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TARDIS and Santa and Clara

Premiering yesterday in England during a charity special, the BBC released a preview of the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special showcasing Simon Pegg comedy film partner Nick Frost as Santa Claus.  We saw a brief shot of Frost in the season finale last Saturday.  Who would have thought that goofy cop in Hot Fuzz and Pegg’s roommate turned zombie in Shaun of the Dead would make such a fine jolly old elf?

You might also be familiar with Frost from the third film in the famed Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End, which we reviewed here at borg.com earlier this year.   Frost went a little more serious as a salsa king in Cuban Fire, released in April.

Nick Frost as Santa Claus Doctor Who

Frost originally become known from his role on Spaced, the British sci-fi TV series with Pegg and Jessica Hynes, and appeared with Pegg yet again in the Comic-Con alien flick Paul.  You can find him in cameos in Grindhouse, Attack the Block, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

After the break, check out two trailers for the annual Brit tradition, the Doctor Who Christmas Special:

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predestination-poster01-predestination-poster-2

Finally the Australian film Predestination will be making it to the States.  The Aussie Spierig Brothers direct this loose adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “All You Zombies.”  Bringing some genre street cred to this independent film is Gattaca’s Ethan Hawke as the lead.  Hawke is a time travel agent in the business of preventing crimes before they happen, and in good film noir fashion he is on his final case to hunt down that one criminal who got away.

If the plot sounds familiar, it should.  Predestination is just the latest entry in the sci-fi time travel trope, in the vein of the Philip K. Dick inspired films The Adjustment Bureau, Paycheck, and Minority Report, and the Bruce Willis/Emily Blunt rollercoaster ride Looper.

predestination

Predestination was filmed in Melbourne, and comes from that same stylized sci-fi tradition that brought us the cool post-apocalypse film The Quiet Earth.  Released in Australia back on August 28, 2014, it finally has a U.S. release date.

After the break, check out the trailer for Predestination:

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Rita Vrataski Emily Blunt

When we first heard that Hiroshi Sakurazaka‘s novel All You Need is Kill was being adapted for the big screen we knew this was going to be a winner.  Then the studio changed its name to Edge of Tomorrow and revised a fair amount of the characters and story arcs and we weren’t so sure.  By the time it hit the video stores the marketing folks realized Edge of Tomorrow as a title was responsible for some of the deficiencies at the box office, and so they elevated the status of their tagline Live. Die. Repeat. in big letters on the video boxes making it nearly impossible to remember the title.  So here’s some good advice:  Forget about the marketing screw-ups.  Ignore it if you don’t like Tom Cruise’s personal life.  And just watch this movie.

Although the outcome of Emily Blunt’s branded “Full Metal Bitch” Rita Vrataski is different from Sakurazaka’s novel, Rita is the finest example of kick-ass female that has hit the movie screen.  Everyone should be watching Rita and getting inspired to take tai chi or tae kwan do.  I’ve compared Rita to Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley and stand by that comparison.  And it’s worth noting it takes a real person to do all these physical acts of prowess to bring these characters to the screen, which should add Emily Blunt to role models like Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver.

Edge of Tomorrow scene

Military men and women and anyone who likes World War II movies will appreciate the entire future military command setting in Edge of Tomorrow.  Bill Paxton’s Master Sergeant Farell is perfection, in a camp with Richard Jaeckel’s Sgt. Bowren in The Dirty Dozen or Warren Oates’ Sgt. Hulka in Stripes.  The D-Day-inspired battle scenes even rival the great work done by Steven Spielberg in the Omaha Beach landing scene in Saving Private Ryan.

Rarely does good science fiction also manage to pull off laugh-out-loud humor.  Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) took a production that began without a full shooting script and pieced together something gritty and complete, offset with some of the funniest stuff put on film this year.  Cruise’s character Cage tries repeatedly to escape and find Rita early in the film and is repeatedly killed–including an incredible scene involving him rolling under a jeep.  Cruise is a great actor and entirely believable as his character grows–really selling his performance convincingly here as he does with most of his films.

