Archive for September, 2015


krampus-movie-monster

Nobody knows how long Krampus has been around, but some scholars think in some persona or the other he may have been spreading his nastiness for some 2,000 years.  Since the 17th century he’s been thought of as the anti-Santa Claus in Germanic folklore–where Santa is good to good boys and girls, Krampus… well he isn’t so good to those who have been naughty.  If you don’t have the Christmas spirit, then beware.

We here at borg.com think the best story ever to feature Krampus was a 2013 episode of NBC’s Grimm, “Twelve Days of Krampus,” which made our Best of 2013 list.  Stream that episode to see what the next vision of Krampus should be compared to.

Grimm krampus

Grimm’s Krampus left coal behind after he kidnapped anyone caught being naughty. He’d put them in a basket hung from a tall tree and at the Winter Solstice he was to eat them. Yikes!

And that next vision of Krampus is this Christmas’s horror release, suitably titled Krampus.  We haven’t yet been able to glean a good look at the new fellow, other than the silhouette image at the top of this article, but we hear the production modeled him after images on classic German holiday cards.  Krampus stars Oscar nominee Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Muriel’s Wedding, Shaft), Adam Scott (Star Trek: First Contact, Parks and Recreation, Veronica Mars), and David Koechner (Anchorman, Get Smart, Paul, Monk).

From the first trailer released this might be a light-hearted romp as horror movies go, although there’s definitely plenty of demonic nasty types that are going to be jumping into your lap.  Here’s the first look at Krampus:

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The 5th Wave invasion

The aliens have arrived.

It’s flat-out one of our favorite sci-fi sub-genres.  The alien invasion flick.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), E.T, the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Predator (1987), Alien Nation (1988), They Live (1988), Independence Day (1996), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Men in Black (1997), Starship Troopers (1997), Signs (2002), War of the Worlds (2005), Cloverfield (2008), District 9 (2009), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Edge of Tomorrow (2014).  These are some of the most exciting and fun sci-fi movies to watch and re-watch.

Kick-Ass and The Equalizer’s Chloë Grace Moretz stars in a new Sony/Columbia Pictures release, The 5th Wave, which looks like it’s mixing the alien invasion film with the disaster movie, the epidemic movie, and the body snatcher movie.  The only thing missing is zombies.  But body snatchers are close enough.

Alien ship in The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave co-stars Office Space star Ron Livingston, X-Men Origins and The Sum of All Fears’ Liev Shreiber, and Prime Suspect and Assault on Precinct 13’s Maria Bello.  Is Moretz a normal Earthling or one of us taken over by the aliens?

Check out this first trailer for The 5th Wave:

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Psycho 1960 poster

Reservations for the Bates Motel await you at your local theater later this month.

Mother would be pleased.

Turner Classic Movies is teaming up again with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Fathom Events to bring a film classic back to theaters for a limited screening.  This time it’s Alfred Hitchcock’s black and white classic thriller Psycho, which first shocked audiences 55 years ago.  It’s back, but for only two days.

We all go a little mad sometimes.

original Psycho schlock poster

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will introduce the show with a brief short about the movie, which will air at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time Sunday, September 20, 2015, and Wednesday, September 23, 2015.

Here’s a preview of the event:

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Mad Max Fury Road

How do you like your post-apocalyptic nightmare?  Hot or cold?

This month brings the release of Max: Max Fury Road on 3D Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, digital HD Ultraviolet, and DVD.  We reviewed the 3D Blu-ray and found it to be one of the best of the converted 3D Blu-rays to come to Blu-ray from a pure quality of film standpoint.  Story aside, 3D fans will have plenty of in-your-face explosions and old school 3D gags, like a steering wheel flashing out of the screen and into your lap, as well as other unexpected oddities–and a whole lot of bleak, ugly, and sand, in perfect clarity.

Nine behind-the-scenes featurettes accompany the home release, including Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road, Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels, The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa, The Tools of the Wasteland, The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome, Fury Road: Crash & Smash, I Am A Milker, Turn Every Grain Of Sand!, and Let’s Do This.

