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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Doctor Who Preview At ComicCon

There will be a panel based around Doctor Who at this year's San Diego ComicCon, it was revealed today. The event, taking place at 12.30pm on Sunday July 24th, will feature a question-and-answer session with executive producer Piers Wenger and Beth Willis, writer of Episode 11 (The God Complex, starring David Walliams!) Toby Whithouse and leads Matt Smith (the Doctor) and Karen Gillian (Amy Pond). This session will feature the premiere of the first footage of Series Six's remaining six episodes, which include Let's Kill Hitler and a sequel to The Lodger starring James Corden. The second half of this season starts with the Doctor in a race against time to find the young Melody Pond/River Song and save her from the nefarious Madame Kovarian whilst possibly stopping the assassination of an evil Nazi dictator along the way. We'll then have a few standalone episodes, and finally waits the finale, where the supposed death of the Doctor, the century-spanning plot of the Silence and the Time Lord's true relationship with River Song will likely be revealed (but with threads left open for Series Seven, and quite possibly another appearance from Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill and Simon Fisher-Becker as Dorium!). And then of course there's the Christmas Special...sorry, getting ahead of myself! The footage will probably be on YouTube shortly after its debut via someone recording it, so although the quality may not be the best I'll do my best to get it onto the blog as soon as possible. The Doctor Who panel happens on Sunday July 24th, and the series returns this September.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2- What To Expect

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is just two weeks away from its general release, which means in just one fortnight the story of the Boy Who Lived on the big screen will officially be over. But what can you expect from the final instalment in the blockbuster franchise? Trailers have been a little sketchy in this regard, only increasing anticipation for the climactic Battle of Hogwarts, yet you can rest assured that there's far more to come on July 15th. It's been a while since I read Hallows, so these teasers are pretty light on spoilers, just serving to make you more excited for this year's biggest film...
1. Ollivander has some wise words to impart regarding Harry's quest.
2. "You really don't stand a chance!"
3. It's off to Gringotts Bank to find another Horcrux.
4. What does Bellatrix Lestrange have to hide?
5. Stunning effects will bolster a spectacular escape sequence
6. "I say we jump..." "...Now!"
7. The battle of Hogwarts begins- and by no means will everyone make it out alive.
8. The Chamber of Secrets may yet hold the key to our salvation- or our destruction...
9, "You'll stay with me?" "Until the end."
10. What side will Severus Snape choose in the battle, and what are the consequences?
11. At least three time periods factor into the movie.
12. What part will Neville Longbottom play in the quest to stop Voldemort?
13. You will have seen Harry jump off a cliff with Voldemort in the trailer- can they survive?
14. "Harry Potter- you have fought valiantly. But you have allowed your friends to die for you, rather than face me yourself. On this night, join me- and confront your fate."
15. "Harry Potter- the Boy Who Lived. Come to die."
16. "I never wanted any of you to die for me."

Bungie Reveals Aerospace

Video game developer Bungie today announced Aerospace, a new project created to help small indie developers set up new franchises through funding and promotion. The target genre of gaming will be mobile, handheld and social titles like Farmville and Professor Layton, both hits in their own right that have excelled thanks to the help of first-party devs. In a press release detailing the project, Bungie revealed Aerospace will give new producers "the creative freedom and the resources they need, including access to the Bungie.net platform and an audience with the incredible Bungie community, to launch their entertainment experiences into orbit". Bungie are most famous for their work on the Halo franchise up until Reach in 2010 (343 Industries now head that series, already working on Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 4), so if anyone can help indie developers launch new killer apps on portable platforms it's them. What all this means for gamers of the future is uncertain, but they can at least rest assured that Bungie are hard at work on a new title, Crimson, set for release on iPhone and iPad this Summer and a brand new science-fiction gaming franchise set to begin in 2013!

More An Idiot Abroad 2 Details

An Idiot Abroad: The Bucket List hits Sky One this Autumn, and we now have more details on what the new series will encompass. Spanning eight episodes, the second season sees the titular 'idiot' Karl Pilkington attempt to take on a number of challenges from 'Things To Do Before You Die' books. Of course, there are times when Karl is less than eager to tackle said challenges, but you can be sure co-producers Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant will do everything to keep Karl moving and to delay him whilst doing some menial tasks! But who better to tell you about the show than Karl himself? "What else am I going to do?" he says, "When you've been in a programme called An Idiot Abroad, other job offers aren't going to be flying in, are they? At least Wagner off X Factor could go back to Brazil...because An Idiot Abroad has been all over the world, I can't escape being called an 'idiot'. Ricky did that." Ricky and Steven said: "When we asked Karl to list his 'Things To Do Before You Die', the only thing he could think of was 'work in B&Q part-time'. So we decided to make a list for him." It all sounds like a hilarious romp, so look out for An Idiot Abroad: The Bucket List when it airs this September.

SEGA 2011/12 Release Schedule Revealed

SEGA revealed today their video game release schedule for the second half of 2011 and the whole of 2012. The schedule features some of the developer's biggest upcoming titles such as Aliens: Colonial Marines, Rise of Nightmares and Sonic Generations, giving confirmed release dates for some and release windows for others.

More Red Dead DLC Coming

Scoring a hefty 9.5/10 here, Rockstar's Western open-worlder Red Dead Redemption brought the goods big time in 2010, so that even more downloadable content has been announced for the game comes as no surprise. Developer Rockstar North broke the news of the currently untitled DLC via Twitter when they were asked about the possibility of its existence: "Look for [a] release date and details in the coming weeks." Four DLC packs were released in 2010, including the storyline expansion Undead Nightmare (6/10), and odds are Rockstar will also be publishing some more cases for LA Noire fans to plough through this Summer soon too. Until then, check out the first DLC for Team Bondi's detective shooter, LA Noire: Nicholson Electroplating, available now on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.

Michael McIntyre Christmas Special Announced

Just weeks after his first season as a judge on Britain's Got Talent concluded, the BBC have announced that Michael McIntyre will host a special edition of his Comedy Roadshow this Christmas. Clocking in at an hour, the festive episode will feature the hit celebrity enlisting the biggest names in television comedy to put on a great show in front of a live audience. Nothing is known as of yet about who other than McIntyre will contribute, but if previous episodes of the Roadshow are anything to go by we should be in for a real treat! Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow will return in December on BBC One and BBC One HD.

Coming Up For On-Screen In July

For Warner Brothers' biggest ever movie franchise, it's the end- but the moment has been prepared for. The extensive marketing campaign so far for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is likely nothing compared to the wave of coverage coming in the opening weeks of July, so keep an eye here on the blog for all the news on the finale and the exclusive, definitive verdict on the film itself on the day it releases, July 15th. That's not all to look forward to here this month, though, so take a look below for a round-up of all the stuff you can expect...
FILM REVIEWS- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two; Captain America The First Avenger; The Green Hornet and many more!
GAME REVIEWS- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two; Captain America Super Soldier; Red Faction Battlegrounds and big announcements too!
BOOK REVIEWS- The Death Defying Pepper Roux; The Bride's Farewell; Prisoner of the Inquisition; Spider-Man American Son; Halo Uprising; Carte Blanche; Torchwood First Born and more still to come!
TELEVISION COVERAGE- New episodes of Smallville previewed; the latest instalments of Camelot rated; day-one reviews of Torchwood: Miracle Day's first three episodes plus more to come.
PREVIEWS- Doctor Who Series 6 Part 2; Merlin Series Four; Sherlock Series Two; Super 8 and world exclusive first looks at the Deathly Hallows Part 2 game and LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7!
FEATURES- How the Halo franchise can improve; what the Autumn of Gaming has to offer; was the Summer of Film a success and what next for the cinema; the Harry Potter retrospective and more!
NEWS- The first trailer for Sherlock Holmes 2?; updates on The Avengers and The Hobbit; more on Pottermore; more details on Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Modern Warfare 3 and Batman Arkham City and plenty more surprising reveals!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Doctor Who Magazine- A Tribute To Nicholas Courtney

The latest issue of the official Doctor Who Magazine is out tomorrow, and whether you generally buy the publication or not I would really recommend purchasing Issue 436. A bumper 100-page edition, the magazine pays tribute to the life of the late Nicholas Courtney (1929-2011). It's a really touching compilation of memories from famous Who contributors like Katy Manning, Tom Baker, Russell T Davies and David Tennant, and is sure to have long-term fans of the series shedding more than a few tears. We also get an episode guide of Inferno, one of Courtney's finest outings as Brigadier Alisdair Lethbridge Stewart during the John Pertwee era, a preview of this month's new season of Torchwood and news on how Who will operate in 2012 (the recently announced fourteen episodes will air over the course of 2012 and 2013, but we don't know how many will be in the first year and there's a chance even more will hit later in the 50th Anniversary year). Seriously, it's a huge issue which at just £4.99 you should not miss!

Batman: Arkham City Boxart Revealed

The boxart for upcoming superhero game Batman: Arkham City has been revealed today by developer Rocksteady Studios. It depicts the titular Dark Knight looking out from a stone gargoyle into the distance, and uses a black and white style common to lots of the promotional artwork released so far. The game, coming on Xbox 360; PlayStation 3 and PC this Autumn, sees Batman enter a cordened-off section of Gotham ruled by criminals when old enemy Two-Face takes Catwoman hostage and threatens to kill her in the Wayne Courthouse. Soon enough, Bruce begins to realise that the masterplans of Two-Face, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mr Freeze and countless other foes threaten the lives of innocents in the rest of the city, and with leader Hugo Strange in possession of the truth about Batman's true alias, the stakes have never been higher for our Caped Crusader. I ranked this as my Most Anticipated Game Of 2011 last week, so it's one you should really be looking out for when it hits on October 21st!

July 2011: Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases

July is a month that in some ways is packed with great entertainment releases, in others not so much. There is the small matter of a film called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, promising to be an absolutely stunning climax to one of the most cherished British movie franchises of all time, and Captain America: The First Avenger is rounding off the month on the big screen in style, but other than those two there isn't too much new on at the cinema. Worse still, the Potter: Part 2 video game is about all we have on the gaming front in July, and given how badly Part 1 went down with critics and fans alike that's not a good sign at all. There is still just about enough to keep us going, though, so let's look at the most exciting releases to come in the next month:
5. UFC PERSONAL TRAINER- Not one I'll likely review, but UFC Personal Trainer at least looks like a good Wii Fit-esque expansion for Kinect and a decent tie-in to the US fighting network.
4. CAMELOT- We'll be starting to near the end of the first season of this great drama this month, so I look forward to seeing where the compelling story arcs end up and how the legend of Arthur is left by the finale!
3. TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY- That this isn't top of the list shows there is definitely enough to look forward to this month- Torchwood has become a brilliant, unpredictable drama over the course of its first three seasons, so Miracle Day is undoubtedly one to watch when it starts on July 14th.
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER- The conclusion to the Avengers story arc before the big team-up in 2012, Captain America takes us back to World War 2 America, as Steve Rogers takes a special serum and becomes the ultimate Super Soldier. But can he win his first battle against the Red Skull, a manipulative Nazi who takes control of the Cosmic Cube?
1. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART TWO- I'm already counting down the days (15, in case you were wondering) until this hits cinemas. The Harry Potter films are some of my favourites of recent times, especially Deathly Hallows: Part 1, so I hope the final battle can live up to all of our expectations and make Best Film Of 2011 lists everywhere!

June 2011: Best Release

It's been a month of epic proportions- River Song revealed her true identity of Melody Pond as Doctor Who reached its mid-season finale, while Camelot burst onto the scene with a stunning two-parter and Hasbro's Transformers made their final return in the awesome Dark of the Moon. Even taking all of those releases into account, I'm still left with X-Men: First Class as the best form of entertainment I've seen hit a screen this month. It has totally rebooted a near-dead franchise, bringing life to age old characters such as Professor X and Magneto using a cast of rising stars who are more than qualified for their roles in terms of experience and emotional substance (James McAvoy in particular does wonders in his take on Xavier, and Michael Fassbender's fury as Eric is made a completely empathetic one thanks to his superb portrayal). Plus, the direction in itself is great, perhaps not surprising with Kick-Ass's Matthew Vaughn at the helm, adding a sense of grit and realism hard to find in such a fantasy franchise. This won't be the Best Film Of 2011 by any stretch of the imagination, and The Dark Knight is still high and above on its pedestal of Best Ever Superhero Film (and to be honest remains one of my favourite films of all time), but X-Men: First Class should be remembered as an exciting period take on the world's favourite team of heroes, a stunning reboot capable of pleasing fans everywhere!

Torchwood UK Airdate Confirmed

Fans have been kept in the dark somewhat recently with regards to the UK airdate for the first episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, but we can now confirm just when we'll see Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper make their returns to British screens. Episode One will air on BBC One on Thursday July 14th at 9pm. Titled The New World, the first instalment of the ten-part adventure sees the planet Earth handed a strange 'miracle', namely that no human can ever die. But when it death itself comes to an end, the world must face its greatest danger. Humanity is about to show it's darkest side, and as civilisation starts to spiral out of control, CIA agent Rex Matheson must turn to an organisation based in Cardiff, an organisation thought destroyed- Torchwood. We are getting the episode a few days later than America (July 8th), a fact which has angered many long-term fans of the show, but that's simply because US network Starz worked in collaboration with BBC Worldwide to create Miracle Day, and as such paid for the rights to air the show first. You can catch my full review of The New World and subsequent episodes like Rendition and The Blood Line right here on the blog!

The Black Eyed Peas Experience Announced

Fresh off the success of Michael Jackson: The Experience's release on Wii and Xbox 360 last year, game developer Ubisoft have announced a new dance title, The Black Eyed Peas Experience, for release later this year. Retailing on the same consoles, the game will use the same engine as Dance Central and its predecessor, but this time use the songs and likenesses of the very current Black Eyed Peas band. That means we can expect to see Where Is The Love, I Gotta Feeling, Just Can't Get Enough and a wealth of other greats available to sing and dance to, sure to spruce up any party in 2011 and/or beyond. How much interaction players will have with the band through the Experience is still to be revealed, but keep checking back at On-Screen for all the latest announcements regarding the game's tracklist and features! The Black Eyed Peas Experience will retail on November 11th (right in between Modern Warfare 3 and both Halo HD and Assassin's Creed: Revelations- good luck with that!).

New Trailers: Captain America, Mission Impossible, War Horse

It's a trailer frenzy this week: below, you can find previews of Captain America: The First Avenger (out July 29th), Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (December 16th) and War Horse (December 28th). All of these upcoming films look set to really capture the tone and vigour of their respective inspirations, and with any luck should rank amongst the best blockbusters of 2011. Keep checking the blog for new info on all of these promising flicks, and let me know your thoughts!

Smallville: Isis Preview

Ever willing to indulge in its fantasy elements, Smallville takes a turn for the magical next week in a story encompassing evil spirits and ancient curses. Here's a few hints of what to expect:
1. It's time for Clark to tell his secret.
2. "I saw the future."
3. We meet the goddess Isis, albeit in a strange form...
4. The Cat is back!
5. "She's the Blur!"
Smallville: Isis airs on Tuesday July 5th at 9pm on E4.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

WORLD EXCLUSIVE Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review (4.5/5)

Michael Bay solidly kickstarted a franchise in 2007 with the release of Transformers (3/5), then quickly beat that success into submission with the woeful Revenge of the Fallen (2/5) in 2009. That leaves us with a single question: does Dark of the Moon, the final instalment in the trilogy, restore the glory of Hasbro's fine robot figures? The short answer is a definite yes, I'm very glad to say! More than before, there's a plot which any viewer can easily understand, deep and layered yet instantly accessible to newcomers, and better still- although the pacing is way off in the first half of this epic 150-minute spanning piece- the climax is a really satisfying pay off not just to the build-up found here but in fact to the entire series. Seriously, if you have been here since 2007, you have no choice but to go and see this, to close off a mixed but ultimately brilliant chapter in your film life. Part of the enjoyment of Dark is that director Bay seems to have totally embraced his slow mo, explosion heavy battles that keep the excitement of these films running more than the forgettable human cast (Shia LaBeouf and new crush Rosie Huntington Whiteley give it their all, but they've got nothing on James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class), and of course the absolutely stunning special effects, show-stopping 3D (this is the best use of the tech I've seen so far) and a great soundtrack featuring songs from Lincoln Park only add to the already thrilling experience. Dark of the Moon is by no means perfect, though: for the most part, the plot feels like little more than a rehash of the first film, its twists and revelations near identical in tone to those of the original, and the wealth of cameos from stars like Ken Jeong, John Malkovich and Leonard Nimoy are more cringeworthy than they are gag producers. However, these minor shortcomings and the nagging sense of familiarity are more than overshadowed by the brilliant climactic battle, a fittingly enthralling end to a trilogy of blockbuster movies laden with visually demanding setpieces. Fans of action/war films, look no further than Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the Summer's biggest feature so far!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Doctor Who: Borrowed Time Review (4/5)

Borrowed Time boasts a really intriguing premise- what if you had all the time in the world? The world of banking might not seem an obvious starting point for such a concept to flourish, and yet newcomer to the New Series Adventures range Naomi A.Alderman manages to use the setting to her full advantage, creating a rich science-fiction environment for the narrative to develop while also reintroducing some of the more domestic elements of Doctor Who not as prominent in the Steven Moffat/Matt Smith era. As with George Mann in Paradox Lost, Alderman's characterisations of the main recurring protagonists, the Doctor, Amy and Rory, struggle to convince us they're the same people we see each week on screen bar the occasional reference to The Pandorica Opens or Leadworth, but Alderman's own character creations are very realistic and altogether believable, a trait that comes in handy when immersing the reader into such an unlikely yarn. When Borrowed Time is as its best will often be when the three somewhat iconic faces on the cover are not present in a chapter, as the author can really imagine what her own response to the situation might be and apply that to the new people who we have no expectations of to fit certain dialouge or action criteria, and so sometimes when we are simply with the Time Lord and his companions events can seem to drag a little. However, these occassional slowdowns do not greatly hinder Borrowed Time- it's an intriguing novel that should please fans of Doctor Who and Alderman's work in equal measure.

Doctor Who: Paradox Lost Review (4/5)

Fans of Doctor Who since its return in 2005 shouldn't be fooled into thinking that Paradox Lost, the second of three brand new Series Six novels that hit stores earlier this week, is another Father's Day: the titular time impossibility does not kick in nearly as quickly here, and the title itself is quite deceptive as in reality the narrative puts more of a focus on the consequences of the Doctor's travels in time. That said, as with Touched By An Angel writer George Mann captures well the programme's newfound ability to bend its time travel formula to suit its adventures, with the plot here spanning over a thousand years and regularly switching back and forth between timelines as the actions of the Time Lord and his companions have unpredicted ramifications on the past, present and future. Matt Smith's Doctor is certainly proving a hard incarnation for many authors to portray accurately on paper- Mann's version more evokes the likes of Jon Pertwee and Sylvester McCoy in his words and actions, an intelligent rogue who always seems to know more about the situation than he lets on, so it's fitting that (perhaps in recognition of this) Mann makes several references to the Doctor's past lives. Elsewhere, though, the author manages to create lots of compelling new characters who aid in the quest to stop the Squall, and the image of the piece's monster on the cover does help to give a better sense of its appearance when reading. Overall, while it lacks the emotional depth Jonathan Morris acheives in Touched, Paradox Lost is still another great entry in the New Series Adventures range, and I hope more writers follow in the wake of Mann by trying to imitate the intriticate workings of the current showrunner Moffat's episodes.

Doctor Who: Touched By An Angel Review (5/5)

Strangely, Touched By An Angel is quintessential Doctor Who for all the reasons you wouldn't expect. Yes, there are several chapters based around building up tension for the return of Steven Moffat's classic villains the Weeping Angels, and yes, there is inevitably a final confrontation of wit and stamina where the Doctor must best his foes with all his wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey intelligence, but surprisingly, by no means is this a predictable horror romp. What we get here is in fact the story of a romance seemingly doomed, the tale of Mark Whittaker's lost love Rebecca and his strife to save her from an accident that happened eight years ago. Author Jonathan Morris does a perfect job of replicating Moffat's clever play on the sci-fi genre, really pulling out all the stops to give us a well-rounded read that barely ever stops to take a breath. More than ever, we can really empathise with the tragedy that Whittaker is dealing with, and through the eyes of Amy and Rory especially we can see just why the story's focal character is willing to stretch the timelines to bring his wife back. This is the true crux of the novel, despite what its cover may suggest, and Touched is all the more better for it. The combination of the romance threading its way throughout, the neat scenes of psuedo horror that harken back to the Angels' inception in Blink and the spot-on characterisations by Morris make this perhaps the best release in the New Series Adventures range so far, a gripping read that even newcomers can completely fall in love with!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The 5 Best Trailers Of 2011 (So Far): #1

1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two- A sensational preview of what hopefully will be an amazing cinematic finale, the previous doubts I had about the battle-orientated prior previews were cast aside by this very emotional, very Potter trailer. The best trailer I've seen so far this year!

Friday, 24 June 2011

The 5 Best Trailers Of 2011 (So Far): #2

2: Assassin's Creed Revelations- A tie of sorts here, as the E3 teaser trailer and the full trailer shown off at Ubisoft's press conference were equally brilliant in different ways. Take a look...

The 5 Best Trailers Of 2011 (So Far): #3

3: Rise of the Planet of the Apes- In the short space of two minutes, this origins reboot went from being just an insanely-titled film which I wouldn't see in a million years to one of my most anticipated watches this Summer. Out in August, this stars James Franco as a doctor experimenting on Caesar, an intelligent ape animated by Andy Serkis (read: Gollum and King Kong). As things start to go awry and Caesar and his primate companions begin to get thinking minds of their own, well...see for yourself.

The 5 Best Trailers Of 2011 (So Far): #4

4: Batman: Arkham City- Nothing can put into words how excited I am for Arkham City, and this first gameplay trailer didn't change that in the slightest- an utterly compelling watch that makes October 21st feel an age away.

The 5 Best Trailers Of 2011 (So Far): #5

5: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides- The film itself may have been a letdown, but this was the perfect set-up and the perfect way to entice fans that the fourth entry might be the best yet!

Sonic Generations Course List Leaked?

Fresh off the release of a demo to celebrate his 20th Anniversary, it seems SEGA may have accidentally leaked the names of all the courses players will be able to blast through later this year in Sonic Generations. According to a report by Destructoid, these are the different locations we can expect to see in the 2D/3D mash-up on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3:
  • Green Hill Zone (Sonic 1)
  • Chemical Plant Zone (Sonic 2)
  • Sky Sanctuary Zone (Sonic & Knuckles)
  • Speed Highway (Sonic Adventure)
  • City Escape (Sonic Adventure 2)
  • Seaside Hill (Sonic Heroes)
  • Crisis City (Sonic The Hedgehog, 2006 next-gen reboot)
  • Rooftop Run (Sonic Unleashed)
  • Planet Wisp (Sonic Colors)
  • Casino Night Zone (Sonic 2, available as DLC)
If this is the true setlist, then it's actually quite a well-rounded one in terms of the history of SEGA's iconic hedgehog, although I can't help feeling that we might need a few more tracks than this to give a long enough campaign and some replay value to Generations, so here's hoping we'll either get a few more additions to the list or that there will be added incentive to replay what should be an excellent Sonic game. There will also be a 3DS version that has the Green Hill Zone, Casino Night Zone and other tracks from handheld Sonic titles that weren't included in the console versions, but considering not everyone wants to buy a 3DS just yet, how well that version will do is a mystery! Sonic Generations retails November 22nd.

    Alvin & The Chipmunks 3 Teaser Trailer Released

    No matter how much I tried to persuade people not to see it with a crushing 1/5 score, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel did quite well in the box office and so barely a year later we're getting a third entry in the fast-decaying series. Titled Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked, the new feature film sees its talking protagonists travelling on a cruise ship, only to be later left stranded on a mysterious island with the Chipettes and a new singing animal. As if that didn't sound like the most exciting premise ever, given the genre we can expect a load of new strange renditions of hit songs along the way too. The first teaser trailer for the movie is below; Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked is out December 16th.

    Thursday, 23 June 2011

    Pottermore Revealed!

    After a week of teasing, JK Rowling today announced the nature of the newly established Pottermore website. This Autumn, fans will be able to read all seven Harry Potter novels online, write their own fiction, interact with key moments in each adventure and discuss the magical saga with others and Rowling herself. It seems the website is intended to be something of a Potter social network, where users make their own avatars who can interact with other 'students' and participate in role-play style games under the guidance of perhaps the most famous author of our generation. Rowling has said that she has written over 18,000 words worth of new material based on the characters, locations and events of the books so that can serve as a supplement to the franchise and a healthy filler to last us a good while before she starts work on the inevitable eighth novel (warning: that won't be anytime soon...). For the first time, we will also be able to buy the novels for digital reading on devices like the iPad and Amazon Kindle, and it's likely there will be some interactive content involved there too. Pottermore will launch this October, but keep an eye on the site as there may well be a chance to enter the world of the Boy Who Lived before everyone else later in the Summer!

    When The Big US Shows Return

    America is a country that's rife with brilliant television shows, be they comedy, gameshow or drama, and so it's with a great deal of anticipation that we await the returns of major US programmes to our screens here in the UK. Here's a list of many great examples of overseas television on their way to us in 2011:
    • TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY- A bit of a knotty one, this, as currently Episode One is set to air in America on July 8th, but the BBC are seeming to indicate that we'll either have to wait until the 13th or even until the 16th before seeing The New World (Ep 1). More news as it comes...
    • THE X FACTOR- The US version of The X Factor starts on September 21st in America, and we may either get it at around the same time or once our version has aired (so by Christmas, or early 2012)
    • GLEE- Despite a fairly average season finale, I look forward to seeing what Glee has to offer in Series Three, with some of the students set to start graduating this time around. Sky One are taking the helm from now on, so expect Episode One to premiere near the US airdate of September 20th.
    • HOUSE- What has become of Dr Gregory House after his dramatic relocation to an exotic beach? We'll find out sometime around October 3rd!
    • THE CLEVELAND SHOW- Fast becoming one of my favourite US comedies, the Family Guy spin-off returns to America on September 25th (watch out on E4 later in the year!)
    • SMALLVILLE- Oops...well, we can always hope, can't we?
    For all the latest on all these exciting programmes and US TV, keep checking back at On-Screen!

    Duke Nukem: Forever Review (4/10)

    Thirteen years is a long time. In that time, the first-person shooter has come quite a way, with names like Halo, Call of Duty and Battlefield beginning to emerge in the early twenty first century and becoming annual blockbusters by the end of its first decade. In that time, Gearbox Studios have been working on a new shooter of their own, one which was announced way back at E3 1998 and which has suffered a wealth of production problems along the twisty road of its development. That game is Duke Nukem: Forever. Sadly, while it has finally made it to shelves, accomplishing a feat many critics thought impossible, that doesn't necessarily mean things have gone according to plan- quite the opposite. Thirteen years ago, the 'return of the King' (as heralded arrogantly by the titular hero) might have been praised as the top of its class, but now video gaming has moved on without the Duke, and what we get is a tedious and repetitive guide telling developers how not to make an FPS. Much of your time in Forever is actually spent doing things other than shooting, for example driving a monster truck or pushing a mine cart to the top of the hill, and these diversions not only serve to distract us from the woefully stupid AI enemies and the iffy battle visuals but also remind us how far FPS games have come since the last Duke game. Make no mistake, they don't remind us this because they show off this progression. There's so little that's changed from Duke Nukem 3D that all these sections do are highlight the aforementioned developments and show why Forever is such a dated title. The plot itself is so forgettable some might call it laughable, yet for all the wrong reasons: when jokes are funny, they're just sick; we move between setpieces for no actual reason other than to stop things becoming even more dull and the majority of the dialogue is repeated over and over throughout the campaign (it cannot have taken long to record the dozen or so lines spewed out by non-playable characters, and Duke's lines don't fare much better). Maybe I'm missing something, and maybe fans of Duke Nukem 3D will still get a lot out of this sequel as from what I've heard it's pretty faithful to what was laid down before it, but I just cannot fathom why Gearbox or 2K Games didn't close production on Duke Nukem: Forever months into its development, let alone why we see it on game shelves a whole thirteen years after its announcement. A sequel is already in the works, I hear- honestly, Duke and co are going to need a miracle if they want to sell games based on their quality rather than their much-hyped production time.

