Archive for October, 2012


Review by C.J. Bunce

In Argo, the stakes could not be greater.  It is 1979 and the American embassy in Iran is stormed by a vast street mob seeking to hold hostage 52 people in exchange for the return of the Shah of Iran, granted asylum in the United States and dying from cancer.  For 444 days we waited and hoped for their release, and each day Walter Cronkite ended his news broadcast with the number of days they’d been held.  It was the ultimate nightmare and the sporadic glimpses of the hostages being led away with white blindfolds made us all imagine what kind of terror they must each be going through, as Christmas 1979 and  Christmas 1980 came and went, as back home we all went ahead with our lives every day.  But Argo is not about the 52 hostages.

At the time the embassy was attacked, six Americans working in the embassy managed to escape and hide out in the home of the Canadian ambassador and his wife.  Argo is the story of a completely illogical, unlikely, nearly impossible–even crazy–plan involving a mock sci-fi movie concocted to rescue them, and two friends back in the States who came together in 1980 to create a plan and convince President Carter to give the go-ahead to proceed with the mission.

Continue reading

The UK publication the Daily Mail published a story about a Dutch historian and her photo project this week.  Ghosts of History is a photo essay made by Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse that show pictures of the past combined with pictures of the present.  The story and initial photos in her project have spread around the globe and the project even has its own Facebook page growing in popularity.  Using photos of soldiers in France in World War II, Teeuwisse revisited locations around Cherbourg, France and other locations, found among 300 negatives, that were still standing or recognizable.  Using Photoshop she then assembled the photos to reveal some eerily ghostly images.  The seriousness of war aside, the results are very cool, and may evoke some other ghostly images from sci-fi and fantasy–notably for me the Army of the Dead from Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

Continue reading

Reviewed by C.J. Bunce

The first season of Major Crimes was better than the last season of The Closer.  It even had individual episodes that out-performed several episodes of the entire run of The Closer.  Since the production was working with pretty much the entire cast of The Closer sans the series lead, is that a commentary on Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Lee Johnson?  Heck no, but the freshman year of Major Crimes convinced me that The Closer picked the right time to end a good thing.  Major Crimes is a good series in its own right that should be judged on its own merits.  Yes, it has its faults, including some clunky writing in its season finale.  Yet considering it was set up for failure from almost the beginning of the last season of The Closer, Major Crimes surpassed the typically lackluster performance of any season one effort.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

It is three years before Star Wars: A New Hope.  Jahan Cross is posing as special envoy for the diplomatic service.  His preferred companion is a feminine-inspired android named IN-GA 44 or “Inga,” adept at researching corrupt officials’ computers and uncovering just what they don’t want uncovered.  Cross reports to the director of Imperial intelligence, Agent Cross’s very own “M,” who sets him out on a dangerous mission.

Next week Dark Horse Comics is releasing a compilation of its take on dropping James Bond in the Star Wars universe with Star Wars: Agent of the Empire, Volume 1– Iron Eclipse, reprinting Issues #1-5 of the monthly comic book series.

Continue reading

Reviewed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Remember the first time you saw Ron Perlman?  2004’s Hellboy?  Nope. Maybe his prolific 1990s animated voice work? Guess again. What about Linda Hamilton, the original Terminatrix?  Both genre giants first made their splash in one of the 1980s’ strangest TV phenomena, a short-lived paranormal romance about a New York City district attorney and the mysterious creature who saved her life.  Beauty and the Beast was part fairy tale, part crime drama, and it launched the careers of a couple major stars–which, of course, makes it prime fodder for a remake!

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Here’s the prologue of Volume 1 of the graphic novel adaptation of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s novel The Strain:

They have always been here.  VAMPIRES.  In secret and in darkness.  WAITING.  Now their time has come.  In one week, Manhattan will be gone.  In one month, the country.  In two months–the world.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of vampires.  Tired of zombies.  Everyone is writing about either zombies or vampires.  So if you’re going to read one of the several vampire or zombie books, you’ve got to have a reason.  I stumbled into The Strain in a sort of backwards way.  I don’t like horror as a general genre but will consider something new if a writer or artist I like is working on the project.  Usually cover artists entice readers to a book.  In this case, artist E.M. Gist’s grotesque characters in the cover art normally would cause me to move along to something else.  This is one reason I skipped Issues #1 to #6 of The Strain when they hit the bookstore shelves.  Then I saw the name Mike Huddleston as interior artist and I flipped open the new volume from Dark Horse being released November 14, 2012–Huddleston has created some of the best single pages of art I have seen over the years.  And checking out The Strain was a good call.  Reminder to self: You can’t judge a (comic) book by its cover(s).  Editor’s Note–A few spoilers ahead!

Continue reading

In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the character Maxwell Scott says the memorable line “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”  No director could be called larger than life and legendary more so than Alfred Hitchcock.  Not only a famous director but a well known unique personality with a bloodhound face like Droopy and a slow drawl that was unmistakeable, Hitch has become the subject of a new film starring Oscar winning actor Anthony Hopkins in the title role.  Hitchcock covers the days surrounding the development of his blockbuster, violent horror flick Psycho during 1959 and the romantic relationship between Hitch and his wife Alma, played by Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren.  Whether the producers of the new biopic have an accurate and historical portrayal of the film icon or not, hopefully they get his over-the-top personality right.  The new trailer seems to reflect that may be the case.

The film has an interesting all-star cast with several actors we haven’t seen in a while, co-starring Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Iron Man II, The Island, The Prestige) as Janet Leigh–star of Psycho, Jessica Biel (Total Recall, Stealth, Next) as Vera Miles–Leigh’s sister in the film, Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) as Peggy Robertson–Hitchcock’s production assistant, James d’Arcy (Master and Commander) as the psycho himself, Anthony Perkins, and long-time-no-see Ralph Macchio (My Cousin Vinny, The Outsiders, The Karate Kid, Psych) as Joe Stefano, the screenplay writer for Psycho.

Check out the first trailer released for Hitchcock:

Continue reading

James Bond memorabilia auctioned off by Christie’s auction house yielded $2.6 million on October 5 and continuing online through October 8, 2012–“Global James Bond Day”–in an invitation-only charity event commemorating the British spy’s 50th anniversary on the silver screen and the release next month of the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall.  The auction took place at Christie’s auction house in London, and was attended by former Bond Roger Moore and the current M, Dame Judi Dench.  Bidders from more than forty countries also participated in online bidding.  At only 52 lots, a small number for a major entertainment or franchise auction, it was a pretty big haul.  Some high-end prop and costume buyers were in 007 heaven.  The catalog, available for download here, is one of the best film auction catalogs to date, and features at least one piece of screenused costumes, props, or rare books or marketing material from each Bond film.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

The CW Network’s Arrow series premiered this Wednesday, and for those who missed my review of the pilot episode originally published here July 17, 2012, I am reprinting it here updated with my additional comments after seeing a second showing all these months later.  Spoilers!

The CW previewed the entire pilot for the series on Comic-Con Wednesday and Friday this year to thousands of attendees.  The auditorium erupted in cheers to several scenes in the series opener, starting some worthy buzz for this newest DC Comics Justice League superhero to hit the small screen.  Was it good?  Absolutely.  And even for a big fan of the traditional character’s story, updates made for TV were well thought out and did little to detract from the core of what makes Green Arrow the unique character that has survived as a key comic book character for 70 years.  The pilot deftly managed to alter far less of the source material than, for example, the Green Lantern movie released in 2011, and in doing so created a believable, refreshing story with appropriate nods to the past, and one that promises to survive, should it find its fan base.  On second viewing this past Wednesday, my thoughts haven’t changed one bit.  If you are a fan of superheroes or read comic books at all, Arrow is the one series you should be watching.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

After Earth is soon to be a major motion picture directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Will Smith as General Cypher Raige, leader of a future society of humans on the planet Nova Prime, forging a new human colony world nearly a thousand years after Earth is nearly destroyed by environmental catastrophes.  Smith’s son Jaden will star as Cypher’s 13-year old son Kitai.   The film also stars Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, as well as the young actress Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove in The Hunger Games).

Coming next Wednesday is a tie-in one-shot comic book from Dynamite Comics, titled After Earth: Innocence. 

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: