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Tag Archive: Simon Pegg


In February’s Super Bowl barrage of commercials viewers saw their first look at Tom Cruise’s next outing in the American version of the James Bond movies.  The sixth Mission: Impossible film, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, showed Cruise returning as Ethan Hunt, along with returning cast Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Harris, and Alec Baldwin, plus some surprises.

Three months later Paramount released the next trailer for the film early this morning, showing more action and more disasters for Ethan Hunt.  And that includes more Cruise doing many of his own stunts.

Superman Henry Cavill is the latest leading man to share significant screen-time in an M:I mission with Cruise.  Plus Black Panther’s Angela Bassett looks to be a key force in the film.  Vanessa Kirby and Rebecca Ferguson also co-star.  In advance of the new trailer, Cavill announced a new poster for the movie (above).

Here is the new trailer for Mission: Impossible – Fallout:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

After its second week in theaters, Ready Player One is still chalking up sold-out screenings nationwide.  Whether or not you’re a video game fan, and whether or not you read Ernest Cline’s novel the film is based on, it’s a fun way to spend 2.5 hours.  Although his producer credits are hit-and-miss over the past few decades, director Steven Spielberg tends to take on films he loves, and handles them with due care.  Same goes for Ready Player One.  Along with his Oscar-nominated film The Post, Ready Player One proves there’s no slowing down for the director’s success in making good films.  Even if Ready Player One is not as great as the films from the 1980s that it honors (Spielberg’s choice to ignore references from his own films leaves a big, obvious gap throughout scene after scene), it’s a nice story, and a progression of the kind of coming-of-age story the director first created long ago with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  Yet the backbone of the film doesn’t flow from the 1980s, but from a 1971 film classic: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

In the year 2045, Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), and a group of people he has only met as their avatars in a giant MMPORG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) called OASIS, embark on a quest to solve the late OASIS founder’s puzzle in three steps, which would reward the winner with control of the OASIS and the hundreds of millions of dollars the company behind it (called IOI) is worth.  The big win is the authenticity of relationships between Sheridan and his co-stars, including Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) as Art3mis (pronounced Artemis), Aech (sounds like the letter “H”) played by Lena Waithe (Master of None), Daito (Win Morisaki), and Sho (Philip Zhao) as they work together on their journey.  Cooke’s character comes alive as the high point of the film.  The villains are more textbook bad guys, led by Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), with his hulking minion i-R0K (“I rock”) played by T.J. Miller (Deadpool), and a seriously underutilized Hannah John-Kamen as F’Nale.  i-R0K carries the bulk of the film’s best comedy lines.  Surprisingly the story misses the opportunity to give the viewer enough information to solve the three riddles of the film.  Instead we watch the characters move through a great big fictional world only they know about.  But the adventure is a good ride.  Look for Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) and Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Shaun of the Dead) as an interesting odd couple of Gates/Jobs-inspired visionaries.

Get ready for dizzying races and chases with the latest CGI and motion capture special effects–so much so that much of the movie feels like an animated movie.  We’ve come a long way from the 1980s version of the subject matter in Disney’s Tron–the first foray into a video game world.  But Ready Player One is similar in tone to Tron and another video game movie of the era, The Last Starfighter–all good family films with positive themes.  Here that’s the importance of community, leadership, and personal responsibility, and the negative side of new and emerging technologies like drones and having more than merely virtual social relationships.

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We first mentioned the movie Ready Player One six years ago in our review of the Ernest Cline novel here at borg.com. Warner Bros. kicked off San Diego Comic-Con with director Steven Spielberg showing the first teaser trailer for the movie. The audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton and currently available free here at Amazon with an Audible sign-up, has been a huge hit with fans, almost taking on a life of its own.  We saw the second trailer last December, and the Easter Eggs started to pile up.

Iron Giant, Freddy Krueger, the Back to the Future DeLorean.  Lots of references for gamers in particular.  Warner Bros. released the third and likely final trailer for the film this weekend.  VR is the theme this time around.

Ready Player One stars X-Men: Apocalypse’s Tye Sheridan, Black Panther’s Letitia Wright, Killjoys, Tomb Raider, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Hannah John-Kamen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Ben Mendelsohn, Star Trek and Star Wars’ Simon Pegg, and Bates Motel’s Olivia Cooke.

Here is the third trailer for Ready Player One, with a little help from Willy Wonka:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

How far back has this latest chapter in J.J. Abrams mash-up of science fiction and giant monsters been brewing?  Back to his 2011 summer coming of age release Super 8?  Like M. Night Shyamalan, all of Abrams’ projects, whether as executive producer or director or even writer-director, may not be successful, but they both take exciting risks with their projects.  Cloverfield was a well-crafted homage to Godzilla pictures.  10 Cloverfield Lane was a genre surprise, a mix of straight dramatic horror that ended up as a sci-fi monster movie.  And this week Netflix released a theatrical worthy next installment, The Cloverfield Paradox, this time providing that relentless sci-fi horror fix perfected with James Cameron’s Aliens.  And like Shyamalan’s recent thriller Split, a cool surprise is in store for viewers.

The Cloverfield Paradox is easily comparable to one of the best Doctor Who space station-based episodes (think The Waters of Mars).  In fact absent Matt Smith or David Tennant you might forget you’re not watching Doctor Who as so many tropes from Whovian space disaster episodes are weaved into the film.  And that’s a good thing for fans of the type of science fiction stories that Doctor Who tends to attract.  The cast of The Cloverfield Paradox forms a crew you wish would be around for a TV series.  Led by David Oyelowo (Star Wars: Rebels, Jack Reacher) as Commander Kiel, with physicists played by Daniel Brühl (Rush, Goodbye Lenin, Captain America: Civil War) as Schmidt and Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rush Hour 2) as Tam, and other crewmembers played by John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island, Alien vs. Predator), Aksel Hennie (The Martian), and Chris O’Dowd (Thor: The Dark World), the space station Cloverfield has a legitimate international crew.  But the focus is on crewmember Hamilton played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty and the Beast, Jupiter Ascending), who leaves her husband (Roger Davies) back on Earth after her children die in a fire to help the scientists test a particle accelerator.  The success or failure of that test could mean a leap ahead for the planet or certain doom.

Anyone who has ever read an issue of DC Comics can understand the multi-verse science here.  Dabbling in quantum physics comes with uncertain risks, and after nearly a year of failed trials, when the station finally creates a stable particle beam, something has changed.  Leaving the audience always wondering whether this is going to be another Aliens episode or something else, the effect of the anomaly creates the stuff of The Philadelphia Experiment, smashing one reality into another.  One of the results is the appearance from another parallel universe of a Cloverfield physicist played by Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy 2, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.).  Only Debicki’s character was not on the mission in the universe the film started out in, and as radio signals reflect an apparently altered Earth below, the loyalties of the crewmembers come into question.  It’s all great fun, and the production quality is good enough–with bonuses like crew costumes from Academy Award-winning designer Colleen Atwood–that it’s a shame audiences can’t watch this play out on a big movie theater screen.

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In addition to the eagerly awaited first look at Solo: A Star Wars Story, today’s Super Bowl game included a look at Tom Cruise’s next go at the American version of the James Bond movies.  The sixth Mission: Impossible film, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, has Cruise returning as Ethan Hunt, along with regulars Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Alec Baldwin, plus some surprises.

Also look for appearances by Henry Cavill and Angela Bassett.  As with the past entries in the series, that’s Cruise performing many of his own stunts.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing a father with a prosthetic leg trying to save his family in Skyscraper, the next big action flick featuring the blockbuster star.  Johnson continues to pile up box office wins, most recently in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (reviewed here).

Have a look at new trailers for Mission: Impossible –  Fallout and Skyscraper:

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Warner Bros. kicked off San Diego Comic-Con’s Saturday events this year with Ready Player One director Steven Spielberg, cast members, and the author showing the first teaser trailer for the movie (if you missed it, we previewed it here).  The audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton and currently available free here at Amazon with an Audible sign-up, has been a huge hit with fans, almost taking on a life of its own.  This weekend the studio released a new trailer for the 2018 release, a future sci-fi vision of the 1980s via virtual reality and a young man’s quest for the ultimate Easter egg.

As readers of the novel would expect, you’ll be looking for “millions” of Easter eggs tucked away in the film.  Iron Giant, Freddy Krueger, the Back to the Future DeLorean were the focus of the teaser this summer.  See what you can find in this first full-length trailer.  Is that King Kong or Donkey Kong?  We’re excited to see in this new trailer Killjoys’ and Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Hannah John-Kamen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Ben Mendelsohn, and Bates Motel’s Olivia Cooke joining star X-Men: Apocalypse’s Tye Sheridan, but no sightings yet of Star Trek and Star Wars’ star Simon Pegg yet.

Here is the second trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One:

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Saturday entertainment memorabilia collectors and diehard Star Trek fans lined up in person, and bid via telephone and online as auction house Prop Store auctioned off 400 lots of screen-used props and costumes for Paramount Pictures at Prop Store’s new location in Valencia, California.  The auction included many key items used in the production of the 2009 J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot film as well as the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.  Paramount retained many more items than were auctioned off, but this was the third–and the largest–public auction of items from what the franchise refers to as the “Kelvin timeline.”  The Kelvin timeline resulted after the failure of Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock to prevent the destruction of the planet Romulus and the subsequent journey by the Romulan Nero back in time as revenge to destroy both the USS Kelvin, the ship where Captain Kirk’s father served, and subsequently the planet Vulcan.  The Kelvin timeline includes the third film of the new series, Star Trek Beyond, but no items from that film were included in Saturday’s auction.

If high hammer prices are any indication of popularity, Star Trek shows no signs of slowing down.  Most lots exceeded their auction estimates, and lots for key characters far surpassed those estimates.  As you might expect, costumes from Chris Pine’s Captain James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto’s Mr. Spock, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan led the way.  Several Kirk costumes were at auction–examples of his standard gold tunic Starfleet uniform sold in lots of varying descriptions and completeness for $30,500, $14,640, and $8,540 (prices listed here include the added buyer’s premium fee charged to all buyers).  Even a costume for a Kirk double actor (an actor who stood in for Pine during stage preparation) fetched $3,965 and a similar unlabeled captain costume sold for $6,710.  Yet another Kirk uniform–a gray dress uniform for a double actor–sold for $12,200, and one of his Kronos (Qo’noS) disguises sold for $8,540.  But the best-selling lot was a costume worn by Quinto as Spock that also included phaser, holster belt, and communicator props–that lot sold for $33,550.  Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan costumes were all big sellers, selling for $18,300, $9,150, $9,150, $8,540, $8,540, $6,710, $6,100, and $5,795, making him roughly tied with Kirk as the most popular of the characters with items represented at this auction.  Other key characters represented included a Uhura Starfleet uniform for actress Zoe Saldana that sold for $17,080, a Dr. McCoy “Bones” uniform for actor Karl Urban that sold for $9,760, and similar costumes that sold at the same price for Simon Pegg’s Scotty and John Cho’s Sulu.  No costumes were auctioned that were used by the late Anton Yelchin’s Chekov.  The auction also included several recognizable production-made and screen-used Starfleet props.  A rare Starfleet rifle sold for $15,860, and Kelvin timeline chrome Starfleet phasers sold for $3,355 to $11,590.  Only a handful of Starfleet background/stunt communicators were available, selling for $1,342 to $2,745.  Static/stunt tricorders sold for $2,318 to $3,355.

Well-known Star Trek aliens also invaded the Prop Store auction.  Klingon uniforms from a deleted scene in the 2009 Star Trek that were re-used in Star Trek Into Darkness were auctioned off (selling between $600 and $1,110), plus new Klingon costumes from the sequel, some of which included helmets and light-up “working” phasers and rifles (selling for between $1,952 and $9,760).  Four Vulcan uniforms sold, including one in the same style as that worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock in one of his last performances as the character (these sold for $549 to $1,098).  And nine Romulan costumes sold, including some labeled for Eric Bana’s character, the villain Nero (selling for as low as $732 to a lot of two costumes for $1,342).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

When I was a kid Star Wars blew me away and when I think back it was the “wretched hive of scum and villainy”–specifically the creature cantina at Mos Eisley spaceport–that first introduced me to the idea of a wide, wide universe of alien beings.  Countless characters–makeups and costumes designed by movie artists in the real world–all milled about in one place and it was about as cool a thing as anyone could put on film.  My next great appreciation for aliens came from the Star Trek films, in particular the delegation of members of the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek IV: A Voyage Home–this bizarre assemblage of leaders, all wearing the common United Federation of Planets maroon officer uniforms, but each representing some far off world with all sorts of strange and exotic denizens.  Much of my excitement for aliens would come from Michael Westmore’s wonderful “aliens of the week” in the various television incarnations of Star Trek–I am a fan and self-proclaimed expert in the aliens of Star Trek more than any other corner of that great franchise.  Later I would be dazzled by the unique alien designs of Doctor Who’s 21st century Renaissance, where the British series really upped the ante of how unique and complex a weekly show could illustrate the potential of who is “out there.”  The updated Mos Eisley for science fiction fans would reach its zenith for me in two great ways in 2016 and 2017:  In the diverse cultures of the Yorktown space station in Star Trek Beyond and in the immensely populated Big Market in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.  As much as the original Mos Eisley still stands strong on film, these two modern updates of “strange new worlds… new life and new civilizations” represent the best modern creativity in the world of cinema.  Makeup artist Joel Harlow, who won an Academy Award for his makeup work for Star Trek (2009), returned to the franchise for Star Trek Beyond, and in honor of the Trek’s 50th anniversary his team created 50 new alien races for the film.  A new book just released, Joe Nazzaro’s Star Trek Beyond: The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow documents in photographs and descriptions the development and creative ideas behind each new race for the film.  As a fan of aliens and Star Trek and this fabulous film, I haven’t anticipated a new publication as much, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the result.

Journalist Joe Nazzaro assembled Star Trek Beyond: The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow unlike most behind the scenes accounts that only punctuate descriptions with the odd quote from a creator, instead providing his narrative as a reporter would–interviewing and sharing Harlow and his creators’ complete, firsthand accounts of developing, designing, casting and even applying many of the makeups.  We hear about Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Beyond from Harlow and creators behind the scenes including concept artists Neville Page, Allen Williams, and Carlos Huante, sculptor/makeup artist Richie Alonzo, and designer/sculptors Don Lanning, Joey Orosco, Lennie MacDonald, Norman Cabrera, and Mike Rotella.  This is the kind of access to the minds of movie creators that fanboys and fangirls dream about.

Let’s start with Jaylah.  By my count, in the vast world of great Star Trek female characters Jaylah (portrayed by Sofia Boutella) is the most developed, most intriguing, best badass heroine of them all.  Harlow, Neville Page, and Richie Alonzo really flesh out for readers the idea to application method of the unique makeup for this lead character from the film.  Although it may not be the most complex makeup design at first look, it required elaborate and surgical artistry to replicate it each day, and balanced many requirements to allow the actor to move freely through action sequences and stand out as the driving force behind the plot of the film.  Equally important to the film was the villain Krall (portrayed by Idris Elba) a character made up of all the alien races he had absorbed (which included callbacks to Star Trek’s Jem’Hadar) requiring additional complexity in design and style via its character’s backstory.  Creators Harlow and Joey Orosco delve into the creation of the four phases of Krall’s design made for the movie.

The most brilliant makeup is no doubt the alien Natalia (who appears on the book cover), the fabulous, spectacular nautilus-headed design by Allen Williams and Don Lanning and sculpted by Joey Orosco with contributions from Werner Pretorius, Lennie MacDonald, Steve Buscaino, Cristina Patterson, and Toby Lindala.  The head, bust, and arms for Natalia must reflect one of the best creature designs to ever emerge from Hollywood, and yet, like many of the 50 new aliens designed for the film (technically 56 according to Harlow) the character did not get much screentime.  In fact many of the aliens were for background shots and astonishingly a few did not make it into the final cut of the film.  The artists in the book also confirm the H.R. Giger influence on some of their designs for Star Trek Beyond–his designs also influenced alien creations of earlier Trek incarnations.  One of my favorite footnotes to the Star Trek franchise, and certainly one of the most obscure references in classic Star Trek is an intercom on the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation paging Dr. Selar to the Null-G ward–which we never actually get to see–but the Abe Sapien-meets They Live alien called Satine (designed by Allen Williams and sculpted by Matt Rose) is exactly the type of alien I envisioned you’d find there.

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We first mentioned the movie Ready Player One six years ago in our review of the Ernest Cline novel here at borg.com.  Warner Bros. kicked off Comic-Con Saturday today at San Diego Comic-Con with director Steven Spielberg, a few cast members, and the author showing the first trailer for the movie.  The audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton and currently available free here at Amazon with an Audible sign-up, has been a huge hit with fans, almost taking on a life of its own.  But how does the first preview compare to expectations?

Start counting the Easter Eggs now: Iron Giant, Freddy Krueger, the Back to the Future DeLorean.  What else did you find?

Ready Player One stars X-Men: Apocalypse’s Tye Sheridan, Killjoys’ Hannah John-Kamen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Ben Mendelsohn, Star Trek and Star Wars’ Simon Pegg, and Bates Motel’s Olivia Cooke.

Here is the official HD version shown at Comic-Con, Warner Bros.’ first trailer for Ready Player One:

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dpicard-08

Anyone who has ever played with action figures has had the thought.  What would it be like to be as small as the figures and roam around with them in their vehicles, or what if they were as large as life and roamed around with us?  Daniel Picard enjoyed collecting the high-end, Sideshow Collectibles 12-inch “statue” figures.  He was also a photographer.  So Picard blended them together and posted them online.  He then sent some of his photos to Sideshow Collectibles’ management and the result is Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard, a hardcover collection of his creations, published by Insight Editions.

What makes Picard’s photographs work is the “magic” of lining up light and shadow so that his photographs of real world situations blend seamlessly with spliced-in images of 12-inch figures.  The Sideshow Collectibles figures are exclusively used in this collection–these are the figures that sell for hundreds of dollars because of their highly detailed production quality.  (Sideshow made the borg.com Best of 2016 list here last year, and we discussed the Star Wars line last year here).  So this line of figures was ideal for Picard’s project.

figure-fantasy

The situations Picard selects, the clever humor, the juxtaposition of the fantastical and the mundane, all combine to make Picard’s work stand out from the standard attempts at similar combinations you might find on the Internet.

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