Tag Archive: Joel Kinnaman


Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a fantastic sci-fi series with a stellar cast and a story and production values that rival the original Blade Runner and its 2017 sequel: Altered Carbon is based on Richard K. Morgan’s novel of the same name, a story about Takeshi Kovacs, a future soldier in a world where science has developed a hard drive called a “stack” that is implanted in humans’ necks, allowing our memories to be uploaded to storage and replanted over and over so they seemingly can live forever, even in new bodies.  That conceit allows Kovacs and other characters to be played by any number of actors, which could allow the series to run forever much as Doctor Who’s regeneration mechanism allows replacement Doctors.  Originally launched on Netflix in 2018, Altered Carbon has been extended for a second season, with filming underway last year, and viewers should expected a second season trailer and 2020 air date any day.  Which means fans of the Syd Mead, Ridley Scott, and Philip K. Dick brand of futurism, and all things borg, should catch up on the first season now.  What does it mean to be human, and how much can you shed away and replace with technology and still retain the “self”?  Altered Carbon tackles the philosophical questions The Matrix film series tried to answer.

Kovacs, played by several actors (more on that below), is a 300-year-old soldier.  As a seasoned fighter 250 years ago he was the last of a mercenary group called the Envoys, leading a rebellion against the new world order.  Kovacs’s stack is shelved for the intervening 250 years until one of the wealthiest men alive, Laurens Bancroft, played by James Purefoy (an actor who has been runner up for the James Bond film roles and appeared in A Knight’s Tale and The Following), buys his stack and puts it in a new body or “sleeve,” giving Kovacs the opportunity to live anew if he agrees to find Bancroft’s killer.  This is a bleak world, filled with virtual reality and virtual sex, body swapping and trafficking, and the kind of tech noir, bleak, dystopian realm seen in Strange Days, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Ready Player One, The Running Man, Brazil, Total Recall, with the violence of A Clockwork Orange, but maybe not so hopeless as in Elysium, Mad Max, Gattaca, Terminator, and Dredd.  

The series, which has a slow start and doesn’t kick into high gear until the second episode, also has the John Carpenter Escape from New York vibe but with Blade Runner visuals and effects, plus the creative elements of Total Recall that made for some unexpected surprises.  Altered Carbon is a close match to RoboCop as future science and technology goes, so it’s easy to see why the casting agents brought along RoboCop remake star Joel Kinnaman as Kovacs’ primary sleeve in the first season.  This sleeve was last owned by a cop killed in duty named Ryker.  Ryker’s partner, Kristin Ortega, played by Mexican actress Martha Higareda (McFarland USA, Royal Pains), takes on the role of the season’s co-lead, struggling as she sees her old partner’s body and acting to protect his sleeve, trying to solve the murder of Bancroft, and uncovering the bad cops in the bureau.  Ortega is a badass character in a small package who gets in and out of several fights that would take down anyone else in any other story, and she is the high point of the series–at one point an incident results in a loss of an arm, soon replaced by a powerful cybernetic arm.  An interesting twist is that her family are Catholics, and in this future Catholics don’t believe in the stacks, which means once they die they are dead forever.  This sets up one of the more interesting plot threads.  If it seems like the series has a lot going on, that’s because it does. But it all comes together in a satisfying way in the final episodes.

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Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look forward at what movies should be on your radar for 2020.  Are you going to see them all?  Heck no.  These are the genre films we think borg readers will want to know about to make their own checklists for the coming year–and they are only the films we know about so far.  We pulled 85 of the hundreds of films that have been finalized or are in varying stages of final production, slated for next year’s movie calendar.

What looks to top the list for most fanboys and fangirls?  Ghostbusters: Afterlife Scarlett Johannson solo in Black WidowA new James Bond movie, No Time to DieVin Diesel in Bloodshot and a new Fast & FuriousThe original Tom Clancy novel series is finally continuing with an adaptation of Without Remorse Comic book adaptations are in less supply in 2020, but look for Venom 2, Wonder Woman 1984, Eternals, The New Mutants, Morbius, Birds of Prey, The Old Guard, and did we mention Black WidowCompare the below list to our 2019 list and even the 2018 list, 2017 list, 2016 list, 2015 list, or 2014 list, and your takeaway may be seeing the studios moving genre content from the big screen to the small screen via streaming services.

