Category: Authors

Rambo Franchise Trivia!

Sam Hutchinson at ScreenRant posted Rambo: 10 Things Fans Never Knew About The Franchise.  My guess is most readers here will know most of these facts.  Here are my three favorites with my thoughts.

The Only Rambo To Receive An Oscar Nomination.
(Rambo: First Blood Part II was nominated for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing.  That’s right, Rambo is an Oscar-nominated film franchise.  – Craig)

Rambo Was Banned In Myanmar.
(Rambo was set in Burma / Myanmar and due to the spotlight the movie brought to the treatment of many in the country, the film was banned. Hopefully some reforms came about due in at least a small part to Rambo. – Craig)

Broken Nose.
(Sly accidentally broke Alf Humphrey’s nose during First Blood filming, which is why his character is seen wearing a bandaid after Rambo’s jailhouse escape. – Craig)

To get all the facts and details click over to Rambo: 10 Things Fans Never Knew About The Franchise.

“The Last Days of American Crime” Trailer is Here! (Plus the 17 Year Journey to Make It)

Below we have the trailer to The Last Days of American Crime.  If the title sounds familiar it could be because I’ve been talking about The Last Days of American Crime for almost 17 years.  Yep, 17 years.  I’ll explain after the trailer.

As a final response to terrorism and crime, the U.S. government plans to broadcast a signal making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts. Graham Bricke (Édgar Ramírez), a career criminal who was never able to hit the big score, teams up with famous gangster progeny Kevin Cash (Michael Pitt), and black market hacker Shelby Dupree (Anna Brewster), to commit the heist of the century and the last crime in American history before the signal goes off. Based on the Radical Publishing graphic novel created by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini, The Last Days of American Crime is directed by Olivier Megaton, written by Karl Gajdusek, produced by Jesse Berger, p.g.a., Jason Michael Berman, p.g.a., and Barry Levine, with Sharlto Copley also co-starring.

Watch The Last Days of American Crime on Netflix June 5

Okay.  Let me tell you about those 17 years…

Way back in November of 2003, I posted Meet Rick Remender.  Rick was a comic writer and artist I met through my buddy, John Beatty.  John was inking Rick’s pencils on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Rick also had an idea for a comic mini-series he called The Last Days of American Crime.  I loved the art, title and idea for the story.

In 2007, I met Rick at HeroesCon.  Not only did I get hang with him for a bit, Rick also did a Stallone sketch for my collection.  Rick said that The Last Days of American Crime was still in the works. Rick had so many projects going (Fear Agent, Sea of Red, and Strange Girl just to name three) that I had started to think that he’d never get to it.


In March of 2009, I posted the art above and the news that  “The Last Days of American Crime” would premiere later that year in a three issue [48 pages each] mini-series with art by Greg Tocchini.  Yea!  The wait was nearly over.  And how about Greg Tocchini’s art!

In April 2009, we got a look at Tocchini’s The Last Days of American Crime preview cover made for Comic-Con.

In August 2009, CBR.com ran a 17 page preview of The Last Days of American Crime.

In September 2009, CBR.com gave us another preview.  The anticipation was building…

In November 2009, the news was Sam Worthington had signed on to produce and star in a big screen adaptation of Rick Remender’s The Last Days of American Crime.  Wow!  We’d probably see The Last Days of American Crime movie in a year or so, right?

In December 2009, we got another preview of The Last Days of American Crime mini-series.

In September 2010, I posted The Not So Last Days of American Crime. Rick had announced that he had ideas for more tales set in the same The Last Days of American Crime universe!

And now nearly 17 years after that first post and almost ten years after my final post about The Last Days of American Crime we have a trailer for the movie.  How long until someone starts calling Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini overnight sensations?

“First Blood” Prequel, Anyone? (Updated)

Paolo Cubadda created the very cool art above.  I saw it at Sylvester Stallone’s Official Sly Stallone Shop on Instagram.  Here’s what they said about the art…

Amazing fan art of what a FIRST BLOOD prequel look like called Baker Team. Who would love to see the origins of John Rambo?

I think a First Blood prequel could work under the right conditions.  It would be easier as a novel but I would want to see David Morrell return to his creation.  A movie would be tougher since Sly Stallone is so associated with the character.  One thing I’ve learned over the years though is never say never.