    Red Faction: Armaggedon Review (5.5/10)

    Red Faction made a great debut on next-gen consoles with Guerilla in 2009, bursting onto the third-person shooter scene with an explosive edge and a fun story set on Mars, but now the initial surprise we're left with quite a half-hearted offering in Armageddon two years on. The plot takes place some time after its predecessor, dealing with long tread science-fiction elements like terraforming and radiation fallout- sufficed to say, it's almost taken as a given that you have played another of the four games in the RF series, a risky assumption and one that will cost the title a lot of its charm for newcomers. That would perhaps be okay if the gameplay had seen some major developments since Guerilla, yet I was hard pressed to find any big differences between the two entries upon trying this. Now, for those series veterans who, like fans of Call of Duty, are able to overlook the lack of innovation and real change simply because it's a franchise they love, this will probably not matter too much, however I think for the rest of the gaming world our expectation of developers to make full use of the two years inbetween sequels is a warranted one, so that Volition Inc seem to have made so little effort to differentiate Armageddon from other Faction titles makes it feel more lazy and repetitive as a result. A new exosuit called the LEO gets a few cool sequences, but they're certainly not enough to really distinguish this from Guerilla or indeed many other shooters. We're left ultimately with a package that feels no different from its predecessors, whose only real incentive for purchase lies in the fact that the game is already nearing half price on game shelves- which is never a good sign...

    EXCLUSIVE: Sonic Generations Impressions

    From countless past disappointing entries, Sonic fans have prepared themselves for the 'Sonic Cycle' with a new game for the speedy hedgehog, usually beginning with screenshots promising a return to the roots of the franchise and culminating in a new gimmick ruining the experience. Thankfully, from what I've seen of Sonic Generations a good five months before its release, that shouldn't be the case this time around. I got to try the first level, the Green Hill Zone, using the side-scrolling Classic Sonic, and have to admit an immediate wave of nostalgia hit me racing through the colourful Genesis-era course in its original format. The zone really does look beautiful in high definition, and for the most part it's the same old track you expect with some great new twists, both visually and in the gameplay itself. This incarnation of Sonic moves much more like the character found in the Mega Drive games, with a flowing motion of speed and the right kind of realistic physics when jumping. Just like the original Green Hill, moving too fast can mean you'll bump straight into enemies and consequently lose rings, so sometimes you will have to stop and plan your next leap, which is a refreshing change from the on-rails style levels that the 3D Sonic games mostly consist of. There was just one minor bug: though I would jump to destroy enemies like ladybird and crab robots (more nostalgia!), often they would be revealed as part of the brilliant moving backgrounds and this could be a bit jarring to the pace of the course. Overall, though, if the 3D sections can match up to what's on offer here and we get a balanced set of levels from across the 20 years of SEGA's iconic mascot's history, this is going to be a fan's dream come true, the first genuinely thrilling Sonic experience we've had since the days of the Mega Drive!

    Happy 20th Anniversary, Sonic!

    Sonic The Hedgehog turns 20 years old today. His first game, creatively titled Sonic The Hedgehog was released on the 23rd of June 1991, and since then he's become a gaming legend, with several more side-scrolling sequels on the Mega Drive and SEGA Genesis, and a host of 3D action-adventure games including Sonic Heroes, Sonic Advemture, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. There's even been time for a few racers like Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing and (shudder) Sonic Free Riders along the way, and we've got more exciting entries like Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode Two and Sonic Generations to come this year! You can get a poster featuring the 'classic' and 'modern' Sonics to celebrate their anniversary at various GAME stores across the country from today, and a demo of Generations Green Hill Zone will hit the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace this morning too! Expect my exclusive impressions on that later...but until then, happy birthday Sonic! (Never has his name been used so much in one article!)

    Assassin's Creed- How The Franchise Can Improve

    This November, the Assassin's Creed franchise will return in Revelations, the final instalment in the Ezio trilogy that promises answers to all the questions raised in previous games. But considering this is a series that has always been plagued by a few niggles and gripes, how can Revelations hope to acheive a perfect 10/10? Here are my suggestions to Ubisoft on what to avoid and what to change:
    • A BETTER PAST: While we're all doubtless interested to see how the story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze ends, really none of us care yet what his story in Revelations will entail, instead more interested by how the story of modern protagonist Desmond will develop the overall plot of the franchise. If Ubisoft can make us care more for Ezio and his escapades than they have before, it will make the entire world of this AC more immersive for the player.
    • A BALANCED CHALLENGE: This can be a poisoned chalice, but if Ubisoft can master the difficulty level this time there's more chance of the gameplay feeling refined and carrying less shortcomings. Too many times in AC2 and Brotherhood would the player be easily able to best half a dozen fight missions, only to hit a staggeringly hard stealth mission and be forced to play it over and over on a basis of trial and error rather than intelligence. Either make missions like these skippable after a certain number of attempts, or adapt the strength of the AI depending on the skill of the player.
    • A VISUAL MASTERPIECE: The E3 demo of Revelations seemed to indicate quite a step up in visual fidelity for the franchise this year, so let's have more action setpieces like the aforementioned explosive boat sequence to show off the better graphics and keep critics' scores of the game high.
    • A SATISFACTORY CONCLUSION: Both Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood ended on cliffhangers- and silly ones, at that, ones which boasted shock factor but certainly never really made us want to see what happened next, especially with a year to wait until they were resolved. Here, if a cliffhanger is in store, at least if we get answers to the vast majority of our questions regarding the series' lore then we can be excited for whatever's hinted at about AC3 rather than annoyed that once again we have at least a year to wait to see if we get answers.
    I don't know whether Revelations will fix all these problems, but what we saw at E3 looked very promising so I hope Ubisoft have put as much work into this as they seemed to have put in in their previous efforts. Assassin's Creed: Revelations is out November 18th.

    Wednesday, 22 June 2011

    Camelot: Guinevere Review (4.5/5)

    Moving on past the epic opening two-parter, it was always going to be difficult for Camelot to keep up the same vigour and energy in its third episode, Guinevere, but to its credit what this instalment lacks in exhilirating action setpieces it makes up for with some impressive character drama. The plot revolved around the titular bride-to-be, with Arthur trying to convince her to call off the marraige, only for Merlin to dissuade the budding romance whilst finding out more about the threat Morgan and her currently unseen ally pose to the monarchy. Jamie Campbell Bower and Tasmin Egerton were surprisingly believable as the 'doomed' lovers struggling to cope with events happening around them, and as ever Eva Green reveled in her role as the devious Morgan, manipulative and cunning. I mentioned earlier that there was little in the way of setpieces in Guinevere, yet that wasn't the biggest gripe I had with the episode. No, the main shortcoming I found was that for the most part it was simply building up to events happening later in the season rather than telling its own story. Now I know that some of you may find this statement hypocritical, as Doctor Who's current season has posed more and more questions each episode rather than answering them and giving us twelve seperate adventures, but at least that arc moved at a sufficient pace and there was enough in each episode to individualise it from the others, and although I have a feeling its aforementioned arc will end brilliantly I am worried that the same will not be said of Camelot's arc. We'll have to see how it all plays out over the next seven weeks, but I hope we can get more in the way of character development for Arthur (he did just become king, after all!) rather than a building, omniscient threat that does nothing until the finale.

