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Archive for October, 2015


Ridiculous 6

Today we have three previews for coming theatrical releases of the comedy variety.  Two of them hail from two of the most financially successful former Saturday Night Live cast members, and one a coming-of-age zombie flick full of young actors.  Are they all dumb comedies, or will any of them break through the pack and be worth the ticket price?

The first film comes from Adam Sandler’s production company and will be a Netflix release.  It’s a Western comedy–a rare genre appearance for audiences–with a large cast that might make you think of big cast pieces of years past like Airplane!  Along with Sandler, The Ridiculous 6 stars Steve Buscemi, Terry Crews, Norm MacDonald, Danny Trejo, Will Forte, Luke Wilson, Steve Zahn, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Chris Parnell, John Turturro, Jon Lovitz, and Vanilla Ice.  That’s a lot of former SNL cast members!

will-ferrell-daddys-home-scene

The stars of the hilarious comedy The Other Guys are back.  Will Farrell, the most successful SNL actor since Eddie Murphy, and along with Sandler one of the big three of the box office grossing SNL elite shares billing again with one of our favorite actors, the versatile Mark Wahlberg, in Daddy’s Home.  Farrell is a step-dad and must contend with his wife’s tougher and cooler ex-husband, played by Wahlberg.  This is the film widely reported on earlier this year where Farrell and crew broke in on an actual basketball game and seemingly drunk Farrell beaned a dance group gal in the face (no worries, she was a stunt woman in on the gag).  Definitely one for the Farrell and Wahlberg fans out there.

Zombie Scouts

Finally, The Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is the latest zombie flick.  It’s a comedy and coming of age movie, but also seems like it has a bit of Steven Spielberg’s Super 8 meets American Pie.  Definitely a strange entry, it features a slate of young actors including Arnold’s son Patrick Schwarzenegger, plus comedic actors Cloris Leachman and David Koechner.

Here are the trailers:

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A Curse Dark as Gold cover Elizabeth C Bunce

October is winding down after another hot summer.  The trees are turning red and orange and it couldn’t be setting up for a more perfect autumn, and Halloween is almost here.  If you’re looking for a ghost story to get you into the mood of the season, check out borg.com writer Elizabeth C. Bunce’s novel A Curse Dark as Gold, available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and E-book editions from Amazon.com and other booksellers, first reviewed here back in 2011.

A Curse Dark as Gold takes place in the Gold Valley in that far away land where all fairy tales reside.  Charlotte Miller is a girl in her late teens whose father dies and leaves her the town of Shearings’s woolen mill, which serves as workplace for most of her community, along with the care of Charlotte’s younger sister Rosie.  Unwanted responsibilities are quickly thrust upon this young woman from page one.  From a framework standpoint A Curse Dark as Gold is a spin on Rumpelstiltskin-type helper tales of the past, but this story takes on its own life.  Shearing is at once lovely and pastoral, yet dark and creepy doings begin to pierce through the landscape.  A mysterious uncle appears and begins to interject himself into the girls’ lives.  As if sick from a good friend’s death, the mill itself begins to respond to the death of Charlotte’s father, with boards crashing down on an employee, things not working quite like they should, and everything seeming to fall apart at once.

A Curse Dark as Gold audio Elizabeth C Bunce told by Charlotte Parry

The story is set at the dawn of the industrial revolution.  Water wheels are becoming replaced with steam power and the big industrial cities that come along with that new technology.  Charlotte quickly finds she has inherited her father’s acumen as a smart businessperson, yet real life pressures including competition from big city wool firms, and unfair attempts to squeeze Shearing’s mill out of the marketplace, cause the mill to lose workers.  The real-life economic issues are only the beginning of Charlotte’s problems.  A strange neighbor lady is a follower of old world ways, superstitions and magic, and Rosie attempts to fix things by dabbling into this world.  Charlotte, a non-believer, weighs her options and soon a helper appears with an impractical solution to her problems.  Charlotte makes a bargain with this man and Shearing is safe for a time, but as more problems hit the town and the stakes are raised, Charlotte is left to make further bargains, including a deal she’s not even aware she made that results in the man walking away with someone dear to her. Charlotte is steadfast and stubborn, relying only upon her own intuition she turns away from everyone near her, including sister Rosie and her new husband.

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The X-Files boxed set Blu-ray

It’s the sci-fi classic series that defined conspiracies and paranormal mystery storytelling for a generation–The X-Files.  It is not only back in 2016 for a six-episode TV “event” on Fox and available in continuing stories via IDW Publishing’s monthly comic book series.  For the first time, all nine groundbreaking seasons will be available on Blu-ray.  Go back again to the beginning, the dueling philosophies of FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they search for the truth behind alien encounters and the secrets around us, and take on that great monster of the week every other episode.

The nine seasons will be released in a boxed set as well as individually and will include several bonus features–23 hours of extras, including documentaries, and commentary by creator Chris Carter and the production team as well as special effects sequences and deleted scenes.  The boxed set includes space for the upcoming six-episode season.