Do you like sequels?  There are far less coming to theaters in 2020 than in 2019, but many more remakes of movies, books, and TV shows are on the way.  In fact, with all the blockbusters in 2019, 2020 looks pretty tame as the cinema marquee is concerned.  Some films don’t have locked in release dates yet: Amazon Studios and Netflix haven’t revealed dates for the following 2020 releases (those we know you’ll find on the calendar below):

  • 7500, a film about a highjacked airplane, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Amazon Studios)
  • The Dig, a film about a woman finding archaeological treasures on her land, starring Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, and Carey Mulligan (Netflix)
  • Horse Girl, Alison Brie stars and directs this story about an awkward girl who fuses her dreams with reality (Netflix)
  • Jingle Jangle, an animated Christmas story with the voices of Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, and Hugh Bonneville (Netflix)
  • Louis Wain, biopic of the 19th century artist starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, and Andrea Riseborough (Amazon Studios)
  • The Old Guard, adaptation of comic book story, starring Charlize Theron and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Netflix)
  • Radioactive, a film about Marie Curie, starring Rosamund Pike and Anya Taylor-Joy (Amazon)
  • Rebecca, adaptation and remake of the Daphne Du Maurier classic novel, starring Lily James, Keely Hawes, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Armie Hammer (Netflix)
  • Welcome to Sudden Death, sequel to Jean-Claude van Damme 1995 movie starring Michael Jai White (Netflix)
  • The Willoughbys, animated adaptation of the Lois Lowry book, with voices of Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, and Jane Krakowski (Netflix)
  • Wonderland, murder conspiracy mystery starring Mark Wahlberg, Allan Arkin, and Colleen Camp (Netflix)

Some of these films will have revised release dates, or get pushed to 2021.

So grab your calendar and start making your plans–here are the movies you’ll want to see in 2020 (and some you might not!):

January

The Informer – Thriller, starring Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Ana de Armas, Common, and Clive Owen – January 10.

Underwater – Thriller, stars Kristin Stewart in underwater horror story – January 10.

Dolittle – Family/Comedy, stars Robert Downey, Jr. in remake of the classic, with voices of Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, Emma Thompson, Antonio Banderas, Ralph Fiennes, and Michael Sheen – January 17.

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Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look forward at what movies should be on your radar for 2019.  Are you going to see them all?  Heck no.  These are the genre films we think borg readers will want to know about to make their own checklists for the coming year–and they are only the films we know about so far.  We pulled 78 of the hundreds of films that have been finalized or are in varying stages of final production, slated for next year’s movie calendar.

What looks to top the list for most fanboys and fangirls?  The last of the nine films in the Star Wars saga.  Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Shazam! is DC’s contribution.  Quentin Tarentino returns to movies to direct Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Martin Scorsese is back with an all-star cast in The Irishman (on Netflix).  M. Night Shyamalan finishes his dark superhero trilogy with GlassArnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton return in TerminatorJordan Peele is back with another horror film with Us.

Do you like sequels?  This is your year.  Another Men in Black, X-Men, Shaft, Happy Death Day, Lego Movie, Hellboy, John Wick, Kingsman, Jumanji, The Secret Life of Pets, How to Train Your Dragon, Fast and the Furious, Zombieland, Addams Family, Charlie’s Angels, Godzilla, Shaun the Sheep, Annabelle,and Stephen King’s It and Pet SemataryDisney is trying to get you to move into your local theater with another Toy Story, Aladdin, Dumbo, Frozen, and Lion King–all in one year.  Yep, lots and lots of sequels are coming.

Some films don’t have locked-in release dates yet.  Amazon Prime and Netflix haven’t revealed dates for these 2019 releases:

  • Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman, a film about Jimmy Hoffa starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Bobby Cannavale (Netflix)
  • The Kid, a Western biopic with Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, and Vincent D’Onofrio (Netflix)
  • The Man Who Killed Hitler Then Bigfoot, starring Sam Elliott (Netflix)
  • 6 Underground, a Michael Bay film starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco, and Mélanie Laurent (Netflix)
  • The Last Thing He Wanted, Dee Rees directs Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, and Toby Jones; journalist quits newspaper job to become an arms dealer for a covert government agency (Netflix)
  • The Laundromat, Steven Soderbergh directs Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, James Cromwell, about the Pentagon Papers (Netflix)
  • Radioactive, Rosamund Pike plays Marie Curie, with Anya Taylor-Joy (Amazon)

Some of these films will have revised release dates, or get pushed to 2020.

So grab your calendar and start making your plans–here are the movies you’ll want to see in 2019 (and many you might not):

January

Glass – Superhero, M. Night Shyamalan trilogy part 3, stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy; continues where Unbreakable and Split left off – January 18.

Serenity – Mystery/Thriller, stars Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Diane Lane; sorry, no relation to Firefly – January 25.