If you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road, trust your instincts and skip this one.  If Fury Road is for you, you would have seen it in the theater already.  As post-apocalyptic storytelling is concerned, Fury Road is thin and uninspired.  As world-building goes, Fury Road adds nothing to the mythos in the original Mad Max and Road Warrior.  It is less silly than Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, but Fury Road cries out for humor, or any other pleasantness of the third film in the series.  When humor arrives it is absurd (the lead bad guy takes along a turbo-charged guitarist and over-sized timpani band) and reminds us we’re well outside the realm of any possible future reality. How did these repulsive creatures become leaders so soon after the downfall of today’s reality?  How was a religion based on cars so quick to arrive in the same lifetime let alone the few years since the young star was a police officer in today’s world?  The number of unanswered questions are endless.  Writer/director George Miller, who directed each entry in the series, would have done better directing someone else’s story.  This is definitely a “story” in need of a backstory, which is available in prequel comic books for those wanting to delve further into the “revisited” Mad Max universe.

Theron Mad Max John Seale

Miller’s success is his ability to nicely copy the cinematography from epic scenery-laden films like those of the great John Ford–the technical production is top-notch (Oscar winner John Seale will likely net another Oscar nod for his efforts here).  But Fury Road is nothing but a Western updated for an ugly future, one long “cowboy and Indians” race to escape the Indians, and one shorter race back to the fort again, and a B-Western at that.  Sure, spiked and retooled 1960s and 1970s cars are inexplicably swapped for horses, but plenty of stuntwork is piled on as with the old Westerns.  We see some similarities: instead of wise old men mentoring John Wayne how to avoid the noose, here it’s wise old women helping to save the day at film’s end.  Miller’s other success is his selection of Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL to compose the film score–this is a rousing, pulse-pounding score worthy of a much better film.

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movies-cannon-films-logo

Review by C.J. Bunce

Some call them guilty pleasures–those films that are more bad than good, but have some quality you can’t quite identify that cements them in your own memory.  You might not admit how much you like those films, but you do, and you’d also willingly admit the quality of the film is still bad, bad, bad.  As you watch writer/director Mark Hartley’s new film about two cousins that created one of the most well-known independent B-movie film studios, I will wager you will see at least four movies from the 1980s that you’ll admit only to yourself “hey, I loved that movie.”

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films chronicles two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, successful filmmakers in their home country who took America by storm, taking over Cannon Group in 1980 and churning out more movies than any other studio, eventually releasing about a movie a week before it ran out of money.  The documentary highlights one of the studio’s defining, over-the-top and embarrassingly bad movies: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.  Cannon helped the careers of names like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren and helped propel the second phase of the careers of actors like Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, and Sylvester Stallone.  The list of surprising names showing up in their films included Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis and Patrick Stewart, and Sharon Stone, but even once big names like Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing could be found in a Cannon movie.

electricboogaloo

Delta Force, Missing in Action and Missing in Action 2, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lifeforce, Hercules (with Lou Ferrigno), King Solomon’s Mines, Runaway Train, Invaders from Mars, American Ninja, Bloodsport, Cyborg, Death Warrant, Masters of the Universe, Powaqqatsi, and Superman IV, for good or bad, emerged from Golan and Globus’s years at Cannon.

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Death Star insert A

Do you remember back in the 1970s and 1980s when every new toy had its own commercial?  It seems crazy now.  How could toy sales justify the cost of time slots on national networks?  You’d think with the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens marketing push that we’d see commercials all weekend after this past week’s eagerly awaited “Force Friday.”

With all the Toys ‘R’ Us, WalMart, and Target stores (as well as other stores you wouldn’t think carried new Star Wars merchandise like Pottery Barn and Kohl’s (who is advertising Star Wars this weekend), it’s time for a flashback to the original Star Wars toy commercials.  Remember the Jawa playset, later re-designed into a cardboard AT-AT playset?

Death Star insert B

Just check out that recurring soundtrack–you won’t hear the Star Wars theme–but you will hear some funky backgrounds behind kids who can’t actually say the words Star Wars quite right.  Here are several oldies for your viewing pleasure, after the break:

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New SPECTRE poster

A lovely dinner party?  Pity I wasn’t invited.

James Bond hasn’t looked any cooler.  Well at least since Sean Connery played him in his white dinner jacket and red carnation.  Or wait, until Roger Moore sported the white dinner jacket.  Well, Bond is back in the nice white digs again as Daniel Craig is featured in the latest poster for the next Bond flick, SPECTRE, which features this classic Bond look as seen in Goldfinger, Octopussy, The Man With the Golden Gun, and Diamonds Are Forever.

And he’s carrying his signature Walther PPK pistol.

That guy in the background is pulled from the signature spectacle opening action scene, which this time round takes place at a Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead festival in Mexico.  Expect Bond to be running after someone along the parade route before you’ve had your first handful of popcorn.

Goldfinger Bond

Check out this SPECTRE vlog of the behind the scenes production of the opening scene:

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Star Wars new banner

Just go ahead and take all our money, Lucasfilm.

