Archive for April, 2015


Jurassic huh

At least if Jurassic World bombs we can’t accuse Amblin, Legendary, and Universal of false advertising.

This weekend the studios released the first film clip for the fourth film based on Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel Jurassic Park.  Normally that would be something to gravitate toward, but not so this time.  The clip features the show’s stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with some over-long, stilted, outright boring dialogue.  For nearly two minutes.  And no dinosaurs.

We’d love to see the meetings where it was decided that this was the first clip to show audiences to showcase the movie.  Already plenty of viewers have slammed it on social media.  Even Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon chimed in about the staid, sexist set-up on Twitter: “…and I’m too busy wishing this clip wasn’t 70’s era sexist. She’s a stiff, he’s a life-force – really? Still?”  And although it’s a bit odd for a director with a competing 2015 film so openly chiding another’s movie, he’s certainly right.

Here’s the clip:

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Insurrection Sanja Hays design

If you’re a fan of Star Trek costumes like we are, you may be familiar with Sanja Milkovich Hays, the costume designer on the ninth film in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek Insurrection.  Hays is responsible for some of the best Star Trek costumes created for the movies that featured the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast.  Her agent released this weekend that she has been tapped to be costume designer for the next film in the Star Trek franchise, unofficially referred to as Star Trek III. 

Hays created the stylish civilian wear for the principal cast, with her designs for Worf and Data particular standout pieces for the characters.  She designed the look of the villains for Insurrection from a fabric she developed from cellulose, including F. Murray Abraham’s Ru’afo and the Son’a, as well as the beautiful copper latexwear for the female Ellora, the purple outfitted Tarlac and blue male Ellora.  For the Ba’ku villagers, she used natural fibers in her costumes that included hundreds of extras.

Check out her Insurrection designs in Terry J. Erdmann’s The Secrets of Star Trek Insurrection here at Amazon.com.

Star Trek maroons

Could these Horatio Hornblower-inspired designs for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan be making a comeback in 2016’s Star Trek III?

Hays has created costumes for many other genre films, too.  Could they indicate what may be coming in Star Trek III?

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Apollo 13 and President Nixon

Ask anyone who was alive in 1969 what their most vivid memory of a world event was and they’ll likely come up with word of President Kennedy’s assassination or the Apollo 11 moon landing.  To go back in time and replay the mission events that led up to Michael Collins dropping Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface would be nothing but exciting.  This weekend we remember that moon mission that did not result in a lunar landing, Apollo 13, a mission that has been called NASA’s “most successful failure” for the achievement of NASA scientists and three other astronauts:  Jack Swigert, Fred Haise, and Jim Lovell.

Forty-five years ago the world waited to find out whether these astronauts would make it back to Earth, as chronicled in documentaries like the History Channel’s Man, Moment, Machine: Apollo 13 – Triumph on the Dark Side of the Moon and Ron Howard’s modern classic blockbuster Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon.  But what if Apollo 11 had encountered a similar fate?

In the summer of 1969 the Nixon administration contemplated that outcome.  If something, anything happened to the astronauts on Apollo 11, how would America respond to such a disaster?  Nixon speechwriter William Safire wrote a speech for Nixon to be broadcast if Apollo 11 didn’t make it back–specifically if astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin were somehow stranded on the Moon.

Apollo 11 mission control

To promote a news series on famous letters on the BBC, actor Benedict Cumberbatch read Nixon’s speech–a “what if?” that we’re fortunate never was actually read by the President.  Here’s Cumberbatch (affecting an American accent) performing the reading:

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Robert Pittman Wikipedia Commons Killer Whales

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Column by J. Torrey McClain

I do not currently host a pet of any kind in my home.  I grew up with a cat and dogs and I love to visit friends and family with cats and dogs, but it has been a long time since I have enjoyed the company of a pet 24/7.  I add that preface because I want to say that I don’t have stories of a pet’s behavior that reveal “emotions,” “feelings” and “empathy.”  I use quotes because I do not want to personify any animal mostly from a place of ignorance but also from a place of logic.  How I interpret and see the world HAS to be different than a pet.  But, I will not claim they don’t “feel,” I will not claim they don’t “learn,” I will not claim they aren’t “intelligent;” I just don’t know if human language has a word for how animals see the world.

As far as how humans treat animals, I understood about obvious cruelty like I’d see in reports of dog fighting, circus cages and pet abuse.  I remember even in high school, thinking that the idea of anyone “owning” an animal seemed fishy to me and I began to think that zoos might not be the best idea, except in cases of endangered animals, injured animals, education or scientific study, but only in limited scale.  I didn’t think much beyond this for a long time.

In my consumption of books due to my own curiosity and recommendations from friends, I read about nutrition.  I read about healthy diets.  I read about fast food ingredients and practices.  I read about modern factory farm practices.  I read about the idea of sustainable farming.  All of this got stored in my noggin.  Then, I watched the documentary Blackfish.  I started to consider removing meat from my diet as all my experiences combined to form this idea.  It had been simmering in my mind, but the impetus of the call to action came from Blackfish.

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Paul Bettany Vision

Marvel Studios must have felt like Santa Claus yesterday.

Yesterday Marvel previewed four costumes for characters being pulled from the comic book page to the TV and film: from the superhero side Fantastic Four’s Thing and Netflix’s Daredevil, and from the villainy camp Ant-Man’s Yellowjacket and The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s Vision.

Today Netflix releases its entire first season of Daredevil for convenient binge-watching.  Lawyer Matt Murdoch (played by Charlie Cox) has a new red suit.

Daredevil costume

Marvel revealed both the new Thing from Fantastic Four played by Jamie Bell and Paul Bettany’s Vision (above, top).  Of all the reveals we’re thinking the cybernetic Vision is pretty striking.

Corey Stoll will play Ant-Man’s nemesis Yellowjacket in Marvel’s Ant-Man opposite Paul Rudd.

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Twin Peaks cast

This weekend the quirky and unique director and visionary David Lynch announced after months of working on a new Twin Peaks series for Showtime that he was walking away from the project.  The reason cited was, of course, money.  Showtime had been voicing support for the series but clearly negotiations broke down and now the likelihood of a new series is uncertain.  Key cast members including Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee had already signed on for the project.  Most of the original cast were also in support of the series and eager to jump back into the world of that slightly askew town near Snoqualmie Falls, Washington.

Lynch expressed his status on Facebook:  “Showtime did not pull the plug on Twin Peaks.  After one year and four months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done. This weekend I started to call actors to let them know I would not be directing.  Twin Peaks may still be very much alive at Showtime.  I love the world of Twin Peaks and wish things could have worked out differently.”

Falls at Twin Peaks

Showtime issued this response: “We were saddened to read David Lynch’s statement today since we believed we were working towards solutions with David and his reps on the few remaining deal points.  Showtime also loves the world of Twin Peaks and we continue to hold out hope that we can bring it back in all its glory with both of its extraordinary creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, at its helm.”

It sounds like the typical posturing of any business negotiations.  But it prompted nearly a dozen cast members yesterday to share their own short video message encouraging Showtime to work out a deal with Lynch.  Many of these messages refer back to their characters.  The former cast members who supplied the video messages are Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings), James Marshall (James Hurley), Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Moran), Gary Hershberger (Mike Nelson), Catherine E. Coulson (The Log Lady), Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley), and Al Strobel (Phillip Gerard).

Twin Peaks opening

After the break, take a look at what all these cast members look like today, and what they came up with to try to coax the powers that be onward and upward:

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Sleepy_Hollow_Origins_001_B_WonderCon_Variant   JGSea3-01-Cov-A-Cho

Plenty of new titles are hitting comic book store shelves today.  We have previews for you of four series with good jumping-on points.  From BOOM! Studios, check out the new Sleepy Hollow: Origins series, which takes a look back at the early days of Crane and Abbie (and some other familiar “faces” from the show).  From Dynamite Comics, a new Masks series begins, as well as the Frankensteinian series Reanimator, and the return of Frank Cho’s Jungle Girl with the new Season Three.

Masks2-Cov-A-Guice   Reanimator01-Cov-D-Mangum

Sleepy Hollow: Origins, Issue #1 is written by Mike Johnson with art by Matias Bergara.

Masks 2, Issue #1 is written by Cullen Bunn with art by Eman Casallos.

Jungle Girl Season Three, Issue #1 is written by Frank Cho and Doug Murray, with art by Jack Jadson.

Reanimator, Issue #1 is written by Keith Davidsen with art by Randy Valiente.

You’ll also find some great variant covers for these issues, shown above and below, including Jae Lee covers, a new Francesco Francavilla horror cover, a Tim Seeley cover, and a Frank Cho cover.  Check out previews for all four of these new titles after the break, courtesy of BOOM! Studios and Dynamite Comics:

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SW digital banner

It may have been the first thing you looked for when you got your streaming media service, whether it was Netflix, Amazon Prime, or something else.  Finally, after seemingly every other movie made it to the Digital HD streaming format, the Star Wars saga will now be available to watch on your phone, tablet, or TV.  Disney just announced the news Monday night, including new features to accompany the films.  Thought you’d bought the best format before, via Laser Disc, Beta, VHS, Widescreen, DVD, in their various Special Editions, or Blu-ray?  If you thought you bought everything with the Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-rays, be prepared to buy Star Wars again for–at least–the tenth time.

star-wars-the-digital-movie-collection

You can buy all six films in a digital bundle from Amazon here, now available for pre-order at $89.99.  Or click on the images below to pre-order each film individually at $19.99 at the time of this posting.

Although Disney’s press release revealed some extra features may vary by streaming service, here’s the general guide to what will be available:

SW 1

Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace

  • Conversations: Doug Chiang Looks Back
  • Discoveries From Inside: Models & Miniatures
  • Legacy content includes “The Beginning”; The Podrace: Theatrical Edit; plus eight deleted scenes.

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Bwana Devil A poster

The choice of subject matter for the first 3D was a good pick– the gruesome, real-life attacks on workers in Tsavo, Kenya from March through December of 1898 by a pair of lions.  The story that inspired director Arch Oboler’s 1952 adventure Bwana Devil would later be adapted as the 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer (as well as a lesser direct-to-video movie, Prey, in 2007).  Bwana Devil is now available via streaming on Amazon Prime.  It’s not shown in its original 3D format, but as we have suggested before here at borg.com, watching it via 3D glasses and an up-converted 3D television system will get you close to the original 3D presentation.

Robert Stack plays Bob Hayward, an ineffective chief engineer and leader of local tribes building a railway.  Stack’s performance reveals a frenzied and crazed character who makes nothing but bad decisions over the course of the story.  Nigel Bruce, in one of his final film roles, plays Dr. Angus MacLean, Hayward’s jovial friend and confidante.  All that can go wrong does.  Hayward isn’t up for the task of completing a railway across East Africa between Kenya and Uganda even before lions begin plucking off workers one by one.  His stupidity gets innocents killed from almost the opening scene to the last, from a cook he drags along from another town to a very young African child.

Bwana Devil how it works 3D

Bwana Devil has the feel of a live-action Jonny Quest, and it’s fun to see all these Teddy Roosevelt Hunter types doing their thing.  But it is also a cringeworthy look at British imperialism and the dominance of the local peoples that comes with it.  The Ghost and the Darkness handles these themes better.

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Star Trek Green Lantern The Spectrum War

So what would a Klingon do with a Green Lantern Corps power ring?  We’ll find out in July when IDW Publishing, CBS Consumer Products, and DC Comics team up to present the reboot Star Trek Enterprise crew and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps in Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War.

Set in the 23rd century of the “new” Star Trek universe, the Federation and the “entire” Green Lantern Corps will team-up to protect the universe when some power rings gets in the hands of some familiar Star Trek antagonists.  Boldly going where no one has gone before…in brightest day, in blackest night… IDW revealed this weekend at WonderCon in Anaheim that the six-part monthly mini-series will be written by veteran Star Trek comic writer Mike Johnson with interior art by Arrow artist Angel Hernandez.

Green Lantern Star Trek The Spectrum War Francesco Francavilla

Look for some great variant covers in the series by artists Francesco Francavilla, Gabriel Rodriguez, Else Charretier, Garry Brown, Declan Shalvey, and Marc Laming.

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