    Take That: Progressed Review (2/5)

    I'm not a hater of Take That's work by any stretch of the imagination- in fact, their Progress album was one of my favourite pop releases of 2010. However, I'm obliged to give a truthful opinion on all new entertainment releases, and to put it simply Progressed feels like nothing more than a blatant cash-in on the band's current live tour. Even the titles (When We Were Young, The Day The Work Is Done etc) show that the eight new tracks included on the second disc are nothing new for Take That, and the songs themselves really give the impression that they were left off the original LP for good reason- not just for a chance to make more money later, but because they are nowhere near as good as those found on the first disc. Love Love is a highlight of sorts, and Aliens and Beautiful are decent additions to the band's roster, yet there's nothing new here that really begs a purchase if you own Progress. If you don't, at the same price as the original version you might as well buy this as the original set of songs are superb, but the score above represents how little the band's work actually has progressed in this edition, and how demoralising that will feel for fans eagerly awaiting it.

    Tuesday, 21 June 2011

    New Puss In Boots Trailer Arrives

    While Shrek: Forever After seemed to signal the end for the Shrek franchise, to an extent it's set to continue this Winter with the release of spin-off Puss In Boots. Below, you can find the first full trailer for the new film. The plot takes place before the events of Shrek 2, chronicling the rise of the feline hero to the status of bounty hunter. Puss is once more voiced by Antonio Banderas, but Zach Galifinakas and Selina Hayek are amongst loads of new guest stars joining the franchise this time around. See what you think of the trailer; Puss In Boots is out on November 4th.


    Arkham City's Robin Revealed

    Robin has been announced to feature as a playable character in the challenge map segments of Batman: Arkham City. Due out later this year, the game sees the Dark Knight leaping into a cordened off zone of Gotham where his worst enemies run free, each with their own masterplan of taking over 'Arkham City' that could in reality put the entire world at risk. The Boy Wonder (aka Tim Drake, Robin) may get a cameo or two in the main storyline, but it's in the extra maps where Bat fans can hone their skills as the character. As you can see from the image, courtersy of IGN, this incarnation of the character is very different in style to those of the films and DC comics, in keeping with the darker tone of the Arkham games. Currently, he is available as a pre-order bonus with Best Buy in America, but this was the case with the Armoured Batsuit in Arkham Asylum yet we unlocked it for beating the campaign, so don't worry if the soon-to-be-announced UK retailer isn't who you tend to buy games from or you don't have an internet connection on your console as it's very unlikely the character will remain exclusively online. The two maps Robin will feature in are called 'Black Mask Hideout' and 'Freight Train Escape', and a 'Red Robin' costume will also come with the package. Look out for more details on Batman: Arkham City later this week; the game ships on October 21st.

    Best Game Of 2011 (So Far)

    Marvel VS Capcom 3- A visually stunning fighter, MVC3 featured a host of great characters from both the franchises of the game developer and the comic book publisher, even boasting loads of endings for each contender. Its replay value is somewhat limited past the campaign, but this is one of the best fighting titles I've seen in a long time.
    Portal 2- I doubt that we'll see such an innovative, hilarious storyline again this year. Portal 2's single-player campaign was propelled by guest stars like JK Simmons and Steven Merchant as lovable sidekick Wheatley, and on top of a ten-hour strong solo experience we also got a taxing co-op campaign to blast through as well! Some people argued against this being full price, but in my mind £40 gets you one of the best gaming packages for money around.
    LA Noire- There's no one now able to deny that Rockstar and Team Bondi's latest has a facial graphics engine to beat them all, one which will perhaps define gaming in the future once the bodies of the characters are sorted out. Despite issues with its tiresome story arc, and a dull final desk of cases (Did we really need three disks? You've seen the best of this game once you've played Homicide), this is an immersive, memorable open-worlder that thoroughly deserves a follow-up one day.
    This half of the year has been pretty sparse in terms of big video game releases, so even rounding up the best of the past six months was hard. That said, one title stood out from the rest of the crowd- Portal 2. A true successor to the excellent original, Portal 2 featured some of the most mind-bending puzzles ever, and a genuine sense of satisfaction when they were beaten. But above all, it was the story, full of twists and tear-inducing turns aplenty, that kept the two campaigns running at a colossal pace, and as a result makes this the best game out so far this year. Roll on the Autumn and Winter months to see what can top it...

    Monday, 20 June 2011

    Best Film Of 2011 (So Far)

    The King's Speech- A sensational retelling of Prince 'Bertie''s ascencion to the throne and his overcoming of his speech impediment, brought to life incredibly by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. One which will be remembered long past 2011.
    127 Hours- Perhaps the most unique film on the list, 127 Hours took us on a brutal journey into the depths of America. James Franco gave it his all as Aron Ralston, and the way the narrative flowed so creatively made this a masterpiece.
    X-Men: First Class- Only Matthew Vaughn could resurrect the X-Men franchise with such vigour, such calibre, such ease. Yes, the Hellfire Club were generic villains, but that didn't stop this being an intense, emotional thrill ride with some of the best animated action sequences in a long time.
    True Grit- Another historical romp, this time with a predictable story structure somehow used to its fullest, making for a neat journey across the Wild West. Slow, but never tediously so. Uneventful, yet Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and newcomer Hailee Steinfield ensured it felt anything but!
    By a slim margin, I'm going with X-Men: First Class. Those who know me well will feel perhaps that was the obvious choice for me to pick as I am a massive fan of the superhero genre, but that isn't the case. What won me over was how this franchise was turned from a dying one known for its repetition into an unforgettable take on historical drama aided by a cast of rising stars who portrayed their mutant characters better than the likes of Hugh Jackman and Hallie Berry ever did. It's not the perfect film, nor can any feature hope to be, and it isn't likely to win the Best Film of 2011 Award overall, yet for now it remains the best flick I've seen this year, and one that you shouldn't hesitate to watch ASAP.

