Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Final Spidey Homecoming Previews

The 3rd and final set of trailers for this summer's reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming has spun onto the net today.


The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th.

The U.S. peek focuses on Peter’s learning curve with the new suit as designed by Tony Stark. The international one, meanwhile, hones in on callbacks to "Civil War"



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Zac Efron Lands Killer Role

Deadline reports that Zac Efron is tipped to play notorious American serial killer Ted Bundy in a biopic called Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.


The story explores the dysfunctional relationship between Bundy and his long-time girlfriend Liz. Regarded as charming and charismatic, Bundy was responsible for assaulting and murdering numerous young women during the 1970s, and ultimately confessed to 30 murders before his execution in 1989.

The film is being directed by Joe Berlinger from Michael Werwie’s award-winning script.

The movie is being produced by Michael Costigan and Nicholas Chartier.

I have been trying to work with Zac Efron for a long time,” said Chartier. “From his dramatic turn in Paperboy to his hilarious performance in Neighbors, he continues to impress audiences and critics alike with his extraordinary versatility and range. We couldn’t be more excited to see him in this amazing role.

Production is set to start on October 9th.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

TLR's Summer Blockbuster Contest

When TLR's Captain America: Civil War Blu-ray Contest ended last Summer I hinted that I may hold a sequel contest...Well that day is here at last!!


One of the most important aspects to a film is its music soundtrack--the contest will focus on that ingredient...The winner will receive 50.00 in movie theater gift cards from either AMC Theatres or Regal Entertainment. It's your choice! But that's not all...The winner will also get a 50.00 Amazon gift card as well--That's a pretty cool combo prize.

All you have to do is complete the following list:

Tom's top 10 movie soundtracks.

1. Superman The Movie
2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
3. Halloween 1978
4. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
5. Psycho 1960
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

READ ON FOR THE DETAILS

Still too hard? OK you don't have to put them in the right order...AND... If nobody gets all five answers then whomever gets closest with one or two let's say--will win. The guessing period runs for THREE WEEKS--starting today 5-10-17 until 5-31-17 at 12:00 PM EDT The answers can be submitted via email thelastreel@comcast.net with words Blockbuster Contest in the Subject line or via Direct Message by way of the Twitter handle @TheLastReel.

 Who Can Enter?: ANYONE WHO LIVES IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA WITH A VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS. 

SHOULD THERE BE A TIE--THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS FIRST TO SEND IN THE CORRECT ANSWER(S) WILL BE DECLARED THE WINNER. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON WILL BE ACCEPTED AND THE LIST MUST BE COMPLETED. ENTRIES THAT DO NOT HAVE 5 CHOICES WILL BE DISCARDED.

 The winner will be announced on 6-7-17 (WED) Once that's done he or she will provide a mailing address. Further info will be given to said winner at that tine....

Questions? Send them to the email address above DM on TWITTER or at The Last Reel Cinema Group on Facebook once you join the group.

I know that this contest is a bit harder than the last one--Still--if you do a bit of digging you might just find the answers that you seek in order to win. The extended time to submit your guesses should help too. 😀

GOOD LUCK! THANKS FOR READING TLR!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Remembering My Mom And Movies

On what would have been her 81st birthday I would like to spend some time talking about--My Mom--and the films she loved..

From a very early age, I remember spending many Saturday afternoons with mom, watching a show called Creature Double Feature, where a local host would introduce classic horror films like Frankenstein, Dracula, (both from 1931), House of Wax (1953) The Blob, (1958) I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)-just to name a few.

Mom's favorite film star was James Cagney. Sitting down with her to watch White Heat was a both a treat and chore, because I really didn't understand the beauty of the black and white film yet. Into my adulthood I came to appreciate it for the masterpiece that it is. When the 4th of July rolled around, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) became a family tradition. When Cagney died on March 30th 1986, I vividly recall her shedding a few tears upon hearing the sad news.



Mom liked films about the underdog overcoming adversity. The film saga of Rocky Balboa was her favorite of the genre.

