Dark Winds Season 1 (2022) / Z-View

Dark Winds Season 1 (2022)

Director:  Chris Eyre (Eps 1, 2, 5, 6), Sanford Bookstaver (Eps 3, 4)

Teleplay by:  Graham Roland (Ep 1), Anthony Florez (Ep 2),  Maya Rose Dittloff & Razelle Benally (Ep 3), Billy Luther (Ep 4), Erica Tremblay (Ep 5), Maya Rose Dittloff (Ep 6)  // Based on the Leaphorn & Chee novels by Tony Hillerman

Starring:  Zahn McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon, Jessica Matten, Deanna Allison, Noah Emmerich, Eugene Brave Rock and Rainn Wilson

Tagline:  None

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Sheriff Joe Leaphorn (McClarnon) and his Deputy, Bernadette Manuelito (Matten) are the law for the whole Navajo reservation.  When bank robbers make their escape in a helicopter are last seen flying over the reservation, FBI Agent Whitover (Emmerich) is sent in.  Leaphorn and Whitover don’t like each other, but have worked together in the past to resolve cases.

A new Deputy, Jim Chee (Gordon) joins the team.  Chee is a college educated officer who left the reservation to better himself.  Leaphorn is unaware that Chee is actually an FBI agent sent undercover by Agent Whitover to keep him informed of the investigation.  As Leaphorn, Manuelito and Chee follow the clues, it appears that members of  the Buffalo Society, a group of Navajo radicals may be involved in the bank robbery.  And Chee isn’t the only person who isn’t what he/she seams…

Dark Winds provides a good mystery in a setting that we don’t see too often.  There is a feeling of respect and authenticity to Navajos due to the writers all being Native American.  I was happy to see that Dark Winds was renewed for Season 2.  Dark Winds Season 1 rates 4 of 5 stars.

TROUBLE IS WHAT I DO by Walter Mosley / Z-View

Trouble is What I Do by Walter Mosley

Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher Mulholland Books; 1st edition (February 25, 2020)

First sentence…

“Mr. McGill?” Mardi Bitterman said over the intercom that connects her desk at the front of our office complex to mine at the far end.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Leonid McGill is a legitimate tough guy.  He’s a former boxer, a full time PI and sometime criminal.  Often his cases are dangerous and involve people you’d cross the street to avoid.  This time the case sounds simple,.  Phillip “Catfish” Worry, a 92-year-old Mississippi bluesman wants McGill to deliver a letter to his granddaughter before her upcoming wedding.  What complicates the situation is Catfish’s granddaughter and her father are unaware that Catfish is her grandfather.  She is from a wealthy white family that runs is social circles that trace their linage back to the Mayflower.

What starts out as a simple case becomes anything but.  McGill can handle himself. Few men give McGill pause.  Stone cold killers, Hush and Eckles, are two who do.  If they want you dead, you better have your will written.  Still McGill presses on.  McGill’s simple case turns into one he may not survive…

I love the Leonid McGill series and Trouble is What I Do rates 5 of 5 stars. 

Trouble is What I Do Hardback
Trouble is What I Do Paperback
Trouble is What I Do Kindle

Tom King & Phil Hester on GOTHAM CITY: YEAR ONE!

Writer, Tom King and artist, Phil Hester are going to team to bring us Gotham City: Year One from DC Comics.  The series takes place decades before Bruce Wayne became Batman.  It will follow an investigator named Slam Bradley who is looking for a missing child with ties to the Wayne family.

Phil Hester was quoted as saying…

“Night falls quickly in Gotham City. The shadows cut across guilty and innocent alike. I feel lucky to be the artist to show you just how this city got so dark in the first place…Tom has crafted a story that will echo across Batman lore past and present,..”

For more information and preview art https://www.cbr.com/dc-explores-gotham-city-origin-story-new-series/check out CBR.com’s DC Explores Gotham City’s Origin Story in a New Series.

“Bathing Beauty” (1944) Starring Esther Williams & Red Skelton / Z-View

Bathing Beauty (1944)

Director:   George Sidney

Screenplay by:  Dorothy Kingsley &Allen Boretz and Frank Waldman, adaptation: Joseph Schrank,  based on a story by Kenneth Earl & M.M. Musselman and Curtis Kenyon / uncredited George Oppenheimer

Starring:  Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Basil Rathbone, Jean Porter,  Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra, Lina Romay, Donald Meek and Margaret Dumont

Tagline: M.G.M’s Mammoth Technicolor Musical Spectacle!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

New York producer, George Adams (Rathbone) is afraid that he’s going to lose his number one song writer, when Steve Elliott (Skelton) marries Caroline Brooks (Williams).  So Adams hires a woman to show up to the wedding claiming she’s married to Steve.  The woman brings three red headed boys as proof!  The ruse works even though Steve and Caroline both said, “I do.”  Caroline runs out saying that she’s getting an annulment.

Caroline returns to the all-girl college where she was a gym teacher.  Using a technicality to enroll in the all-girl college, Steve plans to prove his innocence.

Bathing Beauty was advertised as M.G.M’s Mammoth Technicolor Musical Spectacle and lives up to it’s billing.  The movie is heavy on song & dance broken up by short comedy scenes highlighting Skelton’s clowning ability.  Bathing Beauty is also the film that features one of the most copied water dance numbers. It’s the one with dozens of bathing beauties doing a side dive into the pool as the camera glides past.  Ester Williams is easy on the eyes (so is Jean Porter) and Red Skelton is just plain likeable.   If you’re looking for light hearted fun, you could do a lot worse than Bathing Beauty which rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Breaking” Starring John Boyega & Michael K. Williams – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like the poster and trailer for Breaking.  Deal me in.

When Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley is denied support from Veterans Affairs, financially desperate and running out of options, he takes a bank and several of its employees’ hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. Based on the true story.

“Brimstone” (2016) Starring Guy Pearce & Dakota Fanning / Z-View

Brimstone (2016)

Director:   Martin Koolhoven

Screenplay by:  Martin Koolhoven

Starring:  Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Emilia Jones and Kit Harington

Tagline:  Retribution is coming

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Brimstone is the story of Liz (Fanning), the Reverend (Pearce) and their twisted relationship.  The story is told out of order, so when we first see Liz, she is a young married woman.  The Reverend shows up to the wilderness town where she lives and we quickly learn that he means to harm Liz and her family.  As the story unfolds we learn that their relationship goes back to Liz’s childhood and no matter where she runs, the Reverend finds her.

I wanted to like Brimstone.  It has an interesting premise.  I’m a fan of Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Kit Harrington and westerns.  The set up for Brimstone leaves the audience with many questions and as the story unfolds most are answered.  What turned me off was the slow pace, excessive and redundant violence and an ending that left me wishing I’d checked out before the nearly 2 and a half hour run time.

Guy Pearce is an excellent actor and he convincingly plays one of the most despicable characters you can imagine.  Dakota Fanning is Pearce’s equal as far as acting goes, and perhaps it is their talents that kept me watching.  Kit Harrington takes some getting used to with his southern accent, but he isn’t in the film for much more than a glorified cameo.  The film is divided into four parts 1) Revelation 2) Exodus 3) Genesis 4) Retribution and loses me in the last section.  I was having doubts about the film before, but it is when Liz pulls a Riddick in Pitch Black move to escape being tied to a post that I realized my doubts were well founded.

Throughout the movie we believe that the Reverend is out to get retribution.  My interpretation of the ending is that despite it being a downer, Liz is the one to get poetic justice.  If that’s the case the ending just doesn’t work for me.  Everyone but one person in Liz’s life is murdered and Liz commits suicide.  Plus there’s the whole question if the Reverend is a real person or something else.

I wish I liked Brimstone more but I also realize it just wasn’t for me.  For that reason Brimstone gets 1 of 5 stars.

