The Men From U.N.C.L.E.

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Jan 052015
 

Well, stills are starting to leak out from Warner Brothers’ new Man From U.N.C.L.E. film, directed by Guy Ritchie and due for an August release. I want to be excited about it, but so far, I’m not. The casting bugs me: Man Of Steel‘s Henry Cavill is playing Napoleon Solo, while The Lone Ranger‘s Armie Hammer assumes the role of Illya Kuryakin.

They’re both very “Hollywood” choices – big, beefy, square-jawed heroic-looking types… but that’s exactly the kind of actors that U.N.C.L.E. creators Sam Rolfe and Norman Felton didn’t want to play those roles. Rolfe & Felton specifically cast Robert Vaughn and David McCallum back in the day because neither of them were beefcake types. They wanted handsome men who were of normal stature, and not the stereotypical “action” sort of guys.

I’m also concerned that the movie is another unnecessary “origin” story, showing the two agents working together for the first time, with lots of obligatory friction, before U.N.C.L.E. (the organization) is founded. The film is set in the 60s, though, so that’s good.

Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out okay…

Mad Max: Fury Road

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Dec 122014
 

I have to say, the trailer for next year’s Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and directed by series creator George Miller, is the best film preview of the year. Visually awe-isnpiring, marvelously edited, and featuring an incredible soundtrack, it really has me revved up to see the long-promised (I first saw a reference to it as being in development in a film magazine back in the late 90s!) post-Apocalyptic adventure.

So, next year, there’s a new Star Wars movie, a new James Bond movie, a new Terminator movie, a Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, a new Avengers movie (and Ant-Man!), and a new Mad Max film. Too bad they couldn’t have gotten new Planet of the Apes and Godzilla flicks made in time. Still, looks like a helluva year, movie-wise.

Statham is a WILD CARD

 Action Movies, Crime Flicks, Pop Culture News  Comments Off on Statham is a WILD CARD
Dec 092014
 

I was just thinking that it was time for another Jason Statham actioner, and, sure enough, here are a couple of posters for his latest: Wild Card. Directed by Simon West (The Mechanic), this is a remake of the troubled 1986 Burt Reynolds vehicle, Heat, written by William Goldman. Should be interesting.

"This Organization Does Not Tolerate Failure…"

 James Bond, Pop Culture News, Spy-Fi  Comments Off on "This Organization Does Not Tolerate Failure…"
Nov 252014
 

I don’t know if this image is official or fan-made, but it made this long-time Bond fan smile… and with the rumors that Christophe Waltz is playing SPECTRE mastermind Ernst Stavros Blofeld in the as-yet-untitled film, I’m hopeful that we can put that QUANTUM idiocy behind us and welcome the original evil empire back to the series.

Mickey Spillane IS Mike Hammer… in HD!

 Crime Fiction, Movie Classics, Pop Culture News, Spillane  Comments Off on Mickey Spillane IS Mike Hammer… in HD!
Jul 262014
 

On October 14th, Scorpion Releasing presents the 1963 film, The Girl Hunters, starring author Mickey Spillane as his own hardboiled P.I. hero, Mike Hammer, on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray version will be a limited edition and will be sold only on the Kino-Lorber website. It will feature a brand new 16×9, 2:35 HD master, as well as an audio commentary with Max Allan Collins, and vintage on-camera interviews with Mickey Spillane and Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger). MSRP for the Blu-ray is a hefty 29.95, while the DVD edition will retail for 19.95.

I am deeply annoyed that this will be an expensive Limited Edition online exclusive, but I’ll have to get it anyway. I’m a big fan of the movie, and it’ll be nice to finally have a quality video edition

Interesting note: back around ’95, when I was working at TeknoComix as editor of the comic book series, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger, I gave Mickey my personal VHS bootleg of this movie because he didn’t have a copy and said he hadn’t seen it in a decade or two!

Now, if only somebody could release the 1982 version of I, The Jury on Blu-ray…

James Garner, R.I.P.

 Obituaries, Pop Culture News  Comments Off on James Garner, R.I.P.
Jul 202014
 

Damn. I was just about to shut down the computer and head to bed when I read that James Garner has passed away at age 86. It’s a shock: hell, it was only a month ago that I was reading his autobiography. 

Garner has been one of my favorite actors for as long as I can remember. His iconic portrayals of Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford are indelibly imprinted in our pop culture memory, and even if those were his only accomplishments as an actor, he’d be a legend. But he was more than that. A fine, thoughtful actor, a veteran, a charming curmudgeon. 

I miss him already.

The Expendabelles

 Action Movies, Pop Culture News  Comments Off on The Expendabelles
Jun 022014
 

Back when Sylvester Stallone’s first Expendables flick came out in 2010, and was a moderate box office hit, there was a lot of idle gossip and speculation that the producers might try their hand at a girl band version – an Expendabelles, if you will – uniting various female action stars in a high-octane adventure of their own. Of course, nothing came of that idea…

Until now. The Asylum, the low budget movie studio notorious for their cash-in “mockbusters” has stepped up and made the idea a reality with Mercenaries. Due out in August, when Expendables 3 hits the screens, Mercenaries features a pretty decent cast of fighting femmes: Brigitte Nielsen (Stallone’s ex, and star of Red Sonja), Vivica Fox (Kill Bill), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), stuntwoman Zoe Bell (Death Proof, Angel of Death), and the legendary Cynthia Rothrock (China O’Brien, Yes Madam, etc.)

The plot, according to The Asylum’s website: A diplomatic official is captured and imprisoned while touring a war zone, so a team of elite female commandos is assembled to infiltrate a women’s prison for a daring rescue. It’s directed by Christopher Olen Ray.

I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to this one. It probably won’t be good, but it will be fun seeing these dangerous dames all in the same flick.

Sep 092013
 

I enjoyed 2009’s Ninja, starring British martial arts star Scott Adkins. It wasn’t a great film, nor even particularly original, but I thought it was a better-than-average direct-to-DVD action flick, and an entertaining throwback to the 80’s heyday of Cannon’s classic ninja movies. Well, director Isaac Florentine and Adkins have reunited to chronicle another adventure of Occidental ninja, Casey Bowman, with the oddly-titled sequel, Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear.

From the trailer, it looks like it could be fun. I’m particularly pleased to see little Kane Kosugi all grown up and playing the evil ninja in this entry. As a child, Kane frequently appeared alongside his father, the legendary “ninja star,” Sho Kosugi, on films like Revenge Of the Ninja, 9 Deaths Of The Ninja, Black Eagle and Pray For Death. His presence just adds to the nostalgia factor for me. Looking forward to this.

The Return of Charlie Chan

 Crime Flicks, Movie Classics, Pop Culture News  Comments Off on The Return of Charlie Chan
Jul 272013
 

It’s been about three years since the last DVD release, but four more late-period Charlie Chan mysteries from Monogram Studios are coming to DVD in a couple of weeks (August 6th), courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment’s latest Charlie Chan Collection

I’ve never seen any of these four particular crime capers – Shadows Over Chinatown, Docks Of New Orleans, Shanghai Chest and The Golden Eye which were produced on a shoestring by the legendary Poverty Row studio, but as an unrepentant B-mystery & Chan fan, I’m looking forward to adding them to my collection. (Even if three of them star the somnambulant Roland Winters, by far the least-interesting of the actors who portrayed the Honolulu detective.)

They’re arriving right in the nick of time, too, as I’ve just finished watching the last of the Falcon mysteries, starring Tom Conway, and produced by RKO, and I’ll be needing some fresh material for my nightly Late Movies.

Pre-order from Amazon: Charlie Chan: Collection