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First there was Gort, then there was Harry Vanderspeigle.  Or at least the alien who took over Harry Vanderspeigle on Resident Alien, streaming now on Peacock.  That’s really all you need to know, other than the times have changed a bit since director Robert Wise premiered his landmark alien visitor movie The Day the Earth Stood Still on New Year’s Day 70 years ago.  Actually maybe the times haven’t changed at all.  For Alan Tudyk’s visiting resident alien and his town of newfound friends the stakes just keeping bigger and we need the laughs more than ever, as we learned at the midseason break this past March.

A new trailer reveals even more sci-fi comedy antics are coming for the residents of Patience this summer.  Check it out:

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A new coming of age movie is heading to Paramount Plus later this month featuring some familiar genre favorites.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse has come a long way from earning a police ride from a fake ID as McLovin in Superbad and starring as the angry young villain of the Kick-Ass movie series.  Or has he?  In Honor Society, he’s now a high school teacher although his style makes him seem like a grown-up incarnation of his Superbad teen.  But the lead of the story is Aussie actress Angourie Rice, co-star of the MCU’s Spider-Man movies and The Nice Guys, breaking the fourth wall and taking charge in a very Clueless/Emma fashion as a senior trying to manipulate everyone around her to get an easy path into Harvard next term, despite already being one of the smartest students in her high school.  Part of her plan is taking out (in both uses of the term) a fellow smart student played by Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo.

If you like coming of age flicks like Orange County, which also focused on a teen trying to get into college, this may be something you’ll want to check out.  Here’s the first trailer for Honor Society:

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It’s probably the single most aired holiday movie every year, showing on networks like ABC Family, Freeform, and Disney daily or more every October.  Thirty Halloweens since they first saw the family friendly Hocus Pocus, fans of the perennial witch tale get their chance to find out what the three Salem sisters have been up to.  And they don’t need to pay theater ticket prices.  Disney+ will be streaming the movie, Hocus Pocus 2, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy all back again.  The movie will also feature Star Trek Discovery and The Shape of Water actor Doug Jones.

Here’s the new teaser trailer for Hocus Pocus 2:

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First we saw Hasbro combining some of its classic board games with a series of mash-up games, then last summer the game and toy company released a fun line of its games in giant beach towel editions.  This summer Hasbro has stripped down its games to the bare essentials, making sure that anyone who wants to play one of its seven most famous board games can do so anywhere, on the go, in the back of your van on a road trip, or in an apartment.  Combining another classic–Colorforms–with miniature paperboard versions of Battleship, Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders,Candy Land, Trouble, Guess Who?, and even Monopoly, anyone can get their hands on these games, available anywhere from $1.25 to $5.00.

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The first great playset from Kenner (now part of Hasbro) from the Star Wars galaxy was the Death Star, perfect for play with the toy company’s huge line of 3.75-inch action figures, and that was followed by a line of big ships, including the Millennium Falcon, the Star Destroyer, and the AT-AT.  In recent years, after the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, Jabba’s sail barge was added to the line-up of big, high-end toys.  Hasbro has now released photographs of its next big playset from the galaxy far, far, away: an expanded version of its throne room for Jabba the Hutt from Return of the Jedi.  Spinning out of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett is Boba Fett’s Throne Room, an elaborate play environment with 50 accessories, and an exclusive Bib Fortuna figure.

Take a look inside and learn more about pre-orders below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

When I previewed Cowboy Bebop: Making the Netflix Series last month I’d hoped writers Jeff Bond and Gene Kozicki (a visual effects artist on the series) would dig deep into the unique style of the very futuristic series.  I am happy to say I was not only not disappointed but dazzled by the level of work completed for what could have been the next major science fiction franchise.  What does the future look like?  Going back to Syd Mead’s future-defining work on films like Blade Runner, you must count as the next futurism visionaries production designers Grant Major and Gary Mackay.  Cowboy Bebop: Making the Netflix Series delivers photographs of props and sets that viewers didn’t get to see in the series, providing another level of behind-the-scenes production design not ordinarily seen in this kind of “making of” book.

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Hayao Miyazaki’s Whisper of the Heart may be the anime master’s most heart-warming story.  Based on the 1989 manga by artist Aoi Hiiragi, Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 romance and drama about a teenage girl who wants to be a writer, and with the determination and self-discipline necessary, she is successful at completing her first novel.  The story within a story that she writes is about an ornamental cat in a store window that she names The Baron.  In a fun twist, Hiiragi wrote the girl’s story into another manga, titled The Cat’s Repayment, and that story was adapted into Studio Ghibli’s 2002 anime film The Cat Returns.  “The Cat” returns to theaters today (June 26) and tomorrow (June 27) as part of the Fathom Events series to launch Studio Ghibli Fest 2022, which wraps next April with the 25th anniversary screenings of Hayao Miyazaki’s sprawling fantasy Princess Mononoke.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Two episodes in and it seemed like some kind of con, a Jedi mind trick perpetrated by Disney.  Six episodes in and you’re left asking “what was the point?”  That’s the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which arrives as the least of the 21st century Star Wars television efforts, and after six episodes, probably falls short of Revenge of the Sith and The Last Jedi.  Why was this an important story to tell?  What entertainment value did it provide?  In the end, the only thing the series served to do was give actor Hayden Christensen a chance to make up for George Lucas’s dismal script for Anakin Skywalker in the prequels.  Other than that, it was like watching an assemblage of deleted scenes left on the director’s cutting room floor from the making of Revenge of the Sith.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Director Sam Raimi was constrained by the comic books with his three Spider-Man movies, but Kevin Fiege and Marvel Studios let him unleash everything for his latest superhero movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness The result is fantastic, the most ambitious crossover mash-up and blend of comic book characters to hit the screen since X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Loki writer Michael Waldron was the right choice to create this seamless masterpiece of twisty storytelling, and adding music by Batman 1989’s Danny Elfman is the icing on a (dark, funny, horror-themed) cake.

Finally, the multitudes get to witness the madness of the multiverse for themselves–the film arrived this week on Disney+.  Is it the best Marvel Studios ensemble movie yet? (spoilers ahead)

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Yesterday here at borg we featured this week’s entertainment memorabilia auction by Los Angeles auction house Propstore and its big sale of an original X-Wing Fighter filming model.  The auction continues through Friday, but Wednesday you may have overlooked an intriguing prop from the 2017 Academy Award-nominated superhero movie Logan (probably the best superhero film of all time, reviewed here).  Comic book collecting is a major industry with every price level and niche of comics fandom having legions of collectors.  A pile of comic books was featured in the groundbreaking film directed by James Mangold, but they weren’t ordinary comic books.  They were made exclusively for the movie.  And one of those comics sold Tuesday for $17,500 (including a 25% buyer’s premium).

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