Archive for June, 2022


It’s probably the single most aired holiday movie every year, showing on networks like ABC Family, Freeform, and Disney daily or more every October.  Thirty Halloweens since they first saw the family friendly Hocus Pocus, fans of the perennial witch tale get their chance to find out what the three Salem sisters have been up to.  And they don’t need to pay theater ticket prices.  Disney+ will be streaming the movie, Hocus Pocus 2, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy all back again.  The movie will also feature Star Trek Discovery and The Shape of Water actor Doug Jones.

Here’s the new teaser trailer for Hocus Pocus 2:

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First we saw Hasbro combining some of its classic board games with a series of mash-up games, then last summer the game and toy company released a fun line of its games in giant beach towel editions.  This summer Hasbro has stripped down its games to the bare essentials, making sure that anyone who wants to play one of its seven most famous board games can do so anywhere, on the go, in the back of your van on a road trip, or in an apartment.  Combining another classic–Colorforms–with miniature paperboard versions of Battleship, Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders,Candy Land, Trouble, Guess Who?, and even Monopoly, anyone can get their hands on these games, available anywhere from $1.25 to $5.00.

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The first great playset from Kenner (now part of Hasbro) from the Star Wars galaxy was the Death Star, perfect for play with the toy company’s huge line of 3.75-inch action figures, and that was followed by a line of big ships, including the Millennium Falcon, the Star Destroyer, and the AT-AT.  In recent years, after the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, Jabba’s sail barge was added to the line-up of big, high-end toys.  Hasbro has now released photographs of its next big playset from the galaxy far, far, away: an expanded version of its throne room for Jabba the Hutt from Return of the Jedi.  Spinning out of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett is Boba Fett’s Throne Room, an elaborate play environment with 50 accessories, and an exclusive Bib Fortuna figure.

Take a look inside and learn more about pre-orders below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

When I previewed Cowboy Bebop: Making the Netflix Series last month I’d hoped writers Jeff Bond and Gene Kozicki (a visual effects artist on the series) would dig deep into the unique style of the very futuristic series.  I am happy to say I was not only not disappointed but dazzled by the level of work completed for what could have been the next major science fiction franchise.  What does the future look like?  Going back to Syd Mead’s future-defining work on films like Blade Runner, you must count as the next futurism visionaries production designers Grant Major and Gary Mackay.  Cowboy Bebop: Making the Netflix Series delivers photographs of props and sets that viewers didn’t get to see in the series, providing another level of behind-the-scenes production design not ordinarily seen in this kind of “making of” book.

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Hayao Miyazaki’s Whisper of the Heart may be the anime master’s most heart-warming story.  Based on the 1989 manga by artist Aoi Hiiragi, Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 romance and drama about a teenage girl who wants to be a writer, and with the determination and self-discipline necessary, she is successful at completing her first novel.  The story within a story that she writes is about an ornamental cat in a store window that she names The Baron.  In a fun twist, Hiiragi wrote the girl’s story into another manga, titled The Cat’s Repayment, and that story was adapted into Studio Ghibli’s 2002 anime film The Cat Returns.  “The Cat” returns to theaters today (June 26) and tomorrow (June 27) as part of the Fathom Events series to launch Studio Ghibli Fest 2022, which wraps next April with the 25th anniversary screenings of Hayao Miyazaki’s sprawling fantasy Princess Mononoke.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Two episodes in and it seemed like some kind of con, a Jedi mind trick perpetrated by Disney.  Six episodes in and you’re left asking “what was the point?”  That’s the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which arrives as the least of the 21st century Star Wars television efforts, and after six episodes, probably falls short of Revenge of the Sith and The Last Jedi.  Why was this an important story to tell?  What entertainment value did it provide?  In the end, the only thing the series served to do was give actor Hayden Christensen a chance to make up for George Lucas’s dismal script for Anakin Skywalker in the prequels.  Other than that, it was like watching an assemblage of deleted scenes left on the director’s cutting room floor from the making of Revenge of the Sith.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Director Sam Raimi was constrained by the comic books with his three Spider-Man movies, but Kevin Fiege and Marvel Studios let him unleash everything for his latest superhero movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness The result is fantastic, the most ambitious crossover mash-up and blend of comic book characters to hit the screen since X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Loki writer Michael Waldron was the right choice to create this seamless masterpiece of twisty storytelling, and adding music by Batman 1989’s Danny Elfman is the icing on a (dark, funny, horror-themed) cake.

Finally, the multitudes get to witness the madness of the multiverse for themselves–the film arrived this week on Disney+.  Is it the best Marvel Studios ensemble movie yet? (spoilers ahead)

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Yesterday here at borg we featured this week’s entertainment memorabilia auction by Los Angeles auction house Propstore and its big sale of an original X-Wing Fighter filming model.  The auction continues through Friday, but Wednesday you may have overlooked an intriguing prop from the 2017 Academy Award-nominated superhero movie Logan (probably the best superhero film of all time, reviewed here).  Comic book collecting is a major industry with every price level and niche of comics fandom having legions of collectors.  A pile of comic books was featured in the groundbreaking film directed by James Mangold, but they weren’t ordinary comic books.  They were made exclusively for the movie.  And one of those comics sold Tuesday for $17,500 (including a 25% buyer’s premium).

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Records continue to be set in the world of entertainment memorabilia, those screen-used costume, prop, and set relics costing often tens of thousands of dollars to create, sometimes appearing only moments in a film or television production, later to be sold at auction for princely sums.  London and Los Angeles auction house Propstore knew it had an important prop when it took consignment of an original X-Wing Fighter model screen-matched to the original film Star Wars The auction house even printed a separate catalog from the full auction book that showcased photographs and use of the model (no doubt the book itself will be a collectible going forward).  As expected, Tuesday a new auction record for a screen-used model was set, with the X-Wing selling for a $1.9 million strike price, and with the buyer’s premium it reached the final sale price of $2.3 million.  The model was built in 1976 and 1977 from finalized designs that stemmed from the concept artwork of Colin Cantwell (featured here and here at borg), who died at age 90 only a month ago.  The price is an all-time high sale price for a Star Wars vehicle model.  Previous sales of screen-used models included the miniature filming model of the Rebel Blockade Runner spaceship from the opening scene of the original Star Wars that sold for $465,000, and a miniature filming model of a TIE Fighter that sold for more than $400,000.

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The star of the original Life on Mars returns today for his second season as another great detective solving crimes in the BritBox original series from IPT, Grace John Simm, known for his run as a detective unstuck in time as well as the key villain of Doctor Who, plays Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a cop sent down to desk duty a few years ago for embarrassing the bureau by bringing in a psychic to help solve a crime.  Only last year television viewers got to meet the next great TV detective with the airing of the show’s first season, and this year he’s joined in the second season opener by former Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill.  We at borg named it the runner-up for best new TV series of 2022 (see our review here).  The second season of Grace begins in the U.S. today, exclusively here on BritBox via Amazon.

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