Thanks to SZoner, Bruno Leon for providing Bruno’s name!

Ink by Jonathan Maberry is Coming!

Jonathan Maberry has a new one coming out.  As you can see from the cover above it’s called Ink.

Tattoo-artist Patty Cakes has her dead daughter’s face tattooed on the back of her hand. Day by day it begins to fade, taking with it all of Patty’s memories of her daughter. All she’s left with the certain knowledge she has forgotten her lost child. The awareness of that loss is tearing her apart.

Monk Addison is a private investigator whose skin is covered with the tattooed faces of murder victims. He is a predator who hunts for killers, and the ghosts of all of those dead people haunt his life. Some of those faces have begun to fade, too, destroying the very souls of the dead.

All through the town of Pine Deep people are having their most precious memories stolen. The monster seems to target the lonely, the disenfranchised, the people who need memories to anchor them to this world.

Something is out there. Something cruel and evil is feeding on the memories, erasing them from the hearts and minds of people like Patty and Monk and others.

Ink is the story of a few lonely, damaged people hunting for a memory thief. When all you have are memories, there is no greater horror than forgetting.

Ink drops November 17, 2020 but is available for pre-order now!

First Blood: Differences Between the Book & Movie!

Phillip Etemesi at ScreenRant posted an article that should appeal to a lot of folks who check in here.  First Blood: 10 Differences Between The Movie & The Book takes a look at, well you read the title.  Here are three of my favorite differences and my comments on each…

Escape From Jail.
In the film, the deputy sheriff decides to beat him up… The officers keep on brutalizing him… one of them comes with a razor to shave hi(m), it triggers memories of his torture in a POW camp in Vietnam. He thus fights his way out of the station while still clothes… No one dies in the process.

In the book, Rambo is not abused. He is simply locked in a cell. When Teasle shows up to cut his hair, he begins to panic. And when the deputy comes with another straight razor, he loses his mind completely. He takes the razor and slices through the deputy’s abdomen before escaping while naked. He steals a motorcycle and manages to hide from the police for the night after a good samaritan offers him shelter.

(One of the reasons that First Blood was hard to get made as a movie is because Rambo in the book killed police officers and wasn’t as sympathetic or heroic as he ultimately became in the movie.   – Craig)

Guerilla Tactics
In the book…

Rambo in the novel doesn’t value the lives of law enforcement officers. He kills most of them together with their dogs before cornering Teasle and giving him a warning.
In the movie…
Rambo takes out the entire town’s police force by himself. Using guerilla tactics, he attacks one at a time until they are all wounded. It’s important to note that he only wounds the officers in the movie and doesn’t kill them.

(Again, the book made it harder for audiences to sympathize or empathize with Rambo.  Killing a dog in a movie is perhaps the ultimate downer.  – Craig)

Fleeing From The Cave
In Morell’s book,
Rambo keeps up with his murderous ways and goes on to kill plenty of the members of the state police who had been brought in after he decimated the local police. A couple of civilians and national guard members also ned up being casualties.
In the movie,
Rambo damages plenty of property in the town but doesn’t kill anyone.

(First Blood had been floating around Hollywood for years before Sly become attached.  No one prior was able to get a handle on the character. Under Sly, Rambo became more heroic, sympathetic and less of a killer… at least until Last Blood.   – Craig)

If you’ve read this far I encourage you to click over to get the full story!

“Stand by Me” Trivia!

Jessica Fisher at GeekTyrant posted Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Classic Coming of Age Stephen King Adaptation STAND BY ME.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my comments on each…

As with most of Stephen King’s stories, this one originally contained connections to other books he has written. Ace Merrill later re-appeared in the book Needful Things (1993), although he does not appear in the film. The dog Chopper is compared to Cujo (1983). Characters are familiar with Shawshank Prison, from The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Teddy Duchamp was actually first mentioned in King’s first book, Carrie (1976), in which Carrie destroys a gas station he once worked at.

(I love when authors create different books/movies with overlapping characters.  Elmore Leonard did it well.  Jonathan Maberry does it regularly.  Tarantino has carried the idea into movies. – Craig)

Rob Reiner considers this the best film he has ever made. This is pretty big, considering he has directed some of my favorite movies, including The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, and A Few Good Men. But he’s not the only one who is proud of the film. King, who has been a vocal critic of many of his adaptations, also praised the movie.