Posse (1993) / Z-View

Posse (1993)

Director:   Mario Van Peebles

Screenplay by:  Sy Richardson, Dario Scardapane

Starring:  Mario Van Peebles, Stephen Baldwin, Billy Zane, Charles Lane, Paul Bartel, Blair Underwood, Richard Edson, Richard Gant,  Pam Grier, Isaac Hayes, Robert Hooks, Reginald Hudlin, Richard Jordan, Big Daddy Kane, Tom Lister Jr.,  Tone Loc, Aaron Neville, Nipsey Russell, Woody Strode, Melvin Van Peebles, Reginald VelJohnson and Stephen J. Cannell

Tagline: The Untold Story of the Wild West

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

A group of Buffalo soldiers led by Jesse (Van Peebles) is ordered by Colonel Graham (Zane) to steal a Spanish gold shipment.  If the Buffalo soldiers are successful, Graham plans to kill them and take the gold.  Instead, the Buffalo soldiers steal the gold and go on the run!

Jesse’s posse heads west and have many adventures with Colonel Graham and his raiders never far behind.  Everything comes to a head when Jesse’s posse attempts to help the people of a small frontier town.  A crooked sheriff has learned a railroad is coming through and the land is going to be valuable.  The Sheriff is running the townsfolk off or killing them.

Mario Van Peebles acts and directs (with style).  Billy Zane makes a fun scenery-chewing villain.  It’s a blast seeing so many familiar faces in supporting roles.  I’m surprised there were never more Posse movies since this one rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Carter” – The Full Trailer is Here! Nonstop, Real-Time Action!

Today we have the full trailer for Carter.   I love the concept and the movie takes place in real-time.  This one has me stoked.  August 5th is coming but can’t get here fast enough.

A man with no memory
Has only one mission to complete

A man wakes up missing his memories. Directed by a mysterious voice from a device in his ear, he sets off on a hostage rescue mission rife with danger.

Witness nonstop, real-time action
In this extreme action spectacular

Carter | August 5, only on Netflix

“D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?” (2022) / Z-View

D.B. Cooper: Where Are You? (2022)

Director:   Marina Zenovich

Screenplay by:  None

Starring:  Tom Colbert

Tagline:  None

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

On November 24, 1971, a man the press mistakenly labeled D.B. Cooper (he actually bought the ticket using the name Dan Cooper) hijacked a plane.  He claimed to have a bomb, demanded $200,000.00 and four parachutes.  The plane landed.  The cash and parachutes were brought on board.  Everyone except the pilot and a few other crew members were allowed to leave.  The plane was refueled and took off.  Somewhere in flight, during a rainstorm at night, the hijacker (with the cash) parachuted from the plane.  He was never caught.

D.B. Cooper: Where Are You? is more about Tom Colbert (and folks like him) who are obsessed with finding D.B. Cooper than the actual case.  There have been thousands of leads called in to the F.B.I. and despite the resources available to them no one was ever arrested.  What’s interesting is the number of amateur sleuths who believe that they know who D.B. Cooper was/is.  There are enough of these folks that there is an annual D.B. Cooper convention where “fans” show up to hear the latest theories, buy the newest books, t-shirts and more.

If you’re looking to a definite answer as to who D.B. Cooper is/was, this is not the documentary for you.  It’s amazing how many viable suspects were interviewed and thought to potentially be D.B., yet no one was ever charged.  I also enjoyed the look at the folks who have made the D.B. Cooper case a big part of their lives.  D.B. Cooper: Where Are You? earns 4 of 5 stars.