King of Thieves – Heist Comedy, stars Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon, and Ray Winstone – January 25.

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Worst Heroes Ever

It looks like the great preview that accompanied the premiere of Star Trek Beyond this week.  Suicide Squad finally has a great trailer that should entice everyone to climb aboard, courtesy of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday.  With brief but good looks at each of the key characters it is now established that this is definitely a take on the classic war movie The Dirty Dozen–the original and ultimate film about a band of prisoner misfits setting out to save the world.

This time we get a good look at each of the Worst Heroes Ever and for a motley group of villains, they’re looking pretty good.  And Warner Bros. is having a big day with its movie preview releases at Comic-Con.

Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), is Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) is Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne is Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara is Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) is Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) is Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) is Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) is Killer Croc,  and they star along with Jared Leto as The Joker in the comic book take on The Dirty Dozen, as a group of super villains are released from prison to complete a hero’s mission.  And look for Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana aka El Diablo, a character created by our pals Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in 2008’s excellent six-issue series El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman (be sure to check it out at Amazon.com here if you haven’t read it yet).

flying bat

So this is it–the final trailer for Suicide Squad:

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suicidesquad-poster-cereal-full    suicide squad -characterposters-batch1-poster8

How much marketing do you need to advertise a movie anyway?  For DC Entertainment, when your The Dirty Dozen-style ensemble cast movie features twelve distinct lead characters, that apparently means you role out 24 new posters.  That’s what happened this week–DC released two sets of character studies, one rancid candy cereal poster, and one comic booky explosive cast poster, giving fans of the team and movie poster collectors a new collect ’em all project.

Or you can view them all in high quality digital format below.

For cosplayers, it’s the first really good view of costume details.  Anyone else have the urge to Photoshop some extra characters (or friends) into the big cast poster?

suicide squad -characterposters-batch1-poster6    suicide squad -characterposters-batch2-poster9

Here’s the roster: Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), as Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) as Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) as Killer Croc, and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo.  Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller, head of the agency A.R.G.U.S., and Jared Leto will play The Joker.

Check out all 24 of the new Suicide Squad posters after the break:

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Suicide Squad

After some ho-hum teasers for the 2016 movie release Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment released a new full-length trailer for the DC Universe movie (set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”) Tuesday during the DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League special on The CW Network.  This time we get a good look at each of the Worst Heroes Ever.

And for a motley group of villains, they’re looking pretty good.

Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), is Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) is Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne is Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara is Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) is Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) is Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) is Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) is Killer Croc,  and they star along with Jared Leto as The Joker in the comic book take on The Dirty Dozen, as a group of super villains are released from prison to complete a hero’s mission.  And look for Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana aka El Diablo, a character created by our pals Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in 2008’s excellent six-issue series El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman (be sure to check it out at Amazon.com here if you haven’t read it yet).

Suicide Squad posters

Check out this entertaining trailer for DC’s Suicide Squad, and you couldn’t have a better tune to back it up:

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Suicide Squad crew

Now that you’ve watched it at a 45 degree angle through the lens of a fuzzy cell phone camera in the dark, it’s time to see what you missed.  It’s the motley band of DC Comics’ own Dirty Dozen (give or take), the Suicide Squad.  The trailer premiered at the DC Entertainment/Warner panel this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, and millions watched it before Warner Bros. & Co. decided to go ahead and release the real thing Monday.

If a little make-up throws you off a bit, here’s the line-up:  Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys) is Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) is Enchantress, Will Smith (Men in Black, Independence Day) is Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) is Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am) is Harley Quinn, Jay Hernandez (Grindhouse) is El Diablo, Adam Beach (Cowboys & Aliens) is Slipknot, Karen Fukuhara is Katana, and our favorite, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, G.I. Joe, Thor: The Dark World), is Killer Croc.  Oh, right, and Jared Leto (Urban Legend, My So-Called Life) is The Joker.

Suicide Squad clip

A pretty diverse group for a superhero universe hive of scum and villainy.

Here’s the trailer for Suicide Squad:

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suicide squad movie cast photo 2015 will smith Kinnaman jai courtenay

The comic book world’s take on The Dirty Dozen is coming to life next year with a big screen version of Suicide Squad, the DC Comics group of criminals who take on missions in exchange for lighter prison sentences.

From left to right, that’s Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), as Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) as Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) as Killer Croc,  and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo.

Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller, head of the agency A.R.G.U.S., and Jared Leto will play The Joker.

Jared Leto as The Joker

Jared Leto as the newest take on The Joker.

