reyes (Foree) and Mina Milius (Klebe) are transporting a dangerous criminal when a zombie apocalypse breaks out.  The agents and criminal join forces in an effort to fight their way to safety.  Think Assault on Precinct 13 meets Night of the Living Dead (but not nearly as good as either).

Zone of the Dead isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re in the right frame of mind and enjoy zombie films, you could do worse.

Zone of the Dead aka  Apocalypse of the Dead earns 2 of 5 stars.

“The Last Son” (2021) Starring Sam Worthington, Colson Baker, Thomas Jane & Heather Graham / Z-View

The Last Son (2021)

Director:  Tim Sutton

Screenplay by:  Greg Johnson

Starring: Sam Worthington, Colson Baker, Thomas Jane and Heather Graham

Tagline:  None.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Isaac LeMay (Worthington) is a heartless, wicked outlaw.  When a curse is placed on him, that he will be killed by one of his off-spring, LeMay decides to track down and kill the many children he left behind.  So he travels from town to town, locating and killing each of his off spring.  Until…

I thought The Last Son had an interesting premise.  I’m also a Thomas Jane fan.  Neither could keep me watching.  The Last Son moved at a snail’s pace.  Worthington played LeMay as a man of few words and when he did speak the words were hard to understand and gruff.  Think of the, “I’m Batman” voice by Christian Bale but as if Bale had chain smoked for 50 years.  There’s a scene where LeMay finds one of his off spring (he’d already killed a few).  It’s a daughter.  He decides not to kill her and instead puts his gun in her hand.  I was thinking, “Pull the trigger and end this mess.”  She doesn’t.  I didn’t last much longer.

The Last Son earns 1 of 5 stars.

RIP: Gary Nelson

It was just announced today that Gary Nelson died of natural causes on May 25, 2022, at the age of 87.  Mr. Nelson was a television and feature film director who had a career that spanned 65 years!  Gary Nelson began his career as a second assistant director in 1955.

Gary Nelson directed many episodes of popular television shows including: Have Gun Will Travel; The Andy Griffith Show; Gunsmoke; It’s About Time; F Troup; Gilligan’s Island; Gomer Pyle; Get Smart; The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; Love American Style; Kojak; Police Story and The Magical World of Disney.

Television movies directed by Mr. Nelson include: To Kill a Cop; Murder Me, Murder You; More Than Murder; Get Smart, Again!; Revolver; The Return of Ironside and Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert, to name a few.

Gary Nelson also directed five feature films:  Molly and Lawless John; Santee; The Black Hole; Jimmy the Kid and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold.

What a long and distinguished career!  Gary Nelson is probably best known as the director of The Black Hole.  I love the range that he displayed as director, moving from situation comedies to one hour dramas and films of both genres with ease.  Gary Nelson was also the original director of Sly Stallone’s Nighthawks.  The IMDb lists him as an uncredited director, so I wonder if any scenes he shot made the final film.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gary Nelson’s family, friends and fans.

“A League of Their Own” Season 1 (2022) / Z-View

A League of Their Own, Season 1 (2022)

Directors:  Jamie Babbit (Eps. 1-3); Ayoka Chenzira (Ep. 4); Katrelle Kindred (Ep.5); Will Graham (Ep. 6); Silas Howard (Ep. 7); Anya Adams (Ep. 8)

Teleplay by: Will Graham & Abbi Jacobson (Eps. 1 & 8); Abbi Jacobson (Ep.2); Desta Tedros Reff (Ep. 3); Michelle Badillo (Ep. 4); Mfoniso Udofia (Ep.5); Will Graham (Ep. 6); Sanaz Toossi (Ep.7)

Starring:  Abbi Jacobson, Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Roberta Colindrez, Kelly McCormack, Priscilla Delgado, Molly Ephraim, Melanie Field, Kate Berlant, Dale Dickey, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Lea Robinson and Rosie O’Donnell

Tagline: None.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

A League of Their Own is an loose adaptation of the 1992, A League of Their Own hit movie.  The update introduces new characters and storylines.

