Latest Entries »

Star Wars A New Dawn cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

How did the Empire power all those Star Destroyers anyway?

The new, Disney era of Star Wars story continuity begins today with the release of the novel Star Wars: A New Dawn.  Fans of the Star Wars tie-in novels shouldn’t be disappointed with this new story and completely new characters living in that galaxy, far, far away between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  Its primary draw for those fans willing to give the new Star Wars a chance is the introduction of a trained Jedi named Kanan Jarrus and a mysterious Twi’lek named Hera.  But its best success is in author John Jackson Miller’s world building (or galaxy building)–one with more lead female characters than male.

In the galaxy that George Lucas built, the rarest creature to be found was a woman, whether a human, a rebel, an Imperial, or an alien.  Miller does not skip a beat to redefine Star Wars from chapter one.  We meet a black female captain of a Star Destroyer named Captain Rae Sloane, a character who could be on her way to be the next Mara Jade.  She’s young but smart, and exactly the kind of leader a government led by Emperor Palpatine would need to conquer so many systems.  Unlike even the original trilogy, including its often bumbling stormtroopers and officers that fail to follow their Dark Lord’s orders, the personnel building the Empire in A New Dawn don’t make the same mistakes.

Sloane works for a typical Star Wars villain, Count Demetrius Vidian, a cyborg like Darth Vader and General Grievous, which would lend us all to believe a defining piece of Star Wars is a dark cloaked bad guy who has already been blown apart a few times.  The word survivor does fit Vidian.  He is a decisive imperialist, precise, unyielding and villainous–everything you want from your Star Wars bad guy.

View full article »

Spock with tricorder

It’s a question die-hard Star Trek fans ask themselves:  If you could own one favorite Star Trek prop, what would it be?  This weekend a Star Trek Facebook page asked thousands of followers to comment on one question:  If you could have any autographed Trek prop, what would it be and who would you have sign it?  With nearly 2,000 respondents we thought it was a good opportunity to use these responses from across Star Trek fandom to see if we can glean what Star Trek fans think are the most iconic props of the franchise.  It’s not all that scientific, since the page posting the question was a general Star Trek page, and many fans may only follow the individual pages from any of the Star Trek series.  The image shown in the post was of an original series phaser–did that skew fans to select that prop?  Are there more original series fans in the mix who follow this page?  We don’t know.  But the results are still interesting and who better than a random group of Trek fans to share what they see as the top Holy Grail of Trek props?

The question is ongoing, with hundreds more responses entered after we stopped tracking answers–around 1,860.  Many responses were attempts at humor–many claiming Shatner’s toupee as their response (how do you autograph a toupee anyway?).  Others were rude or sexist or otherwise the typical worthless responses you find across social media on any given day.

Worf bat'leth from Firstborn

Also, nobody addressed a key topic–why do people think it’s a good thing to autograph a screen-used prop?  The truth is that collectors of screen-used props will refuse to purchase a prop if it has been defaced in any way, especially by an autograph (screen wear and tear excepted).  Recent auctions of an original series gold tunic worn by William Shatner sold for a fraction of what a similar one sold for that was not so marked.  The autograph literally cost the consigner thousands of dollars.  One rare command Starfleet uniform worn by Robert Picardo on Star Trek Voyager was once highly sought after by collectors, and has remained unsellable for years because of a scrawling signature across the front.  The bottom line: Collectors prefer a prop or costume to look just as it did the last time it was shown on the screen.  Actors would be well-advised to refuse to autograph screen-used props at least without first telling fans they may be ruining their chances to re-sell the prop down the road.  Whether or not you think you might keep a prop forever, do yourself a favor and don’t limit your future options.

Putting the “should they/shouldn’t they” question aside, the great response showed fans love their favorite Trek and thousands would want a piece of TV or film history signed by their favorite actor.  So what did we learn?