(High praise indeed.  I lean towards The Princess Bride as Reiner’s best, but a rewatching of Stand by Me may be in order to verify.  – Craig)

In the shot where Gordie and Vern are running towards the camera with the train right behind them, the train was actually at the far end of the trestle with the two actors on the opposite end. The crew used a 600mm long-focus lens that, when shot at the telephoto end, compressed the image so much that it made it look like the train was right behind them.

(And that is a peak behind the curtains! – Craig)

If you’ve enjoyed these facts, check out Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Classic Coming of Age Stephen King Adaptation STAND BY ME.

“Spenser Confidential” / Z-View

Spenser Confidential (2020)

Director: Peter Berg

Screenplay: Sean O’Keefe & Brian Helgeland based on characters created by Robert B. Parker and the novel by Ace Atkins

Stars:  Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron, Donald Cerrone  and Post Malone.

The Pitch: “Let’s turn Ace Akins’ Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novel into a movie!”

Tagline: The Law Has Limits. They Don’t.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

If you’re not a fan of Robert B. Parker and Ace Atkins Spenser characters there’s an outside chance you may like Spenser Confidential.  If you are a fan of the books, my guess is that you’ll hate this movie.  That’s because not a single character goes unchanged to something fundamentally different from the novels.

Spenser goes from an intelligent, wisecracking ex-cop to a less than stellar (IQ-wise) ex-con who aspires to be a trucker.  In the novels, Susan is a Harvard-educated, calm, supporting soul mate to Spenser.  In the movie she becomes a foul-mouthed, crazy girlfriend that Spenser works to avoid until he needs sex or help with the “case”.  In the novels Hawk starts out as a respected rival who works on the fringes of the law and ultimately becomes Spenser’s best friend (outside of Susan).  In the movie Hawk is a big, nerdy, untrained lug who dreams of being a MMA Champion who is forced to be Spenser’s roommate.

Peter Berg is usually a director that makes fun movies.  Not here.  Brian Helgeland wrote the screenplays for LA Confidential, Payback, Mystic River, and Man on Fire.  Spenser Confidential isn’t in the same ballpark… not even the same continent.

You may be thinking that if I wasn’t such a big fan of Parker and Atkins’ Spenser novels I would have liked Spenser Confidential better.  Perhaps I would have liked it a bit more… but not much.

Rating:

Robert B. Parker’s Someone to Watch Over Me (Spenser) by Ace Atkins

They’ve announced the next Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novel.  It’ll be called Someone to Watch Over Me and Ace Atkins will again (yea!) be the writer.

In this next thriller in the New York Times bestselling Parker series, Spenser and his new apprentice trace the murder of a young woman to an international crime ring that has been operating with impunity because of the powerful and highly connected billionaire at its helm.

Ten years ago, Spenser helped a teenage girl named Mattie Sullivan find her mother’s killer and take down an infamous Southie crime boss. Now Mattie–a college student with a side job working for the iconic private eye–dreams of being an investigator herself. When Mattie’s childhood friend from the South Boston housing projects, Chloe Turner, is found dead, she decides to take on the case for the family. Taking a cue from her boss, Mattie has a knack for asking the right questions to the wrong people.

Soon, Spenser and Mattie find ties between Turner and dozens of other girls from poor families to an eccentric billionaire with a massive home along Commonwealth Avenue. The man owns properties and business throughout the Massachusetts with connections to local politicians, the state house, and beyond. As a bleak winter bears down on Boston, Spenser and trusted ally Hawk must again watch out for Mattie as she unravels a massive sex trafficking ring that will take them from Boston to the Bahamas, crossing paths with local toughs and an old enemy of Spenser’s–The Gray Man–for a final epic showdown.

Anything Atkins writes is worth getting — never read a clunker by him yet — and his Spenser novels are more than worthy successors to Parker.  Robert B. Parker’s Someone to Watch Over Me (Spenser) by Ace Atkins is available for pre-order now and drops on November 17, 2020.

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition – Last Call

If like me, you’re a Darwyn Cooke fan… and if like me, you’re a Richard Stark fan, and if like me, you already own or have pre-ordered  Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, then you’re going to love this post.

