Author: Craig Zablo

“Eileen” starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway & Shea Whigham – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I’m diggin’ the trailer for Eileen.  It premieres December 1st.  Deal me in.

Set during a bitter 1964 Massachusetts winter, young secretary Eileen becomes enchanted by the glamorous new counselor at the prison where she works. Their budding friendship takes a twisted turn when Rebecca reveals a dark secret — throwing Eileen onto a sinister path.

A Film by William Oldroyd
Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway, Shea Whigham, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Owen Teague

“The Last Seduction” (1994) directed by John Dahl, starring Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg & Bill Pullman / Z-View

The Last Seduction (1994)

Director: John Dahl

Screenwriter: Steve Barancik

Cast: Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, Bill Pullman, Dean Norris, Mik Scriba, J.T. Walsh, Herb Mitchell and Bill Nunn.

Tagline: She wants it all… & she wants it now…

The Plot…

Bridget (Fiorentino) convinces her husband Clay (Pullman), to steal a load of pharmaceutical cocaine and then sell it to a drug dealer.  When Clay comes home with $700,000 he thinks their troubles are over.  Once he pays off his loan shark,  he and Bridget will still have well over a half million dollars.

While Clay is showering, Bridget steals the money and takes off.  She decides to lay low in a small town under an assumed name.  Bridget learns Clay has hired a Private Investigator to find her, Now needs a plan to get away clean and fast.

When Bridget meets Mike Swale (Berg) she comes up with the perfect idea,  The plan is devious and will kill the lives it doesn’t ruin.  Bridget can’t wait to get started.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

I saw The Last Seduction when it was first released.  I rated it a 4 then. This re-watch earned a 3.  The Last Seduction is good, but not as good as I had remembered.  I think the reason for the lower rating is I’m older.  When I was younger it was easier to believe that Mike could be so taken by the great sex and mystery of Bridget that he left reason behind.

The director, John Dahl was on a roll when he helmed The Last Seduction.  His two previous films were Kill Me Again and Red Rock West.  He co-wrote both as well.

The Last Seduction features standout performances from  Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, Bill Pullman and Bill Nunn. A young Dean “Breaking Bad” Norris also has a small role. (He also had hair!)

The Last Seduction (1994) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“The Gunman” directed by Pierre Morel, starring Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem & Idris Elba / Z-View

The Gunman (2015)

Director: Pierre Morel

Screenwriter: Don Macpherson, Pete Travis, Sean Penn based on THE PRONE GUNMAN by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Cast: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Daniel Adegboyega.

Tagline: Uncover the truth.

The Plot…

Jim Terrior (Penn) ex-Special Forces, is a mercenary working in the Congo.  Terrior’s cover is providing security to humanitarian projects.  Terrior has developed a relationship with a doctor named Annie.  Although they’re in love, Terrior hasn’t told Annie his true reason for being there.  Unknown to Terrior, his black ops partner, Felix also has eyes for Annie.

When orders come down to assassinate the Congo’s Minister of Mining, Terrior is given the assignment.  He is to complete the hit and then immediately leave the country.  Terrior does as ordered.

Eight years later, Terrior still carries feelings for Annie.  Although he is no longer a mercenary, Terrior suffers from PTSD.  Now he works in impoverished areas digging wells so villages will have water.  Terrior hopes to make amends for his past.  One day, without warning, a hit squad comes to his job site and attempts to murder him.  Terrior is able to kill them all.

Now Terrior is on a mission to discover why, after all these years, he has been targeted for execution.  Terrior learns that his former partner, Felix and Annie are married.  He also discovers that their former boss, who ordered the hits, has formed a successful international security firm that works for the Pentagon.  As Terrior digs deeper the truth begins to unravel…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

It’s interesting that Sean Penn, like the character he plays, has pretty much turned his back on his profession to do humanitarian work.  Penn is an excellent actor.  He is able to play the quiet as well as the action scenes with equal success.  I wish we saw him do more movies (especially action themed).

I’d never seen Jasmine Trinca before.  She’s very good.  I hope to see her in future films.  Javier Bardem is excellent.  If you only know him from No Country for Old Men, you’ll be surprised to see him in this role.  Idris Elba doesn’t have a huge part, but I always enjoy his work.

