Tag Archive: Predator


20th century fox cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

For a century, 20th Century Fox was a production machine, churning out volumes of motion pictures annually, but never achieving the greatness seen by the likes of MGM and Paramount.  Yet its key movie star assets, its box office successes, and award-winning films were few and far between.  In 20th Century-Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio, writer Scott Eyman takes movie fans back to the beginning and introduces readers to sometimes successful, sometimes not successful businessmen who built theaters and the movies to screen in them, keying in on the mergers that brought William Fox, formerly immigrant Wilhelm Fuchs, to build a corporation that Darryl F. Zanuck would take through important decades of the 21st century.  Both film buffs and historians of the era of film’s Golden Age will find a history in Turner Classic Movies/TCM’s latest film production chronicle, connected by memorable films from its first Oscar-winner, 1927’s Sunrise, to its last, 2019’s Ford v. Ferrari, telling a story of the rise and fall of a movie empire.  TCM’s 20th Century-Fox is just out from publisher Running Press and available here at Amazon.

Continue reading

horror movie banner

The streaming channel Peacock arrived in a free, ad-supported edition this summer, and it’s pretty much like having a full cable TV line-up for only the one-time price of an Amazon Fire Stick.  The Fire Stick is typically available here at Amazon for between $30 and $50, depending on the options you want, and it’s a great portal to a variety of streaming platforms, from Netflix to YouTube and Disney Plus to HBO Max, as well as all the series and movies on Amazon Prime and the streaming platforms already available via that service.  Named for NBC’s classic trademark logo, the Peacock channel is bigger than it sounds, incorporating the giant NBC network of historic programming, content from channels like Bravo, USA, Syfy, History, Nickelodeon, Fox, The CW, MSNBC, and more.  Even better, right now Peacock has a “Peacocktober” hub that has a stunning number of classic and recent horror TV series and movies, all easily searchable, highlighting Halloween episodes of your favorite TV shows, recommended double feature movies, and a slate of programs you won’t find anywhere else.

Universal Monster vintage poster montage

Binge your favorite horror movie series, like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Chucky, Predator, Gremlins, Psycho (including the remake movie with Vince Vaughn, the originals, and the Bates Motel TV series), Phantasm, The Fly, Men in Black, Sharknado, Hostel, Cabin Fever, The Stepfather, Hellboy, Freddy vs Jason, Jason X, and more.  There are certified classics and odd films you may have forgotten, like American Werewolf in London, John Carpenter’s They Live, Village of the Damned, and Prince of Darkness, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, The Omen, Let Me In, Godzilla, Van Helsing, Alien vs. Predator and Prometheus, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 1981’s The Fun House (starring Elizabeth Berridge before she starred in Amadeus), Videodrome, 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, Steven Spielberg’s beloved E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, It Came from Outer Space, Darkman, Nanny McPhee, A Series of Unfortunate Events, the original Munsters TV series, Day of the Dead, The Skeleton Key, Ouija, Rings, Prom Night, and a huge slate of dozens of vintage Universal Monster classics like Dracula with Bela Legosi.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

With the much anticipated ninth episode Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker here at last, writer/director J.J. Abrams has succeeded again at managing a major film franchise challenge and making the best of it.  With Star Trek in 2009, he took a waning property and shot new life into it, but came up short four years later when he tried again and delivered Star Trek Into Darkness, heavily milking the nostalgia of the fan base with its retread of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.  In 2015 Abrams was handed the keys to the other big space franchise, where he revitalized a left-for-dead movie saga and delivered Star Wars: The Force Awakens, notable for the introduction of Daisy Ridley’s curious and mysterious desert scavenger Rey, arguably one of the most fleshed out characters in the entire franchise with this final installment.  Fortunately Abrams’s return to Star Wars will likely net better results for its fanbase with a movie that rises to become the best in the final trilogy, or at least as good as his The Force Awakens.  Is this still George Lucas’s Star Wars?  No, but that just shows the power and unique status of the original trilogy–even Lucas couldn’t capture the magic again with his prequels.  The Rise of Skywalker is the kind of movie that could be judged on its merits as a J.J. Abrams movie and separately as a Star Wars sequel.  Whether you as a viewer like this installment or not will depend on your own expectations.

Abrams may be at his best, with his unique style, lens flares and all, when he gives fans what they want.  Abram’s success this holiday season is a bit of a salvage effort, bringing Rey back as the focal hero/heroine of the story, incorporating some of the saga’s best “Jedi being Jedi” sequences, and tapping into the nostalgia for the 1977 original in bite-sized bits instead of leaning on it like he did so unapologetically with Star Trek Into Darkness.  If only Abrams had made all three Star Wars films, this third chapter could have been much tighter, and the whole trilogy would likely be better received by most of the fanbase.  As a viewer if you don’t (or can’t) just sit back and enjoy the cameo performances, throwbacks, and Easter eggs, you’ll get the feeling that using two directors instead of one over the three films is the crux of any problems in The Rise of Skywalker.  Upon its release, the previous installment The Last Jedi felt like it belonged to an entirely different story than The Force Awakens.  Plot threads created by Abrams were summarily abandoned.  Key characters were eliminated without explanation.  New plot threads came from out of nowhere.  In short, the director-flipping was the big mistake from a storytelling perspective.  Abrams has the extensive portfolio behind him to demonstrate he would have been the right choice to direct all three films.  So this time Abrams had a greater task than ever before, because he was stuck making major course corrections, all to get this tale back on track, re-focused again on Rey.  The necessary patchwork aside, The Rise of Skywalker will go down as one of Abrams’ best works.

Will Star Wars, or more specifically, the Skywalker saga with this three-part conclusion, endure the test of time?  If audiences continue to believe in its value as entertainment, there is no reason why studios can’t keep going back to this material repeatedly–think Shakespeare’s plays, Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dickens’s Ebenezer ScroogeRecall how even more recent stories like the Terminator, Predator, and Halloween (and Star Trek) film series have continued to make sequels and wholesale reboots, disregarding a film that doesn’t do as well and continuing like it was never made.  There’s no reason that can’t happen someday with Star Wars.  So those fans who still want to see the Expanded Universe on the big screen–the complexities and triumphs of both Timothy Zahn’s sequel trilogy and Dark Horse Comics’ many stories like Dark Empire that did so much more with heroes Luke and Leia–just wait.  Someday the right new visionary will step in and make it happen, but fans will need to accept new actors as their heroes, just like we saw with the latest Star Trek trilogy.

Want to dig in further?  Spoilers follow.

Continue reading

 

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re wondering who is the best current comic book interior artist, you only need to turn to the current issue of Archie Comics/Dark Horse Comics′ mash-up series, Archie vs. Predator II: Revenge Comes to Riverdale.  Consistently Robert Hack is one of the industry’s best producing artists, and with this series he immerses readers into new territory where sci-fi meets small town America.  And he’s a double threat–take a look at his incredible covers for Issues #1-3 above and below with co-creator Kelly Fitzpatrick (along with a nice variant cover from Francesco Francavilla).

Dark Horse Comics and Archie Comics have partnered again, bringing back writer Alex de Campi, who crafted the initial bestselling 2015 story (for both publishers) with artist Fernando Ruiz.  Our preview below takes you right into the story where de Campi last left us.  Something’s not quite right with Archie Andrews, and Betty and Veronica are attempting to track down a “Diagon Alley” of sorts called Memory Lane to get everyone back to where they are supposed to be.  Funny and clever, it’s peppered with pop culture references, and some of Betty and Veronica’s best frenemy banter.  Predator dogs!  The Mars Curiosity rover!

  

Artists Rick Burchett, Derek Charm, Francesco Francavilla, Dan Parent, and Billy Tucci are providing some great cover variants for the series, too.

You won’t want to miss it.  Here is a preview of the first issue of Archie vs. Predator II, plus a look at the variant covers, courtesy of Archie Comics:

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you put aside the summer theatrical release of The Predator (a blast of a military/sci-fi action film, check out our review here), and take a look at the two novels that supported the movie, you’ll see a much bigger story Shane Black created to continue the saga of the alien race first introduced to audiences in 1987’s sci-fi classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Predator.  We reviewed James A. Moore’s prequel to the film, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted, here.  Moore gave readers the best of Predator scenes, as one of what we would later learn to be multiple aliens arrived only to first face off in hand to jaw combat against an alligator in the deep South.  Now writers Christopher Golden (Alien: River of Pain) and Mark Morris (The Great Wall) have arrived with The Predator, The Official Movie Novelization

Taken together with Hunters and Hunted, the prequel and novelization bridge the events of Predator 2 in some 600 pages with a to-be-seen future story of advanced, evolved, and upgraded Predator hunter-killers–the place where the novel leaves audiences in the final scene.  It is not the action star squad that is the focus of the entire story arc, it’s Sterling K. Brown’s quasi-government, too-cool-for-CIA alien chaser Traeger.  And if you missed the end of his story arc in the film, you’ll be happy that Holden and Morris’s novel provide a finish worthy of this loathsome villain.

While the novel is faithful to the film, readers will certainly see a lot more than they could see as theater goers–the key scenes in the movie are predominantly filmed in dark and shadow, so the novel amplifies what may have been missed in the outdoor action scenes.  Readers will also better get into the heads of the show’s main stars, the soldier McKenna, his son Rory, and scientist Casey, in addition to the Looneys–the men in McKenna’s ad hoc strike force against the Predator Upgrade creature.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Colonel Carl Butler has done it all long before he is asked by his former boss and mentor–a general with plenty of influence to get things done–to take on a strange mission far away.  The son of a High Council member has gone missing and the investigation is at a standstill.  Butler is a semi-retired hero, he’s loyal to an old military boss, and that man has asked him to go on a far-away mission as a favor.  Butler takes the mission, but always has that niggling feeling all is not what it seems.  The price of the mission is great as he is put into cryo freeze for the long voyage ahead, but his wife is set up nicely with family for the duration.  It’s all a favor to someone who has always commanded his loyal and respect.

All goes downhill even before his arrival as he’s pulled out of cryo early.  On arrival Butler is immediately odd-man-out.  He is assigned some help, but he is disregarded by everyone in authority and all his efforts to sleuth-out what happened to the missing soldier are thwarted.  Even the medical branch won’t help, and a member of the press is persistent, asking why Butler was chosen for this mission and no one else.  That becomes the mystery for Butler, too, as much as discovering the story behind the missing man.  He’s on a space station and the planet below is at war with the alien inhabitants.  Butler does everything to avoid going planetside to meet with the local commander.  Can he stay away, or are all the answers down there?  And will he get those answers without taking command himself?

Arriving in bookstores tomorrow, retired Army officer Michael Mammay’s debut novel Planetside is a military conspiracy-thriller couched in sci-fi dress.  Heavier on the soldiering than the sci-fi, it has common elements you’d find in The General’s Daughter or Courage Under Fire (Mammay does it better).  Yet it is completely accessible to both fans of war novels and sci-fi readers thumbing the paperback rack for their next enjoyable read in the mystery genre, like Forbidden Planet, Blade Runner 2049, or Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need Is Kill (known to moviegoers as Edge of Tomorrow).  The author’s key strength in Planetside is the first person voice of Colonel Butler.  No doubt derived from Mammay’s years of encounters with similar types as a soldier in Desert Storm, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Butler has that stilted dialogue and manner that seems to define long-tenured soldiers in books and movies.  Both Butler’s inner voice and his orders to those around him give the novel fuel to skip along at a brisk pace.  Butler is very much in the realm of Colonel Graff in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, and he could have fought alongside Sgt. Zim or Lt. Rasczak–although Planetside is not a story immersed in ground and aerial combat as in Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, Mammay’s realism pulls readers in with some significant skirmishes along the way.

Continue reading

KCCC 2016 Mystique and Beast    KCCC 2016 Predators and Liv Moore

The third day of Kansas City Comic Con wrapped with attendees making last-minute purchases, obtaining remaining autographs and photos with celebrities and cosplayers, and picking up sketches and comic books from the hundreds of creators on site throughout the weekend.  No doubt the weekend was a success for vendors, and visitors had a great time.

And as promised yesterday, we have more photos from the weekend.

It wouldn’t be a Kansas City Con without a merry duo of those Nausicaan cousins, the Predators.  As with prior years Elizabeth C. Bunce (above) hunted them down, this time as iZombie’s Liv Moore (seriously, this keeps happening–check this out).

What makes for great cosplay?  Surprises.  Characters that are classic or iconic that you’ve never seen before are a real treat.  Like this spot-on Beetlejuice cosplay–Wynona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz:

KCCC 2016 Beetlejuice and Liv Moore cosplay    KCCC 2016 Joker and Liv Moore cosplay

Superb!  And while we’re in 1980s mode, wait ’til you get a load of this:  We spotted the very best Joker cosplay we’d ever seen, Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the 1989 Batman movie (above).

The rest of the cosplay we singled out mainly followed the superhero genre.  Like the dynamic indigo X-Men duo pictured under the headline above.  We’ve seen Mystiques before but this was the best constructed outfit and Beast’s make-up was excellent.

We saw two great Wonder Woman outfits, first from the new movies and then a classic comic book variant:

Continue reading

Predator Life and Death 1 cover    Predator Life and Death 1 cover B

A new seventeen-part sci-fi/horror series begins next month from Dark Horse Comics.  Predator: Life and Death is a four-part series that begins a cycle that spans the worlds of Predator, Aliens, Aliens v. Predator, and Prometheus–similar to Dark Horse’s popular Fire and Storm cycle.  Writer Dan Abnett will interconnect four stories, and we have a preview below of the first issue for borg.com readers.

Colonial Marines on the planet Tartarus battle extraterrestrial hunters over the possession of a mysterious spaceship.  Weyland-Yutani is after the ship, and the marine captain wants to protect the crew.  But neither is likely to get their way when a band of Predators attacks.

Predator Life and Death 1 cover C     Predator Life and Death 2 cover

Artist Brian Thies and colorist Rain Beredo have created a look that mixes Michael Golden’s The ‘Nam series with classic Sgt. Rock.  Issue #1 of Predator: Life and Death is a great looking war comic.  Check out a preview after the break:

Continue reading

The Predator poster

It’s simply one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time.  It stars the biggest action hero of all time.  And it was the proving ground for two actors who would become state governors.  Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.  But 1987’s surprise hit Predator, reviewed here at borg.com in its recent 3D incarnation, is one of those sci-fi/horror/action mash-ups that will leave you coming back to watch it over and over.

It also launched a multi-film franchise, which although not as successful as its sister franchise Aliens, gave us more to hope for: Predator 2 in 1990, Alien vs. Predator in 1993, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007, and finally Predators in 2010.  In truth, none of these possessed either Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star power or Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October director John McTiernan’s eye for suspense.

So what better time to look back to the original film?  A new film by writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys) is coming your way, and this week 20th Century Fox released a new poster to tease us.  No mention of A-list stars or plot summary.  Just an image of one of our two favorite interplanetary bounty hunters.

Shane Black in Predator

But here’s the thing.  And it’s illustrated by a new trailer for Kindergarten Cop 2 (you don’t need to watch the entire trailer to get the point):

Continue reading

The 5th Wave invasion

The aliens have arrived.

It’s flat-out one of our favorite sci-fi sub-genres.  The alien invasion flick.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), E.T, the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Predator (1987), Alien Nation (1988), They Live (1988), Independence Day (1996), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Men in Black (1997), Starship Troopers (1997), Signs (2002), War of the Worlds (2005), Cloverfield (2008), District 9 (2009), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Edge of Tomorrow (2014).  These are some of the most exciting and fun sci-fi movies to watch and re-watch.

Kick-Ass and The Equalizer’s Chloë Grace Moretz stars in a new Sony/Columbia Pictures release, The 5th Wave, which looks like it’s mixing the alien invasion film with the disaster movie, the epidemic movie, and the body snatcher movie.  The only thing missing is zombies.  But body snatchers are close enough.

Alien ship in The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave co-stars Office Space star Ron Livingston, X-Men Origins and The Sum of All Fears’ Liev Shreiber, and Prime Suspect and Assault on Precinct 13’s Maria Bello.  Is Moretz a normal Earthling or one of us taken over by the aliens?

Check out this first trailer for The 5th Wave:

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: