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Archive for November, 2017


Review by C.J. Bunce

The best way to watch Get Out is to know nothing about the film’s conflict.  It’s enough to know that it follows an African-American man named Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) whose Anglo girlfriend of five months named Rosie (played by Allison Williams) takes him home to a secluded, forested town to experience the time-honored ritual of “meeting the parents.”  Chris’s best pal back home, Rodney (played by LilRel Howery), who works for the TSA and is watching his dog and his apartment, warns him not to go just like any friend who is looking out for his buddy.  What follows is your typical, awkward first meeting of the parents, which corresponds with an annual town party where Chris gets to meet all the locals.

But is this really a typical encounter?

One by one, elements of the town don’t seem quite right.  Is Chris just being paranoid?  As with Midnight Special, we’ll hold back on the rest of the details, even the true genre, although you can expect something of the dark drama or horror-thriller realm from the title and posters alone.  This one is excellently creepy.

Peele dances with issues of race and culture peppered throughout the story in a very real, imaginative, and thought-provoking way.  Fans of the more unusual horror films of 1970s will love this film–you might think you’re seeing bits and pieces of movies evoking anything from The Stepford Wives to Skeleton Key to Wicker Man to The Watcher in the Woods to Coma and Fallen.  Or you might see it as all-out horror, but without all the typical genre gore and violence.  Ultimately director Peele will give you only what you need to know, when you need to know it.  Best of all, Peele has that skill that so many filmmakers mess up:  He knows how to end a story with a satisfying conclusion.

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First revealed at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, finally, four months later Marvel Studios has released the full trailer only a few thousand fans had been permitted to see.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe–The Avengers, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy–comes together in one film: Avengers: Infinity War.

Check out the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War:

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Keanu Reeves’s John Wick has revved up fans of action movies in both John Wick and the sequel John Wick: Chapter 2.  Dynamite Comics is taking fans of the movie series back to the origins of the character in a new comic book series arriving at comic book stores today.  John Wick: Book of Rules, Part One, is created by writer Greg Pak (Planet Hulk) and artist Giovanni Valletta (Dark Horse Presents).  

When a young John Wick emerges from prison and embarks upon his first, epic vendetta, he comes up against a strange, powerful community of assassins and must learn how to master the Book of Rules that guides their lethal business. What are the Three Bills?  Who is Calamity?  And who was John Wick before he became the Baba Yaga?

Issue #1 delves right in, offering a look at Wick in two pasts, with tight writing by Greg Pak.  Valleta provides some cinematic fun via his excellent choreographed action sequences.  Fans of the films will love the attention Pak and Valleta give to the character and the opening scenes of this new monthly.  Look for cover variants by artists Giovanni Valletta, John Cassaday, Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz, as well as a photo cover.

 

Check out this preview of Issue #1 of John Wick: Book of Rules, Part One, courtesy of Dynamite Comics:

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A Star Trek Discovery comic book series is coming your way tomorrow from IDW Publishing.  A lead-in prequel to the events of this year’s new television show, this four-part limited series delves into the warrior culture of the Klingons, and hones in on T’Kuvma, the Klingon leader played by actor Chris Obi, who stands apart from the other members of the Klingon Empire.

The series is written by TV series episode writer Kirsten Beyer and IDW Kelvin timeline story writer Mike Johnson.  Artwork is supplied by fan favorite cover and interior artist Tony Shasteen, well known for his work on several Star Trek series.  All three are recent veterans of the popular Star Trek: Boldly Go monthly.

The Star Trek Discovery universe begins in comic form with “The Light of Kahless,” a story that will ring familiar for fans of Klingon-centric episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation like “Redemption,” “Birthright,” “Rightful Heir,” and “Firstborn.”  Tony Shasteen’s artwork and the color work by J.D. Mettler provide a striking recreation of the newly updated Klingons from the television series, with clear cultural callbacks to the Klingons of past series.  So expect to see some bat’leths and d’k tahgs along the way.

Sneak preview of future artwork from the series.

Check out this preview of Issue #1 of Star Trek Discovery, “The Light of Kahless,” courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In her debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma was an enigma, the latest of the uniquely costumed bad guys in the Star Wars universe, following in a line that progressed from Darth Maul to General Grievous, Count Dooku, and Darth Vader in the prequels, and later into Director Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, and Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels.  In Delilah S. Dawson’s new novel, Star Wars: Phasma, Phasma finally gets the spotlight.  Readers learn about her backstory through an interrogation of a Resistance spy working for General Leia Organa, by yet another aspiring Imperial/First Order warrior, Captain Cardinal.

