Category: Movies


Underexposed cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Stanley Kubrick’s The Lord of the Rings starring The Beatles.  Peter Jackson’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.  George Miller’s Justice League.  Robert Rodriguez’s Barbarella.  Shane Black’s The Monster Squad.  Two John Carpenter movies you’ve never seen.  If you’re wondering what the best movie was in any given year, you have plenty of options.  You can look for the movie that had the biggest take at the box office.  You can look to critic reviews.  You can scroll through the Internet Movie Database.  You can review awards lists or Alternate Oscars.  Or you can just watch the movies and choose for yourself.  Underexposed! The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made, a new book arriving this month from Abrams, could have been called False Starts–it’s a book about movies that almost made it to the big screen.

Underexposed 6A

Peppered with movie poster mock-ups from art group PosterSpy, filmmaker and film enthusiast Joshua Hull tracked down interesting histories of some of the best and most quirky movies that almost got made, but were either abandoned, had legal rights issues, lack of funding, lack of interest, or simply were not made to save audiences from a bad idea.  They aren’t from obscure creators, either.  The list includes projects from Alfred Hitchcock to Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg–and some are ideas that sound like they could have been pretty great.  What were they thinking?  Find out in this book.  

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gunpowdermilkshake-lenaheadey-karengillan-guns

Gunpowder Milkshake is a title that reminds me of ice cream companies referring to their products as “concretes.”  If your product doesn’t sound appetizing, how do you expect to get anyone to try it?  If it’s a movie, maybe you need to hire a cast that includes Karen Gillan, Carla Gugino, Lena Headey, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, and Paul Giamatti.  For those that can get past the goofy title, the trailer for StudioCanal’s new in-your-face action romp looks like fun: a mix of John Wick, Kingsman, Kill Bill, and The Librarians, complete with an R rating for violence. 

So many badass women performers, we’re hoping it takes up several spots in our annual kick-ass heroines list.

Milkshakes

It’s not quite Tarantino style, but it has the lighting and over-the-top camera work that reminds us of Atomic Blonde, Hotel Artemis, and the silly/sweet vibe of Baby Driver–all good movies to be compared to.  And it features the young co-star of My Spy, Chloe Coleman.  

Check out the trailer below for the summer action flick, Gunpowder Milkshake.

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Eternals clip b

It looks like a cross between Jupiter’s Legacy and Inhumans.  The first trailer from Marvel Studios for the third movie of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (on the tail of both Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie.  Eternals has an A-list cast, the central character fan-favorite actress Gemma Chan, who wowed us in Humans and Shetland, and created a great villain in Raya and the Last Dragon.  She also played a friend turned enemy in Captain Marvel, as the alien Minn-Erva.  So Marvel must be taking a leap of faith that audiences don’t assume this is the same character in disguise–Captain Marvel did have its share of shapeshifters.  (Maybe this is an indicator Marvel would be willing to bring back Chris Evans as Johnny Storm?)  The movie features Academy Award winners Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and Oscar-nominated Kumail Nanjiani.  But the strange takeaway from the first trailer is it doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie–there’s no hook, no exciting or funny element to reel in viewers after such a successful Phase III.

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Blade Runner Storyboards cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s been four years since the arrival of Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi cult classic, Blade Runner, itself based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  Since then we’ve seen two looks behind the scenes of the film: a worthy tribute to the artwork behind the production with Blade Runner 2049 Interlinked–The Art and The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049, a more general look at the entire production.   Fans of the Blade Runner franchise and anyone who has ever wanted to know how to storyboard an entire film are in for a treat with the next look at the production of the film, this time at the process of cinematography.  Storyboard artists Sam Hudecki and Darryl Henley’s Blade Runner 2049: The Storyboards is a rare glimpse at all the storyboards for the film, a director and camera tool rarely released for any production.  It’s out now and available here at Amazon from Titan Books.  

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Not-for-profit industry group The Toy Association, which was founded in 1916, announced the “Spring & Summer 2021 Influencer Choice List” this week, which highlights 30 of their predicted “hottest” toys and games.  The list features a broad array of subjects, targeted to kids of a variety of ages and interests, as well as price points.  Dolls, stuffed animals, familiar franchise characters, educational and even health tie-ins, craft toys, indoor and outdoor toys, exercise toys and quiet toys, and just plain good fun.  There’s even some new takes on classic toys, from toy trucks to an ICEE machine.

We’ve highlighted a few we’d like to try out–see the photos.  Take a look through the complete list and see what you think will be the most fun.  

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Kid detective

Adam Brody has been a high point of two recent fun genre flicks.  In Shazam! he was the grown-up superhero version of sidekick Freddie.  And in Ready or Not he was the brother-in-law that gave Samara Weaving’s bride a chance at survival in a crazy mansion of killers.  In his next movie, last year’s late pandemic year theatrical release The Kid Detective, the former Gilmore Girls and The O.C. actor plays Abe Applebaum, once a kid detective in the style of Encyclopedia Brown, he’s now a 32-year-old has-been, not cutting it as an adult detective.  Unfortunately, what could have been something clever, fresh, and new, ends up pitifully bad–a film that can’t decide what it wants to be, a humorless experimental film that might have made a good effort as a film school project.  It’s streaming now on Starz and other platforms.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

We previewed the Firefly Artbook back in February.  It’s been more than 18 years since we first met Mal Reynolds and his (usually) loyal crew of the Firefly class ship Serenity.  Fans of the Firefly series and 2005 film Serenity will never stop loving their travels around the ‘Verse, but as we get further away from the short-lived series fans are seeing less and less content available.  We’ve taken a look at multi-artist tribute concept books before at borg, including the excellent Alien: 40 Years/40 Artists, The Thing Artbook, Star Trek: 50 Artists/50 Years, and The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute.  Any time we showcase a major benchmark in comic book titles, like Detective Comics 1000th issue, Wonder Woman’s 750th issue, and The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #800, or charity projects like the Wonder Woman 100 showcase, we see a great new spin on favorite characters from a new vantage: a variety of artists interpreting an icon of popular culture.  You’ll see how a range of dozens of less well-known artists interpret the show in the Firefly Artbook available now here at Amazon and at brick and mortar book stores everywhere.

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Raya a

Review by C.J. Bunce

Raya and the Last Dragon is the first animated movie created during the pandemic, with 900 creators working together to make a full-scale feature film from home.  The result is the best Disney animated film to date, filled with a great story combining all sorts of fantasy tropes, great visual action, exciting characters, good humor, blending historic themes with modern ideas and characters.  The entirely computer animated film also sports three strong female lead characters and is backed by an all female technical leadership team.  The result is a movie blending elements of Asian culture on par with Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with the action of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the fantastical elements of The Lord of the Rings.  Count Raya and the Last Dragon among the creative works that shine brightly despite the adverse conditions of 2020. 

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Jupiter’s Legacy leads comic book creator Mark Millar’s “Millarworld” projects for Netflix.  The eight-episode first season of the series introduces TV audiences to the latest new superhero world that–unfortunately–primarily serves to remind us why the DC and Marvel characters stand out as timeless after 80 years–and how those kinds of beloved characters don’t come by easily.  The first season of Jupiter’s Legacy is streaming now on Netflix.  Among other things, the series pushes aside the supervillain (who we only get to see a copy of) to focus on what’s right and what’s wrong among the superior ability set, and the result is that it’s spectacular only in its ability to lack action and intrigue.

Let’s talk about what’s good first.

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  Snake Eyes 6

With a release date a little more than 2 months away, Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe Origins is the next reboot of the Hasbro G.I. Joe movie series (after 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA and 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation), intended to be part of a shared universe of features based on Hasbro properties including a host of familiar characters and toys, all coming to the big screen: G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, ROM: Spaceknight, and Micronauts.  Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe: Origins will star Henry Golding (The Gentlemen) as Snake Eyes, Andrew Koji (Fast & Furious 6) as Storm Shadow, Samara Weaving (Ready Or Not) as Scarlett, Úrsula Corberó (The Broken Crown) as Baroness, and Iko Uwais (Wu Assassins) as Hard Master.  Paramount released the official movie poster plus first looks at Snake Eyes, Baroness, Scarlett, and more.  Check out images from the movie below.

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