One of our favorite members of the Justice League will appear on Supergirl later this month. We discussed the pantheon of DC Comics’ classic superhero team earlier this week here at borg.com, noting Red Tornado was yet to make an appearance. Ask and ye shall receive, as they say.
Red Tornado is an android with enormous power. In the comic books, Red Tornado was originally a villain, who turned hero and ended up for several years with the Justice League. As with the comics, it appears that Supergirl’s version of Red Tornado will start as a key villain, but may yet turn from bad to good. CBS refers to Red Tornado as “a military cyborg commissioned by Lucy Lane’s father, General Sam Lane”.
Iddo Goldberg will don the Red Tornado costume in the series. Here are some artist’s versions of the red superhero:
Jurassic Park was not only Michael Crichton’s most popular novel, it finally allowed him to synthesize all the elements he had worked out over the course of his career into a perfect story. Crichton could easily have been the writer behind the examination of man vs. machine that is this year’s big screen release Ex Machina, now in Digital HD and Blu-ray. Writer-director Alex Garland (28 Days Later) could have taken us on another bland adventure about man’s fascination with technology and mortality, but instead he creates a morality play that is eerily simple yet surprisingly profound. Behind Ex Machina is a modern Victor Frankenstein complete with a reclusive laboratory and spectacular creations. Oscar Isaac (Sucker Punch, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is Nathan, the uber-wealthy CEO inventor atop a Google-inspired enterprise, who secretly is using his company’s collective search data to create artificial intelligence–and more. Is he the classic mad scientist?
In the spirit of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, Nathan launches a contest for employees with the prize being a weeklong visit to his own Skywalker Ranch. The winner is the smart and amiable Caleb, played by Domnhall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Star Wars: The Force Awakens). All is not what it seems. Someone here is being played and it’s for the audience to figure it all out. Nathan has really brought Caleb to his lair to test out his new humanoid robot, Ava, played by Alicia Vikander (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Seventh Son), and give her a battery of ad hoc tests to see if she passes the Turing test–to confirm whether Nathan has really created the ultimate intelligent machine. Loosely inspired by more than one classic fairy tale, the seemingly simple story and strange circumstances quickly grow dark. Who is manipulating who?
Garland doesn’t need to rely on his fascinating, humanoid, robotic creations–arguably cybernetic or borg, and eminently believable–to carry the picture. Its backbone is a well-paced story with a satisfying payoff. Fans of Neill Blomkamp will love Garland’s study of class and society in the post-modern future: relations between employee and boss, scientist and subject, and master and servant. In a world of secrets and locked doors, who can you trust?
The cable network Starz has released a second trailer for the TV series sequel to the classic Evil Dead films, Ash vs. Evil Dead. If you missed the first trailer, check it out when we previewed the show first here at borg.com. Whether or not you’ve seen the originals, we see two big reasons to give the show a try.
First, how can you not love Bruce Campbell? As Ash Williams, he is one of our favorite members of the Borg Hall of Fame. Although it was Evil Dead that made him known worldwide, we loved him back in his Hercules, The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess days as the Errol Flynn inspired Autolycus. He reprised his role as Ash in Army of Darkness, but also popped up all over the place in shows from Knots Landing (what?) to The X-Files, from Homicide: Life on the Street to Lois and Clark and Charmed, and from Psych to The Librarians. His two series with Campbell in the lead, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Jack of All Trades are the stuff of cult classic legend. And his pop culture status has only grown through roles in Darkman, Congo, The Hudsucker Proxy, Escape from L.A., McHale’s Navy, The Majestic, Spider-man, and Sky High. And his best TV is undoubtedly Sam Axe on Burn Notice.
Second, Lucy Lawless back in a show with Bruce Campbell? That’s just… neat.
Here is Bruce Campbell in the second trailer for humor-filled gore-fest that is Ash vs Evil Dead:
If you missed out on writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen’s 2015 sci-fi comic book series Descender, you have a chance to catch up. You can purchase for download Issues #1-5 at Comixology at any time, but this weekend the website is offering a free digital copy of Issue #1.
Why should you check out the free preview?
Nguyen really has a solid lock on the look of this story about a child-like android (or does he rate cyborg status?) who is the only survivor of a galactic assault on his world. His stylized settings and spaceships, as well as his color choices remind us of Phil Noto’s visuals on Trigger Girl 6, one of the best retro-style creations we’ve seen in years. His wide perspective and large panel spreads really evoke something from an exciting future.
Lemire’s world building gets readers up to speed quickly. He takes the theme from Steven Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence/A.I. yet makes it far more interesting.
If you’re not convinced yet, just look at the first few pages below and see what we mean:
As to sheer volume of remakes, via books, film, or other media, Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein have gone head to head for decades. Why not another remake of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the original seed of the science fiction genre and the original cyborg? Our only question is: Why wait for Thanksgiving when it is such an obvious draw for the box office at Halloween?
The latest incarnation, the big screen’s Victor Frankenstein, stars X-Men’s James McAvoy as the Doctor opposite Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe as assistant Igor. It’s directed by frequent BBC Sherlock director Paul McGuigan. From the first trailer released this week, this new film has all the requirements of the Gothic horror tale–a slightly mad doctor, his quirky minion, some steampunk techno-machinery, a creepy castle, storms and lightning, and, of course, the Doctor’s latest creation.
It must be better than last year’s I, Frankenstein, right?
No doubt the most fun likely will be the banter between the popular British leads. check out this first trailer for Victor Frankenstein:
Known for one of the most bizarre characters ever played by actor Yul Brynner, 1973’s Westworld was writer/director Michael Crichton’s original theme park-turned disaster. Twenty years before Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs went on a murderous rampage, it was sideshow automatons from a high-tech vacation spot that turned on the tourists. Will HBO’s new series Westworld also add in the other theme parks (like RomanWorld) as in the original? We’ll know soon.
