Category: Z-View

“The Lost Boys” (1987) starring Jason Patric & Kiefer Sutherland / Z-View

The Lost Boys (1987)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Screenplay: Janice Fischer, Jeffrey Boam, James Jeremias from a story by Janice Fischer, James Jeremias

Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Edward Herrmann, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander and Alex Winter.

Tagline: Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.

The Plot…

Lucy (Wiest) and her two teenage sons, Michael (Patric) and Sam (Haim) move to the small, beachside town of Santa Clara, California.  At night the boys like to hang out at the amusement park/arcade on the beach.  That’s where Michael meets Star (Gertz).  There’s a definite attraction between the two, which only infuriates David (Sutherland), the leader of a small motorcycle gang.  Meanwhile Sam has met two brothers, Edgar (Feldman) and Alan (Newlander) who are convinced Santa Clara is the home of a vampire coven.

They’re not wrong.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

You’d be hard pressed to find a more 80s movie than The Lost Boys.  From the cast to the way the movie is shot, The Lost Boys screams mid-1980s.  This is my favorite Joel Schumacher film.  For a movie that seems to want to be scary, there’s just a bit too much humor for my taste.

The Lost Boys (1987) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Fiend Without a Face” (1958) / Z-View

Fiend Without a Face (1958)

Director: Arthur Crabtree

Screenplay: Herbert J. Leder

Stars: Marshall Thompson, Terry Kilburn, Michael Balfour, Kim Parker and Peter Madden.

Tagline: New Horrors! Mad Science Spawns Evil Fiends! …Taking form before your horrified eyes!

The Plot…

When locals begin getting murdered around a new US Airforce base, the locals think the military has some involvement.  This prompts Major Cummings (Thompson) to begin an investigation.  As the bodies pile up, evidence points to an unimaginable horror.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I saw this when I was much younger and didn’t care for it, but on a recent re-watch I enjoyed it much more.

Fiend Without a Face (1958) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“The Rock” (1996) starring Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage & Ed Harris / Z-View

The Rock (1996)

Director: Michael Bay

Screenplay: David Weisberg, Douglas S. Cook, Mark Rosner from a story by David Weisberg, Douglas S. Cook

Stars: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, John Spencer, David Morse, William Forsythe, Michael Biehn, Vanessa Marcil, John C. McGinley, Gregory Sporleder, Tony Todd, Bokeem Woodbine, Greg Collins, Brendan Kelly, Steve Harris, Danny Nucci and Claire Forlani.

Tagline: Alcatraz. Only one man has ever broken out. Now five million lives depend on two men breaking in.

The Plot…

Brigadier General Francis Hummel (Harris) and a squad of mercenaries have taken control of Alcatraz Island.  They hold the tourists and tour guides hostage.  Hummel has given the government a timeline to pay $100 million which he will distribute to his mercenaries and the families of soldiers who died under his watch.  If he is not paid he has threatened to launch a VX rocket into San Francisco.

John Patrick Mason (Connery) is the only man to ever escape Alcatraz island.  Mason knows all the passageways and tunnels on the island by heart.  He has been held in solitary confinement for the last 30 years for stealing government secrets.  The military and FBI believe that Mason can covertly lead a US Navy Seal team onto the island.  The Seals will then take down Hummel’s mercenaries. Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Cage), the FBI’s top chemical weapons expert will disarm the rockets.  Of the many problems with this plan is that Mason may not be interested in helping the country that kept him prisoner for half his life without the benefit of a trial and Goodspeed has no field experience.

The clock is ticking…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Rock is Michael Bay’s best film.  Bay uses his signature quick cuts to keep the movie moving.  He is also surrounded by an excellent cast from the leads down.  Standouts include Connery, Cage, Harris, Spencer, Morse, and Biehn.  You’ll see familiar faces (McGinley, Todd, Woodbine) in smaller roles.

The Rock is one of those films where everything comes together to create the perfect movie experience.

