Tag Archive: Now streaming


Review by C.J. Bunce

A British-led counter-intelligence operation calculated to deceive Nazi Germany during World War II that involved Allied coordination among the likes of Winston Churchill, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and British intelligence officer Ian Spelling sounds like the stuff of a suspense-thriller, right?  That’s not quite what you get in this weekend’s direct-to Netflix war movie Operation Mincemeat.  As genre movies go, count this spy movie as purely historical fiction, primarily a mix of the mundane steps of pulling off even the most unlikely–but true–adventures in international trickery with some romance thrown in for the legion of Colin Firth swooners.  Detailing the plot to throw the Axis off the scent of Britain’s invasion and liberation of Sicily using a dead body with faked documents dropped off the coast of Spain, the movie lands in the same league as all the other 21st efforts to re-conjure World War II–its bland, sentimental account doesn’t match the drama of contemporary Hollywood of the 1940s.  But if you like watching your favorite British genre actors chewing up the screen, it’s worth the time.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

We first previewed the big-budget Death on the Nile here at borg back in 2018, possibly the most pandemic-delayed film of any.  Based on Agatha Christie’s 1937 novel, it’s the second in Branagh’s series of opulent, major cast, big-screen films after 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express (reviewed here).  That movie was far more spectacle, more Hollywood, a faithful, exciting film filled with genre stars including Branagh as Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot, plus Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, and Penélope Cruz, with a particularly engaging performance by Tom Bateman as Poirot’s friend Bouc.  Bouc, a new character brought along by Branagh is the only returning character with Poirot for Death on the Nile.

A sort of Christie twist on Romeo and Juliet, the story and its core murder plot on Egypt’s great river remains identifiable, but Branagh updates nearly everything else, unlike in his first Christie adaptation. So like Branagh’s Frankenstein, this really is Branagh’s Death on the Nile, although also credit the changes to writer Michael Green (Logan).  After a theatrical run beginning in February, it’s now available on Vudu and digital and other home media.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The Lost City arrived in theaters a little more than a month ago, but it’s already made its way to streaming provider Paramount+.  It’s a step above your average rom-com, a better than average new release and a worthy unofficial remake of the 1980s classic Romancing the Stone.  If you miss classic rom-coms steeped in adventure and lighthearted fantasy, this should be your next watch, a Sandra Bullock star vehicle with 16 years younger actor Channing Tatum as the potential love interest, a rare and welcome Hollywood choice–when was the last time you saw an older woman with a younger man in a major production?  Add Brad Pitt and Daniel Radcliffe, and some goofy humor and high adventure and The Lost City is movie that would have been difficult for anyone to get wrong.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Hazards of the trade…

It may or may not help you to know that burling is the process of tying up loose ends.  First time director Graham Moore (Oscar-winning writer of The Imitation Game) and Johnathan McClain (Mad Men, Medium, Without a Trace), co-screenplay writer with Moore, come out guns a-blazing in the limited theatrical release The Outfit, now streaming on Peacock.  An exquisite, slow-burning crime drama of deception set in the 1950s, with the then-new FBI technology of planting bugs to trap the Mob, rises to become one of the year’s best films, sure to deliver a second Best Oscar nod come award season for the steady-hand and subtlety of star Mark Rylance.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Whether or not every element of the new Paramount+ series The Offer is based in reality just doesn’t matter.  Fifty years ago Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather premiered in theaters across America and it’s maintained its status as one of cinema’s best films.  Viewers want all the crazy legends behind its creation to be real, including Frank Sinatra getting into a public argument with author Mario Puzo, and the mob getting irked by its very existence.  When you have to choose between legend and history in storytelling, give audiences whatever makes the better story.  And the story from the view of The Godfather producer Albert S. Ruddy is like reading the exploits of gangster Jimmy Alo in Dylan Struzan’s book A Bloody Business (reviewed here).  When an old bird is telling fish tales from decades ago–and he’s good at it–you just let him go (the character of Johnny Ola in The Godfather, Part II is based on Alo, so the comparison has some credence).  Only this limited television series has the kind of result that makes you wish it were a movie.  As peeks into Hollywood go, the acting, writing, direction, and production values are exactly as the streaming provider has been promising in its months long advance marketing.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Taking on your next Jason Statham movie is a lot like flashing back to the 1980s and early 1990s to watch the next Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.  Both almost-A list but really B list actors mastered the tough guy genre of their eras, and both have movies that can always be looked back on again and re-watched by fans.  Along with those better-quality flicks are those movies that lag behind the others by way of storytelling, energy, and action.  Unfortunately Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man falls in the latter camp–with cardboard characters and a preposterous script even for a “movie for guys who like movies” flick.  It’s not among the best Statham movies nor a great Ritchie movie.