The year is 1943.  World War II is raging.  In an effort to increase morale at home the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is formed.  A League of Their Own follows a group of women from try-outs through the first season on the Rockford Peaches.  The focus is on…

  • Carson Shaw (Jacobson), a married woman from the midwest who’s life has been somewhat sheltered.  Her husband is in the service.  Carson develops feelings for Greta.
  • Maxine “Max” Chapman (Adams) is an African-American woman with a fastball that rivals those thrown by most men.  Maxine won’t even get a chance to tryout for the team because she’s black, but when one door closes…
  • Greta Gill (Carden) is a wild woman, who lives life and encourages Carson in more ways than one.
  • Clance Morgan (Ikumelo) is Maxine’s best friend, a newlywed who wants to be a comic book artist (and not a baseball player)
  • Jo DeLuca (Field) is Greta’s best friend and a power hitter
  • Toni Chapman (Ekulona) is Maxine’s mother who doesn’t support her baseball ambitions

While the above characters get most of the screen time, A League of Their Own does an excellent job of showcasing each of the players on the Rockford Peaches.  It’s interesting that women’s baseball is used as the backdrop for a time in America when women couldn’t open a checking account without their husband’s permission, African-Americans were still segregated from whites and being gay was thought of as a disease or even contagious.

The writing on A League of Their Own is really sharp and it doesn’t hurt that the series is well cast.  All of the actresses that play major characters are excellent.  Kudos also to Lea Robinson as Uncle Bertie,  Nick Offerman who plays the former pro who is brought in to coach the Peaches and Rosie O’Donnell who plays the owner of an underground gay bar.  Maxine “Max” Chapman (Adams) and her best friend Clance Morgan (Ikumelo) have a chemistry as best friends that could sustain a half hour comedy on their own.

A League of Their Own surprised me in how good it was.  I hope we get a second season.

A League of Their Own, Season 1 earns 4 of 5 stars.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD: The Deluxe Hardcover by Quentin Tarantino / Z-View

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: The Deluxe Hardcover by Quentin Tarantino

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper

First sentence…

The buzzer on Marvin Schwarz’s desk makes a noise.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the fictionalized account of Hollywood actor and tv star, Rick Dalton, his stuntman and best friend, Cliff Booth and the famous/infamous folks they run into in Hollywood in the late 60s.  If you’ve seen Tarantino’s movie of the same name, then you know the story… or at least most of it.  The novel goes into greater detail especially in regard to Cliff Booth.  If you liked the movie, you should enjoy the book.  If you think, I’ve seen the movie, I don’t need a rehash in a novelization, you might be surprised.  There’s a different story structure in the novel than the film and time to dig a deeper into the characters.

If you haven’t seen the movie, let me get you up to speed.  Rick Dalton was a rising movie star.  He had a western tv series called Bounty Law.  It was popular and ran for a few years.  Dalton then went into feature films, but that was then.  Now Dalton appears to be on his way down.  He’s been regulated to guest starring in television shows and usually ends up beaten and beaten up by the star of the show.  Dalton hopes he’ll get another run at feature films.  Cliff Booth is a World War II decorated vet, a stuntman and Rick’s best friend.  Booth may or may not have killed his wife (we find out for sure in the novel).  He also went toe-to-toe with Bruce Lee in a challenge that pretty much ended Booth getting stunt work.  Rick and Cliff will also have run-ins with the Charlie Manson family, Sharon Tate and others.  To say more would be to say too much,

Tarantino is more of a story-teller than a writer.  Someone said if the novel was better written, it wouldn’t be as good.  That may sound strange, but I get the sentiment.  As you read Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, there’s the feeling that we’re hearing the tale from an insider and not a writer somewhere trying to polish his prose.  I loved the inside stories/legends of real life actors/actresses in Hollywood.

The Deluxe Edition also features a Rick Dalton Bounty Law episode script; Photos of lobby cards from two of Rick Dalton’s feature films, two Bounty Law stills, two Bounty Law TV Guide covers, two Bounty Law comic book covers, a Bounty Law lunchbox, Bounty Law production art, a Bounty Law board game, 8 movie posters featuring Rick Dalton and other real-life stars, and a MAD magazine Bounty Law parody featuring the cover and story by Andrew Secunda and Tom Richmond.

I enjoyed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and hope that Tarantino writes more novels.  I’m a sucker for a good story.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood rates 4 of 5 stars.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: The Deluxe Hardcover
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Paperback
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Kindle

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” Starring Daniel Craig, Ed Norton, Janelle Monáe and Dave Bautista – The Trailer is Here!

I liked the first Knives Out mystery and Glass Onion looks to be at least as good.  Oh, and how about that cast!

You’re invited to put the pieces together. In the follow-up to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, Detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of colorful suspects.

Starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline with Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista.

Disturbing the Peace (2020) Starring Guy Pearce / Z-View

Disturbing the Peace (2020)

Director: Chuck Hustmyre

Screenplay by:  Jay Simms

Starring: Guy Pearce, Devon Sawa and Branscombe Richmond

Tagline: What Would You Give Up to Save Everything?

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Jim Dillion (Pearce) was a Texas Ranger.  He stopped carrying a gun after accidentally shooting and paralyzing his partner in a hostage situation.  Now he’s Marshall Dillion. (I kid you not. If you’re old enough, you’ll recognize the name.) Like Andy Griffith, Dillion has one Deputy to assist him.  They are the law in a little Texas town.

A small motorcycle gang, barely large enough to be called a crowd, plans to rob an armored truck carrying 15 million dollars to be deposited in the town’s bank.  It will be up to Marshall Dillion and his deputy to stop them.

I wanted to like Disturbing the Peace.  Guy Pearce is a good actor.  The plot was perfect for a low budget film.  I was hoping for something along the lines of Tom Laughlin in The Born Losers.  What I got was a real mess.

The story goes off the rails.  For a lot of the film, Marshall Dillion and his deputy are running from place to place watching the bad guys take hostages or worse.  When Dillion finally decides to get a gun, he has to run home. He then stares at his pistol for an eternity before finally picking it up. Dillion captures one of the gang members and puts him in jail.  Dillion learns that the gangbanger was a former marine and tells him, “So was I.”  Dillion then opens the cell, hands him a rifle and turns his back on him!  Just like that the former gang member is now ready to go against his motorcycle brothers.

Then when Dillion and the gang member, both armed with rifles, come up against a guy with a handgun, they retreat!  It gets even worse.  The gang leader, Diablo (Sawa) fires a machine gun at Dillion as he walks down the center of an empty street.  Dillion isn’t even wounded.  We also get the classic: Dillon on a horse exchanging gunfire with Diablo on a motorcycle and then the horse catching the motorcycle!

With all that said, you’d probably think that Disturbing the Peace would earn one star.  It nearly did,  Still, I made it through the film so I’m barely rating it a two.

Disturbing the Peace earns 2 of 5 stars.

“Tulsa King” Starring Sylvester Stallone – The Trailer is Here!

The trailer for Tulsa King starring Sylvester Stallone hits all the right notes.  I cannot wait to see this series!

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+.

“The Killer Shrews” (1959) / Z-View

The Killer Shrews (1959)

Director: Ray Kellogg

Screenplay by:  Jay Simms

Starring: James Best, Ingrid Goude and Ken Curtis

Tagline: Ravaging beasts feed on human flesh!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Thorne Sherman (Best) and his partner dock their boat loaded with supplies at a remote island research base.  Despite an approaching hurricane, Dr. Marlowe Craigis wants Sherman to leave the island immediately and to take his grown daughter, Ann (Goude) as well.  Sherman  says that they need to hunker down and he’ll take her after the storm passes.

Sherman soon learns that Dr. Marlowe’s experiments have created a breed of killer shrews that must eat twice their body weight daily in order to survive.  The shrews’ food supply has dwindled and now the shrews have their eyes on the humans!  With teeth strong enough to eat through walls it is just a question of time until they get into the house… and then…

The Killer Shrews is a low-budget horror film that makes the most of the small cast.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the special effects.  It’s very obvious that the shrews are sometimes puppets and other times dogs wearing wigs.  There is a romance subplot that is low budget as well.  A pre-Gunsmoke, Festus (Curtis)  co-stars and produced.

The Killer Shrews is watchable in the Saturday night movie presented by a Horror Host kind of way.  In fact I remember first seeing The Killer Shrews on an episode of Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater back in the 60s.  I was in third or fourth grade. I loved the movie and couldn’t wait to tell the old lady crossing guard all about it on Monday.  I recently re-watched The Killer Shrews (this time hosted by Svengoolie).  It brought back great memories and I’m sure I’d have liked it better if I was still in elementary school.

