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Tag Archive: Keegan-Michael Key


Review by C.J. Bunce

Not since the original Predator, Alien, and Aliens has Hollywood been able to match these sci-fi classics, despite attempts with eight sequels in these franchises.  But the ninth attempt–this summer’s release of The Predator–has come the closest to matching that classic blend of sci-fi, horror, future military, and action thriller.  In the new behind-the-scenes book The Predator: The Art and Making of the Film, writer James Nolan explains why director Shane Black’s return to the franchise after 30 years was the right stuff needed to bring the excitement and fun back for fans of the original genre-defining alien hunter.

The colorful hardcover includes Black’s own multi-page mission statement provided to the cast and crew, where he provides a truly unique look into the mind of a Hollywood director and storyteller.  He unveils the risks, the challenges, and his choices to resurrect the spirit of 1980s blockbuster action movies, while providing an update that is both loyal to the original movie and its ground-breaking creators like Stan Winston, while carrying forward a future vision for the film series.  Hired to serve as writer on the original 1987 film, Black chose to take on an acting role instead, and the rest was sci-fi history–until he was entrusted last year to helm this sequel.  To provide a first-hand account of production, Nolan interviewed Black, his writing partner Fred Dekker, key cast members Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Jake Busey, Jacob Tremblay, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, and Augusto Aguilera, Predator actor Brian Prince, stunt performer Trevor Addie, production designer Martin Whist, director of photography Larry Fong, special effects supervisor Jonathan Rothbart, set decorator Hamish Purdy, costume designer Tish Monaghan, prop master David Dowling, producer Bill Bannerman, special effects icons Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis, and many more.

The biggest attraction in the book is the detailed photography of the interiors of the two alien spaceships and the armor and props.  Readers get to see concept artwork, computer mock-ups, designs, in-process photographs, and close-up stills.  In many films props are just set decoration that help to create the environment, but in The Predator the prop gauntlet, the helmet, and especially the “kudjad” spaceship key factor directly into the mystery.  Who could ever get enough of the aliens–the dreadlocks, those teeth, the shoulder cannon?  And then there’s the giant hunter, whose size and ship also factor into not just the finale, but the future of the films.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Shane Black has finally delivered what fans of the Predator alien have been after since they first saw Arnold Schwarzenegger take the creature on in the original 1987 film that featured Black in an acting role as one of the marines.  The movie The Predator, in theaters now, delivers exactly as promised.  More Predators.  Bigger and badder alien fight scenes.  Great new sci-fi special effects tech.  A wall-to-wall movie of rude jokes and one-liners.  A squad of maladjusted, badass misfits in the realm of The Dirty Dozen (if every character was played as Telly Savalas’s character), only this time the squad isn’t recruited for a suicide mission to fight the bad guys.  The surprise comes with an actual, serviceable plot that knocks the predecessor sequels out of the ranking (some elements… gasp… it even handles better than the original).

For diehard fans of the franchise who read the prequel novel (a great read we reviewed here earlier at borg) the movie lives up to the introduction provided in the book, which gave plenty of backstory for Sterling K. Brown’s pseudo-military leader Will Traeger–one of the movie’s key villains.  Screenplay writers Shane Black and Fred Dekker include an ambitious, layered story with interesting subplots.  One thread follows a boy played by played by Jacob Tremblay, the autistic son of star Boyd Holbrook’s tough Captain McKenna.  The kid begins to play with what can only be described as “really cool alien tech” his dad sends him in the mail.  Olivia Munn gets to play her most badass character yet, a biologist called in to work with the research group that has caught a Predator, being studied in a lab led by Jake Busey, who plays the son of the character his father Gary Busey played in Predator 2–Jake Busey offers a solid performance as a low-key scientist that could make it back for a future sequel.  Another subplot follows the alien hunters as they each search for some secret objects.  The ensemble ad hoc military unit that takes on the Predator includes a diverse team of actors pulling together a chaotic brand of chemistry: Trevante Rhoades, Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, and Keegan-Michael Key.  Another subplot sets up the next film nicely, a new phase for Predators this film only touches on.

The reason we see more than one kind of Predator is explained in the film, but each has incredible updated props and costumes, and the plot makes great use of both.  It’s all loyal to the original.  The best part of the 1987 film was the absence of the alien throughout the film, appearing sporadically, menacingly, like the shark in Jaws.  We don’t see much more of the alien in this movie, but we get to see what he looks like head to toe in the lab, we get to see how his arm gauntlet and helmet work, and plenty of action scenes as in the original.  One character even gets into the head of a Predator (sort of) to understand its technology and motivations.

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The second trailer for The Predator is out, and this time we get some clips of the latest incarnation of the classic intergalactic headhunter in action.  20th Century Fox released the first full movie trailer for the autumn release of The Predator in May, and the studio’s buzz for the alien’s return is now gearing up.  Cinematographer Larry Fong (Watchmen, Super 8, Kong: Skull Island) has said audiences shouldn’t expect a CGI-heavy film (like those recently flooding cinemas), but more old-school practical effects including a live-action Predator as seen in the original film.  From this new trailer, it looks like that means not just one–but at least two–Predators.

Although we initially surmised that the film would disregard the 21st century sequels, it looks like director Shane Black (who played the joking marine in the original Predator) is merely setting the film between 1990’s Predator 2 and 2010’s Predators.  The role of Jake Busey places the new film 30 years after the first sequel.  He plays the son of the character played by his dad, actor Gary Busey, in Predator 2.  The new trailer shows more of Boyd Holbrook, who played the cyborg villain of last year’s Oscar-nominated film Logan, and Sterling K. Brown, who played the king’s brother in Black Panther and the defendant in Marshall.

Other actors appearing in the movie include Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter, The Handmaid’s Tale), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse, Iron Man 2), Keegan-Michael Key (Tomorrowland), Thomas Jane (Buffy the Vampire SlayerCrow: City of Angels), Trevante Rhodes (Westworld), and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica).

Now check out this new trailer for The Predator:

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The Predator is back.  Today 20th Century Fox released the first full movie trailer for the autumn release of The Predator, the eagerly awaited sequel in the Predator franchise.  And this first trailer looks pretty fun.  Will this sequel finally approach the original Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic from 1987?  The Alien franchise seems to have raked in the big box office bucks for decades while the Predator films haven’t moved past the original.  All indications point to director Shane Black (who played the joking marine in the original Predator) leaving aside 2004’s Alien vs. Predator, 2007’s Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, and 2010’s Predators.  The role of Jake Busey places the new film 30 years after the first sequel.  He plays the son of the character played by his dad, actor Gary Busey, in Predator 2.

If you’re a fan of the next generation of character actors, The Predator may be what you’re looking for.  Boyd Holbrook, who played the cyborg villain of last year’s Oscar-nominated film Logan, plays Quinn McKenna, a member of a military assassin squad.  Sterling K. Brown, who played the king’s brother in Black Panther and the defendant in Marshall, plays a government agent.  Lochlyn Munro, star of Riverdale and guest star in every genre TV series since 1989, plays a General.  Chuck, Dexter, and The Handmaid’s Tale co-star Yvonne Strahovski plays a character named Emily.  X-Men: Apocalypse and Iron Man 2’s Olivia Munn, featured heavily in the trailer, is Casey Bracket, a scientist researching the aliens.  Comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Crow: City of Angels’ Thomas Jane co-star as members of the strike force.  Westworld’s Trevante Rhodes plays a member of the team named Williams.  Young Wonder star Jacob Tremblay is the kid that sets the story into motion, with a package in the mail.  And for a dose of gravitas, look for Edward James Olmos as a general in the movie.