    UK Gaming Charts: June 13th-19th

    Thought the dark days of gaming were behind us? Nope: Zumba Fitness is back on top of the charts despite a wealth of new titles entering the fray this week, which means that once again people are refusing to try out new franchises and as a result Mums' purchases of advertised fitness games are dominating the charts. My advice, stick to the likes of Portal 2, Zelda 3D and Child of Eden, the latter of which only made it to the 25th position this week...
    10. FIFA 11
    8. INFAMOUS 2
    7. DIRT 3
    5. BRINK
    4. LA NOIRE

    Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary To Support Kinect

    The latest in the extensive range of first-party Xbox 360 titles to get Kinect support is Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, it was revealed today. Microsoft Game Studios vice-president Phil Spencer announced the upcoming remake's compatability with the peripheral in an interview with Gamespot: "As a first party, we believe Kinect will be important to all genres of games, be it racing games like Forza, combat games like Ryse. Even games like Halo Anniversary have Kinect integration." Obviously, we have yet to learn what said integration actually means for Anniversary, but for those of us wanting more hardcore games to be compatible with Kinect, this announcement, along with the reveals of Mass Effect and Ghost Recon supporting it at E3 2011, should be more than satisfactory for now. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary releases November 18th on Xbox 360.

    Sunday, 19 June 2011

    Coming Up This Week

    This week's quite bleak in terms of new entertainment, but there are a few new releases to look out for...
    NEW FILMS- One of the quietest fronts this week, with just the mediocre-looking Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz hitting cinemas, but you can catch The Fighter and I Am Number Four on DVD or watch one of the seven Harry Potter films on the big screen again in the lead-up to the July finale at select ODEON cinemas.
    NEW GAMES- There isn't much here either, unless you love movie tie-ins like Transformers: Dark of the Moon or MotionPlus minigame packages like Wii Play Motion...thought not.
    NEW TV- The third episode of Smallville featuring the return of Kara Kent airs this Tuesday, Primeval nears its end with its penultimate instalment, and new dangers await King Arthur in Camelot. Plus, James May takes a look at the human body on BBC2 on Monday night, and you can catch up with Waterloo Road and some classic Doctor Who on DVD too with the releases of Series 6 and the Earth Story boxset respectively.
    POTTERMORE- To make sure we're not totally lost for excitement, JK Rowling will be announcing the truth behind her Pottermore website- is it a social networking site for Potter fans, or does it hold the key to more stories for the Boy Who Lived? Find out this Thursday at 12pm...

    Paul Review (4/5)

    Try as it might, Paul never manages to replicate the hilarity found in the last Pegg/Frost collaboration Hot Fuzz. That said, it has a unique charm of its own thanks to the introduction of Seth Rogen as enthusiastic exterresterial Paul and has a barreling pace that doesn't let up. Of course, this type of editing has its strengths and drawbacks, namely that while it means the film never spends too much time emphasising its hit-and-miss gags, it also gives it quite an episodic structure of moving from setpiece to setpiece and as such can't break out of the mould created by dozens of other similar entries in the genre. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are on fine form once more here, getting one or two killer lines and maintaining their lovable 'bromance', even if it is a bit more toned back than it was in Hot Fuzz or the zombie bloodfest that was Shaun of the Dead. There are a few great cameos from Jane Lynch, Jason Bateman and Sigourney Weaver (yes, from Alien- has there ever been a finer sci-fi comedy homage?), adding to a plot which despite the film's titular character is much more believable and easy-going than many of the leads' previous efforts. Paul's main shortcoming is that although there are a few points which will have comedy fans laughing out loud and others where a knowing wink of nostalgia is aimed at sci-fi fans (just wait until you hear where the Mos Eisley Cantina music chips in, unsurprisingly I was the only viewer present to notice it!), it feels unbalanced in the sense of not knowing whether it wants to pay homage to the world of science-fiction or be a hilarious comedy, and as such it doesn't manage successfully to be either. It's a shame, because with a few more tear-inducing gags and some additional "Ahhh" nods to the past this could actually have been a sure-fire contender for Best Comedy of 2011. Don't let that stop you from watching Paul though: it's a great road adventure sure to please any fans of comedy, ComicCon or sci-fi (and if you're a fan of all three, prepare to be amazed!), and judging by their brilliant work here I wouldn't mind if Pegg and Frost chose to make another film with Seth Rogen in the near future!

    Saturday, 18 June 2011

    2011 Most Anticipated Games #1: Batman Arkham City

    Previously, when I looked at the most promising games of 2011 in January, I ranked Mass Effect 3 in this place and placed Arkham City one below it. But to be honest, I had an inkling that we were unlikely to see BioWare's epic shooter finale this year (it's now set for release in March of 2012), and thus it gives me no greater pleasure than awarding Batman: Arkham City its rightful pole position on the list. Rocksteady were expected to fail with Arkham Asylum in 2009, however that's exactly the opposite of what they did, instead producing an absolutely outstanding title that won my Game of the Year award and remains one of my favourite video games of all time. You'd think that would leave a lot of pressure on the developer to do better, yet from what we've seen so far there's no reason to suggest anything but a refined and revolutionary experience this Autumn: this time around, you play as the Dark Knight (and Catwoman for 10% of the time!) as Mayor Sharp cordens off an area of Gotham City for the increasing number of criminals in the titular institution to roam and cause as much havoc as they want, provided of course they make no attempt to escape. A strange form of society begins to develop, but soon enough gang leaders like the Joker, Poison Ivy and the Penguin start to battle for control of the city and as Two-Face captures Catwoman in the Wayne Courthouse and Hugo Strange's masterplan strikes fear across Gotham Batman must enter Arkham City and discover the truth behind it. That everything looks so exciting in the gameworld (five times the size of Asylum) in just the first hour of a ten-hour plus game is cause to be on the lookout, but Rocksteady's previous work is enough to ensure that this title is one which cannot come soon enough! Batman: Arkham City is out October 21st.

    Friday, 17 June 2011

    New Star Wars TV Shows Revealed

    Other than a currently halted live-action series, we only knew of the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated show continuing the stories of George Lucas' film saga until this week. Turns out we're also going to see a LEGO Star Wars one-off cartoon later this year, revealed thanks to ComingSoon.net spotting a promotional poster for the special at a licensing expo. In addition, Lucas revealed that Star Wars: Detours (a name domained by LucasFilm earlier this year) is a new television series in pre-production that we can expect to see sometime in 2012. More details on both projects are promised later this year.

    2011 Most Anticipated TV Shows

    There's still plenty of great television to come in 2011, and while my Most Anticipated watches will probably not come as a surprise to you, there are a few other programmes on this list which will likely prove great viewing for all...
    8. CAMELOT

    2011 Most Anticipated Films

    We've seen a few great flicks so far this year- The King's Speech, True Grit, 127 Hours and X-Men: First Class being some prime examples, but short of a disaster the best should be yet to come, with the Summer of Film now well and truly upon us. It's been a mixed bag so far...will that be the case by the end? Some films will no doubt be left behind in shame when compared to the big blockbusters of the next few months, but regardless here are my top ten most anticipated films for the remainder of 2011:
    10. SUPER 8
    7. WAR HORSE
    Catch the reviews of all of these films and many more over the next six months on On-Screen!

    2011 Most Anticipated Games: The Other Ones

    All this week, I've been bringing you my most anticipated games of the remainder of 2011. However, not every upcoming title was lucky enough to make this prestigious list of ten, yet that doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking out for them. So, without further ado, here are just a few other video games on their way in the latter half of the year...
    • SEPTEMBER: X-Men Destiny
    • Gears Of War 3
    • Dead Island
    • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
    • StarFox 64 3D
    • Resistance 3
    • Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
    • OCTOBER: Spider-Man Edge Of Time
    • FIFA 12
    • NOVEMBER: Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception
    • The Elder Scrolls Skyrim
    • Minecraft
    • Saint's Row The Third
    • Need for Speed The Run
    • Metal Gear Solid HD
    Keep checking back at On-Screen for the latest updates on all these and more!