The X-Files single season release Blu-rays

Pre-ordering for the boxed set will be available soon on Amazon.com here.

Fans of The X-Files will also want to see these latest trailers from the new season:

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Kauffman Stadium 14 innings Tuesday October 28 2015 World Series Game 1

As predicted by Bob Gale in his script for Back to the Future II, it was the destiny of the Chicago Cubs to be playing–in fact sweeping–this year’s World Series.  At least in the current alternate timeline we’re all living in, that just didn’t happen.  If the Cubs hadn’t lost to the New York Mets they would have played Game 1 tonight at the home field of the American League champs instead of Wrigley Field because the American League won this year’s All Star Game.  That meant Game 1 was played in Kauffman Stadium, and had the Cubs made it to the Series they would have faced off against the Royals last night in Kansas City.

In that game we got to see the second longest game in World Series history–14 innings, ultimately with the Royals taking the win, 5-4.  The bright lights at the stadium in the wee hours of this Wednesday morning seemed to actually burn into the wet night’s sky.  Fourteen innings and more than five hours of exciting gameplay.  You can’t have a better World Series game than that–well, unless you’re a Cubs fan.

Bunce World Series 2015 dugout

We did our part, yours truly and borg.com writer Elizabeth C. Bunce were bound and determined to see the Royals face off against the Cubs, because we’re sci-fi (and Royals) fans, and thanks to our friend Mike we watched Game 1 from dugout seats last night.  Watching Lorenzo Cain steal second base when you’re sitting at first base… just can’t be beat. (And, hey, that stolen base means Taco Bell must give away free A.M. Crunchwraps on November 5, 2015, because they sort of lost a marketing bet in their Steal a Base, Steal a Breakfast campaign–see here for details).

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Freeman Watson

Almost if to prove that they can do the original Sherlock Holmes better than Guy Ritchie’s 19th century film adaptations, showrunners Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are promoting the next episode of their Sherlock.  This time stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return to the story’s roots instead of modern England, yet the latest trailer hints that they still live in a world well aware of Holmes’s crime-fighting fame.

“You’re Sherlock Holmes,” says Dr. Watson as he thrusts the famous deerstalker hat into Holmes’s hands, “wear the damned hat.”

The 19th century streets, the buildings, the entire environments are impeccable.  Would we rather have a Sherlock movie or a television series so long as either stars Cumberbatch and Freeman?  We may all answer “series” if only they could crank out more than three episodes every year or so.  But we’ll happily wait as we did for the equally good A&E Channel Horatio Hornblower episodes starring Ioan Gruffudd (Forever, Fantastic Four), Denis Lawson (Star Wars: A New Hope, Marchlands), Paul McGann (Doctor Who), David Warner (Tron, Star Trek, Twin Peaks, Time After Time), and Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) that arrived piecemeal in a series of eight TV movies between 1998 and 2003.

retro Sherlock

So check out the latest from Sherlock here:

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Sphere car

Review by C.J. Bunce

In simplest terms, Jurassic World is simple entertainment on a big scale–a feast for the eyes.  But for all its incredible special effects and fantastic futuristic technology, Jurassic World proves the maxim George Lucas laid out in reference to the success behind the original Star Wars–“Special effects are a tool, a means of telling a story… A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.”  And that sums up Jurassic World, as a film and a 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital release–the umpmillionth variation on the Frankenstein how-not-to-build-a-monster story, and the latest twist on Michael Crichton’s original look at a theme park gone bad in his movie Westworld.

Touted in its marketing as the #1 movie of the year, and proven out at the box office, in many way Jurassic World is a remake and certainly an homage to the original Jurassic Park.  More than twenty years after the devastation caused in Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully realized, fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond.  You’ll experience deja vu several times as these new characters, and one from the original, fail to learn the lessons of history.  Didn’t the production team watch The Lost World (Jurassic Park II) and Jurassic Park III?  The new theme park is built over the old park where so much went wrong and so many died, including leaving the original park all derelict and intact as it was in the last scene of the original movie, including leaving old Jurassic Park jeeps around for a modern, distracted teenager to magically restore to driving condition in a single scene.  Dinosaur battle shots mirror those from the original, including the finale, although despite new technology the dinosaurs don’t seem as “real” here.  Jurassic World seems to repeatedly search for a scene to match that “objects in mirror are closer than they appear” scene in the original.  Michael Giacchino’s score misses the wonder and excitement of John Williams’s original themes.  Although the effort is there, no single scene in Jurassic World captures the startling jumps and wows of Jurassic Park.

JW blu-ray 3d

With four script/story writers for Jurassic World, it’s obvious why the story failed to deliver.  Although we note above that George Lucas knows storytelling, he is also now famous for the stilted dialogue of his Star Wars prequels.  The story team in Jurassic World offers up similarly strange words from the mouths of its actors–things no one would possibly say.  And we can’t believe these dinosaur monsters are scary when the cast bounces back from each near-death experience so quickly.  Even the worst of the characters, the youngest boy (who is a walking disaster) seems barely affected by the death going on around him for half the film.

