Category: Movies

“Boneyard” starring Brian Van Holt, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Nora Zehetner, Michael Sirow & Mel Gibson – The Trailer is Here!

When the skeletal remains of eleven women and girls are discovered in the New Mexico desert, an extensive investigation is launched. Inspired by true crime stories, this chilling crime-thriller follows Detective Ortega (Brian Van Holt), Police Chief Carter (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), and Agent Petrovick (Mel Gibson) in a multi-agency effort to identify and apprehend the killer. As each of their agendas and methods clash, a tangled web of intrigue casts suspicion in all directions.

RELEASE DATE: July 2

CAST: Brian Van Holt, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Nora Zehetner, Michael Sirow, and Mel Gibson

“The Continental: From the World of John Wick” (2023) starring Mel Gibson, Colin Woodell & Ayo Adegun / Z-View

The Continental: From the World of John Wick (2023)

Developed by Greg Coolidge, Kirk Ward, Shawn Simmon based on John Wick by Derek Kolstad

Director: Albert Hughes (Eps.1, 3); Charlotte Brändström (Ep. 2)

Teleplay: Greg Coolidge & Kirk Ward and Shawn Simmons (Ep. 1); Shawn Simmons and Greg Coolidge & Kirk Ward & Ken Kristensen (Ep. 2), story by Greg Coolidge & Kirk Ward & Shawn Simmons (Ep.2); Greg Coolidge & Kirk Ward & Ken Kristensen (Ep. 3)

Stars: Mel Gibson, Colin Woodell, Mishel Prada, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Nhung Kate, Jessica Allain, Ayo Adegun, Jeremy Bobb, Adam Shapiro, Katie McGrath, Marina Mazepa, Mark Musashi, Kirk Ward, Dan Li, Chris Ryman, Fflyn Edwards, Ben Robinson, Peter Bergin and Peter Greene.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Set in the 1970s, The Continental: From the World of John Wick details how young Winston Scott (Woodell) was pulled into the world of assassins and rose to become the director of The Continental.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Continental: From the World of John Wick continues, as the title implies, the world-building of the John Wick movie franchise.  It is stylish, action-packed with outrageous characters and a welcome addition.

I loved the opening titles which reminded me of the opening credits to Casino Royale (2006).

The Continental: From the World of John Wick features a sweet soundtrack from the 1970s.

In the third episode, KD checks into The Continental.  She is given room 818, which is the same room John Wick gets in the first movie.

Kirk Ward plays a creepy huge thug to the hilt.  Short white hair, skintight sleeveless t-shirt, a kilt, heavy workboots and black eye makeup make for a scary appearance.  Add in his caresses and loving pats to the man he’s about to torture and you have one sick, memorable henchman.

Let’s not forget Katie McGrath as The Adjudicator.  She wears a half-mask that covers something so grotesque that it sickens those who get a glance behind the covering.  Oh, and what about the strange assassins known as The Twins aka Hansel (Musashi) and Gretal (Mazepa).

Mel Gibson adds gravitas.

I hope we get more adventures in this world.

The Continental: From the World of John Wick (2023) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Anna” (2019) starring Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans & Cillian Murphy / Z-View

Anna (2019)

Director: Luc Besson

Screenplay: Luc Besson

Stars: Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy.

Tagline: Revenge has a new name.

The Plot…

Anna is a beautiful young woman with immense potential and talents.  For these reasons she is recruited as a KGB agent.  After an intense year of training, Anna begins her career as an assassin.  Under the guise of an international fashion model, Anna travels the world completing assignments.

When the CIA discovers Anna’s secrets, they move to recruit her as a double agent.  What chance does one person have against the two most powerful countries in the world?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Helen Mirren’s character reminded me of Helen Parr (voiced by Holly Hunter) from The Incredibles.

Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy elevate this film.

Luc Besson doesn’t use linear story-telling for this one.  It worked.

Anna (2019) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“The Bikeriders” – The 3rd Trailer & Another Poster is Here!

How about a new poster and the third trailer for The Bikeriders?

Check out the latest trailer for The Bikeriders, an upcoming movie starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler and Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, Mike Faist with Norman Reedus.

The Bikeriders follows the rise of a midwestern motorcycle club, the Vandals. Seen through the lives of its members, the club evolves over the course of a decade from a gathering place for local outsiders into a more sinister gang, threatening the original group’s unique way of life.

The Bikeriders is produced by Sarah Green, p.g.a., Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, p.g.a, Arnon Milchan. Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer, Sam Hanson, David Kern, and Fred Berger serve as executive producers.

