Archive for June, 2021


Monsters at Work a

Today we have two new trailers for the younger set.  One is based on a beloved story book from the 1960s, the other a spin-off of a modern animated classic from 20 years ago.

Clifford the Big Red Dog was written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell about a puppy that always appeared larger than life, colored bright red.  Kids ever since have added this to their Scholastic book orders, and there may be a reason for that: it was the success of the book that practically made Scholastic a big publishing house, and Clifford has long been its company mascot.  Now it’s heading to theaters in a live-action version (with lots of CGI visual effects) starring young actress Darby Camp (Benji, The Christmas Chronicles) with John Cleese playing a character named Bridwell in homage to the author.  It’s silly, it’s cute, it’s targeted at the right audience.

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG

The characters made famous by Billy Crystal and John Goodman in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University are back, bringing some new funny monsters into the story and new circumstances.  This time it’s in the form of a TV series called Monsters At Work on Disney+, including familiar voices like Henry Winkler and Mindy Kaling.

Enjoy these trailers:

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Bait Money old  Bait Money orig

Review by C.J. Bunce

The Sting and The Color of Money collide in a new edition of Max Allan Collins’ 1973 pulp novel, Bait Money Hard Case Crime goes back to where it all started for the Collins’ Lee Van Cleef lookalike known only as Nolan in this first novel in his series.  Nolan appeared to readers first as a 48-year-old hardened thief ready to retire a year after being shot at the direction of a man whose brother Nolan killed.  Compare Skim Deep, written 50 years later (reviewed in January here at borg) to Bait Money and you’ll see Collins didn’t lose track of his character any over the decades–Nolan is a character for the ages and these novels feel like they could have been written a year apart.  Bait Money is one of two novels in a new edition of Hard Case Crime’s classic reprint of the first two Nolan novels called Two for the Money, now available here at Amazon.

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STL192026  Red Sonja 2 BWR A Parrillo

Review by C.J. Bunce

After Sonjaversal and The Invincible Red Sonja and the announcement of Hannah John-Kamen (Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Tomb Raider) cast as the next live-action movie Sonja, the big year of Red Sonja continues.  With her 50th anniversary arriving in 2023, now we have a new anthology series from Dynamite Entertainment beginning next week.  Red Sonja: Black White Red combines three pairs of well-known writers and artists with a final book published in classic black and white with a touch of red–sometimes for Sonja’s flaming red hair, and just as often for the blood of her enemies.

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Monster Hunter Jovo

Review by C.J. Bunce

Possibly the biggest surprise of Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest action spectacle Monster Hunter is that Milla Jovovich isn’t the title character. That role goes to Furious 7’s Tony Jaa, a Mandalorian-meets-Bone Tomahawk or Predators brand of survivor and monster hunter, who Jovovich and a band of soldiers in our time meet after they get sucked into a portal to a very different place.  The plot of this latest adaptation of a video game series is like Planet of the Apes, with a team falling into a world of beasts that are a cross of Jurassic Park and Starship Troopers.  It has a Ray Harryhausen look, which is good for those who like vintage monster nostalgia, but perhaps not so good for those after impeccable, cutting-edge visual effects.  In the opening scenes we meet Jovovich as Captain Artemis, a believable unit commander leading soldiers in Humvees looking for a missing squad.  For the most part this is a showcase of the Resident Evil heroine in action mode with bits of goofy humor, with Jaa’s Hunter showing off his stealth survival.  But really it’s about framing the star actress in increasingly cooler action shots.  Monster Hunter is now streaming on Starz, Hulu, and other platforms, and you might want to check it out.

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1098-Halloween-Kills-Official-Traile

Originally scheduled for an October 2020 release, this next installment in John Carpenter and Debra Hill’s original blockbuster horror franchise is the direct sequel to 2018’s Halloween, a pretty good third (or fourth or fifth) effort to reboot the series and the highest grossing movie (but not the grossest) in the franchise, which we reviewed here at borg.  The delay for Halloween Kills necessitates the delay to October 2022 for the 13th and “final” film in the series, Halloween Ends.  The odds that will really be the last Halloween?  Probably something like 3,720 to one, but this next film seems like it’s likely Jamie Lee Curtis’s last turn as Laurie Strode.  Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Nancy Stephens, Charles Cyphers, and Nick Castle as Michael Myers are back, joined by grown-up Kyle Richards, plus Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Longstreet.

