Tag Archive: Twilight


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you can get through the first hour of Netflix’s new vampire action thriller Day Shift, you’re in for the next level of vampire genre movie-making.  Thirty-plus-year stuntman, stunt coordinator, and frequent second unit director J.J. Perry leans into his stunt craft to direct a vampire movie that sets the bar for the genre.  Led by Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx as a vampire hunter that has everything you could hope for in MCU’s forthcoming remake of vampire hunter Blade, Day Shift earns its R rating with an uber-violent body count with more blood, decapitations, stabs, and guns than probably any other mainstream movie this decade.  After a slow start, the second half of the movie has screenwriter Tyler Tice and Army of the Dead and John Wick film series writer Shay Hatten settled in with a story better than your average video game adaptation.

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Genre favorite Jenna Coleman is back, this time not as the friendly companion in Doctor Who, but as Johanna Constantine in The Sandman, a new series coming to Netflix this summer.  Based on Neil Gaiman’s series of graphic novels from DC Comics, it’s a dark fantasy tale of another world, a place called the Dreaming, the realm of The Sandman, Master of Dreams, played by Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd).  “When Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever.”

The trailer reveals a British production that has the look and vibe of the Twilight and Harry Potter movie series, and it features a long list of familiar genre faces, including Potter’s David Thewlis, plus Alien3 and Bleak House’s Charles Dance, The Hobbit and V for Vendetta’s Stephen Fry, Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Gwendoline Christie, Logan and The Predator’s Boyd Holbrook, and Veronica Mars’ Kirby Howell-Baptiste.

Here’s the new trailer for Netflix’s The Sandman:

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Morbius novel cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

As each new superhero gets his showcase in Marvel movies, we’re getting more and more lesser known characters pulled from the history of Marvel Comics to meet on the big screen.  As we stray away from the actual superhero headliners, the obscure come to the fore.  Probably the best of the darker, horror comics can be found in DC Comics, members of Justice League Dark, in recent years including Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Deadman, Madame Xanadu, and Shade.  But it’s the feel of JLD you’ll find in Brendan Daneen’s Morbius, The Living Vampire: Blood Ties, a new novel in the Titan Books library of novel adaptations of Marvel Comics.  Taking place after the origin story of Marvel’s take on a “bat-man,” to be adapted in the pandemic-delayed, big-screen debut of Marvel’s latest monstrosity Morbius starring Jared Leto, this story gives an accounting of that “living vampire” first created 50 years ago in the pages of Spider-Man comics by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Alita: Battle Angela could be just another space-age story.  It’s full of cyborgs (we love’ em), but it’s not standard fare for frequent sci-fi movie buffs and sci-fi readers.  Without the “distraction” of Robert Rodriguez’s special effects, you can really get to the heart of the movie’s story by going to the underlying source work it adapts, or in this case, its novelization, Alita: Battle Angel–The Official Novelization, by author Pat Cadigan, who also wrote last year’s Harley Quinn–Mad Love, reviewed here at borg.  The film is an adaptation of the manga Battle Angel: Alita by Yukito Kishiro, a story about self-discovery and empowerment via a centuries-old human brain that finds its way into the cybernetic body of what looks like a teen girl.  The film changes enough from the manga, incorporating several new characters and conflicts, that the novelization and film stand apart from Kishiro’s manga.  So how does the new story fare?

Above all, the biggest surprise is that Alita: Battle Angel–The Official Novelization is in every way a young adult novel, based on its protagonist, story structure, and the author’s writing style.  In fact the film may have missed a niche audience–as the studio targeted adult sci-fi buffs instead of fans of stories like the Divergent series, Twilight, The Maze Runner series, City of Ember, and Ender‘s GameEven more on-point, Alita: Battle Angel follows the same emotional highs and lows of The Hunger Games.  Both The Hunger Games and Alita: Battle Angel are teen heroine updates to both Rollerball (1975) and The Running Man (1987), but like some of the best science fiction they are also remakes of the oldest of them all, Frankenstein, and its descendant PinocchioBlend these four popular stories together and you can understand why James Cameron prepared 600 pages of development material for the Alita project he would ultimately produce into the film.

Pat Cadigan′s storytelling is a mirror of the writing style and pacing of The Hunger Games’ novel writer, Suzanne Collins.  In a significant way, Alita: Battle Angel is a teen romance, a romance between Alita–an amnesiac cyborg who is primarily robotic but has a human brain–and her newfound human boyfriend Hugo.  Hugo is a street kid who helps her learn who she wants to be and how to survive on the streets of a futuristic Earth where everyone who isn’t a cyborg is mugging cyborgs to steal their parts and swap them for cash.  As with Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games, Alita and Hugo fall in love as they help each other and work together when faced with an onslaught of ever-increasing impediments to their survival.  And yes, this is another superheroine with a problem like the heroine in the new Captain Marvel movie.

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