Archive for July, 2022


Arguably no player of fictional roles did more to further science and the future than Nichelle Nichols.  The actress who played Star Trek crew member Uhura for 54 years in the original series, six movies, and fan films passed away today at age 89.  I first met her in San Francisco in the 1990s and later at other events, and she always was gracious, embraced fans, and was always laughing, smiling, and enjoying her time recounting her personal story.  She probably has the most familiar story of any science fiction actor, as she became an icon of television, science fiction, and science fact.

Her greatest story was recounting how she had decided to leave the Star Trek series until she had a conversation with Martin Luther King, Jr., who informed her just how important it was that a black woman was being seen by an entire nation on television.  She was an equal crew member serving in a prime-time network series, and would go on to help expand the boundaries of race relations, participating in the first on-screen inter-racial kiss, with co-star William Shatner’s Captain Kirk.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you can’t enjoy an all-included, exclusive Caribbean resort vacation, then vacations are probably not for you.  Ninety-minutes in and Peacock’s new half-hour series The Resort doesn’t reveal much of what it’s trying to be.  Alternately billed as mystery and comedy, it’s not much of either, but it does seem like a rejected episode of Fantasy Island That series, a Fox reboot starring the fantastic Roselyn Sanchez as a great niece of Ricardo Montalban’s famous host, was far more coherent–and fun.  The Resort focuses on a couple with zero chemistry taking a Sandals-esque resort vacation for an anniversary.  It’s like a cringeworthy watch-party of a friend’s slides from a vacation gone wrong.

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As we predicted last season, it appears Joel McHale’s Starman is going to find his way back to his family and superhero status in the third season of CW’s StarGirl How will that fare for Brec Bassinger’s Courtney, her mom (played by Amy Smart), and her husband–and Starman’s former partner, Luke Wilson’s Pat Dugan aka the steel giant S.T.R.I.P.E.

Seems like the entire cast from last season is back.  The second season wasn’t as powerful as the first, so hopefully Greg Berlanti & Co. and get some of the magic back with the original Seven Soldiers of Victory back in costume–along with another guest appearance (we hope) by John Wesley Shipp as The Flash.  Here’s the new trailer for season three of StarGirl:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Jim Cummings is a triple threat, a writer/director who also stars in the atmospheric Orion Classics release The Wolf of Snow Hollow You may recognize Cummings as the brave Deputy Pete McCabe, who pursued Michael Myers in Halloween Kills, but he’s also a jack of all trades, making movies from the ground up as cinematographer and editor and even working on visual effects for Captain America: Winter Soldier.  In The Wolf of Snow Hollow he plays Officer John Marshall, No. 2 in line to the sheriff in a small northern town in the vein of Resident Alien, Fargo, or Northern Exposure.  Marshall is a recovering alcoholic in a 12-step program, who is the ultimate put-upon working stiff with anger issues, dealing with divorce, a visiting daughter, and incompetent peers when a string of brutal murders plagues his otherwise banal town.  And the murders appear to have been carried out by a werewolf.  It’s a surprisingly good, tightly edited drama with elements of dark comedy, a smartly paced Alfred Hitchcock-type thriller filled with quirky locals, combined with a musical score as compelling as something from a Bernard Herrmann classic.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

How can a movie only make $25,000 at the box office and be this good?  It must be poor marketing–the movie poster calls it darkly comical, and there’s no humor intended in Albert Shin’s semi-autobiographical directorial debut, the brilliant mystery/suspense/thriller Disappearance at Clifton Hill A 2019 Canadian release that premiered in the U.S. in 2020, this is the kind of simmering mystery in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, with a genre-bending vibe that blends You Should Have Left, I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House, The Sinner, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Archive 81–and yet it’s unlike any of them.  It stars Tuppence Middleton (The Current War, Jupiter Ascending, The Imitation Game, Mank) in a worthy–and similar–follow-up to her starring role in The Lady Vanishes.

Abby is only seven years old when she sees the boy with one eye, hiding while she vacations with her family in the woods not too far from her home in Niagara Falls.

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He’s certainly the most overdue of 80 years of Marvel characters to make it into the live-action world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, created by writer-artist Bill Everett in 1939, was Marvel’s first mutant and the leader of the undersea world of Atlantis, frequently forgotten in recent years because of his DC Comics counterpart, Aquaman.  That’s Namor and Everett above as depicted in a fantastic tribute by artist Alex Ross.  Along with Captain America and Human Torch, the original Big 3 included Prince Namor.  He’s also the first superhero anti-hero, so it probably makes sense Marvel is sneaking him into the MCU as they did Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic Four movie.  Audiences internationally who have not followed the comics of eight decades past or only know of the character in spotty revisits over the years will now meet him this year in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as what appears to be the villain.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

TCM’s film reference library of books has looked at the best sci-fi and horror movies, dynamic actresses, Christmas movies, summer hits, noir and war movies, and famous stunts, and its books have argued for 100 movies as the best of them all.  Diehard rock ‘n’ roll aficionados are the targets of the next dive into a select segment of genredom at the movies.  Today TCM and Running Press are releasing TCM’s Rock on Film (available here at Amazon).  Written by former Rolling Stone magazine editor Fred Goodman, by design it aims to blend crowd pleasers and buried treasure, and is not intended to be definitive–so don’t get your hackles up when you find your favorites didn’t make the cut.  Featured aren’t just typical “movies”–this is the TCM library’s biggest foray into documentaries.  So along with Purple Rain, American Graffiti, This is Spinal Tap, The Buddy Holly Story, That Thing You Do!, Inside Llewyn Davis, 8 Mile, Straight Outta Compton, Quadrophenia, and Tommy, look for discussions of A Hard Day’s Night, Dont Look Back (blame the lack of apostrophe on the film creator), Woodstock, The TAMI Show, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, and Echo in the Canyon.  And interviews with Cameron Crowe, Jim Jarmusch, Penelope Spheeris, Taylor Hackford, and John Waters shed some light on how filmmakers were influenced by rock and rock movies.
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Leaning into the humor instead of giving audiences another heavy drama, the new Disney/Marvel series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, also reflects some improvements on its CGI, which wasn’t quite as convincing in the first trailer.  In the pages of the comics, Tatiana Maslany’s title character is known by day as Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin, who gets a dose of Banner’s blood after an accident.  This gives her slightly different, less overcharged reactions, but the big difference is she’s fully green–not turning back to her normal self like Banner usually did.

And Tim Roth is back as Emil Blonsky from that CGI-challenged Hulk movie everyone forgot about, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. 

Check out the San Diego Comic-Con trailer for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law:  

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At this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, DC Comics’ Jim Lee announced that there are no plans for Zack Snyder to return to the DC franchise movies or for the “SnyderVerse” Justice League to continue.  This was followed up with two big trailers that open up the DC Comics universe to return to the fun of the comics.  Zachary Levi’s spin on the original Captain Marvel opened the gates for a renaissance for DC at the movies with his new Shazam in 2019, back again this year in the sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and Dwayne Johnson is taking DC to the next level in his big fall release Black Adam.

And another show with a dragon!  Seems like you can’t find a trailer this summer without one.  Thanks, Shazam!

Neither of these movies could look better, and these trailers have a lot of promise.  Can Shazam and Black Adam save the DCU?  Check out the trailers for Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods: Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Romeo and Juliet, Emma, American Graffiti, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Grease, Square Pegs, The Outsiders, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, Heathers, Dazed and Confused, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Clueless (the best version of Emma), 10 Things I Hate About You, Veronica Mars, Orange County, Superbad, Riverdale.  Writers have concocted several personal and entertaining coming of age movies and TV series over the years.  Add to that list Netflix’s new series Boo, Bitch, a funny, clever, supernatural twist on the typical “last days of high school” story, full of snappy, witty dialogue that catches the genre up with the year 2022.

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