Watching Ryan Coogler's excellent continuation Creed in the theater for Christmas of 2015--was very bittersweet. I thought about the time I saw the original film with my parents on the big screen. Memories flooded back. I think she would have loved it... and Sylvester Stallone were great together. They both deserved more attention from the Academy....Mom would have most likely agreed with me on that. If you have not seen it yet...It's a MUST WATCH...


Speaking of sagas...even though the first two Godfather films were not meant for kids my age, the first time they hit broadcast TV in the mid 70's, I was allowed to watch them. Of course I'm so glad my parents made the exception.

As mother and son we shared many other favorite films over the years. Comedies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and High Anxiety, all from the mind of a master named Mel Brooks. We also got a kick out of Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the original Pink Panther movies, as well as Sellers' turn in the underrated Murder by Death (1976).

She warned me not to watch John Carpenter’s Halloween the first time it hit broadcast TV--It's not like the Creature Features she said... Sorry Mom--So glad I disobeyed you. Regular readers of the blog already know how special Carpenter's 1978 original is to me....And the Horror genre as a whole...the funny thing here is that The Godfather on network TV is waaaaay more violent and disturbing than Michael Myers.

When the news of Shirley Temple-Black's passing broke in February of 2014 ..I thought about my Mom...Oh how she loved watching Temple's films. At a young age I remember that she had them on nearly every Saturday when the local UHF station would run two of them back to back...At the time I did not appreciate them. As an  adult--It's easy to see that Temple had a special kind of magic...that has never been duplicated. What I would not give for one more chance to sit with Mom to watch a Temple film.

Mom would also indulge me by sitting through multiple viewings of Superman and various "Star Trek" flicks...especially Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, without much of a fuss. Any Star Wars movie, on the other hand, was a tougher sell...

When my sister Karen suggested that I study film making in college--while I was still in High School--Mom tried to steer me into a more "stable profession" She would say "you should be a college professor--you could teach the kids of the future so much..." I did think about the teaching idea for a bit--but the pull of cinema was too strong...Here I sit...There is a bit of Irony considering the path that I find myself on now though...

The last film that Mom saw in the theater was the live action/CG hybrid of based the classic 1960's cartoon "The Flintstones" in 1994. Created by Hanna-Barbera the show premiered in 1960 and ran for six seasons before going into syndication for decades. As a youngster Mom latched me onto the reruns....While she enjoyed herself watching the film...I think she still preferred the series over the adaptation. Her biggest joy was seeing screen legend Elizabeth Taylor in a fun cameo....The live action film did a good job at capturing the spirit of the TV series. It made her smile. And that's all that matters....soon after she got very ill and our family would never be the same...

Sadly, cancer took Mom from our family nearly 22 years ago...And now that Dad is also gone--It's been an even tougher slog.


Thanks Mom for all of your love, support, and kindness for all of those years. I miss you every day. But I'm grateful that we shared lots of love, laughter, and of course many movie memories. 💓💓

"Made it, Ma! Top of the world!'

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dylan O'Brien Gets Tough In "American Assassin" Peek

The first trailer for the film adaptation of "American Assassin" has dropped online ahead of its theatrical bow on September 15th 2017.


Based on author Vince Flynn's eleventh Mitch Rapp novel that charts a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton), who would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency actually knew of his existence. CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) tasks him with training a black ops recruit (NJ native "The Maze Runner," and "Teen Wolf" star Dylan O'Brien) devastated by the loss of his fiancee to a terrorist attack. The pair is eventually dispatched to go on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (former Friday Night Lights TV fave Taylor Kitsch) from kicking off a global war.

 Should the film spawn a few sequels Lathan's Kennedy could return. Scott Adkins and the great David Suchet co-star.

"Kill the Messenger" director Michael Cuesta called action from an adapted screenplay written by Stephen Schiff.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the film.



This looks like it could be really good....Nice to see that O'Brien's back at it in a big way following his injury last year and the end of Teen Wolf--which happens this Summer.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Review: Chris Esper's "The Deja Vuers"

Filmmaker Chris Esper's certainly been quite busy since I first met him in 2013--having produced the 13 episode series In the Bedroom, launching the media production platform and directing a handful of shorts--among those The Deja Vuers.