Force Friday has begun–the official launch of literally hundreds of toys and collectibles from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which does not open until December 18, 2015.  But if you know the Star Wars brand, you know it is probably what Star Wars will be known for decades from now:  a powerhouse of making money off its films and characters.

If you were asleep at midnight this morning, you can still get everything you missed online now.  You’ll find your best deals for more than 200 new toys available at Entertainment Earth starting today at this link.

Want to find more great deals on anything and everything from Episode VII?  Check out this link here to all the Star Wars: The Force Awakens products at Amazon.com.

Target kicked off Force Friday with midnight openings in 207 stores nationwide and will continue into Saturday, September 5 with photo ops, giveaways and toy demos.

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The coolest offering?  Probably the remote control BB-8 sphere droid by Sphero available for about $149 now for pre-order at Entertainment Earth here–that little roly-poly fella sneaking around in the theatrical previews that was based on an idea from George Lucas’s original sketches for the first movie.  Check out the YouTube video of it in action below.  It’s in the $150 range.  Don’t confuse this with the version from Hasbro that is a target exclusive for half the price–still a fun toy but without all the bells and whistles.

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League of Regrettable Superheroes

This summer Quirk Books released an interesting look at the obscure side of comic books with The League of Regrettable Superheroes.  Cartoonist and graphic designer Jon Morris delved into the archives of Digital Comic Museum and Comic Book Plus to locate oddities from the Golden Age of comics to modern times.

Morris showcases 100 of these characters, many that only survived one issue of a long forgotten publication.  You’ll meet Invisible Scarlet O’Neil, Ghost Patrol, Moongirl, and even Nightmare and Sleepy.  Sprinkled with interesting facts from the comic book world, Morris includes plenty of trivia.  One character way ahead of her time– Spider Queen seems to have had all the powers Spider-man would maintain, yet she predated him in comics by 20 years.  Other entries are curious selections, like Rom the Spacenight–star of a pretty popular series in the early 1980s that had a sizable fan base.

You’ll see plenty of examples of full color covers and interior art from the characters represented, as well as characters created by legends in comics like Will Eisner, Gil Kane, C.C. Beck, Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, and Joe Simon, whose other characters would become much more well known.

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By C.J. Bunce

One hundred and thirteen years ago this month, film audiences saw a bright future for the very first time.

The science fiction film was the French classic Le Voyage dans la lune, or A Trip the the Moon, created by science fiction special effects and animation pioneer George Méliès, who modern film audiences may know as one of the heroes of Martin Scorcese’s Academy Award-nominated film Hugo.  The famous scene in A Trip to the Moon where the rocketship blasts into the Man in the Moon’s eye is a classic bit of film nostalgia, the full 14-minute film based on two classic works: Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, and H.G. Wells’s The First Men in the Moon.  You can’t have a better science fiction pedigree than A Trip to the Moon.  But the first science fiction film available in color?

The Victorian era meets the future in this scene from the 1902 color film A Trip to the Moon

Film enthusiasts for literally a century were aware that A Trip to the Moon was originally released in theaters not in the typical black and white that monopolized film into the 1960s, but in color.  But how could that be?  The story was a secret treasure of sorts, that stayed hidden until 1993, when a film collector revealed the sole remaining color copy of the 1902 film in Barcelona.  The 13,375 frames of decomposed material was practically worthless until film preservationist Serge Bromberg found a way to catch the photographed images when the material was deposited with a special chemical vapor.  Every day for two years his staff worked through each frame, and in 2010 digital technology had come so far as to allow the preservationists to re-build the film at Technicolor’s laboratories in Los Angeles, using a $500,000 grant from French film foundations.  The result was revealed to audiences at the Cannes Film Festival three years ago.

Film pioneer Georges Méliès mixed stunning color animation and special effects in this view of the future of travel in A Trip to the Moon

But before the film was revealed, a matter of sound arose.  The original film was created before the concept of the talkie, or even the playing of music to accompany the film.  No score had ever been created for A Trip to the Moon.  The same foundations that had financed the restoration selected the French band Air to compose a 16-minute soundtrack for the film.  Because the homegrown film was considered by the French to be so revered as a national treasure, musicians Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel were themselves elevated to celebrity status.  After completion of the soundtrack, Air began composing a full musical score expanding on the themes they created for the film.  Their sound is both futuristic and modern, and has been compared to their influences: Pink Floyd, spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone, and the bands Vangelis and Tangerine Dream.

But where does the 3D fit in?

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