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Planet Earth and Hadfield

Tuesday night Commander Chris Hadfield met with a small group of Kansas City patrons at a reception in the Linda Hall Library of science and technology, in advance of a lecture on the release of his new book You Are Here to 800 attendees at the Unity Temple on the Plaza.  Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who flew twice on the space shuttle and commanded the International Space Station last year, fielded a barrage of questions on everything from his tight fit in a Russian Soyuz space capsule to his favorite moments in outer space to his famous viral rock video.

Just feet from a 1543 first edition of Copernicus’s On the Heavenly Spheres in which Copernicus first introduced humans to an image of the Sun at the center of the universe, and a 1610 hand-notated first edition of Galileo’s treatise Starry Messenger in which Galileo first documented his discoveries via telescope, Hadfield was a living representation of mankind’s greatest achievements so far.  Confident and razor sharp, Hadfield conveyed those traits you’d expect from a test pilot and astronaut required to know how to repair every part of his spacecraft if necessary and conduct experiments in outer space as planet Earth soars in front of him at 1,000 miles per hour.

Hadfield signing

Commander Hadfield signed copies of his new book You Are Here, and earlier work An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

Hadfield, known for his transmission of images via Twitter during his five-month stint on the International Space Station (ISS), said he personally follows very few people on the Internet.  “I follow a few friends I know who have some humorous things to say,” he said.  On the space station Hadfield produced an unprecedented rock video sung and performed on guitar by the commander–a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which we reported on here at borg.com back in 2013 (and referred to Hadfield as the coolest man on, or off, Earth).  He said his son, who produced the video from back home on Earth, “really wrote the book” on using social media to convey something as enormous as sharing what Hadfield was doing in outer space, including the millions re-introduced to the space program who watched his video on YouTube.  “We have something like 20 million hits,” he said proudly (actually now more than 23 million).

Librarian for history of science Bruce Bradley

Linda Hall Library history of science librarian Bruce Bradley displays rare original texts from Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton.

Before the private reception, Linda Hall Library history of science librarian Bruce Bradley showed off the facilities collection of original historic astronomy texts, and Hadfield said he was impressed by what he had seen.  The Library previously hosted Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, seen here.

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DjangoZorro010-Cov-A-Lee

Last year long-time comic book fan Quentin Tarentino used the original version of his Academy Award winning screenplay to create an unprecedented eight-issue limited series from Dynamite Comics of his acclaimed film Django Unchained.  Tomorrow Tarentino teams up with writer/artist Matt Wagner and artist Esteve Polls to release the first ever sequel to one of his films with the Dynamite crossover series Django/Zorro.

Django returns years after the events of the film as a bounty hunter out in the Old West.  He has settled his wife safely in Chicago, and meets up with the legendary Diego de la Vega, that masked man with the sword known as Zorro.

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Django joins up as a bodyguard for the tough de la Vega and begins their first adventure together protecting the interests of the innocent.  It all begins tomorrow.

Courtesy of Dynamite Comics, check out this preview of Django/ Zorro, Issue #1:

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Chappie dog skyline

Writer/director Neill Blomkamp has a unique vision for his sci-fi films.  His first foray, District 9, resulted in a rare nomination for the genre for an Academy Award.  District 9 looked at the social upheaval caused by a future immigration of aliens from a doomed spaceship.  Last year, he turned Matt Damon into a cyborg making an escape to a Utopian world in Elysium.

Now Blomkamp again looks at human society and culture but this time in the context of a robot with artificial intelligence in Chappie.  Chappie is a fish-out-of-water story about a robot experiencing what it means to be alive.

This modern take on the 1980s robot movie Short Circuit and update to Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial intelligence stars Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel as an inventor who creates the robot that thinks and feels.  His creator role is like that of Geppetto from Pinocchio, and Chappie experiences his own growth like the puppet that wanted to be a real boy.

Chappie movie poster

As with Blomkamp’s prior sci-fi films, the special effects look to be superb.  The robot moves freely like a human, and it’s easy to predict that moviegoers will fall for this new creation.

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Simpsons Family History    Adventure Time The Art of Ooo

Two new deluxe edition books for fans of two of the biggest animated franchises around are now available.  Abrams Books has just released Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo, by Chris McDonnell, and The Simpsons Family History, by Matt Groening.

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo is a look at the creative process behind the hit Cartoon Network television series.  Full of storyboards and concept art, the Art of Ooo  traces the evolution of Finn the Human and Jake the Dog as they traverse the dense fantasy land of Ooo.