The 8 minute fantasy comedy follows Chuck () who experiences deja vu when he spots Morgan () sitting on a park bench - a woman that he remembers from a dream but has never really met. When their paths intersect, a portal opens which takes each of their lives into unexpected directions.

Esper and writer have concocted a whimsical little movie that examines how we relate to our past, while living in the present, hoping for a better future. The chemistry between Salvi and Devine is quite good--leading to some very humorous back and forth. Morgan clearly wants nothing to do with Chuck--while he hopes to score a date (at least).

The fantasy element of the piece is elevated--thanks to the gorgeous cinematography by 
Evan Schneider. It has a dream like quality to it with its soft lighting and use of saturated coloring. It reminds me of the way that the legendary Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A Space Odyssey) used to photograph films. Esper's light touch certainly knows how to draw the viewer in--using a very simple filming approach and getting the most from what he has. Less is more if you will. It works beautifully here.
 

The Deja Vuers has received some well deserved attention on the festival circuit--and shows no signs of stopping.

, and also star in the film.

Be sure to read my review of Esper's short film Still Life and the interview I conducted with him shortly thereafter. Also check out my review of "Always a Reason" and  "Steak Knives"--from his filmography. You can follow Esper on Twitter by clicking here. Get news about Stories in Motion on Facebook

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer 2: "Don't Do Amything Stupid"

The action packed 2nd trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped during this week's CinemaCon


The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baywatch Full Trailer: "I Can't Save You, If You're Being A D**K!"

The full trailer for the Baywatch Movie swam ashore today....



The film puts a comedic spin on the worldwide success of the TV show that ran from 1989–2001 charting the exploits and rescues of a team of lifeguards--ala 21 Jump Street

Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, , Izabel Goulart, Charlotte McKinney and  all star in the film.

 Series stars David Hassehoff and Pamela Anderson are both set to appear.

In late 2011 "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan and Jeremy Garelick had reportedly finished their script then--Reno 911 creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to work on the pic at one point as well In June 2012, JustinTimberlake was linked to play a disgraced former Olympic swimmer forced to join the Baywatch crew as part of a community service. But that fell apart and now Efron fills those swim trunks

Justin Malen did a rewrite but Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the latest draft of the script

Seth Gordon directed the picture.

Ivan Reitman, Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the pic.

The Paramount release is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2017.

 BE WARNED THE FOOTAGE INCLUDES DIALOGUE AND INTENSE IMAGES THAT ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS....PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Mark Battle's "Here Lies Joe"

The short film Here Lies Joe touches on a subject matter that, unfortunately, hits very close to home for me...Suicide. The good news is that it manages to entertain while at the same time send a message of hope.


In the 23 minute film plays the title character--a depressed man who finds himself attending a support group where he meets Z () who turns his plans for the day upside down.

Director , who also co-wrote the script with Pamela Conway, uses what he has here and produces great product. The chemistry between Battle and Morrow is off the chart. The duo play meet cute in an oddly effective way given the subject matter--Some Hollywood produced rom-coms have less of that key element with a two hour narrative than "Joe" has within its format.

Battle's cinematography deserves a mention as well--the film makes the most out of its New Hampshire and Massachusetts locales.  The film deserves your attention--once it has it--hopefully the all important conversation can begin.....


, , and also appear in the film. You can check out the trailer and the Sweven Films Facebook page for additional information about this talented team.

If you, or someone you know is having difficulty, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255

Monday, February 13, 2017

TLR Alert--Getting Older Sucks

Late last night I pulled a muscle in my right leg....The discomfort is there to be sure...I have already been in touch with my doctor about a course of action. A visit will likely take place over the next few days. I have a bit of swelling--thankfully it's not too bad. Some 20 years ago I did a similar thing to my right shoulder while lifting weights--and that took a few weeks to work its way out. I don't feel quite as knotted this time as I did back then. Of course this happens right before a busy week. Rest assured that I will be fine...things are well in hand.

My social media presence may be lighter while I recover. Thanks in advance for understanding...Remember to stay positive and live life happy...

All the best.
T

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

RIP Carrie Fisher (1956 –2016)

Absolutely heartbroken over the death of actress and author Carrie Fisher...

As Princess Leia she was strong feisty and fun as was Fisher herself--like a lot of you--a piece of my childhood was ripped from me today. Sure she will live on in the Star Wars films that she completed, including Star Wars: Episode VIII out next year...

Beyond the "galaxy far, far away" there was so much more to her. Click here for details about her extraordinary life and career.



Fisher once said that no matter how she dies, all obituaries should read that her cause of death be listed as having “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra”.

Rest well....And Thank You....The world will miss your talent wit and wisdom

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Review

I was a big skeptic of this new Disney phase of the Star Wars franchise, but Rogue One has won me over. Here’s why…


(Note: this review is aimed to be as spoiler-free as possible, however it’s pretty hard to talk about this movie without spoiling at least parts of it, so if you’re intent on avoiding any and all details, I advise you skip reading this and just go watch it yourself.)

On a scale of “Casual Fan” to “Grandiose Star Wars Nerd”, I fall squarely into the second category.

Being an OCD completionist since childhood, I have an obsession with continuity, so when it came to Star Wars I’ve always felt compelled to know it all.

People like me live for the insider thrill of knowing the secret history of an alien in the background, and sneaky cameos were pretty much the only redeeming quality of the prequel trilogy for me.

So naturally, the child in me died a little when he found out that Disney was re-setting the entire millennia-spanning storyline surrounding the actual movies. But what about the First Sith Empire? The iconic blue-skinned Admiral Thrawn? Han and Leia’s twin Jedi children?? Poof, gone.

At least, gone in the sense that they no longer count towards any new films or franchise content. And that’s a deep blow to someone who can tell you who originally stole the Death Star plans. (It was Kyle Katarn, in case you were wondering.)

There’s a point to this self-aggrandizing, and it’s this: people like me are among Disney’s toughest customers when it comes to the Star Wars franchise. It was going to take a whole lot to get me on board with this “new” Star Wars universe, and The Force Awakens didn’t quite manage it. Episode VII felt like a recycle of A New Hope, right down to a force-sensitive orphan starting on a desert planet suspiciously like Tatooine and a quest to destroy another super weapon.

Rogue One finally offers a large-scale exploration of this ‘new’ universe without being tied to the Skywalker storyline, and it’s arguably the biggest departure from any previous movies. No Jedi here: just desperate soldiers in a fight for survival.


In particular, we get a really good look at the Rebel Alliance beyond the glossy do-gooder sheen of the original trilogy. This is an Alliance on the verge of internal collapse, full of infighting and radical factions that threaten to turn the whole uprising inside out. Even some of the ‘heroes’ have done a few things they aren’t proud of in the name of taking down the Empire.

The closest thing we even get to a Jedi is Chirrut Imwe (played by martial arts movie star Donnie Yen), once a protector of the ancient Jedi ruins on the planet Jedha, now cast adrift by the Imperial occupation. His lifetime devotion to the Jedi and his blindness offer him some access to the powers of the Force, but even those are very limited (think of it as a toned-down Daredevil ninja sense).

The characters in this story don’t have the benefit of ghostly Jedi appearing to give them clues or Force powers to open locked doors, either. They have to rely on their wits, luck, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to finish the job—even dying.

Speaking of which, the plot-armor of ‘destiny’ is not totally active on these characters; people die in this film, and not just extras. This adds a much-needed level of tension because we obviously know they’re going to find the Death Star plans, since we’ve all seen Episode IV. However, that certainty is overshadowed by the realization that yes, they do find the plans, but at what cost?


This film certainly has its flaws. The absence of any real planning before the final assault feels very unrealistic. The CGI face of Peter Cushing sits too deep in the uncanny valley (the place where things are just real enough to be creepy, but not convincing). There’s a whole lot of planet jumping, and yet we somehow still end up spending too much time on yet another desert planet. I could go on.

But, even with my inherent disappointment in the franchise handover, and even with all its flaws, I was willing to put aside all of my skepticism within the first 20 minutes because the loving care taken in world-building made me feel like I was getting another insider glimpse into the larger Star Wars world.

And, at the end of the day, that’s all fans like me really want.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Superman The Movie: The Gift Of Flight

38 years ago today Richard Donner's Superman The Movie opened in theaters--and the "modern" superhero film genre was born. While I would not see the film for another 8 months--I remember that special day Like It Was Yesterday.

The picture gave me a love for cinema and put me on a path--that shaped my life.




The late great writer Tom Mankiewicz Talks Superman....and then read Superman-The Movie: The Inside Story according to Donner....

Here composer John Williams conducts the Boston Pops playing the rousing theme that he wrote for the film.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Spider-Man: Homecoming Peeks

The first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped on Jimmy Kimmel Live


The film stars Tom Holland Robert Downey Jr., , Marisa Tomei, Logan Marshall-Green, Donald Glover, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Michael Mando, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Michael Barbieri, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Zendaya, and Jon Favreau.

The story takes Peter back to High School and follows events chronicled in Captain America: Civil War where Holland made his debut as the wall-crawler as he takes on the Vulture played by Keaton 

The Sony Pictures and Marvel reboot is being directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis DaleyChristopher FordChris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

The movie is currently set to be released on July 7th, next year.



An International trailer was also released:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Baywatch Teaser Trailer: "You Don't Get To Say That"

I am back as the first trailer for the Baywatch movie drops...and with that the peek promises the summer event plans to deliver as advertised...


The film puts a comedic spin on the worldwide success of the TV show that ran from 1989–2001 charting the exploits and rescues of a team of lifeguards--ala 21 Jump Street

Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, , Izabel Goulart, Charlotte McKinney and  all star in the film.

 Series stars David Hassehoff and Pamela Anderson are both set to appear.

In late 2011 "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan and Jeremy Garelick had reportedly finished their script then--Reno 911 creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to work on the pic at one point as well In June 2012, JustinTimberlake was linked to play a disgraced former Olympic swimmer forced to join the Baywatch crew as part of a community service. But that fell apart and now Efron fills those swim trunks

Justin Malen did a rewrite but Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the latest draft of the script

Seth Gordon directed the picture.

Ivan Reitman, Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the pic.

The Paramount release is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2017.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween: My Decades Long Friendship With Michael Myers

Halloween is my favorite holiday...This is the time of year where I tune in to see which horror movie is currently playing on TV as part of the annual AMC FearFest at least twice a day. Or I will just pull out a bunch of my favorites from the personal collection and have my own marathon. I own more horror flicks than other genres....The total number is probably in the 100s....I purposely started TLR 11 years ago this week to ensure that the anniversary would be tied to the date--no really...and it all began with John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween. Like Richard Donner's Superman--The Movie helped shape my life and who I am--the scare-filled flick film did the same...


I was too young to see it during its initial theatrical run...3 years later I remember watching the premiere of the now famous TV Version....in which 12 minutes of footage was added to replace the more violent material of the original cut. These scenes were shot simultaneously with "Halloween II" in 1981...Anyway--I was hooked--Even in its edited form it scared the bejeebus out of me! My Mom was not happy with me after I disobeyed her and watched it anyway. Sorry Mom--So glad I disobeyed you.



What can one say about the performances of Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis and a very young Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode...

One of the strengths of the film is its ability to scare viewers using suspense and shock-without having to depend on gore--to tell its story.

Written by Carpenter and the late Debra Hill--the tale follows masked killer Michael Myers institutionalized since childhood for killing his older sister--he escapes and returns home on October 31st to continue his spree while doctor Loomis tries to stop him.


Halloween was produced on a budget of $300,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, and $70 million worldwide, equivalent to roughly $267 million as of 2016, becoming one of the most profitable independent films.

A cluster of sequels and one remake and its sequel later--not to mention countless imitators--and here we are.. For me, the original Halloween is one classic that just can't be topped...even after multiple viewings. In fact if you read my review of Rob Zombie's 2007 remake of the 1978 classic--you know that I loathe nearly everything about the film...Hard to believe then that I think Zombie's Halloween II was even worse!!!

