Tag Archive: Alec Baldwin

Review by C.J. Bunce

Over the past decade I have reviewed most of the books from publisher Running Press chronicling Turner Classic Movies’ in-depth research into the best of classic and genre films.  Yesterday I looked at the 2016 book TCM’s The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter, by film historian Jeremy Arnold.  Today I’m reviewing and previewing a new volume in what has become a film library for the film historian.  It’s the second volume pulled from the 2001-2020 TCM series The Essentials, TCM’s The Essentials: 52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter, a very different look at film than the first volume, with some interesting features–and great movies.  We have a peek inside the book for borg readers below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’d happened to watched last year’s crime noir film Motherless Brooklyn and not known the screenwriter or director, I wouldn’t fault you if you expected to see Francis Ford Coppola’s name in the credits, or you figured Martin Scorsese finally made the perfect New York picture.  But that’s not what you’ll find, because it not only stars Edward Norton, but he wrote and directed the film–his first director effort.  And it’s an exciting, stunning, gritty film.  The fact that Motherless Brooklyn is even worthy of comparison might be praise enough for the film and its creator, but it goes a step further and surpasses a film it’s frequently been compared to–Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.  The fact that Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and The Irishman were nominated for best film at the Oscars this year, but this wasn’t?  That’s a real head-scratcher–or that Norton’s performance as a Tourette’s syndrome-affected private detective trying to find the guys that killed his boss wasn’t even nominated for best actor?  Movie lovers and fans of crime noir who missed it should catch its home release.  It’s as good as it gets.

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In February’s Super Bowl barrage of commercials viewers saw their first look at Tom Cruise’s next outing in the American version of the James Bond movies.  The sixth Mission: Impossible film, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, showed Cruise returning as Ethan Hunt, along with returning cast Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Harris, and Alec Baldwin, plus some surprises.

Three months later Paramount released the next trailer for the film early this morning, showing more action and more disasters for Ethan Hunt.  And that includes more Cruise doing many of his own stunts.

Superman Henry Cavill is the latest leading man to share significant screen-time in an M:I mission with Cruise.  Plus Black Panther’s Angela Bassett looks to be a key force in the film.  Vanessa Kirby and Rebecca Ferguson also co-star.  In advance of the new trailer, Cavill announced a new poster for the movie (above).

Here is the new trailer for Mission: Impossible – Fallout:

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In addition to the eagerly awaited first look at Solo: A Star Wars Story, today’s Super Bowl game included a look at Tom Cruise’s next go at the American version of the James Bond movies.  The sixth Mission: Impossible film, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, has Cruise returning as Ethan Hunt, along with regulars Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Alec Baldwin, plus some surprises.

Also look for appearances by Henry Cavill and Angela Bassett.  As with the past entries in the series, that’s Cruise performing many of his own stunts.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing a father with a prosthetic leg trying to save his family in Skyscraper, the next big action flick featuring the blockbuster star.  Johnson continues to pile up box office wins, most recently in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (reviewed here).

Have a look at new trailers for Mission: Impossible –  Fallout and Skyscraper:

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It’s been a long time since most audiences last saw Emilio Estevez.  For most fans the last film was 1993’s Judgment Night, where Estevez led a great cast that included Denis Leary in his big breakout year, Cuba Gooding, Jr. just after his stint in A Few Good Men, and Jeremy Piven first showing audiences that smarm charm we’d later see a whole lot more of in Entourage (if you haven’t seen Judgment Night, it’s a thriller worth seeing).  Usually a good guy and straight arrow, we’d also see him as suave and cocky as he became a household name and stayed that way for an entire decade, from 1982 to 1993.

Estevez starred in a memorable movies like Tex, The Outsiders, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Maximum Overdrive, Stakeout, Young Guns, Freejack, and The Mighty DucksHe then took the reins as writer, director, and actor twelve years ago in a lesser known film, a biopic of the Bobby Kennedy assassination called Bobby, and he’s finally back–performing the filmdom triple threat again in the independent drama The PublicThe first trailer for the film is out and it looks great.  A film chock full of genre greats, The Public will see Estevez exploring issues such as homelessness, mental illness, and drug addiction as a group of homeless people in downtown Cincinnati take shelter after hours in the public library when extreme winter conditions strike.  Who hasn’t asked the question, why some government program couldn’t be arranged to use a few public buildings after hours to help the homeless?

