Tag Archive: JK Simmons


Rogue One clip

Our annual “All the Movies You’ll Want to See…” series has been one of the most viewed of all of our entries at borg.com each year.  So this year we again scoured Hollywood and its publicity machine for as many genre films coming out in 2016 as have been disclosed.  Usually we select the 24 that look like the biggest hits, but we’re going all out for 2016.  The result is a whopping 48 movies, many you’ll probably want to see in the theater or catch on video.  We bet you’ll find a bunch below you’ve never heard of.  Bookmark this now for your 2016 calendar!

Most coming out in the second half of 2016 don’t even have posters released yet, but many do.  We’ve included descriptions and key cast so you can start planning accordingly.

Star Trek Beyond clip

What do we think will be the biggest hits of the year?  How about Star Wars: Rogue One?  Or Star Trek Beyond?  You’ve heard endlessly about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but 2016 will also see Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse.  There’s even a handful of Westerns, with The Hateful 8, Jane Got a Gun, and another remake of The Magnificent Seven heading our way.

01 Hateful Eight poster

The Hateful Eight – January 1

Tarentino’s Western!  Ennio Morricone score!  Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Channing Tatum!

5WV_1SHT_TSR_05.indd

The 5th Wave – January 8

Chloe Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber in an alien invasion.

03 400 days poster

400 Days – January 12

The CW’s Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, and Tom Cavanaugh in a movie about astronauts that seems to be a play on Ender’s Game.

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Arnold Terminator Genisys

Few sci-fi films are as revered as James Cameron’s Terminator and Terminator II: Judgment Day. Judgment Day is regarded by many as one of the greatest sequels to any movie ever made.  Both films made American Film Institute lists and are the kind of movies we can watch hundreds of times and still keep enjoying them.  Two sequels followed, no longer under the direction of Cameron, Terminator III: Rise of the Machines, a worthy but lesser sequel reviewed at borg.com here, and the far, far lesser Terminator: Salvation.  So coming into the fourth sequel this past summer with the opening of director Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys, expectations by many were low.  But fans of sci-fi and borgs knew a winner when they saw it.

Somehow Terminator Genisys manages to be not only good, but great, and not only that, it manages to equal the punch and excitement of both Terminator and Terminator II.  A pretty big feat that holds its own even off the big screen on the newly released 3D Blu-ray, DVD, and Ultraviolet releases available this month.

Terminator Genisys cast

That’s right, if you love the universe of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sometimes villain, sometimes hero Terminator T-800, you’re going to love this film, which is not only loyal to James Cameron’s originals, it flat-out amps up the sci-fi and takes every element that made the earlier films great and expands them into new, exciting places.  This includes time travel, big action, story twists, casting, acting, and all the cybernetic tech you could hope for.  Adhering to a carefully laid out plan covering two parallel timelines (that we know of), we revisit the first Terminator trip to 1984 and learn about two other time jumps that illustrate Kyle Reese’s important line from the first movie: “The future is not set.  There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”   In fact in Reese’s first conversation with Sarah he made the same point, calling her future “one possible future.”  These seeds planted in the original allow this new story to take off.

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Arnold Terminator Genisys

Review by C.J. Bunce

Few sci-fi films are as revered as James Cameron’s Terminator and Terminator II: Judgment Day.  Judgment Day is regarded by many as one of the greatest sequels to any movie ever made.  Both films made American Film Institute lists and are the kind of movies we can watch hundreds of times and still keep enjoying them.  Two sequels followed, no longer under the direction of Cameron, Terminator III: Rise of the Machines, a worthy but lesser sequel reviewed at borg.com here, and the far, far lesser Terminator: Salvation.  So coming into the fourth sequel this weekend with the opening of director Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys, expectations by many were low.  So against that backdrop, and countless bashings by both national film critics and time travel aficionados, how really is this sequel?

Somehow Terminator Genisys manages to be not only good, but great, and not only that, it manages to equal the punch and excitement of both Terminator and Terminator II.