    EXCLUSIVE: Child of Eden Review (7.5/10)

    Child of Eden is the first genuine reason to own Kinect- but I don't think you should buy it just yet. Does that sound like a contrasting statement? Let me explain: the motion controls on offer here for Microsoft's ever-astounding camera peripheral finally give a true feeling of 1:1 accuracy, allowing total control over the reticule that fires on viruses in a beautiful matrix world of colour and tranquility, so the compatability with Kinect is a real bonus and one that should in future entice many naysayers to buy the peripheral. However, there is a very limited amount of content here for a full price (£40, no less!) game, and when the likes of Marvel VS Capcom 3, Portal 2 and LA Noire give us so many reasons to return after completing the initial storyline that just doesn't seem good enough. To put it bluntly, you should have finished this within a couple of hours, whereas the three titles I just mentioned will provide at least ten hours of content each for starters, and that's not taking into account their substantial replay value. Yes, you can play through the main campaign either with a controller or Kinect, so perhaps for some of you the time spent will double, but even then I'd be surprised if the one-path storyline was really something you wanted to come back to, especially as towards its climax it becomes frustratingly easy to muck up and be sent back to the beginning of one of the twelve-fifteen minute levels, a choice on the part of developer Q Entertainment which will no doubt drive some players away from completing it. There's no multiplayer to speak of either, so Q Entertainment is placing a lot of faith in players wanting to retry their favourite levels again and again to progress up the leaderboards, and in all honesty I think that for most this just simply won't be the case. Don't get me wrong, Child of Eden is a visual and audio spectacle that deserves to be seen and played by all, but I would say that it's best to hold off on this one until it reaches half price or the bargain bin, because there's so much out now and coming soon that will offer a lot more value for cash than this does!

    EXCLUSIVE: Green Lantern Review (2/5)

    Much as I would love to call the latest DC Comics movie adaptation a success on a par with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, a stunning masterpiece in film that needs to be seen regardless of viewers' genre tastes, Green Lantern is anything but, falling into the traps of generic superhero origin stories and requiring too much suspension of disbelief from the audience. Opening on an alien world is always a dangerous risk, almost inevitably placing a mental barrier between the viewer and the plot by quite literally alienating them from the setting. Travelling to the Nordic world of Asgard after a brief throw-forward to a scene on Earth in Thor paid off, but having Geoffrey Rush explain the boring past of the Green Lantern Corps in voiceover for a good five or ten minutes before we even reach the first scene merely serves to ensure a total lack of empathy on our part for the characters and their situations. The haphazard plot devices continue throughout, with the writers clearly struggling to balance themes of romance, courage and light overcoming darkness despite a hefty two hour running time. This lame excuse of a script could perhaps have been forgiven if the casting had been spot on, however that is by no means the case: Blake Lively's love interest Carol Ferris is no Mary-Jane or Lois Lane, Peter Saarsgaad's antagonist Hector Hammond lacks the threat or presence to come anywhere close to Heath Ledger's Joker, and worst of all Ryan Renyolds' portrayal of Hal Jordan (aka the Lantern) is- at best- completely forgettable, a critical blow to the feature in its entirety that almost completely robs of its appeal. So what is there to like about Green Lantern? Admittedly, the special effects are consistently impressive, more than matching X-Men: First Class, and there are times during Jordan's training on the planet Oa where some gags did provide a few laughs to the point of showing promise, yet neither of these strengths are nearly notable enough to stop this feeling like a completely wasted opportunity. DC's past track record in the world of film has been hit-and-miss, ranging from the tedious Superman Returns to the sublime Nolan Batman series, but this can definitely not be classed as one of their better efforts, instead descending into the lower ranks filled by the likes of Catwoman and Jonah Hex- and that's somewhere no superhero film in this day and age wants to be. There are occassions where the faint air of potential gives hope that this might be a decent superhero film, but they can't possibly outweigh the wealth of shortcomings that make Green Lantern an utterly average affair.

    2011 Most Anticipated Games #2: Assassin's Creed Revelations

    The Assassin's Creed goes from strength to strength on an annual basis now, with ACII (9.5/10) succeeding where the original failed in providing a cohesive narrative and innovative gameplay and Brotherhood (9.5/10) going one step further and giving you a team of Assassins to play with. You may notice that the score for the latter is lower than it was originally given in the initial review, and that's only because on reflection the multiplayer component was a weak addition and Ezio's story was a little less memorable than before. If, however, there's one way of fixing those flaws, it's giving Ubisoft another twelve months to craft the final instalment in the Ezio trilogy. What we get this time is an epic climax in Constantinople where our Italian protagonist searches for the key to an ancient vault containing a weapon which may end the Templar War. To do this, Ezio must use seals left by AC1's Altair to live out the latter's memories and find out the secrets of the past, present and future. That's right: the developers at Ubisoft Montreal have said they don't want this franchise to become the new Lost (barely anyone understood Brotherhood's ending, or the endings of the first two games for that matter), so this time around the plot will provide answers to all of the questions raised so far about the connection between modern character Desmond and his ancestors, not to mention the fate of the Earth and the identity of Subject 16. There will also be a revamped multiplayer component, placing more focus on a storyline of its own and with any luck having more sustainability than Brotherhood's did so that it can match up to the Call of Dutys and Battlefields of this generation. Unless something goes drastically wrong in the final stages of development, expect an amazing lead-in to AC3 when Revelations ships November 18th!

    2011 Most Anticipated Games #3: Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary

    Ten years. That's how long it will have been since Halo: Combat Evolved provided the first must-have Xbox shooter in November. Without Halo, science-fiction in video gaming might not have developed so gracefully and powerfully over the last decade, and quality franchises like Dead Space and Mass Effect might never have been dreamt up. Yes, the game had its shares of minor gripes (most fans still shiver when they hear the words 'the Library level' uttered), but they were never enough to ruin an experience that played out with a structure not far removed from a feature film, plot twists and surprises galore. The story of Master Chief and his AI companion Cortana's journey across the first Halo ringworld, their discovery of the swarming Flood and their defining race in a lone Warthog vehicle to destroy the ring will never be forgotten by any owner of a Microsoft games console, and as a result reliving it in stunning high-definition is perhaps the most exciting prospect of 2011. We're promised Combat Evolved directly as we remember it ("Warts and all", but with more objective markers in the aforementioned Library segment as it was originally too difficult to navigate for many), offline and online co-op in the remastered campaign, multiplayer maps taken from across the trilogy- with the bonus additions of the Reach online modes-, and so much more, all for the cheaper price of just £30-35. Obviously PlayStation owners are less likely to have this on their Most Anticipated lists, but everyone else better get ready, because a storm is brewing for the return of the Chief next year in Halo 4, and this might just be the game that sets it off... Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is out November 18th.