Estevez plays Stuart Goodson, the head librarian, Alec Baldwin (Mission: Impossible series, The Departed, Malice, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Hunt for Red October, Beetlejuice, Knots Landing) plays a crisis negotiator for the Cincinnati police department, Jena Malone (The Hunger Games series, Sucker Punch, Into the Wild, Pride & Prejudice, Donnie Darko, Ellen Foster) plays the assistant librarian, Jeffrey Wright (James Bond series, Westworld, The Good Dinosaur, Lady in the Water, Syriana, The Manchurian Candidate, Shaft, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Homicide) plays Mr. Anderson, Richard T. Jones (Event Horizon, Collateral, Phone Booth, Godzilla, Super 8, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Judging Amy) is Chief Edwards, Gabrielle Union (Deep Space Nine, Life, Night Stalker) plays a local reporter, Michael Kenneth Williams (Assassin’s Creed, Ghostbusters, Boardwalk Empire, RoboCop, Community, Law & Order, The Wire) plays a homeless man who leads the sit-in, Taylor Schilling (Argo, Orange is the New Black, Dark Matter) plays Angela, Christian Slater (Mr. ROBOT, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Young Guns II)  plays the assistant district attorney, and Jacob Vargas (Luke Cage, Medium, Psych, Burn Notice, Death Race, Flight of the Phoenix, Crimson Tide) is the head of security at the library.

Check out this trailer for Emilio Estevez’s The Public:

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Mission impossible scene

This weekend in theaters across the country you could see some exciting previews of coming movies, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Everest (as well as some that look like duds, which shall go unnamed).  One of the best was this behind the scenes look at Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation, which hits theaters this weekend.

The marketing folks for this fifth entry in the modern Mission: Impossible reboot series have been parading this poster of Tom Cruise hanging from the side of an airplane for months.  For any other movie we’d yawn and note it as another action sequence in what has really been a solid action series.  Each film has Cruise doing some physical maneuvers.  Who can forget Cruise in the 1996 original film, hanging by two cables as he hacks a CIA computer after lowering himself from a ventilation duct into a secure facility room from after bypassing a laser grid.

mission impossible 5 poster

But this movie has something different.

Check out this preview and behind the scenes look at Cruise’s airplane stunt.  (Trust us, it looks pretty incredible on the big screen):

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jack ryan shadow recruit poster

After Tom Clancy’s passing this week, fans of his biggest character, Jack Ryan, have been introduced to a new phase of the movie incarnations of his geopolitical thriller novels with this weekend’s release of the first trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  Last December we at borg.com listed Jack Ryan as one of the ten characters to watch in 2013, and we included Jack Ryan, the movie, as one of the 24 films we predicted would be worth seeing in 2013.

Since last year’s announcement of Chris Pine taking on the lead, the title was changed to add the subtitle Shadow Recruit, replacing the prior subtitle Shadow One (we think Hollywood really needs to work on their subtitles).  The role of Jack Ryan was, of course, first played by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October in 1990, followed by Harrison Ford in Patriot Games in 1992 and Clear and Present Danger in 1994.  Ben Affleck then played a younger Jack in the 2002 prequel film The Sum of All Fears.  All four of these movies were based on bestselling Clancy novels, The Hunt for Red October often being listed as one of the best thrillers of all time.  Likewise, The Hunt for Red October is one of the best, and most exciting, movies of all time, with Alec Baldwin’s performance still the standard for future Ryans to be measured against.

Costner and Pine in Jack Ryan

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Larry Hagman as Jr Ewing

With last night’s episode of the TV series Dallas on TNT, “The Furious and the Fast,” J.R. Ewing was shot while talking to his son on the telephone.  Shot again, that is.  And with the real-life passing of Larry Hagman eerily timed with this season’s wrap-up of J.R., there’s no bringing back J.R. this time around.  Viewers who watched Hagman play J.R. and Major Anthony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie among other series and movies, will say a final goodbye to both Hagman and J.R. with the funeral of J.R. in next Monday’s episode, “J.R.’s Masterpiece.”  The mayor of the city of Dallas, in real life, has declared next Monday “Larry Hagman Day.”