Terminator Genisys cast

That’s right, if you love the universe of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sometimes villain, sometimes hero Terminator T-800, you’re going to love this film, which is not only loyal to James Cameron’s originals, it flat-out amps up the sci-fi and takes every element that made the earlier films great and expands them into new, exciting places.  This includes time travel, big action, story twists, casting, acting, and all the cybernetic tech you could hope for.  Adhering to a carefully laid out plan covering two parallel timelines (that we know of), we revisit the first Terminator trip to 1984 and learn about two other time jumps that illustrate Kyle Reese’s important line from the first movie:  “The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”  In fact in Reese’s first conversation with Sarah he made the same point, calling her future “one possible future.”  These seeds planted in the original allow this new story to take off.

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Arnold - he is back

Is this year of the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Not just a Has-Been, but a Still-Is?  Sure, we saw him re-enter the acting arena full-time after retiring from politics with four cool action flicks–The Last Stand, Escape Plan, Sabotage, and The Expendables 3–but nothing compares to what is coming in two weeks.  With a new Terminator movie that looks every bit as good as the first two, could this mean a return for Arnold to Predator?  And how can we possibly wait any longer to see him as Conan the King in The Legend of Conan?

If you have any doubt that he still has “It,” check out the newly released clip below from the Fourth of July weekend release Terminator Genisys.  If this isn’t what summer blockbusters are about, then what are they about?  The clip has our favorite Oscar winner J.K. Simmons in prime form.  And what actress is bigger right now than Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke?  And that’s The Returned’s Sandrine Holt morphing into John Connor.

Terminator Genisys new poster

But then Arnold goes all out for a charity this week posing as himself as Terminator, pranking guests at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

Here’s the new clip from Terminator Genisys:

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Feast Oscar winner Disney Osborne

Strange how you can be completely in sync each year with the supporting acting categories and the “other” categories at the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and walk away from the Oscars scratching your head over the rest of the wins.  Highlights of the night were those TV-actors-turned-movie-actors-turned-Oscar-winners J.K. Simmons (Skoda!  Chief Pope!) and Patricia Arquette (Alison Dubois!) getting their wins, long-time working actors who have paid their dues and finally got recognized for it.  And I admit I love not being in sync with the Academy each year, and never as much so to their selection of Birdman as winner for this year’s Best Picture, a positively abysmal, unwatchable flick that rested on the acting of Michael Keaton, who the Academy snubbed.  Go figure.  But Hollywood likes to pat itself on the back for its own idiosyncracies so it’s no surprise they did it again (full disclosure: I hated A Chorus Line, too).  You can see how I really feel in my earlier review at borg.com here.

It was another ceremony of young presenters you’ve never heard of all showing their deer-in-the-headlights inexperience with public speaking, making you wonder just how many takes directors had to slog through this year to get anything out of them worth putting onscreen.  (More polished presenters next year like Zoe Saldana, Dwayne Johnson, and Eddie Murphy, please).  When was the last good year of Oscars anyway?  2013.  Contrast this year’s films with the films of 2012 and the corresponding winners at the 2013 Oscars ceremony (Argo, Brave, Skyfall, Django Unchained, Les Miserables all took home at least one statue) and this year seemed pretty shabby by comparison.

Feast poster 2015 Disney

But all is not lost.  Take a look at the winner for Best Animated Short Film, Feast.  It’s from Disney, which can be good or bad, but this time their short film harkened back to some of the best of the classic cartoons produced by the studio.  It’s a love triangle about a little dog, his love of food, and his owner.  It’s full of solid artistry, great animation, humor, action, and best of all–heart.  And you can (and should) watch it now via Amazon Prime or the link below, after the break, via YouTube (a deal at only $1.99).

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Terminator Genisys poster

Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger promised in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he’s ba-ack, starring in another Terminator film.  It’s the fifth movie in the series: Terminator Genisys, and yesterday Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures released a teaser for a trailer to be released later today.

The studios also released a digital poster showing Arnold’s famous cyborg, and you can watch it here:

Arnold’s Terminator has the rare distinction of being on both the American Film Institute’s Best Villains (for Terminator) and Best Heroes lists (for Terminator 2).

Busy as the Governator of California, other than brief glimpses of his image as the chiseled cyborg, Schwarzenegger did not make appearances in either Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), or the fourth film, starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, Terminator Salvation (2009).

Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor

Okay, maybe Emilia Clarke does look a bit like a young Linda Hamilton.

Terminator: Genisys has an impressive list of genre actors in addition to Arnold:  Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Jason Clarke, Jack Reacher’s Jai Courtney, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, RED 2 and G.I. Joe’s Byung-hun Lee, The Hunt for Red October’s Courtney B. Vance, and Law and Order and Spider-man’s J.K. Simmons.

After the break check out the teaser for Terminator: Genisys:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the top 10 of superhero films, the original Sam Raimi Spider-man movies likely would not make the cut.  The first in 2002 was too preachy with it’s in-your-face “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra.  Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker seemed to have fun in the role, but the story was light compared to other superhero films.  The best feature was Willem Dafoe as a superb villain playing the Green Goblin.  I know many oohed and ahhed over the original cinematic web swinging across the city, but in hindsight it doesn’t really compare to Christopher Reeve’s Superman simply flying, Chris Evans’ flame-on as the Human Torch, or Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man test driving his armor.

The second Spider-man was flat with solid character actor Alfred Molina doing his best as the bizarre villain Doc Ock.  The complete lack of chemistry between Tobey Maguire’s Peter and Kirstin Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson caused me to pass on Spidey 3.  Ultimately the original Spider-man efforts lacked heart and a triumphant spirit.  Supposedly the only reason for a fourth Spider-man film was Sony’s obligation to churn out a film in the franchise or lose the opportunity and money.  Switching away from Raimi and Maguire was also supposedly about money.

So is there any reason to see a reboot origin story in The Amazing Spider-man only ten years after the first origin story in Spider-man?  It probably depends on whether you have anything better to do on the Fourth of July.  It would be easy to pass on this one except for the fact that there were a lot worse movies this past year, and this Spider-man definitely has fun moments and not even one groaner that makes you wish you stayed home.  It’s maybe not “amazing,” but it’s good fun.  The new Amazing Spider-man took some real thought to create, learned from mistakes of past superhero movies, and thereby nudges out the original.  Leaning in favor of this film first and foremost is the supporting cast.

The standout performance of The Amazing Spider-man is Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.  Stone showed her potential for a lead role in Superbad and here she plays a very real, believable character as Parker’s friend and target of his affection.  Stone and young Brit actor Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker have a spark.  Their conversations are slightly silly (in a good way) when they are not talking serious science or in the process of saving New York City.  Stone’s career is ready to take off.

As Dr. Curt Connors, Welsh actor Rhys Ifans plays what would normally be a supervillain, in a typical superhero movie.  But here, Dr. Connors genuinely has a valid scientific goal.  He genuinely supports the work in his lab, which includes Gwen Stacy, and seems to really feel remorse for never contacting Peter after Connors’ partner (and Parker’s dad) died (or went missing).  His own act that turns him into a giant lizard menace is an attempt to prevent lab owner Osborn’s goon from using veterans as test subjects.  As a sort of Mr. Hyde (as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) Connors is not in control of his actions, and therefore is more sympathetic than the average superhero flick antagonist.  Rhys Ifans played Luna Lovegood’s desperate dad in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, and Hugh Grant’s hilarious roommate in Notting Hill.  Here he has established a great voice and presence, someone who could take over the parts once given to David Warner or Alan Rickman and is an actor to keep a watch for.

Instead of being a one-note “girlfriend’s dad” Denis Leary plays police chief and Gwen’s dad as protective and savvy but also smart enough to know when a crazy story he’s being told may actually be true.  How many movies have taken this role into a routine “daddy doesn’t know best” place?  Parker’s own dad is solidly played, albeit for little screen time, by Campbell Scott (Royal Pains, Dead Again), who seems to only get better over the years with each new role.  Martin Sheen and Sally Field lend a bit of classic Hollywood nostalgia and authenticity to the picture as Parker’s aunt and uncle.  A surprise, slightly bigger than a cameo role, was C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy Curtis from The Outsiders) as a crane worker who helps save the day for Parker.  The only missing classic Spidey element was Parker as newspaper photographer and more specifically JK Simmons’ feisty performance as his editor, J. Jonah Jameson.  And Spidey creator Stan Lee has his own Marvel cameo as you’d expect.