All of this will look a bit familiar to fans of the television version of the DC Universe.  CW’s Arrow has had its own Suicide Squad, with none of the actors overlapping roles for the film.  The group itself stems from a 1987 retooling by John Ostrander of a team from the 1950s era of the series The Brave and the Bold, in the pages of its own DC Comics monthly series.

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emily-blunt-edge-of-tomorrow

What a busy year!  We took in more content this year than ever before, reading more books, watching more TV series, and reviewing more movies.  Wading through all that Hollywood had to offer, we try to hone in on the genre films and TV series we think are worth our time.  We went back and looked at it all and pulled together our picks for our annual “Best of the Best” list.  Today we reveal the best content focusing on movies.  Come back for more of our picks tomorrow.  If you missed any of these films this year, check them out when they arrive on video or digital release.

Edge of Tomorrow Omaha Beach scene

Edge of TomorrowBest Film of the Year, Best Science Fiction Fix, Best Action Fix, Best Actress (Emily Blunt), Best Supporting Actor (Bill Paxton).  The benefit of Blu-rays/DVDs is the ability to go back and verify whether a movie was as good as you remembered it in the theater.  Of all the top genre films of the year, including Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: Days of Future Past, it was Edge of Tomorrow that became an addictive re-watch, to see all those great, funny scenes, like Tom Cruise’s demoted soldier rolling under the jeep, and Emily Blunt’s Rita Vrataski destroying all those aliens.  Rita was the best character we saw this year–anywhere–and Blunt provided the best performance.  Superb sci-fi components?  Check.  Superb action sequences?  Check.  With top-notch acting by Blunt and Bill Paxton.  This will be the movie of 2014 that we one day will re-watch just like we re-watch Aliens and Predator today.

Guardians in prison

Guardians of the GalaxyBest Superhero Fix, Best Actor Runner-up (Dave Bautista), Best Supporting Actress (Zoe Saldana), Best Villain (Lee Pace), Best Soundtrack, Best Rock Album.  It was the perfect blend of B-level superheroes and a space fantasy like we hadn’t seen since the original Star Wars.  A surprisingly fun ride.  Guardians introduced the world to Dave Bautista, who will likely get more and more popular in 2015 and beyond.  His serious but comedic Drax may have been the best part of a great cast of new characters.  Zoe Saldana created her best genre role so far and Lee Pace’s Ronan was a perfect comic book villain.  And those tunes on Starlord’s Walkman!  What was more fun this year than Rocket and Groot?

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RoboCop and OldmanReview by C.J. Bunce

If you’re a fan of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven science fiction classic RoboCop starring Peter Weller, you might have decided to avoid the reboot showing in theaters this month.  But if you skip the new RoboCop, you’ll be missing out on a great sci-fi vision realized with a stellar cast and cutting edge special effects.  Where recent remakes of classic sci-fi movies didn’t equal the original, as with Tron: Legacy, or completely missed the mark, as with Total Recall or Man of Steel, RoboCop manages to meet or exceed the original in almost every way.

Fundamentally, the original RoboCop is lauded for its social commentary on media, capitalism, and authoritarianism.  The new film hits all of these areas head-on in light of the changing realities of the 21st century.  This begins with a failed, televised peacekeeping mission in Tehran with the giant EV-109 robots (similar to the two-legged walkers in the original film)–predecessors to both the robot/android cops, and later to the man-in-the-machine RoboCop, played by relative newcomer Joel Kinnaman.  Timely elements help bring the storyline into the 21st century, like Detroit’s closed circuit surveillance grid, which makes the RoboCop effective, and parallels the current real-world controversy surrounding drones for spying.

Robocop tehran

The supporting characters are pulled from the headlines, too.  Michael Keaton’s leader of Omnicorp is the typical entrepreneurial Wall Street “big corporation” CEO you’d expect, and Samuel L. Jackson’s talking head Pat Novak might as well have been an impersonation of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (with some Stephen Colbert dramatics thrown in).

Where Peter Weller’s RoboCop was all machine with little soul, Joel Kinnaman’s version gets to flesh-out (literally) the physical and emotional journey from man to cyborg, in a way touched on in Jake Gyllenhaal’s equally riveting Source Code, but not otherwise fully explored on film before now.  If rumors become reality of Leonardo DiCaprio playing a big-screen version of Bionic Man’s Steve Austin, it will be difficult for audiences to avoid comparisons with this RoboCop, as the stories of both Alex Murphy and Steve Austin have many mirrored origin story scenes that unfold over the course of the film.  This includes a nice performance by Gary Oldman in a superb take on The Six Million Dollar Man’s Dr. Rudy Wells.

Joel Kinnaman;Gary Oldman

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