Category: Celebs

Snyder School: Making the Cut!

I love these Snyder Film School insights.  More directors should do this.

In ‘Snyder School,’ Zack Snyder takes us on a four episode journey into his creative process as a filmmaker. In Episode 3, Zack explains his philosophy on color, how he finds the final cut with his editor, and how music and sound design complete the emotional experience of watching his films.

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (2021) / Z-View

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

Director: Michael Chaves

Screenplay:  David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (story: James Wan & David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick; based on characters created by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes)

Stars:  Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook and John Noble.

Tagline:  The Demonic Case That Shocked America

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a change of pace in that the Warrens are working to save a man from death row by using the “he was possessed by the devil” defense.  Talk about a Hail, Mary!

So, there’s a lot of courtroom action?  No, just two brief scenes.  But you have to understand this isn’t about that.  It’s about finding out why the man was possessed and curing that.  But, we know why he was possessed, he asked the devil to take him instead of the boy.  Yes, but as we learn, he wasn’t possessed by the devil, he was cursed by a Satanist!  But, the title is “The Devil Made Me Do It”?  Yes, but it wasn’t through the Devil directly.  But, the movie is scary and full of tension like the other “Conjuring” movies, right?  Well… not really.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is all over the place.  There are exorcisms, a cold case murder mystery, a story of young love, old love, a possession, a curse, a demonic/satanic controlled murder, there’s ESP, raising the dead, a hospital drama, and keeping a man off death row.  For me, it was a bit too much.

I like the chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.  The nod to the original Exorcist when the priest arrives for the exorcism of the little boy is a nice touch.  The set-up with the little boy and the waterbed was creepy.  John Noble was a nice addition but needed more to do.

Nits to pick: It wasn’t as scary or filled with tense scenes as past Conjuring films.  The lighting in every indoor scene was as if to remind us “this is a horror movie” and something scary could be in the shadows.

The set-up of Patrick Wilson’s heart problems were well done but then for the rest of the film the threat of a heart attack looms despite his constant running, straining to lift his wife as she goes over a cliff, etc.  I didn’t think that the whole “Here’s Johnny” with a sledge hammer instead of an axe scene worked.  We know he’s not whacking his wife with it.

I didn’t buy at all that a man in jail for murder and who is using the devil made me do it defense would be allowed out of a cell to mop floors in a semi-dark (spooky, huh?) room.  That he would be come possessed, levitate off the floor, windows would be blown out and not a single cop or orderly shows up?

Overall, I found The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It to be an okay viewing experience.  So it gets 2 of 5 stars.

RIP: Clarence Williams III

Clarence Williams III, the actor best known for his role as Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad, died on Friday, June 4th from colon cancer.

Mr. Williams began his acting career in 1959 with an uncredited role in Pork Chop Hill. The following year he appeared on Broadway in The Long Dream. Clarence Williams III then alternated between stage and television roles until he was cast in his signature role, as Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad.  When the series ended after five seasons, Mr. Williams alternated between movie and television roles.  

Some of his best known television appearances were in The Return of Mod Squad, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice and Twin Peaks.  Clarence Williams III’s feature films include Purple Rain, I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka,  The Genreral’s Daughter and Reindeer Games.

I wasn’t a big fan of The Mod Squad, but when I did watch I always thought Clarence Williams III was the best part of the show.  It was always nice to see him show up in other television and movie roles.  

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clarence Williams III’s family, friends and fans.

Al Capone: Interesting Trivia You May Not Know!

Sean Hutchinson at Mental Floss recently posted 17 Facts About Al Capone.  You know the drill, before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

AL CAPONE GOT THE NICKNAME SCARFACE FROM A BARROOM FRACAS. (It’s not surprising to note that Capone hated the nickname Scarface.  Even more interesting is that he preferred friends to call him Snorky.  Somehow Snorky doesn’t seem as threatening as Scarface, and you can be sure if Capone was around and he wanted to be called Snorky, Snorky it would be. – Craig)

AL CAPONE’S “CHICAGO OUTFIT” MADE A LOT OF MONEY.  (Reportedly Capone’s outfit made $100 million in 1920.  Today the equivalent would be $13,352,700,000.00.  That’s 13 Billion plus dollars!  Wowzers! – Craig)

AL CAPONE RAN A SOUP KITCHEN DURING THE DEPRESSION.  (You’d think that this showed that Capone had a good heart.  Remember this was the same guy who beat to death three men with a baseball bat after serving them dinner, and the same guy who killed or had killed many, many people.  The soup kitchen was done to win public good will for his upcoming trial! – Craig)

Jack Carter and John Wick by Tom Richmond!