The Rock (1996) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Love to Love You Donna Summer” / Z-View

Love to Love You, Donna Summer (2023)

Director: Brooklyn Sudano, Roger Ross Williams

Stars: Donna Summer, Michael McKean, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Johnny Carson, Jimmie ‘JJ’ Walker, Quincy Jones, Arsenio Hall, Merv Griffin, Dionne Warwick, Giorgio Moroder, Janis Joplin and Tom Snyder.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Explores the life and career of Donna Summer using extensive home video recordings and behind the scenes footage of concerts and television appearances.  Co-Directed by Donna Summer’s daughter Brooklyn Sudano.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

If you only know Donna Summer as the “Queen of Disco” (and she was), you’re missing out on a lot of her story.

Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” is one song that I remember exactly where I was when I first heard it.  I was in Camelot Records (remember those?) and the song came on over the sound system.  It definitely got a reaction.

Love to Love You, Donna Summer (2023) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“The Friends of Eddie Coyle” (1973) starring Robert Mitchum / Z-View

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Director: Peter Yates

Screenplay: Paul Monash based on The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins

Stars: Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats, Alex Rocco, Joe Santos, Mitchell Ryan, Carolyn Pickman, James Tolkan and Jack Kehoe.

Tagline: It’s a grubby, violent, dangerous world. But it’s the only world they know. And they’re the only friends Eddie has.

The Plot…

Eddie Coyle (Mitchum) is a low-level criminal.  He was convicted of a truck hijacking and is waiting sentencing.  In an effort to get his conviction cleared, Coyle is secretly working as an informant for an ATF agent.  At the same time Coyle is dealing guns to a crew of robbers who have knocked off a couple of banks and look to take down more soon.  As the cops close in on the bank robbers, the time draws near for Coyle’s sentencing.  He’s going to have to make some moves to get out clean…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

This is such a great 1970s cast for a crime film.  Great source material as well.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Old Henry” (2021) starring Tim Blake Nelson & Stephen Dorff / Z-View

Old Henry (2021)

Director: Potsy Ponciroli

Screenplay: Potsy Ponciroli

Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Scott Haze, Gavin Lewis, Trace Adkins, Stephen Dorff, Richard Speight Jr., Max Arciniega, Brad Carter and Kent Shelton.

Tagline: You can’t bury the past.

The Plot…

Henry (Nelson) is a widower raising his teenage son on a remote farm in the west.  One day, on the outskirts of his farm, Henry finds Curry (Haze), a badly wounded man with a satchel of cash. Henry brings Curry back to the farm.  Curry claims to be a Sheriff on the run from the three robbers who stole the cash. Curry says that when the robbers show up they will claim to be Deputies, but they’re not.

Soon three men ride up.  They claim to be officers of the law who have tracked an outlaw to the farm.  They demand that Henry turn the outlaw and bag of cash over to them.

Henry has a decision to make.  No one is as they seem… including Henry.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Old Henry is a complete joy.  It’s a throwback western of the best kind.  I love the twists in the plot and how our allegiances shift as the movie progresses.  The ultimate reveal at the end is unexpected but completely right.

Stephen Dorff is, as always. excellent.  Tim Blake Nelson shines as Old Henry.

Old Henry (2021) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“The Salton Sea” (2002) starring Val Kilmer and Vincent D’Onofrio / Z-View

The Salton Sea (2002)

Director: D.J. Caruso

Screenplay: Tony Gayton

Stars: Val Kilmer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Goldberg, Luis Guzmán, Doug Hutchison, Anthony LaPaglia, Peter Sarsgaard, BD Wong, R. Lee Ermey, Meat Loaf and Danny Trejo.

Tagline: If You’re Looking For The Truth, You’ve Come To The Wrong Place.

The Plot…

Danny Parker (Kilmer) survived a tragic incident and now runs with drug addicts and criminals.  But all is not as it seems.  As the tagline says, “If you’re looking for truth, you’ve come to the wrong place.”

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

When I first watched The Salton Sea, I was almost ready to tap out when Val Kilmer does something (I won’t give it away) that told me, not all is as it seems.  I had gone in to the film cold and wasn’t aware of the tagline or the plot.  I love the twists and reveals throughout The Salton Sea.

D.J. Caruso has assembled a great cast.  The standout though is Vincent D’Onofrio as Pooh-Bear, a noseless, crazy drug dealer.  D’Onofrio, as he is apt to do, owns every scene he’s in.

On my initial viewing of The Salton Sea, I rated it 5 of 5 stars.  I recently rewatched The Salton Sea and it could be because I knew the plot twists/reveals that I dropped the rating to 4 of 5 stars (which is, of course still really good).