The real conflicts within the script can be found in the strange parallels and inconsistencies.  For one, director Colin Trevorrow has been quoted as saying his inspiration for the film was an image of a little girl texting in front of a T-Rex behind her.  The corporate bad guy theme that underlies the plot is that no one cares about dinosaurs anymore, they are old news, and audiences needs something bigger and better.  You can just see Trevorrow and executive producer Steven Spielberg laughing all the way to the bank over the irony here.  The message, as delivered in the climax, is “bigger isn’t always better” and that often the original, the classic, offers up the best experience.  Yet Jurassic World hammers into us the over-sized fantasies of Godzilla and King Kong instead of the science-fictional world that made a success of Jurassic Park.

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crimson peak tom hiddleston

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Think you know what to expect from veteran horror and genre director Guillermo del Toro?  Gangly, pallid, slimy creatures such as we saw in Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, right?  Cryptic underworlds, bewildering dreamscapes, and collossal, ocean-stomping robot avatars?!

Think again!  In his latest effort to scare and transport his audiences, Crimson Peak, del Toro has conjured up a true Gothic world of Victorian elegance, tender romance, and Sherlockian sleuthing…  With some slimy creatures.  Which are also, strange as it may sound, beautifully executed.

No doubt about it, del Toro is a visionary.  Despite some clear aesthetic leanings, his film repertoire is surprisingly diverse, from 1997’s Mimic to 2013’s Pacific Rim.  His films are always rich in detail and visually stunning.  And this time he just happened to hit all the right notes for this particular viewer.

Allerdale Hall

Crimson Peak is the tale of young American heiress and authoress Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland), deeply skeptical of the British aristocracy… until she’s won over by the ambitious, earnest baronet Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston, Thor, Avengers, The Hollow Crown), who is trying to secure financing for a risky mining venture to extract red clay from beneath his crumbling family mansion.  Though Edith’s father nurses doubts about the man and his motives, his own untimely death frees up both the young woman—and her fortune.  Swept off her feet, she is whisked off to Cumberland, England and the less-than-enchanting family home, the gorgeously decrepit Allerdale Hall.

She must share her new life with her sister-in-law Lucille (Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty), in the archetypal role of unwelcoming Gothic housekeeper.  She knows all the family secrets, and keeps them from her young, impressionable sister-in-law.  It’s a powerhouse performance, captivating and creepy, and Chastain inhabits the role perfectly. Continue reading

Jessica Jones Krysten Ritter

Netflix just released the first full-length trailer for its new series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, based on one of the more obscure Marvel Comics characters–and it looks pretty grim.  Veronica Mars’s Krysten Ritter has the title role, and so far this looks like a knock-off except this heroine detective has superpowers.  Several other genre actors in supporting cast roles co-star in the series, including Doctor Who’s David Tennant (Kilgrave), The Matrix’s Carrie-Anne Moss (Harper), Men in Black 3’s Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Transformers’ Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker), and True Detective’s Erin Moriarty (Hope).

The Netflix original series is the second of four Marvel series, Marvel’s Daredevil launched earlier this year, plus Marvel’s Luke Cage and Marvel’s Iron Fist are on the way, leading up to Marvel’s The Defenders, all to be released only on Netflix.  Behind Marvel’s Jessica Jones are creators of the Twilight movies, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Elementary.

David Tennant in Jessica Jones

Here is the first full-length trailer for Marvel’s Jessica Jones, showing that despite the teaser released earlier, there’s apparently not a lot of humor in the series:

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Jaws19

Plenty of videos have arrived at YouTube for Back to the Future Week, including many on Back to the Future Day itself.  If you missed any, here is your chance to catch up.

First up, here is a Toyota Mirai commercial featuring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd:

Marty McFly and Doc Brown return to 2015 courtesy of The Jimmy Kimmel Show:

Universal Pictures produced a fun trailer for Jaws 19:

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BBTF auction cover

Entertainment memorabilia store and auction house ScreenUsed will be holding a Back to the Future auction this Saturday, October 24, 2015, in Los Angeles, with more than 125 original screen-used and production made props and wardrobe memorabilia, including an original hoverboard from Back to the Future II.  It’s all part of the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future and Back to the Future Week.

In addition to the hoverboard, the auction includes mock newspapers from the movies, “Save the Clock Tower” brochures, a car driven by Biff Tannen in Back to the Future II, a copy of the infamous Gray’s Sports Almanac, one of Mary Steenburgen’s 19th century dresses from Back to the Future III, and other items from the production set.

BTTF 2 Sports Almanac

A portion of the auction proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

View the Screenused auction catalog here in your browser or download the Screenused auction catalog here in PDF format.

Hoverboard

Click here to register for the Screenused auction on iCollector and bid now!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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