Category: Blasts from the Past


Arnold Terminator Genisys

Review by C.J. Bunce

Few sci-fi films are as revered as James Cameron’s Terminator and Terminator II: Judgment Day.  Judgment Day is regarded by many as one of the greatest sequels to any movie ever made.  Both films made American Film Institute lists and are the kind of movies we can watch hundreds of times and still keep enjoying them.  Two sequels followed, no longer under the direction of Cameron, Terminator III: Rise of the Machines, a worthy but lesser sequel reviewed at borg.com here, and the far, far lesser Terminator: Salvation.  So coming into the fourth sequel this weekend with the opening of director Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys, expectations by many were low.  So against that backdrop, and countless bashings by both national film critics and time travel aficionados, how really is this sequel?

Somehow Terminator Genisys manages to be not only good, but great, and not only that, it manages to equal the punch and excitement of both Terminator and Terminator II.

Terminator Genisys cast

That’s right, if you love the universe of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sometimes villain, sometimes hero Terminator T-800, you’re going to love this film, which is not only loyal to James Cameron’s originals, it flat-out amps up the sci-fi and takes every element that made the earlier films great and expands them into new, exciting places.  This includes time travel, big action, story twists, casting, acting, and all the cybernetic tech you could hope for.  Adhering to a carefully laid out plan covering two parallel timelines (that we know of), we revisit the first Terminator trip to 1984 and learn about two other time jumps that illustrate Kyle Reese’s important line from the first movie:  “The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”  In fact in Reese’s first conversation with Sarah he made the same point, calling her future “one possible future.”  These seeds planted in the original allow this new story to take off.

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Super7 Haunted House SDCC 2015

San Francisco-based toy company Super7 announced several exclusives this week that the company will be offering at San Diego Comic Con later this month, including a giant Haunted House to be used with their 3 3/4 inch action figure line with Funko toys.  Super7’s biggest playset so far, the Haunted House is designed to fit any and all 3 3/4 ReAction figures and classic Kenner figures.  Measuring in at a whopping 25” wide and 20” tall, the three-story mansion is packed with trap doors, concealed entrances, hidden rooms and secret passages.

Super7 spent almost an entire year developing this playset to match the vintage cardboard playsets of the 1970s.  Loaded with over 60 individually painted panels and countless custom double-pass die-cuts on both sides of every board, the Haunted House may look simple, but this was the most complex toy Super7 has ever produced.  Available exclusively from Super7, the Haunted House playset will be available for $75 each, limit one per person at SDCC booth #4945 (action figures not included).  Look below for close-up photos.

Universal Monsters ghost figures

Super7 will also be offering two Nightmare Before Christmas action figures, and a four-figure Universal Monster monster playset including a crypt. Super7 will also be offering a Masters of the Universe prototype set, available only at Skeletor’s Lair during SDCC at 701 8th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101.

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Rocky VII Creed

Has there been a bad Rocky movie?  Sylvester Stallone’s springboard to stardom was the character and stories he wrote and starred in beginning with the first, garnering ten Oscar nominations and three wins, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing.  Stallone’s acting and screenplay even earned a nomination for the 1976 classic.  In fact Stallone has written each of Rocky II, III, IV, V and the most recent Rocky Balboa in 2006.  Now the Rocky story takes a new direction, this time with new writers, newcomers Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington, with the fall release Creed.

Who doesn’t remember the motivational Bill Conti soundtrack to Rocky?  Rocky II’s “Eye of the Tiger”?  How about cheering on Rocky as he defeated Dolph Lundgren’s Drago in Rocky IV? 

Rocky II 1979 movie poster

This time Rocky steps into the shoes of those that trained him, Burgess Meredith’s Mickey, Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed, and Burt Young’s Paulie, to train a new fighter.  That fighter is Adonis Creed, son of Apollo, who we saw as Rocky’s unlikely trainer in Rocky III, and last saw as he was killed by Drago in Rocky IV.

Check out the trailer for Creed:

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Spade and Farley

Nothing is more infuriating than the untimely deaths of people who make you laugh.  John Belushi.  John Candy.  Phil Hartman.  Robin Williams.  A new documentary by Spike takes a look at another one of these comedic gems, the life and death of the explosive personality that was Chris Farley, one of the funniest comedians to ever hail from that elite squad of comics who made their fame via their work on Saturday Night Live. 

Clips of the comedian’s best work from SNL and movies like Tommy Boy and Coneheads are interspersed with interviews of Farley’s friends and family in I Am Chris Farley, giving us some insight into what made this guy tick, including those who knew him the best: David Spade, Dan Aykroyd, Lorne Michaels, Adam Sandler, Jay Mohr, Bob Odenkirk, Molly Shannon, Tom Arnold, and his brother Kevin.

Farley followed in the footsteps of two of his own idols, Belushi and Candy, dying too early at the age of 33 back in 1997 from a drug overdose.  What can we learn from Farley’s death?  What pressure was Farley under, and how did such a quick rise in fame cause Farley to fall just as fast?  Could anyone have helped him along the way?  Here’s the trailer for the new documentary I Am Chris Farley:

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T3 Arnold & Co

You have Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day committed to memory.  The fourth Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation, nearly turned you off on the franchise for good.  But what you don’t remember is the last time Arnold Schwarzenegger really played the Terminator.  That was the third film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  Back in 2003, our expectations were pretty high, just as they are for this week’s release of Terminator Genisys.  Twelve years later and after the truly bad Terminator Salvation, you might find it better than you remember.  If you want to get in prime Terminator mode with something different this week as you gear up for the latest effort, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines deserves a second look.

The story connects the dots between the past and future of the first two films.  After Skynet failed to kill Sarah and John, it sends back yet another Terminator, the T-X, played by Kristanna Loken, to eliminate all of John Connor’s Resistance leaders, including his wife Kate, played by Claire Danes–who will one day be his second in command.  The Resistance sends its own counter-attack into the past in the form of an outdated tech T-850, played by Schwarzenegger, and as with Terminator 2, Arnold is again the hero/protector.  John Connor, played by the strangely cast Nick Stahl (he doesn’t look anything like John in T2), is living off the grid, but still the prize target, which the T-X encounters in a fated, self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts where John and Kate’s lives converge with the arrival of both the T-X and T-850.

Loken Terminatrix

We learn that Kate’s dad is a general in the military who is preparing to activate Skynet–and finally learn the reason why it was created, and how it all goes wrong–on the Judgment Day of the first sequel’s title.

So why is it a good Terminator movie?

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Fassbender Macbeth

Henry V is probably the best of William Shakespeare’s dramas adapted for film, garnering for director and lead actor Kenneth Branagh two Oscar nominations.  For the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays, Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, X-Men franchise, Prometheus, Jonah Hex) will take the crown as the title character in this year’s Studiocanal production of Macbeth.  Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) will take on the prized role of Lady Macbeth.

From the first trailer released for the latest Macbeth, we can see plenty that may indicate this film is in the same league as Branagh’s film.  Plenty of artistry in the cinematography and costumes, and indications that some real effort went into the battle scenes.  And isn’t Fassbender a dead ringer for Richard Harris in Camelot?

macbeth movie poster fassbender

Other familiar actors featured in the film include David Thewlis (Timeline, the Harry Potter franchise, RED 2, DragonHeart), Paddy Considine (Hot Fuzz, The Bourne Ultimatum, The World’s End), Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), and David Hayman (Shetland, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit).

Here’s the first trailer for director Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth:

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Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future

Let’s face it–our lives are very busy, and the last thing you will do when you wake up tomorrow morning is think “Hey it’s time for me to replace my flux capacitor.”  However, the life of your time travel system is very dependent on the condition of your flux capacitor.  Having an old flux capacitor can stall an otherwise enjoyable journey, and can cause you to be stuck back in 1985.  Or worse.  Just ask Marty McFly.

Save the Clock Tower

And although they don’t offer an annual maintenance service agreement, that’s why the folks at Diamond Select offer a replacement flux capacitor for handling all your time travel needs.  Remember, you should always check and possibly change your flux capacitor in between time travel escapes, or at least every 30 years or 300,000 miles.  Changing the flux capacitor is actually something that is very easy for anyone to do.  Here are two places to pick up your own high-end unit, and a less expensive option for everyone else (complete with blinky lights!).

Replica flux capacitor

Amazon, Entertainment Earth, and BTTF.net each offer the same unit right now.  You can get yours from Amazon here, Entertainment Earth here, or from BTTF.net here.  Through June 20, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Central time BTTF.net is knocking $95 off their regular price.  Amazon has the lowest price as of today, but has limited quantities.  So act fast.*

Need a more affordable model?

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Hiro Nakamura Heroes Reborn

A new cast of young heroes awaits in the reboot of Tim Kring’s fun and at least briefly successful series Heroes.  But Heroes Reborn will also bring back many fan favorites, notably Jack Coleman as Noah Bennet, Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura, Greg Grundberg as Matt Parkman, Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder Suresh, Jimmy Jean-Louis as The Haitian, Christine Rose as Angela Petrelli, and even Noah Gray-Cabey as Micah Sanders.

The not-so-surprising news is that all the actors who have since taken off in their celebrity status don’t look like they are coming back, at least as regulars, like Ali Larter (Niki Sanders), Zachary Quinto (Sylar), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet), Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli), Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli), or even Kristen Bell (Elle Bishop).

Jack Coleman Heroes Reborn

New to the show is Zachary Levi (Chuck).  Here is the first full-length sneak preview for the series:

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Star Wars Rebels Darth Vader Season Two

If you missed the first season of Star Wars Rebels, now is the time to find out what you have been missing.  Last year we reviewed Season 1 here at borg.com.  Far better than the animated Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels ups the ante with animation that conjures the original series like nothing we’ve seen since Return of the Jedi.  And with original trilogy actors Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz and James Earl Jones returning to their roles, it’s something that fans have only dreamed about–until now.  Disney released an early look at Season Two this past week with the one-hour season premiere and you still can catch it in one of its many re-airings this week.

The series takes place five years before Star Wars: A New Hope, following the crew of a resistance vessel bringing their battle to the Empire.  Season Two will expand the role of Darth Vader, voiced again this season by James Earl Jones.  This is Vader like we have not seen him before–a veteran of villainy well beyond the untried Jedi youth once known as Anakin Skywalker.

If you’re iffy about the new Star Wars universe under Disney, this may be what brings you back into the fun of what was the original Star Wars we all remember.

SW Rebels

Just check out several previews and behind the scenes clips below for a taste of what’s coming later this year and then check your local listings for Disney X D to watch a re-broadcast of the one-hour premiere of Season Two.

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Jaws-paperback

Reviewed by C.J. Bunce

For the Fourth of July that is arriving on the heels of the fortieth anniversary of the premiere of the blockbuster movie Jaws, what better time for a summer reading of Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel that the movie is based on?

Well it was a good notion.

And it’s the notion in the novel Jaws–the premise–that fortunately inspired scriptwriter Carl Gottlieb, and Benchley himself–to both expand the novel, and more importantly, whittle it down, into such a finely executed, classic film.

But wait, Jaws was a bestseller!  A book that was on everyone’s bookshelf in the early 1970s!  Who doesn’t remember that book cover, and who didn’t sing the praises of that book?

The first third of the novel is quite good, exciting reading that fans of the film will be familiar with:  The death of a young woman at night swimming with her boyfriend in the northwest beach community of Amity, the politics of Chief Brody and the Mayor keeping the beaches open, and the subsequent death of a boy and lambasting of Brody by the boy’s mother for not closing down the beaches after the first death.  The introductory chapters really set up the reader for a wild ride.

Jaws_novel_cover

Unfortunately from there the story drifts off course and never returns to the excitement of the set-up.

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