Archive for May, 2022


Chalk up another win for director Michael Bay and another Jake Gyllenhaal that doesn’t steer us wrong.  It’s the new action blockbuster Ambulance, which arrived in theaters last month, and is now streaming on Peacock.  Part revved-up first responder celebration in the vein of Backdraft, part heist in the lane of the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and part ticking clock race to the end like Unstoppable, it will keep you hanging on for two hours.  A certain artistry of its own is required to get this genre just right, and Bay’s pacing, kinetic sense, and thrilling use of camera angles should have you comparing this to your favorite race and chase movies.  It doesn’t have the humor of The Blues Brothers, the grit of The French Connection, or the sci-fi of Terminator 2, but it has a compelling two-hour chase through Los Angeles that’s worth your time.

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The Clones Wars have ended.  You can either adapt and survive, or die with the past.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch was last year’s new animated series spinning out of characters featured in 2020’s surprise seventh season of The Clone Wars.  It’s about that motley band of clone troopers gone AWOL from duty to fight the wrongs of the Emperor and his hold over them.  This past week should be a dream fulfilled for fans of The Clone Wars and Dave Filoni’s vision for the story of the prequels after the prequels, with Obi-Wan Kenobi further digging into his storytelling and characters.  At Star Wars Celebration Sunday a trailer for the second season of The Bad Batch reveals even more surprises ahead, and the return of some fan-favorite characters.

Check out the new trailer for The Bad Batch, season two:

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It’s hard to believe we saw our last episode of The Orville three full years ago in April 2019.  The wait is almost over, as the new season, titled The Orville: New Horizons, comes to Hulu beginning with its first episode June 2.  Creator/star Seth MacFarlane is bringing the show back, along with behind-the-scenes contributions from the creators of sci-fi’s past like Brannon Braga, Doug Drexler, John Eaves, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, André Bormanis, and more.  All the crew members are returning, Seth MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer, Adrianne Palicki as Commander Grayson, Penny Johnson Jerald as Doctor Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, Peter Macon as Lieutenant Commander Bortus, Halston Sage as Lieutenant Alara Kitan, J. Lee as Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr, Mark Jackson as Isaac, and Jessica Szohr as Lt. Talla Keyali.

Here’s the final trailer for The Orville: New Horizons:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Aligned with the year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, Disney+ began its latest Star Wars series this week, Obi-Wan Kenobi Or did it?  Maybe they uploaded a Young Princess Leia series and inadvertently swapped the reels?  The choices of subject matter to feature for the story are certainly interesting, as director Deborah Chow and the writing team take some surprising turns, especially with its focus not on Kenobi, but the Skywalkers again.  With two short episodes past us–of only a six-episode series–as with the original Star Wars movie and the prequels, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a secondary character.  Sure, he’s the glue that holds things together, but not the character who drives the action.  Will we ever see that story?

But two camps should love this series:  If you are a fan of the prequels and the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this is your series.  Also, if you like Disney fairy tales featuring the latest version of Ariel or Belle or Elsa this is also your series.  As a pure Disney family show it works, and it works as a continuation of The Clone Wars as a “sequel to the prequel trilogy” mixed with significant elements and characters from the Dave Filoni-verse.

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As the Obi-Wan Kenobi series arrives on Disney+, this year’s Star Wars Celebration netted some good stuff this week from Lucasfilm: a first promotional photo from the next Indiana Jones movie, a name and star for a coming Star Wars series (that’s Captain Marvel and Gattaca co-star Jude Law in an Ahsoka/The Mandalorian era series called Skeleton Crew), and two trailers.  Both have been talked about going back to early pandemic days.  Diego Luna will be joined by Genevieve O’Reilly in her third stint as Mon Mothma plus Stellan Skarsgård is an unnamed new character in the Rogue One prequel series, Andor And Warwick Davis and Joanne Whalley are back in a new Willow series.

Both the trailers deliver some great visuals that will make them difficult to wait for.  Andor is already confirmed for a second season.  Check them out below.

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Attention Space Ranger Recruits!  The next big Disney Pixar animated movie, Lightyear–a science fiction adventure reboot/origin story/prequel of sorts with Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story fame–is right around the corner, coming to theaters in June.  Sure to be one of this summer’s blockbusters, the film’s previews (see below) have shown some cutting-edge animation, and it will have a musical score by Michael Giacchino, who, in addition to creating some great scores in past years, is the current go-to guy for movies, creating music for all the big recent and forthcoming genre movies, like Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Batman, Jurassic World Dominion, and Thor: Love and Thunder.

To get kids young and old ready for the movie, toymaker Super7 is using a bundle scheme first made famous back in 1977 for Star Wars–the infamous Kenner Early Bird Certificate Kit–which was quickly designed to get revenues and a Star Wars tie-in gift in time for Christmas 1977, despite the fact the action figures weren’t ready to ship yet.  Super7 is doing a similar promotion for Lightyear.  The Early Enlistment Bundle for Lightyear is a limited edition set of ReAction Figures with special bonus items only available through its offer at Super7.com.

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Regular borg readers know about novelist Elizabeth C. Bunce′s reviews here at borg.  Last year her novel Premeditated Myrtle won the Edgar Award at the 75th annual honors (awarded by the Mystery Writers of America and named for mystery writing pioneer Edgar Allan Poe).  She was also a finalist for both the Agatha Award (honoring mystery author Agatha Christie), and Anthony Award (honoring mystery author Anthony Boucher).  As we shared previously, Elizabeth was a 2022 finalist–her second consecutive year–for the Edgar Award and the Agatha Award this time for the latest novel in her Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series, Cold-Blooded Myrtle.  This year’s finalist list has been released for the 2022 Anthony Awards, and Elizabeth has been nominated yet again, making her one of only three novelists in the history of the awards to be a finalist twice for all three honors, and the second novelist to be so honored with the mystery writing trifecta in back-to-back years.

The Anthony Award is an annual recognition for mystery authors, named to honor mystery writer and Mystery Writers of America co-founder Anthony Boucher (shown above, with cat friend).  Past novelists recognized by the Anthony Awards include J.K. Rowling, Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Stephen King, Lilian Jackson Braun, Robert B. Parker, Max Allan Collins, Jill Thompson, Louise Penny, Lawrence Block, Laura Lippman, Nancy Pickard, Sue Grafton, Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, Donald E. Westlake, Rick Riordan, Lee Child–and Elizabeth (shown above with Sophie, the inspiration for Peony the Cat in her series).

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Thor: Love and Thunder is almost here, featuring the return of Taika Waititi as director and voicing the large Thor pal Korg, plus the long-awaited scene of Chris Hemsworth′s Thor and his hammer Mjolnir passing him over for Natalie Portman′s Jane Foster to become the next Thor, as envisioned in the 1970s by Donald Glut and Rick Hoberg in the pages of What If…? and re-introduced only recently by writer Jason Aaron in the monthly Thor comics.  Now we have the second trailer, featuring glimpses at even more fun–and Christian Bale and his black-and-white-toned villainy.

Here it is, the next trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

You have two days left to get in on Free League’s Kickstarter for the new Blade Runner roleplaying game (check that out here).  It’s already achieved unprecedented success (nearly $1.5 million pledged!), and if you sign up by May 26 you can get in on a stunning supply of unlocked stretch goal extras.  If you haven’t tried a FL RPG yet, you might want to start with the FL’s officially licensed rule book to Alien: The Roleplaying Game (available here at Amazon).  For anyone who loves the Alien franchise movies and novels (reviewed here) and its Colonial Marines, anyone who wants to see Weyland-Yutani get their just desserts, or anyone just willing to jump into the realm of horror roleplay–where you don’t always make it out alive–let’s dig into this recent RPG release.

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The officially licensed roleplaying game for Blade Runner is almost here, and you have less than three days left to get in on its Kickstarter and some unlocked stretch goal extras.  Fully funded in just three minutes, the Kickstarter from RPG publisher Free League is approaching a whopping $1.5 million in pledges.  Set in the year 2037, Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game begins with a core rulebook of more than 200 pages featuring an adventure set shortly after the Wallace Corporation debuts a new cyborg: its Nexus-9 Replicants, giving players the choice to play as either human or Replicants.

Check out the Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game Kickstarter here and its website here now for more information, and below is a look inside the first release, its core rulebook.

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