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Saturday, 31 March 2012

April 2012: The Release Dates

All the dates you need to know this month!
As I said in my 'Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases' post, April is a busy old month for entertainment releases, so I've compiled this list of all the key release dates that you will want to watch out for in the next four weeks. Here it is...
SUNDAY 1ST- TV: Titanic Episode 2
MONDAY 2ND- DVDS: Hugo; Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked; Doctor Who: Nightmare Of Eden; CD: Now 81; TV: Two & A Half Men: Not In My Mouth!; MOVIES: Mirror Mirror
TUESDAY 3RD- GAMES: Kinect Star Wars
THURSDAY 5TH- TV: House: Blowing The Whistle
SUNDAY 8TH- TV: Titanic Episode 3
MONDAY 9TH- DVDS: South Park Season 14; TV: Two & A Half Men: The War Against Gingivitis
THURSDAY 12TH- TV: Derek; Glee: Big Brother; House: Gut Check
FRIDAY 13TH- GAMES: Pandora's Tower; MOVIES: The Cabin In The Woods; Lock Out
SUNDAY 15TH- TV: Titanic Episode 4
MONDAY 16TH- DVD: Titanic Series 1; TV: Two & A Half Men: Palmdale, Ech
TUESDAY 17TH- GAMES: The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings Enhanced Edition
THURSDAY 19TH- TV: Glee: Saturday Night Gleever; House: We Need The Eggs
FRIDAY 20TH- GAMES: Battleship
MONDAY 23RD- DVDS: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Being Human Series 4; Skins Series 6; Being Human Series 1-4; TV: Two & A Half Men: Grandma's Pie; EVENTS: World Book Night
TUESDAY 24TH- GAMES: Prototype 2
THURSDAY 26TH- TV: Glee Episode 17; House Episode 18; MOVIES: Avengers Assemble
MONDAY 30TH- DVDS: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol; The Iron Lady; TV: Two & A Half Men: Mr Hose Says Yes

April 2012: Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases

A big month for some of 2012's most exciting releases!
April really seems to be the month where the entertainment industry really kicks its butt into gear, as evidenced this year by the entry of several huge releases into its line-up. We've got superheroes, antiheroes, aliens, comedies and so much more on the way, so I thought I'd settle the score by revealing the Top Five most promising releases...
5. PROTOTYPE 2- This looks like the true feel-bad video game of the Spring, featuring a dark antihero hell bent on getting revenge on his enemies using his crazy super powers of destruction. Expect an epic open-world adventure of proportions akin to Just Cause 2 and GTA. (Tuesday 24th)
4. THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS ENHANCED EDITION- Dubbed as one of the most visually splendid RPGs of all time last year by critics, Witcher 2 is now headed to Xbox 360, and I'll bring you the full review of this hardcore adventure as soon as possible after launch day. (Tuesday 17th)
3. DEREK- If Ricky Gervais can pull off such audacious pieces as The Office, Extras and Ghost Town, then I have no doubt we'll have a great time watching his take on nursing homes in the middle of the month. (Thursday 12th)
2. KINECT STAR WARS- I've always been a huge fan of George Lucas' sci-fi Star Wars saga, plus my Kinect peripheral has been gathering dust for a while despite working pretty well. Thus I'm looking forward to combining these two gaming behemoths into one fun and hilarious experience. (Tuesday 3rd)
1. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE- Yep, it really is time to see Marvel's greatest heroes come together for an almighty ensemble piece this month. How can the Avengers possibly hope to topple Loki and his army of alien invaders? There's only a few weeks until we find out, and I for one cannot wait! (Thursday 26th)

