Jun 30, 2006

Upcoming DVD releases July 4th and 11th

Since July 4th will provide us with very little in terms of crime DVDs, we are going to take a look at the next couple of weeks.
July 4th

Charlie’s Angels Season 3
Six-disc set featuring 24 episodes. $49.95
What to say? Ladies stop bad guys and look lovely while doing it. Season three was the last with Kate Jackson. Farah Fawcett Majors returns for three episodes. Season three had guest appearances by Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Urich, Dean Martin, Scatman Crothers (Loved him in Scavenger Hunt!) and Casey Kasem.
July 11
Basic Instinct 2
(2006) Dir.: Michael Caton-Jones; Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis, Hugh Dancy. Rated and unrated editions. Extras: Unrated: Commentary by Caton-Jones, deleted scenes, "Between the Sheets: A Look Inside the Making of Basic Instinct 2," bonus footage. R-rated: Commentary by Caton-Jones, "Between the Sheets: A Look
Inside the Making of Basic Instinct 2." (Sony)So many jokes, so little time. The sequel has Sharon Stone returning without Michael Douglas.Director Caton-Jones past is a mixed bag, he brought us the vastly underrated Memphis Belle as well as Rob Roy, but was also guilty of
inflicting The Jackal on us. Add Basic Instinct 2 to his list of crimes.
The Matador
(2005) Pierce Brosnan, Arlin Miller, Azucena Medina, Jonah Meyerson, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall. Extras: Commentary by writer-director Richard Shepard; commentary by Shepard, Brosnan and Kinnear; "Making of The Matador" featurette; deleted and extended scenes. (Weinstein Co.)
Full review is coming, but the long and short of it is that every single one of you has to buy this. Peirce Bronson is in rare form. I have not seen him shine so brightly since Remington Steele. You can’t help but wonder just what the hell the James Bond producers did to this guy to stifle his charm and charisma.
McCallum: The Complete Series
Five-disc set with nine episodes of the BBC America forensic drama series, $59.98. (Koch Vision). John Hannah stars as Ian McCallum, a forensic pathologist. Apparently you see quite a bit of Hannah’s behind in this series. Not sure if that is good or bad. I suppose it depends on the viewer.
Murder in Suburbia Series I
(2004) Two-disc set with six episodes of the BBC series about two young female homicide detectives who investigate grisly goings-on in England's leafy suburbs; $39.99. (Acorn Media).
While I have not seen this, I have heard it is excellent. Any of our British friends that might be able to say a few words are welcome to do so.
Perry Mason: Season one vol 1
Five disc-set featuring the first 19 episodes from season one. Raymond Burr (Paramount)
Raymond Burr in the role he became synonymous with. I would say more people knew him as Perry then knew his actual name. Season one contained a mind boggling 39 episodes. This is the first volume and contains the first 19. Of course I pointed that out in the description so now I am just being redundant.
Weeds: Season One
Single disc with 10 episodes, $39.98. Extras: "Smoke & Mirrors" original marijuana mockumentary narrated by Romany Malco; Agrestic "herbal" recipes; "Smokey Snippits" humorous "extras" from cast interviews; "Suburban Shakedown" featurette; commentary by show writer-creator Jenji Kohan, actors Kevin Nealon, Romany Malco, Tonye Patano and Craig X on selected episodes; Showtime original series shorts 1 & 2: Q & A's with the cast; Showtime original "Weeds" special; "More than a Friend" All Too Much music video. (Lionsgate).
This show is an absolute gem. Mary Louis Parker finally finds a show to call home. Kevin Nealon is amazingly good in Weeds. I have never been a fan and don’t find myself wanting to climb into the television to choke him. Full review to come, but this is worth getting.
Jeremy Lynch

SHowtime series: Brotherhood - July 9th

Amidst the weathered row houses and rust-barnacled tugboats framing the port city of Providence, Rhode Island, lies an Irish-American neighborhood known as “The Hill.” There, the old-world ways of street justice and loyalty still permeate through the tough blue-collar neighborhood. It is where the familial bonds of the Caffee brothers are constantly teetering above a moral abyss, something akin to the classic sibling fable of Cain and Abel.

It is this tradition that the new SHOWTIME original series, BROTHERHOOD follows. BROTHERHOOD tells the story of two brothers who sometimes share a twisted sense of moral compromise — both with their own skewed, idealistic visions of what makes the American dream. They live the lie that noble ends can sometimes only be accomplished through dubious means.

Tommy Caffee (JASON CLARKE) is a family man whose ambition and street smarts help him navigate the back-room dealings and underhanded tactics of Providence politics. He is a local politician out to protect “The Hill” and its interests by any means necessary. Tommy's complicated family and professional lives turn upside-down with the return of his gangster brother Mike (JASON ISAACS), who has come back to the neighborhood to regain control of its underworld activities.

Caught in the turbulent crossfire of a tense, conflicted relationship between two brothers is their mother, Rose (FIONNULA FLANAGAN), who is proud of both sons, to the point where she turns a blind eye to Mike's shady, sometimes deadly dealings — even when he passes her counterfeit money as a gift.

Then there is Tommy's wife, Eileen (ANNABETH GISH), who tirelessly supports her husband but is constantly wary of how Mike potentially places Tommy and their children in harm's way.