Director Pierre Morel also helmed Taken, District B13 and From Paris with Love, so you know we are in good hands.

The Gunman (2015) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“American Dream” Written & Directed by Cord Jefferson, Starring Jeffrey Wright – The Trailer is Here!

The American Dream trailer has me sold.  I’m a fan of Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown.  Deal me in.

Watch the official trailer for #AmericanFiction, starring Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, and Sterling K. Brown. From Writer/Director Cord Jefferson. Only in theaters this December.

AMERICAN FICTION is Cord Jefferson’s hilarious directorial debut, which confronts our culture’s obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes. Jeffrey Wright stars as Monk, a frustrated novelist who’s fed up with the establishment profiting from “Black” entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes. To prove his point, Monk uses a pen name to write an outlandish “Black” book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.

“Touch of Evil (1958)” adapted, directed and starring Orson Welles, starring Charlton Heston & Janet Leigh / Z-View

Touch of Evil (1958)

Director: Orson Welles

Screenwriter: Orson Welles based on Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson

Cast: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Ray Collins, Dennis Weaver, Valentin de Vargas, Mort Mills, Victor Millan,Harry Shannon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mercedes McCambridge, Joseph Cotton  and Marlene Dietrich.


The Plot…

Miguel “Mike” Vargas (Heston) and his new bride, Susan (Leigh) are visiting a small Mexican/American border town.  Mike is a Mexican Special Prosecutor.  Susan is an American.  Their honeymoon is cut short when a car bomb explodes killing two people.  Although the explosion took place on the US side, the bomb was planted while the car was in Mexico.

Mike tells Susan to go back to their hotel while he assists with the initial investigation.  Hank Quinlan (Welles), the local police Captain, arrives and takes over the investigation.  Quinlan is a recovering alcoholic, and a bigot with a bad attitude.  In short order, Quinlan has a suspect.  He’s a Mexican married to the daughter of one of the victims.  It looks like an open and shut case when two sticks of dynamite are found in a shoebox.  What Quinlan didn’t know is that Mike had accidentally knocked the shoebox over minutes before.  The box was empty.  Mike accuses Quinlan of setting the kid up.

Meanwhile, Susan is stopped before she gets to the hotel.  Her husband is prosecuting a drug case against a major Mexican crime family.  “Uncle” Joe Grandi attempts to scare Susan and sends her to the hotel with a message for Mike to drop the case.  Uncle Grandi learns that Mike won’t back down and that Mike has made an enemy of Quinlan.  Grandi approaches Quinlan and suggests a partnership.  They’ll kidnap Susan and force Mike to do their bidding.

Of course things don’t go as planned for anyone.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Touch of Evil gets better with every viewing.  If someone preferred it over Citizen Kane, I wouldn’t argue.

Janet Leigh is best known for her role in Psycho.  She shows a wider range here and if Norman Bates saw how sexy her character is, his head would explode.

Welles is the powerhouse behind Touch of Evil.  He adapted the novel and made changes to improve the story.  He starred in and directed the film.  When Universal Pictures locked him out of the editing booth, Welles submitted a 58 page memo of suggestions to improve the cut.  Decades later that happened.  The restored version won several awards and a spot in the National Film Registry.

Heston and Welles have a great supporting cast.  Akim Tamiroff as Uncle Joe Grandi is both funny and scary. Welles wanted Dennis Weaver to improvise.  Weaver took that to heart.  His character is all over the place… and I mean that in a good way.  Zsa Zsa Gabor shows up in a blink-and-you-might-miss-her cameo.  While you can have eyes wide open and miss Joseph Cotton’s.  For Mercedes McCambridge’s role, she dyed her hair, adopted an accent and rough look. While some of the folks are only on screen for a short time, their impact is huge.

Touch of Evil (1958) rates 5 of 5 stars.

RIP: Suzanne Somers

Suzanne Somers, born Suzanne Mahoney, died today the result of cancer.  Ms. Somers was 76. Suzanne Somers was a model, actress, singer, author and business woman.