The Salton Sea (2002) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Copshop” (2021) starring Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo & Alexis Louder / Z-View

Copshop (2021)

Director: Joe Carnahan

Screenplay: Kurt McLeod, Joe Carnahan from a story by Mark Williams, Kurt McLeod

Stars: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Robert Walker Branchaud and Keith Jardine.

Tagline: Someone’s Gotta Take The Hit

The Plot…

Conman and thief, Teddy Murretto (Grillo) is on the run.  People Murretto double-crossed have put a hit on him. As assassin Bob Viddick (Butler) closes in for the kill, Murretto gets himself arrested.  Murretto figures he’ll be safe in the remote police lock-up.  It sounds like a great plan until Viddick is arrested and put in the next cell.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Copshop is such a fun ride.  Kurt McLeod, Joe Carnahan and Mark Williams have created a story that has mystery, tons of action, twists and the right amount of humor.

Carnahan has assembled a great cast.  Butler is perfect as the stoic hitman.  Grillo is always a favorite.  The two surprise stars for me are Alexis Louder and Toby Huss.  Louder has charisma and star power.  Huss is a scary riot.  Once he appears on screen things are taken up a notch.

I really enjoyed Copshop and look forward to watching it again!

Copshop (2021) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“The Devil Conspiracy” (2022) / Z-View

The Devil Conspiracy (2022)

Director: Nathan Frankowski

Screenplay: Ed Alan

Stars: Peter Mensah, Joe Anderson.

Tagline: The War of Angels Has Come to Earth

The Plot…

A satanic cult steals DNA from the Shroud of Turin in order to bring Lucifer back to rule the earth.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I liked the idea of advances in technology to make it possible to use DNA from the Shroud of Turin to create a clone.  Using the clone made from Jesus’ blood for evil purposes is an interesting twist.  The Devil Conspiracy has great visuals and starts off well enough, but ultimately doesn’t finish as strong.

The Devil Conspiracy (2022) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Code of Silence” (1985) starring Chuck Norris / Z-View

Code of Silence (1985)

Director: Andrew Davis

Screenplay: Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack, Mike Gray story by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack

Stars: Chuck Norris, Henry Silva, Bert Remsen, Mike Genovese, Nathan Davis, Molly Hagan and Dennis Farina.

Tagline: Eddie Cusack’s a good cop having a very bad day.

The Plot…

Sergeant Eddie Cusack (Norris) is in charge of a stakeout to take down some big time drug dealers.  The stakeout goes sideways when the drug dealers are ripped off and killed.  The thieves get away and Cragie, an alcoholic cop on Cusack’s team. accidentally kills a kid. Cragie then plants a gun on the kid to make the killing look legit.  Cusak finds himself alone as he looks to bring Cragie to justice and find the killers.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Code of Silence was originally offered to Clint Eastwood as a potential Dirty Harry film but Eastwood passed.

This was director Andrew Davis’ first action movie.  He would go on to direct action classics like Above the Law; Under Siege and The Fugitive.

I saw Code of Silence when it was initially released and liked it much better then than on a recent re-watch.

Code of Silence (1985) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Renfield” (2023) starring Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina & Nicholas Cage / Z-View

Renfield (2023)

Director: Chris McKay

Screenplay: Ryan Ridley from a story by Robert Kirkman based on Dracula by Bram Stoker

Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Brandon Scott Jones and Adrian Martinez.

Tagline: Stop serving. Start living.

The Plot…

Renfield (Hoult), Dracula’s (Cage) servant for the last 90 years, has come to realize he’s in a toxic relationship.  He wants out.  Unfortunately, Dracula is not ready to let him go.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Nicholas Cage would be one of the last actors I would consider to play Dracula, but since Renfield is a comedy, it all works out.

I thought it was cool that Chris McKay took a couple of scenes from the original Dracula film and superimposed Cage’s face for Dracula and Hoult’s for Renfield.

The idea that Renfield realizes he’s in a toxic relationship and attends meetings with others looking to get out of bad relationships creates for some funny business.

Renfield (2023) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Galveston” (2018) starring Ben Foster & Elle Fanning / Z-View

Galveston (2018)

Director: Mélanie Laurent

Screenplay: Jim Hammett (aka Nic Pizzolatto) based on his novel Galveston

Stars: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges

Tagline: No past. No future. Nothing to lose.