The Halloween film franchise has been stalled for a number of years now while everyone wrestles with where to take the series next...There is reason to be hopeful with the news that Carpenter will executive produce the next movie--we shall see· One thing is certain Zombie's timeline will not be revisited and that is a great thing folks.

Happy Halloween everyone! "Sleep Tight Kids!"

A special thanks to my older sister Karen for watching Halloween on TV with me all those years ago and sharing a very special experience with me...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering The Fallen...

Taking time to honor those who died 15 years ago... September 11, 2001...when America was attacked...


3,000 of our citizens murdered...



Today Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood, now has a fitting National Memorial & Museum in its place after it was nothing more than a gigantic hole for far too long...



The Pentagon has been rebuilt and restored...



A memorial was dedicated in 2011 to the passengers and flight crew of United Flight 93-The jet-liner, hijacked by the terrorists was brought down by those brave folks in Shanksville Pennsylvania--before hitting the intended target....



Yes mastermind Osama Bin Laden, was killed by U.S. Forces in Pakistan during a firefight in 2011 but still WE MUST NEVER FORGET....EVER....

My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families---but especially to the family of Nicholas W. Brandemarti

Nick's Name On The Memorial

For More Be Sure To Visit The September 11 Digital Archive

Terrorists and their sympathizers are still killing our citizens--like James Foley and Steven Sotloff--or those in the San Bernardino attack in California and more recently the Orlando nightclub shooting in Florida--this evil must be confronted...and defeated....

Thursday, September 08, 2016

"American Assassin" Gets Some Girl Power

Variety reports that Sanaa Lathan (The Perfect Guy, Now You See Me 2) and Shiva Negar (Four In The Morning, The Art Of More) have joined the cast of "American Assassin".


Based on author Vince Flynn's eleventh Mitch Rapp novel that charts a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton), who would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency actually knew of his existence. CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Lathan) tasks him with training a black ops recruit (NJ native "The Maze Runner," and "Teen Wolf" star Dylan O'Brien) devastated by the loss of his fiancee to a terrorist attack. The pair is eventually dispatched to go on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (former Friday Night Lights TV fave Taylor Kitsch) from kicking off a global war.

 Should the film spawn a few sequels Lathan's Kennedy could return

"Kill the Messenger" director Michael Cuesta will call action from an adapted screenplay written by Stephen Schiff.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the film.

Production kicked off this month in London and Budapest.

Star Trek Turns 50: "Crazy To Get To Space"

September 8th 1966 "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

With those words creator Gene Roddenberry's (1920-1991) vision of the future was born..Time now for TLR's 50th anniversary tribute to the space odyssey known as Star Trek...


The first time I saw the crew of the starship U.S.S Enterprise in action was, appropriately enough, in a darkened movie theater--watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the winter of 1980.

In retrospect, the film is not the best cinematic effort in the franchise, but as a young boy, there was just enough to get me hooked...From the great opening battle sequence between the Klingons and the "destructive force" known as "V'Ger" to seeing the ship warp through space for the first time, and composer Jerry Goldsmith's (1929-2004) best film score--I was loving it...Ironically the film franchise might not have ever left space dock were it not for the blockbuster release of Star Wars in 1977.

From that point on, I watched every episode of the original series in syndication, taking it all in--the characters, the (cheesy) special effects and the underlying message of a hopeful future.

By the time Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan came around 2 and a half years later, I had seen every episode dozens of times and was ready for a new adventure. What can I say? The film is hands down my favorite of the film series 

Khan Noonien Singh is the genetically enhanced human--An American Sikh of the 1967 episode  called Space Seed played both times by the great Ricardo Montalban...We met Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch 1942–1996) and the protegee' Saavik () both of whom left a lasting impression. The film also finally gives Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Scotty ( (1920- 2005) a chance to show some range...Director and producer Harve Bennett (1930–2015) whipped up a tale that saved the film series.

 KAAAHN!!!
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) resolved key plot points from the second film and gave us a few more in the process--A very well done middle chapter of a three part story. Spock (Leonard Nimoy who also directed) is resurrected of course, but at a high price--the death of Kirk's (William Shatner) son David (Merritt Butrick 1959-1989), the destruction of the Enterprise, and the crew's Starfleet careers in doubt.. Be sure to read my recent chat with "Search" co-star actor Stephen Manley
. I am so very lucky to be able to call Stephen a friend...