View full article »

 

Into the Dalek screencap

Review by C.J. Bunce

With the historic reboot of Doctor Who in 2006 and all of Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat’s world building since then with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and their five companion voyagers– what if the creators have been holding back?  What if we haven’t seen nothin’ yet, if all these great science fiction episodes were all leading up to the real payoff with the 12th Doctor?  I got that feeling last night with only the second Doctor Who episode of the season.  This new Doctor is here to stay, and the writers are driving full steam ahead, plunging Clara (Jenna Coleman) and the Doctor straight into the darkness without giving us a chance to breathe.

We’ve heard it before: Resistance is futile.  But this time the phrase is not about Star Trek and the futility isn’t about we humans, as the new Doctor stumbles into his latest encounter with one of his most hated borg nemeses: The Daleks.  With “Into the Dalek” Steven Moffat has created what I am sure we’ll look back on as an episode up there with the David Tennant episodes “Waters of Mars” and “Silence in the Library” or Matt Smith’s “Cold War.”Doctor 12 and DalekIn only his second outing as the Doctor, Peter Capaldi is already comfortable in the role he was destined to play since his days sending fan letters to the BBC as a young boy.  With last week’s season opener “Deep Breath,” we were introduced to Capaldi’s Doctor in a typical Doctor Who post-regeneration episode–part with the Doctor learning to “love the skin he’s in” while also getting a taste of how his companion is going to adapt, wrapped in a Tanagra/El-Adrel IV story.

View full article »

2011-10-22_17-12-13_374

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain

I just finished my third book written by Cormac McCarthy.  The first was Blood Meridian, the second was No Country for Old Men, and the third was The Road.  Reading McCarthy is unlike any other literary journey I’ve taken.  What will I remember from reading The Road?  Bleakness.  Emptiness.  How man can become a monster.  Not that different from the others I suppose, but it led me to a question – where does hope come from?

In all fantasy, science fiction and apocalyptic tales generally a hero emerges.  A man or a being similar to man steps to the fore and as a reader I can pin my hopes upon him (or rarely her as even coming up with female sidekicks was a chore in the series that popped off the top of my mind.  Amy Pond.  Leia.  Gamora.  Uhura.)  Superman.  Wonder Woman.  The Doctor.  Sheriff Rick Grimes.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot (or the more heroic but less fun Tanis Half-Elven.)  Frodo Baggins.  Luke Skywalker.  Rick Deckard.  Groot.  Mr. Spock.

Through these characters and many more like them we can find the possibility of averting crises.  We can see a proverbial light at the end of the darkening and constricting tunnel.  Survival, though bleak, has a chance.

Movie clip The Road

I think McCarthy likes to explore the world where there are no heroes.  There is only survival and to survive, horrendous choices must be made because after the apocalypse, scarcity rules.  A person cannot go back in time.  A person cannot till the earth by himself, trying to bring non-irradiated soil to the surface.  A ring, a starship, a building or an artifact cannot be destroyed through the hero’s quest.  There is only the earth.  There are only Homo sapiens.  If something happens, powerful heroes won’t emerge, instead it will just be the basest urges within us all that come forth.

View full article »

Entertainment Earth

Now through September 2, 2014, Entertainment Earth is having a summer blowout sale, including more than 100 Star Trek items.  You’ll find everything from toys to prop and costume replicas to art prints–all on sale at the below links.

Looking for Juan Ortiz’s retro original series posters?  How about some pips for your Star Trek: The Next Generation Starfleet uniform?  How about a sphere from Star Trek: First Contact from the Earth invasion by The Borg?

See something you like?  Just click on any of the links below to get more details and place an order.