When Suzanne Mahoney was 19, she married Bruce Somers.  They had one child and the couple divorced three years later. Suzanne Somers’ career began with her getting modeling gigs and small, often uncredited parts in television shows and movies.  Her big break came when she landed the role of Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company.  The show was an instant hit and made Suzanne Somers a household name.  Ms. Somers stayed with the series through four seasons.

For the rest of her career Suzanne Somers would act in movies and television.  She became a commercial spokesperson for the exercise product Thighmaster.  Suzanne Somers also authored two autobiographies, a book of poetry as well as four diet books.  In 2001, Ms. Somers was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She elected to have a lumpectomy and radiation.  She declined chemotherapy and instead used alternative cancer treatments.  Although criticized by the American Cancer Society and many doctors, Suzanne Somers became a proponent of alternative treatments to chemotherapy.

Some of Suzanne Somer’s television appearances include: The Rockford Files; Sky Heist; One Day at a Time; The Love Boat; Starsky & Hutch (3 episodes); The Six Million Dollar Man; Zuma Beach; Three’s Company (100 episodes); The Ropers; Hollywood Wives (3 episodes); She’s the Sheriff (44 episodes); Sisters; The Larry Sanders Show; The Simpsons and Step-By-Step (160 episodes).

Some of Suzanne Somer’s feature film appearances include: Bullit; Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting; American Graffiti; Magnum Force; Billy Jack Goes to Washington; Nothing Personal and The Nutty Professor.

I first remember seeing Suzanne Somers in a magazine ad.  She was a hot babe on a beach.  Of course I remember her best from Three’s Company.  Although I didn’t regularly watch the show, her fame brought her magazine covers, feature stories and appearances on other shows.  For a while Suzanne Somers was everywhere!  It’s funny because I probably saw her on The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch or The Six Million Dollar Man before Three’s Company ever hit the air waves.  But it’s Chrissy Snow that first comes to mind when I think of Suzanne Somers.

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

“Cape Fear” starring Gregory Peck & Robert Mitchum / Z-View

Cape Fear (1962)

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Screenwriter: James R. Webb based on The Executioners by John D. MacDonald

Cast: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Martin Balsam, Jack Kruschen, Telly Savalas, Barrie Chase, Paul Comi, Edward Platt and Will Wright.

Tagline: Now, he had only one weapon left – Murder!…To prevent an even more shocking crime!

The Plot…

Max Cady (Mitchum) was recently released from prison.  Cady served eight years for a sadistic rape.  Now Cady has one thing on his mind, to take revenge on Sam Bowden (Peck).  It was Sam Bowden who stopped Cady’s assault.  It was also Bowden’s testimony that got Cady convicted.

Sam Bowden is a well respected small town lawyer.  But the law is going to be of no help.   Cady is smart and as devious as he is cruel.  Cady stops Bowden on the street.  From all appearances the meeting is cordial.  But Cady lets Bowden know he’s out of prison.  He subtly threatens Bowden, his wife and their young daughter.

Cady increases the threats and intimidation. Bowden realizes that Cady won’t stop until he’s done the sick things he’s threatened.  There may be only one way to stop Max Cady…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

The film covers some very dark topics for 1962.  Despite censors, the movie makes it very clear what Max Cady has done and plans to do.

I like to describe Cape Fear as the best Hitchcock movie not made by Hitchcock.  The score by Bernard Herrmann helps.  J. Lee Thompson was an Alfred Hitchcock fan and it was his intent to film scenes like the master.  Cape Fear is my favorite film directed by J. Lee Thompson.

I’m a Robert Mitchum fan.  Mitchum always adds to a film’s enjoyment factor.  His portrayal of Max Cady is my favorite Robert Mitchum performance.  That’s saying a lot because he’s always good.

Gregory Peck was an excellent choice to play the good man who discovers that the law isn’t going to save him or his family.   Peck and Mitchum are supported by an outstanding cast. Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Martin Balsam, Jack Kruschen, Telly Savalas and Barrie Chase all get opportunities to shine.  Look for Edward Platt in a cameo.