Fantasy and horror director Guillermo de Toro provides the introduction to this lavish, full color, coffee table-style volume.  Fans of the series will appreciate access to the show bible and decisions behind the unusual artwork and character designs.  Why do they look this way (eyes with dots and eyes without dots–it’s all for a reason)?  You’ll find out here.

Art of Ooo excerpt b    Art of Ooo excerpt

Lovers of the animation process will appreciate original notes, sketches and planning materials used throughout the series.  What fans of any series wouldn’t love this kind of look behind the scenes? Great interviews with artists, music composers, and voice actors will make this a read fans won’t want to pass up.

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hobbit-battle-five-armies-gandalf-poster    hobbit-battle-five-armies-thorin-poster

What a long strange, fantastical trip it’s been.

Just over 14 years ago, Peter Jackson filmed the first scenes of his The Lord of the Rings trilogy–the first live-action effort to capture J.R.R. Tolkien’s complex series of novels.  Never before had anyone taken on a movie project so daunting.  Just look at photos of Jackson then and now and you can see a bit of how the director’s life has changed.

The culmination of his efforts was reached in 2006 as the series approached $3 billion in gross receipts, then its last entry Return of the King tied the record for Oscar wins with Ben-Hur and Titanic taking eleven Academy Awards, and sealing its status as fantasy royalty by taking the Best Film category.

hobbit-battle-five-armies-tauriel-poster    the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-poster-thranduil

And so the success of The Lord of the Rings propelled a series for The Hobbit novel adaptation forward.  And the end is only a month away.  The bittersweet reality of the beckoning end permeates the last trailer we will see for this landmark series of films.  With this trailer we’re left with the gloom and darkness where this story must end.

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Librarians cast

Do you miss Leverage and King & Maxwell?  Back in August we first announced that TNT is bringing back the world of The Librarian franchise with a new series from executive producers Dean Devlin, John Rogers and Marc Roskin.  Rebecca Romijn (X-Men), Christian Kane (Leverage, Angel), Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead, The Philanthropist) and John Kim (Neighbors, The Pacific) will star in the series as protectors of rare and supernatural treasures, with genre favorite John Larroquette (Night Court, Stripes, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) as their caretaker.

Noah Wyle (Falling Skies) serves as executive producer and returns as Flynn Carsen, the role he played in TNT’s movie trilogy.  Also reprising their roles from the movies will be comedy greats Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob) and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, 3rd Rock from the Sun).   Today TNT released a humorous new trailer for the series, previewed below after the break.  And we’re pretty sure we see Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice, Army of Darkness) in the preview.

Bruce Campbell Librarians TNT

From the TNT press materials:

The Librarians centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. This group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world. Among the artifacts housed in the Library are the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, the Judas Chalice and Excalibur, to name a few. Only a person with special skills could be responsible for collecting and protecting these artifacts, and more importantly, for preventing them from falling into the wrong hands.

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Mark Wahlberg track suit Six Billion Dollar Man running

Finally Steve Austin will make it to the big screen 42 years after Martin Caidin first created the man who was barely alive, rebuilt, better, stronger and faster than he was before in his novel Cyborg.  And it’s been 36 years since the 1970s popular TV series went off the air.

And the best part?  Mark Wahlberg has been tapped by the Weinstein Co. to play not the Six Million Dollar Man, but the Six Billion Dollar Man in The Six Billion Dollar Man.  We at borg.com couldn’t be happier with the selection of Wahlberg if we were allowed to hand pick the actor to play the Bionic Man ourselves.  Wahlberg is an actor cranking out some of the most enjoyable films around for the past 15 years, from The Italian Job to The Departed to Shooter to The Happening to Ted to the latest Transformers.

Thankfully, the parody film rumored to be “in the works” supposedly to star Jim Carrey then Robert Downey, Jr. then Leonardo DiCaprio, is now off the table.  The original Bionic Man, Lee Majors, expressed concern about a parody earlier this year at Planet Comicon.  No worries now!

Wahlberg sported a similar white track suit in Pain and Gain.  Will he don the red track suit for Steve Austin?

The Six Billion Dollar Man is expected to start production in 2015 with a 2016 release.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

 

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