Archive for March, 2013


intelligent-collector-marilyn-monroe issue

Heritage Auctions publishes a print version of a collectibles magazine called Heritage Magazine for The Intelligent Collector.  Each issue presents several collectors and their different collecting interests, including interviews with celebrity collectors like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Whoopi Goldberg.  Issues also highlight key items sold in past and future Heritage Auctions.  One issue previewed a superb collection of John Wayne memorabilia sold off by his estate.  The photo quality is beautiful and it’s a fun magazine to read, especially about areas of collecting that you’re not necessarily interested in.  It’s a bit like watching Antiques Roadshow on Public Television.  Subscriptions are $21 for 3 issues and the magazine is published three times per year.

This month’s print edition features a pull-out poster of Dave Gibbons’ original comic art cover pages for the original Watchmen series and a who’s who of the best comic book creators of all time.

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Judge Dredd Year one cover Issue 1

A new Year One comic book series hits newsstands today.  IDW Publishing, who now holds the comic book license to the Judge Dredd franchise once held by DC Comics and originally published in the UK in 1977, begins anew with Judge Dredd’s earliest days in Issue #1 of Judge Dredd Year One, released today and previewed here at borg.com below.

It’s the year 2080 and twenty-three juveniles “juves” begin exhibiting strange “psi-powers” or psychic abilities.  First a teenage boy becomes angry and is able to levitate.  A baby begins controlling toys and making them float in mid-air.  A street thug spirits a man off the roof of a building.  And on the “Larry Hagman Freeway” (in Dallas, Texas, I presume) Judge Dredd first appears in hot pursuit.  And another child emerges with strange powers of telekinesis.

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Bates Motel neon

The new prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, A&E’s new series Bates Motel, is all sorts of unsettling, creepy and jarring.  First of all it has you cheering for Norman.  And you can’t help feel a little wrong about that.  We come to the re-introduction of the Bates Motel and that house–the original old house used to film Psycho–and its odd inhabitants, and recall that this was the first of the film villains that didn’t look like a traditional villain, making Psycho that much scarier.

Bates Motel, the series, is jarring in many ways.  Film actress Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Manchurian Candidate, Source Code) with a bit of Psycho’s 1960 Vera Miles look, has an incredible role here to make her own as Norman’s mother Norma Bates.  In episode one “Nice Town You Picked, Norma,” Farmiga really dives right in.  One minute she’s a great, doting mom, happy and gleeful.  The next she is very dark and cold, spinning guilt trips onto her son at his every move.  Norma and son Norman–what is in a name?  There’s something at the core of their relationship the writers apparently haven’t scratched the surface with yet–they’re a little too close.  Viewers get some glimpses at a Mommie Dearest character in the making.  A school populated only by pretty girls who keep flocking around the nerdy Norman seems like a set-up for Norman as Stephen King’s Carrie.

Norman and Norma at soon to be Bates Motel Continue reading

Vader Madness

Would it really end in anything but Yoda vs. the Emperor?

It’s that time of year again, March Madness, a time for brackets and office pools. This year StarWars.com will be holding its own tournament to allow online voters to choose the winners of a battle between good and evil–Star Wars This is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament.  The left bracket is the “Light Side”–the good guys, and the right side is the bad guys from the “Dark Side” of the Force.

Vader vs. Grievous

Every day beginning today StarWars.com will feature two face-offs.  Day one has Han Solo vs. Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader vs. General Grievous.  We at borg.com will throw our support behind cyborgs Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and General Grievous.  Will Salacious Crumb upset Jabba the Hutt with a Princess Leia chain-around-the-neck routine?  Will one of the Clone Wars Expanded Universe characters–Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, Asajj Ventress, Cad Bane, or Hondo Ohnaka–come from behind for an upset?  Or will we just see Han Solo square off one more time against Darth Vader in the final bout?

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TiMER device

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you don’t include fantasy films, it’s not easy to come up with many pure science fiction genre romantic comedies.  Fantasy genre romantic comedies are plentiful, with great movies like Princess Bride, Splash, Enchanted, and Ella Enchanted fitting the bill.  There are also some good science fiction romances out there, the best being Somewhere in Time and Time After Time, and even more science fiction with some major romance elements, like Paycheck, Gattaca, Blade Runner, Logan’s Run, The Island, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and The Empire Strikes Back.  But you need to dig deeper to find a romantic comedy that is also full-fledged science fiction–a film focused on a future technology, time travel, time loops, parallel worlds–there’s not a lot of overlap there.  Groundhog Day comes to mind as both a science fiction romantic comedy and a fantasy romantic comedy.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with its future technology of allowing a couple in a doomed relationship to erase their memories, would fall squarely into the science fiction romantic comedy realm, although definitely it’s the darker side of romantic comedy.  Each of the Back to the Future movies have enough romantic comedy as an element but are not generally thought of as romantic comedies.  Spaceballs is a science fiction comedy with a romantic thread that parallels Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back.  Ghostbusters is also a sci-fi comedy with a romantic thread and maybe even Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home qualifies.

TiMER poster

Maybe there are fewer science fiction romantic comedies because Hollywood thinks it needs to market science fiction to men and romantic comedies to women, so a science fiction genre romantic comedy is unlikely to be a financial success.  But to find a solid romantic comedy science fiction flick, you’re left with the equal part fantasy Groundhog Day and the dark Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Until you happen to stumble across the 2009 film TiMER.  You might never hear about TiMER unless you track independent movies in film festivals, which never get to the point of having previews in theaters or in television.  Or you see that it is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Trigger Girl 6 cover

One of my favorite ways to get introduced to new comic book worlds is through Dark Horse Comics’ monthly anthology series, Dark Horse Presents.  We’ve reviewed several stories here at borg.com that were pulled from Dark Horse Presents to become their own collected volumes, including Francesco Francavilla’s Black Beetle, the sci-fi series Number 13, the off-the-wall Dog Mendonça and PizzaBoy, Phil Noto’s Ghost, and our favorite of them all, the animal story Beasts of BurdenIn a similar vein, the relatively new anthology series Creator-Owned Heroes has spawned its own compilation book, Trigger Girl 6.

Trigger Girl panel B

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Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb with Firefly hat

First off, moms are awesome.  Especially mine.

Second, if you haven’t seen Firefly, rent it. Buy it.  Amazon.com currently has a set of the complete series for under $13.  You can get it here.  I became a fan of Firefly last year after attending the 10th anniversary panel at San Diego Comic-Con.  Check out my prior discussions of Firefly and its awesome fans here.

One of the main characters in Firefly is Jayne Cobb.  Jayne is tough.  He has a rifle named Vera.  He’s more good guy than bad guy and over the short series Jayne’s character grew to learn from his mistakes, including the betrayal of his shipmates on the Firefly class vessel called Serenity.  The role of Jayne was played by Adam Baldwin, who also played Colonel John Casey on the NBC TV series Chuck.  Since his first role as a big guy helping a little guy in My Bodyguard, Baldwin has appeared in an incredible variety of productions, usually as the tough guy in charge, from Ordinary People to Full Metal Jacket to Predator 2 to Wyatt Earp to Independence Day to the Serenity movie itself.  On television he’s been in The Cape, From the Earth to the Moon, The Outer Limits, The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, NCIS, Angel, Bones, Castle, and Leverage and voiced characters like Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Superman in animated DC Comics series.

Baldwin as Jayne Cobb Continue reading

Veronica Mars movie

borg.com readers may remember Veronica Mars as one of our favorite characters of all time.  In its three seasons Veronica Mars became one of the best series on TV.  As borg.com writer Elizabeth C. Bunce wrote, “Complex, smart, independent, and vulnerable–with a kickass cool job–characters don’t come much better than Veronica Mars.”  More than 2 million viewers tuned in each week for its first two seasons on UPN and its last season on the CW Network between 2004 and 2007.  Yesterday the biggest Kickstarter campaign ever resulted in an amazingly fast accumulation of donations–more than $2 million in 11 hours–enough to green light the Veronica Mars big-screen movie, now scheduled to film this summer for an early 2014 release.

Series creator Rob Thomas launched the project.  Series star Kristen Bell has signed on as has Veronica’s dad Keith, played by Enrico Colantoni, and Veronica’s pals Logan (Jason Dohring), Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Weevil (Francis Capra), Mac (Tina Majorino), Dick (Ryan Hansen) and Piz (Chris Lowell), according to the Kickstarter website.  Unlikely to return, unless they come back in flashbacks or as ghosts, are the ill-fated Les Miserables star Amanda Seyfried as Lilly, CW Network’s Cult star Alona Tal as Meg, Jaime Ray Newman as Mindy O’Dell, or Ed Begley, Jr. as Principal O’Dell.  But why not bring back Dallas star Julie Gonzalo as Parker, New Girl star Max Greenfield as Leo, Teddy Dunn as Duncan, The Anchorman’s Paul Rudd as Desmond Fellows, Unstoppable’s Jessy Schram as Hannah, Just Shoot Me’s Laura San Giacomo as Keith’s girlfriend Harmony, Spin City’s Paula Marshall as Keith’s other girlfriend Rebecca, The Following’s Aaron Ashmore as Troy, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Charisma Carpenter as Dick’s stepmom or Alyson Hannigan as Trina, or director Joss Whedon as the car rental guy or even Clerks’ Kevin Smith as the creepy convenience store clerk?

Veronica Mars movie project on Kickstarter Continue reading

Nothing_Lasts_Forever_by_Roderick_Thorp

Review by C.J. Bunce

After five Die Hard movies it’s nearly impossible to separate the role of John McClane from the actor Bruce Willis.  But before John McClane there was Joe Leland, the name of the protagonist in Roderick Thorp’s very James Bond-sounding 1979 novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, which was adapted into the original Die Hard movie.  It’s back in print for the first time in 20 years to celebrate its 25th anniversary, to coincide with the theatrical release of A Good Day to Die Hard.

Joe Leland.  Former cop.  Die Hard changed some components of the story from the novel but none of it changed the spirit of the cop who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Instead of his wife Gennaro it is Joe’s daughter Stephanie and her two kids who become hostages when terrorists take over a Christmas Eve company party full of employees celebrating a big business deal. Instead of the high-rise Nakatomi building from Die Hard it’s the Klaxon Oil building in Los Angeles.  And the villain who would be played by Alan Rickman was Anton Gruber instead of Hans Gruber.

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Spaceship chase

As with many movies these days it seems like studios release enough trailers that by the time you see the movie you already know it front to back and can even quote key lines.  It looks like the same may be true for the new Star Trek movie coming out soon, Star Trek Into Darkness, all previewed here earlier.  And this weekend Paramount released yet another preview.

Lots of great colors and “wow!” imagery, maybe even more so than with the earlier teasers and previews.  Even more story elements are revealed including many that make you want to sit down and list how many plot points it has in common with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the other Star Wars prequels.  Depending who you are and how much you liked the Star Wars prequels, a comparison like that may or may not be a good thing.  But with J.J. Abrams locked-in to begin directing Star Wars: Episode VII soon… you just can’t help draw the comparisons.  Here’s a few apparently obligatory prequel scenes to think about as you watch this trailer:

  • Jar Jar and Qui-Gon Jinn chased on foot across the fields of the planet Naboo
  • R2-D2 suddenly having the ability of flight across a planet’s surface
  • giant vertical cityscapes of Coruscant
  • female/alien bounty hunter Zam Wesell’s lavender outfit
  • space car chase scene with cocky Anakin and serious Obi-Wan Kenobi complete with joking banter
  • Jar Jar Binks, Qui-Gon Jinn and Kenobi in a submarine craft startled by a sea creature
  • and even though it’s not from the prequels, remember Han Solo’s line to Chewbacca before the jump to light speed?

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