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Millennium: The Well-Worn Lock (1996)
The Well-Done Episode
Finally an episode where Frank Black takes a backseat! This one is totally his wife's episode.
Catherine finally takes main spotlight and Frank takes a supporting role! Even his former colleague, Bob 'Bletch' Bletcher, has a bigger role than Frank! I was very impressed with this one.
I just hated to see Catherine in the background basically doing nothing but worry about Frank and babysitting Jordan in previous episodes.
I was also quite surprised with the casting of one of my favorite character actors, Paul Dooley, playing against type and doing a great and believable job in a very difficult and disturbing role as a child molester!
I also liked the chemistry that Bob Bletcher and Catherine had working together as a team with Frank basically in the role of a background character! Priceless! A very well done episode indeed!
I finally got to this Made-for-TV film! Being a fan of Charles Bronson, I followed the tragic ordeal of Jill Ireland as much as I could. Bronson was her main support during this difficult time in her life dealing with cancer. I had no idea on seeing the film that it would mainly focus on her dealing with their troubled adoptive son, Jason. But I can only imagine the whole ordeal they went through in trying to save this beyond help kid.
Well, let me break it down how I saw it. The late great Jill Clayburgh as Jill Ireland. She did an OK job. There were times she looked dead-on like Ireland and other times not at all. Her accent came and went but all in all she did a good job. Here she was playing a woman who was dying but wanted to save her adoptive son from the horrible drug addiction he was in. She made it her priority to do whatever she could for Jason.
Lance Henriksen as Charles Bronson: An irony of sorts. Here was one of my favorite actors playing one of my all time favorites! How could it miss? But for me it did. Henriksen as good as he truly was, is no Bronson. I felt he was miscast in the role. But he did a commendable job. Bronson was a real private person in real life and Henriksen did convey that several times in his portrayal. His scenes with Jill were convincing and thank goodness the film was more of Ireland & Jason than of Bronson. Because like I said, I felt Henriksen was miscast but did a good job nonetheless.
Neill Barry as Jason McCallum: Wow. This kid did for me an excellent job! He looked and acted like a young Billy Zane! Too bad Barry and Zane did not act together at the time. They could have played brothers in a different film. His scenes as the 'outsider" of the family really were well done. His scenes of the drug use were a little over the top but then again drugs are and can cause way over the top reactions.
Lila Kaye as Dorothy, Jill's mother: I remember Kaye from "American Werewolf in London". She was the bar maid in that one. She gave a very earnest and funny portrayal of Ireland's mother. Had the right energy for it. Nice job.
Jack Gwillim as Jill's father: Even though he had no speaking lines except but to moan or laugh, this great late actor did a nice funny portrayal as Ireland's dad who could not speak because he had suffered a stroke.
Elizabeth Ashley as Vicky: Wow. Ashley did a very great job playing Jason's real mom, Vicky. She only really had 2 scenes: one with Jason and the other with Ireland but man oh man . Was she good! I could almost believe she was Jason's real mom! They really did look somewhat alike! Nice.
Jimmy McNichol & Clint Allen as the McCallum brothers,Valentine & Paul: Really nice casting here. They actually did look very much like the real McCallum brothers! Too bad these two young actors did not do much after this. I felt they had something.
Byron Allen as Himself (TV interviewer) It was nice to see Allen just playing himself, interviewing Ireland on his talk show. Nice little bit for him.
The movie played like a hallmark movie and I thought they were gonna show the demise of both Ireland and Jason but they kept it in words only in the end credits. This movie does deserve at least a one watch viewing. it's good for that.
Gunfighter's Moon (1997)
"You Are A lot Like Me"
What can I say? This is one of my favorite films of all times! Never has there been a more perfect role for Lance Henriksen then as legendary gunfighter, Frank Morgan. His stone-cold stare face, his low-baritone voice, and his way of moving is quite a show to see. You can just feel how tired he really is trying to "prove" how fast he really is with all these young fools who want to become a 'legend' by seeing if they can outdrawing Morgan in a gunfight.
He answers the call of an old flame, Linda Yarnell played nicely by the beautiful but stern Kay Lenz. She fears for her new husband,Jordan Yarnell (played by the good David McIlwraith) who is acting as a stand-in sheriff.