Two years later came Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home-One of the most financially successful and critically acclaimed Trek films so far...Lightened the mood of three's more somber tone as the crew travels back to the late 20th century to save mankind, our future and the Humpback Whale... The humor is situational rather than campy...

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier from 1989--Shatner directs as the crew (now on board the Enterprise A) finds Spock's half brother Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) who's on his own quest to find "God". Yikes! Uhura (Nichelle Nichols)  dances almost naked.. Still better than 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis (despite bad guy Shinzon being played by then up and comer Tom Hardy) with the The Next Generation crew which helped put the entire franchise on hiatus. Thanks a lot...



Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)--As Dr. McCoy. my favorite original series character (DeForest Kelley 1920-1999) says in the film "What A Way To Finish" Meyer (Star Trek II, and IV) returns to co-write and direct the last film to feature the entire original series cast...As the Klingons start talking peace with Starfleet. Sulu (George Takei) is promoted to Captain his own ship and the crew goes out on top. One nit-pick: the film's "mystery" and big United Federation of Planets conspiracy is not that hard to figure out.

There were of course 4 other films with the TNG cast.... Star Trek: Generations allowed for Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) to meet James T Kirk via the time pocket called the Nexus with mixed results.


TNG's Jonathan Frakes, best known to Trekkers as Commander Riker helmed 1996's Star Trek: First Contact  that took in $150 million worldwide, on a budget of $46 million. The rollicking time travel story sees the crew confronting the most lethal Borg and their hive queen (Alice Krige)

Frakes also called action on 1998's Star Trek: Insurrection which had a budget of $70 million and only returned $118 million worldwide. Bad guy Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham) was stuck with the plan of trying to take over a Fountain of Youth planet--Ho Hum....

4 additional TV series spin offs: TNG, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (the most under appreciated member of the "family"), Voyager, and Enterprise were produced. Voyager had its merits while the prequel Enterprise made this Trekker want to watch reruns of TOS, TNG, or DS9 instead.

A few years later Enterprise ended its run--putting the whole franchise in Spacedock... Then a few years later director J.J. Abrams, along with writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman created an alternate history--dubbed The Kelvin Timeline--that debuted in 2009. The team cast Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin (1989-2016) and John Cho as Kirk Spock Uhura Dr. McCoy Scotty Chekov and Sulu. Nimoy's (1931–2015) return helped sell the reboot Shatner's Kirk was originally in the script for a cameo in the '09 film but the notion was nixed.

After that successfully concocted recipe shot the stagnant franchise in the arm--the team was off and running. Despite making $467 million worldwide, "Star Trek Into Darkness" still divides the core fanbase...Thanks to the fact that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch's baddie "John Harrison" in the sequel is really Khan in the rebooted timeline....Before STID opened I was totally against the notion of reimaging Kahn and stated my position loudly...Once I saw the film I was won over in large measure because of Cumby's magnetic portrayal ...All of that said though it's widely regarded that Montalban's version is the best Trek villain in its 50 year history. The STID debate will continue...

Fast and the Furious film franchise director Justin Lin took over directing duties for this year's Star Trek Beyond after Abrams went off to steer Star Wars: Episode VII. Pegg co-wrote  the script with Doug Jung, creator of TNT's short-lived "Dark Blue" series and writer of the upcoming Bad Robot film "Diamond".  For the most part the story works very well. My biggest gripe with "Beyond" is the big bad Krall (Idris Elba) and the handling of his muddled motive and backstory. Nimoy's passing in the real world is handled nicely in the film.


Next year sees the debut of the sixth series of the franchise called  Star Trek: Discovery with former Trek writer Bryan Fuller running the show--literally--with an assist from Meyer and other Trek vets. The show is another prequel--sitting 10 years before TOS. We were also told that the CBS All Access program will feature a female lead and a gay character. I really don't like that CBS is putting this on their pay streaming service--and do we really need another prequel? Just sayin'!!

Some personal Trek reflections....