Their path is a minefield of shifting alliances, leaving the brothers constantly in doubt about who they can trust. Mike's close confidante, Pete McGonagle (STIVI PASKOSKI), is a recovering alcoholic struggling to stay straight but who easily reverts back to his role as Mike's enforcer. Then there is competing gangland boss Freddie Cork (KEVIN CHAPMAN), who regularly threatens Tommy with blackmail (or Mike's life) in order to secure sweetheart city contracts.

Even if Tommy can protect his brother Mike's life and business interests with his own brand of backroom dealings, he knows that police detective Declan Giggs (ETHAN EMBRY) is always lurking in surveillance and monitoring his every move.

Driven by their mutual resentment and rivalry, the Caffee brothers embark on a dangerous course, where their love and loyalty will be tested like never before. The duality of both men and their lives interweave to create a volatile dynamic that could destroy both of them…and both of their families.

Jun 26, 2006

Special Limited time offer

The Next ten people to subscribe to Crimespree online get an extra issue free.
That's 7 issues instead of 6, $42 worth of magazines for $26 US, $36 outside the US.

If you are one of the first ten I'll notify you by email.

I'm also gong to give away a free book to two of the next 20 subscribers, to be picked at random.

Subscribe to Crimespree here

Jun 25, 2006

From the ashes of The West Wing comes Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

NBC picks up new show from the creators of The West Wing.

In my last Eye On Hollywood, I fawned over Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Now it might seem strange for a person to rave about a show that does not yet exist, except that this is the new show from Aaron Sorkin. For those of you not familiar with him, Sorkin is the genius behind The West Wing and Sports Night. I don't often use the term "genius" but this guy is one.

For those of you that not heard of Studio 60, let me toss some info your way: It is the behind the scenes look at a late night sketch comedy show(Think Saturday Night Live). It stars the following people:
Matthew Perry of Friends.
Bradley Whittford: Emmy-winning actor from The West Wing.
Amada Peet of Identity and The Whole Nine Yards.
Steven Weber of Wings
D.L. Hughley of The Hughleys
Timothy Busfield: Came to prominence on Thirtysomething but has also starred in a truckload of films and has had a recurring role on The West Wing.

Here is a link to a 6 minute trailer for the show. It is scheduled(The show, not the trailer) to air at 9pm central time, on NBC, on Monday nights.
It will also air, in England, on Channel 4, and on CTV in Canada.

I have read the script for the pilot and will say this: Anyone that enjoyed Sports Night or the first four seasons of The West Wing will love it.
I am one seriously happy camper.

Jeremy Lynch

October will see new Bogart box set full of goodies.

On October 3rd, Warner Home Video will be releasing Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection - Volume 2. This set will have a SRP of $59.99 and features a new 3 dvd set of The Maltese Falcon, as well as the dvd debut of Across The Pacific, Action in the North Atlantic, All Through the Night and Passage to Marseille.
Listed below are the details for each title:

The Maltese Falcon Three-Disc Special Edition (1941) This nominee for three Academy Awards Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Greenstreet) and Screenplay (Huston) solidified Bogarts stardom and launched John Hustons illustrious directorial career. An all-star cast (including Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Jr.) joins Bogart in this classic film noir story, based on the novel by Dashell Hammett, about hard-boiled detective Sam Spade (Bogart) and the gallery of lowlifes hes after to find his partners killer as well as the jewel-encrusted life size statue of a falcon. The Maltese Falcon was added to the National Film Registry in 1989 and is #23 on the American Film Institutes (AFI) List of 100 Greatest Movies.
Disc One Special Features: New digital transfer of 1941 movie from restored elements Commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax Warner
Night at the Movies
1941 short subjects gallery:
Vintage Newsreel
Oscar®-Nominated Technicolor musical short The Gay Parisian
Classic Cartoon: Oscar® nominee Hiawathas Rabbit Hunt
Trailers of The Maltese Falcon and 1941s Sergeant York
Languages: English & French (1941 movie only)
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (1941 movie only)
Disc Two Special Features: 2 Previous movie versions of the classic Hammett caper: The Maltese Falcon (1931) with Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez Satan Met a Lady (1936) with Bette Davis and Warren William
Theatrical trailers
Disc Three Special Features: New Documentary The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird Robert Osborne Hosts Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart
Breakdowns of 1941: Studio Blooper Reel
Audio-only bonus: 3 radio show adaptations featuring the movies original stars including a version starring Edward G. Robinson

Across the Pacific (1942) The winning team from The Maltese Falcon is reunited for Across the Pacific. This crisply written wartime thriller reunites three Falcon leads -- Bogart, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet. The Maltese Falcon's John Huston directs this reunion, and once again, the combination of stars and director comes up a winner. Here Bogart plays counterspy Rick Leland who trades romantic barbs with Alberta (Mary Astor), matches wits with sly Lorenz (Sydney Greenstreet) and swaps bullets with saboteurs of the Panama Canal.
DVD Special Features: Warner Night at the Movies
1942 Short Subjects Gallery:
Vintage newsreel
Patriotic Technicolor short Men of the Sky
Classic cartoon The Draft Horse
Trailers of Across the Pacific and 1942s Captains of the Clouds
New featurette Hollywood Helps the Cause
Breakdowns of 1942: Studio Blooper Reel
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (feature film only)

