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Category: Movies


Gimli axe

This past December we discussed here at borg.com a fantasy film auction to end all auctions –Julien’s The Trilogy Collection Auction, which included the sale of an item that sold for the highest price–a screen-used axe wielded by John Rhys-Davies as the dwarf Gimli.  The final price?  $180,000.

Today, Julien’s has one Lord of the Rings prop in its Hollywood Legends auction.  It’s another Gimli axe, but this one has the fortune of the provenance of being part of John Rhys-Davies’ personal collection–one of those props that each of the Fellowship of the Rings actors was given after filming.  Considering the December sale of a Gimli axe without such a great provenance record, Julien’s has listed a conservative estimate range, $125,000 to $150,000.

Gimli axe number 2

The first bid is already in, at $95,000 plus auction fees.

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Karen Gillan as Nebula

From the previews of the 2014 theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy, we get the feel we’re dealing with the motley crew of a Firefly class-inspired vessel, Marvel universe style.  Along with that we see plenty of “bounty hunters” or assassin types previewed.  Fans of the Eleventh Doctor on the Doctor Who TV series are particularly eager to watch the actress who played the beloved Amelia Pond—Karen Gillan—as the very futuristic looking alien assassin Nebula.  Gillan even shaved her head for the role.

We don’t know how great Nebula’s role will be in the film, but she gets center spotlight in the first of two “prelude” comic book issues from Marvel Comics.

Nebula GotG Prelude 1

Like Darth Vader, Mara Jade, and Anakin Skywalker were subjects of the Emperor, we meet up first with Nebula as she is being guided by the villainous Thanos.  And similar to the plot the previews have promised us for the new Tom Cruise summer release Edge of Tomorrow, this warrior fights and loses and is somehow recycled to live and fight on another day.  Like Vader and Skywalker, Nebula, too, is part cybernetic.

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All the Muppets from Muppets Most Wanted

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

The eighth big-screen film starring Jim Henson’s wacky, lovable Muppets hit theaters a couple of weeks ago, and for lifelong fans of the franchise, it’s a big win.  The 2011 film Muppets, written by and starring Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) was a heartwarming, family-friendly comedy, reviewed here.  We liked the 2011 movie but wished for more celebrity cameos.  Muppets Most Wanted, written by returning director James Bobin, returns to the kooky, offbeat humor of the original TV variety show and first motion picture, 1979′s The Muppet Movie.  And it delivers cameos aplenty.

In a plot somewhat reminiscent of various Muppet films past, this latest movie involves the intrepid troupe on a world tour, hot on the heels of the success of their last venture (meaning, in typical Muppets metafiction style, the 2011 film, or the reprise of the act as depicted in the film, or both, or… well, you’ll get it.  It’s the Muppets).  Along the way, no one suspects that their new tour manager, Dominic Badguy (“It’s pronounced ‘Badgey’”) (Ricky Gervais, The Office) is moonlighting as the sidekick to a criminal mastermind named Constantine–who also happens to be a dead ringer (almost) for Kermit the Frog.  Badguy books the Muppets into surprisingly sold-out gigs all across Europe, connives to have Kermit kidnapped and sent to a Siberian prison, and plots ever-more ambitious jewel heists along the way.

Gervais and Constantine

Human leads Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell (Modern Family), and Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live) turn in stellar performances that recall classic costars like Michael Caine (The Muppet Christmas Carol) and Charles Durning (The Muppet Movie).  The lively story, er, hops along, darting among Kermit and Fey in Siberia; Burrel and Sam the American Eagle as rival Interpol/CIA agents tracking Constantine; and the Muppets’ efforts to launch a successful European tour, despite lackluster direction from Fake Kermit and zany acts competing for space in the show.  Watch for wonderful classic Muppet-show-style performances like Gonzo’s “Indoor Running of the Bulls,” all featuring cameos from actors like Salma Hayek (Wild, Wild West) and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained).

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Expendables 3

So what’s the audience for the Expendables series?

So far they’ve had every other tough guy action star you could think of.  Schwarzenegger.  Stallone.  Willis.  Van Damme.  Statham.  Norris.  Plus several others you probably forgot all about.  Lundgren.  And guys we wouldn’t have thought of.  Mickey Rourke for one.  Then newbies, like Liam Hemsworth.

Now Expendables 3 is closing in and we have another teaser trailer.  Who else could they drum up?  Harrison Ford.  Mel Gibson.  Wesley Snipes.  Antonio Banderas.  Good ideas.  Kelsey Grammer.  Hmm, but OK.

Here is the new teaser trailer for Expendables 3:

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lucy movie scarlett johansson

Luc Besson, the French director whose biggest and best film so far is the Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich modern sci-fi classic The Fifth Element, is back with another try at sci-fi later this year.  Lucy is not an offworld romp like The Fifth Element, but an action thriller featuring Scarlett Johansson as the next evolution of mankind.

Mugged and used to transport drugs in her abdomen for some underworld thugs, Lucy gets captured and assaulted when the drugs leak and cause her to slowly change.  The actress now known for her role as Marvel’s Black Widow emerges in this role with some Magneto-vibed super powers in an origin story that seems to share more in common with the Hulk.  Sci-fi tropes pulled from Minority Report to The Matrix to Inception to the similar plot in Limitless are all over the first preview out of the gates for Lucy.  Morgan Freeman co-stars.

Check out this first trailer for Lucy:

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thousand dollar tan line rob thomas jennifer graham veronica mars novel

Fresh on the heels of the theatrical release of the Veronica Mars movie (reviewed last week here at borg.com), series creator and movie director Rob Thomas (along with writer Jennifer Graham) have just released its sequel, Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line We’re reviewed several franchise tie-ins and this new novel is among the best.  All that you think you’d need, the familiar characters, setting, and mood are here, but the most important is that inner monologue of Veronica.  Who better to scribe the next story, the immediate aftermath of the events of the movie, and Veronica’s voice than Thomas?

If you’re not already a Veronica Mars fan, the novel has enough of a standalone detective story to make for a good entry point for the series that genre king Joss Whedon referred to as “Best. Show. Ever.  Seriously, I’ve never gotten more wrapped up in a show I wasn’t making, and maybe even more than those… These guys know what they’re doing on a level that intimidates me.  It’s the Harry Potter of shows.”

Veronica back at Mars Investigations

Picking up in the days after the events of the movie and taking place literally in March 2014, the novel allows Veronica and hacker pal Mac to use all the resources of social media and modern technologies to sleuth out two missing young women who vanished on Spring break in the seedy beach town of Neptune, California (as Piz says in the movie, there really is a Hellmouth under there).  Veronica’s dad Keith is slowly recovering from his car wreck injuries.  Logan is off on an aircraft carrier in the Navy.  And Veronica is dead serious about partnering with her dad full-time at Mars Investigations, to his disappointment.

We get to catch up with a character from the series from Veronica’s distant past, as well as a new character that will likely play a key role in future stories for both Veronica and Keith.

Hacker Mac Veronica Mars

Just as true to life as the original series was, Veronica’s relationship with her dad couldn’t be more believable.  She really isn’t going back to New York to become a lawyer.  And she lives at home again.  As much as we’ve cheered Veronica on, as successful as she could be, like Michael Corleone they keep pulling her back to Neptune.  And it turns out the success we hoped to see Mac achieve (shouldn’t she be CEO of a Google or Facebook by now?) is also on a backtrack, as she quits her prestigious job at Kane Software to work for Veronica as hacker and researcher.  How could all of this have gone so wrong for these two?  Rob Thomas’s choices, if disappointing for all who have cheered on these characters, does something important:  it creates the possibility of future movies and novels.

If the Veronica Mars movie and this first Veronica Mars novel is any indication, then fans will be begging for even more Veronica Mars, no matter the format.

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TMNT turtle

They’re not the Pre-Teen Dirty Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos.  They’re not the Pre-Pubescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.  And they’re not Rocket Raccoon and Groot.  But they are Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo–the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they’re coming back to the theaters in a big-budget, Michael Bay production.

The first trailer is here and the turtles in a half shell are looking pretty good.  And we even get Megan Fox as April, taking on another 1980s toy property franchise after her run in the Transformers movie series.  Shredder is back, too, played by William Fichtner, with Danny Woodburn playing Splinter.

TMNT clip

Check out this first trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

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Cruise in Jack Reacher

Tom Cruise.  No matter the character, no matter the story, no matter the director, he just can’t make a bad movie.  Last year’s release, Jack Reacher, available now on Netflix streaming and DVD and Blu-ray, is another home run.  But for the lackluster title and so-so marketing effort, Jack Reacher might have been a really big hit last year.  Cruise turns in a solid performance again, similar to his high-calibre lead acting in last year’s sci-fi release Oblivion, reviewed here at borg.com.  Later this year the 51-year-old screen legend is back again, in another sci-fi release, Edge of Tomorrow, with co-star Emily Blunt.

Jack Reacher, odd name aside, could be one of those heroes you compare to Harry Callahan, Frank Bullitt, or a Daniel Craig-era James Bond.  The character is that good, as is Cruise’s fit into the role of a smart and tough drifter who turns to the aid of a comatose defendant and his struggling defense attorney in the case of a shocking, random mass shooting.  Cruise’s drifter is also ex-military, the kind of ex-military that can take on a group of thugs by himself, and take part in a big-screen shoot-‘em up.  We see Reacher learning and growing as he tries to make all the right moves–and get constantly set back–throughout the movie, not something many films give audiences much of these days.  He thinks like a lawyer or detective and does so believably, and Cruise taps into his work in The Firm or A Few Good Men, making Reacher a good follow-on for fans of those films.

Duvall and Cruise in Jack Reacher

As Reacher attempts to find the top gunman at a rifle range, we find Robert Duvall in another great role similar to his work in A Civil Action, this time as a craggy expert with a rifle.  Along the way we meet several villains, including one played by A Good Day to Die Hard’s Jai Courtney, but far and away the most intriguing is writer/director/producer Werner Herzog as what could be a Bond villain as “Zec”.  Creepy.  Vile.  Evil.  He gives a pawn who screwed-up a choice: death, or chew off his own fingers.  Yikes.  Rosamund Pike (Surrogates, Pride and Prejudice) excels as the defense attorney in several scenes with the opportunity to convey a wide range of emotions for a single film–and cinematography by (Zooey and Emily’s dad) Caleb Deschanel (The Right Stuff, The Natural, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, National Treasure), gives her plenty of well-timed, stare-into-the-camera close-ups.

Rosamund Pike in Jack Reacher

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Veronica Mars movie poster official

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Diehard Marshmallows who didn’t spend last weekend at Planet Comicon will have seen the movie version already.  Those of us who had to slave away at a booth hawking books for three days had to wait.  But what’s another week after ten years of pining for our favorite girl detective?

Famously bankrolled by fans in an innovative Kickstarter campaign last year, Rob Thomas’s big-screen reunion of his short-lived TV series, Veronica Mars, felt like falling into another episode (except ten years on, the drinking, sex, and swearing has all grown up… and somehow feels a little uncomfortable now).  The whole gang is back–Mars (Kristen Bell) and father Keith (Enrico Colantoni, Galaxy Quest), ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring, Ringer), hacker pal Mac (Tina Majorino, Andre, Corrina, Corrina), biker pal Weevil (Francis Capra), sweet socialite Gia Woodman (Krysten Ritter), even our favorite disgraced deputy, Leo (Max Greenfield, now in New Girl).  A couple of lively new additions, including Gaby Hoffman (Field of Dreams, Uncle Buck), and Jerry O’Connell (Sliders, Stand by Me) as Sheriff Dan Lamb (brother of slain series sheriff, and Mr. Mars’s archrival, Don Lamb) round out the cast.

Veronica Mars back at Mars Investigations

On the brink of her ten-year Neptune High reunion, Veronica Mars finds herself a little too settled, with a good job as a slick New York attorney and a good relationship with college boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell, Private Practice) waiting for her.  But good news!  Troubled ex-boyfriend Logan has been accused of murder again.  Veronica to the rescue, much to the chagrin of father and boyfriend.

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Veronica Mars movie poster

It’s the week hundreds of thousands of Veronica Mars fans have been waiting for since last year’s Kickstarter project made it all possible.  The national release of the Veronica Mars movie is this Friday, March 14, 2014, but AMC Theaters is opening the doors early for fans who can’t wait any longer Thursday night for the Veronica Mars Fan Event screening at select theaters.

Veronica Mars is not slated for a full national release.  Only seventeen city theaters–AMC locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Paramus (NJ), Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC–will be holding the early screening, and the full release includes only 270 theaters.  Compared to 3,000 theaters for run-of-the-mill flicks like Need for Speed, this just seems like poor planning.

But fans outside those 270 theaters can still watch the movie on opening weekend, thanks to the unprecedented simultaneous release of DVD/Blu-rays and video-on-demand options–the first movie ever to part from the norm of waiting for a DVD and VOD release until weeks after the theatrical release.  Will this help the film make up for the lack of theaters?  Veronica Mars is also not releasing like the normal movie, opting to rent theaters from AMC, not unlike businesses renting movie theater facilities for company events, instead of taking the studio release approach.

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