Star Trek: First Contact Borg Sphere Monitor Mate Ship Star Trek White Phaser & Medical Tricorder 2-Pack Exclusive Star Trek Into Darkness Movie Lt. Commander Scotty Tunic Star Trek Movie Deluxe Spock Blue Shirt Star Trek USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A Launch Rocket Model Kit Star Trek USS Reliant 13-Inch Launching Rocket Model Kit Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Poster Set 10 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Poster Set 7 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Posters Set 3 Star Trek The Original Series Blue Uniform Dog Bowl Star Trek the Original Series Deck-Building Game Star Trek United Federation of Planets Buckle Star Trek Into Darkness Falling Movie Poster Lithograph Star Trek Enterprise NX-01 Starfleet Commad Patch Star Trek Enterprise 1701-C 1:2500 Scale Model Kit Star Trek Attack Wing Romulan Kraxon Expansion Pack Star Trek The Original Series Red Uniform Dog Bowl Star Trek The Motion Picture Yellow Engineering Patch Star Trek Scotty Red Beach Towel Star Trek Expeditions Expansion Board Game Star Trek Original Series Red Cross Insignia Patch Star Trek: TOS 1st and 2nd Season Starfleet Scienc Patch Star Trek Petty Officer First Class Rank Pin Star Trek Klingon Bird-of-Prey Launching Rocket Model Kit Star Trek Trekkies Nyota Uhura Q-Pop Vinyl FigureStar Trek The Motion Picture Silver Science Patch Star Trek Starfleet Academy Cufflinks Star Trek Original Series Lt. Commander Unifrom Rank Braid Star Trek Chief Warrant Officer Rank Single Black Pip Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 1Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 2 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 3 Star Trek Original Series Communicator - an EE Exclusive Star Trek Classic Gold Handle Phaser - EE Exclusive Star Trek Trekkies Captain James T. Kirk Q-Pop Vinyl Figure Star Trek Vinyl Figures: Quogs Captain Kirk Star Trek Sulu Cologne Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 10 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 6 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 7

After the break, check out even more from Entertainment Earth…

View full article »

The Fall of GI Joe 1 cover   The Fall of GI Joe 1 cover b

Is there something not quite right about a new G.I. Joe series that features a Joe team finally headed up by Scarlett, that is also titled “The Fall of G.I. Joe”?  We’re guessing the juxtaposition of these two elements wasn’t intended to be some kind of causal thing.  Instead we’re focused on plenty of cool covers released by IDW Publishing for the series, which is expected to ship its first issue in September.

G.I. Joe: The Fall of G.I. Joe will be written by Karen Traviss with interior art by Steve Kurth.  Several covers will be available, from artists including Cliff Chiang and Jeffery Veregge.

Check out these covers from the new monthly.  The cover style from Veregge makes us wish Phil Noto or Kevin Dart was also working on this series, and maybe provide some variant covers.  Still, they do look like something we might have seen back in 1972 on the box covers for large-sized G.I. Joe action figures.

IDW Fall of GI Joe alt cover   New GI Joe

View full article »

Fall TV banner

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

What’s better than when all the new TV series line up just right?  This coming Fall the networks have at least one great genre series every day of the week returning, including several new supernatural crime dramas: the CW’s Flash, ABC’s Forever, BBC America’s Intruders, Fox’s Gotham, and NBC’s Constantine.  Well, the networks have at least one genre show per day except Thursdays, so it’s not exactly “just right.”  But we could use a day off from TV anyway.  And isn’t that what DVRs are for?   Strangely enough, nearly all of these series have a supernatural crime element of some sort, with plenty of superheroes and time travel, too.  Interesting.

Below we have the best of the Fall line-up with trailers for all but NBC’s Grimm. 

Haven, Season 5 and its 26 brand new episodes begin Sunday, September 11, 2014, on the Syfy Channel.  Here is a preview of the new season:

Sleepy Hollow, Season Two, begins Monday, September 22, 2014, on Fox, following the new Gotham series.  Here’s a trailer for the new season of Sleepy Hollow:

View full article »

Prometheus_fire_and_stone1   Grendel vs The Shadow Matt Wagner

We have a variety of previews today, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Comics.  New series include a monthly based on the TV series, Bob’s Burgers.  Another features a tie-in to the Alien universe, with Prometheus: Fire and Stone.  A third series based on NBC’s Grimm begins this week with Grimm: Portland, Wu.  And Matt Wagner’s anti-hero Grendel finds his way to 1930s New York in Grendel vs The Shadow.

