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Archive for June, 2013


Hembrough goes through a Star Wars cache

Winding down its second season on the Travel Channel, the reality series Toy Hunter is the exception to the rule when it comes to a TV series focusing on nostalgia.  Exciting in the same way fans of Antiques Roadshow hang onto to every word as someone from Albuquerque brings in that old chair they found in a trash heap for appraisal, Toy Hunter edges out comparable series when it comes to discovering why humans are so fascinated with nostalgia and popular culture.

It’s all thanks to the very likeable host, Jordan Hembrough, a toy collector and toy seller whose love for toys from the 1970s and 1980s is infectious.  His sincerity and honest brokering in working deals with folks who have contacted him across the country to pick through and make offers on their own toy hoards, often haggling over items as low as five dollars to items to thousands of dollars.  When you watch comparable fun series like the Syfy Channel’s Hollywood Treasure, you look past the staged bartering, and efforts to sucker some seller into selling an item for far less than Profiles in History would sell something at auction, and enjoy the wow factor of the screen-used props and costumes that are the targets of the purchase.  There is no awkwardness to look past on Toy Hunter, as Hembrough often will increase the amount he is paying to a buyer when the buyer’s offer is unfairly low, and Hembrough will flatly tell the seller upfront how much of a profit he expects to gain in his sale down the line.

Toy Hunter Jordan and USS Flagg

Another comparable series subject-wise is Comic Book Men, which Toy Hunter easily surpasses for the wow factor and fun factor.  The reality TV mean spiritedness and staged antics that often accompanies Comic Book Men is not needed with Toy Hunter.  Toy Hunter is closer to Antiques Roadshow in that regard–a completely fun, exciting and nostalgic show that can appeal to anyone whether you saved toys from being a kid, wish you had, or are a buyer or seller yourself.

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EUROPA-REPORT-Poster

We’ve previewed the first trailer for Matt Damon’s science fiction film, Elysium, earlier this year.  Writer/director Neill Blomkamp offers his next entry in the science fiction as social commentary vein following his very successful District 9, one of the few films ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.  This second trailer for Elysium reveals a far more layered and interesting film than that shown in the first preview, however, it suffers from the problem on the other side of the spectrum:  It just reveals too much.  It’s possible the marketing folks think they need to show more to get people interested and into the theaters, but you wish there was a better, middle ground to be found.  Still, it looks great.

Check out the second trailer released for Elysium:

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x-files-season-10-1-cover-b XFiless10_01_cvrRI

The X-Files are back.  Fox Mulder.  Dana Sculley.  Deputy Director Skinner.  The Lone Gunmen.  The Smoking Man.  Maybe even Eugene Tooms.  IDW Publishing and series creator Chris Carter are taking The X-Files where Dark Horse Comics and Joss Whedon took Buffy the Vampire Slayer after that series ended with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8.  Starting Wednesday, Mulder and Sculley continue right where they left off after the end of the second movie, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, with the new monthly comic book series The X-Files: Season 10.  And yes, they are still a couple.  And yes, there will be more strange things lurking in the shadows.  Below check out a borg.com preview of the first seven pages of Issue #1 before its release in comic book stores tomorrow, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

As the first issue reveals, it’s just like the last episode of the TV show was only yesterday…

Previously on The X-Files…  For years FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Sculley toiled in the X-Files Unit, a one-office division of the Bureau dealing with cases deemed unsolvable and related to unexplained phenomena.  During their investigations, Mulder, the “believer,” and Scully, the “skeptic,” delved into the occult, religion, urban legends, conspiracy theories, UFOs, alien abductions, and genetic engineering.  Eventually, both agents left the FBI and began a new life together in peaceful anonymity, which endured until today…

X-Files-Season-10-07   The_X-Files_Season_10_1

Writer Joe Harris promises to bring The X-Files up to date to the realities of 2013–What does modern technology, a world of the Blackberry and Android phones, and the political climate resurfacing Cold War Era issues mean for Mulder and Scully’s quest for the truth?  What new secrets will be behind all the unexplained events they encounter and all the conspiracies?  Artist Michael Walsh provides a familiar look and feel for both the actors behind the characters (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) and the often dark and mysterious settings for the series that fans will appreciate.  Harris and Walsh’s first issue is full of the good banter between Mulder, Scully, and Skinner we’re all been missing and jumps right in with the first catastrophe of the series.  Look for several great alternate covers to Issue #1, also (pictured above).

