Archive for February, 2022


Review by C.J. Bunce

The 355 is the latest spy movie, a team-up of agents from different nations, starring three-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Penélope Cruz, and Bingbing Fan, winner of comparable Chinese awards.  It’s not a serious suspense thriller, and easier to compare–at least on paper–to the big-budget, all-star actress team-up of Ocean’s 8, but you may find The 355 more fun and executed better.  And although it boasts a lot of Academy Award street cred, it’s the co-star without the Oscar nods who really steals the show.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Midnight Mass is Netflix’s follow-on series to its successful horror story, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.  Continuing to employ cast and crew from that series, Midnight Mass was the brainchild and pet project of creator Mike Flanagan, who has amassed his own portfolio of horror thrillers, directing everything from Oculus to the sequel to The Shining to the Ouija Board movie.  In Abbie Bernstein’s look behind the movie, Midnight Mass: The Art of Horror, fans of horror and Flanagan’s work will encounter more than the steps to get this series from idea to your television screen.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

After a twelve-year break, the best, award-winning police procedural and crime drama is back.  For twenty seasons Law & Order delivered the best “ripped from the headlines” twists and turns, featuring the best shifting casts, long-term regulars, and returning characters.  Its split episode format with two detectives and assistant district attorneys blended the best of all the cop shows before or since with the #1 series ever created about lawyering (it helped get me through criminal procedure in law school two decades ago, and I’ve seen each of its 456 original episodes at least four times).  Well, now the best is back, with a mix of familiar faces and some promising new ones, beginning with this week’s first episode of its 21st season, a twist on the infamous Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein cases.  It’s the return of the best two assistant district attorneys in the history of the show.  And it hasn’t changed a bit–a good thing–like the series kept going after we last watched it way back in 2010.

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Donatello’s bo staff, Michelangelo’s nunchaku, Raphael’s twin sai, and Leonardo’s katanas.  If you like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even a little bit, you might not have been able to make it without shedding a tear through the team’s sad finale in last year’s hit series The Last Ronin.  But you have this new action figure to stand proud in honor of these tiny, noble warriors.  Two versions of the figure will be available here at Entertainment Earth, but that’s not all–as all four Turtles return to take on the grown-up Karate Kids in a new line of action figure tie-ins for Netflix’s Cobra Kai series.  Check out images of them all below!

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In a pre-pandemic world we all would have seen Free Guy in the theater by now and everyone would have been raving about it since August.  Now it’s arrived for a wider audience on streaming platform Disney Plus.  Is it worth your time?  Absolutely.  It’s so much better than advertised, you’re certain to be surprised at the layers of storytelling found in this mix of Ready Player One (but 50 times better) Tron: Legacy, Mr. ROBOT, The Truman Show, The LEGO Movie, Elf, Sleeping Beauty, and lots of other great shows.  Yes, it’s another video game movie, but it’s bigger.  It’s another Ryan Reynolds action movie.  But lots more fun.

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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a 2004 alternate history and sci-fi/fantasy adventure amalgamation is one of those films that is best known for its visuals in a way similar to The Rocketeer and The Iron Giant, and, like those films, it maintains a bit of a cult following.  As with Dick Tracy, The Phantom, The Shadow, and Sin City, the movie attempted to emulate the look of classic comics, and like The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, it borrowed heavily from creations of the past, especially Flash Gordon, film noir, and Captain America. 

Unfortunately, also like the movies noted above, it lacked a compelling script, which probably accounted for its lackluster showing with audiences.  For the majority of movie audiences, it remains an obscure, “nice-looking” picture that you may have tried on Netflix and probably given up on.  But for those who count themselves fans, you now have a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the movie’s visuals, Sky Captain and the Art of Tomorrow, launching today and available here at Amazon.  Take a look inside below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Guardians of the Galaxy–the game–is space fantasy action with comedy notes, available now at Amazon for PS4, PS5, XBox, and more.  A new tie-novel is a prequel to the game, and it’s not a book to be overlooked.  After more than a decade of reviewing nearly every tie-in novel produced by Marvel and DC, I’m going to say M.K. England’s Guardians of the Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory is a contender for the top spot.  You need to get a lot right when you’re crafting a tie-in for familiar characters–one wrong bit of dialogue and you’re sunk.  It’s going to be more of a challenge if the team you’re writing about is as diverse and different as the members of the crew of the spaceship Milano.  You don’t need to know anything about the game to jump right in, and readers will find the characters and their backstories are 99% consistent with the characters as seen on the big screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And fans of the comics can look forward to 300 pages of humorous banter among these beloved space adventurers.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s tough to review something you’ve been waiting for that doesn’t meet your expectations, especially a sequel to a great, original story.  Unfortunately that’s the case with Fistful of Vengeance, Netflix’s newest action movie that forms a sequel to its 2019 streaming wuxia TV series Wu Assassins, one of the Top 10 fantasy television series of the past decade.  As with Firefly, another property that went from series to movie, the movie just doesn’t capture the magic that made the series so well received.  Fistful of Vengeance isn’t horrible if you really liked the relationship of the three male leads of the series.  But in the series they were secondary to the fresh, new world of magic users it created.  And aside from international martial arts headliner Iko Uwais and his supporting actor, Mortal Kombat star Lewis Tan, the best parts of the series were left behind.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Sometimes things are exactly as you hope for.  That’s true for Murderville, a new experimental comedy-mystery series on Netflix.  Mixing the irreverent police procedural comedy of Angie Tribeca with the improvizational hijinks and fun of Whose Line is it Anyway?, Improv-a-ganza, and Thank God You’re Here, the six-episode series is all about the laughs.  In the spirit of Sam Francisco and Beverly Hills Buntz (Korben Dallas?  Yosemite Sam?  Carmen Sandiego?), Will Arnett stars as Terry Seattle, a swaggering, bumbling senior detective with the earnestness of Barney Fife and the marital issues of John Luther, but without all the real-world drama.  Guiding a new guest celebrity each episode to maneuver the story as his new partner, but without the benefit of a script, Arnett does his best to both help the guest star while also trying to get them to break character and laugh at his own off-the-cuff antics. This is neither Dragnet nor Law & Order, but it’s darned funny.

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At its annual ceremony Friday night, The Toy Foundation unveiled its 22nd annual Toy of the Year Awards.  The lion’s share of the awards in 16 categories (three of which we previewed here at borg last summer) went to LEGO, taking seven awards.  But the top prize, the Toy of the Year, went to Squishmallows from Jazwares.  Four people were also inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy; Lucille King, founder of the Playskool Institute; Jim Pressman, president of Pressman Toy Corporation; and Bob Wann of PlayMonster.  Six hundred nominations were pared down to 114 finalists by toy industry experts.  Check out the other winners below.

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