Action in the North Atlantic (1943) This World War II salute to the Merchant Marines is an action-filled voyage of a besieged freighter and shows how the role of these men supplying the war effort was the lifeblood of democracys arsenal. Humphrey Bogart, a World War I seaman and an avid recreational sailor, stars as First Officer Joe Rossi who, along with his captain (Raymond Massey), matches tactics with U-boats and the Luftwaffe. The tactics were so on target that this became a Merchant Marine training film.
DVD Special Features: Warner Night at the Movies
1943 short subjects gallery:
Vintage newsreel
Musical short Cavalcade of Dance
Classic cartoon Greetings Bait
Trailers of Action in the North Atlantic and 1943s Northern Pursuit
New featurette Credit Where Credit Is Due
Audio-only bonus: radio show with George Raft and Raymond Massey
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (feature film only)

All Through the Night (1942) In this comedy thriller, Bogart had fun in the change-of-pace role of Gloves Donahue, a NY gambler and petty crook. Gloves is definitely more interested in his racing sheet and favourite cheesecake than he is in current events, until the baker gets bumped off, and that changes everything. The fun is winningly contagious in a spoof that pits him against Nazi spies.
DVD Special Features: Commentary by director Vincent Sherman and Bogart biographer Eric Lax
Warner Night at the Movies
1942 short subjects gallery:
Vintage newsreel
Joe Doakes comedy short So You Want to Give Up Smoking
C lassic cartoon Lights Fantastic
Trailers of All Through the Night and 1942s Gentleman Jim
New featurette Call the Usual Suspects: The Craft of the Character Actor
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (feature film only)

Passage to Marseille (1944) Humphrey Bogart reunites with director Michael Curtiz and other key Casablanca personnel (including co-stars Claude Raines, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet). Bogart plays Jean Matrac, a World War II French patriot who escapes Devils Island, survives a dangerous freighter voyage and becomes a gunner in the Free French Air Corps.
DVD Special Features: Warner Night at the Movies
1944 short subjects gallery
Vintage newsreel
Oscar®-winning patriotic short I Wont Play and Oscar® nominee Jammin the Blues
Classic cartoon The Weakly Reporter
Trailers of Passage to Marseille and 1944' Uncertain Glory
New featurette The Free French: Forgotten Unsung Victors
Breakdowns of 1944: Studio Blooper Reel
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (feature film only)

Jeremy Lynch

Jun 24, 2006

All time best movies?

All this talk around the web about judging got me thinking about how I never agree with top 100 lists for anything.

It then got me thinking about trying to put together my own list.

What are you top ten favorite movies? Any movies, any gerne for any reason.

Mine are (at least this morning):
In no particular order

The Great Escape
Die Hard
French Kiss
The Excorcist
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
Lord Of Illusions
The Ref

DVD Review - The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen special edition
Warner Home Video

For the two of you that are not familiar with The Dirty Dozen, let me set the scene: Lee Marvin plays a tough Major that is” volunteered” to lead a mission into Nazi Germany. He is to lead a band of imprisoned thugs, killers and crazies (The clinical term for them is “whackjob”) who will earn their freedom…should they survive.

To say this film is a classic would be an understatement. The Dirty Dozen created a genre. Many films have been done along these lines, but none have nailed it quite so wonderfully. The cast is truly star-studded with the likes of Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, George Kennedy, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Jim Brown.

This Special Edition is loaded to the gills with all sorts of fun bonus features. Though I must confess I would not call the addition of the 1985 sequel, The Dirty Dozen: the next mission, a bonus, it is more like penance. Despite the inclusion of that painful film, this package really gives great bang for your buck. There is an old Marine Corps recruitment video that features Lee Marvin. How could anyone resist Lee Marvin’s request to serve his or her county? There is also an audio commentary featuring members of the cast, the author of the novel and the military advisor to the film. This group gives an interesting mix of filming anecdotes and historical facts. These are just the tip of the iceberg as far as extras go.

The bottom line is: This is The Dirty Dozen and should be in every film lover’s library.
Jeremy Lynch

Jun 23, 2006

DVD Review - 16 Blocks

16 Blocks
Warner Home Video

Say what you want, about Bruce Willis, he usually delivers the goods, as he does in 16 Blocks, directed by Richard Donner. Grey haired, fat, limping from one drink to the next his character, Jack Mosley, is a mess when he draws the assignment to get a witness to the Grand Jury by 10am.

Mos Def plays the witness, Eddie Bunker, and rather nicely, once you get past his irritating voice, which you do. Eddie has the goods on some corrupt cops who think life would be better if he were dead and Mosley has a reason to live, keeping Eddie alive, despite the best efforts of his former partner played to the hilt by David Morse.

While not quite a remake, this one owes a bunch to Clint Eastwoods' "The Gauntlet" but it's a way better film.

By the way, the alternative ending isn't. I mean it was the original ending but lacked the 'warm fuzzies' studios like so much, so be sure to check it out. The director and writers commentary is very worth a look as well.

Lee Crawford

Jun 22, 2006


I just fell in love again. Three times in two hours…. no I’m not getting personal, I’m talking about last year’s Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang. A perfect movie. The writing was spot on. An homage to the pulp novels of the fifties brought up to date. An homage to those classic movie romantic comedies of the thirties. Updated as only Shane Black could do it.
From the opening you are in the movie’s grasp. Everyone looks great. Val Kilmer is back in form, and Robert Downey Jr. is once again acting in the seamless fashion that made him a name long before the tabloids got a hold of his personal life. Michele Monaghan is picture perfect as the girl.
This is a movie for everyone to see and enjoy. Black became famous for his “buddy movie” style (Lethal Weapon)and in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang he shows he has a better grasp on the spirit of this movie sub-genre than anyone with an uncanny ear of what the contemporary viewer wants to see.
This is a movie that will only gain fame as time passes. L.A. will never be the same. Harry Lockhart has come to town and has Gay Perry and Harmony to back his play.