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition – Last Call has been announced for a September 29, 2020 release!  This oversized edition will contain…

Features more than 100 pieces of never-before-seen Parker art by Darwyn Cooke; a round table talk with Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Bruce Timm, and Scott Dunbier on Parker and Cooke; and a brand-new 17-page story by multiple Eisner Award-winning creators Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Darwyn Cooke crafted four universally acclaimed Parker graphic novels, adapted from the works of Richard Stark (A pseudonym for Donald Westlake), before his untimely death. This volume will be (along with the Martini Edition) the last word on Cooke’s brilliant Parker stories.

This edition is a loving tribute to the legacy of Darwyn Cooke and Parker.

If like me, then today you’re going to pre-order Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition – Last Call and count down the minutes until its release.

50 Must-Read Noir Detective Novels!

Over at B&N Reads, Jeff Somers posted his list for The 50 Must-Read Noir Detective Novels.  I’ve read half of the books on Somers’ list and if the other books are just as good, Somers has picked nothing but winners.

I’d be interested in how many you’ve read and if you’d add any that Somers missed.

Speaking of Jeff Somers, I recommend his Avery Cates series to anyone who likes hardboiled sci-fi.

Matthew Childer’s Edgar Allan Poe Art and Trivia!

In addition to being one fine artist, Matthew Childers is also an Edgar Allan Poe fan.  As such, he recently posted a print he created of Poe (above) as well as 10 Mind-blowing Facts About Edgar Allan Poe.  Although you can see the print here,  it’s available for purchase at Matthew’s site plus you can check out the Edgar Allan Poe trivia… and other pieces of his art.

Michael Franzese, Ex-Crime Family Boss, Rates Movie Mobster Scenes

Insider sat down with Michael Franzese, a former New York mobster and ex-caporegime of the Colombo crime family. After his release from prison in 1995 he became the only high ranking official of a major mafia family to ever walk away, without protective custodies, and survive. Michael is the author of “Blood Covenant” and “I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse.” He now works as a public speaker and motivator.

The US mafia has featured in many classic movies from the 1920s onwards. We discuss the cultural significance and accuracy of famous crime scenes in movies and TV shows, such as “The Godfather” and “The Sopranos.” Michael also points out inaccuracies in scenes from mob comedies such as “Analyze This” and “The Simpsons.”

We also discuss true stories and real-life characters featured in “Goodfellas” and “Casino.” He talks about his proximity to the events of Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” the Oscar-nominated movie starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

“The Most Dangerous Game” – The Story, the Movie and Tony Stella’s Poster

Tony Stella created another great poster with his take on The Most Dangerous Game.  You can see a bigger version at Stella’s Twitter.

First published in 1924, The Most Dangerous Game began life as an award-winning short story by Richard Connell.  Over the years The Most Dangerous Game became required reading in schools across the nation.  I was in 9th grade when I first read it.  The Most Dangerous Game was the most popular of all our assigned reading assignments.

Over the years The Most Dangerous Game has been adapted for movies, television and even radio.  Tony Stella’s poster is for the first movie adaption. Made in 1932,  the adaptation starred Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong with the team of Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper behind the camera (Schoedsack and Cooper would go on to make King Kong the following year).

I highly recommend The Most Dangerous Game (both the short story, now in public domain, and the 1932 movie).

RIP – Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas died today at the age of 103.  His son, Michael Douglas posted (in part):

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” son Michael Douglas wrote on his Instagram account. “To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the Golden Age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

Kirk Douglas was an actor, a director, a producer and writer.  He was always the coolest guy in the room.  Douglas made movies that he believed in, not always taking the roles that paid the most or had the best chance for box-office appeal.  It didn’t matter if Douglas played a hero or villain, he had audience appeal.  Douglas was a three-time Oscar nominee for Best Actor and received an Honorary Oscar in 1996.

Some of my favorite Kirk Douglas movies include: Spartacus; Out of the Past; Detective Story; Along the Great Divide; The War Wagon (thanks to memories of watching it with my Grandpa) and Oscar (with Sly Stallone.  Years earlier, Douglas was set to star as Col. Troutman in First Blood but it didn’t work out.).

Kirk Douglas was indeed a living legend.  103 years is a long life and Douglas lived it to the fullest.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his friends and his fans.