The Bikeriders, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, opens in US theaters on June 21, 2024

“Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” (2024) directed by Zack Snyder, starring Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou & Ed Skrein / Z-View

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver (2024)

Director:  Zack Snyder

Screenplay:  Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Shay Hatten

Stars: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Bae Doona, Ray Fisher, Anthony Hopkins, Staz Nair, Stuart Martin, Alfonso Herrera, Cary Elwes and Rhian Rees.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Kora (Boutella) and the surviving warriors of her team return home.  There they learn that Admiral Noble (Skrein) who they thought had been killed, is alive. The Admiral is returning with a warship and enough soldiers to wipe them out.

As Kora, her warriors and the villagers prepare for a battle to the death, secrets are revealed.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I enjoyed Rebel Moon: Part One – Child of Fire.  I liked Part 2 less.  It may have been a mistake to bring back Admiral Noble.  While he’s a good nemesis, any time you bring a character back from the dead, you diminish the impact of dying.  With Part 2 I often felt like, we’ve been there and done that already.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver (2024) earns 3 of 5 stars.

“Southern Comfort” directed by Walter Hill, starring Keith Carradine and Powers Boothe / Z-View

Southern Comfort (1981)

Director: Walter Hill

Screenplay: Michael Kane, Walter Hill, David Giler

Stars: Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward, Franklyn Seales, T.K. Carter, Lewis Smith, Les Lannom, Peter Coyote, Alan Autry, Brion James, Allan Graf, Ned Dowd and Sonny Landham.

Tagline: In the Louisiana backwaters, it’s easy to make enemies…and VERY difficult to escape from them.

The Plot…

One weekend when the Louisiana Army National Guard is running maneuvers in a bayou, nine soldiers become lost.  As frustrations with their squad leader grow, the men come upon a campsite.  Although no one is there, the site contains three canoes.  Rather than wait for the owners to return, the soldiers decide to leave a note explaining that they “borrowed” the canoes and will leave them once they find their way to civilization.

As they are paddling across the swamp, they hear yelling.  The Cajun hunters have returned and believe the soldiers are stealing their boats.  One of the National guardsmen, stupidly fires his machine gun filled with blanks towards the Cajuns.  The hunters dive for cover and return fire.  The Guardsmen’s leader is killed.  The guardsmen paddle deeper into the swamp.

Lost, with only a few rounds of live ammunition, the soldiers will have to battle each other, the elements and angry Cajun hunters if they are to survive.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Ned Dowd, who played one of the Cajun hunters, transitioned from acting to producing.  Some of these films include The Last of the Mohicans (supervising producer); The 13th Warrior (producer); Reign of Fire (line producer) and Apocalypto (executive producer).

Many believe that Southern Comfort is an allegory for America’s involvement in Viet Nam.  Walter Hill denies this.

Alan Autry, made his feature film debut playing Corporal ‘Coach’ Bowden.  He was listed in the credits as Carlos Brown.

Walter Hill had one of the best starts as any director.  His first seven films were Hard Times; The Driver; The Warriors; The Long Riders; Southern Comfort; 48 Hrs. and Streets of Fire.

Southern Comfort (1981) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“The Man Who Knew Too Much”(1934) directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Peter Lorre / Z-View

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay: Charles Bennett, D. B. Wyndham-Lewis, Edwin Greenwood (scenario), A. R. Rawlinson (scenario)

Stars: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre and Nova Pilbeam.

Tagline: Public Enemy No. 1 of all the world…

The Plot…

Bob (Banks), Jill (Best) and their daughter, Betty (Pilbeam) are on vacation in Switzerland.  One evening, a man that they recently met is shot.  As the man is dying he tells Jill where he’s hidden information about a terrorist group.  She is to get the note to the British consulate.

The criminals kidnap Betty when they learn that Bob and Jill have information about their planned political assassination.  It will be up to Bob and Jill to get Betty back and foil the assassination.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Peter Lorre was still learning English when Hitchcock cast him.  Lorre had to learn his part phonetically.

The film is in public domain so beware of bad copies.

Alfred Hitchcock has a cameo crossing the street from right to left in a black trenchcoat before Bob and Clive enter the chapel.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“L.A. Confidential” (1997) directed by Curtis Hanson, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger & Danny DeVito / Z-View

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Screenplay: Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson based on L.A. CONFIDENTIAL by James Ellroy

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito, David Strathairn, Ron Rifkin, Matt McCoy, Paul Guilfoyle, Paolo Seganti, Elisabeth Granli, Sandra Taylor, Steve Rankin, Graham Beckel, Allan Graf, Symba Smith, Brenda Bakke and Simon Baker.

Tagline: Everything is suspect…everyone is for sale…and nothing is what it seems.

The Plot…

The year is 1953.  Three L.A. detectives find themselves at odds when investigating a series of murders.

  • Straight laced, by-the-book, Ed Exley (Pearce) is the son of a police legend.  Exley’s father was killed in the line of duty.  The murderer never caught.
  • Jack Vincennes (Spacey) is most concerned with his role as technical advisor on a popular cop tv show. Vincennes makes additional cash by providing inside info on celebrity busts to the publisher of a sleazy gossip rag.
  • Bud White (Crowe) isn’t above throwing a beat-down on criminals and is willing to cross certain lines to get justice.

When a police scandal known as Bloody Christmas, puts the reputation of the L.A. police force in jeopardy, Exley devises a solution.  This gets Exley a promotion, but puts him at odds with most of the force.  Then a multiple killing at a coffee house that includes one of the disgraced police officers is assigned to Exley.  Evidence leads to three African-American ex-cons. A shootout ensues and Exley kills them in self-defense.  Exley is cited for bravery and the case closed…

However inconsistences compel Exley to take a closer look.  Were he, as well as the suspects, set up? The evidence points to police and political corruption.  Still an outcast, despite his medal of valor, if Detective Exley refuses to back down, he will be the next targeted for murder.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

L.A. Confidential is based on the novel by James Ellroy.

L.A. Confidential was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won two:

  • Best Picture (nominee) – Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, Michael G. Nathanson
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (winner) – Kim Basinger
  • Best Director – Curtis Hanson (nominee)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (winner) – Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson
  • Best Cinematography (nominee) – Dante Spinotti 
  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (nominee) – Jeannine Oppewall (art director), Jay Hart (set decorator)
  • Best Sound (nominee) – Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Kirk Francis
  • Best Film Editing (nominee) – Peter Honess
  • Best Music, Original Dramatic Score (nominee) – Jerry Goldsmith

Kevin Spacey asked director Curtis Hanson who he would dream cast in the role of Jack Vincennes if the film had been shot in the 1950s.  Hanson surprised him.  Dean Martin, because of his slick, loose style and questionable character was his choice. (Although that choice surprised me as well, I like it! – Craig)

Simon Baker, perhaps best known for his television series The Mentalist, made his feature film debut in L.A. Confidential.

Kevin Spacey got top billing but had less screen time than the other two leads.

L.A. Confidential (1997) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Midnight” (1934) aka “Call It Murder” (1947) featuring Humphrey Bogart

Midnight (1934) aka Call It Murder (1934)

Director: Chester Erskine

Screenplay: Chester Erskine

Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Fox, O.P. Heggie, Henry Hull, Margaret Wycherly, Richard Whorf and Granville Bates.

Tagline: One woman was to die at midnight!…another woman was to kill at the same hour…why?

The Plot…

On the night of a woman’s scheduled execution, the jury foreman is having trouble dealing with the verdict.  Then something happens that brings the decision home.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Midnight was originally released in 1934.  Humphrey Bogart was listed 8th in the credits.  Then in 1947, after Bogart became a big star, the film was re-released with the title Call It Murder.  Bogart was given a more prominent role in ads despite his small role.

Richard Whorf who plays Arthur Weldon, would continue acting, but also branch out into directing television and feature films.

Midnight aka Call It Murder (1934) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Doomed to Die” (1940) starring Boris Karloff / Z-View

Doomed to Die (1940)

Director: William Nigh

Screenplay: Hugh Wiley, Ralph Gilbert Bettison, Michael Jacoby

Stars: Boris Karloff, Marjorie Reynolds, Grant Withers, Henry Brandon, Richard Loo, Melvin Lang and Dick Fleming.

Tagline: The master of crime cleans up the dirty game of murder!

The Plot…

Cyrus Wentworth (Lang) was dealing with the aftermath from the fire and sinking of one of his ships.  Four hundred lives were lost.  It’s not a good day.  When William Stelling (Fleming) shows up, they can be heard arguing in Wentworth’s office.  Stelling is the son of one of Wentworth’s competitors and his daughter’s fiancé.

Suddenly a gunshot rings out.  Stelling is seen standing over Wentworth’s dead body. A gun lies near the body.  Police arrive and arrest Stelling.  It appears to be an open-and-shut case.

Then, the famous James Lee Wong (Karloff) is hired to determine the real killer.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The scenes of the burning ship were taken from newsreel footage of a real ocean liner that burned and sunk with tremendous loss of life.

This is Boris Karloff’s fifth (and last) outing as detective James Lee Wong.

Doomed to Die (1940) rates 2 of 5 stars.