So I’m in love with the movie, in love with the director and in love with the cast. And I haven’t even seen the special features yet.

Shane Black has made some of my favorite movies and in my opinion this could be the best one he's done. I love the fact that a running thread throughout the film is the "Johnny Gossmer" books ( which look just like the Matt Shayne books right down to the McGinnis covers). Robert Downey Jr was at his best playing a bumbling crook who luucks into a movie audition. Kilmer is a PI hired to train him to be a PI. And just like in the old PI books they end up working two cases which connect and wind around each other.

Truly a great film that I will be watching again and again.


Jun 17, 2006

Hey kids, we have a bit of a quiet week in regards to crime films. Here is what we go:
June 20
Charlie Chan Collection vol 1
(Charlie Chan In London (1934), Charlie Chan In Paris (1935), Charlie Chan In Egypt (1935) and Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935)) $59.98 Extras: The Legacy of Charlie Chan featurette, In Search of Charlie Chan featurette,The Real Charlie Chan featurette ,Eran Trece Fullscreen Feature (79mins),Charlie Chan In London Theatrical Trailer, Eran Trece Theatrical Trailer. (Fox) If you are a Charlie Chan fan, this will likely put you in Heaven. A box set chocked full of films and extras.

NYPD Blue: Season 4
Four-disc set $39.98 (Fox)

Sippowitz, Bobby and the gang solve more crimes while being pensive. Not sure whose fanny we see this season.

$28.98 Dir: Stephan Gaghan; George Clooney Extras: Additional Scenes, featurette: Make a Change, Make a Difference,Conversation with George Clooney. (Warner)

Like his politics or not, George Clooney has come a long way since The Peacemaker. See the film that won him an Oscar. Note: There are a couple of scenes that are not for the squeamish.

Next week will bring us new seasons of Monk and Columbo. See ya then.

DVD Review - I Wake Up Screaming

I Wake Up Screaming(1941)
Fox Film Noir

I Wake Up Screaming starring Betty Grable of pin-up fame, Victor Mature and Carol Landis,directed by H. Bruce Humberstone. is visually stunning for a black and white movie. The lighting and composition of this very early if not first Film Noir is the best I've ever seen. Granted it seems a bit cliched now but remember, they were minting the cliches here.Throw in a good story and decent or better acting and you have a winning flick in this oft overlooked work.

Sports promoter Frankie Christofer picks up a waitress in a diner and decides to make her a star- until somebody murders her. Coppers think he did it and so does everyone else except her sister, who's in love with him and willing to help him clear himself.

So who dun it? A green-eyed sister? Frankie? The newspaperman? The washed up actor? or the lead investigator for the police?(Whaaa...?) Nicely twisted ending.

Listen to the commentary by Film Noir historian Eddie Muller, a pretty entertaining guy in his own right.

If you are a fan of Noir, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.

Lee Crawford

Buy I Wake Up Screaming

DVD Review - Firewall

Warner Home Video

The last decade has not been too kind to Mr. Ford, but then to be fair his choice in films has resulted in some fairly unpleasant cinema experiences for we the viewing audience as well. Anybody remember Hollywood Homicide? That is 116 minutes of my life I will never get back. This time around, Ford is heading back to comfortable territory. He plays Jack Stanfield, head of computer security for a bank. When his family is kidnapped, this everyman must rise up to the level of hero and remove his loved ones from harms way.

All in all, Firewall is an enjoyable action/suspense film. As I said, this is more familiar, more comfortable territory for Ford and it shows. His performance is solid stuff, the kind he has given many times before. The film is also helped by the very talented supporting cast, featuring Robert Patrick, Robert Forster, Virginia Madsen, Paul Bettany and Alan Arkin .Madsen does a great job as the wife. She takes the fairly clich├ęd role of damsel in distress and breaths some life into it. Bettany steps away from his usual nice guy role to play the ruthless leader of the kidnappers. I had absolutely no problem being afraid of him here. His character is a nasty piece of work, don’t EVER take a cookie from him!

Nobody will mistake Firewall for a classic, but it is an entertaining action flick and as good an excuse to make popcorn as you will find.

Jeremy Lynch

Buy Firewall

DVD Review - Mr. and Mrs Smith

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Unrated Collector’s Edition)
Fox Home Video

This movie will likely be remembered as the one that brought together Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. After the filming of this, Brad and Jennifer Aniston divorced. The truth is that Mr. & Mrs. Smith is very entertaining. The charisma of Brad and Angelina individually, as well as their chemistry together, is what makes this film really work.

John and Jane are a married couple that has settled into a…comfortable (Some might say comatose) marriage. It turns out that each of them is using the other as a cover for their real identity as an assassin. When each is hired to take out the other, things start to get interesting. Not only do the bullets fly, the sparks as well. Each remembers what it was about the other that drew them together,

The film is a fun one, with inspired performances by the leads as well as Vince Vaughn. I am not a big fan of Mr. Vaughn, but his performance here is a hoot. The action scenes are entertaining as are the quips that Brad and Angelina trade between punches and bullets.

Among the special features is an alternate ending that I think is MUCH BETTER than the one they chose. We also get to read the pages of the scripted ending which is also better than the ending, The film’s actual ending is a little too cute and doesn’t quite work as far as logic goes as it does not address the fallout of their actions. Still, even that does not prevent this film from shining.
Also included in the bonus features are scene breakdowns that show the process from storyboard to filming. Some very interesting stuff, even if you are not a total film nerd.