Enjoy this preview of Issue #1:

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3d Printing book cover

What merges borg technology, Kickstarter campaigns, and Maker Faires, bots, optical technologies, digital scanning and photography, gaming, cosplay, lasers and Tony Stark military applications?  What technology is bringing up age-old questions of open source vs proprietary systems, of outsourcing and economics?  We at borg.com have discussed 3D printing innovations multiple times, including efforts to create cybernetic parts via these modern printing machines.  The Obama Administration recently put $30 million into a research institute on 3D printing and NASA recently funded its own project.  The future is now, and in Christopher D. Winnan’s new primer on 3D printing, 3D Printing: The Next Technology Gold Rush – Future Factories and How to Capitalize on Distributed Manufacturing, Winnan not only offers the first comprehensive volume on 3D printing technology, he offers business innovators ways to take the new technologies and begin to earn profits sufficient to propel the industry forward.

Winnan’s book offers a college course-level text in 3D printing, giving an overview for the novice, while including a detailed history that would appeal to any 3D printing hobbyist or business person looking for a reference to become familiar with the field.  His 286-page work is easy to understand, asking both basic and advanced questions concerning the possible uses of the technology, and its interplay with materials science and other types of engineering study.   He provides an overview of modern technologies, current product on the market, photos of 3D printing innovations, and a history of the technology with analogies to the quick developments and pratfalls of other historic, fast-moving technologies.

The work of Samuel Bernier upcycled products

The work of Samuel Bernier–“upcycled” products.

Winnan includes a great section on future possibilities of using 3D printing with toy miniatures, cosplay, action figures, the 3D photobooth, doll houses, and creating special effects props for motion pictures.  Golf tees, buttons, virtually any product is a prospective target for the 3D printing entrepreneurial business.  Implications for printing prosthetic body parts for endangered species victims of tusk removal and similar uses are particularly intriguing, as well as “upcycling”–the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of a better quality or a higher environmental value.  Winnan also devotes much material to using developments in China and other Asian markets as sources for ideas for the rest of the world.

Actual eagle whose damaged beak was repaired using 3D printing

Actual eagle whose damaged beak was repaired using 3D printing.

Those new to 3d printing will be surprised at how much has been done and how many resources are available to experts and novices alike.  The book includes many citations, cross-references and links to other works to allow readers to pursue even more information about the technology.  Winnan also includes an in-depth discussion of global issues implicated by 3D printing, and in doing so he sets the framework for the questions countries should be asking as they develop laws allowing the promotion of large-scale 3D printing opportunities.

Dodecahedron lamp made by Bathsheba Grossman

Dodecahedron lamp made by Bathsheba Grossman.

The greatest takeaway from Winnan is that whereas the technology and scope of ideas for 3D printing is worldwide and growing, the fact is that businesses, investment, practical applications are not yet focused on 3D printing.  Like dot coms in the 1990s, 3D printing could be the next innovation like PC computing, data transfer, the Internet, and wireless technology.  As Winnan says in his book, “we now have this fantastic technology in our hands, but what are we going to do with it?”

3D Printing: The Next Technology Gold Rush – Future Factories and How to Capitalize on Distributed Manufacturing is available at Amazon.com.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Burn Notice final season

The final season of Burn Notice is now two episodes in and Season 7 is turning out to be as exciting and fresh as the early seasons that got us hooked on the series in the first place.  The series seems to benefitting from that shot of adrenaline that takes you into the home stretch, or maybe some kind of second wind.  The writers have stepped up their game compared to last season and even the actors seem to be better than ever before.  Directed by series star Jeffrey Donovan, Thursday’s episode “Forget Me Not,” was the celebrated 100th episode of the series and it will easily go down as one of the best.  With only 13 episodes bought by USA Network this year compared to a typical 18-episode season, it’s time to soak up all the Burn Notice you can.  Can series creator Matt Nix and the show writers keep up the momentum until the final episode?

When Burn Notice left us last season, Sam (Bruce Campbell), Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), Jesse (Coby Bell) and Madeline (Sharon Gless) had spent a month locked up, and once released they learned that Michael (Donovan) made a deal yet again in return for his family and friends being freed from imprisonment.  This was the last straw for Fiona, tired of Michael’s multiple year obsession with clearing his name from the original Burn Notice, and seeming to always have an excuse for not sealing the deal with Fiona.

100th episode gunfight on Burn Notice

When we catch up with the gang in last week’s season opener “New Deal, ” Michael is now separated from his friends and the woman he loves; he has sank too deep into his undercover role to take out the new series villain.  Gabrielle Anwar’s Fiona has a new beau.  Sam and Jesse have become the sleuthing buddies that used to be reflected in the partnership of Sam and Michael.  Michael’s mom Maddie is now taking care of her grandson Charlie, left orphaned by both Michael’s brother Nate, who was killed last season, and his unfit wife.

Burn Notice Ep 1

Genre fans will love the Heroes reunion we have with Season 7.  Michael’s handler is the Horn-rimmed Glasses Guy himself, played by the awesome Jack Coleman.  Coleman is perfectly cast and in the first two episodes he dances circles around the previous characters that have filled similar roles over the past six seasons.  His character is layered and comes off as a good guy opposite Michael’s often conflicted and flat-out wrong motivations.  Coleman has Michael working a case in the Dominican Republic, to take out Randall Burke, played by Heroes’ Nathan Petrelli, Adrian Pasdar–our Season 7 villain.  And so far Pasdar makes a solid choice as baddie, especially considering his leading man, good guy looks.

Burn Notice Ep 1 heroes

In this week’s episode two, “Forget Me Not,” Maddie has screwed up, revealing to Burke’s lieutenant’s informant that Michael is actually working for the CIA.  Michael returns to Miami, unable to make contact with his mom or friends, and ends up using them all over again.  If Michael is one thing, it’s consistent.  And he makes one last effort to get Fiona back, and in this 100th episode we get to see in flashback the original meeting of Michael and Fiona, the memory of which helps Michael save Fiona’s life.  It’s a great look at these characters.

Creator Matt Nix sums up his plan for the final season: “In laying out the season a lot of it was what have we not done before?  How do we build the season to an exciting climax?”

Burn Notice Season 7 cast photo

Let’s hope Nix & Co. helps Burn Notice keep up the effort for the eleven remaining episodes.  It’s episodes like “New Deal” and “Forget Me Not” that should make networks rethink ending a series.  Check out Burn Notice Thursdays on USA Network.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

300 Rise of an Empire poster

The adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300, based on the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, was met with both critical and popular success.  Known for its in-your-face blood-and-gore battle scenes, it may be the most graphic battle film ever made.

The original film starred Gerard Butler (Timeline, The Phantom of the Opera) as King Leonidas, Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as his wife Queen Gorgo, and supporting genre actors David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings, Van Helsing) and Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, X-Men: First Class, Jonah Hex, Hex, Inglourious Basterds).

Headey and Wenham are back for 300: Rise of an Empire, and an interesting choice, Eva Green as lead character Artemesia.  As she did in her role in The Golden Compass, she is wielding bow and arrow, this time apparently as a villain.

Check out the first trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire:

Note the preview highlights Zack Snyder as director–his Man of Steel is in theaters this weekend and he directed the original 300.  300: Rise of an Empire is scheduled for a March 7, 2014 release.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Golden Age Superman Unchained 1   Superman Unchained 1 standard edition

The celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman is in full swing this week as the new Superman movie Man of Steel opens in theaters across the country today.  DC Comics has coordinated with comic book stores with the release of a monthly Superman titles and a new monthly this week from some of DC Comics’ top creators.   Superman Unchained #1 is in comic book stores this week, bringing together writer Scott Snyder (Batman, Swamp Thing, The Wake) and artists Jim Lee (Justice League, Batman: Hush) and Scott Williams (Batman: The Dark Knight).  Snyder subtly and not so subtly ties in technologies and feats of our own world in his initial chapter of the exploits of the last son of Krypton.  Fans of Lee’s art will appreciate a two-sided, quad-fold pullout poster featuring key moments of the new story.

1930s Superman Unchained   Neal Adams Superman Unchained 1

Satellites circling Earth begin plummeting to the ground.  We encounter Superman as he plunges into a circling international space station, and he must quickly figure out a way to save the astronauts inside and the town below the station is barreling toward.  Superman references Guinness Book free-fall records once he drops off the astronauts.  If you track the actual International Space Station astronauts on Twitter or otherwise, you might find that what was once a passing destructive event in a quick read now carries a greater emotional impact.  Likewise, Snyder includes a prologue from Nagasaki in April of 1945 that reveals the creation of the new series’ ultimate villain–and what the “unchained” in Superman Unchained may be all about.

dc-comics-superman-unchained-issue-1d   Alt Superman Unchained

More than the standard monthly first issue, keep an eye out for a variety of alternate covers (see above and below), released by DC Comics as part of the 75th anniversary.  Look for a 1930s variant by Bruce Timm, a Golden Age variant by Dave Johnson, a Silver Age variant by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, a Bronze Age variant by Neal Adams, a Modern Age variant by Jerry Ordway, a Superman Reborn variant by Dan Jurgens, a Superman vs. Lex Luthor variant by Lee Bermejo a New 52 variant by Brett Booth.  The standard edition features a Lee/Williams cover, complete with DC Comics’ new 75 Years Superman logo.  Compare these re-creations of classic looks of Superman with our previous take on Superman with “The Many Faces of the Man of Steel.”

Superman Unchained alt cover Issue 1   Alt Bermejo Superman Unchained 1

If the glut of New 52 Superman titles since September 2011 left you walking away empty-handed from not knowing what to start with, and if All Star Superman isn’t your thing, Superman Unchained looks to be a Superman story with more classic elements and non-stop action.  The brief villain reveal indicates we may have an interesting new character and we get to revisit Superman’s relationship with Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and The Daily Planet.

Jim Lee alt Superman Unchained 1   Alt b Superman Unchained 1

Rounding out the month of June and the Summer of Superman, look for the new Batman/Superman series featuring writer Greg Pak and artist Jae Lee in comic book stores next week.  Look for a “Director’s Cut” of Superman Unchained to be released in July–it will have more original Jim Lee art as we found in the re-issue of his Batman: Hush called Batman: Hush Unwrapped, reviewed here at borg.com earlier, as well as Snyder’s script.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Ethan Hawke in Getaway

This year is turning out to be a busy one for Ethan Hawke.  This past weekend his new sci-fi horror thriller Purge opened in theaters at the #1 spot at the box office.  Not bad considering the blockbuster films like Star Trek and Iron Man 3 still in the theaters that it is facing off against.  Co-starring Lena Headey (300, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Game of Thrones), Purge follows a family in a future society where for 12-hours all hell breaks loose as crimes are legalized to “get it all out of society’s system”.  Next weekend he co-stars with An American Werewolf in Paris’s Julie Delpy in the romance drama Before Midnight.  Late this summer, Hawke stars in the crime-action flick Getaway, about a man trying to save his kidnapped wife in a film that shares a lot with Colin Farrell’s Phone Booth and Chris Evans’ Cellular.

Ethan hawke in White Fang

Ethan Hawke is an actor, who, especially in his genre films, seems to show great improvement in each subsequent film.  He first got noticed by the masses in Explorers (1985), a pure kid flick in which he co-starred with River Phoenix as a boy encountering a spacecraft that he takes to find an alien being on another world.  He stepped up his game in his major break, Dead Poets Society (1989), playing a fumbling young man in prep school, where he co-starred with Robin Williams and Robert Sean Leonard (House, Much Ado About Nothing).  Hawke became a protagonist that you might not have liked, but his lack of confidence made his characters accessible.  Hawke took on two adventure roles, saving a part dog/part wolf in White Fang (1991), and surviving a plane crash in Alive (1993).

Ethan Hawke in Gattaca

Hawke’s best film was Gattaca (1997), playing opposite Jude Law and Uma Thurman in a sci-fi film that revealed the problems of eugenics in a futuristic society.  It’s a great film that holds up to this day.  Arguably his other big film was 2001’s critically acclaimed drama Training Day.

Ethan Hawke in Assault on Precinct 13

In 2005 Hawke played against type playing a cop in an L.A. police precinct in John Carpenter’s remake of Assault on Precinct 13.  It’s another great Hawke role in a solid action film.

Here is the trailer for Purge:

Purge is now in theaters.

Here is the trailer for Before Midnight:

Before Midnight opens in theaters this weekend.

Here is the trailer for Getaway:

Does Getaway, which features Hawke and a much younger girl driving around in a tough car, look like it could be a spinoff, such as the further adventures of Paul Le Mat and MacKenzie Phillips from American Graffiti?  Does that make Jon Voight Bob Falfa?  Getaway is scheduled for release in theaters August 30, 2013.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Dwarves and mountain

At last!  For those of us who thought The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the best genre film of 2012, we now have reason to get excited about Part 2 of the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, with Warner Bros. releasing the first trailer a few hours ago.  The theme for the first trailer is Elves–and we finally get our first look at Lost star Evangeline Lilly as the Elf called Tauriel.  And she looks awesome, wielding bow and arrow, dressed in green with great red hair.  Orlando Bloom is back, too, as Legolas, along with Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, and Ken Stott as the wise old dwarf Balin.  It’s also our first look at Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman, and the CGI Smaug the dragon, although we don’t hear Benedict Cumberbatch yet as the voice of the dragon.

This is the part of The Hobbit where we meet Shelob the giant creepy spider–long before she meets up with Frodo in The Lord of the Rings.  And we get to see the great river barrel ride of the Dwarves, that Peter Jackson previewed for fans in a series of videos last year here.  And what’s more fun than a barrel of Dwarves?

Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit

So wait no longer–enjoy the first trailer released for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

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Honey Trap logo

What does the Honey Trap Army have to do with G.I. Joe?  Back to that in a minute.

If you’re not already familiar with Gentle Giant, it’s the toy company that creates several specialty collectible toys and busts.  Most are for the serious collector and not something kids will likely ever get their hands on with the company’s large-sized classic Star Wars line offering action figures at $75 and up.  And Gentle Giant handles several franchises, from Star Wars to Marvel to Harry Potter to The Hobbit.

Previously at borg.com we revealed some convention-exclusive figures and the retro-edition, giant rocket-firing Boba Fett may be the coolest large-sized series action figure ever made.  This past week Gentle Giant revealed its first 2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive figure, from its Honey Trap Army line: Whisper, variant:

Whisper variant promo

And the limited-to-100 figures edition sold out almost immediately at a whopping $669 per figure.  What’s the Honey Trap Army?  You won’t find a lot of information about them, other than we saw an excellent display of the four initial character figures at last year’s Comic-Con and artist Kevin Dart either created the comic art that inspired the toy line or was inspired by the toy line to draw the characters.  But there is a video with 1960s music and art design to introduce the toy line:

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