The Killer Shrews earns 2 of 5 stars.

“The Enforcer” Starring Antonio Banderas and Kate Bosworth – The Trailer is Here!

I’m diggin’ the trailer for The Enforcer starring Antonio Banderas and Kate Bosworth.  Definitely deal me in!

Miami’s top mob enforcer Cuda (Antonio Banderas) sacrifices it all to tear down the criminal organization he’s spent his whole life building up when he discovers his boss Estelle (Kate Bosworth) is putting a young runaway’s life in grave danger. Now he has one last chance to make up for his past and find redemption – both for himself and his family – before the mob hunts him down for his betrayal.

“Project Legion” Starring Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for Project Legion check all the boxes that get me to want to watch.  I even like that the star is Donald Cowboy Cerrone, one of the toughest UFC fighters in the world!  Fingers crossed for a great “drive-in” movie!

Against all odds, a former marine tries to escape his apartment after waking up to a city in chaos surrounded by creatures who prey on humans in the action/thriller PROJECT LEGION starring UFC superstar Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

“Red Stone” (2021) Starring Neal McDonough, Dash Melrose & Michael Cudlitz / Z-View

Red Stone (2021)

Director: Derek Presley

Screenplay by:  Derek Presley

Starring: Neal McDonough, Dash Melrose, Michael Cudlitz and Billy Blair

Tagline:  None

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Motley Adams (Melrose) witnessed his older brother killed by order of Jed Haywood (Cudlitz), a local crime boss.  Now Motley is on the run from Haywood’s thugs led by a hitman named Boon (McDonough).  The local sheriff and the F.B.I. are looking for Motley too.  It’s just a question of time… and time is about to run out.

With McDonough and Cudlitz in the credits, I was expecting more.  Although Red Stone clocks in at just 97 minutes, it felt longer.  That’s never good.  There’s lip service paid to a subplot about Boon’s mom that could have been totally cut for all the impact it had.  Red Stone has some interesting ideas, but unfortunately the execution isn’t up to the same level.

Red Stone earns 2 of 5 stars.

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie (2022) / Z-View

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie (2022)

Director: Mark Moormann

Starring: Don McLean, Peter Gallagher, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Jiles Perry “J.P.” Richardson Jr. aka The Big Bopper, Garth Brooks, Brian Wilson  and Tyson Fury

Tagline:  None.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

In December 1971, Don McLean’s American Pie single was released.  It went to #1 and held that position for four weeks.  At the time it was the longest song (8 minutes and 42 seconds) to enter the Billboard charts.  At the time a single of that length was unheard of.  American Pie was a worldwide hit topping the charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.  Fifty years later and people of all ages know the words to the song, but speculation runs rampant about their meaning.

Don McLean wrote the song as a musical poem open to interpretation.  While McLean admitted that “the day the music died” referred to the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, speculation was that the song also referenced the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, political protests and more.  McLean would never confirm or deny the meaning of his lyrics.  He was quoted as saying, “You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me … Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on.”

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie looks at the genesis of the song, it’s impact on the world and Don McLean shares the meaning of the lyrics.  I was in 7th grade when American Pie was released.  Everyone, including adults, were talking about the song and it’s meaning.

I enjoyed this documentary.  It was cool to see the struggle McLean had in getting the lyrics just right.  Then to learn (and see) that the producer and musicians knew that they had something special, but the recording session wasn’t working until.. (I won’t give it away),  While I’m glad that Don McLean has confirmed the things that inspired his lyrics, I’m taking the perspective that like all poetry, once it’s released, it is up to each individual to determine what the poem means to him/her.

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Dead for a Dollar” Directed by Walter Hill, Starring Christoph Waltz & Willem Dafoe – The Trailer is Here!

Walter Hill as the director gets me on board… Christoph Waltz and Willem Defoe are icing on the cake.  Dead for a Dollar?  Yep, deal me in.

Veteran bounty hunter Max Borlund is deep into Mexico where he encounters professional gambler and outlaw Joe Cribbens – a sworn enemy he sent to prison years before. Max is on a mission to find and return Rachel.

Cast: Christoph Waltz, Willem Defoe, Rachel Brosnahan, Benjamin Bratt

Available in THEATERS, on DIGITAL and ON DEMAND, September 30th, 2022