Trouble is Jordan with his trigger-happy deputy Spud Walker (played by the at that time hunk, Ivan Sergei) are guarding a prisoner named Jack Morris (played funny-like but great by Dave 'Squatch' Ward) And his 'kin' His cousin, the evil and very fast on the draw, Walt Shannon (played excellently by Brent Stait) are coming to come and bust him out. I like how Stait portrayed Shannon. He oozed evilness in a vampire-like way! He is accompanied by two shady character like himself. The silent but mean-looking Indian, Julio (played nicely by Byron Chief Moon) and the shaky, nervous, Boise (played by the ironically real-life gun-draw expert Thell Reed!) The climatic buildup to the gunfight showdown at the end, is to me the best I have ever experienced! I can re-watch it over and over and never get tired of watching it!
I will mention the rest of the actors who made an impression on me was the great character actor James Victor as the simple-minded,humble and abused Juan Acosta who Morgan defends and stays with on his stay in the town. They have a great scene I liked where Acosta who works at the bar as basically as a slave to Tom the bartender (played by the wide-eye John Payne) accidentally breaks some glasses and Tom makes Acosta get on his knees and humiliates him in front of Morgan. Frank doesn't like that and makes Tom get on his knees and humiliates him in front of Juan! Acosta says he will be beaten after Morgan goes but it will be worth it because he saw Tom on his knees and "A man on his knees , is half a man" Next is the beautiful and sexy Yareli Arizmendi as Rosa, Morgan's current squeeze that he drops in a flash as soon as he hears that former flame and the love of his life Linda beckons for him. Poor Rosa, she feels used but she truly cares about Frank. Yet because of Rosa, Frank doesn't kill one of the Landon brothers and that costs Frank very badly later on.
To me the most shady and lying character is Linda! She lies to everyone! She never tells her husband Jordan the real reason Frank Morgan is there. She loves Jordan so much she beckons for Morgan to come and fight Jordan's fight since Morgan is a true gunfighter and Jordan is not. He is just a plain storekeeper way over his head. And the worst is she never told her daughter, Kristen (played by the cute Nikki Deloach) that Morgan really is her father! She had told her that her real father was a civil-war hero who died years earlier. She told the same 'lie' to Jordan who raised Kristen as his own anyways because he loves Linda so much. And Frank realizes that Linda loves Jordan so much, that she is willing to even go with Frank after it's all done, if he just stands in for Jordan when the bad guys come to town for the showdown. Wow.
In the end, the only character who truly cared for Morgan , was the dog! (played excellent by "Harley" the dog) Harley played 'himself' so good that he reminded me of another excellent dog, The "Dog" in Mad Max 2:The Road Warrior. That dog you may remember was an Australian Cattle Dog or "Blue Heeler", as it's known in its native land. The beautiful story behind the Mad Max dog was that ,it was retrieved at a local pound where he was scheduled to be 'put down' the next day. The production's animal wrangler (trainer) found that the dog could be easily trained for the film. After the film was done, it found a home on a local ranch. This dog, Morgan's, seems to be like a dingo-like dog. So I'm thinking , they have some excellent dog actors in Australia eh?!
Los Angeles is the serial capital of the world. It takes a special "twist" to capture headlines in a city where, by autumn 1983, 5 random slayers were at large and killing independently of one another. In the hot summer months of 1985, reporters found their twist and filled front pages with accounts of the sinister "Night Stalker,"a sadistic home invader with a preference for unlocked windows and a taste for savage mutilation.
Acquaintances described Ramirez as an ardent Satanist and long time drug abuser, obsessed with the mock-satanic rock group AC/DC. According to reports Ramirez had adopted one of the group's songs: "Night Prowler"-as his own personal anthem, playing it repeatedly, sometimes for hours on end. They have a scene in this film showing just that and the late great Alma Beltran has the unfortunate pleasure of being a neighbor that lives right next door in the apartment complex and goes over one night and knocks on the door and tells him to either lower the music or she's going to call the cops. He quickly just turns it off and Beltran runs back to her apartment completely scared and locks the door. Ramirez gets up and walks in the hallway and heads out into the night. Nice little scary scene.
The great Gregory Cruz plays Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker) (as Gregory Norman Cruz). While he is one of my favorite actors. (he reminds me of a more intense & meaner version of Lou Diamond Phillips)I feel that there were 2 other actors they could have had in this role. Don't get me wrong, Cruz did a good job with his sinister and mean look that he has, but to me either the great Billy Drago or the great Jeff Kober could have done a just as great or even better portrayal of Ramirez. I'm thinking that neither Drago or Kober did not want to be type-cast or associated with such a despicable character and the fact that Ramirez is never truly seen till the last 1/2 hour of the film makes it like ,why bother?