Tom Richmond of MAD magazine fame opened up his commission list and I jumped on with a request for Jack Carter (Sly Stallone) and John Wick (Keanu Reeves).  As you can see Mr. Richmond came through with a winner, which is no surprise.

This is my second commission from Tom Richmond, the first was a Rocky (Stallone) and Clubber Lang (Mr. T.).  I’ll post it once I get it scanned.  It is larger than my current scanner and a photo doesn’t do it justice.

If you’re a sketch collector, I highly recommend Tom Richmond.  He does great art, has wonderful communication and packages the art securely.  

RIP: BJ Thomas

 

Billy Joe aka B.J. Thomas died yesterday at the age of 70 from lung cancer. 

B.J. first came into the public eye with his million-selling cover of the Hank Williams’ classic I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.  His second gold record came two years later with the pop hit, Hooked on a Feeling

The following year, Mr. Thomas was chosen to sing Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head which was featured in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  The song earned the Academy Award as Best Original Song and and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with sales of over one million copies.  This earned BJ Thomas his third gold record. 

BJ Thomas had another top ten hit that year with I Just Can’t Help Believing.  In 1975, BJ Thomas earned his fourth gold record with  (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.  From the very start of his career, Mr. Thomas dealt with alcohol and drug dependence.  In 1976, BJ Thomas became a Christian and released his first (of several) gospel albums.  It became the first gospel album to go platinum.

Unless you were alive in 1970, you cannot imagine how popular Keep Fallin’ on My Head was.  It was all over the radio and tv.  That song along with I Just Can’t Help Believing are my favorite songs by BJ Thomas.  As impressive as his career was, it is equally as impressive that he was able to kick his dependency on drugs/alcohol and spoke freely about it.  I’m sure he gave hope to others caught up in the same out of control spiral.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to BJ Thomas’ family, friends and fans.

 

RIP: Gavin MacLeod

 

Gavin MacLeod, best known to fans as either the the loveable Captain Stubing of The Love Boat, or the witty Murray Slaughter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died yesterday at the age of 90.  MacLeod, who was born Allan George See, but changed his name for show biz.

Gavin MacLeod began his acting career in 1957 and he alternated with smaller roles in television and movies.  In 1962, he became a regular on McHale’s Navy.  After two seasons he left the series and took a role in The Sand Pebbles staring Steve McQueen.  MacLeod followed that role with guest appearance on many popular television shows including (but not limited to): The Munsters, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle, The Man from UNCLE, The Andy Griffith Show, The Rat Patrol, Ironside, Hawaii 5-0, Hogan’s Heroes, Love American Style.   Along the way Mr. McLeod also appeared in feature films including his role in Kelly’s Heroes with Clint Eastwood.

In 1970, Gavin MacLeod began playing Murray Slaughter when The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered  After the show ended, he accepted the lead as Captain Merrill Stubing in The Love Boat.  That series ran for ten years as well as a tv movie and a spin-off series: The Love Boat: The Next Wave.  Gavin MacLeod continued to act until 2014. 

I was a huge fan of Gavin MacLeod’s Murray Slaughter.  Often he was the funniest on a show full of talented comedians.  I always love when he turns up in any show or movie that I’m watching and perhaps my favorite surprise appearance is in Compulsion (an under-rated movie) where he plays an assistant to the DA.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gavin MacLeod’s family, friends and fans. 

Frank Miller’s Sin City: The Hard Goodbye – Deluxe Edition & Trade – Both with Extras are Coming!

 

On October 12, 2021, Dark Horse Books is releasing two new editions of Frank Miller’s Sin City: The Hard Goodbye.  One will be a prestige slipcased hardcover with extras.  Here’s more…

The crime noir masterpiece that has gripped audiences for decades is back in an oversized and slipcased hardcover that includes a portfolio, exclusive print, and a sketchbook of never-before-published development art.

There is no light in a place like Sin City—only misery, crime, and perversion. Amid the filth and degenerates, the hulking and unstable ex-con Marv has found an angel. Her name is Goldie—a goddess who has blessed this wretched low-life with one night of heaven. But good things never last—a few hours later, Goldie is dead—murdered at his side without a mark on her body. Who was she? And who wanted her dead? The cops are on their way—it smells like a frame job, and this time, they won’t let him live. Whoever killed Goldie . . . is going to pay.

Frank Miller returns to his comic opus with luxury editions of the graphic novel series, beginning with Volume 1 The Hard Goodbye. A combination of high-end materials, finishes, and iconic textures from the series make for an elegant package which evokes the grittiness of Sin City. Housed in a cloth covered slipcase with foil stamping and printing is an oversized hardcover featuring a soft touch matte finish with spot gloss and foil stamping. The hardcover includes an exclusive sketchbook of never-before-published development art selected by Frank. As well, this volume contains the pinup gallery created for the 2021 editions of Volume 1, featuring art from Joyce Chin, Amanda Conner, Klaus Janson, Paul Pope, Philip Tan, and Gerardo Zaffino. Also included in the slipcase is a portfolio featuring a deluxe print of new artwork by Frank Miller.

As an added bonus, each volume’s slipcase has a different letter from the logo, placed on the front cover in such a way that alone it looks like a splash of red wrapping around the slipcase. But when all seven volumes are together it is clear that the grouping spells out “Sin City.”

Discerning fans and new readers can experience this unparalleled noir masterpiece in this, the most luxurious edition to date!

FOR MATURE READERS.

The Frank Miller’s Sin City: The Hard Goodbye regular edition will be an trade paperback edition featuring a new cover by Frank Miller and a new pinup gallery featuring art from Joyce Chin, Amanda Conner, Klaus Janson, Paul Pope, Philip Tan, and Gerardo Zaffino!

I already own an original signed and numbered hardcover slipcased edition of Miller’s The Hard Goodbye, but the idea of having all the Sin City stories in the same deluxe format is tempting since other editions weren’t given the same treatment.  Miller’s Sin City stories are some of my all-time favorite comics… and I do have a birthday in October…

“Infinite” starring Mark Wahlberg – The Trailer is Here!

Infinite starring Mark Wahlberg jumps in the eternal warrior pool.  Will it sink or swim?  I guess we’ll have to check it out to see.   

For Evan McCauley (Mark Wahlberg), skills he has never learned and memories of places he has never visited haunt his daily life. Self-medicated and on the brink of a mental breakdown, Evan is sought by a secret group that call themselves “Infinites,” revealing to him that his memories may be real—but they are from multiple past lives.

 

 

“The Birthday Cake” – The Trailer is Here!

I like the looks of The Birthday Cake.  It has an interesting mystery, a crime story background and how about the cast? Shiloh Fernandez, Val Kilmer, Lorraine Bracco, Ewan McGregor, Vincent Pastore and Luis Guzmán!  I plan to check it out. 

On the 10th anniversary of his father’s mysterious death, Gio (Shiloh Fernandez) brings a birthday cake prepared by his mother (Lorraine Bracco) to a memorial celebration hosted by his uncle Angelo (Val Kilmer), a Brooklyn mafia boss. Gio’s life begins to change as he pieces together what really happened to his father all those years ago, coming face to face with a kind of violence he has been trying to avoid his whole life.

“Lights, Camera, Action” – Zack Snyder Film School #2

In ‘Snyder School,’ Zack Snyder takes us on a four episode journey into his groundbreaking creative process as a filmmaker. In Episode 1, Zack discusses his approach to creating a title sequence, from storyboard sketches to special effects, in Army of the Dead, as well as 300, Watchmen, and Justice League.

In this episode Zack Snyder talks about the steps he takes to filming his action sequences.  We learn about his storyboard process, blocking out scenes with his stunt team and actors and the tools that he uses.  Snyder is truly an artist who thinks about the process and isn’t afraid to take chances.  I love that he repurposed camera lenses that were over 60 years 0ld into modern housings to film Army of the Dead.

“Army of the Dead”: Things You Might Not Know

Izak Bulten at CBR.com posted Army Of The Dead: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Zack Snyder’s Zombie Franchise.  You know how much I enjoyed Army of the Dead and how much I like lists… so, before you click over, here are my three favorite facts from Bulten’s list and my thoughts on each…

The Theatrical Opening Was Netflix’s Biggest Ever. (I think it is cool that Army of the Dead was given a limited theatrical release, and cooler still that it ended up with Netflix’s biggest opening ever.  Hopefully this will help guarantee a sequel or three. – Craig)

There’s A Making-Of Documentary For The First Movie. (I always love to go behind the scenes on movies to get a look at the thoughts that go into making them.  The Making-Of Army of the Dead is available on Netflix.  I’ve seen it and it is worth a look. – Craig)

The Main Cast Will Reprise Their Roles For The Animated Series. (This is a cool idea.  Not only will the original cast voice their characters, but Zack Snyder is set to direct a couple of the episodes! – Craig)