Category: Movies


Heir to the Jedi Star Wars cover

This week will see the release of the third novel in the new Expanded Universe of Star Wars under Disney ownership, with Kevin Hearne’s Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi.  As with the first new canon novel Star Wars: A New Dawn, (previously reviewed here at borg.com) the title carries some secondary meaning.  The first major tie-in novel years after Return of the Jedi was Timothy Zahn’s successful Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, and there is a certain subtle nostalgia element to the similar title here.  The novel recounts some solo missions by Luke Skywalker after he destroys the Death Star at the end of A New Hope, and it is all told by Hearne in the first person voice.

Telling a story in the first person takes some real mastery, and if not done right it can result in some clunky storytelling issues.  Telling a story from the mind of a key character like Luke Skywalker brings with it its own problems.  The biggest problem is that everyone who grew up with Luke has their own view of what makes the character tick, and giving readers a canon view–a “this is the right and only view of Luke”–perspective makes it easy to throw off a segment of readers.  Although I think Heir to the Jedi will certainly appeal to a new generation of readers, particularly those who have not read several of the newly labeled Legends novels, Hearne gives us a Luke that is not altogether that likeable, smart, or savvy a hero as you might hope for.

This may be because Luke is too close to being that whiny farmboy in A New Hope.  It could be because he has no mentor now that Obi-Wan is dead.  Too many times, however, I had to ask myself, “would Luke really say or think that?” or “Would Luke act that way?”  As an example, by the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke seems to have a real friendship with astromech droid R2-D2.  Yet here, he seems to treat R2 like an appliance or a tool, albeit a valuable one.  I had similar issues in the seventh Harry Potter novel with Harry’s response to the death of his owl Hedwig–Harry barely seemed to react at all, despite his earlier devotion to his good feathered friend.  I didn’t see the same camaraderie here between Luke and R2 as we find in The Empire Strikes Back.

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Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015)

Leonard Nimoy Spock

What more can be said about the man who portrayed the greatest science fiction icon of all time?  In the annals of Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock managed to live beyond 150 years into the 24th century.  In the 21st century you can count yourself lucky to have lived a happy life into your 80s.  Nimoy not only provided millions with decades of happiness via the character he created, he inspired generations and a legion of loyal fans.  So while the world mourns the loss of the great humanitarian behind our favorite Vulcan, what better time to celebrate what we loved so much about him?  This weekend, cable channels like EPIX will be holding many tributes to allow fans to join in and celebrate the life of Leonard Nimoy.

Many have commented in the past 24 hours about Leonard Nimoy’s passing yesterday, and they illustrate the influence he had on us all.  The finest came from our President:

Presidential Seal

Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy.  Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.  And of course, Leonard was Spock.  Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.
 
I loved Spock.
 
In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person.  It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.”  And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that.  Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.

NASA

And here is what NASA, via administrator Charles Bolden, had to say:

Leonard Nimoy was an inspiration to multiple generations of engineers, scientists, astronauts, and other space explorers. As Mr. Spock, he made science and technology important to the story, while never failing to show, by example, that it is the people around us who matter most.

NASA was fortunate to have him as a friend and a colleague. He was much more than the Science Officer for the USS Enterprise. Leonard was a talented actor, director, philanthropist, and a gracious man dedicated to art in many forms.

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Daniel Craig is James Bond in SPECTRE

The next James Bond film, SPECTRE, directed by Sam Mendes, is well into production, as shown in two short features released by the studio.  The new main cast will return, Daniel Craig of course as Bond, Ralph Fiennes in his first full stint as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as Q.

In one new video we see the first look at villain Mr. Hinx–Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista filming on snow-covered mountains along with the newest Bond girl Madeleine Swann, played by French actress Léa Seydoux.

Spectre clip

In the biggest year of franchise blockbusters probably ever, with a new Avengers, a new Mad Max, a new Jurassic Park, a new Ted, a new Fantastic Four, a new National Lampoon’s Vacation, a new Guillermo del Toro movie, a new Star Wars, a new Mission Impossible, and a new Quentin Tarentino movie all on their way, a new Bond will help keep our theater calendars full all year long.

After the break, see two new behind the scenes looks at the making of the latest Bond:

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Feast Oscar winner Disney Osborne

Strange how you can be completely in sync each year with the supporting acting categories and the “other” categories at the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and walk away from the Oscars scratching your head over the rest of the wins.  Highlights of the night were those TV-actors-turned-movie-actors-turned-Oscar-winners J.K. Simmons (Skoda!  Chief Pope!) and Patricia Arquette (Alison Dubois!) getting their wins, long-time working actors who have paid their dues and finally got recognized for it.  And I admit I love not being in sync with the Academy each year, and never as much so to their selection of Birdman as winner for this year’s Best Picture, a positively abysmal, unwatchable flick that rested on the acting of Michael Keaton, who the Academy snubbed.  Go figure.  But Hollywood likes to pat itself on the back for its own idiosyncracies so it’s no surprise they did it again (full disclosure: I hated A Chorus Line, too).  You can see how I really feel in my earlier review at borg.com here.

It was another ceremony of young presenters you’ve never heard of all showing their deer-in-the-headlights inexperience with public speaking, making you wonder just how many takes directors had to slog through this year to get anything out of them worth putting onscreen.  (More polished presenters next year like Zoe Saldana, Dwayne Johnson, and Eddie Murphy, please).  When was the last good year of Oscars anyway?  2013.  Contrast this year’s films with the films of 2012 and the corresponding winners at the 2013 Oscars ceremony (Argo, Brave, Skyfall, Django Unchained, Les Miserables all took home at least one statue) and this year seemed pretty shabby by comparison.

Feast poster 2015 Disney

But all is not lost.  Take a look at the winner for Best Animated Short Film, Feast.  It’s from Disney, which can be good or bad, but this time their short film harkened back to some of the best of the classic cartoons produced by the studio.  It’s a love triangle about a little dog, his love of food, and his owner.  It’s full of solid artistry, great animation, humor, action, and best of all–heart.  And you can (and should) watch it now via Amazon Prime or the link below, after the break, via YouTube (a deal at only $1.99).

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Mulligan and friend in Far from the Madding Crowd

If you haven’t yet seen Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow in the David Tennant era Doctor Who episode “Blink,” then you haven’t seen one of the top episodes of television from any genre.  We placed it in our Best of the Best category here at borg.com back in 2012.  Mulligan went on to star in another critically acclaimed genre film, Never Let Me Go, where she played one of several clones created solely to serve as a supply of replacement organs should the original person ever need them.  It’s a must see if you’re a fan of Gattaca or The Handmaid’s Tale.  She’s also starred in Inside Llewyn Davis with Star Wars Episode VII star Oscar Isaac, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in An Education.

Mulligan has taken on plenty of historical costume drama films, and adaptations of classic novels in particular, including Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  This year Mulligan adds Thomas Hardy to her repertoire with the big-screen adaptation of his 1874 novel Far from the Madding Crowd.

far-from-the-madding-crowd

Check out this first trailer for Far from the Madding Crowd, after the break:

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Mia Crimson Peak

Victorian gothic romance directed by Guillermo del Toro with ghosts?  Yes, please.

But unlike previous Gothic haunts like Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Watcher in the Woods, The Others, or Wolfman, genre favorite director del Toro is amping up the gore and violence in Crimson Peak, his latest and–reportedly–the greatest of his trademark visually spectacular fantasies so far.

And it adds another movie to that sub-genre of horror we keep talking about featuring creepy little girls.

Chastain Crimson Peak

Not for the faint of heart, check out this trailer for Crimson Peak, after the break:

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Star Wars Hokkaido snow festival c 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd Disney

In the spirit of those temporary art forms like sand castles, sidewalk art, and urban graffiti, discussed before at borg.com (including here), we bring you sci-fi and fantasy of the monumental variety.  Lucasfilm and Disney teamed up with Japan’s 11th Brigade of the Ground Self-Defense Forces to create a new view of Darth Vader and his own troops in an unusual medium.  At a Hokkaido Snow Festival in Sapporo, Japan held earlier this month, the Japanese army orchestrated the Imperial version of Mt. Rushmore in snow, public art that was only intended to survive for a few weeks.

Giant cranes packed 3,500 tons of snow into three stormtroopers, TIE fighters, the Death Star, and Darth Vader himself, all to the awe of millions of attendees to the 66th annual festival full of giant sculptures in snow.

