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Archive for June, 2014


Star Wars Storyboards The Original Trilogy book cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

A new collection of artwork upon which the original Star Wars trilogy was built will have fans who have seen the films hundreds of times delving back in again, this time to match memory to history.  Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy is the second archive of selected storyboards edited by J.W. Rinzler revealing the works of a variety of artists hand selected by George Lucas and his visual design team to share ideas about what the movies would become.  The first was Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy, released last year.

Rinzler, known for several books on Lucasfilm, including his work on The Making of the Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Frames, reviewed previously at borg.com, also partnered with artist Mike Mayhew and colorist Rain Beredo this year to write The Star Wars–an eight-issue mini-series based on Lucas’s original draft screenplay of Star Wars.  Now that fans can examine the original film Episode IV: A New Hope, The Star Wars, and Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy, they can have a complete view of what is, what was, and what might have been, for the Force, the characters, the Rebellion, and the Empire.

SW Storyboards excerpt 2

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Simm in intruders

Put together Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino and star of the British mega-hit Life on Mars John Simm, add in Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sanchez and The X-Files executive producer Glen Morgan, and what do you get?  It’s the new BBC America series Intruders.  Based on the novel The Intruders by Michael Marshall Smith, Intruders has the dark and creepy vibe of The X-Files and the supernatural horror of Skeleton Key.

The sci-fi/paranormal thriller is set in the Pacific Northwest and follows Simm as Jack Whelan, a former LAPD cop with a troubled past whose quiet life is shaken when his wife (Sorvino) Amy vanishes.  Whelan is consumed by the investigation into his wife’s disappearance as an underworld society is enmeshed with the pursuit of an assassin and another case involving a missing girl.

Why will Intruders be worth checking out?  If you watched Life on Mars–the British original, not the U.S. remake–you’ll know how brilliant John Simm can be as the lead in a mystery tale.  You may also have seen him in State of Play (the original British series, not the American movie remake) or as The Master in Doctor Who.  Mira Sorvino will also be a welcome addition to television.  In the TV realm we’ve only seen her recently at the tail end of the Psych series (in a great, quirky role) and before that in a guest spot on House, M.D.

Sorvino in Intruders

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The Hobbit Smaug gold

Fans of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series and fantasy cosplayers take note:  Weta in New Zealand is offering some cool new costume and prop pieces from last December’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  Whether you plan to make an appearance as Legolas or Bilbo, you can only get screen-accurate replica representations from the same people at the Weta Workshop that fabricated the props for the films, and many can be found in moviegoer’s price range.

If Legolas is your guy, you can purchase leather vambraces like the ones Orlando Bloom is wearing in The Hobbit series.

Legolas vambrace

If you don’t want to try making yourself a pair, you can get a set of the vambraces from Weta for under $200.

If you’re a fan of Evangeline Lilly’s elf warrior Tauriel, then you might want a pair of Tauriel’s daggers to grace your office wall.

Tauriel daggers from The Hobbit

These prop daggers are available for $149.

The biggest catch of all may be a set of the prop coins that represented the piles of gold guarded by the dragon Smaug himself.

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Ryan Sook Futures End cover 1    Ryan Sook Futures End 14 cover August 2014 release

We’ve delved into some great cover artists at borg.com in the past three years, from Alex Ross to Mauro Cascioli to Frank Cho and Mike Mayhew.  With his cover run on the DC Comics New 52 series Futures End, Ryan Sook is the artist you just can’t miss these days.  His cover for Issue #14 (above right) of Futures End is being solicited for August 2014 already, and it showcases several styles.  If you take a look back over the past few years you can see one of the best artists around developing his style and craft, putting his mark on the covers of some great comic book series.

You can see Sook as the cover artist of choice to start up several new series with the number one issue out of the gates, for series including Robotika (2005), Giant-Size Hulk (2006), Friday the 13th (2007), Batman and the Outsiders (2007), Death of the New Gods (2007), Countdown Specials, Countdown Presents and DC Universe Specials (2008 and 2011), Broken Trinity: Aftermath (2009), Blackest Night: Wonder Woman (2010), JSA All Stars (2010), The Magdalena (2010), B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth series (2011-2013), Victorian Undead II (2011), DC Universe Online: Legends (2011), Kirby: Genesis (2011), Justice League Dark (2011), Lord of the Jungle (2011), Rose & Thorn (2012), Sword of Sorcery (2012), and The New 52 Futures End (2014).

Sook is able to render men and women superheroes equally well, yet his women really stand out.  Here’s his Wonder Woman, showcased in the Blackest Night series:

Ryan Sook  Blackest Night Wonder Woman 1 cover    Ryan Sook Blackest Night Wonder Woman 2 cover

Less stylized than Cliff Chiang’s current angular Wonder Woman look, Sook may have created a modern twist on the definitive look of the classic character for other artists to emulate.

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Tank in Fury

Not too long ago it would seem a decade would pass before someone was even remotely considering putting a big budget World War II movie on the screen.  Now they’re popping up pretty frequently.  Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima in 2006, Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie in 2008, Quentin Tarentino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, George Lucas’s Red Tails in 2012, and we just reviewed George Clooney’s Monuments Men here, released in theaters earlier this year.  But movies about WWII tanks or tank battles?  With the importance of tanks as a tool of war in WWII you’d think we’d see more of these.  Although there are plenty of American films with scenes of tanks, is there any that would qualify as a great tank movie?

As movies with tanks go, the recommended viewing list we’ll offer up includes Kelly’s Heroes (with Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas), Back to Bataan (with John Wayne), The Guns of Navarone (with Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and David Niven), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has a great tank scene with Indy (and the film takes place in 1938 so we think that counts).  Now Brad Pitt is taking another crack at WWII following up his superb performance as a soldier in Inglourious Basterds, with the David Ayer film Fury.

Brad Pitt in Fury

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Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The first two previews for this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot revealed just enough to intrigue viewers to keep an eye out for the release.  The latest trailer–the longer international cut–delves right in to reveal not only turtles Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo, but a peek at their sensei Splinter and a great reveal of bad guy Shredder.

Megan Fox, who seems to be the go-to gal for 1980s kid toy-based movie reboots, must feel like she’s being followed, with the same bass synchro chords playing to introduce Shredder in the preview that was used to reveal the Decepticons in her 2007 film Transformers (and pretty much everything large in movie previews these days).

Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character poster    Michelangelo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character poster

But the big surprise in this new trailer is how smoothly integrated the CGI turtles seem to be with the live-action world and crew.  These teenage stars seem pretty updated from the original movie back 1990, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, also live-action.  The new kids are still hip, but also have a modern urban vibe, something like the kids from Attack the Block, American style, complete with an X-Games style snowboard rescue scene.  This may be a fun romp for kids of all ages.

Yesterday Paramount also revealed four new posters to advertise the movie, featuring each Turtle.  Which is which?  Leonardo is wearing the blue blindfold, Michelangelo the orange, Raphael the red, and Donatello the purple.  It’s a good time to drum up publicity for the film, with the new Transformers movie arriving in theaters next week–also from Paramount–and sure to have a crossover audience.

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major crimes season 2 dvd cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re keeping up with the third season of Major Crimes on TNT, you’ll have seen last night’s episode, “Frozen Assets.”  Set up with a preposterous plot–a multi-millionaire who has her head frozen and a poisoning that is foiled by returning detective wannabe Dick Tracy (Andrew Daly) from a 2009 episode of The Closer–Major Crimes yet again proves the show knows no bounds as to what the ensemble cast can get sucked into (and suck viewers into).  Like Season Two’s episode with a comedy twist “There’s No Place Like Home,” which featured Marion Ross, Tim Conway, Ron Glass, Paul Dooley, and Doris Roberts in a plot to murder their landlord, “Frozen Assets” shows the lighter side of a series that usually reflects the violent world of L.A. crime.  If you missed Season Two, the DVD release from Warner Bros. is here, and it’s full of plenty of extras for Major Crimes fans.

