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Archive for November, 2014


Pan movie poster

With this past week’s release of trailers for both Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it is no wonder a handful of smaller films’ trailers were lost in the wake of news from those far more highly anticipated films.  Two films are foreign war productions that may appeal to war/action film genre fans, and the other is a fantasy you’ve likely seen many times before, but this time featuring a handful of fan favorite genre actors.

First the fantasy–it’s director Ed Wright’s retelling of Peter Pan, titled simply Pan.  J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is one of those classic tales that stands up there with the likes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Middle-earth novels, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  Peter Pan has been done over and over, including the coming December 4 live-primetime production featuring Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

Jackman as Blackbeard

Unlike most of the above novels, a definitive visual presentation of Peter Pan has yet to be made, although many would argue the success of the Disney animated version or possibly Steven Spielberg’s Hook.  This newest incarnation has some actors that may serve to entice fans to check it out.  It stars Wolverine Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Veronica Mars’s Amanda Seyfried as Mary, Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund as Hook, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.

Here’s the trailer for Pan:

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Star Wars Costumes The Original Trilogy cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Sci-fi movie trivia question:  Which Star Wars actor played Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and was a main character in Star Trek 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness?  More on that later.

We have taken a close look at some of the best behind the scenes books on costumes and props from major movie franchises here at borg.com.  The best have included the latest in Weta’s tour inside the making of Middle-earth in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Cloaks & Daggers, reviewed here, and the dense examination of the Star Wars prequel costumes documented in the landmark work Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars, reviewed here.  After nearly 40 years we finally have a behind the scenes look at the making of the costumes from the original three Star Wars films with Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, just released from Chronicle Books.  This is also the first time many of these costumes have been displayed and photographed since the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum featured dozens of costumes in its Star Wars: The Magic of Myth exhibit in 1997.

Boba Fett helmets

Author Brandon Alinger, my friend and fellow costume and prop aficionado, is chief operating officer of The Prop Store (formerly The Prop Store of London) and an expert who has handled original Star Wars pieces over the years.  Alinger interviewed costume designers and production staff from the original series to pull together this first ever analysis of the stories and people who earned Star Wars an Academy Award for Best Costuming, the only science fiction film to receive such an honor.  Original costumes from the Skywalker Ranch Archives were displayed on mannequins and photographed for the book by Joseph MacDonald of The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco–many for the first time since production.

The most striking revelation in the book is the rarity of each costume and the fact that some of these film artifacts may not survive many more years.  “Some of the costumes or costume components in the Archives are quite fragile and for this reason they could not be dressed onto mannequins to shoot,” Alinger recently said in an online discussion.  “The costumes are treated as artifacts and conservation concerns are top priority for the Archives team.”  Admiral Ackbar’s mask from Return of the Jedi is just one of these items.

Contributing to the book with Alinger are Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back costume designer John Mollo and Return of the Jedi costume designers Aggie Rodgers and Nilo Rodis-Jamero.  The book also includes invaluable detail from past interviews with Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Stuart Freeborn, along with contributions from dozens of other costume and art department staff from the films.

Chewbacca costume

Movie production staff and movie costume collectors are well aware that the typical movie shoot requires multiple copies of each cast member’s costume.  For example, it was common for the Star Trek and Lord of the Rings productions to create seven or more of each main cast member’s uniform, allowing for problems on set and dry cleaning.  The point is you never want to stop a multi-million dollar shoot so someone can re-stitch the only costume you have created for your film.  Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy reveals that was not the case for many of the Star Wars costumes.  This means the Skywalker Ranch Archives possesses the one and only costume made for the trilogy for many items.  This also explains why the private collecting community has only seen a handful of authentic original trilogy costumes hit the market over the years, like the odd distressed Stormtrooper helmet, Ewok fur, C-3PO hand and foot, and damaged cantina alien mask.

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Star Wars VII X-wing pilot

Why go see it in theaters in front of one of the lackluster holiday offerings this season when you can watch it for free at home?  It’s the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  And it’s a short 88 seconds, with much of the teaser spent on slow pans and the logo roll.

It’s what we’ve been waiting for.   A look at Star Wars in the hands of Disney and J.J. Abrams.

Star Wars VII new lightsaber

Wait no further.  Here’s the official first trailer for Episode VII, after the break:

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X-Files 4 cover pulp    X-Files cover 2 pulp

Writer Karl Kesel has crafted both a great Mulder and Scully tale and a film noir mystery in this year’s five-issue limited series, The X-Files Year Zero, also carrying the pulp title The X-Files Mystery Magazine.  When the duo encounters a mysterious panther attack in the present day, Mulder recounts the first X-Files, courtesy of an app created for him by the Lone Gunmen.

Flipping back and forth between today and 1946, Kesel also gives us the story of Special Agent Bing Ellinson and his partner, an FBI “special employee” named Millie Ohio.  Ellinson is a benched agent on his last chance at making a name for himself and Ohio, an ex-soldier trying to make her way into the FBI.

You may just learn whether The X-Files are part of the same universe as Twin Peaks.  How is an innocent housewife in the 1940s related to sightings of a man-wolf and an odd little man who makes bargains for a steep price?

X-Files pulp cover    xfiles-year-zero

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A borg.com Thanksgiving tradition

WKRP Nessman reporting Thanksgiving stunt

Pull the turkey TV dinner out of the oven. Throw some butter on those peas. It’s time again for your annual tryptophan coma. And another annual tradition.

Here at borg.com we like our Thanksgiving with turkeys. Not just one turkey. Several turkeys. Flying overhead even. Yes, it is time again for your annual viewing of one of the two best Thanksgiving episodes of TV ever. Finish this phrase: “As God is my witness, I thought…” You don’t know how it ends? Then watch and enjoy our traditional viewing of the greatest Thanksgiving episode of TV ever:

And in between your seconds and thirds on mashed potatoes, corn casserole, bean casserole, pea casserole–and don’t forget the gravy–then check out other Thanksgiving blasts from the past here. And don’t forget the cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The borg.com Staff

Toe Tag Riot variant 1

Real-life villains beware.  You’re soon to become an endangered species if the punk band Toe Tag Riot has any say in the matter.  Toe Tag Riot is not just a typical in-your-face club band, it’s made up of zombies who feast only on the worst society has to offer.  And writer Matt Miner and artist Sean Von Gorman provide the backstory to how the band came to their… umm… unusual… flesh feasting ways in Toe Tag Riot Issue #1, in stores today.

Toe Tag Riot excerpt

Sure to be the talk of the week, you’ll want to let your friends know about this new series.  More than four hundred Kickstarter backers pledged nearly $20,000 to get this series off the ground.

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Jurassic World

This time the rides actually work.

Released today, watch the first trailer for Jurassic World.

If you’re looking for the new Star Wars preview, it’s not out yet–expect it this weekend on the Web–but this fan version is nicely done:

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The Flash Season Zero regular cover issue 1   The Flash Season Zero issue 2 cover

If you’re not watching The Flash on the CW Network there’s no time like tonight to join in and get caught up.  All the DC Comics fans who grew tired of the dark and gloomy nature of the DC Comics universe as realized in television (like Constantine) and the movies (like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) have the alternative they have been looking for from this spin-off of CW’s Arrow.

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen against all prior types.  He’s more like Peter Parker than the Barry Allen of the Silver Age or more recent New 52 incarnations, and little like the older, more serious scientist in The Flash television series from the 1980s starring John Wesley Shipp.  He’s cheery, funny, friendly, and generally a happy guy despite his obsession with his mother’s death years ago, having to deal with his father in prison for her murder, and the fact that his life has been turned upside down by a bolt of electric current from a particle accelerator.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

And if the series isn’t enough for you, check out the tie-in comic book series The Flash Season Zero.  Season Zero provides a supplemental story to the TV show but also is a jumping-on point for those who may have missed the first few episodes.  Now only two issues in, you can get these back issues easily from any comic book retailer.  The best reason to check out Season Zero?  The return of artist Phil Hester to the part of the DCU he drew for many years as penciller on the monthly Green Arrow series.  With multiple crossover episodes this season between The Flash and Arrow, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Hester’s take on drawing Stephen Amell’s much younger version of Oliver Queen.

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Gillian Anderson signs books at Simon via Twitter

Review by C.J. Bunce

In novels by the late Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton, the authors tended to start with a smattering of disparate events and a group of experts in different areas, political, scientific, whatever was needed to twist in new plot threads colliding into some unlikely confluence by novel’s end.  In Gillian Anderson’s first novel A Vision of Fire, Book One of the “Earthend Saga” and the inaugural work from Simon and Schuster’s new Simon451 imprint, she and Clancy-universe author Jeff Rovin build a similar framework.  But instead of following several characters we are introduced to one, a psychiatrist named Caitlin O’Hara, a doctor focused on mental issues of young people and single mother of a deaf son.  Using the advantages of modern communications technology, Caitlin must develop expertise in other fields, pulling together bits and pieces needed to attempt to connect what is behind a storm of seemingly unrelated bizarre events.

The novel’s contemporary New York setting is witness to a conflict similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis–two warring factions: India and Pakistan, are on the brink of nuclear war.  The international community is closely watching a negotiation between the countries, and the Indian ambassador to the United Nations is thought to be the one person who can calm tensions.  After an assassination attempt on the ambassador is witnessed by his teenaged daughter, she begins acting as if she is possessed, making strange movements and speaking in what could be ancient tongues.  Caitlin’s long-time friend pulls her into the girl’s case and she begins treating the girl, and soon notices other youths experiencing similar traumas across the globe.  Animals in proximity to the teens are also acting in unusual ways.  A coincidence?

A Vision of Fire Gillian Anderson   A Vision of Fire British cover

Elsewhere a team uncovers a metal artifact in an underwater expedition.  The artifact carries some unknown energy with it, and soon death begins to follow, something like the curse of King Tut’s tomb.  With mysticism like that found in The Fifth Element, body possessions similar to that of Skeleton Key and The Intruders, and acts of the long dead affecting lives in the present as in The Fog and The Others, Anderson’s world is part science fiction, part supernatural thriller.

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Major Crimes clip

When we last left the Los Angeles Major Crimes division at the mid-season break in August, the team was busy closing cases in their own signature style of action-filled drama.  In its third season, week after week Major Crimes continued delivering the unexpected, a police procedural whose crew, now well into their tenth year working together, melds into a seamless ensemble.  Major Crimes returns to TNT tomorrow night with many questions for fans.  The biggest?  Will the producers and network spin off Jon Tenney’s FBI agent Fritz Howard and Laurie Holden’s acting deputy director Ann McGinnis into their own Strategic Operations Bureau (S.O.B.) series?

The core of the series this season revolves around Mary McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor and her live-in teen Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin).  Raydor’s son opposed Sharon’s attempts to adopt Rusty.  Rusty revealed to his friends in the division that he is gay.  Rusty’s mom continued her confrontation with addiction via the jail cell and Rusty must deal with her recurring attempts to manipulate him.  And Fritz began to try to find a balance with his stressful new duties in light of his recent heart attack.

Major Crimes Buzz

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Central we’ll find out what’s next, with the new episode “Down the Drain.”  After the break, watch some promotional previews for the coming shows:

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