Q2 2012: Top 5 Most Anticipated TV Shows

Perhaps the quietest sector of the year for television.
I'm not going to lie- the second quarter of 2012 seems to be a bit of a stop gap period for the small screen, what with big dramas like Sherlock and Being Human done and dusted and the Olympics still elusively just out of reach. Nevertheless, there are a few shows you should definitely watch out for, and these are the five that most warrant your attention:
5. TITANIC- Although the opening instalment of this poignant historical drama wasn't all that groundbreaking, the second, third and fourth episodes of Titanic seem a lot more exciting, building towards the tragic climax that we all know is coming. Can it match Leo DeCaprio and James Cameron's epic? I doubt it, but we'll we wait and see. (April 1st, 8th and 15th)
4. BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT- We're coming towards the most interesting stages of this latest season of the UK talent show, and qualms aside, there's no denying that there will be some big twists along the way as we race along to the live final. (April-May)
3. DEREK- Ricky Gervais has returned to the small screen for a brand new comedy pilot focusing on an eccentric bunch of elderly people in a nursing home. Expect a restrained first episode with potential to grow into a full series if it gets picked up (plus a few cameos from Mr Karl Pilkington)! (April 12th)
2. GLEE- In less than a fortnight's time, we'll discover the fate of Quinn after her car crash as well as just what happened at Rachel and Finn's wedding, and then it'll be all systems go on the way to Nationals and the graduation of some members of New Directions- will there be surprises to come? You bet. (April 12th, 19th and 26th, May 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st)
1. HOUSE- Easily the most exciting series of these next three months, though, is undoubtedly House. Very soon, the show will reach its ultimate conclusion, and I for one cannot wait to see how the storylines of Greg, Taub, Chase, Foreman, the other doctors and classic returnee Thirteen are left at the end even if things aren't fully wrapped up. (April 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th, May 10th, 17th and 24th)

Filling The Doctor Who Void: News Roundup (March 19th-31st)

ALL of the Daleks are back for the new series, apparently!
Ever since Jenna-Louise Coleman's revelation as the new companion for Doctor Who last week, things have been a lot more concrete on the new front, with confirmation of the series scheduling and the release of the first full trailer for the new series (catch it below if you missed it), plus loads more announcements...
CLASSIC TIME- After last year's successful range of beautiful re-released classic novelisations, BBC Books has announced another range of them. This time, Day of the Daleks; The Three Doctors; The Tenth Planet; The Ark In Space; The Loch Ness Monster and The Ice Warriors all get brought back to shelves with new introductions from modern authors and scriptwrights. The new set of novels will be with us in May.
AN ETERNITY TO WAIT?- However, SuperMassive Games have confirmed that the new Who video game The Eternity Clock's release on PS3 and PSVita has been delayed by a month, so we won't get that now until April.
NO CUMBERBATCH, SERIES 7 TEASERS- Steven Moffat has revealed to the Radio Times that Benedict Cumberbatch will not be playing the Master in Series Seven as previously rumoured, saying there was never a plan to do so and even if there had been, the current Sherlock is rather busy filming movies and shows. He also revealed that Series Seven currently has no two-parters, but there will be a story arc through the fourteen standalone episodes leading to an epic finale. There was a hint too that we should look out for Episode 2's title- I'd say it'll involve the words 'Egypt' and/or 'Cleopatra', as the trail for S7 teased an underground Egyptian futuristic romp.
JENNA-LOUISE IS COMING- On top of revealing Jenna-Louise Coleman is the new companion for Who, Steven Moffat told the press that the meeting between the Doctor and his new friend will be different to usual: "Who she's playing, how the Doctor meets her and even where he finds her are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters..." We'll find out just what that exciting challenge is in the Christmas Special!
THE BIG APPLE/ANGEL- At the official Who convention, executive producer Caroline Skinner confirmed that Episode 5, which will see the return of the Weeping Angels and the tragic departure of Amy and Rory Pond, will be shot and set in New York. Perhaps this is the story where Canton Deleware III will return in some form, possibly in the late 70s or early 80s? Will the Statue of Liberty be revealed as an Angel, and could the Ponds be seperated by the time-shifting powers of the Angels, or does an even darker fate await them...?
CONVENTIONAL DETAILS?- Blogtor Who managed to pick up a few more enticing teasers on Series 7 from the official convention: the first episode will feature the Daleks (more on them later); both Episodes 1 and 5 are written by Steven Moffat and the season is currently set to run continuously from November onwards, so perhaps we'll get 13 episodes of Merlin from September-November 2012, then Who from November-February 2013, leaving us with a heck of a lot of great drama before we head towards the big 50th Anniversary specials of the Autumn.
LIGHTING THE TORCH- Starz have also confirmed that Torchwood may well return in the near future, even though it may be a little while yet as creator Russell T Davies is still busy with new fantasy CBBC show Wizards Vs Aliens. The Moff confirmed at the Convention that no other spin-offs are in the works right now as he's busy with Who and Sherlock, but Caroline said we shouldn't rule out the possibility of a new show in the universe coming soon.
DALEKS AHOY!- Finally, the official website confirmed that multiple varieties of the Daleks will be back for Episode 1, as shown in that first image...
MONDAY 2ND- The Nightmare Of Eden DVD; Paradise Towers and Energy Of The Daleks Audio Drama CDs
THURSDAY 5TH- The new issue of DWM arrives, revealing details on the first five episodes of the series and featuring the first full interview with new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.