I enjoyed the ending of this film because Cruz as Ramirez is finally seen and his is in every scene for the last half hour of what's left of the film. An all-points bulletin was issued and his mug shots were broadcast on TV and plastered on the front page of the newspaper and was seen by almost everyone right away. He was captured by civilians in East Los Angeles mobbed and beaten as he tried to steal a car. The Police arrived just in time to save his life. That's too bad. That was the end he truly deserved. Being punished by the very same people he caused such a terror to.
Attack the Block (2011)
A truly sleeper surprise for me. The only reason I wanted to see this one was because Nick Frost was in it. Turned out he really has a glorified cameo. But still nice to see him in here in any capacity.
Well let me start with the main thug leader 'Moses' played excellently by a young actor named John Boyega who steals the show. He has the look and temperament of a young Denzel Washington. I hope Denzel works with this young actor before he loses that uncanny resemblance as he gets older. They would make a great father & son team in a film.
Alex Esmail as Pest, Leeon Jones as Jerome, Franz Drameh as Dennis and Simon Howard as Biggz. Howard totally reminded me of another similar looking actor who ironically also played a similar role as a gang member in the classic "The Warriors" I'm talking about the late Marcelino Sánchez who played the spray painting Warrior member, 'Rembrandt' They even have the same hairstyle and peach fuzz mustache!
They all did an excellent job in portraying thugs from the hood in London. Now I have read some of the other reviews were they say that this film glorifies these young hoodlums as heroes. I disagree to some extent. Yes they are despicable but they are a product of their environment. They can't help be who they are. And just like any innocent victim that has crossed their path or stupidly come into their block, they will get attack. Even Aliens monsters or the like They are not defending anybody but themselves. They are survivors. Yes some people would want all of them to die but like I said some are survivors and strong. (Some do perish though but not all)
While it is never known or mentioned why these Aliens came in the 1st place, it is a fact they want revenge to what was done to the 1st Alien who came down from the sky. (it was a female) And since Moses and his crew did it in, they have the blood and smell all over them especially Moses. When the main drug dealer 'HiHatz' played excellently by Jumayn Hunter kills one of the creatures, he gets blood all over himself that seals his doom later on when he is overwhelmed by the other creatures.
Luke Treadaway as Brewis one of the buyers/junkies of Nick Frost who plays 'Ron' HiHatz's seller. Did a nice job. he has some funny scenes where he meets Moses and his crew and tries to be friendly towards them but they want nothing to do with him.
The creatures were nicely created. No eyes but glowing neon bluish teeth. Classic! Only complaint they were so dark looking you could barely see them in all this darkness but then that adds to the scare factor in some way I guess. And the fact that they resemble a very large dog/bear/gorilla like animal is super cool.
Anyways, I enjoyed the film. The soundtrack was pretty cool. (I found it on the web) Way better than most of the crappy films that have been coming out. So give it a chance and check it out.
Hell Up in Harlem (1973)
Big Papa Gibbs
The only saving grace in this pointless sequel is having as always the great Fred Williamson back in one of his greatest roles: Black Caesar. They even mention him as that at one point because in the original he was never called that.
Where do I begin to even explain this as I said pointless sequel. The original one was superb and should have just ended at that. This so-called sequel begins literally where the original ended except they changed the ending! I had the privilege to see the original in it's unedited glory with the original ending where Tommy Gibbs dies at the hands of a group of thug kids who beat the living hell out of him and supposedly he dies when he attempts to go hide out with the ledgers in his old abandoned neighborhood. In this sequel they just completely eliminate that great ending and make it where he survives by calling his dad!? The late great Julius Harris returns as Papa Gibbs as well as the beautiful Gloria Hendry as Helen and well as the late great D'Urville Martin as Reverend Rufus.
I feel the Julius got a bigger and better role in this one and it's quite a funny sight to see him just change from being a regular gentleman Mr. Gibbs to the "Superfly-ish" Big Papa. He makes quite a convincing gangster/thug. Gloria & D'Urville where just wasted in the meager roles and Gloria basically gets strangled in a alley because she was reduced to being a prostitute. Even the great Fred Williamson barely rode on his charisma alone on this one but for me just did not achieve what the far superior original did. The only good part Fred had was towards the end when he takes on the whole mob by himself in a one-man army type of thing. We also get to see Fred doing a lot of running and showing his still at the time physical agility and skill as a sprinter/runner.
The musical score on this sequel was way inferior to the superb score James Brown did in the original. To me the music alone on the original made the picture. Here, it was not bad but was completely lacking in the way Brown did his score.
Of the new characters only the lovely Margaret Avery as Sister Jennifer and Tony King as the treacherous enforcer Zach made a impression on me.
All in all not a bad film but not a good one either. I will watch and re-watch the original "Black Caesar" over and over and never get tired of it but this sequel? No way. One time viewing was enough.
Another Midnight Run (1994)
Fly Me To The Moon
When I 1st heard that a sequel was being made to the classic Midnight Run movie, I was like how are they going to top that classic? Unless they had everyone from the 1st film there, including Grodin in a cameo, it could just not be made. The very 1st major problem was that none of the originals would be back!(except for the character actor Frank Pesce, who had a very small bit role as one of Dorfler's bounties named Carmine in the original and in this sequel Pesce plays yet another small bit role as a different character named Vito) All The main guys would all be re-cast! Plus it was being made as a TV movie! That there alone is sacrilegious! In the original as we all know, De Niro's Walsh says the "F" word in almost every sentence! So now we are expected to swallow that this "new" Walsh does not use any profanity at all! That is what in part made the De Niro Walsh funny in the 1st place! Unreal!
Christopher McDonald is good actor, but he is in no way shape or form a De Niro. He tries to give his Walsh some some of his own touch but when you're talking about a character that was already tailor made for someone else and that someone else nailed it and made it his own, you got quite the challenge. McDonald did an okay job. He gave it his own touch and it was not bad. It was his persistence that paid off in the end and he emerged somewhat victorious against the nice con team of the great funny Jeffrey Tambor and the sultry Cathy Moriarty. They in no way shape or form present the Villain/bad-guys that the great late Dennis Farina presented in the original as Jimmy Serrano. It's interesting to note that Moriarty worked with De Niro back in the 1980's boxing classic "Raging Bull". It would have been such a treat to have had De Niro agreed to make this sequel and we would have had the pleasure of seeing these two work together again in a different setting scenario.
Dan Hedaya as Eddie Moscone: While Joe Pantoliano did a phenomenal job in the original, Hedaya did okay in his portrayal. I had no problem with him in this casting. Did not have much to do but answer the phone and get upset at Walsh or Dorfler but Hedaya gave Moscone justice. Now the problem I have is with the actor who they got for the Jerry Geisler role; John Fleck in no way shape or form gave justice to the role who the great character actor Jack Kehoe made his own. He gave no 'life' at all and did not resemble Kehoe's Geisler in any way ,shape or form except answering the phone and handing it over to Moscone! They did not even include the funny "I'll get donuts" routine that Kehoe's Geisler had with Pantoliano's Moscone in the original! Unpardonable! And another major loop hole in continuation was, did not the Geisler character get taken away by the FBI in the original for being a Mob informant?! So how did he get out and why would Moscone ,in this so-called sequel, hire him back? Let alone trust him again? Unbelievable writing by so-called experts.
Screen heavy Ed O'Ross as Marvin Dorfler: At 1st O'Ross made Dorfler appear really goofy and stupid but then gave it the needed substance the Dorfler character needed. The great John Ashton did such a great job in the original that this one was another hard role to cast. But I believe O'Ross did a credible job. The whole back n forth competition between him and McDonald's Walsh was pretty good. They were suppose to be working as a team but greed has a way of getting at these two. They help one another inadvertently and in a funny way.
All in all, a nice little TV movie. I re-watched it again because the 1st time I watched it, was back to back with original and that was a major mistake, because the obvious comparisons were just too much to compare. This time I watched the original and then a month later saw this "sequel" and I enjoyed it much more and it gave me more appreciation to the "new" cast in their interpretation of these now classic familiar roles. So it was well worth the effort. Just don't watch them back-to-back, Separate them with ample time in between viewings and you can enjoy this sequel on it's own merit.
"Copper-Coated Candy For Dessert"
Andy says he tosses a Molotov at the zombies and not good thing. For one, it didn't do anything. He says it just burns for a while and leaves them all grilled and smelling like Jimmy Dean! Classical lines like this one just made my day on this short. Priceless.
With this "found" tape footage , we can finally see how Andy last days really fared out. As he was slowly starving and losing his sanity and grip on reality during the zombie apocalypse.
I'm so glad this was included in the "Dawn of the Dead" (2004) DVD Special Features. Because I always wondered how Andy was holding out at the gun shop. I had no idea how bad it was for him over there all alone. I thought he had ample food and drink but it was not till he wrote "Hungry" to Kenneth (Ving Rhames) that it became apparent how desperate the situation truly was for poor Andy.
Excellent short film and kudos to actor Bruce Bohne in his incredible performance of the character Andy. Oh and by the way, I'm the one who put up Andy's whole dialog/speech in the Quote section of this film! It took me quite a while to type in but I did it! Enjoy! :)
"Hard Fighting Times"
I was looking forward to seeing this film for many a reasons. It turns out to be a remake/re-imaging on one of my favorite films of all times: Walter Hill's 1975 film "Hard Times" with the late greats Charles Bronson & James Coburn. But in the end , it nowhere near comes close to duplicating the power of it. It was somewhat disappointing. The fights scenes start out nice. What I mean is the build up to the actual fight are more entertaining! Not a good sign. And then the actual fight scenes are so annoying! The camera moving all around and you really can't see what's going on. I hate when a director does all that moving around stuff. Just hate it. And what's more irritating and perplexing to me is that Channing's Shawn MacArthur character is not really a good fighter!? He can take blows pretty good but that's about it. He really isn't that good. i can't tell if he's a boxer or a wrestler because he tries to do both in some capacity. Even in the 1st fight, he was getting his butt kicked big time by the Russian fighter and he wins only by the default because the Russian hits his head on a water fountain! After seeing that pathetic 1st fight scene, I find it hard to believe that Howard's Harvey would want anything to do with this kid! Let alone set up another fight! But if that didn't happened , then there would be no movie. And any movie that has a somewhat more better fight scene than the so-called final climatic fight scene, is not good at all. I mean the 2nd and especially the 3rd fight, were way more exciting than the final one!?
Anyways, I had never really seen this new up-and-coming actor Channing Tatum. So I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about this (new to me) young actor. He was well cast as a young "good-ole-boy" from Alabama.
Terrence Howard as second-rate scam artist/hustler Harvey Boarden was okay at best. His delivery was somewhat funny playing him with a slow drawl. He seemed more like a pimp than a scam artist.
Pretty Zulay Henao as Zulay Velez was pretty good but she really didn't have much to do but be the love interest to Channing's character. Nice touch in using her real unique name in naming her character. They had some chemistry, so that helped some. Interesting note/trivia is that Zulay was engaged in real life to Terrence Howard! So it's a treat to see their scenes together.
The always reliable character actors Luis Guzmán as Howard's rival Martinez and Roger Guenveur Smith as high-roller Jack Dancing, were okay at best.
Of the fighters, Brian White as Channing's main rival, Evan Hailey was somewhat a disappointment. White's Hailey was portrayed as a annoying, conceited asshole jerk. I guess this was done on purpose so you could hate the character right away and can't wait for Channin to kick his ass big time. Trouble is that Brian's Evan is not intimidating enough to be viewed as a major threat. He more looks like a singer celebrity than a fighter! And even though Brian is 6'2" to Channing's 6'1", he still looks small next to Channing!? The other two fighters, Big Dante Nero as Kimo & Cung Le as Dragon Le did pretty good in their brief time on screen. Especially Asian fighter Cung Le I liked. Cung really did present a dangerous type of threat to Channing in the 3rd fight. This is what was needed at the end of the film as a climatic fight. Not the weak and no surprise ending of the Channing vs Brian fight.
All in all, I don't regret seeing it, but I doubt very much I'll be seeing again any time soon. Too bad, I guess if I wanna go see a fight film, I'll go see my 'Hard Times' for the 100th time then! Ha ha..
That was going to be the original title to this film.
Ans they were gonna make it a comedy! That would have been interesting to see but I'm glad they just kept it the way they did it.
They was some decent acting and scares around.
Adam Kaufman as our hero "Wyatt" did an OK job.
His 3 partners-in-crime, big Brad William Henke as "Duke", Michael C. Williams as "Otis"(from Blair Witch) and Paul McCarthy-Boyington as "Cody". Did OK also as some "good-ole hick-boys" alien hunters.
Out of those three, Paul McCarthy-Boyington as 'Cody', stood out for me. His portrayal of Cody, reminded me so much of David Patrick Kelly. The same compact, feisty and slightly crazed-look. His Cody was like a grenade with the pin pulled.
It was a very nice surprise to see the late great character actor, James Gammon as "Sheriff Henderson" in one of his last film roles before he passed away.
Ala in all, not a great film but not a bad one either. Check it out!