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X-Men Days of Future Past Rogue Cut

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you agree last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is among the best superhero films of all time, and probably the single best film in the Marvel Universe, then you’ll want to see a new director’s cut released this month: X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Rogue Cut Especially if you haven’t picked up a copy of the 2014 version on Blu-Ray, this new edition brings together the original theatrical release and The Rogue Cut, plus a disc full of new features, making this the definitive edition for most fans.

It’s the lack of a 3D edition that is the only miss with the new release.  For most people that won’t be a problem.  But if you have embraced 3D television technology like us, you’re just going to be buying a new Blu-Ray to add to last year’s superb Ultimate Edition so you can watch each version from time to time–because you just can’t miss this new edit of the film.

If you’re not aware of the quality of this movie by ace director Bryan Singer, check out our review from last year here at borg.com.  On repeat viewings X-Men: Days of Future Past proves its worthiness as a superhero flick future superhero films will be compared to.  This expanded edition certainly does nothing to diminish the original.  It instead provides 17 minutes of additional scenes that explain plot elements skipped over in the original cut and it provides a better character study of nearly every major player: Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine, Mystique, Trask, Beast, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, and of course, Rogue.  More Quicksilver (Evan Peters) would have been fun, but you can’t have everything.  But we do learn more from Singer on his audio commentary about that character’s role, and that of Mystique, Beast, Magneto, and the rest of the mutants in next year’s sequel X-Men: Apocalypse.

Rogue Cut Wolverine Rogue

The features disc includes a nine-part “making of” series and a 30-minute roundtable featuring Singer and most of the show’s stars.  The audio track features Singer and editor/composer John Ottman.  Both provide an excellent look at the storytelling process as adapted to the filmmaker’s role.

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James Bond SPECTRE

The same agency that taunted James Bond in five classic James Bond films (Thunderball, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice) is the subject of SPECTRE, the 24th in the current franchise and 26th to feature Bond (if you include David Niven’s Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again).  SPECTRE, which stands for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion,” is the movie incarnation of the less gritty sounding SMERSH, a Russian acronym for “Special Methods of Spy Detection” in the original Ian Fleming Bond novels.  Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz will star as the next Bond villain “Oberhauser.”  SPECTRE is also the agency led by fan favorite Bond villain Blofeld, which has led to speculation that Oberhauser is really an alias for Blofeld.  Soon we shall see.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes again directs Bond in SPECTRE.  New cast members include the BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty, Andrew Scott, as Denbigh, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) as the new Bond girls Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann, with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista as Waltz’s henchman Hinx.  And of course, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw will reprise their roles from Skyfall as will Jesper Christensen as Mr. White.

Bond in SPECTRE

Here is the latest trailer for SPECTRE:

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Ragnar Lothbrok

Last year I interviewed two stars of Vikings here at borg.com just before the premiere of Season Two of the landmark series.  It’s hard to believe a show this good, and as historically and culturally focused as Vikings has managed to survive this long when so many other good series get cut from the network and cable line-up.  Season Four has been filmed and will premiere next year, but we have a first look at what’s to come.

Three new major players will enter the scene in Season Four: Peter Franzen (The Gunman), Jasper Paakkonen (Frozen Land, Secret Lives), and Dianne Doan (Once Upon a Time).  Franzen plays Scandinavian King Harald Finehair, a threat to series lead Ragnar (Travis Fimmel).  Paakkonen will play Halfdan the Black, Finehair’s younger brother.  Doan will portray Yidu, a new Chinese character who, along with Ragnar’s growing sons, will have a big role in the next season, which skips ahead a few years after the events in last season’s stunning finale.

Vikings season 4

Historians also know the role Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is destined to have in the series.  How the series writers reveal her role, the fate of Ragnar, and the subplot with Alyssa Sutherland’s Aslaug, is plenty reason to watch this coming season.

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ST-GL01-covREU-DiamondA ST-GL01-covREV-DiamondB

Who doesn’t like a good crossover series? 

This month IDW Publishing, the licensee holder for Star Trek comics, and DC Comics teamed up to release the first issue of Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War.  The burden of any crossover is successfully combining two well-known worlds in a way that is true to them both, while forging ahead on a combined path that makes them better together.  It’s a tall order with Star Trek and Green Lantern.  Yet, writer Mike Johnson and artists Angel Hernandez get this new series not only off on a good start, they created a fun read true to their source material that will keep readers around for Issue #2.

First, they made an interesting choice of players.  They combined the new, Star Trek reboot crew with the classic, original lantern, Hal Jordan.  We don’t get a big dose of Hal in issue #1, but the mannerisms of the crew from the 2009 movie and Star Trek Into Darkness are spot on.  With Hernandez’s renderings of the actors behind each character the result is a seamless believable blend of worlds.  Even better, they select one of the top five all-time best Star Trek villains for their first bad encounter.

IDW+DC+Star+Trek+Green+Lantern+The+Spectrum+War+%231+Emerald+City+Comics+exclusive+cover  GL ST #1 var  2mwgtgj

The story begins with a Watcher from the DC Universe and a quick fantasy set-up as true to the classic Hal stories as you’d find anywhere.  Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk and Karl Urban’s Doctor McCoy couldn’t be better–both as their new incarnations and in their play on the original 1960s versions of themselves.  That sounds strange, but read it, it really works and it’s really well done.  A villainous vessel, and a handful of power rings, and BAM!  We have the set up for a solid series here.