Jonathan Nolan, brother of The Dark Knight series’ Christopher Nolan, is directing the return of the sci-fi classic. The original starred Brynner as the cool and unflinching Gunslinger, with Richard Benjamin running for his life, along with appearances by James Brolin and Majel Barrett. The new series stars a great, comparable actor to Brynner–Ed Harris, as well as Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Jimmi Simpson, and James Bond’s Jeffrey Wright.
Check out the first teaser for the series Westworld:
If you’re a Bruce Campbell fan like us who still must watch the full introduction to old episodes Burn Notice to get your Campbell fix, this next item may be just for you. Sam Raimi is continuing the adventures of Ash Williams from the Evil Dead series in a new series from cable pay channel Starz. Ash vs. Evil Dead who be a larger than life, tongue-in-cheek, gooey, bloody, silly gore fest that, based on its first trailer, appears to amp up all the above compared to the original movies.
Look for Mimi Rogers and Xena herself, Lucy Lawless, who appears in the preview released for Comic-Con weekend.
It’s the ultimate blast from the past for cult horror flick fans. Check out the preview for Ash vs. Evil Dead:
Review by C.J. Bunce
Few sci-fi films are as revered as James Cameron’s Terminator and Terminator II: Judgment Day. Judgment Day is regarded by many as one of the greatest sequels to any movie ever made. Both films made American Film Institute lists and are the kind of movies we can watch hundreds of times and still keep enjoying them. Two sequels followed, no longer under the direction of Cameron, Terminator III: Rise of the Machines, a worthy but lesser sequel reviewed at borg.com here, and the far, far lesser Terminator: Salvation. So coming into the fourth sequel this weekend with the opening of director Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys, expectations by many were low. So against that backdrop, and countless bashings by both national film critics and time travel aficionados, how really is this sequel?
Somehow Terminator Genisys manages to be not only good, but great, and not only that, it manages to equal the punch and excitement of both Terminator and Terminator II.
That’s right, if you love the universe of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sometimes villain, sometimes hero Terminator T-800, you’re going to love this film, which is not only loyal to James Cameron’s originals, it flat-out amps up the sci-fi and takes every element that made the earlier films great and expands them into new, exciting places. This includes time travel, big action, story twists, casting, acting, and all the cybernetic tech you could hope for. Adhering to a carefully laid out plan covering two parallel timelines (that we know of), we revisit the first Terminator trip to 1984 and learn about two other time jumps that illustrate Kyle Reese’s important line from the first movie: “The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” In fact in Reese’s first conversation with Sarah he made the same point, calling her future “one possible future.” These seeds planted in the original allow this new story to take off.
You have Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day committed to memory. The fourth Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation, nearly turned you off on the franchise for good. But what you don’t remember is the last time Arnold Schwarzenegger really played the Terminator. That was the third film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Back in 2003, our expectations were pretty high, just as they are for this week’s release of Terminator Genisys. Twelve years later and after the truly bad Terminator Salvation, you might find it better than you remember. If you want to get in prime Terminator mode with something different this week as you gear up for the latest effort, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines deserves a second look.
The story connects the dots between the past and future of the first two films. After Skynet failed to kill Sarah and John, it sends back yet another Terminator, the T-X, played by Kristanna Loken, to eliminate all of John Connor’s Resistance leaders, including his wife Kate, played by Claire Danes–who will one day be his second in command. The Resistance sends its own counter-attack into the past in the form of an outdated tech T-850, played by Schwarzenegger, and as with Terminator 2, Arnold is again the hero/protector. John Connor, played by the strangely cast Nick Stahl (he doesn’t look anything like John in T2), is living off the grid, but still the prize target, which the T-X encounters in a fated, self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts where John and Kate’s lives converge with the arrival of both the T-X and T-850.
We learn that Kate’s dad is a general in the military who is preparing to activate Skynet–and finally learn the reason why it was created, and how it all goes wrong–on the Judgment Day of the first sequel’s title.
So why is it a good Terminator movie?
Our Sci-Fi Summer previews seem like they are just getting started. We’re previewing eight new sci-fi series this week, saving our pick for what looks like the best for last. Next up: Humans, a new series coming soon from AMC, is the next take on The Stepford Wives. As with 2013-14’s brilliant but short-lived Fox TV series about a world with borgs fully integrated into society called Almost Human, this latest look at cybernetic organisms of the future focuses on the problems with these new servants living among humans. Eight episodes of Humans are coming our way this summer on AMC.
AMC (and England’s Channel 4) are having some great fun marketing the series. Below you’ll find several previews for the series (both U.S. and British versions) as well as spots from the company that creates the new technology within the series (much like we saw from RoboCop with Omnicorp here, and from Prometheus, the David 8 ad from Weyland Corp, discussed here). Just see the Persona Synthetics website here. Set in London, where every family wants the latest gadget for the home, a Synth, a highly-developed, artificially intelligent human look-alike.
What stands out immediately is the lack of special effects in comparison to a similar genre series idea like Almost Human. Almost Human was not able to survive with an expertly told story, a movie star lead in Karl Urban, and dazzling futuristic effects. The Synths are humans, seemingly unmodified except for contact lenses. It’s understandable that brilliant technology makes them look so real, and adds to the creepiness in the look of the show, but there’s definitely an element missing here. And the fact that each Synth is different, instead of several duplicates seems to point more to production budgets than a clever sci-fi story device.