We all know that Peter Parker is a nerdy kid who gets bullied.  He is physically always a weaker kid, then after he gets bitten by a spider and possesses amazing spider senses he gets to have the scene where he confronts the bully.  In Superman 2,Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent doesn’t make the bully bleed so much as make him regret his bullying of Kent earlier in the story.  Garfield’s Parker is even less vindictive, choosing instead to poke fun of basketball star Flash in front of Flash’s friends.  A nice move that helps establish this Parker’s good guy character.  Andrew Garfield is more bumbling, a little more modern dark hero like Anakin Skywalker as compared to the 1960s clean-cut boy-next-door Peter Parker.

At times Garfield’s Parker seems a little too real–a struggling teen who in real life probably needs someone to tell him to “get with it.”  He’s not a typical actor for a part like this, and yet, Peter Parker is not the typical superhero.  His performance doesn’t dazzle, but he fills the shoes very well.  Do we care whether the web comes from his hands or techno-gadgetry?  Probably not.  Are the best action scenes someone else in costume with Garfield voiceovers?  Probably.  Had this been the first Spider-man film, we all might be more excited about this Peter Parker.  Because of the many stunts and CGI, you wonder how much screentime Garfield gets in the supersuit.  The end credits state that the suit was “manufactured by” Cirque de Soleil, which makes you think maybe there is more stunt trapeze-type swinging than CGI.  Either way, the Spidey swinging takes the roller coaster ride of Spidey’s movements to a fun, new level.  And a focus more on spider abilities and creative web use surpasses the use of this key Spidey element as compared to the earlier movies.

The original Spider-man story is known by everyone.  Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, then he gets these powers.  The Amazing Spider-man now has a combination of  classic sci-fi story elements not found in the source material, with warnings of playing with science as a bit of The Fly meeting Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Jurassic Park.  There is, or may one day be, a downside for Parker’s newfound powers, for playing with and expanding the realm of science, which may be fleshed out in later films.  And Parker doesn’t try to get rid of his powers as other superheroes in their origins.  He uses them for fun until he becomes wise enough to use them for good purposes.  An odd mid-end credit snippet shows a cloaked Osborn speaking with an imprisoned Dr. Connors, suggesting a return of Green Goblin in a fifth Spider-man film.  Based on this week’s box office, no doubt that sequel will be coming along in the next few years and we’ll soon enough be comparing it to Spider-man 2.

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

For the past 6 seasons TNT’s The Closer has consistently been one of the strongest dramas in Prime Time.  With its inexplicable mix of graphic violence, quirky and lovable characters, and domestic chaos, the show delivers its own original brand of police procedural whodunnit.  Led by Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson, the entertaining ensemble cast keeps viewers tuning in weekly every summer.  Now The Closer’s last season has begun, with typical solid writing and performances. 

“Unknown Trouble” follows a mass murder in a rap music label-owned LA mansion.  Real-life rapper Reason’s music provides the undeniably catchy baseline for the whole episode–both literally and metaphorically.  But the real reason we tune in is for the drama of Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson’s personal and professional life.  And “Unknown Trouble” delivers here as well.  Within the first 20 minutes, the Major Crimes squad is plunged into organizational chaos and a wrongful death lawsuit, both of which had me fairly bubbling over with rampant speculation over what’s to come in the next 20 episodes (10 into fall, 5 winter and 6 next summer)–and beyond.

Because although Season 7 may be The Closer’s and Sedgwick’s last, it was released today that much of the cast has signed on for a Major Crimes spinoff to begin where The Closer finale leaves off.  This is happy news indeed, as I have begun to tire of Brenda’s constant angst, but knew I’d miss Flynn, Provenza, Sanchez, Tau, Gabriel and Buzz.  What could be better?  But 20 episodes is a lot of room to send off the current crew.  And lots of questions to answer–Where will Chief Pope (JK Simmons, Spider-man, Law and Order) end up?  Will Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica) lead the squad?  Can Fritz (Jon Tenney, Green Lantern) and Joel continue living with Brenda?  Looks like plenty of The Closer entertainment to keep us watching through next year.

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