Lucasfilm time lapse Hokkaido snow festival 2015

“Snow Star Wars” was built over a span of three weeks in Hokkaido.

The result is pretty amazing.

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Terminator 2 Sarah Connor ReAction action figure Funko  Arrow Oliver Queen Funk ReAction

This weekend we revealed the latest in Funko’s more than 20 licensed films and TV series in its 2015 ReAction action figure line first discussed at borg.com here and here, and now we have images of the carded figures and sculpts for most of the new figures.  We also have links to allow readers to be among the first to pre-order them all from online collectibles store Entertainment Earth.  We’re still waiting for final images for Jaws, Gremlins, Fight Club, and CW’s The Flash, but we have pre-order information for all of those plus images and links to pre-order the new ReAction line for CW’s Arrow, The Fifth Element, Terminator 2, The Boondock Saints, Taxi Driver, and Breaking Bad.  We shared links for the first figures in the new Star Trek original series line last week here.

Click on the images below to see full-sized images of figures and cards and to pre-order each from Entertainment Earth.

Breaking Bad Heisenberg  Fifth Element Diva Funko ReAction

And after the break check out an exclusive new Predator figure.

Still yet to be revealed are figures from The Dark Crystal, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Big Lebowski, Scarface (although Al Pacino’s figure was previewed this weekend on the showroom floor at Toy Fair 2015), V for Vendetta, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, The A-Team, The Munsters, Tomorrowland (also previewed at Toy Fair), and Aliens.

CW’s Arrow

Arrow Green Arrow ReAction 3 3/4-Inch Retro Action Figure Arrow Dark Archer ReAction 3 3/4-Inch Retro Action Figure Arrow Black Canary ReAction 3 3/4-Inch Retro Action Figure Arrow Deathstroke ReAction 3 3/4-Inch Retro Action Figure

Terminator 2

Terminator 2 Sarah Connor ReAction Action Figure Terminator 2 Terminator ReAction Action Figure Terminator 2 John Connor ReAction Action Figure Terminator 2 T-1000 ReAction 3 3/4-Inch Retro Action Figure

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Big Game president capsule lifepod

The President of the United States is forced to jettison from Air Force One when it is under attack.  An unlikely hero comes to his rescue.

Sound familiar?

It’s actually not a remake of Escape from New York, but you couldn’t find a film that pulled a plot so clearly from another.  But don’t expect to see star Samuel L. Jackson don his Nick Fury eye patch to play Snake Plissken.

Big Game theatrical poster

Samuel L. Jackson is starring as the American President in Big Game, a new film coming this year to U.S. theaters from Finnish director Jalmari Helander.  Unlike Jackson’s doomed from the get-go man on a plane action vehicle Snakes on a Plane, this movie actually looks like it could be fun.  Take a look for yourself below, after the break.  The movie arrives in theaters in Finland next month, but does not yet have a U.S. release date.

Jackson’s President is shot down and he climbs into an on-board escape lifepod just as Donald Pleasance’s President did in John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic.  But the replacement for Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken is no tough-as-nails ex-war hero turned criminal.  It’s young actor Onni Tommila, who plays a young teen in the European wilderness fulfilling his own coming-of-age ritual journey in search of a trophy to take back to his people, to prove his readiness to become a man.  And he’s had no reason to know or care about the President of the United States.

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Flash Gordon 1980

Too much fun.  Yesterday we showed some previews of several new action figures being revealed by Funko at Toy Fair 2015 in New York City.  They’re all of the 3 3/4 retro Kenner-style, and we have another set of figures from the show but these are from toy company Bif Bang Pow!  This is the company that created The Twilight Zone retro action figures previewed here at borg.com earlier last week.

Those new figures hail from the 1980 fan favorite flick Flash Gordon.  The new line of figures includes nice sculpts of Sam Jones’s Flash, Timothy Dalton’s Prince Barin, Ornella Muti’s Princess Aura, Brian Blessed’s Prince Vultan, and Max Von Sydow’s Emperor Ming.  No Dale Arden figure has been revealed yet.

Bif Bang Pow Flash Gordon retro Kenner style line 2015 Toy Fair

Admit it, you’re singing the Queen Flash Gordon theme now, right?

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