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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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Review by C.J. Bunce

With hits Tron: Legacy, Oblivion, The Dig, Only the Brave, and Top Gun: Maverick, director Joseph Kosinski seems to be batting a thousand, and his best work may be his new science fiction movie, Spiderhead.  Now streaming on Netflix, it should remind you of the days before sci-fi blockbusters, when science fiction tales by great futurists became the next amazing story you’d see on the big screen.  It also has the genre world’s best actors, with Chris Hemsworth as a pharma genius slash mad scientist running a penitentiary in the vein of A Clockwork Orange, and Miles Teller as his chief inmate, test subject and guinea pig.  Fresh off of The Offer, and co-starring in Top Gun: Maverick, Teller’s career trajectory seems to only be going up.  Compared to the usual direct-to-Netflix fare, especially compared to its record of sci-fi genre films (basically that’s ARQ, iBOY, The Cloverfield Paradox, Extinction, I Am Mother, The Midnight Sky, and IO), Spiderhead is in a different league entirely.  Think THX-1138, Minority Report, Ex Machina, and Orbiter 9Spiderhead is a movie you’ll wish you were able to catch in the movie theater.

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After three DreamWorks animated movies featuring Jack Black as the voice of Po the Kung Fu Panda, Black is back, joined by Magnum PI’s Amy Hill and James Hong in a new summer series on Netflix.  Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight finds Po teaming up with an English knight on a quest to rescue magical weapons, to take over the world like Thanos in Marvel’s Avengers movies.  Can Po join forces with the knight, battle a pair of nefarious weasels, save China, and restore his honor?

Take a look at this trailer for the new Kung Fu Panda series, The Dragon Knight:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

We first previewed Samurai Sonja here at borg this past March.  With comic publisher Dynamite rolling out multiple realities over so many titles for the character leading up to next year’s 50th anniversary celebration, the next story of Red Sonja turns to late 15th century Japan.  Spinning out of the world-altering events of Sonjaversal, readers will meet Sonja in an entirely new incarnation, as the daughter of a samurai leader just killed in battle.  Before she can take up his cause against an evil warlord, she must make a pact with a goddess to purchase her very survival.  Can she prove herself worthy of her family’s legacy?

The first issue of Samurai Sonja arrives at Elite Comics and your local comic shop next week.  The only question is which cover option you’ll want to grab for each issue.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

This fall, Italian publisher The World Anvil is publishing a new roleplaying game that flips the worlds of classic fairy tales upside down, where good guys turn bad and villains of yore become the heroes.  It’s called Broken Tales, a mash-up for fans of fairy tale retellings that allows players to dive into their favorite fantasy realms, while providing opportunities to expand their adventures beyond the core game.  Broken Tales is available now here for pre-order.  In advance of the release of the hardcover final edition, gamers can now get immediate access to the 268-page pre-release digital edition–so you can get started on this engaging, imaginative new journey with heroes and villains you only thought you knew.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s full of concept artwork, poster art, and photographs from Chapters 9-12 of The Mandalorian–and it has page after page of the galaxy’s favorite green, long-eared sidekick.  It has a long title–Star Wars Insider Presents: Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season Two Collectors Edition Vol. 1and it’s a worthy look at the first part of the Disney+ series’ second season.  As with the past editions from the first season (discussed here and here), it has more mock-ups of Topps trading cards, and more beasts, planets, ships, battles, armor, and characters.  It’s available now in a glossy paperback magazine format here at Amazon.

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We’re now only a month away from the eight-part Resident Evil live-action television series.  And it’s coming to Netflix.  Starring Ella Balinska (Charlie’s Angels), Lance Reddick (John Wick), Turlough Convery (Ready Player One), and an international slate of actors, the show catches up fans of the franchise with the infamous Umbrella Corporation three decades after discovery of the T virus.

Milla Jovovich’s badass superheroine Alice in the Resident Evil franchise, from 2002’s first film through five sequels–Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)–gave sci-fi the 21st century version of Ellen Ripley and Sarah Conner.  The tie-in to the Japanese survival/horror-themed video game Biohazard (renamed for the U.S. market) is a staple in the action movie genre–not only one of the world’s bestselling game series since arriving in 1996, it’s the world’s most successful video game tie-in movie franchise ever.  With this year’s big-budget fun zombie flick Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (reviewed here) and last year’s anime Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, the game continues to makes its presence known on TV and at the movies.

The trailer for the Netflix series has a style similar to that dark horror humor of Evil Dead.  Check out the monster zombie horror FX cranked up to 11 in the trailer for Resident Evil:

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