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A British-led counter-intelligence operation calculated to deceive Nazi Germany during World War II that involved Allied coordination among the likes of Winston Churchill, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and British intelligence officer Ian Spelling is getting a new adaptation.  Coming in May, Netflix will premiere the new war movie Operation Mincemeat, detailing a plot to throw the Axis off the scent of Britain’s invasion and liberation of Sicily using a dead body with faked documents dropped off the coast of Spain.  If its sounds familiar it’s because you may have seen the popular 1956 drama The Man Who Never Was starring three-time Oscar nominee Clifton Webb as the key character in the story, Ewen Montagu, who planned and carried out the ruse, and wrote the novel the original film was based upon.

Oscar-winner Colin Firth steps into the lead role this time, joined by an impressive genre star cast including Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter series, Star Trek Discovery), Kelly Macdonald (Brave, Harry Potter series), Mark Gattis (Sherlock, Doctor Who), Mark Bonnar (Shetland, Doctor Who), Penelope Wilton (Shaun of the Dead, Doctor Who), Rufus Wright (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Shetland, The Watcher in the Woods, Quantum of Solace), and Johnny Flynn (Emma.) as Ian Fleming.

Here’s the trailer for Netflix’s Operation Mincemeat:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you agree with us that the biggest landmark in the visual representation of futurism in science fiction over the last several years was Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Netflix’s Altered Carbon, then you might also see something similarly new and refreshing–and yet new and different–happening with the new Paramount+ series Halo As I described it last month here at borg, Halo’s first episode was a dense set-up of a series opener, establishing the world building, the opposing factions and key characters in this new universe extracted from the video game franchise.  But the series’ second episode, titled “Unbound,” doesn’t miss a beat in showing viewers an even more layered science fiction story is in play, with plenty of visual surprises.

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Fifty years ago this week The Godfather premiered in theaters across America.  That fiftieth anniversary is netting more than one re-creation from Hollywood of the making of that movie.  Barry Levinson is directing Francis and The Godfather, a movie starring Oscar Isaac as The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola facing off against Jake Gyllenhaal as producer Robert Evans (an actor who eventually produced Chinatown), with Elle Fanning as Ali MacGraw, and Elisabeth Moss as Eleanor Coppola.  It began filming last year, so expect it in theaters or streaming by year end.

Before that arrives, a limited series that is also about the making of The Godfather is heading to streaming service Paramount+ next month.  The Offer has an impressive cast, all seemingly well cast against their real-life counterparts.  Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts) plays Coppola, Matthew Goode (Watchmen) plays Evans, and Miles Teller (Fantastic Four, Top Gun: Maverick) plays producer Albert S. Ruddy.

Here is the trailer for The Offer:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

At $6.5 billion in sales, Halo, the 77th biggest media franchise, is nothing to sneeze at.  So what took the video game franchise so long to make it to a major live-action production?  It was just stuck in development stages.  But for both those who never played the games and those who have, Halo is now a live-action series joining sci-fi’s Star Trek franchise on Paramount+.  The series opener is full of all the pew-pew action you’d expect of a first-person shooter game.  Neither a continuation, adaptation, or prequel to the games, the show is meant to be a standalone world.  It’s Lost in Space meets Ender’s Game and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with similar plotting to Dune and Gears of War, a non-human threat like Ender’s Game and Starship Troopers, a 26th century mad scientist’s super squad with Edge of Tomorrow armor and guys in them that talk and stomp around like Jayne in Firefly.

Fortunately the pilot comes together like the short mini-series that touched off the successful Battlestar Galactica reboot.  Yes, this is a military sci-fi genre series to check out, and one you’ll likely return for next week.

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