The reboot of Dallas has brought back many original actors from the 1978-1991 series, the most interesting of which is spin-off Knot’s Landing star Ted Shackleford returning as brother Gary Ewing in last night’s episode.  But along with Shackleford we’ve seen Patrick Duffy return as Bobby Ewing along with Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing and Brenda Strong as Ann Ewing, all as series leads.  Then they added the classic series’ antagonist Cliff Barnes, played by Ken Kercheval, as a major plot twist, and even Charlene Tilton returning as Lucy Ewing and Steve Kanaly as Ray Krebbs.  What other series could you do something like this with and actually pull it off? Magnum, P.I.?

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Green Arrow and Superman

If there is a constant as we look ahead to movie franchises and other entertainment properties in 2013, it is the sequel, spin-off, and remake.  We’re sure someone will provide new content and stories for us for movies and TV from entirely new characters and worlds in 2013, but just take a look at the 24 biggest genre movies coming out next year and it is obvious that Hollywood is following the “tried and true” model of investing in current properties rather than investing money in “the new”.

So with that in mind, what are the big characters to watch out for next year–the characters we already know that seem like they can only get bigger?

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan

10.  Jack Ryan.  Back in the 1980s and 1990s it seemed like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan was everywhere, first with Alec Baldwin taking on the role in The Hunt for Red October, then mega-star Harrison Ford in two sequels, followed by a big break and then Ben Affleck in the prequel Sum of All Fears.  With Star Trek star Chris Pine bringing us yet another prequel effort next December, we think a wide audience will come back again to see what this CIA agent has been up to.

Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine

9.  Wolverine.  I’ve always thought Wolverine should be Marvel Comics’ key property.  Spider-man always relied on Peter Parker (well, until recently) who seemed pretty planted in the psyche of the past.  The Avengers seemed too cartoony with characters with too little in common to really be a huge property (happily I was wrong!).  But Wolverine has a certain modern grittiness that readers, especially young readers, would seem to really attach to.  Audiences seem to like Hugh Jackman’s take on the character and his incredible fifth outing as Logan/Wolverine in July, titled The Wolverine should tell us if this will be the end of a big-screen Wolverine for a while or whether he will only get bigger.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

A strange thing happened.  I was watching Dallas on TV on a Friday night in 1991, then I fell asleep and it was 2012 and nothing had happened in between.  I flipped on the TV and the Dallas logo swiped across the TV screen.  Was it all a dream?

Quick pacing, conniving characters, a well-balanced cast of new actors, and only a well-tempered dose of nostalgia made Wednesday’s pilot for the new TNT TV series Dallas appear to be a real contender for viewers, 21 years after we last saw J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen at Southfork.

The battle again is over control of Southfork Ranch, left to be run by Bobby Ewing by family matriarch Miss Ellie (played in the original series by the late Barbara Bel Geddes, years after she acted alongside Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo).  Bobby is sick, and doesn’t want to die and leave son Christopher to spend his life fighting cousin John Ross for the property as he and brother J.R. once did.  John Ross has defied Miss Ellie’s directive and drilled and found a lucrative oil deposit on the land.  And what is left is an all out battle in the shadows by the darker elements to outwit Bobby and Christopher.

There are times when you ask yourself “did they wait a bit too long for this continuation of the series?”  Then Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing steps out of a depression induced stupor, like Rip Van Winkle or someone who has been in suspended animation since 1991, and even at 80 years old Hagman plays Ewing as conniving and slithery as ever, and you just know continuing this series is a good move.  Instead of ignoring the age factor of the few original cast members, the series embraces this–Bobby Ewing (played solidly again by Patrick Duffy) has cancer, J.R. suffers from depression.  In a brilliant twist, the walking disaster (made that way by husband J.R.) that was Sue Ellen of 21 years ago is now an exciting and progressive new Sue Ellen (played by Linda Gray), being primed to run for Texas governor.  Brenda Strong plays an even keeled and supportive Annie, trying to let husband Bobby be stalwart while befriending her new daughter-in-law.

J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen are not shoved aside any by the scheming new younger set.  What could have been another show rehashing vengeance stories like ABC’s Revenge, Bobby’s son Christopher and J.R.’s son John Ross, played by Jesse Metcalfe and Josh Henderson, respectively, do seem very young for their roles as a seasoned alternate energy wonk and would-be oil baron.  But even their youth is played up against the wisdom of the Ewing brothers with Bobby as the good mentor and J.R. as the old pro who has seen it all before.

And holding her own as far as scheming is concerned, new series star Jordana Brewster (formerly Chuck’s ex-girlfriend Jill on the TV series Chuck) plays Elena Ramos, a former girlfriend to Christopher who left him at the altar in a bit of a a misunderstanding right out of BBC’s As Time Goes By.  Elena is smart and carefully weighing her options as subplots unfold.  Her role is a bit of an archetype for revenge stories, the Cinderella, or daughter of the maid who sat by and wished she were one of the members of the family who owns the estate she grew up on.  Christopher’s new wife Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) at first appeared a weak throwaway character, but by the second hour of the series premiere night we learned she will be another force to be reckoned with in the series, as part of a con game with her brother.

And then there’s the big double cross–the element that made the original series survive 14 seasons, between 1978 and 1991.  J.R. is plotting with a friend’s daughter to take back Southfork when Bobby puts it up for sale.  Meanwhile son John Ross is making the same play.  And all the young women have their own plans for taking the Ewing wealth.

Can the new generation of good folk (Christopher) and bad (John Ross & Co.) outwit the hardened, tried and true original series characters to take over the billions in wealth at stake?  Will one of the Bushes make an appearance?  Will we see any Saudi oil baron plots?  The world in 2012 is very different than 1978, yet much is shared–bad economy, international strife, battles over cheaper energy–you could envision several concepts Dallas’s writers can explore.  Will we get to see Ken Kerchival reprise his role as Cliff Barnes?  Victoria Principal as Pamela Barnes?  Priscilla Presley as Jenna Wade?  Audrey Landers?  Jenilee Harrison?  How about cast from the spin-off Knot’s Landing, like Joan Van Ark or Ted Shackleford?  Recall one of the best episode arcs on that series featured a young Alec Baldwin.  Of course, he was killed, but if the original Dallas was known for anything it was that year that Bobby died, that ended up being just a dream.  So bring on Alec Baldwin!

The negatives of the series opener are few.  John Ross’s strange dialogue seems odd for a modern rich kid in Dallas, even one who worked the ranch.  Everyone must say the name aloud of the person they are speaking with in every scene.  Real people don’t do this.  Try it.  Walk around the office or your home all day and count how many times people call you by name other than when they are trying to get your attention.  I can’t decide if I like the grandiose gesture at the end of the pilot episode–John Ross meets his conspirator on the 50 yard line at the Dallas Cowboys football stadium.  It certainly illustrates that Dallas has designs to be as big as Texas.  Do you need to have seen the original series to jump into this new series?  I don’t think so, although the characters’ motivations probably make more sense if you had seen the original.  Things like the fact that J.R. was once shot by Kristin Shepard (yes, the answer to the big question “Who shot J.R.?”), Shepard was played by Bing Crosby’s daughter Mary, and is the real mother of Bobby’s adopted son Christopher.

One more thing.  The original Dallas theme song is a great tune with powerful brass, but the new arrangement feels somewhat lackluster in comparison (I actually had to crank up the volume to get the right vibe).  It’s incredible how such a song gets stuck in your head so many years later.

But these “negatives” amount to nothing.  Episodes 1 and 2 were engaging enough to add this to the ongoing watch list.  Bobby and J.R.’s dialogue is pretty much perfect and consistent with their characters of decades ago.  Keep an eye out for an appearance by Charlene Tilton, reprising her role as Lucy Ewing Cooper.