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Tag Archive: Daniel Mays


Castle Frankenstein 2015

As to sheer volume of remakes, via books, film, or other media, Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein have gone head to head for decades.  Why not another remake of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the original seed of the science fiction genre and the original cyborg?  Our only question is: Why wait for Thanksgiving when it is such an obvious draw for the box office at Halloween?

The latest incarnation, the big screen’s Victor Frankenstein, stars X-Men’s James McAvoy as the Doctor opposite Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe as assistant Igor.  It’s directed by frequent BBC Sherlock director Paul McGuigan.  From the first trailer released this week, this new film has all the requirements of the Gothic horror tale–a slightly mad doctor, his quirky minion, some steampunk techno-machinery, a creepy castle, storms and lightning, and, of course, the Doctor’s latest creation.

It must be better than last year’s I, Frankenstein, right?

victor-frankenstein-uk-poster

No doubt the most fun likely will be the banter between the popular British leads.  check out this first trailer for Victor Frankenstein:

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Star Wars Episode VII photo

We’ve just wound down another year of big movies–from Captain America: The Winter Soldier to X-Men: Days of Future Past to Guardians of the Galaxy to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. So what’s on the radar at borg.com for 2015? We think you’ll want to see several of these big sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, and action flicks coming to a screen near you next year.

Vice movie poster Bruce Willis

Vice – Jan. 16 – The next in a long line of Bruce Willis action flicks.  This time it’s a sci-fi story about a future resort where humans freely pursue their vices–with artificial humans.

Wild Card movie poster

Wild Card – Jan. 30 – A story based on a novel by Academy Award winning writer William Goldman, starring Jason Statham as a gambler.

Kingsman movie poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service – Feb. 13 – This Colin Firth as spy action flick will tell us once and for all whether Firth would be a good choice to play James Bond.  With an all-star cast including Mark Hamill, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Chappie movie poster A

Chappie – March 6 – Neill Blomkamp’s latest science fiction entry.  A Pinocchio story where a robot learns to live among humans.

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Treasure Island banner

Review by C.J. Bunce

When you think of movie titles that immediately throw you into the action of classic favorites, you might think of something like Star Wars.  Originally to be titled The Star Wars, before the movie actually hit theaters this seemed like a pretty blah name.  Wars.  In the stars.  Got it.  But the movie surpassed its very simple title.  What did the reading public first think back in 1881 about a new serialized tale called Treasure Island?  Treasure.  On an island.  Got it.

Turns out, the original title for Treasure Island honed in on the key character of the story, the pirate Long John Silver, with the title The Sea-Cook.  Probably not as catchy then or now, but certainly a great idea for a character by one of the best adventure writers of all time, which has been used as a key element in modern adventures, from Steven Segal’s hero in Under Siege to the spy in Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October.

Wood and Izzard

In contention for the best Treasure Island adaptation in more than a century of adaptations is the 2012 British production starring Eddie Izzard as the famous pirate.  It’s saying a lot, considering competition like the 1934 Lionel Barrymore/Jackie Cooper black and white classic and the surprisingly good 1996 film Muppet Treasure Island (which Philip Glenister notes as inspiration for his performance in the DVD/Blu-ray special features) starring the always superb Tim Curry.  It’s not a stretch to see the cutting edge Izzard taking on the same roles Curry would be cast in.  Izzard has been featured in a groundbreaking catalog of productions, serving as the star of the TV series The Riches and now appearing in Hannibal, and on the big screen in Mystery Men, Shadow of the Vampire, Ocean’s Twelve/Ocean’s Thirteen, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Igor, and Valkyrie.

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Matt Smith as 11th Doctor

BBC announced yesterday that Matt Smith’s last episode as the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who, the oldest series on television, will be this year’s Christmas episode to air on Christmas Eve.  He’ll also appear in the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who episode this fall.  For those of us who never would have given Doctor Who a try but for Matt Smith, he will be sorely missed.  Without Matt Smith’s energetic and brilliant performances, we wouldn’t have seen how awesome David Tennant was as the 10th Doctor, met Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor and his long-running companion Rose, or checked out the numerous audio books, or even peeked at those earlier “other” Doctors.

But just as we quickly have embraced his new companion with Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara (Amy Pond who?) after we thought we’d met the best companion ever, life goes on and so will the Doctor’s next incarnation as he takes the form of another actor… or actress?