The Plot…

Roy (Foster) is having a bad day.  He just learned he has terminal lung cancer.  Plus the local crime boss, Stan (Bridges), that he used to work for stole his woman.  That’s bad enough, but then Stan tried to have Roy whacked.  Now Roy is on the run with a young female escort that he just met.  Roy wants revenge, before his time runs out.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Galveston has an interesting set up and an excellent cast.  I was on board for the first two thirds of the movie.  Unfortunately, it lost me in the final act.  Your mileage may differ.

Galveston (2018) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Black and Blue” (2019) starring Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo & Mike Colter / Z-View

Black and Blue (2019)

Director: Deon Taylor

Screenplay: Peter A. Dowling

Stars: Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter and James Moses Black

Tagline: The truth made her a target.

The Plot…

After a stint in the Army, Alicia West (Harris) has returned to her tough New Orleans neighborhood as a police officer.  Alicia quickly learns that although she grew up there and is black, everyone now sees her as “blue”.  This is driven home from her interactions with people she grew up with — they distrust the police and she’s now one of them.

When Alicia agrees to pick up an extra shift, she paired with a veteran cop.  They take a couple of calls and then he tells her to wait in the car while he enters a building.  When Alicia hears a gunshot, she leaves the car and heads to help her partner.  She’s surprised to see him with some undercover cops as they murder a drug dealer.  When Alicia is seen, one of the cops shoots her.  Wounded and on the run, Alicia becomes the target of cops and the gangbangers when word is put out that she executed the drug dealers!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Naomie Harris is excellent as the rookie cop, wounded and alone with no one to trust and everyone wanting her dead.  Tyrese Gibson and Frank Grillo are always welcome additions to any cast.  The real surprise for me is Mike Colter. Colter plays a huge, scary drug lord determined to avenge the murder of his nephew.  He owns every scene he’s in.

Black and Blue (2019) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Lost Bullet” (2020) starring Alban Lenoir / Z-View

Lost Bullet (2020)

Director: Guillaume Pierret

Screenplay: Guillaume Pierret, Alban Lenoir, Kamel Guemra

Stars: Alban Lenoir

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Lino (Lenoir) is a top notch mechanic and getaway driver.  When he’s caught on a heist gone wrong, he’s recruited to join a police task force out to capture drug runners using hopped up cars.  When crooked cops frame Lino for a murder of a police officer, he finds himself on the run and marked for death.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I sought out Lost Bullet after seeing Alban Lenoir in AKA. While AKA is a better film, Lost Bullet will satisfy action movie fans looking for a fun ride.

Lost Bullet (2020) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Malone” (1987) starring Burt Reynolds / Z-View

Malone (1987)

Director: Harley Cokeliss

Screenplay: Christopher Frank, William P. Wingate

Stars: Burt Reynolds, Cliff Robertson, Kenneth McMillan, Cynthia Gibb, Scott Wilson, Lauren Hutton, Tracey Walter and Dennis Burkley.

Tagline: He didn’t start the fight… but he’ll sure as hell finish it.

The Plot…

Malone (Reynolds) is a retired C.I.A. assassin.  While driving across country, Malone’s car breaks down outside a small town.  He pushes the car to the only gas station for miles and meets the owner, Paul Barlow (Wilson) and his teenage daughter Jo (Gibb).  Barlow allows Malone to stay at his house while they wait for the car part to arrive.  Malone learns that a rich man named Delaney (Robertson) is buying up all the property in the area and is putting a squeeze on Barlow.  When thugs are sent to convince Barlow to sell, Malone steps in.  Soon Malone finds himself going against Delaney and his former allies at the C.I.A..

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Does it get any more mid-80s than Burt Reynolds, Cliff Robertson, Kenneth McMillan, Cynthia Gibb, Scott Wilson and Lauren Hutton?

Burt Reynolds described Malone as a retelling of Shane and he’s not far off… except the young boy is now a teenage girl with the hots for Malone.

If you’re a Burt Reynolds fan you’ll enjoy Malone more than a non-fan so keep that in mind as you consider my rating.  I’m a Reynolds fan.

Malone (1987) rates 3 of 5 stars.