It’s been a year since we saw the teaser for this movie here at borg.  The new trailer telegraphs an even gorier slasher flick than the last.  If you dare–here is a look at Halloween Kills:

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Shang Chi pics

We got our first peek at Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings here at borg this past April.  The new, full-length trailer reveals a plot that has the feel of Wu Assassins, and only a few days since the Snake Eyes trailers, with Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters and on video, and a new Kung Fu series airing on TV, audiences are getting new opportunities to watch AAPI actors shine.  While you’re in the vibe, don’t miss the live-action Mulan, the historical horror zombie series Kingdom, the action movie The Night Comes for Us, the fantasy wuxia series Legend of the Condor Heroes, the animated movie Over the Moon, the supernatural graphic novel Ghost Tree and Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, the overview of martial arts in the movies in Iron Fists and King Fu Kicks, and the Bruce Lee documentary Be Water Long-time comics readers will know Shang-Chi as the Master of Kung Fu from the pages of 1970s Marvel Comics by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.  Originally the son of Fu Manchu, the character was an attempt by Marvel to create a monthly like the Kung Fu TV series after they failed in their bid to get the adaptation rights.

Check out the new trailer below for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

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Bay one

Review by C.J. Bunce

You’ve probably seen the ads on your streaming platform and social media.  We had too, so when Britbox announced a second season of The Bay we decided to give it a try.  It’s a British police procedural, with a twist.  Star Morven Christie (Death in Paradise, Doctor Who) plays detective Lisa Armstrong, a family liaison officer (“FLO”) with the Morcambe police.  Morcambe is the eponymous Bay, a seaside town on England’s northwest coast, nearish to Manchester (setting of several great British crime dramas, like Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, and Cracker), and while the show’s cinematography makes great use of picturesque vistas of the local scenery and landmarks, including some spectacular sunsets, the city doesn’t really feel like a character here.  Instead, the focus of the series is families: DI Armstrong’s, and those affected by crime.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Just when you thought Nicola Walker′s (Collateral, Law & Order: UK, Luther) compassionate cop Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart is fed up with humanity–with the criminals that have gotten away with murder literally for decades and the antics of her family at home–they keep pulling her back in, with two more seasons in the works, and the fourth season hopefully arriving in the U.S. this year.  We reviewed the first season of the BBC’s Unforgotten here at borg just last month, and we’re happy to report the series only improves in the next two seasons.  The first three seasons are on BritBox via Amazon Prime, and if you want your fill of red herrings and surprise villains in your modern British crime drama, look no further.  With its fifth season currently in production, PBS is also now streaming the first three seasons as part of its Passport membership, a chance for U.S. viewers to get caught up on the show before the new episodes arrive.

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Snake eyes crew

With a release date only a month away, Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe Origins offers up two new trailers this week, a U.S preview focusing on Storm Shadow and a more action-packed look at the plot in an international trailer.  Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe: Origins stars Henry Golding (The Gentlemen) as Snake Eyes, Andrew Koji (Fast & Furious 6) as Storm Shadow, Samara Weaving (Ready Or Not) as Scarlett, Úrsula Corberó (The Broken Crown) as Baroness, and Iko Uwais (Wu Assassins) as Hard Master.  Paramount released the official movie poster plus first looks at Snake Eyes, Baroness, Scarlett, and more just last month (check that out here).  Now you can take a look at all the key characters in action, and behind the scenes look with original comic book writer of G.I. Joe, Larry Hama:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s unlikely anyone in 1976 could have foreseen the direction the adaptation of Mary Rodgers’ novel Freaky Friday could take in the 2020s.  One of those Walt Disney studio classics before the company issued special re-release limited VHS tapes and merchandised every film to its hilt to become a corporate behemoth, the film starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris as mom and daughter swapping bodies and needing to live life literally in the skin of the other.  Swap in part-time wacky comedic actor (Wedding Crashers), part-time horror actor (Psycho) Vince Vaughn as a creepy 50-year-old serial killer, and a high schooler named Millie played by young actress Kathryn Newton (Supernatural, Paranormal Activity 4) and you get Freaky, Blumhouse’s latest horror film, now streaming on Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and other services. Continue reading