Tomorrow, Dynamite is publishing the first Bob’s Burgers comic book series.  Based on the animated show, it will be written by Rachel Hastings, Mike Olsen, Justin Hook, and Jeff Drake, with art by Frank Forte, Brad Rader, Bernard Derriman, and Tony Gennaro.  And Grimm: Portland, Wu is a one-shot written by Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey, with art by Daniel Govar.

GrimmPortland-Cover   D.E. Comic Page Template.eps

From Dark Horse, Grendel vs. The Shadow features a story and art by Matt Wagner.  Grendel will find its way to store shelves September 3, 2014.  Also from Dark Horse, Prometheus: Fire and Stone, with a story by Paul Tobin and art by Juan Ferreyra, hits comic book stores September 10, 2014.

Check out the four previews, after the break.

View full article »

Attenborough in Jurassic Park

The motion picture industry lost a great director and character actor this weekend with the passing of Richard Attenborough at age 90.  Attenborough likely will be best remembered because of his starring role as the jolly John Hammond, the “spared no expense” creator of the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic Park (1993).  Rightly so.  The adventure film will go down as one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, and his performance is a big reason for it.  Michael Crichton’s Hammond had been killed off in the original novel, but there was too much of the amiable Attenborough in the film version of Hammond and Steven Spielberg knew audiences wouldn’t stand for a similar fate for the film version.  Attenborough would return to the role again in The Lost World (1997).

But Attenborough’s greatest feat was not being an actor, as he would take up making movies behind the camera with a second successful career as a major studio director.  That work earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director for Gandhi in 1982.  He went on to a decade of critically acclaimed directing gigs, helming A Chorus Line (1985) with Michael Douglas, Cry Freedom (1987) with Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline, Robert Downey’ Jr.’s acting comeback in Chaplin (1992), and Shadowlands (1993) with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

Attenborough McQueen The Sand Pebbles

Never the guy for leading man roles, the character actor proved his skill with three other great films, two of which earned him Golden Globe Awards for Supporting Actor:  For Albert Blossom in Doctor Doolittle (1967) and Frenchy Burgoyne in the 1920s naval drama starring Steve McQueen, The Sand Pebbles (1966).  He’ll also be known for his performance as squadron leader Big X in The Great Escape (1963).  And he even played opposite John Wayne in his brief detour from Westerns in the cool 1975 cop film Brannigan.  But his best role in film?  It’s one not to be missed.

View full article »

TMNT elevator

Review by C.J. Bunce

Somewhere around the halfway mark of the new movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a fun action flick comes together.  If you can get to that point without falling asleep.  With the modern special effects this movie should not have needed to have been compared to the original 1990 film version.  Unfortunately the slow start and less-than-appealing villains keep this one from the top tier of this summer’s would-be franchise blockbusters.

So what’s worth the admission price?  First off, Megan Fox.  Not for a second does she flinch from a strong portrayal of April, the well-known friend of the Turtles.  She delivers even the silliest lines as if she’s playing serious drama.  And the film is better for it.  Although the perpetually young looking actress may be typecasting herself with films like the original Transformers and this similar action genre entry, she may also be simply carving out a niche she’s darned good at.

The biggest failing of Iron Man 2 was the “annoying guy” played over and over in movies by Sam Rockwell.  That same caricature is in TMNT, but played by Will Arnett, who I have not seen before simply because I don’t watch his admittedly popular series including 30 Rock and Arrested Development.  Here he offers what seems like an impersonation of the Night Shift and Batman era Michael Keaton, and it’s some funny stuff.

tmnt-2014-michelangelo-mind-blown

View full article »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 487 other followers

%d bloggers like this: