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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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Jaws Entertainment Earth exclusive SDCC 2015 comic-con Quint and shark

Youth is wasted on the young.

I should have this line from It’s a Wonderful Life in a frame hanging over my desk.

Case in point:  The exclusive Jaws shark and bloody Quint playset available only from Entertainment Earth in San Diego on Comic-Con weekend.

How much fun would we have had with that toy as kids?

And–wow–look at these nifty Planet of the Apes figures from NECA toys:

NECA-CC15-POTA-Bundle SDCC 2015

NECA has introduced some of our favorite lines in the past, like the retro Tron line from more than a decade ago.

San Diego Comic-Con exclusives are being announced in advance of the show in addition to what will be revealed at this year’s show with 40 exclusives this year from Entertainment Earth alone.  If you want one of them you’ll need to be at SDCC 2015, except for some, which we have links to pre-order from below.  And this year you’ll be limited to one per person for SDCC 2015 Entertainment Earth exclusives as other booths have done in the past.  So you’ll need to enlist some friendly Con-goers to buy extra for you.

CW Funko SDCC 2015 exclusives Arrow Flash

Highlights include new Funko ReAction unmasked Oliver Queen and Barry Allen figures from the CW series Arrow and The Flash, as well as these:

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Jeffrey Donovan in Sicario

What a mash-up that would be, huh?  Edge of Tomorrow’s tough as nails “Angel of Verdun,” played by Emily Blunt, and Burn Notice’s master spy Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan?

It’s not a mash-up, but maybe it could fill the void left by Burn Notice temporarily.  Crime drama.  Action flick.  Mystery.  And it’s about a hitman.

Starring Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, and Donovan, Sicario is gaining some critical buzz from Cannes.

Emily Blunt Sicario

In Mexico, Sicario means hitman.  In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elite government task force official to aid in the escalating war against drugs.  Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past, the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.

Check out the first trailer for Sicario:

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Fathom Events Jaws

Forty years ago today, summer movies catapulted into an entirely new age.

Fueled by the bestselling novel it was based on, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws scared an entire generation like never before.  Summer movies became a spectacle, a marketing extravaganza, and a pervasive part of culture in America and beyond.

If you haven’t seen Jaws in the theater, you haven’t seen it at all.  We screened the original print last year (see our review here at borg.com from last summer).  Now a new generation can see it on the big screen and past generations can go back into the water again.  But only for a short time.

Turner Classic Movies, Universal Pictures, and the Fathom Events series is screening Jaws across the country tomorrow, June 21, 2015, and Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time, at a wide release of national theater chains.

Jaws by Laurent Durieux

And keep coming back this month for even more Jaws coverage, including a summer exclusive you will want to sink your teeth into.

Celebrate Steven Spielberg’s terrifying masterpiece that had people rushing in waves away from the beach and straight into cinemas across the country.  Accompanying the film will be a specially produced introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, who will give insight into how this classic still makes us think twice about jumping in that water!

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Arnold - he is back

Is this year of the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Not just a Has-Been, but a Still-Is?  Sure, we saw him re-enter the acting arena full-time after retiring from politics with four cool action flicks–The Last Stand, Escape Plan, Sabotage, and The Expendables 3–but nothing compares to what is coming in two weeks.  With a new Terminator movie that looks every bit as good as the first two, could this mean a return for Arnold to Predator?  And how can we possibly wait any longer to see him as Conan the King in The Legend of Conan?

If you have any doubt that he still has “It,” check out the newly released clip below from the Fourth of July weekend release Terminator Genisys.  If this isn’t what summer blockbusters are about, then what are they about?  The clip has our favorite Oscar winner J.K. Simmons in prime form.  And what actress is bigger right now than Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke?  And that’s The Returned’s Sandrine Holt morphing into John Connor.

Terminator Genisys new poster

But then Arnold goes all out for a charity this week posing as himself as Terminator, pranking guests at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

Here’s the new clip from Terminator Genisys:

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Secret Life of Pets

Yes, it’s that time again.  Time for another edition of Trailer Park.  This time we’re looking at four coming attractions of the animated variety.  Two hail from Illumination Entertainment and two from Disney companies.

The Secret Life of Pets gives a look into the world of animals at home when humans are not around.  Zootopia looks at a parallel universe of animals living their lives like humans.  The Good Dinosaur is another parallel universe story, following the lives of dinosaurs if that giant asteroid bypassed Earth 65 million years ago.  And Minions follows the little yellow fellows from Despicable Me as they look for the ultimate villain to support.

Minions theater

And then we have our recommendation of viewing while you’re waiting for the talking animal shows to hit your local theater.  Let’s get on with it!

First up, The Secret Life of Pets from Illumination Entertainment.  Here’s the trailer:

Voice actors include comedians Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., Bobby Moynihan, and the great Albert Brooks.  The Secret Life of Pets arrives in theaters July 8, 2016.

Next, Zootopia from Disney/Pixar:

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Kirk Spock intercom

Okay, we’re still pumped from seeing William Shatner this weekend (discussed here).  So let’s take a look at a few items we received from online superstore Entertainment Earth.  Entertainment Earth is featuring several items inspired by movies and TV this month, including two we’re reviewing here today.  First up is a motion-activated door bell sensor made by ThinkGeek, in the design of the wall communicator panels seen throughout the corridors of original starship Enterprise NCC-1701 from the 1960s Star Trek series.

Nicely designed and affordable at under $30, it features three authentic sounds.  Press the white button to hear the boatswain’s intercom whistle (Captain on the bridge!).  Or set the right, left, or both motion sensors to sound off when anyone passes by.  Choose either the red alert (with flashing light) or the swoosh sound of the opening door as you pass into the transporter room.  More than a cheap toy, the sensors actually work for several feet and the sound is clear and loud.  And batteries are included.

Great for your home or office, it will instantly let everyone know your affiliation with the Federation.  Check out the details and order yours here.

Think Geek Star Trek Doorbell

Just compare the look of this ThinkGeek working door sensor to the real thing (above).

When you’re in travel mode to the next star system, checking out a planet’s surface with a landing party, or just going to your nearest Star Trek convention, why not go in style?

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Man from UNCLE movie poster 2

For a long dead TV property, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. looks like it might have fallen into the right hands.  Director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) has now released two stylish and compelling trailers–two of the best previews we’ve seen this year–for a late summer movie release that we didn’t think we’d have any reason to be interested in.

If the movie matches the previews, we have another “international man of mystery” story to look forward to–a James Bond with the retro-cinematography feel of the BBC’s TV adaptation of Michael Dibdin’s Zen novels.  Despite the fact that the film features the stars of the failed Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger reboots, we have some hope for this one, so long as it can avoid going the way of Johnny Depp’s Dark Shadows.

Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hugh Grant star in this relook at Robert Vaughn and David McCallum’s classic agents for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.).  Cavill fills in for Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and Hammer for McCallum as Russian Illya Kuryakin.

Man from UNCLE banner

We now have a new poster for the film and a new trailer.  We previewed the first trailer at borg.com back in February here.  Check out this new trailer:

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Dumb and Dumber car Wizard World Des Moines 2015

What makes a great Comic Con?

Wizard World Des Moines combined all the right elements this past weekend to create a new annual Midwest destination tradition.  A mix of big name celebrities, comic book creator icons, fanboys and fangirls attending in costume, a variety of vendors, gaming opportunities, current genre properties, the unexpected, taking along family and friends (and meeting new ones and catching up with old ones) and taking in some good food.  And thanks to the success of its first effort, Wizard World will be back again next year at the Iowa Events Center, May 13-15, 2016.

If you missed it, check out our coverage at borg.com yesterday here.

A comic and pop culture convention is even better when your own favorite character seems to have his own theme at the show.  Take our own favorite, Green Arrow, for instance.  This weekend you could have met the artists for the three best Green Arrow series ever produced, including artist/writer Mike Grell:

Milton Bunce Mike Grell Wizard World Des Moines 2015 Zorro

Artists Milton Bunce and Mike Grell at Wizard World Des Moines 2015 Sunday.

And as luck would have it, Mike found a lost piece of original art he brought to the show, a cover prelim/rough for a 24-year old annual issue he created:

Grell WWDM 2015 cover rough annual 4   Green_Arrow_Annual_Vol_2_4

There’s no place better to pick up original comic book art than a Comic Con, whether it’s a sketch commission or original pages that artists bring to the show to gawk at or even purchase.  (Thanks for bringing this one, Mike!).

And there’s one of the other of the three major artists known for his Green Arrow work (he’s done Batman and a ton of other characters, too), Neal Adams:

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Wizard World Des Moines 2015 from above

It must be one of the best-attended Comic Cons for a first-time event:  More than 25,000 fans of print and film superheroes and celebrities attended this weekend’s Wizard World Des Moines comic book and pop culture convention at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.  And the show’s management believes the attendance assures Wizard World will return to Des Moines next summer, establishing the next major annual Midwest comic book fan convention.

Fans from Iowa and neighboring states toured the halls and giant celebrity autograph and photo op room, many in cosplay garb.  The highlights include a premiere slate of comic book creators in Artists Alley and celebrity appearances that gave everyone something to be excited about.

Michael Golden Wizard World Des Moines 2015

Star Trek fans barely had to wait in line to meet sci-fi icon William Shatner, who also spoke to a crowded house of fans Saturday afternoon.  If you like superheroes, you could meet the two most popular Green Arrow creators of all time: artist Neal Adams and writer/artist Mike Grell, Superman actors Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) and Dean Cain (The Adventures of Lois and Clark) (Routh also appears as The Atom on CW’s The Flash), DC Bombshells creator Ant Lucia, Rogue creator and long-time Marvel artist Michael Golden (above), and Mike Zeck, artist for Marvel Comics classics like the Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars series:

Mike Zeck Wizard World Des Moines 2015

The Walking Dead fans met series star Michael Cudlitz, and received an exclusive variant Issue #1 from the comic book series, drawn by Iowa artist Phil Hester.  And horror fans got to cross off their list one of the modern Big 3 of horror icons, Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger himself Robert Englund.  Fans of the cult film Boondock Saints met up with star Sean Patrick Flannery.

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