Throughout the 90's I attended more than my fair share of conventions. At one such event in Valley Forge PA. I was in the "Golden Circle" VIP line right at the front--with my friends Joe and Elyse. The next thing I know a member of the security staff walks over to me and asks: "Do you wanna meet Mr. Shatner a little early before we let everybody else in?"

I looked at my pals and then said to him "All of us...?"

He said, "Sorry no just you".

Turning to my two cohorts I had no intention of going in without them...The good friends that they are coaxed me saying "You gotta do it!!!" No regrets. I was going to have some alone time with the Shat!!! The extra slotted time amounted to maybe a minute or so...

My mind was racing! What would I say? I had to make it count!! I didn't want to blow my once in a lifetime opportunity....This was it! I go into the room as Mr. Shatner is taking his seat--preparing to meet his fans from behind a long table. In that moment I found myself becoming extremely fidgety. I remember muttering my name and he said  "Nice to meet you Tom!" He could tell that I was nervous and tried to put me at ease by extending his arm out for a handshake. At this point I am probably perspiring like a groom on his wedding day....We shook hands and exchanged smiles as everyone else began filing in....As awkward as the encounter was for me it was a moment I will always treasure...My brush with Trek's biggest star....


Another convention highlight came when I got to see De Kelly on stage at one of his final appearances. Pure joy. I am getting goosebumps even now as I type this...The hall was electric and you could feel the floor vibrate as the audience got on its feet to greet him. I could have listened to his stories forever. What a warm and funny rascal he was. 


To me McCoy is original Trek's most human character and thus someone I could really relate to. I loved them all to be sure--but Kelly's portrayal stood out...The way Urban plays the character in the reboot films is spot on and thus the latest incarnation of Bones is my favorite in the new films as well.

Trek has given me the opportunity to meet some great people. Among them writer William Stape. We met in college over 20 years ago and remain friends to this day. I interviewed him for a paper that I was writing for a Journalism class--after finding out through a mutual friend that he had written and sold a script to the producers of TNG.


After graduation I came home to the news that my mom had Cancer and the prognosis was not good...My entire world was upside down. At the time a DS9 episode called Life Support hit the air. The story saw one of the show's most popular recurring characters sustain a serious injury--slowly but surely as hard as he fought he was dying a little at a time...All that those around him could do was watch--helpless. I was living that "no win scenario" aka The Kobayashi Maru. As strange as it may sound and as difficult as it was for me to watch--The episode helped me to put that devastating time in perspective--getting me through--comforting me to know that, it's gonna take awhile, but it was going to be OK. I told all of this to Will. Soon after he reached out to producer/writer Ronald D. Moore who penned "Life" and he in turn sent me a very nice handwritten letter of thanks and sympathy as well as some DS9 memorabilia following mom's passing that Summer. 

I will always be grateful to Moore and Will for those gestures of support and kindness--that's the power of Star Trek folks.

Longtime readers may recall that Will was my one time Blog Talk Radio cohort and is an occasional guest contributor for the blog. He wrote the original script for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that became Homeward--as well as the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine segment Prophet Motive. Will's latest book--Star Trek Sex: Analyzing the Most Sexually Charged Episodes of the Original Series is available now...He also writes great stuff for OMNI.

Star Trek also helped to cultivate my keen interest in NASA and it's now defunct Space Shuttle Program.

Star Trek has been with me for a long time. And I imagine it will continue to be until I take my last breath. It, like Richard Donner's Superman--The Movie, helped shape my life and who I am. Both entities have given me so much. As Kirk says in "Wrath" "We've been through death and life together".

To the ever-growing cast and crew of Star Trek, both past and present, a heartfelt thank you....for allowing me to share in all of those voyages you brought to the screen big and small.

And for those yet to come....

Here's to you at 50!


This post is for my sister  Karen who first introduced me to Star Trek via TMP all of those years ago. I love you very much...And always remember to "Beware Romulans bearing gifts"--Unless of course it's a case of Romulan ale--Which can be purchased on the black market here.

As for you my loyal readers may you all "live long and prosper" and thanks again for your support.

"The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning..."