So who should be the next Doctor?  Matt Smith has given us some brilliant performances.  If you aren’t a Doctor Who fan and wanted to sample some of the best of Matt Smith’s Doctor, try these:

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour.  We meet Matt Smith’s Doctor for the first time as he must save the world in 20 minutes with a wrecked TARDIS and broken sonic screwdriver and with the help of Amy Pond–the girl who waited.

The Beast Below

The Beast Below.  The Doctor and Amy travel to a future where residents live on a spaceship called Starship UK.  We meet a future Queen and learn the terrible truth about what keeps the ship–and all its inhabitants–alive.

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Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

With a few spoilers, (said in the voice of River Song).

Well, huh.  I’m not sure where to start with a review of “Let’s Kill Hitler” and “Night Terrors,” the two new Doctor Who episodes delivered to U.S. viewers this week.  Perhaps it would be easier to start with “Terrors” and work our way backward.

“Night Terrors” is a classic one-off episode of the “monster of the week” type, featuring the fears of a little boy made terrifyingly  manifest, as his creepy toys, neighbors, and worrisome apartment-complex noises nearly kill off Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill).  Although we (and The Doctor) are drawn in by young George’s plight and plea (“Please come save me from the monsters!”), the real pathos of this episode was provided by Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes), in a convincing turn as the boy’s desperate and frustrated father, unable to comfort his pantophobic son (pantophobia being, as we know from A Charlie Brown Christmas, the fear of everything… not just pants).  It’s always fun to watch Amy and Rory tackle danger together–whether facing down interstellar child abductors or fleeing oversized dollhouse denizens come to life (or cracking elevator jokes that nod to Mays’s Ashes to Ashes past)–but this story as a whole feels familiar:  We’ve seen Matt Smith’s Doctor comfort children terrified by the monsters under (or behind) their beds before, and “Night Terrors” is nothing new.  And the child in this case has none of young Amelia Pond’s charisma, nor even the chance to develop any, upstaged as he is by his father’s role in the story.  All in all, an entertaining if lightweight entry into the Smith/Moffat catalogue.

“Let’s Kill Hitler,” however… wow.  Where to begin?  Capturing much of the frenetic energy from “A Good Man Goes to War,” the episode starts off breathlessly and doesn’t let up, firing a dizzying barrage of revelations at the viewer.  We learn, finally, Everything about River Song.  After the years of teasing and the season of setup, Now We Know.

But do we care?  That’s another question altogether.  I don’t feel satisfied by this episode, the way I did after “A Good Man.”      There’s something faintly baffling about the resolution of all the mysteries surrounding River’s past, and something definitely missing from Amy and Rory’s emotional arc.  They’ve lost their child!  I don’t care if they hardly had time to get used to the idea of being parents–let alone River Song’s parents–they’ve still had part of their hearts ripped out, and we should see that.  Everyone in this cast is capable of the emotions the events of “Good Man” should naturally have engendered, and as a viewer, I feel cheated that we didn’t get to see any of that.  There were no consequences to anything we saw last spring, and that depresses me.

To be sure, as a vehicle for Kingston, it was a success–her performance is stellar and delightful, and she proves she’s absolutely up for whatever Moffat throws at her.  But, again, I’m left unsettled by the development of a character we’ve come to love.  Yes, we’ve been prepared to see her criminal past since her second appearance (“Time of Angels”/”Flesh and Stone”), but this still didn’t feel like the River we know.  And as a viewer now invested in the drama of young Melody/River’s mysterious upbringing in the Gamma Forest, seeing her instead as a childhood mate of Amy and Rory was a weird letdown.  It was over too soon.  All that marvelous setup and worldbuilding was so full of fantastic potential, and it all just fell flat.  Even the title felt like a cheat–the blithe declaration, “Let’s Kill Hitler!” becomes nothing more than a comedic red herring to a rush job to finish off the River Song storyline.

It’s too bad, really.  It wasn’t necessary to give this sort of ammunition to the Smith/Moffat naysayers.  The show has proven it can do so much more–deeper, farther-reaching storylines that play all the right emotional notes while constantly surprising and delighting the viewers.  To seemingly wash their hands of such a promising storyline–one we’ve been primed to anticipate for three and a half years–makes me wonder if the show’s creators are getting bored with their own creations.  And that bodes ill for all of us.

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