Author: Craig Zablo

“Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) starring Chris Evans & Hugo Weaving / Z-View

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Director: Joe Johnston

Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely based on Captain America comics created by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby

Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones,  Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, Martin T. Sherman and Stan Lee.

Tagline:  The first Avenger

The Plot…

World War II rages.  Steve Rogers (Evans) wants to be a soldier and do his part in the war effort.  Although a patriotic young man, Rogers is small, frail, unhealthy and keeps getting turned down.  While attempting again to enlist, Dr. Erskine (Tucci) overhears Rogers’ story.  Erskine is head of a secret program designed to create “super soldiers”.  Steve Rogers would be a perfect candidate.

The process changes Rogers from a frail unhealthy man into a perfect physical specimen.  That combined with Rogers’ ethics and humanity make him worthy of the title Captain America.

Meanwhile in Germany, Johann Schmidt (Weaving) aka The Red Skull is the leader of Hydra, Schmidt is working to create a weapon of mass destruction.  It will be up to Captain America and a small band of soldiers to go behind enemy lines and put an end to the Red Skull’s plans.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Captain America is one of the first comics I ever read as a child.  Seeing Cap and his cast of characters (especially the Red Skull) on screen was this kid’s dream come true.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“The Continental: From the World of John Wick” | Opening Fight Scene – Sneak Peek

This looks better and better.

The three-part event will explore the origin behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins centerpiece of the John Wick universe through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott, as he’s dragged into the Hell-scape of 1970’s New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through the hotel’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the hotel where he will eventually take his future throne.

“The Walking Dead: Dead City” – Season 1 (2023) starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Lauren Cohan / Z-View

The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season 1 (2023)

Written by: Eli Jorné (eps. 1-2, 4, 6); Keith Staskiewicz (ep.3); Brenna Kouf (ep. 5)

Directed by: Loren Yaconelli (eps. 1-2); Kevin Dowling (eps. 3-4); Gandja Monteiro (eps. 5-6)

Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Gaius Charles, Mahina Napoleon, Zeljko Ivanek, Logan Kim, Jonathan Higginbotham, Karina Ortiz, Michael Anthony, David Chen and Lisa Emery

Tagline: Keep Your Enemies Close

The Plot…

Maggie’s son, Hershel, has been taken hostage by a sadist known as “The Croat”.  The Croat was an enforcer for Negan, when Negan led The Saviors. So Maggie recruits Negan to go with her to Manhattan to rescue Hershel.  Negan agrees on the condition that Maggie’s group give Ginny, a young orphaned girl, refuge.

Maggie and Negan head to Manhattan unaware that three Marshalls are tracking Negan who is wanted for murder.  Because of their past history, Maggie and Negan’s partnership is uneasy at best.  Add in the complications of the Marshalls, New York City full of zombies, dangerous survivalist groups, plus the sadistic Croat with plans of his own… let the fun begin!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season 1 clocks in with just six episodes, which is a smart move.  I think all of the Walking Dead spin-offs should come up with a story to tell and get to it,

I wasn’t too sure about the pairing of Negan and Maggie.  Maggie’s hate for Negan should override every reason for her to be around, much less work with him for a common goal.  Then the writer’s came up with a plausible reason… to save her son.  I liked how Negan put his murdering her husband back on Maggie when he asked her “How many husbands have you killed?”  Maggie also got to see how Negan using over-the-top “theatrics” when murdering a person kept a group from attacking them.  Well played, writers.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Laura Cohen are two of the most popular Walking Dead characters.  They have the star power to carry the series.  Zeljko Ivanek plays The Croat with zeal.  Gaius Charles as the Marshall is an interesting character that I believe will be come more important in season two.  Lisa (Ozark) Emery is a welcome addition to the cast. She was mean in Ozark and now she’s mean and creepy.

Bring on Season 2.

The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season 1 (2023) earns 4 of 5 stars.


S. Craig Zahler is best known as an award-winning screenwriter and director.  He’s the guy who wrote and directed Bone Tomahawk, Brawl and Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete.  Zahler is also an accomplished cinematographer, and musician.  But none of those things are what this post is about.

S. Craig Zahler is also a novelist.  His book THE SLANTED GUTTER came to my attention through Stephen J. Golds’ review on Twitter.  Gold said:

Just finished this crime novel by S. Craig Zahler and it may be one of the best-written noir stories of the last decade.
So noir it borders on absolute nightmare.

Don’t read anything about it. Just go into it blind. This book will lure you in and then pulverize you.

Here’s the synopsis on Amazon…

Take a roller coaster ride through the gutter in this gripping pull-no-punches thriller from S. Craig Zahler

He knows what you’ll do – including what you’ll sacrifice for protection.

Darren Tasking is an entrepreneur whose business is people, and when it comes to people he specializes in risk, pleasure, and fear.

He knows what will break you – before you even feel a second of pain.

Tasking has everything and everyone, in his orbit, under control. If there’s something he wants he will alter your life, elaborately and maliciously, until you yield to his wishes.

He knows what makes the Machos tick – and how to keep them in the dark.

The police tried to keep Tasking down with their macho modus operandi, sent him away long ago, but they couldn’t keep him incarcerated forever. Now he’s older, uncommonly careful, and keeps the machos oblivious to his enterprises. But when he meets a dancer named Erin Green at the Cherry Red strip club everything changes.

He knows the streets of Great Crown, Florida can only be dominated by the remorseless insights of a relentless slick like him.

The brothels and gambling parlors secreted behind iron doors keep the slick autonomous and successful, but Erin proves to be the variable that could put him on a collision course with unrepentant sadists, machos, and a trap created by the slick’s own extortionist machinations.

THE SLANTED GUTTER is a devastating character study painted with the darkest shades of noir, penned by a hand as unflinching as Tasking’s steely-eyed pursuit of his large dollar goal, as unforgiving on the reader as those who seek retribution against the slick for his nocturnal misdeeds.

Step into this gutter at your own risk.

THE SLANTED GUTTER has gone on my to-be-purchased list.  Oh, and how about that cover!




“Batman & Bill” (2017) / Z-View

Batman & Bill (2017)

Director: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce

Stars: Marc Tyler Nobleman, Bill Finger, Fred Finger, Portia Finger, Thomas Andrae, Jerry Bails, Otto Binder,
Athena Finger, Judy Flam, Stacey C. Friends, Carmine Infantino, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Daniela Nobleman  
and Bob Kane.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

For decades one of the biggest “secrets” that insiders knew was that Bob Kane wasn’t the sole creator of Batman. Despite this knowledge, every appearance of The Dark Knight contained the credit “Created by Bob Kane”.  The truth of the matter is Bill Finger was the creator of Batman’s costume, Robin, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, Commissioner Gordan, the Batcave, Gotham City and more.  Yet Bill Finger received no credit or compensation while Bob Kane got rich and famous.

Batman & Bill is the story of one man’s quest to right this wrong.  Despite overwhelming odds justice finally prevailed.  This is that story.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Although the general public didn’t know about Bill Finger, it wasn’t a secret among comic book professionals and many fans. Bob Kane for years claimed he was the sole creator of Batman.  The publishers of Batman and all its spinoffs knew differently.  It wasn’t until after Bill Finger’s death that Kane started to give Finger some credit.  Still, Kane was the only one listed on any Batman comic, movie or merchandise.

When Marc Tyler Nobleman learned of this injustice, he made it his life’s mission to right that wrong.  He had nothing to gain, but like a true superhero wanted justice to be served.  And it finally was.

Batman & Bill (2017) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal”: Season 2 | Official Trailer

On March 2, 2023, Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of the murder of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul. The world watched with bated breath as a verdict was announced. The people of the Lowcountry had been waiting the better part of two years to understand what happened the night of June 7, 2021.

Season 2 will feature first-hand accounts from those who were there the days leading up to and following the murders, giving more insight than ever into that deadly night, including Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson (Former Murdaugh Family Housekeeper) and Mushelle “Shelly” Smith (Caregiver for Libby Murdaugh) – who became some of the most powerful witnesses at the trial – Curtis Edward Smith (aka Cousin Eddie), and Gwen Generette, one of the trial’s jurors. Morgan Doughty, Paul’s ex-girlfriend, Anthony Cook, Paul’s friend, and Valerie Bauerlein, Wall Street Journal reporter, also return.

FLIPPING BOXCARS by Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles with Alan Eisenstock

Here’s one I didn’t see coming.  Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles (with Alan Eisenstock) has a book coming out on September 19th.  It’s titled FLIPPING BOXCARS.  Here’s the lowdown…

The first novel from one of the original Kings of Comedy, Cedric “The Entertainer,” an engaging and entertaining crime caper that is a valentine to close-knit black families and tightly woven communities struggling to get by during the Depression and World War II.

Babe is a charismatic and widely loved man, a gambler with a gift for gab that often gets him out of tricky situations. He’s also a dreamer, something he shares with his patient and loving wife, Rosie. They both yearn for financial stability and see the land they own as insurance for future generations. But when Babe and a few comrades enlist in a scheme that improbably falls apart, he endangers the little security the family has.

On the verge of losing everything, what’s a family man to do?

If you’re a gambler like Babe, you double down and risk it all for one big score—this time, a plan involving railroad boxcars.

Will Babe succeed? Will Rosie continue to support her husband? Are the Feds on to his make-or-break scheme?

FLIPPING BOXCARS is Cedric “The Entertainer” at his most engaging best—a charming, fast-paced novel that pays homage to his beloved grandfather and a generation past, anchored by rich, multi-dimensional characters and oozing with irresistible charm.



“Give ’em Hell Malone” (2009) starring Thomas Jane & Ving Rhames / Z-View

Give ’em Hell Malone (2009)

Director: Russell Mulcahy

Screenplay: Mark Hosack

Stars: Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames, Elsa Pataky, Chris Yen, French Stewart, Leland Orser, Chris Yen, William Abadie, Doug Hutchison, David Andriole  and Gregory Harrison.

Tagline: Hard to love… Harder to kill.

The Plot…

Malone (Jane), a private detective, is hired to retrieve a suitcase.  When he recovers the goods, Malone finds himself in a building full of hard cases trying to kill him.  Although wounded, he survives.  Now Malone is determined to find out what the case contained and who set him up… even if he has to kill a lot of people to get answers.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Give ’em Hell Malone is full of hits and misses, but man, it swings for the fence every chance it gets.  The film reminds me of a cross between Streets of Fire, Sin City and every tough private eye film ever made.  I mean that in the best way possible.

Give ’em Hell Malone opens in the middle of a protracted gun battle!  There’s a mystery about the contents of the suitcase Malone is hired to retrieve.  Give ’em Hell Malone is set in an undefined time period. It feels retro yet modern. 

The movie features a great cast playing over the top characters:

  • Malone – the hero who takes a beating and keeps moving forward
  • Boulder (Rhames) – Malone’s one time friend who now works for someone who wants Malone dead
  • Matchstick (Hutchison) – the burn-scarred psycho pyromaniac
  • Frankie the Crooner (Stewart) – the small time entertainer (and I mean small time)
  • Murphy (Orser) – Malone’s friend who learns that saying the wrong thing can make things get hot fast.
  • Evelyn (Pataky) – Murphy’s sexy sister who has an agenda of her own
  • Mauler (Yen) – the little assassin with big knives
  • Whitmore (Harrison) – the man with the power working behind the scenes

Give ’em Hell Malone isn’t a great film, but it is a fun one.  Not every scene works, but in every scene you can see what they were working for.  If you’re in the right frame of mind, a fan of noir, old-time detective movies and more modern films like Sin City and Streets of Fire, then you’d probably enjoy Give ’em Hell Malone a shot.  There has been talk of a sequel and I’d love it to happen.

Give ’em Hell Malone (2009) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Bloodthrist” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Bloodthrist has the look and feel of a drive-in movie.  And who doesn’t like a good drive-in movie once in a while?

Lionsgate’s BLOOTHIRST, starring Costas Mandylor, Tara Reid and Robert LaSardo, will be available on digital and on demand on October 31. After the apocalypse, only two tribes remain: desperate humans and the roving vampires that feed on them. Across the desolate West, John Shepard (Costas Mandylor, Saw IV) seeks the aging head vampire, hoping to destroy him and free mankind. But when Shepard and his posse of native sons and farmer’s daughters joins forces with a local militia, they learn that they’re closer to the Master than they think…

“Mr. Inbetween”: Season 3 (2021) written by and starring Scott Ryan

Mr. Inbetween: Season 3 (2021)

Written by: Scott Ryan

Directed by: Nash Edgerton

Stars: Scott Ryan, Justin Rosniak, Brooke Satchwell, Nicholas Cassim, Chika Yasumura, Damon Herriman and Matt Nable

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Ray Shoesmith is a professional criminal/killer with an anger problem.  Ray’s also juggling his responsibilities as a divorced dad with a young daughter and is caretaker of his older brother who suffers from a degenerative neural disease.

In season three Ray…

  • takes in a guns deal that gets hijacked… Ray doesn’t take it well
  • gets jail time after a want-to-be-tough-guy breaks Ray’s car’s mirror
  • takes a job on another inmate while in jail
  • rekindles his relationship with his estranged father
  • literally helps his friend on a ledge
  • accepts a job to dispose of a woman’s body
  • takes on a hit for free when he learns that an older friend committed suicide after being scammed of his life savings
  • agrees to do some free work for a crime boss in exchange for giving Ray’s friend more time to pay off a debt
  • while on a drug run, is involved in a car wreck caused by a kangaroo
  • is set-up to be murdered by a friend

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Season 3 of Mr. Inbetween continues the streak of excellent shows featuring a great mix of drama and comedy. Each episode clocks in between 21 and 32 minutes which makes it perfect if time is short.

Mr. Inbetween: Season 3 (2021) earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” – The Final Trailer is Here!

The final trailer for Killers of the Flower Moon – a Martin Scorsese picture. In theaters everywhere October 20.

At the turn of the 20th century, oil brought a fortune to the Osage Nation, who became some of the richest people in the world overnight. The wealth of these Native Americans immediately attracted white interlopers, who manipulated, extorted, and stole as much Osage money as they could before resorting to murder. Based on a true story and told through the improbable romance of Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone), Killers of the Flower Moon is an epic western crime saga, where real love crosses paths with unspeakable betrayal. Also starring Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Brendan Fraser, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, and Jillian Dion, Killers of the Flower Moon is directed by Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese from a screenplay by Eric Roth and Scorsese, based on David Grann’s best-selling book.

Hailing from Apple Studios, Killers of the Flower Moon was produced alongside Imperative Entertainment, Sikelia Productions and Appian Way. Producers are Scorsese, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas and Daniel Lupi, with DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, Adam Somner, Marianne Bower, Lisa Frechette, John Atwood, Shea Kammer and Niels Juul serving as executive producers.

George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” Alt Print by Paul Mann!

Paul Mann, Bottleneck Gallery and Image Ten have teamed to create a new alt poster for George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.  There are three variants of this limited edition print.  All are 24×36 and hand-numbered.  You can see a bigger version of this one as well as the green and blue variants by clicking here. (You can even get one if supplies last.)