Cape Fear (1962) rates 5 of 5 stars.

RIP: Piper Laurie

Piper Laurie, born Rosetta Jacobs, died today.  Ms. Laurie was 91.

In 1949, Piper Laurie was awarded a contract with Universal Studios.  She changed her name to Piper Laurie and used it from then on.  Throughout her career Piper Laurie acted on television, feature films and on stage.

Ms. Laurie was nominated for three Academy Awards: 1962 – Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Hustler; 1976 – Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Carrie; 1987 – Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Children of a Lesser God.

Piper Laurie was nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards, winning in 1987 for her role in Promise.

Some of Piper Laurie’s television appearances include: The Best of Broadway; Studio One; Playhouse 90 (2 episodes); Play of the Week; General Electric Theater (3 episodes); Naked City; The United States Steel Hour (2 episodes); Ben Casey; Skag (6 episodes); The Thorn Birds (3 episodes); St. Elsewhere (3 episodes); Hotel; Murder She Wrote; The Twilight Zone (2 episodes); Matlock; Beauty and the Beast; Twin Peaks (27 episodes); ER (2 episodes); Diagnosis Murder; Touched by an Angel; Frasier (2 episodes); Will & Grace; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and MacGuyver.

Some of Piper Laurie’s feature film appearances include: Louisa; Francis Goes to the Races; Has Anybody Seen My Gal; Ain’t Misbehavin’; The Hustler; Carrie; Ruby; Children of a Lesser God; The Crossing Guard; The Faculty and White Boy Rick.

I first became aware of Piper Laurie in Carrie. For that role she earned a well deserved Academy Award nomination. A few years later I saw her in another Academy Award nominated performance in The Hustler.  That’s probably my favorite Piper Laurie performance, but I always enjoyed seeing her name in the credits for any production.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Piper Laurie’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Mark Goddard

It has been announced that Mark Goddard (born Charles Harvey Goddard) died from pulmonary fibrosis on October 10, 2023.  Mr. Goddard was 87.

Mark Goddard played on state championship baseball and basketball teams in high school.  Mr. Goddard thought he might have a career as a professional basketball player.  While in college he turned to acting.  After moving to Los Angeles he quickly got the co-starring role on the television series Johnny Ringo.  It was at this time he changed his name to Mark Goddard.  Mr. Goddard would continue to work on television and feature films for the rest of his acting career.  After 30 years, Mark Goddard returned to college to get his degree.  He then worked as a special education teacher while occasionally taking on acting roles.

Some of Mark Goddard’s television appearances include: Johnny Ringo (38 episodes); The Rebel; The Detectives (64 episodes); The Rifleman (2 episodes); Burke’s Law; The Beverly Hillbillies; The Virginian; Gunsmoke; Perry Mason (2 episodes); The Fugitive; Many Happy Returns (26 episodes); Lost in Space (84 episodes); Mod Squad (2 episodes); Adam 12; Switch; Petrocelli (2 episodes); The Streets of San Francisco; Quincy; Benson; B.J. and the Bear; Barnaby Jones (4 episodes); One Life to Live (10 episodes); The Doctors (6 episodes); The Fall Guy; General Hospital (11 episodes) and Jake and the Fatman.

Some of Mark Goddard’s feature film appearances include: The Monkey’s Uncle; A Rage to Live; Play It Again, Sam; Roller Boogie; Strange Invaders and Lost in Space.

The first role that comes to mind when I think of Mark Goddard is that of Major Don West on Lost in Space.  I watched that show from the premiere episode.  I was six years old and loved it.  I also think it’s cool that Mr. Goddard became a special education teacher.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mark Goddard’s family, friends and fans.

“Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” starring Kurt Rusell & Wyatt Russell – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Deal me in!

Some secrets cannot be contained. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres November 17 on Apple TV+

Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco, and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch.

Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army Officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows.

Based on the Monsterverse from Legendary, and starring Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Anna Sawai, Kiersey Clemons, Ren Watabe, Mari Yamamoto, Anders Holm, Joe Tippett and Elisa Lasowski, this dramatic saga — spanning three generations — reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives.