Tag Archive: Paramount Plus


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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Review by C.J. Bunce

Streaming service Paramount+’s 2021 release Infinite has elements of Fast & Furious, Doctor Strange, Bloodshot, Captain America: Winter Soldier, New Mutants, The Adjustment Bureau, and Mortal Kombat.  Lots of tropes are blended into this expensive, giant, sci-fi action fantasy mash-up.  Infinite isn’t as good as any of these movies, but if you subscribe to Paramount+ you’ll find worse ways to spend a few hours.

The biggest surprise is Infinite is not derived from an existing property like a video game or comic book.  At the center is Mark Wahlberg as a man named Evan McCauley, raised to believe he was schizophrenic (a la Moon Knight) only to find he is part of a supernatural truth where 500 people have the power to recall their reincarnated pasts, and he’s one of them–only he doesn’t remember.

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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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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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Review by C.J. Bunce

When we think of the big horror franchises, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street come to mind.  But for audiences coming of age in the 1990s, you may need to add Scream to that list.  Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and Skeet Ulrich are back again in the unlucky town of Woodsboro, where the serial killers behind the long “ghostface” mask first made their mark on the town 25 years ago.  Another movie delayed by the pandemic, this new Scream delivers goofy slasher horror fun with all the right beats, proving once and for all this franchise is here to stay.  Scream is now in theaters and available on streaming platforms including Paramount+ and Amazon Prime.

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She was one of the best aliens introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a friend of Captain Jean-Luc Picard with a past never to be revealed.  She saved the galaxy from a bad timeline through Picard’s loyalty to her instincts alone in “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”  In Star Trek: Generations she’s one of the only links to the meaning of the Nexus, thereby putting together an unlikely team of Picard and Captain James T. Kirk.  Her past on Earth goes back as least as far as run-ins with the likes of Mark Twain.  She knows how to wear a cool hat, and the last we saw her was as a guest at the marriage of Will Riker and Deanna Troi.  The wait is over.  Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg returns as Guinan next month in the second season of Star Trek: Picard.  

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Picard Rogue Elements cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Of all the new characters created since Scott Bakula’s Enterprise went off the air and J.J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman took the reins of the Star Trek franchise, one of the best contributions is Santiago Cabrera’s Cristóbal Rios, captain of the vessel La Sirena, a ship staffed by a motley myriad of holograms that mirror Rios’s image.  In John Jackson Miller’s new Star Trek: Picard tie-in novel Rogue Elements, readers will learn the back story of Rios, how he got his ship, and how he was destined to have a run-in with Jean-Luc Picard, sooner or later.  A familiar brand of space pilot, call him rogue or scoundrel or buckaroo, Rios had encounters before the days of Star Trek: Picard–the series–with several characters you’ll know well from Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond, including the most ruthless villain the Enterprise-D may have ever faced.  Star Trek: Picard–Rogue Elements is just out, available now here at Amazon and bookstores everywhere.

Nausicaans, dead Ferengi, and dead Klingons?  Oh, my!

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Star Trek A Celebration cover

With a new Star Trek Day event coming next month, Star Trek fans across the globe will be celebrating 55 years of the Star Trek franchise, coinciding with the centennial of the birth of its creator, Gene Roddenberry.  The 55th anniversary of the launch of the series is worthy of the celebration, and authors Ben Robinson and Ian Spelling have created the latest definitive, behind the scenes account of the 1966-1969 series in their new full-color, hardcover, coffee table-style book, Star Trek: A Celebration, available for pre-order now here at Amazon.

Star-Trek-Day-poster

On September 8, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. Central, get ready for Star Trek Day (not to be confused with First Contact Day–April 5, or Picard Day–June 16, or Alien Day–April 26, or Star Wars Day–May 4).  Star Trek Day 2021 will be all virtual– a better deal than, say Star Wars Celebration and D23, since everyone can join in for a virtual event.  Look for 13 streamed panels, including several retrospective panels, as well as panels featuring stars of all five in-production Star Trek series: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds, to feature Anson Mount’s Captain Pike and the early Enterprise crew.  Check out streaming platform Paramount Plus for more information, which says fans worldwide will be able to live-stream the Star Trek Day celebration panels for free at StarTrek.com/Day

First check out this big, 14-page look inside Star Trek: A Celebration:

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Riker Titan

If you missed the first season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, all you need to know is that the crew of the starship Cerritos specializes not in First Contact, but Second Contact, and it has the same brand of humor as The Orville.  The first season is streaming on Paramount Plus (formerly CBS All Access) and the second season is now underway.  It’s good, silly stuff, full of Easter eggs that should appeal to fans of Star Trek (all the series and movies) who also were fans of Highlights magazine or Where’s Waldo? as a kid.

Lower Decks 2 a

The music is top-notch Star Trek, and the voices have all the vibe of any live-action Trek series.  Spinning out of a concept from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode of the same name, it also evokes the goofy humor of Kirk encountering Uhura while visiting her roommate in the 2009 Star Trek movie and the style of the original Star Trek animated series.  Would you like to know more?  You can view a trailer of the second season and preview the entire first episode of the second season on YouTube now (for a limited time).

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Infinite movie

If you secretly wished the winner of the top spy contest in Kingsman: The Secret Service was Eggsy’s friend Roxy, you’ll get to see what that might have looked like in the new Mark Wahlberg supernatural thriller Infinite.  The Kingsman’s Sophie Cookson, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange, The Old Guard), Rupert Friend (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and the prolific Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Doctor Who, Snow White and The Huntsman, The Hunger Games) join the typically wise-cracking Bostonian Wahlberg in a different kind of search to uncover secrets.  Tapping into the supernatural time travel trope, with hints of Assassin’s Creed and the secret spy league of The Adjustment Bureau, Infinite finds Wahlberg as a man with hallucinations that are actually a window into his past lives (a la reincarnation–remember Albert Brooks’ “past lives pavilion”?).  Antoine Fuqua steps in to direct, hopefully conjuring some of that high-octane action he brought to the screen in his The Magnificent Seven remake, The Equalizer and The Equalizer 2, and Shooter.

Sophie Cookson

First previewed here at borg in 2019, here’s the trailer for Infinite: Continue reading

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