Tag Archive: Best of 2021


 

Even creator Philip K. Dick would be impressed with the futurism and dark beauty of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll’s 2021 Japanese and American half-hour anime series Blade Runner: Black Lotus Is the mysterious drifter Elle a young woman with amnesia or a new type of replicant that can fool the Voight-Kampff test?  What does it mean to be an android or cyborg with feelings and memories?  Those were the questions asked in the series, and this summer the story continues in Titan Comics’ new monthly comic book, Blade Runner: Black Lotus.  Get your first look at the covers for the first issue, a look inside, and a peek at Issue #2 below.

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Just because Netflix canceled after only one season 2021’s best sci-fi TV series, best western TV series, best space fantasy series, best retro fix, with the best TV soundtrack, best costumes, best actors and guest stars, and best borg on TV, doesn’t mean we can’t keep reliving the fantastic live-action reboot/homage series Cowboy Bebop One more way we’re going to do that is with Cowboy Bebop: Making the Netflix Series, coming next month from Titan Books.  It’s the official companion book to the Netflix TV series featuring concept art, sketches, behind-the-scenes photography and interviews with the cast and production crew.  Check out a preview below, courtesy of the publisher.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Writer-director David Koepp knows how to make a good movie.  He’s written the scripts for Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park, for Raimi’s original Spider-Man, for De Palma’s Mission: Impossible, and the list goes on, to include some horror work.  In You Should Have Left, Koepp adapts German writer Daniel Kehlmann’s novel of the same name.  The film is from Blumhouse, which lately has produced horror that is less slasher and more appealing to mainstream viewers.  You Should Have Left is a pulse-pounding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and barely earns its R rating.  It also proves you don’t need a big cast and big budget to make a fantastic movie.  You Should Have Left, a 2020 sleeper you probably overlooked, is streaming now on the free Peacock app.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Last year’s premiere season of the All Creatures Great and Small rated in our borg Top 10 television series of the past decade as well as scoring as best drama, best new series, and best British series in our year-end review of 2021.  The charming, funny, historical drama is back in the States with its second season, now airing weekly on PBS Masterpiece.  After the lovely Helen called off her wedding to Hugh–following a night stranded with #2 town veterinarian James–in last year’s Christmas season finale, what direction will the series take viewers next?  Luckily the show’s writers don’t miss a beat, settling right back in as James returns from a visit back home, back to plenty of work.  For those that missed the first season, now is a good time to jump aboard.  Don’t think this will be a short-lived series–it’s so good a third and fourth season are already locked in.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The new Saurian travel simulator tie-in companion book Saurian: A Field Guide to Hell Creek is a combination of several great things.  It’s a non-fiction trip to a sort-of Jurassic Park.  It’s time travel–the kind Ray Bradbury wrote about in The Sound of Thunder, where you are transported back to the last years of Earth’s dinosaurs, specifically those found at the Hell Creek formation in South Dakota.  And it’s a true naturalist’s field guide, imagining that you are onsite, observing an ancient ecosystem firsthand.  Since we can’t actually do that, it relies on the next best thing: the results of research from published science from the current leading paleontologists.  If you have ever loved exploring the possibilities of the past posed by dinosaurs, this book is for you.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I reviewed the movie on its opening weekend in October here at borg.  The movie is a true triumph for fans of director John Carpenter.  Of the ten (yep, ten) prior sequels to the 1978 original that set off an entire genre of movies, Halloween Kills is the most faithful to the original story.  On the screen it was great fun seeing Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her starring role as 1970s survivor Laurie Strode, along with  actors like Charles Cyphers back as the sheriff, Nancy Stevens as the doctor’s assistant, and Kyle Richards as the grown-up little girl.  In Halloween Kills: The Official Movie Novelization, author Tim Waggoner digs into this great story, amplifying the characterization, and making everything that flashed quickly past the movie audience have deeper implications.  He digs into the timeline of events in 1978 as the modern-day return is revealed moment by moment on that single day in 2018 that is spread over this final trilogy of movies.  You’ll be hard pressed to read a better horror tale or movie novelization this year.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I’d wager even story creator Philip K. Dick would be impressed with the futurism and dark beauty of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll’s new Japanese and American half-hour animated series Blade Runner: Black Lotus Is the mysterious drifter Elle a young woman with amnesia or a new type of replicant that can fool the Voight-Kampff test?  What does it mean to be an android or cyborg with feelings and memories?  Those are the questions asked in the first five episodes of the excellent new series, now streaming on Adult Swim and the Adult Swim app.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The new Netflix series Cowboy Bebop, an adaptation of the 1999-2001 anime series, is so good, so well-written, so jazz-filled, stylish, cool, and sexy that you won’t deny it’s the best streaming series yet.  It’s not only the best science fiction series in years, but also solid noir, solid space Western, peppered with martial arts action.  If you loved the space life of Firefly, the dark future Earth noir of Altered Carbon and Blade Runner, and the lived-in future realism of Alien and Outland, you’re in for some great television.  Funny dialogue, actors inhabiting their characters, cool noir vibe, the drudgery of life as a space pilot and exploits of a space bounty hunter.  It’s as good as TV gets.  It’s as good as sci-fi and space westerns get.

But what’s the best part?  The music?  The style?  The characters?  The lived-in sci-fi world?  The dog?  Or the year’s coolest borg character?

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Jungle-Cruise-Movie-Trailer-Dwayne-Johnson-Emily-Blunt

Review by C.J. Bunce

Some movies are exactly as advertised.  Count Jungle Cruise in that category.  And yet–it’s bigger and bolder and braver than you might have guessed from its trailers.  Comparisons to the likes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean, Romancing the Stone, and African Queen are all completely warranted.  Jungle Cruise is a big, sweeping adventure–and visual amusement park ride–that draws out the best of stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.  First previewed in autumn 2019, it’s another pandemic delay that has the scope and spectacle that would have made it the perfect box office hit in a normal year.  But at least now audiences can see what they’ve been missing as Jungle Cruise arrived this past weekend on the Disney Plus streaming service.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

As much as any movie has been able to keep its secrets in the past few years, it’s hard to beat the surprises in the epic fantasy film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first film of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe without an Avengers headliner.  And when I say fantasy, I mean it–it’s got it all, a combination of the magical realm of Doctor Strange, the ancient, secret country hidden from the rest of the world like Black Panther, a mix of Asian lore, Shakespearean family squabbles (including a famous, Oscar-winning Shakespearean actor), and a plot–and dragons–right out of The Lord of the Rings (after all, Ten Rings are better than One Ring, right?).  It has action, it has ties to the old and new, and, thanks to co-star Awkwafina, it’s the laugh-out-loud funniest of all the Marvel movies.  And it’s finally arrived on Disney+ so mass audiences still staying away from movie theaters finally have a chance to see what they missed.

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