New Avengers Details Revealed

Marvel Boss tells all on heroes, villains and sequels!Marvel Movies' head honcho Kevin Feige has been talking to SFX in the midst of the promo campaign raising itself higher for next month's superhero ensemble film Avengers Assemble. In the intriguing interview, Feige reveals a few more exciting details on the flick, its storyline and its possible successors...
  • Was there a risk of this being another Iron Man-focused movie? "I think that could easily have happened, perhaps somewhere else, right? If you're dealing with a traditional studio that's just looking at 'Wait a minute, that's the biggest movie and the biggest character, let's do that', but that's not what The Avengers is. The Avengers is not Iron Man 3, that film starts shooting in nine weeks. There is no real leader to the team in the comic books. They each serve their own purpose and it was important for us to do that. While Tony Stark is a massive character in the movie, we did not want to make The Tony Stark Show because that's not what the comics are."
  • Is the film a conclusion to the Avengers plot arc or a jumping-off point for future sequels? "You know, everything we do, everything we’ve done over the years, is to try to emulate the experience of reading a comic. Of reading and experiencing and anticipating that Wednesday when a new comic is going to be released. And part of that are these events, these big crossover events that happen once a year or once every few years, where all the characters would come together for some universe-shaking thing. And then they would go back into their own books changed slightly from whatever that crossover event was. So ideally that’s the model that we’re gonna follow. So all these movies led up to The Avengers and The Avengers will be the jumping-off point for the next phase. I found myself calling Iron Man through to The Avengers ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One’ and now from Iron Man 3 up to, knocking wood, maybe Avengers 2, ‘Phase Two’. Each of these big over-arching chapters of the Marvel Universe. So The Avengers is the culmination of what’s gone before and the jumping-off point of what’s to come."
  • Will the film deal with personal character issues as well as the main battles? "They all do! All of them have problems, that’s what’s fun about them. Tony Stark is a great example – a man who’s selling weapons to the highest bidder and not thinking about the moral complications that came along with that, until one of his own weapons blew up in his face and started that redemption story. He’s always struggling between his own ego and his own personality and doing the right thing. Bruce Banner, of course, is always struggling with the creature inside him and losing his temper, and even Thor – who on the surface is literally a god from another planet, and would seemingly be the most unrelatable character – is full of flaws, and is a big pompous ass in the first half of his own movie! His father’s yelling at him and kicking him out of the house and dealing with his issues with his brother. And in this movie he’s got big family issues going on. The main bad guy in the movie is his brother! That’s what tears them apart. So all of them need to have those kind of flaws, these kind of relatable problems. That’s what makes them Marvel characters."
To catch the full interview, head to SFX via this link: http://www.sfx.co.uk/2012/03/31/avengers-and-the-future-of-marvel-movies-marvel-boss-speaks/. Avengers Assemble is out on April 26th.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Q2 2012: Top 5 Most Anticipated Games

Is this the quarter of 2012's gaming sleeper hits?
Whilst we wait for the action-packed Autumn of Gaming, the first half of 2012 and the second quarter in particular can be pretty quiet for big new video game releases. Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case this time around, as I've still got five huge new titles that I think you need on your shopping lists...
5. THE WITCHER 2: ENHANCED EDITION- Now Skyrim really has been and gone, I really want a new extensive fantasy RPG to take its place, and The Witcher 2 looks to fit the bill perfectly, bringing with it impressive graphics, a long and flowing storyline and some very dark themes to shadow over the infrequent rays of sun Britain will get in the Summertime. Bring on the challenge! (April 17th)
4. LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPERHEROES- As soon as the free-roaming Gotham City playable to the LEGO Superman was revealed, I was sold on LEGO Batman 2. The knowledge that voice actors will be introduced, lessons will have been learnt from past entries like Pirates of the Carribean and the visuals will be at their absolute best just sweetens the deal on what is sure to be a quality package for kids and DC fans alike. (June 22nd)
3. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN- I never would have thought that a video game movie tie-in would make it onto this list, but The Amazing Spider-Man: The Game appears to be a very enticing sequel of sorts to the upcoming reboot film. If developer Beenox can pull off the thrill of swinging through New York as the Webbed Wonder again, we might be in for a real winner. (June 29th)
2. KINECT STAR WARS- This coming month has got another big games release in the form of this anticipated new use for Microsoft's motion peripheral Kinect. Will it finally justify purchasing the camera as I did nearly a year and a half ago to sotp it gathering dust in stores? Boy, I hope so, 'cause I bloomin love Star Wars! (April 3rd)
1. MAX PAYNE 3- But in first place must come the effort from the developer I'm sure will not let us down: Rockstar. Bear in mind that all news on Grand Theft Auto V is being postponed till after Max Payne 3's release, meaning Rockstar want all focus on this epic linear shooter, and if it can reach the highs of Red Dead and LA Noire then it'll be clear to see why! (May 16th)
PLUS, THERE'S MORE TOO: You'll also want to look out for the following games in April-June: Devil May Cry HD Collection; Tropico 2; Xenoblade Chronicles; Fez; Prototype 2; Risen 2: Dark Waters; Fable Heroes; Minecraft XBLA; Test Drive: Ferarri Legends; Game Of Thrones; Diablo III; Ghost Recon: Future Soldier; Inversion; Steel Batallion: Heavy Armour; The Last Story 2; Darksiders II and Spec Ops: The Line. After all that, in the third quarter, things do eventually start to get really interesting...

Q2 2012: Top 5 Most Anticipated Movies

The films I reckon will rock your world in the coming quarter!
Heading into the Summer of Film, we're getting more and more of the big movie releases of 2012 in April-June, the second quarter of the year. Here are the top five most exciting flicks coming out in the next three months...
5. BATTLESHIP- Liam Neeson, Rihanna and Taylor Kitsch are headlining this big-screen adaptation of one of the world's most famous strategy games. There's every chance that this could be another Battle: Los Angeles, but if Universal have got the mix of gung-ho warfare and epic sci-fi battles right, we might be in for something a little closer to Avatar than we expect (well, we can dream...). (April 11th)
4. MEN IN BLACK III- It's been nearly a decade since Will Smith and Tommy-Lee Jones graced our screens as Agents Jay and Kay. Can the crime-fighting duo still make the same hilarious impact as they once did, even with the ambitious new time-travel storyline? I for one cannot wait to find out! (May 25th)
3. ROCK OF AGES- Having seen Rock Of Ages at the West End at Christmastime last year, I can fully grasp the potential that the show has as a fully budgeted film. Yes, it's cheesy stuff, yet the song line-up is perfectly suited to cinema, and with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, and Catherine Zeta-Jones all on board we may well be in for something very special. (June 15th)
2. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE- Now we get into the big stuff for this quarter, starting off with perhaps the most anticipated superhero movie of 2012. We're finally going to see Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury and the Hulk united for the ultimate battle against Loki and his army of terrifying allies on the big screen next month, and I guarantee it should be one of the biggest events of the year in film! (April 26th)
1. PROMETHEUS- At the top of the list is a movie which has been rising up my Most Anticipated rankings for months now, its relevance brought to the absolute forefront by the amazing new trailer recently released for it. Prometheus is looking to be one of the most thought-provoking and emotional thrillers of the year, packing in elements of Alien through its prequel status while effortlessly elevating the standard of science-fiction film to an all new high through the return of Mr Ridley Scott to the directorial scene. Prepare for nothing less than a masterpiece this June. (June 1st)
PLUS, LOOK OUT FOR THESE TOO: There are plenty of other exciting movies on the horizon in the next few months, including The Cabin In The Woods, Lockout, American Pie: Reunion, The Dictator, Dark Shadows, Snow White & The Hunstman and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Although the blog will be taking a short break for a fortnight in mid-May, I'll be covering as many of these anticipated films as possible and much, much more!

Q1 2012: Best Single

WINNER: Twilight (Cover Drive)
It's always hard to sum up what makes a single worthy of 'Best Single' status for one quarter of the year, so I'll make this post a quick one. Although 2012 seems to be zooming by, in terms of actual major new music single releases things have been pretty sparse, and thus I've been scanning the airwaves for some of my favourite singles of recent times that weren't released last year. In the end, I came to Cover Drive's new piece Twilight, a catchy and upbeat melody that's been inhabiting various radios for the past few weeks and is a step above what to me is mostly the usual rap rubbish and repetitive pop and party anthems. Well done to this rising group of artists, I hope we see more of them in the future...

