Category: Movies


Review by C.J. Bunce

This time the appeal of the latest chronicle of Hollywood in the Turner Classic Movies home library isn’t the movies.  The movies actually take a back seat to the people who made them, specifically men and women who gave their blood, sweat, tears, and even their lives for Democracy during World War II.  Many who portrayed heroes in the movies and many who produced and directed them dropped everything when the United States entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and writer-historian Christian Blauvelt compiles the big picture with personal stories in his new expertly crafted history text, TCM’s Hollywood Victory.  Holding a degree in history I’ve read many a college history book and TCM’s Hollywood Victory is a solid course in history, sharing the truth including some of the bruises as some of Hollywood’s greats–like Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, John Ford, Carole Lombard, Leslie Howard, and more–showed their character when the world needed it most.  TCM’s Hollywood Victory arrives just in time for Veteran’s Day, available now here at Amazon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Just when you think there may be some hope for a Zack Snyder property, here we are again with another head scratcher.  The movie that gave us hope was the trippy, funny, quirky Army of the Dead, a zombie movie with the gore of the genre, but with the light tonal notes of Shaun of the Dead.  In short it was a worthy entry into the zombie horror genre, if on the more accessible, mainstream side (check out my review here).  The new spin-off film, Army of Thieves, just landed on Netflix, and it is a prequel, but a prequel probably nobody asked for.  It might make you think Snyder & Co. longs to have the C.V. of J.J. Abrams (see the Cloverleaf films) or M. Night Shyamalan (see the Unbreakable trilogy).  Imagine taking the most obscure–the least likely–character from an action film, and then giving him a sweet, heart-warming, dramatic origin story with romance, and have the actor that played the character direct it.  I can’t think anyone would select German actor Matthias Schweighöfer’s safecracker as the character that warranted a spin-off from Army of the Dead, but there it is.  And you can watch it right now on Netflix.

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Mandalorian phase 2

The Star Wars vintage Kenner action figures changed toys and franchising forever.  Sales of this line were so successful that it’s no surprise the fan nostalgia for these 3.75-inch figures in new packages is still as great as ever, 44 years after their first appearance in a pre-order campaign for Christmas 1977.  Disney knows what its fans want, and so they assembled two takes on a action figures for the Disney+ series The Mandalorian–one with modern molds and articulation in vintage packaging, and the other with retro, classic Kenner style molds and articulation, housed in classic, mock-distressed packaging–plus original-style vinyl capes.  Wave I of this line included IG-11, Moff Gideon, Cara Dune, Greef Karga, Kuiil, “Baby Yoda,” and Din Djarin, the man behind the mask.  That complete set is shipping now at Entertainment Earth and Amazon.  The next wave in the Retro line has just been previewed by Entertainment Earth, who is now accepting pre-orders here.  It’s an equally good line of figures, this time from Season 2, including one of the most collected figures of the original Kenner line, as well as rebooted lines in the 1990s and 2000s: Boba Fett.  It also features Bo-Katan Kryze, Ahsoka Tano, a second season Din aka Mandalorian, The Armorer, and an Imperial Death Trooper.  Check out the new sculpts, accessories, and packaging below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I’m just going to say it.  This may be the greatest pop culture celebration book ever.  It couldn’t be more keyed-in on its source material and fan base.  Ugh.  Gah.  Zhuuh.  You’ll make those sounds and more going through the recipes in Alien: The Official Cookbook, the latest Alien franchise tie-in book and a food prep guide for anyone planning the ultimate Halloween party.  “Gross!”  You can just hear those kids who are fans of gross-out movies as they try to pick what course to make first.  It’s disturbing and a masterpiece at the same time.  Normally I wouldn’t review a cookbook without preparing some of the meals, so I can present a read on the design and content as well as the desirability of the food.  This is an exception, first: to get it out to you before Halloween weekend, and second: because if you’re like me then making these selections for a party will be more for the visual surprise than the eating (I may double back later for a review of the meals, too).

Eggs, chestbursters, and xenomorphs.  Oh, my!  The dishes are all presented in a way Alien designer H.R. Giger would have loved.  Alien is known for its dinner scene, cut short by… intervening events of a horrific nature.  (Insert a screaming Veronica Cartwright as Lambert here).  Thanks to cookbook writer Chris-Rachel Oseland, you, too, can experience something similar.

Alien: The Official Cookbook is available now here at Amazon (you still have time to get it before Halloween!).  Take a look at a preview of some of the recipes below, courtesy of Titan Books.

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Halloween-Kills-Footage-Anthony-Michael-Hall-Tommy-Doyle

Review by C.J. Bunce

Director David Gordon Green’s 2018 movie Halloween was great fun (reviewed here), a welcome callback to the low-budget filmmaking style of the 1970s, a sequel/reboot of the original horror film that set off a new era of scream queens and slasher horror films.  But it was only the first act in a three-act opus that continues in Halloween Kills and will wrap next year in Halloween EndsWith this month’s premiere of Halloween Kills on streaming platform Peacock Premium, fans will realize Gordon knows the franchise, the genre, and all that retro nostalgia that has audiences clamoring for shows like Stranger Things and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.  Complete with obscure characters from the corners of Haddonfield, Illinois, returning 40 years later, Halloween Kills is not just good horror but great–complete with all the non-apologetic, operatic gore and scares that have been the backbone of the modern monster movie mega-franchises first resurrected by John Carpenter and Debra Hill back in 1978.  Since then we’ve seen the likes of Michael, Jason, and Freddy stepping in for Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, The Mummy, and the Phantom of the Opera.

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This is Gus

Welcome news for fans of Psych is a new trailer (below) for the second sequel to a sequel, Psych 3: This is Gus It looks even more like the series than last year’s fun drama we first discussed here at borg, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (the first new original movie to premiere on NBC’s Peacock streaming service), and Psych 3 will also premiere on Peacock–in a few weeks.  The movie, the third of six sequels that creator/showrunner Steve Franks said he plans to make, switches focus from Timothy Omundson′s character Lassiter aka Lassie to Dulé Hill′s Burton Guster, aka Ovaltine Jenkins aka Hollabackatcha aka Domo Arigato, etc., whose new wife has some secrets for Team Psych to uncover.  Best of all, the movie is less than a month away.  Who doesn’t need a good laugh?  Everyone is back: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Kurt Fuller, and Corbin Bernsen, and, of course, Tears for Fears′ own Curt Smith.

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black-adam-dc-fandome

It’s one of those head-scratching things.  Previews for horror movies in October for movies not arriving until around Valentine’s Day.  And it happens every year.  Valentine’s Day is a big time for horror, and two movies heading your way next year look like you’ll want to see them if not in the theater at least streaming once they arrive on home video.  Also, this weekend is DC Fandome, an online streaming event like Disney’s annual D23 fan event (which arrives next month).  If you’ve wondered where DC Comics movies have been, they’ve evidently been waiting for next year–even before the pandemic they’ve been lagging behind the Marvel movies.  DC rolled out several teasers this weekend, many highlighting concept art as they make their way to their final stages of production.  Each of the new movies has promise, and you’ll want to compare them to our single Marvel preview below.

mirren Liu

Below check out trailers for two 2022 horror movies, a Marvel series coming soon, and five movies starring characters from the pages of DC Comics, beginning next year.

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Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Review by C.J. Bunce

Both The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Mummy were good reboots of franchises, one of a 1960s television series, the other intended to bring forward the Universal Studios Monsters for another generation, but the lack of attention by audiences brought the franchises to a standstill.  Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe Origins, which premiered in theaters in July after a 16 month pandemic delay, is another good re-start of a franchise, and hopefully nothing stands in the way of Hasbro moving ahead with the planned G.I. Joe–Ever Vigilant, originally slated for a 2020 release.  Especially if you’re a fan of the comics and animated series versions of G.I. Joe, you won’t want to miss the home release of Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe OriginsIt’s a solid film, faithfully explaining–as the titles states–the origin of G.I. Joe ace operative Snake Eyes. 

If you know the helmeted, silent ninja from the comics or animated show, you also know he is inextricably linked to that COBRA ninja in white garb, Storm Shadow; audiences will get the story of why each of these sworn brothers finds his way to opposing sides in the ongoing battle of good guys vs. bad guys.  You won’t see any “kung fu grip,” although the Japanese martial arts choreographed fight scenes are well done, if toned down from more serious martial arts films.  You also won’t yet learn why Snake Eyes goes silent–much is left for one or more sequels.  But everyone does have “life-like hair.”  And it may just leave you shouting, “Yo, Joe!”  (That’s a good thing).

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Shatner pic   NS18P X

With this morning’s successful launch and return of 90-year-old William Shatner into outer space aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft, Shatner gave his fans worldwide perhaps the greatest single moment in the annals of science fiction.  Melding the best of fantasy and reality, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard NS-18 mission took the most famous fictional character, Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, and made him an actual space traveler, 60 years since the first manned spaceflight, 52 years since the first Moonshot, and 55 years since Shatner first stepped onto the bridge of the Enterprise set.  It’s something no fan of Shatner or Star Trek ever could have dreamed of, a landmark, one-of-a-kind, impossible opportunity that is a giant leap for any writer, actor, or other creator of the ideas behind science fiction, back to all those past dreams of space travel, from the science fiction of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon, and George Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon, to crewmembers of the fictional starship Enterprise invited by NASA to the ribbon-cutting for the first space shuttle named for the Enterprise, to actual astronaut Mae Jemison flying aboard the space shuttle Endeavor and returning to be a guest star on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Does anyone not want Star Trek to be “real”?

Only William Shatner could have done something like this.  If you’ve met the man in person, you know he has unbounded energy like probably nobody else, certainly no one at the age of 90, showing no signs of slowing down, as evidenced again today.  The approximately 10-minute flight took the actor and crewmates above the 62-mile (100 kilometers) Kármán line at 9:53 a.m., which is the most commonly recognized boundary of the edge of space.

Shatner Kirk costumes b

Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company Blue Origin postponed the flight to today due to forecasted high winds at its launch site (Bezos, a fan of Star Trek, had a cameo as an alien in the movie Star Trek Beyond).  The flight had liftoff at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One near Van Horn, Texas, at 9:49 a.m. (Central Time), returning at 10 a.m. sharp.

shat pinned

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20th century fox cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

For a century, 20th Century Fox was a production machine, churning out volumes of motion pictures annually, but never achieving the greatness seen by the likes of MGM and Paramount.  Yet its key movie star assets, its box office successes, and award-winning films were few and far between.  In 20th Century-Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio, writer Scott Eyman takes movie fans back to the beginning and introduces readers to sometimes successful, sometimes not successful businessmen who built theaters and the movies to screen in them, keying in on the mergers that brought William Fox, formerly immigrant Wilhelm Fuchs, to build a corporation that Darryl F. Zanuck would take through important decades of the 21st century.  Both film buffs and historians of the era of film’s Golden Age will find a history in Turner Classic Movies/TCM’s latest film production chronicle, connected by memorable films from its first Oscar-winner, 1927’s Sunrise, to its last, 2019’s Ford v. Ferrari, telling a story of the rise and fall of a movie empire.  TCM’s 20th Century-Fox is just out from publisher Running Press and available here at Amazon.

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