All in all, this is a fun edition of a very fun film. You really can’t go wrong picking this one up.

Jeremy Lynch

Buy Mr & Mrs Smith

Jun 15, 2006

Homicide: Life on The Street

Monday night I finished off a bit of work of a Crimespree nature and as such I find myself with a few nights to kick back and not read or think about crime fiction or mysteries. Ironically this coincided with the arrival of two DVD sets, Homicide Seasons Three and Four. These are the only ones I have on disc so far, but they are two of my favorite seasons.

Season three took two sittings and I'm two episodes into season four. I am such a fan of this show. The acting is top notch, the writing incredible, and I love seeing it even more now that I've been to Charm City, Baltimore.

What strikes me most is how this show is utterly re-watchable. I've seen every episode, at least once. Yet I'm wrapped up in the whole thing all over again. This truly is some of the best network television ever made.

Jun 10, 2006

Max Allan Collins - The Black Box Collection: Shades of Neo-Noir

Troma Films has released a box set of Max Allan Collins.

From Amazon:

*MOMMY: 10th Anniversary Edition, which features the movie, the original DVD commentary and a new 2005 commentary, tons of behind-the-scenes and promotional featurettes, writer-director Max Allan Collins reading the original short story the film was based on, and more.

*MOMMY 2 MOMMY'S DAY: 10th Anniversary Edition, which features the movie, the original DVD commentary and a new 2005 commentary, two interviews with costar Patty McCormack conducted by director Max Allan Collins, and more.

*REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS MARKET, which is the same as the single-disc release of this movie -- with a multi-angle option throughout the film, multiple commentaries, interviews, another story reading, and other audio-only features.

*SHADES OF NOIR, which is a full disc of previously unreleased material written and/or directed by Max Allan Collins. The main program is an anthology of short films, including a 40-minute-plus documentary on pulp writer Mickey Spillane. The extras lean toward stuff about Spillane, including a Spillane radio show, an unaired Spillane TV pilot directed Blake Edwards, and a trailer for a Spillane. There is also a making-of for one of the short films, commentary on all the short films, and more.

I've watched this and really enjoyed it. In particluar I loved the Micjkey Spillane section of Shades Of Noir.

This is great stuff.

Buy Shades Of Neo Noir

Captain's Log: Stardate 061006 1:35 PM

We had wonderful evening, good friends, good food, I thought good weather, though the chicks be gettin' chilly. A nice evening all around and well worth the 1 hour drive.

We said our goodbyes, did the hugging and "when will we see you?"s

Got into the green machine and headed north back to Milwaukee.

It was a perfect night for driving. Cool weather, overcast but crystal clear.
The Killers blasting through the I-Pod through the car stereo almost full tilt.
Ruth was feeling good. I was feeling good. We were singing and laughing.

And then some asshole behind me starts flasing his brights at me. When I didn't take the hint, which I normally don't because I don't like rude drivers, he stepped it up a notch.
Cherries rolling and sirens trying to drown out the Killers.


I pull over. I pull out the Driver's licsence. I smile all pretty like.

The state trooper introduces himself and then says " You blew by me pretty fast back there"
So I say... " Sorry. We had the tunes cranked and I had a few too many Red Bulls.
"I'm going to run a check on you ID , please wait here"

Minutes drag. Ruth looks to the right and notices off the freeway tavern caalld the Dead End Saloon. oooooooo, That can't be good. We joke about the insurance going up. But I'm feeling pretty mellow. (Red Bull)

Officer comes back. I'm giving you a warning sir. Try to watch your speed.

Thank you Officer I say...

And I drive off thinking
"Thank You Red Bull......." and reach for the volume control.

Life is good. And the officer was a pretty damn nice guy.

Jun 8, 2006

DVD Review - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

This is a two disc collectors Edition and it is very reasonably priced.
Jeremy and I both watched it and we'll each give you our takes on it.

I hope, oh I do so hope, that I do not need to actually explain Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I am going to assume that all of you know the classic I am writing about. You have likely heard about the legendary chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
I am a huge fan of the film and would put it in any list of all-time greats. Redford and Newman have done only two films together, but are as great an on-screen duo as Tracy and Hepburn. BC&TSK took an approach to the western that was not the norm. Armed with an amazing script (courtesy of William Goldman) and a charismatic pair of stars, George Hill delivered a western that was unlike any before it. Though initially panned, this film is now viewed as a true American classic, and with good reason.

This is the third dvd release of this film. Since they have gone to the well three times, I felt that I needed to truly view this package with a critical eye.

This collector's Edition is genuinely chocked full of cinematic goodness. Fans of behind the scenes features should enjoy the new feature that takes a very close look at the events that brought this film to the screen. You will find out the actual reason why Steve McQueen did not star opposite Newman. You will learn how much controversy there was regarding the insertion of the musical scene of Newman riding his bike with Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head playing in the background. The original script was over 400 pages long and needed to be cut in half.

If you are a fan of extras and enjoy learning about what goes into a film, this is worth the money. If you do not own Butch and Sundance, this is the one to get. If you have purchased the previous two, I would say the bonus features are worth having.
Buy Butch Cassidy and The SUndance Kid Special Edition

I remeber seeing this on the big screen when it first came out. I was pretty young, but I loved every minute of it. I've also worn out a VHS copy of it. When we started collecting DVDs I was very happy to see special editions of movies with extra features. SOme are good, some are a joke. But true collectors editions are truly a wonderful addition to a collection. The Criterion Edition of The Third Man is a good example of this.

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is a real film classic and deserving of a truly special edition. The screenplay by William Goldman is wonderful,the acting is top notch and the dirrecting is great. The first in a new age of Buddy Films, this started a new trend. It's also called the last of the westerns, however I beleive that the western has made a bit of a comeback startig with Siverado. But the new westerns all owe a tip of the cowboy hat to this movie. It added humor and used music wonderfully. It's what a great movie should be. Chances are you've seen the film so I don't need to blather on much more about the actual film.

The DVD is great. The transfer is perfect, crystal clear. The Sound quality rocks.
And the Extra Features.... oh the extra features.
New interviews including Newman , Redford and Kathrine Ross. The true story of Butch and the Kid, Deleted scencs, and a bunch more. This is the way all special discs should be. Plus the price is very reasonable. And on Amazon it's on;y $16.00 !!!

This is a must have DVD.I've watched it twice already, I kid you not.
Buy Butch Cassidy and The SUndance Kid Special Edition

DvD RELEASES for June 13

16 Blocks
$28.98 Dir: Richard Donner; Bruce Willis, Mos Def. Extras: Alternate endings: Includes shocking alternate ending not shown in theaters; can be viewed by itself or branched from film, Deleted scenes with Commentary by director Richard Donner and writer Richard Wenk, theatrical Trailer. (Warner)
An aging cop (Willis) is assigned the ordinary task of escorting a fast-talking witness (Def) from police custody to a courthouse. There are however forces at work trying to stop prevent them from making it.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
$27.95 Dir: Shane Black; Val Kilmer, Robert Downey Jr. Extras: Long Shadows Sharp Tongue: A Noir Documentary, Gag Reel, Theatrical Trailer. (Warner)
A petty thief (Downey) posing as an actor is brought to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl (Monaghan) and a detective (Kilmer) who's been training him for his upcoming role. Again, a full review is soon to come.

MacGyver: The Complete Sixth Season
(1990-91) Richard Dean Anderson Six-disc set, $36.99. (Paramount). Macgyver is a walking, talking Swiss Army Knife. He could take out an entire division of commandos with a gum wrapper, a paper clip and some string.

Medium: The Complete First Season
(2005) Five-disc set, $62.99. Extras: Commentary on select episodes by Glenn Caron, Moira Kirland, Ken Kelsch, Jessica Kender, Chad Lowe, Ronald L. Schwary and Rene Echevarria; extended version of pilot; deleted scenes; "The Making of Medium"; "The Story of Medium"; "Interpreting Allison DuBois"; "The Real Allison DuBois"; gag reel; TV spots. (Paramount).

The Princess Bride Collector's Edition

(1987) Dir.: Rob Reiner; Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Fred Savage, Robin Wright Penn, Peter Falk, Peter Cook, Mel Smith, Carol Kane, Billy Crystal. Two-disc set available in two different collectible packages: the Buttercup Edition for the romantic and the Dread Pirate Edition for the swashbuckler. Extras: Commentary by Reiner, commentary by author William Goldman, "Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Legend of the Seven Seas" historical analysis, "Love Is Like a Storybook Story" documentary, "Miraculous Make-up" featurette, "The Quotable Battle of Wits" trivia game, "As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride" documentary, Cary Elwes' home movies, original 1987 featurette, vintage making-of documentary, eight-page "Fezzik's Guide to Florin" collectible booket. (Sony).
Ok, The Princess Bride is not an actual crime film, but it does contain kidnapping, murder and revenge. It is also a true cinematic classic. Perhaps the finest fairy tale ever told.

Rockford Files season 2
Six-disc set $39.98 James Garner Extras: an on-camera interview with Stephen J. Cannell and the original series pilot: "Backlash of the Hunter". (Universal) This is the role that James Garner was born to play, P.I. Jim Rockford. This show set the standard for modern P.I. shows.

Walker, Texas Ranger: The Complete First Season

.Seven-disc set $54.99 Chuck Norris (paramount)
After a fairly successful career of B movies, Martial Arts hero Chuck Norris settled into television as a Texas Lawman with down home values.

Jun 4, 2006

DVD REVIEW - NUMB3RS - First Season

Numb3rs: Complete first season
Paramount home Entertainment

Rob Morrow stars in this slightly unusual crime drama. Morrow plays Don Epps, an FBI agent that draws on the mathematical skills of his genius brother Charlie (David Krumholtz) to help solve cases. That description fails to do the show justice. It is that type of description that caused me to miss the first couple of seasons on TV.

There is a lot more too the show than just the crimes, Judd Hirsh plays the father of the main characters. I honestly had forgotten how talented Mr. Hirsh is. The sense of family really comes across, I have no trouble believing they related.
<>While the use of math in this show can certainly be called a gimmick, it is exceedingly well done. If math had been presented to me this way, I might have actually taken a course or two in college. In the first season, I could not find a single case in which the use of it seemed to be a stretch.
Numb3rs gives us a very fresh approach to a familiar genre of television.

Jeremy Lynch

DVD REVIEW - Smokey and the Bandit

Smokey and the Bandit.

Universal Home Entertainment

Smokey & The Bandit is a weak concept that worked because of the charm, and chemistry, of it’s cast. Smokey finds Burt Reynolds at his best. Along for the ride is a surprisingly good Jerry Reed, Sally Fields and Jackie Gleason. Gleason is fantastic as a Texas Sheriff determined to catch the Bandit (Reynolds). He is given some great lines and he delivers them like only the Great One can.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the flick, here is the scoop:

A rich man makes a bet to The Bandit that he can’t go from Atlanta, to Texarkana, pick up a truckload of Coors beer, and bring it back in 28 hours. Of course taking it across state lines is bootlegging, which is a no-no. The Bandit enlists the help of his pal, the Sandman (Reed), and away they go. Bandit picks up a bride (Sally Fields) fleeing her wedding. The Father of the Groom is Sheriff Buford t. Justice (Gleason). Sheriff Justice is unhappy about this turn of events and decides to pursue the errant bride. Chaos ensues.

This is a Sunday afternoon flick. Something you watch when you are feeling stupid and need to be amused. As I said, the charm of Burt and co. makes this fun ride. A word of caution, the main song, by Jerry Reed, will be stuck in your head for some time.

As far as special editions go, this really isn’t that special. There are two features on this disc, one of which is CB lingo. If this was 1983, I might have cared. Some of the people watching this won’t even know what a CB is. The other feature is a little more interesting. It talks about how the film came about and does include some interviews with a few of the people involved.

Jeremy Lynch

Jun 1, 2006

Upcoming DVD's for next week

Black Hawk Down - Extended Cut
A great move and this extended version looks wonderful ( and read the novelization by Max Allan Collins!)
Buy Black Hawk Down - Extended
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (1969)
Full review to come very soonThis is a new version of a timeless classic featuring the terrific team of Redford and Newman.
Some of the extra features include:# Disc 1:Commentary #1 by George Roy Hill, Lyricist Hal David, Associate Producer Robert Crawford and Cinematographer Conrad Hall.Commentary #2 by Screenwriter William Goldman.2005 documentary, ALL OF WHAT FOLLOWS IS TRUE: The Making of butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.The Wild Bunch: The True Tale of Butch & Sundance.History through the lens: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Outlaws Out of Time"1994 documentary: THE MAKING OF BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUDANCE KID"1994 Interviews Production Notes
Buy Butch Cassidy and The SUndance Kid Special Edition
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Betty Grable, Victor Mature star in this noir classic.Promoter Frankie Christopher, being grilled by police in the murder of model Vicky Lynn, recalls in flashback: First meeting her as a waitress, Frankie decides to parlay her beauty into social acceptance and a lucrative career. He succeeds only too well: she's on the eve of deserting him for Hollywood...when someone kills her. Now Frankie gets the feeling that Inspector Ed Cornell is determined to pin the killing on him and only him. He's right. And the only one he can turn to for help is Jill, the victim's sister, who's been cool toward him...
Buy I Wake Up Screaming
The Magician (1993)
Clive Owen stars in this great crime flick.For more than a year in the early 1980s, police at Scotland Yard watched the build-up of a potentially massive threat to the stability of British society – a flood of the most perfect counterfeit currency ever produced. Unchecked, the tide of fake money could have destabilized the economy, the Bank of England and even the Government. Based on a true story, The Magician follows two police officers as they move closer towards the top link in the counterfeiters’ chain. Another great release from Koch.
Buy The Magician
The Missing: Extended Cut (2003)
Plot Synopsis: In 19th-century New Mexico, a father (Tommy Lee Jones) comes back home, hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Maggie (Cate Blanchett). Maggie's daughter is kidnapped, forcing father and estranged daughter to work together to get her back.
Buy The Missing
Mr. & Mrs. Smith - Unrated
A married couple (Pitt and Jolie) are getting bored with their quiet domestic life. What they don't know, however, is that they're both assassins, secretly hopping the world and killing for hire. But their separate lives are about to collide when each finds out their next target is their own spouse.features include;Deleted Scenes Including An Alternate Ending,Doug's Film School Sequence Breakdowns With The Director, Including Animatics, Storyboards And A Major Action Sequence Not Included In The Film,Confidential Files Featuring Secret Footage,Behind The Scenes Documentary,Shooting School Combat Training Featurette,Photo Gallery And More!
Buy IMr and Mrs Smith - Unrated
Time Tunnel - Season 1, Vol. 2
Second volume of this wonderful Irwin Allen television show from the sixties. The first set was great!
Buy Time Tunnel Seaon one Vol 2
The Wild Wild West - The Complete First Season
Another all time television classic now on DVD. Secret Service Agatns in the Old West. I loved this show as a kid and can't wait to see
it again. Full review to come.
Buy The Wild Wild West season One

Of Dark and Stormy Nights 24

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hyatt Regency Woodfield

1800 East Golf Road

Schaumburg, IL 60173



We're very pleased and proud to announce our two headliners for this year's Of Dark and Stormy Nights:

Carolyn Hart

Carolyn is not only one of the finest practitioners of the traditional mystery alive today, she is also one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. A popular speaker at conventions and seminars, she loves helping authors, both new and well-established. She has won almost every mystery award there is (many times over) and has been praised in virtually every review venue, including a recent starred review in Publisher's Weekly for her latest book, Dead Days of Summer. The Cleveland Plain Dealer had this to say about her: "Carolyn Hart is the reigning monarch of the amateur sleuth mystery."

And speaking of the Plain Dealer...

Les Roberts

is our other great headliner for '06. And what does that have to do with the Plain Dealer? Les has been reviewing mysteries for them for many years; it was he who penned that praise for Carolyn. His writing style couldn't be more different from hers—he writes terrific PI novels starring Milan Jacovich—but they admire each other greatly as writers and have been friends for many years. Les has a background in both broadcasting and theatre and is, as one might expect, a riveting speaker.

The two of them promise to make this a Dark and Stormy to remember.

Here are the bios of most of this year's stellar faculty. A few more to come...

Veteran Police Officer Michael A. Black has just released his fourth novel, the humorous thriller, Freeze Me, Tender. Think: Frozen Elvis.

D.C. Brod is the author of Heartstone, a contemporary thriller with an Arthurian twist, and five novels in the Quint McCauley private detective series.

Luisa Buehler, a native of the Chicago area, published her first novel, The Rosary Bride: A Cloistered Death, in May 2003; the fourth, The Scout Master: A Prepared Death, will be out this September. Her series follows the ‘cold case’ of bygone crimes using a blend of savvy, romance, a touch of the supernatural and of course murder.

Dave Case is a Sergeant with the Chicago Police Department with nearly twenty years of experience. He is also the author of Out of Cabrini, an April release from Five Star that has been getting great reviews.

Judy Clemens is the author of the Stella Crown mystery series. She loves to write Stella’s dialogue because she gets a vicarious thrill out of writing things she would never say herself.

Barbara D’Amato has won the Carl Sandburg Award, the first Mary Higgins Clark Award, the Agatha, the Macavity, Readers Choice Awards and the Anthony. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime International and of Mystery Writers of America.

Jeanne M. Dams is the author of fourteen mysteries in two series, starring Dorothy Martin in England and Hilda Johansson in early-twentieth-century South Bend, Indiana. She is the winner of the 1995 Agatha award for Best First Novel.

Michael Allen Dymmoch Author of the Jack Caleb/John Thinnes mystery series, Michael Allen Dymmoch is a Chicago resident who has served as president of the Midwest chapter of MWA and newsletter editor for the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime. Michael’s most recent novels are White Tiger, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and The Cymry Ring, an historical SF romantic suspense.

Dan B. Gunnell is a US Navy retiree with a great deal of police experience. Currently the Assistant Laboratory Director at the Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory, he is recognized as an expert, not only in forensics, but also in the areas of ethics and leadership training.

Libby Fischer Hellmann writes the Chicago-based series featuring video producer and single mom Ellie Foreman. The fourth title, A Shot to Die For, was released in 2005 from Poisoned Pen Press in hard cover and Berkley Prime Crime in mass market. Libby is the National President of Sisters in Crime.

Julie Hyzy loves to read, edit, and write. The first in her series, Deadly Blessings, is out now and the second, Deadly Interest, will be released in October, 2006.

William Kent Krueger writes the Cork O'Connor mystery series, set in the great Northwoods of Minnesota. His novel Blood Hollow received the 2005 Anthony Award for Best Novel.

Joyce and Jim Lavene are currently writing three mystery series together, but certainly hope to write several more as time permits. They are from North Carolina where they live with their very forgiving and supportive family.

Steve Mandel’s debut novel, Another Lost Angel, was released May 15, 2006 from Five Star to extremely positive reviews. In addition to being a novelist, Steve is an award-winning Creative Director for a Chicago area advertising agency.

Dr. Judith Markowitz is the author of The Gay Detective Novel (2005), an examination of mystery novels feature gay and lesbian main detectives.

The Noirsketeers are Sandy Balzo, the author of the Anthony-nominated Uncommon Grounds and the Robert L. Fish Award and Macavity-winning story “The Grass is Always Greener” (EQMM), for whom none of this would have been possible without the rewriting skills of Ted Hertel, Robert L. Fish Award winner for"My Bonnie Lies . . . " (The Mammoth Book Of Legal Thrillers)) and frequent Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated author, along with Gary Warren Niebuhr, Anthony Award winning nonfiction author (Make Mine A Mystery) who owes his entire seven year fiction writing career (four short stories, one published) to the other two.

Dr. Alexander Obolsky received his M.D. from Northwestern University, where he has a practice in psychiatry. He is also in frequent demand as an expert witness in cases requiring psychiatric evaluation, and has been a popular speaker at Dark and Stormy for several years.

Sam Reaves has written eight Chicago-based crime novels with a ninth, The Night Watch, due out from Carroll and Graf in January, 2007. Under the pseudonym Dominic Martell he has written three European-based intrigue novels.

Janet Riehecky is the author of 101 books for children, including a mystery series for intermediate readers called The Red Door Detective Club. She served two terms on the Midwest Board of MWA and acted as the National Director of Kids Love A Mystery from 1998 to 2004.

Chris Roerden has more than 40 years' experience as an editor in niche publishing and university teacher of writing. In 1983 she began MarketSavvyBookEditing.com as a full-time independent editor and writing coach.

Brenda Robertson Stewart is a painter, sculptress and forensic artist who reconstructs skulls for identification purposes. She has been a figurative artist for over twenty five years, specializing in Native American sculptures.

Sandra Tooley is the creator of the Sam Casey Series and the Chase Dagger Series (written as Lee Driver). A former casino dealer, she is particularly fond of the unusual and has carried her interests to her cross-genre novels and short stories. Her work has won or been a finalist for a number of awards over the years and been reproduced in large print, audiobook, and mass market paperback. www.sdtooley.com

Mark Zubro has written nineteen mysteries. His latest, Everybody's Dead But Us, will be out this July.

The DaVinci Code

The book did nothing for me, and am in no hurry to see the movie.
But I love all the hype, protests and complaining.
I need to write something that will cause an outrage......
It seems like a sure fire way to sell more,