“The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1981) Starring Jack Nicolson & Jessica Lange / Z-View

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

Director:   Bob Rafelson

Screenplay by:  David Mamet based on the James M. Cain novel The Postman Always Rings Twice

Starring:  Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos, Michael Lerner, John P. Ryan and Anjelica Huston

Tagline:  In the heat of passion two things can happen. The second is murder.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Frank Chambers (Nicholson) is a drifter who plans to scam a meal from a roadside diner and move on.  When the diner’s owner, Nick Papadakis (Colicos), offers Chambers a job, he declines… then he catches a look at Papadakis’ young wife (Lange).  Chambers takes the job,

Soon he and young Mrs. Papadakis are involved in a low-rent romance.  As things heat up, their thoughts turn to cold-blooded murder.  With Mr. Papadakis permanently out of the way, they’ll have each other and the diner to themselves.  They think they’ll be on the way to easy street, but depending on how things turn out it could be the electric chair!

This film is the fourth version of James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.  It was David Mamet’s first produced screenplay and had Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange in the lead roles.  My expectations were high.  Sadly, I was disappointed.  The advertisements for the film boasted of the heat between Nicholson and Lange.  I didn’t feel it.  Chambers and Papadakis’ wife need to be so in love (or at least in lust) that they’re willing to risk everything.  I had the feeling that either of them could have moved on without a glance back.  The love scenes weren’t loving or even sexy.

I’m a huge fan of the 1946 movie version starring Lana Turner and John Garfield which I thought was a 5 star film.  This could have influenced my feelings toward the remake which earns 2 of 5 stars.

The Spoilers (1942) Starring Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott & John Wayne / Z-View

The Spoilers (1942)

Director:  Ray Enright

Screenplay by:  Lawrence Hazard, Tom Reed based on  The Spoilers novel by Rex Beach

Starring:  Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Margaret Lindsay and Harry Carey

Tagline: BOLD WOMEN! BRAWNY MEN! Living…loving in the Hot-spot of the Frozen North!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Roy Glennister (Wayne) and his partner, Al Dextry (Carey) are goldminers in a partnership with saloon owner, Cherry Malotte (Dietrich).  The trio’s goldmine has a rich vein and they found it.  Things are looking good until the new gold commissioner, Alex McNamara (Scott) arrives.  McNamara is claim-jumping mines that are paying off! He’s doing it “legally” with the backing of a crooked judge that he secretly has in his pocket.  In addition, to Glennister’s mine, McNamara has his eyes on Glennister’s woman, Cherry Malotte!  The tension mounts as it becomes obvious there is only one way this will end…

I was surprised at the innuendo in dialogue and actions of Dietrich, Wayne and Scott.  There is a whole other level to this film that you usually don’t see in westerns of the 1940s.  Wayne’s character is a player!  I loved Randolph Scott as the bad guy!  There is chemistry between the Dietrich, Wayne and Scott that adds to the believability of the film.  The climatic fight between Wayne and Scott lives up to it’s reputation.  The Spoilers is a fun ride and rates 4 of 5 stars.

“The Velvet Vampire” aka “Cemetery Girls” (1971) / Z-View

The Velvet Vampire aka Cemetery Girls (1971)

Director:  Stephanie Rothman

Screenplay by:  Stephanie Rothman, Charles S. Swartz, Maurice Jules

Starring:  Michael Blodgett, Sherry E. DeBoer and Celeste Yarnall

Tagline:  She’s Waiting To Love You…To Death

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Lee Ritter (Blodgett) and his wife Susan (Miles) meet and take a liking to a mysterious woman named Diane LeFanu (Yarnall).  When Diane asks them to spend a weekend at her remote desert home, they accept.  Only too late do they discover that Diane is a vampire!

The Velvet Vampire is a perfect example of low budget 70s horror films that often became the second or third films shown at drive-ins.  The movie features a small cast (of low-level stars), a remote location, women who bare their boobs and sex scenes spaced throughout the film. (Where you usually find the bare boobs.) There’s even a dune buggy scene in The Velvet Vampire!  Does it get any more “early 70s” than that?   Diane isn’t your traditional vampire – she goes out in the sun (but too much isn’t good for her).

Normally movies I make it through earn at least a 2 star rating.  I made it through The Velvet Vampire and (despite the bare boobies) it only earned a 1 of 5 star rating.

RIP: Jim Ivey

I got the call last night.  It wasn’t unexpected. Jim had been ill for quite some time and the night before had been admitted to the hospital.  Jim Ivey passed away last night.  He was 97 years old.

Jim was born James (but preferred the much less formal, Jim) Burnett Ivey on April 15, 1925 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Jim attended the University of Louisville, George Washington University, the National Art School in D.C. and also took correspondence courses through the Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning.  Jim served as a US Navy submariner from 1943 to 1946.

After the war, Jim was a Reid Fellowship recipient to study political cartooning in Europe.  Jim worked in the editorial art department for the Washington Star and the St. Petersburg Times before accepting an editorial cartoonist position at the San Francisco Examiner where he remained from 1959 – 1966.  Jim then worked as a freelance artist until 1970 when he accepted a cartoonist position with the Orlando Sentinel (where he stayed until 1977).

In 1967, Jim opened The Cartoon Museum using items from his own collection.  The Cartoon Museum sold all forms of original art including political cartoons, comic book art, newspaper strips, and more.  In addition, The Cartoon Museum branched out to include collectibles of all types.  Jim also began publishing a quarterly titled cARToon.  In addition Jim continued to work as a freelance artist and artist on the syndicated Thoughts of Man comic panel!

In 1974, Jim along with Charlie Roberts, Richard Kravitz, Rob Word, and Neil Austin started the annual OrlandoCon convention which celebrated comic books and comic art.  Jim was joined by Bill Black and Mike Kott to keep OrlandoCon going as an annual event through 1996, Each year the OrlandoCon guest of honor received a gold brick called the Ignatz Award named in honor of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. (The brick was a sign of affection!)  Each year there was also a charity auction to benefit the Milt Gross Fund of the National Cartoonists Society (Jim Ivey was a member and regional Chairman).

 In 1977, Jim went back to freelance work.  From 1978 to 1983 Jim was an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida where he taught a course on the Art of Cartooning.

Jim was also an author.  His books include U.S. History in Cartoons The Civil War through WW II, Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs, the First Adventure Comic Strip (co-authored with Gordon Campbell) and Cartoons I Liked.  Jim’s essays could often be found in Hogan’s Alley, the Comics Journal, World of Comic Art and other sources.  Jim was an a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists and the National Cartoonists Society.  He was the National Cartoonists Society T-Square award recipient in 1979.

I met Jim in 1977.  My buddy, John Beatty and I began driving from Daytona to Jim’s Cartoon Museum each week to pick up new comics and hang out with Jim.  Before long our visits began to include marathon poker games.  Jim loved to play cards (or gamble on most anything).  Oh, the times we had.  When I moved to Orlando in 1980 to attend the University of Central Florida, my trips to The Cartoon Museum changed from weekly to almost daily visits.  Hanging out with Jim in the Cartoon Museum was a magical time.  You never knew who or what might come though the door.  I meet so many wonderful people (collectors, artists, writers and more) because of Jim.

Jim closed The Cartoon Museum in 1981.  A year or so later he opened again in a new location.  In the 1990s when  Jim was ready to semi-retire he opened a used book store.  Jim finally did retire around 20 or so years ago.  I’m proud to say that we continued to stay in touch (Jim didn’t use a computer, so it was phone or snail mail).  Twice a year, I would organize a get-together with Jim’s Cartoon Museum and OrlandoCon friends who could attend.  We’d celebrate Jim’s birthday and Christmas for Jim at a local breakfast spot.  The get-togethers would turn into three hour marathons of laughter and fond memories.  Jim enjoyed these times as much as those of us who could attend.

I’ve been in contact with the regular group to let them know of Jim’s passing.  We’re planning a celebration of Jim’s life get-together.  It will probably be  one day during the last weekend of September (that weekend was the traditional date of OrlandoCon).  If you’re interested in attending or want more details as we work things out, e-mail me.

Jim was my oldest friend.  I treasure the hours we spent hanging out together.  He was an original and will be missed but never forgotten.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family and friends.