Archive for October, 2020


Review by C.J. Bunce

One of the oldest sayings of actors is never take a role with an animal or a child, because you’ll always get upstaged.  That’s where the Disney+ series is currently stuck–they created a character in The Child (aka Baby Yoda) that we’d all probably rather see more than Pedro Pascal’s title character.  Yes, The Mandalorian is back this weekend with the first episode of Season Two, more than welcome fun in the year of COVID-19 and real-life, high-stakes politics.  The series is full of Easter eggs and good throwbacks to the original trilogy, the prequels, bits and pieces of the entire franchise.  But the plot for the season opener is a retread of themes and scenes from last year, light on our favorite young green-eared friend.

Continue reading

Happy Halloween!  Unfortunately it didn’t make it in time for Halloween, but the dark and fun Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is scheduled to arrive this year, sneaking in with an entire eight episodes for the fourth and final season December 31.  Over the course of the final eight episodes, The Eldritch Terrors will descend upon Greendale.  The coven must fight each terrifying threat one-by-one (The Weird, The Returned, The Darkness, etc.), all leading up to…The Void, which is the End of All Things.  As the witches wage war, with the help of The Fright Club, Nick begins to slowly earn his way back into Sabrina’s heart.  Will it be too late?

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Thirty years after Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home forever put a stake in the ground that whaling is a bad thing, you wouldn’t think a true-life whaling story would fare well, especially in movie theaters.  And you’d be right–director Ron Howard′s In the Heart of the Sea unfortunately lost more money than it cost to make.  And yet Howard’s deft direction combines some of genredom’s top stars with a solid script in a worthy interpretation of Herman Melville’s inspiration for Moby Dick apt to provide any audience with something to cheer about.  Far and Away meets Apollo 13, sea disaster and cannibalism in this 2015 release, a prime survival story now streaming on multiple platforms.

Continue reading

A Curse Dark as Gold cover Elizabeth C Bunce

Halloween arrives this weekend and if you’re still looking for a ghost story to get you into the mood of the season, check out borg writer Elizabeth C. Bunce’s novel A Curse Dark as Gold, available in hardcover, paperback, and E-book editions from Amazon and other booksellers, first reviewed here back in 2011.  The audio book as read by British actress Charlotte Parry, known for her roles in Tony Award winning Broadway plays and TV work, is a great way to immerse yourself in this ghost story.

A Curse Dark as Gold is set in the Gold Valley in that far away land where fairy tales reside.  Charlotte Miller is a girl in her late teens whose father dies and leaves her the town of Shearing’s woolen mill, which serves as workplace for most of her community, along with the care of Charlotte’s younger sister Rosie.  Unwanted responsibilities fall into the lap of this young woman from page one.  From a framework standpoint A Curse Dark as Gold at first 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 permeate the corners of the town.  A mysterious uncle arrives and begins to interject himself into the girls’ lives, pecking away at their sanity.  As if sick itself, the mill begins to respond to the death of Charlotte’s father, with boards crashing down, textile machines failing, and the fabric of Shearing seeming to unravel.

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

The story is set at the dawn of an Industrial Revolution.  Water wheels are about to be replaced with steam power and the smoke-filled cities that come along with that new technology.  Charlotte has inherited her father’s acumen as a savvy businessperson, yet 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 its workers.  The 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 tries to help.  Charlotte is steadfast and stubborn, relying only upon her own intuition as she turns away from everyone near her, including sister Rosie and her new husband.

Continue reading

The Star Wars vintage Kenner action figures changed toys and franchising forever.  Sales of this line were so successful that it’s no surprise the fan nostalgia for these 3.75-inch figures in new packages is still as great as ever, 43 years after their first appearance in a pre-order campaign for Christmas 1977.  Disney knows what its fans want, and so they have assembled two takes on a new round of action figures for the Disney+ series The Mandalorian–one with modern molds and articulation in vintage packaging, and the other with retro, classic Kenner style molds and articulation, housed in classic, mock-distressed packaging–plus original-style vinyl capes!  IG-11, Moff Gideon, Cara Dune, Greef Karga, Kuiil, “Baby Yoda,” and Din Djarin, the man behind the mask.  You can pre-order them now at Entertainment Earth and Amazon.  Check them out:

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Delayed a bit due to the pandemic, a Star Wars tie-in comic book series proved this summer to be the best so far since Marvel Comics pulled the comics license back from Dark Horse.   Star Wars: Bounty Hunters completed its first story arc and will be coming next month to comic shops in a collected edition, available via pre-order now here at Amazon.  Compiling the first five issues of a new series in the vein of The Mandalorian, it establishes itself with a new anti-hero from the past and familiar faces fans of the original trilogy love.  It all begins by asking why all those bounty hunters appeared together on Darth Vader’s ship Executor in that brief scene in The Empire Strikes Back.

Continue reading

Arriving for the 35th anniversary of the musical, a new graphic novel will adapt Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running The Phantom of the Opera Viewed by nearly 150 million people in 41 countries and 183 cities and translated into 17 languages, the musical ran 30 years in Europe and the U.S.  Written by Cavan Scott (Star Wars Adventures, Doctor Who) with artwork by José María Beroy, the comic adaptation was delayed this year, but looks to be back on track to arrive in bookstores.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

A year after he directed an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, Alfred Hitchcock would direct his adaptation of an even more memorable du Maurier novel, Rebecca.  His 1940 film would be the only Hitchcock film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.  Rebecca, a remake, premieres this week on Netflix.  For its fall releases the popular streaming studio nicely split up the male leads of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., putting Henry Cavill in Enola Holmes and Armie Hammer in Rebecca, even using the same mansion for both films.  For Rebecca, Netflix plucked ex-cast members from Mr. Selfridge and some other genre favorites of British TV.  So how does the new Rebecca compare to Hitchcock’s masterpiece?

Continue reading

It’s been an entire year since we last saw a new publication from TKO Studios, the company that brought the Netflix trademark binge to comic books.  Though not as striking and punch-packed as Round 1 from the publisher early last year, the second round of titles had promise.  At last Round 3 is on its way, and pre-orders are now available.  So what does the next incarnation of TKO hold?  First, none of the original series will see their sequels just yet.  But you will have the option to check out three new mini-series, and two new concepts: an illustrated prose horror book and three TKO “shorts.”  Check out previews for all below.

Continue reading

Notable in part for being the first animated movie out of Disney without the work of creator John Lasseter in 15 years, the next major animated movie from Disney features the voices of two well-known genre stars, and it looks a bit on theme with Disney’s last live-action movie, Mulan.  Raya and the Last Dragon is all computer-animated, and it features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) as Raya, a warrior heroine who is seeking the Last Dragon, named Sisu, voiced by comedy actor Awkwafina (Jumanji: The Next Level), all in a classic fantasy The Hobbit or The Last Unicorn-homage tale.

Continue reading