Creator and executive producer James Duff delves deep into the story development for Season Two in the special feature “Major Crimes: Personal Conviction,” revealing his vision of a season split between stories about “identity” as a theme–who the characters are and who the culprits of the crimes are and how they all got to where they are–and “character,” growth of the main cast members and learning more about these characters we thought we already knew from the prior eight years on television.  Each cast member discusses their view of the characters they play (except the strangely absent Raymond Cruz).  The crew seems to agree that Graham Patrick Martin’s Rusty Beck became the lynchpin and glue holding together the series for the second season, especially his relationship with series lead Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor.

Major Crimes Season 2 cast

The series begins with the opener “Final Cut,” directed by Roxann Dawson, who sci-fi fans will know as Lt. B’Elanna Torres from Star Trek Voyager, and who also played Detective Ortega in a 2011 episode of The Closer.  This episode introduced D.D.A. Emma Rios, played by Nadine Velazquez, the prosecutor who constantly clashes with the Major Crimes squad (interspersed with a season full of hilarious flirtations by Detective Sanchez).  Duff acknowledges why viewers proclaim how much they hate the character, and also why she fits perfectly into the dynamic of the show.

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Not Sark in Guardians of the Galaxy

Hey, how did Sark end up in Guardians of the Galaxy?

Spoiler Alert on Maximum–After the Break only.

The latest trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, released in the UK, with a pared down version airing on television in the U.S., reveals a ton of great scenes from the August release.  So much so that readers who hate to see too much in a trailer (you know who you are) will want to skip this one.  But those of you that just can’t wait for every new leaked image and official bit of info about this new flick, check out this latest and greatest of trailers after the break.  And no, that doesn’t look exactly like David Warner’s Sark in the original Tron, but we got a similar vibe here.  It’s actually Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Wonderfalls) as Ronan the Accuser.

David Warner as Sark in Tron

Any excuse is a good excuse to post a photo of David Warner as the awesome villain Sark in the original Tron.

A big plus for those die-hard fans of superhero films that think the earlier trailers showed the team as too comical for their tastes may like this one better.  Full of outer space action and interaction of the crew in their ship, this is shaping up to look like both a real superhero film and a real sci-fi film.

But first, in the Non-Spoiler variety, first up after the break is a nice quality, fan-made, retro-trailer on YouTube for the original Star Wars trilogy, using the style of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer already released (and posted at borg.com earlier here), edited like the trailer with music from the trailer, too.  Thanks to Dan Madsen for finding this YouTube video.

So here’s the fan-made trailer for Star Wars, Guardians style:
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Gort and Klaatu no helmet   Gort and Klaatu packaging

Klaatu barada nikto.

One of the coolest props I’ve seen in person was the original Gort from the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, when it was on display at Planet Hollywood.  Tall and menacing in his simplicity, he’s a member of that golden age of iconic robots, right up there with Robby from Forbidden Planet and B9 (or just “Robot”) from Lost in Space.  Now you can have your own Gort, along with his humanoid companion Klaatu.

Gort and Klaatu will be turned into 1970s-style action figures courtesy of the toy company Amok Time, adding to the incredible barrage of Kenner-style retro toys hitting the store shelves this year, many the first action figures ever created for their TV series or films.  So far we’ve seen the release of Alien, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Rocketeer, but dozens more are coming this summer.  If you missed the previews of these earlier at borg.com, check them all out here (Alien figures), here (Six Million Dollar Man figures), and all the rest here, and here.

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Forbidden Planet by Laurent Durieux    Birds Laurent Durieux

A 42-year-old graphics artist and illustrator from Brussels has taken a new look at some American film classics and transformed them into his own collection of movie posters.  Laurent Durieux’s retro movie poster designs will be a welcome sight to fans of Juan Ortiz’s style of Star Trek retro-style poster art and Art Deco posters.

Many of the artist’s posters were created for Mondo limited film prints and Alamo Drafthouse releases, including King Kong and Die Hard.  He’s covered everything from Alfred Hitchcock films like Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds, to classic Universal Studios monster movies like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, and Frankenstein (for an Austin Mondo show).  He also has created a selection of science fiction classics, including Metropolis and The Day the Earth Stood Still.  Steven Spielberg reportedly purchased 25 poster prints of Durieux’s Jaws to give to friends as gifts.

Jaws by Laurent Durieux     Die Hard Laurent Durieux

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