This is the plot description for the film:

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series.  Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species.  When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

Now check out this trailer for The Predator:

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the-lego-batman-movie-trailer-4-ride

Somewhere along the way, our review of The LEGO Movie got gobbled up by trolls.  But here’s what you need to know if you haven’t seen it yet: Everything is awesome in The LEGO Movie.  If you’re a fan of all the previous video games, animated direct-to-video and TV iterations of animated LEGO characters then you will be pleased with the big-screen version of the film, which hit theaters back in 2014 and is streaming nearly everywhere you look these days.  Great world-building (literally), characters, laugh-out-loud humor, and songs make for great fun for all ages.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed The LEGO Movie.  They are the duo behind 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, the coming Men in Black/Jump Street crossover movie, and–wait for it–the 2019 Star Wars movie featuring Han Solo.  So if you figure guys with that much humor and someone good enough to take the reins on Star Wars created it, maybe you’ll see why checking out The LEGO Movie is worth your time.  Oh, and it stars fan favorites Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, and Alison Brie, Anthony Daniels, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Jonah Hill, Will Arnett, Cobie Smulders, Keegan-Michael Key, Billy Dee Williams, Liam Neeson, and Channing Tatum.

lego-poster    batman-lego-poster

Which brings us to The LEGO Batman Movie.  If everything was awesome for the little blocky people of LEGOLAND in the first film, everything is not awesome in Gotham for Batman in The LEGO Batman Movie.  The trailers for the follow-on film that was hinted at in The LEGO Movie looks to be very different with more piled-on humor.  If you’re one of the Batman or comic book movie fans wanting Batman to get less dark and gritty and more fun, the trailers released so far seem to be targeting you.

Just check out this superb volley of four trailers for The LEGO Batman Movie:

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Angie Tribeca Season One DVD

When we first reviewed Season One of TBS’s new hot comedy Angie Tribeca back in January here at borg.com we could hardly wait for Season Two to arrive.  Angie Tribeca was released Netflix-style Sunday, January 17, 2016, with an all-at-once binge watch marathon.  The first ten episodes provided the flavor of nonstop laughs that we haven’t seen since Leslie Nielsen’s Police Squad! and re-watching the episodes and the special features on the soon-to-be-released DVD release this week made us believers all over again.  The series is laugh-out-loud funny like no other show on television.

The special features on the DVD, which is being released May 17, 2016, give viewers an idea of how difficult this kind of comedy is to create.  We figured the secret to the show’s unique humor was the writing by the funny husband-wife duo of Steve Carell and Nancy (ex-Saturday Night Live’s Nancy Walls) Carell and their staff, but it may be more than that.  Star Rashida Jones explains that as easy as it is to watch and laugh at the comedy on the show, the technical requirements to get the comedy right takes plenty of planning and coordination.  The features also include a sneak peek at Season Two.

David Hoffman and DJ Tanner

You know something funny is going on when you read ad copy for the series, like “Finally!  A show about cops!”  Jones makes a great cop–she could easily fold into a dramatic role on any TV police procedural.  But she also has great comedic timing and is a solid series lead.  Plenty can also be said for the rest of the cast, including Jere Burns (Burn Notice, Breaking Bad, Justified) as the textbook, loud-mouthed lieutenant (named Chet Atkins), Tribeca’s partner J. Geils (yes, there’s a theme here with the names), played by Hayes MacArthur (How I Met Your Mother, Medium), comedian Deon Cole as cop DJ Tanner, partner Officer David Hoffman played by Jagger the shepherd dog, with Andree Vermeulen as the medical examiner, Dr. Scholls.  Gravitas and legitimacy is provided by Alfred Molina as coroner Dr. Edelweiss.  As Burns says in interviews on the DVD, playing the characters with earnest–like Molina performing with the seriousness you might see by a Shakespearean actor–makes the humor work.

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Keanu clip

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are as funny a comedy team as you’ll ever find.  Key’s work on Whose Line is it Anyway? is some of the best improv we’ve seen in years and his cameo in Tomorrowland was one of that film’s high points.  A new comedy from Warner Bros. opens tonight across the country that offers up a mash-up of Keanu Reeves’ John Wick and an endless supply of YouTube kitten video mayhem.

Keanu is about a high-octane pursuit to save the cat starring the comedy duo, and almost coincidentally featuring the voice of the only Keanu anyone knows–Keanu Reeves–in a sequence as the voice of the star cat.

Will Forte and Method Man co-star in the film.  The previews look like fans of the comedy team will get plenty of the comedy the duo is known for.  And check out the awesome onslaught of parody movie posters advertising the film:

Keanu poster B    Keanu poster A

and these…

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Zootopia sloth

So many movies, so little time.  This year several new animated movies are coming to a theater near you.  How do you choose which to see?  Don’t choose… just see them all!  Many of these trailers were previewed with Christmas releases last month and this month.  Zootopia may just be the funniest of the trailers.  We also have Angry Birds and Snowtime! 

Kung Fu Panda 3

First up–Next week Jack Black brings his awesome panda back to the big screen in Kung Fu Panda 3.  Look for the voices of Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Bryan Cranston, Wayne Knight, Kate Hudson, J.K. Simmons, and the great James Hong.

Here’s the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 3:

Kung Fu Panda 3 is in theaters January 29, 2016.

Snowtime!

This great looking French Canadian production features every kid’s favorite thing–the snow day.  How fun is that?

Snowtime! hits theaters February 26, 2016

Zootopia

Zootopia features the voices of Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, and Tommy Chong.  Check out this great trailer, which was previewed in December with Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

March 4, 2016.

The Angry Birds Movie

Your favorite cartoon birds arrive in theaters this summer with the voices of Peter Dinklage, Jason Sudeikis, Maya Rudolph, Keegan-Michael Key, and Bill Hader.

Check these out:

The Angry Birds Movie is in theaters May 20, 2016.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Angie Tribeca clip

TBS’s new comedy series Angie Tribeca was released Netflix-style Sunday, January 17, 2016, with an all-at-once binge watch marathon.  Season One provided the flavor of nonstop laughs that we haven’t seen since Leslie Nielsen’s Police Squad! was yucking up the airwaves back in 1982.  That same “I can’t believe this is so funny,” laugh-out-loud, Abrahams, Zucker & Zucker-inspired comedy is back.

Streaming online for each episode of Season One expires today so put aside three or four hours and check it out now at the TBS website here.  Carol Burnett, who called in to the live marathon hosted by the show’s stars in between episodes, surprised the cast, and nailed it, calling the show “the best, most wonderful, stupid hysterical show I’ve seen in a while”.  What was the secret to the show’s success?  As usual it’s the writing.  Top writing, in fact, by the funny husband-wife duo of Steve Carell and Nancy (ex-Saturday Night Live’s Nancy Walls) Carell and their staff, who tapped into something else we haven’t seen in a while–humor that isn’t mean and ugly, just well-paced and all-out fun.

David Hoffman and DJ Tanner

Fans of Peggy Lipton from The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks might not be able to help making comparisons of Lipton to her daughter, series star Rashida Jones, who plays the title character.  Jones makes a great cop–she could easily fold into a dramatic role on any TV police procedural.  But she also has great comedic timing and is a solid series lead.  Plenty can also be said for the rest of the cast.  We already know Jere Burns from his role as the nasty villain Anson Fullerton on Burn Notice (and dozens of appearances on other popular series from Breaking Bad to Justified).  But who would have thought he’d be so endearing (and, yes, funny) as the textbook, loud-mouthed lieutenant (named Chet Atkins)?  Tribeca’s partner is J. Geils (yes, there’s a theme here with the names), played by Hayes MacArthur (How I Met Your Mother, Medium), comedian Deon Cole is cop DJ Tanner (and his partner Officer David Hoffman is played by Jagger the shepherd dog, who Cole communicates with in a very Han Solo and Chewbacca way), with Andree Vermeulen as the medical examiner, Dr. Scholls.  Gravitas and legitimacy is provided by none other than Alfred Molina as coroner Dr. Edelweiss, always in a state of physical torment–or not.

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