The spy, Vi Moradi, is pressed to provide Cardinal with damning information to help him bring down Phasma with the current leader, General Armitage Hux, son of General Brendol Hux, the leader who ushered both Cardinal and Phasma from their primitive worlds to train the future warriors of the First Order.  Dawson tells this story as a play on A Thousand and One Nights, where the reader is compelled to wonder whether the information is true or that the end will be of the Keyser Söze variety.  Moradi reveals a story of Phasma’s rise to power among a tribe on the planet Parnassos, and her discovery by Brendol Hux when his ship crashes on the planet and his emergency escape pod leaves him and his Stormtroopers far from the wreckage and any chance to communicate back to the First Order for assistance.

Phasma’s story will be most familiar to readers of the Star Wars universe novel Thrawn (reviewed here earlier at borg.com).  Both Phasma and Thrawn literally battled their way to the top.  Those familiar with the third trilogy novels will find an interesting parallel in the selection of the stories released leading up to the new canon films, including Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel centered on the feud between Krennic, Tarkin, and Galen Erso, and Tarkin, introducing readers to Tarkin’s confrontations with Darth Vader.  Star Wars: Phasma has much in common with the Star Wars Rebels prequel novel A New Dawn, and indeed Vi Moradi would fit in well with the crew of the Ghost.  Dawson pits Cardinal against Phasma like the Emperor pitted Anakin Skywalker against Grievous and Dooku, continuing some consistency from earlier Star Wars stories.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s just what fans of DC Comics have been begging for.  Finally, a Batman portrayal worthy of Adam West and Michael Keaton.  The complete membership of the classic Justice League as fun as we all remember them from the comic books.  Homages to famous artists adapted to the big screen from the best of DC Comics, like cover artist Jock, plus throwbacks to the campy series of the 1960s.  And more homages to the musical scores from the best of the DC Comics cinematic adaptations of the past, including callbacks to Danny Elfman’s score to the 1989 Batman movie and John Williams’ Superman theme.

What was your favorite DC Comics adaptation before 2017?  How far back do you go?  Most superhero movie fans seem to agree upon the original Superman starring Christopher Reeve as the modern rebirth of the superhero film, and count Reeve among the best embodiments of a superhero on film.  But after Reeve, fans begin to disagree as movies based on DC Comics are concerned, and usually turn to the CW Network television series for the next best DC iterations of comic book adaptations.

So when all of it finally comes together, it finally comes together in 2017, after the likes of misfires including Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, we finally have an exciting and worthy DC Comics outing that is fun for the entire family, and best of all, it is all heart.

And as a bonus, it features villains worthy of a movie from the DCU.  Sure, you might expect a pantheon of villains like The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, Scarecrow, Bane, Clayface, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat, Captain Boomerang, Crazy Quilt, Eraser, Polka Dot Man, Mime, Tarantula, King Tut, Orca, Dr. Phosphorus, Killer Moth, Magpie, March Hare, Frank Miller’s Mutant Leader, Dr. Hugo Strange, Zodiac Master, Gentleman Ghost, Clock King, Red Hood, The Kabuki Twins, Calendar Man, Kite Man, Catman, Calculator, Zebra-Man, and Condiment King.  But all in one movie?  And battling some of fiction’s other greatest supervillains, like Dracula and the other Universal Monsters, The Daleks, Lord Voldemort, Jaws, King Kong, Gremlins, velociraptors, the Wicked Witch of the West, Agent Smith from The Matrix, and Sauron?  Wait–was Darth Vader tied up in some other project?

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Even after 121 episodes, from 2006 to 2015, Psych fans couldn’t get enough.  Earlier this year USA Network announced a reunion show and the long wait is almost over.  Psych: The Movie is less than two weeks away.  James Roday is back as Shawn Spencer with his sidekick of many names, Dulé Hill, as Burton “Sillypants Jackson” Guster.  Corbin Bernsen, Kirsten Nelson, Maggie Lawson, and Kurt Fuller are also expected back, and somehow Jimmi Simpson will return as Mary.  Look for Zachary Levi as a villain, and Jazmyn Simon, Ralph Macchio, and Charlotte Flair are also set to appear in the special. Psych creator Steve Franks co-wrote the movie with James Roday and will direct.  Series co-star Tim Omundson, who played Lassiter, suffered a stroke and so it looks like he will only have one scene in the show.  But if all goes well, there may be more made-for-TV movies down the road.

But while you’re waiting for the movie, why not check out the book?  What?  You didn’t know there was a book?  Many of the most diehard “Psych-os” (what the fans call themselves) may not realize Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster have their own 290 page guide for wannabe Private Eyes.  It’s the aptly named Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified, by Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster (and Chad Gervich*), and it’s just the thing for fans to refresh their memories of some of the best comic banter ever dressed up as a detective show.  Shawn tries very hard to write a professional book, and well, fails at that, but not after much encouragement from Juliet “Jules” O’Hara and corrections and opposition from Guster.

Fans will appreciate that the book is, of course, dedicated to actor Billy Zane, and it features a foreword by Tears for Fears frontman Curt Smith.  Look for hundreds of callbacks to the series, and an entire volume of Shawn re-interpreting things he may or may not have overheard at the police station and during his many cases closed successfully for the Santa Barbara Police Department.  Plus some advice from Henry Spencer (SBPD ret.) and Detective Carlton Lassiter.  There’s even a twice-baked potato recipe from Mr. Yang.

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Dynamite Comics announced a return this winter of the world introduced by Bill Willingham in his 2013 steampunk series Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure.  Legenderry: Red Sonja will follow his otherworldly twist on the character where we last saw her, living the pirate’s life on her ship The Nautilus.  Marc Andreyko has been tapped to write the series.  The Eisner and Harvey Award winner has worked on series including Manhunter, Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77, and Wolverine vs Deadpool.  Igor Lima (Green Lantern Corps) will serve as artist on the series.

Legenderry is the steampunk–or more accurately “steam noir”–series featuring the ultimate mash-up: Red Sonja joined with Six Thousand Dollar Man Steve Austin, Zorro, Vampirella, the Green Hornet and Kato, Captain Victory, Silver Star, and the Phantom, all to face off in a final showdown with Ming the Merciless, Queen Flor Zora, Kulan Gath, Lydia Valcallan, General Tara, and Doctor Moreau.  It’s every bit as fun as it sounds, and could only happen at Dynamite Comics, which carries the licenses to so many classic titles.

The best character development in the series was that of Red Sonja, who initially had spells cast on her leaving her to think she was actually the mild and citified Magna Spadarossa, Sonja’s sister.  By the end of the original series her primitive side broke through and she became the savage we’re all familiar with, with a steam noir edge.  Designer Johnny Desjardins and artist Sergio Fernandez Davila created a visually stunning setting, and Willingham’s fun take on the characters made Legenderry one of the best steampunk stories to enter the comic book medium.

Here is some preview art for the new Legenderry: Red Sonja series, courtesy of Dynamite:

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WKRP Nessman reporting Thanksgiving stunt

Pull the 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.

Yes, it is time again for your annual viewing of one of the two best Thanksgiving episodes that ever graced the small screen.  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 (note: no actual turkeys were harmed in the making of the show):

But be prepared for next year, which will be the fortieth anniversary of the airing of this episode!

And in between your seconds and thirds on tofurkey, 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

Back in September here at borg.com we predicted the November Bonhams auction of Robby the Robot and his “space chariot” from the 1956 science fiction classic Forbidden Planet would hit the $1 million mark and we even entertained the possibility of a $10 million sale.  Yesterday the hammer fell at $4.5 million at Bonham’s “Out of this World” auction of entertainment memorabilia and with the addition of a buyer’s premium resulting in a final sale price of $5,375,000, Robby and his car became the highest movie prop lot ever to sell at public auction.  Technically a costume that doubled as a prop, Robby the Robot also became the second highest sale price for any piece of entertainment memorabilia to sell at public auction, eclipsed only by the 2011 sale by auction house Profiles in History of the iconic Marilyn Monroe subway vent dress from The Seven Year Itch, which sold for $5.52 million including buyer’s premium (yesterday Bonhams and the mainstream press, including The New York Times and CBS, mistakenly claimed Robby’s sale surpassed the Monroe dress price, but their reports neglected to factor in the buyer’s premium for the dress–a fee the auction house charges bidders based on a percentage of the hammer price, and the Monroe dress had a hammer price of $4.6 million).  The Robby the Robot costume/prop was used in dozens if not hundreds of appearances over the decades, including in key episodes of Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone.

Still, top prop honors is nothing to sneeze at.  The sale of Robby and his car nudged from the top spot the sale of the 1966 Batmobile from the 1960s television series, which sold for $4.62 million in 2013, including buyer’s premium.  The rest of the pantheon of prime public auction screen-used prop and costume sales includes one of two original James Bond Aston Martins from Goldfinger ($4.6085 million/2010), one of the falcon props from The Maltese Falcon ($4.085 million/2013), Audrey Hepburn My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany’s dresses ($3.7 million/2011 and $807,000/2006, respectively), Sam’s piano from Casablanca ($3.4 million/2014), the Cowardly Lion suit from The Wizard of Oz ($3.1 million/2014), Von Trapp kids’ costumes from The Sound of Music ($1.5 million/2013), Steve McQueen’s racing suit from LeMans ($984,000/2011), and one of four pairs of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz ($666,000/2000).

In the science fiction genre, the artifact to beat was another robot–an R2-D2 that was pieced together from several screen-used components, which sold this past June for $2.76 million, and a Back to the Future III DeLorean time machine sold for $541,000 in 2011.  Robby easily nudged these props aside yesterday.  Would the sale price have been the same without the space car?  You’ll need to track down the anonymous telephone buyer to get the answer to that question (the four final bidders all dueled it out via phone bids), although you might keep an eye out at Paul Allen’s Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, as this is the kind of high-end prop he has purchased in the past.

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