Category: Movies

“Army of the Dead” A Film by Zach Snyder: The Making of the Film – Book Companion Drops June 1st!

Army of the Dead: A Film by Zack Snyder: The Making of the Film is going to be a must-have for every diehard fan of the movie.  Here’s the description…

Army of the Dead: A Film by Zach Snyder: The Making of the Film is the official companion to Zack Snyder’s latest zombie film.

From the director of Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen, and Man of Steel, comes Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s eagerly awaited return to the zombie scene, starring Dave Bautista. Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Army of the Dead: A Film By Zach Snyder: The Making of the Film takes readers behind the scenes of this much-anticipated film and reveals the locations, characters, and zombies. The book is full to the brim with exclusive on-set photography, costume designs, storyboards by Zack Snyder, and more, and accompanied by cast and crew interviews.

My order is in.  

“Army of the Dead” / Z-View

Army of the Dead (2021)

Director: Zack Snyder

Screenplay: Zack Snyder & Shay Hatten and Joby Harold.

Stars:  Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi and Richard Cetrone.

The Pitch: “Zack Snyder wants to create a zombie movie to be a tent-pole for other movies, animation and who knows what.  The first film will be called Army of the Dead!”

Tagline: Always Bet on Dead.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Las Vegas has been overrun by zombies.  The city has been walled off by the US government and is set for nuclear destruction in 48 hours.  The clock is ticking…

Scott Ward is former military.  Most of his team survived the zombie outbreak in Vegas when they were sent in to save high ranking government officials.  Ward was given a medal for his efforts.  Now he flips burgers in a diner.  So when super-rich Bly Tanaka offers Ward $50 million to put together a team to enter the city and get $200 million from Bly’s casino vault, Ward accepts the offer.

Ward brings together his crew: former members of his military squad plus a helicopter pilot to fly them out, an adrenaline junkie, a safe cracker and a “coyote” who knows how to get into the city. Odds are they will all die, but the team agrees the risk is worth the reward.  Tanaka provides them with schematics of the safe, weapons and his security captain who will go along to make sure that they don’t run off with all the cash should they survive.

As the team moves into the city they learn that not all zombies are created equal.  Some are fast moving, with the ability to think and communicate with the other zombies.  They don’t talk and there is almost a hive mentality about them.  Also, not everyone on Ward’s team has the same outcome in mind.  There are plot twists and betrayals.  Friendships form, relationships are tested and most will not survive.

I really liked Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead.  The action starts immediately.  The opening scenes hint at how the zombie apocalypse started and how deadly the zombies are.  Snyder uses the credits to creatively show the fall of Vegas.  This is definitely a Zack Snyder movie — if you’re not a fan of his work, you probably won’t like this.  If you are a fan, then there’s a lot to love.

The cast is excellent.  Because there are so many characters, each with a unique personality, it is important to get the right actors for each role.  Several standout: Bautista, Purnell, Hardwick & Schweighöfer, Rossi, Dillahunt and Notaro shine.

Snyder isn’t just making a movie, he’s creating a universe.  There are two Army of the Dead prequels in development (one animated!) and there is the possibility of a sequel.  Snyder doesn’t give us all the answers — instead he provides us with enough information to fill in the blanks. There are nods to other movies (Aliens, Planet of the Apes, etc.).  The soundtrack is excellent.  If you’re just looking for a fun ride, Army of the Dead provides one.  However, if you like to look deeper into the film. there’s a lot there to discuss.  Were those UFOs in the opening credits?  What about the robot zombie?  What was it doing there?  Where did it come from? (And the exposition of the robot is so subtle, I missed it on the first viewing.)  How did the first zombie get created?  And THAT ending!!

Are there nits to pick?  Sure.

There’s a character that does things that are stupid.  Yet, I would argue that they are consistent with what we’ve seen from her.  Also, if the hero did the same thing (which he does), we’re okay with it.

The length of the movie.  It clocks in at 2 hours and 28 minutes.  Some people have complained about the length.  I thought the time flew by.  I was entertained and didn’t think it was too long.  In fact I’m looking forward to more time in that universe.

A character survives something that should have killed him.  There are a couple of explanations to that, but to discuss them here would be to give too much away.

The team doesn’t seem overly concerned with the clock ticking down the the nuke.

I believe that all of these quibbles can be explained.  I loved Army of the Dead.  I’ve seen it twice and liked it even better the second time.

Sly Stallone’s Most Underrated Characters!

Kacie Lillejord, at ScreenRant created her list of the 10 Best Underrated Sylvester Stallone Characters.  I love lists, so I decided to play along.  Using just Lillejord’s choices, I ranked the same characters. (Please note that the higher on the list, the more underrated.)  Afterwards I mention four Stallone characters that didn’t make her list, but would have made mine.

Lillejord

Zablo

10/10 Sergeant Joseph “Joe” Bomowski from Stop or My Mom Will Shoot

10/10 Sheriff Freddy Heflin from Cop Land

9/10 Sergeant Deke DaSilva from Nighthawks

09/10 Sergeant Deke DaSilva from Nighthawks

8/10 Judge Joseph Dredd from Judge Dredd

08/10 Gabriel “Gabe” Walker from Cliffhanger

7/10 Frank The Repairman from Las Vegas

07/10 Lieutenant Marion Cobretti from Cobra

6/10 Sheriff Freddy Heflin from Cop Land

06/10 Frank The Repairman from Las Vegas

5/10 Gabriel “Gabe” Walker from Cliffhanger

05/10 Lincoln Hawk from Over the Top

4/10 Lieutenant Marion Cobretti from Cobra

04/10 Ray Tango from Tango & Cash

3/10 Sergeant John Spartan from Demolition Man

03/10 Sergeant John Spartan from Demolition Man

2/10 Ray Tango from Tango & Cash

02/10 Judge Joseph Dredd from Judge Dredd

1/10 Lincoln Hawk from Over the Top

01/10 Sergeant Joseph “Joe” Bomowski from Stop or My Mom Will Shoot

Characters that didn’t make Lillejord’s list that would have made mine:

  • Jack Carter from Get Carter:  Jack Carter has so much potential plus Sly had scenes that showcased some of his best acting.
  • Cosmo Carboni from Paradise Alley:  Wise-cracking and cynical but with a kind heart.    
  • Robert Rath from Assassins:  Sly played an intelligent assassin who wanted out.  This character had a lot of potential.
  • Jimmy “Bobo” Bonomo from Bullet to the Head:  Sly played an assassin who came up from the streets and wasn’t ready for the “modern” world.  I liked the character and would have liked to have seen more.

Who’d I miss?

“Akilla’s Escape” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster for Akilla’s Escape doesn’t work for me.  I think I know what they were going for, but it just looks to busy for my taste.  The trailer, on the other hand, has me wanting to see more.  Deal me in for Akilla’s Escape.

Akilla Brown is forty-years-old and for the first time in his life, the clandestine cannabis grow operation he runs is legit. Only one year into government approved legalization, the pendulum of hypocrisy takes a toll and Akilla decides to cash out. While making a routine delivery on a cool, summer night, destiny takes an unexpected turn when Akilla confronts a firestorm of masked youths in an armed robbery. In the aftermath of the heist, Akilla captures one of the thieves, a mute fifteen-year-old boy named Sheppard. Upon learning the bandits are affiliated with the Garrison Army, a Jamaican crime syndicate his grandfather founded, Akilla is forced to reckon with a cycle of violence he thought he escaped.

Starring Saul Williams, Thamela Mpumlwana, Donisha Prendergast
Directed By Charles Officer Release Date: 6/11/21

“Narco Sub” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Everything about Narco Sub screams “drive-in” movie.

Let’s start with the title, Narco Sub.  Definitely let’s you know the type of movie you’re in for.

The trailer even has the old style voice over narration.  The story — a good, family man forced to go alone against a cartel to save his family.  Stars — no “A-List” but a few known “B” list and “Introducing” the new action hero.  Ah, a did you catch Lee Majors in the trailer?  No?  Guess who is listed first on the movie poster?

With that said, Narco Sub might still be a worthy movie.  Some drive-in movies are.  I guess we’ll have to watch it to see.  Who’s with me?

“No Sudden Move” Starring Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Ray Liotta, Jon Hamm, and Brendan Fraser! Directed by Steven Soderbergh. The Teaser Trailer is Here!

If No Sudden Move is as good a movie as the teaser looks, then we are in for a masterpiece.  Steven Soderbergh directs Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Ray Liotta, Jon Hamm, and Brendan Fraser!  No Sudden Move just moved to the front of the must-see class when it premieres on HBOMax, July 1st.  

An all-star cast. A not-so-perfect heist. From Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh, #NoSuddenMove premieres at the #TribecaFestival on June 18. Streaming on HBO Max July 1.

Frankenstein & His Bride on the Lam. A Story Told in Two Parts!

I was surfing the net the other day and came across the art above of Frankenstein and his Bride on the lam.  I loved the piece and hoped to find out the name of the artist who created it.  I struck out.

I did find the above art (but again, I don’t know the artist to credit).  Sadly, it appears that Frankie and his Bride didn’t get away.

“Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I don’t play video games and movies made from them have a low batting average.  With that said, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness may be able to get a base hit or more.  The poster is average.  I was impressed with the trailer.  I like zombies and government intrigue, so this is a good combination.  Having it on Netflix is a plus.  Yeah, batter up!

The landmark survival horror video game series Resident Evil has shipped over 110 million copies worldwide. Popular characters Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield appear in this CG serialized drama, the first in series history! Don’t miss this new epic entertainment on a scale more spectacular than ever before!

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness streams worldwide from July 8, 2021, only on Netflix.

“The Fear Street Trilogy” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

What do you think of the poster and trailer for The Fear Street Trilogy?  I like that the poster uses art and the weapons relate to each movie.  The trailer is about what you’d expect.  I like the idea of the three interconnected movies released over a three week period.  Another plus is that they are showing on Netflix.  I’m leaning towards checking them out.

Three Movies. Three Weeks. One Killer Story.

In 1994, a group of teenagers discovers that the terrifying events that have haunted their town for generations ​may all be connected — and that they may be the next targets. Based on R.L. Stine’s best selling horror series, the trilogy follows the nightmare through Shadyside’s sinister history.

Watch the Fear Street Trilogy only on Netflix this July.
Fear Street Part One: 1994 – July 2
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 – July 9
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – July 16

“24” – Surprising Facts That You May Not Know!

When we talk tv shows on the message board, 24 continues to be one of the most popular.  And for good reason.  The series ran for nine seasons, with 204 episodes and earned the 2004 Golden Globe for Best Drama Series and the award for Outstanding Drama Series at the 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards. 

Scott Beggs at Mental Floss must be a fan as well.  He recently posted 25 Surprising Facts About 24.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites with my thoughts on each… 

24‘S PRODUCERS ALMOST SCRAPPED THE REAL-TIME FORMAT AFTER SEASON 1. (I’m glad that Keifer Sutherland lobbied to keep the real-time format.  It not only made sure that tension was ever-present but it made the show unique. – Craig)

THERE’S A NOD TO STAND BY ME IN 24. Milo Pressman is a character in Stand By Me who owns a junkyard (and a mean junkyard dog). Milo Pressman is also a character in 24. (I did not know this.  I love little Easter Eggs in movies and shows. – Craig) 

THERE WAS ALMOST A 24/DIE HARD CROSSOVER.  (It is interesting that this is listed as a fact.  I posted about this earlier this year in John McClane & Jack Bauer – “Die Hard 24/7” (Proposed Film or Fan’s Dream Team-Up? – Craig)

 

RIP: Charles Grodin

Charles Grodin, the multitalented actor and author, died today at the age of 86 from bone cancer.  Mr. Grodin, whose acting career spanned over 60 years worked in feature films, television and on Broadway. 

His first role was an uncredited part in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  He then transitioned to television making guest appearances until his role in the feature film Rosemary’s Baby.  For the rest of his career Charles Grodin alternated between feature films, television movies and tv series.  Along the way, Mr. Grodin wrote plays, books, hosted his own talk show and was a political commentator for 60 Minutes.

Before researching Charles Grodin’s acting resume, I would have said that the first time I saw him was in Rosemary’s Baby.  I would have been wrong.  Prior to that film, Mr. Grodin had made appearances on television programs for well over a decade.  I must have seen him in The F.B.I., Captain Nice, or The Guns of Will Sonnet first. 

My favorite Charles Grodin movie role was in Midnight Run with Robert DeNiro.  I’m surprised there never was a sequel since Midnight Run was so well received by critics and fans.  Other memorable Charles Grodin movie appearances included roles in King Kong, Heaven Can Wait, Seems Like Old Times, and Beethoven

Charles Grodin was able to stay active over the length of his acting career (on stage and screen), had the talent to write plays, memoirs, screenplays, an award-winning television special as well as host his own show — all of this is evidence of his many talents. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Charles Grodin’s family, friends and fans.     

“The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” – the Poster and Trailer are Here!

The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 – the Poster and Trailer are Here!  I applaud the poster.  Finally, real artwork and not just photoshopped heads of the movie’s stars.  The trailer has a good mix of humor with a horror theme plus a little blaxploitation thrown in.  Call me crazy, but call me when this movie premieres.  I want to see it.

 

“Nighthawks” Overseas Poster

Here’s a cool International poster for Nighthawks starring Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer. and Billy Dee Williams.  Lindsay Wagner, Persis Khambatta and Joe Spinell also are featured.  Nighthawks was Rutger Hauer’s first US film.

If you haven’t seen Nighthawks you should consider giving it a view, it is more than worth your time.  You’ll find Nighthawks was ahead of the curve in regard to terrorism on US soil (I remember some folks saying it would never happen here) and buddy cop movies.  Click on the photo to see a bigger version of the poster.

Poster Source: Brian Stooss.

“The Big Heat” – Dave Bannion by Patrick Zircher!!


One of my favorite movies (it gets my highest recommendation) is The Big Heat.  Released the year I was born  (1958), The Big Heat was directed by Fritz Lang and starred Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby and Lee Marvin. 

I probably watch The Big Heat at least once a year.  TCM was showing it the other night.  I was checking out Twitter when the drawing above came into view.  Yes!  Patrick Zircher aka Patch must have been watching!  How cool is Patch’s take on Glenn Ford as  Dave Bannion?  Too cool not to share! 

Patch is pretty active on Twitter.  His posts are thoughtful and his art is wonderful.  Often we get both in a single helping.