Category: Movies


Review by C.J. Bunce

TV historian and Star Trek expert Marc Cushman is back to continue his second trilogy of books about the development, production, and struggles behind the first two decades of Star Trek.  In These Are the Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970s, Volume 2 (1975-77), at last we get to delve into the biggest Star Trek project never delivered: The 1970s Star Trek: Phase II series that would be parted out and become Star Trek: The Motion Picture and later Star Trek: The Next Generation.  And that’s not all–ideas and early scripts for Phase II continue to be tapped in the 21st century Star Trek series and films.  Even better, Cushman digs into the ever-developing Star Trek novels, conventions, and more, which became the practice grounds for the wider, broad world of pop culture fandom as a whole.  How did Star Trek finally movie forward from the original series to become what it is today?  How did the fans play a major role in making that happen?   Continue reading

You have good villains and bad ones.  In the category of most vile villains, the ones you don’t actually love to hate but just hate, it’s hard to top Louise Fletcher’s icky, nasty, and… hateful Nurse Ratched from the 1975 Academy Award-winning movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  If you’re the type of person that can’t get terrifying imagery out of your head, you’re going to want to skip the trailer for the new prequel series Ratched.  From the people behind American Horror Story, the series Ratched is the next spin-off of a classic horror film character–think Vera Farmiga’s Norma Bates in A&E’s Bates Motel–the spin-off prequel of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

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I was thinking about re-publishing a list of war movie recommendations in November for Veteran’s Day, recommendations provided by my father, Milton L. Bunce, Jr., movies that I recommended here at borg years ago.  He passed away Saturday at the age of 79, and as a tribute to him I thought I’d go ahead and share again now two sets of recommendations of movies he enjoyed, which also influenced me and my movie preferences over the years.  These are 20 films, one list of classic war movies that he thought reflected his own experiences in the U.S. Navy, and another, showing the preferences of a kid growing up during World War II at the local movie house.  My father went to the movie theater every Saturday with his sister, and spent the day enjoying many of these great films on the big screen.  If you have more time at home as many do this summer, what better opportunity to catch a classic you may have overlooked?

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Director Danny Boyle has championed some unique stories into films, including 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire, and Trainspotting.  His 2019 film Yesterday fit into this grouping nicely, a very British story about a singer/songwriter named Jack, played by Himesh Patel (The Aeronauts), who encounters a miracle of sorts: a solar event that changes several aspects of the world.  The key change?  The world never knew a band called The Beatles.  But the twist is only Jack can remember The Beatles.  It’s a goodhearted drama with a dose of comedy and a bit of a love story.  It’s also science fiction.  Yesterday is now streaming on HBO Max, along with other digital streaming platforms.

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It’s back.  Discovery′s annual Shark Week programming returns this month and is bringing along a new giveaway.  From August 9 to August 16 look for your annual week of shark-centered features.  Shark Week is television’s longest running summer TV event.  And you know what that means–Narragansett is back with an online store full of tie-ins to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws to coincide with Shark Week 2020.  Not only is Narragansett one of America’s oldest companies (they turned 21 in 1911), Jaws made its beer famous again in 1975 when Robert Shaw′s character Quint downed a can and crushed it to look tough in front of Richard Dreyfuss′s character Hooper.  Hooper created the the most humorous moment of the film, countering Quint by crushing his Styrofoam cup.

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Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

One of the news items from this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con was a push of completed Disney and Fox movies out several months to insure full movie theater returns for the studio, while pushing out the door in advance of a full audience return films like The New Mutants and Kenneth Branagh’s follow-up to his adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, now arriving October 23.  Those of us excited for the next all-star Hercule Poirot adventure can be glad that at least means a home release sooner than later.  In the meantime Amazon Prime has a brilliant BBC production of a classic mystery novel, previously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, and adapted most recently in 2013, of The Lady Vanishes.  

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The price of knowledge is often great and grim.  If you like your historical biopics about scientific discoveries of the inspiring and motivational variety, Amazon Studios and Studiocanal’s latest film Radioactive, a barely recognizable adaptation of the Lauren Redniss graphic novel, RadioactiveMarie & Pierre CurieA Tale of Love and Fallout, may not be for you.  Yet exceptional performances by Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Jack Reacher, Die Another Day) as Maria Skłodowska aka Madame Marie Curie and Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma, Split, The New Mutants) as her daughter Iréne, and a dearth of new films this summer, will likely make this 2018 production worth your time.  It arrived in the U.S. for the first time this week streaming on Amazon Prime.

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The most eagerly awaited movie in years received some nice treatment this week as part of San Diego Comic-Con@Home.  We’ve previewed and re-previewed new trailers for The New Mutants probably more than any other movie in our past decade of coverage here at borg (just type The New Mutants in the search box to the right and you’ll see it all).  The new and improved, post-merger 20th Century Studios even nicely mocks the delayed release dates in its Comic-Con@Home panel footage below, which features the director, cast members, and the legendary comic artist most closely aligned with The New Mutants by way of his 1980s artwork, Bill Sienkiewicz.  It also previews the entire opening scene and a trailer with new content from the film.  All in all, some good stuff for a very patient fanbase for a film made in the summer of 2017.

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In a normal year for San Diego Comic-Con, we at borg would be taking photos and checking out the new products, panels, and movie trailers, and trying to share as many as possible.  But first we’d go through the badge line and get our annual, over-sized haul bag, which we’d probably keep folded up anyway because it makes it difficult to move around.  But with that bag is the annual “Comic-Con book,” which is not a comic book, but an official book about half of a medium-sized city telephone directory (what’s a telephone directory?).  The book would be full of discussions about anniversaries of comic and pop culture events and salutes to individuals who have gained some portion of iconic status for fanboys and fangirls everywhere.  But you never read this during con week.  Why?  You’re too busy trying to cram in all you can before the show is over.  Sometimes you don’t even find this book until two months after you get back home after the con and are revisiting your swag.  This year, the SDCC staff has made it possible for everyone to download a copy of that book.

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In-person cancellations have not kept every event this summer from canceling entirely.  One of those is typically one of the summer’s biggest events, San Diego Comic-Con.  Events for SDCC 2020 are proceeding ahead beginning Wednesday, but this time providing an opportunity for fans of all things pop culture a chance to sit through the kinds of panels you might see were you to attend in person in any regular year–without standing overnight in lines.  You can even grab a lanyard off the rack, print your own badge (for you and your pets), cosplay with your family, and load the panels up on as big of a screen as you have.  It’s 350 panels over five days, beginning Wednesday, July 22, and wrapping up Sunday, July 26.  Check out all our suggestions for building your own fun convention week experience below.

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