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BTTF set October

One October 21, 2015, the future will finally arrive.  Back in 1985 director Robert Zemeckis joined forces with producers Steven Spielberg and Bob Gale to begin one of the most beloved sci-fi trilogies of all time with Back to the Future.  In 1989 Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown time traveled to the future to October 21, 2015, and in conjunction with the movie’s 30th anniversary, select theaters will bring the movies back for a limited showing, and new Blu-Ray & DVD boxed sets of the trilogy and animated series will be released.

Cast members Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson met with fans in London at a convention this weekend, taking this great photo (from Thompson’s Facebook feed):

BTTF crew July 17 2015 from Lea Thompson Facebk

The single most popular acting work Michael J. Fox is known for is the series (in addition to Family Ties and Spin City), and yet Zemeckis began the original film, and actually filmed a good part of it, with Mask actor Eric Stoltz in the lead as Marty McFly.  Watch the Zemeckis segment of Robert Rodriquez’s excellent series The Director’s Chair on the El Rey Network for more great trivia about Back to the Future, previewed here:

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Colony USA Network

A new TV series is coming to USA Network this Fall that looks very similar to the claustrophobic, post-apocalypse Wayward Pines, but without all the Pacific Northwest charm.  Colony, previewed last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con is a look at a family trying to escape from Los Angeles when the future of America goes bad.

Call it dystopian, call it post-apocalyptic, it also looks to pull from past science fiction themes found in Alien Nation, Haven, Red Dawn, Wicker Man, and Under the Dome.  Oh, yeah, and Lost.  And speaking of Lost, the draw for many will be star Josh Holloway, known for his role as Sawyer on Lost and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Colony clip

Another actor co-starring in Colony is The Lost Room and House, M.D.’s Peter Jacobson, who looks particularly good as the apparent puppetmaster of the show.

Here is the trailer released at Comic-Con for USA Network’s Colony:

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Drive-in Screen SE 14th ST

I was 11 in the Summer of ’82.  And yet I remember that summer vividly.  Rare has there been a year since that I saw so many awesome movies in the theater.  Many have commented on what was the best year in movies over the years, with the classic answer from critics usually being 1939 because of stellar films like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Princess, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Drums Along the Mohawk.

So what do you think is the best year of movies?  If you whittle it down to the best summer of movies, I’ve got a real contender here.

I remember standing in line at a new theater on my side of town, with my mom and sister, getting a sticker advertising a new brown and orange candy somehow tied to one of the movies.  I saw an unexpectedly powerful sci-fi franchise entry with my brother at the S.E. 14th Street Drive-In Theater (pictured above before they tore it down a decade later) on a really hot day one Friday night.  And he and his RadioShack computer tinkering friends took me to see a new Disney film that had its setting inside a computer at a Saturday matinée.  The preview for one of the movies gave me nightmares.  Two of the movies I wouldn’t truly appreciate for another 20 years.  It all happened during the summer 33 years ago.

ET Reeses sticker from theater giveaway 1982

Check out this summer movie sneak preview from the YouTube archives and recall where you were during the Summer of ’82:

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Jenna Coleman season 9 Doctor Who

The best month of the year for news about new TV series and movies is July, thanks to all the buzz started at Comic-Con 2015 last weekend.  We have a few more previews in the coming days.  To continue the dark theme started by Batman v. Superman, the BBC previewed the next season of Doctor Who, featuring our newest Doctor played by Peter Capaldi as well as companion Clara, played by Jenna Coleman.

And yes, it really looks like a darker Doctor Who, but it has been getting darker especially since The Day of the Doctor.  As much as we like Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, it’s still difficult to understand some of the motivations of the Doctor’s latest incarnation.  After a year of episodes, Capaldi and Steven Moffat still seem to be tinkering with and exploring the essence of the 12th Doctor–how much of Matt Smith and David Tenant’s Doctors are we getting and what is truly unique about this Doctor?

Doctor Who ring Capaldi

Anyone else notice his wedding ring before?

What we want to know the most is whether we’ll see more of the Paternoster Gang, who doesn’t appear in the Comic-Con trailer.  We’re betting they find their way back.  Check out this preview for Doctor Who, the ninth of the modern seasons of the show:

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new Fantastic Four

With 20th Century Fox’s own Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse previews released this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, the studio will be hard-pressed to gin up significant support for its efforts to reboot the Fantastic Four brand with next month’s release of the third film to feature the classic Marvel team.  But the studio at least has put the final trailer for the movie into the fans of the masses with this release, after giving an early look to panel attendees at Comic-Con.

The new team of “kids” as the preview calls them also will be up against the buzz generated this weekend for other 2015 and 2016 films, including superhero flicks Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad.

Check out this new trailer for Fantastic Four:

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In case you missed it, for professional and amateur astronomers, the big news this month is NASA’s release of the first up close photographs taken of Pluto.

On Jan. 19, 2006, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft lifted off aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral.  The piano-sized probe passed within 6,200 miles of Pluto, at about 7:49 a.m. EDT yesterday, July 14, 2015.  The spacecraft had a relative velocity of 30,800 mph at its approach and came as close as 17,000 miles to Pluto’s largest moon, Charon.  Not a bad success story for NASA, after nine and a half years of planning.

NASA provided flyby coverage on NASA Television, the agency’s website and its social media accounts as the spacecraft closed in on its closest look at Pluto.  The radio signals confirming the survival of the craft and ongoing research beyond Pluto were received by a Deep Space Network antenna in Spain four and a half hours after they were sent out from the spacecraft at the speed of light, 13 hours after the probe made its close-up flyby.

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