New Avengers Assemble Teaser Released

Laughs and team building galore...
We here in Britain should think ourselves lucky- although The Avengers has been rather lazily retitled Avengers Assemble so as not to confuse fans of the classic TV show of the same name, we're going to get the movie a full ten days earlier than America. That means we'll get to see Tony Stark dishing out the dossiers on each of the titular team's members to Loki when asked what possible resistance he can mount against the alien army we see invading (in more detail this time, but apart from that they're not Kree, Skrulls or Frost Giants, I really can't work out anything about them due to my lack of knowledge of the comics), plus Hulk laying down some serious hits on the new extraterresterials. Take a look at the teaser below for more exciting new footage; Avengers Assemble will be here on April 26th.

Man Of Steel Logo Revealed

Our first glimpse at the marketing promos for 2013's biggest superhero film.
Upon reflection, it seems like a wise move by DC Movies to have delayed the new Superman reboot film Man Of Steel into the Summer of 2013: considering that Avengers Assemble, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises are all looking to take up the majority of comic-book fans' cash this year, it would have been hard to stomach another film with a man/woman in tights later in the year as per the originally planned Winter 2012 release date. No matter what your stance, there's little denying that the reveal of the logo of the movie is pretty cool, even if it gives little away bar the possibly gritter feel the flick might have. You can see the logo below; Man Of Steel is out on June 14th, 2013.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Q1 2012: Best Game

I won't spend too long dawdling on why Mass Effect 3 has earned my award for the Best Game of this quarter of 2012, as I've covered it extensively with my 10/10 review and by awarding it with the 'March 2012: Best Release' title too. What I will say once again is that despite the ending being a little lacklustre in my opinion, this sci-fi shooter's journey is perhaps one of the most epic and cinematic storyline ever to feature in a video game of this calibre. The way in which BioWare has seamlessly integrated the imported saves of past characters in the huge overarching narrative is massively impressive, setting a precedent for all future role-playing entries and any other developers who try to use a similar style of save data having a profound impact on their sequels. Will we ever see a video game project this ambitious again? I highly doubt it, at least not anytime soon. Don't remember ME3 for the controversy; remember it for the visceral, thrilling ride along the way and your view of the trilogy won't be tainted at all!

Assassin's Creed III Collector's Editions Revealed

Live by the Creed in full flare!
I can say without a doubt that Assassin's Creed III is easily one of my Most Anticipated Games of the year, and the cool new Collector's Editions have done nothing to dampen my excitement. The first of these is the 'Freedom Edition', which comes packaged with the game, a 24 square centimetre Connor figure, a steelbook case and George Washington's fictitious illustrated diary, and will be priced slightly higher than the game alone (probably around £50-60). The second is the 'Join Or Die Edition', featuring all of this bar the figure and an additional medallion. A handful of exclusive DLC missions will be packaged with these too, but those of us who choose to go with the standard product will get an all-new mission too, so don't feel you're missing out if you 'just' pay £40 for your copy. Assassin's Creed III will be out on 360 and PS3 on October 30th, while the WiiU versio will ship this Winter. A new trailer showcasing Assassin Connor's cool weapons can be seen below...

Q1 2012 Awards: Top 5 Best TV Episodes, Best TV Series

Looking at the best pieces of television in the past three months!
Now I've posted my Top 5 Best Films of this packed first quarter of the year, it's time to look to the best efforts on the small screen. Here's my list of the Top 5 Best Individual TV Episodes of this quarter, and also my award for the most consistent show that earns the Best TV Series title...
5. HOUSE: NOBODY'S FAULT (5/5)- Despite a handful of pretty underwhelming medical romps surrounding it, this particular episode of House finally branched out from the status quo, handing us a startling twist with Chase's fatal attack and fully representing its ramifications with the introduction of the inquistior. I really hope this level of quality can be attained towards and including the upcoming show finale!
4. GLEE: ON MY WAY (5/5)- Tonight saw what was undoubtedly one of the best episodes of Glee ever air on Sky1. From Karofsky's attempted suicide to Rachel and Finn's parents' startling decision to avert their wedding to the monumentally disturbing car crash, there really was not an element of the adventure to fault, and the song selection was at its absolute best.
3. SHERLOCK: THE HOUNDS OF BASKERVILLE (5/5)- There really is something to be said for Sherlock episodes all making up the Top Three, and thus nothing bad should be thought of The Hounds Of Baskerville for being at the 'bottom' of its season rankings. Yes, the pacing was a litlte off, but in terms of adapting a classic tale to a modern day context, it doesn't come much better than what Mark Gatiss pulled off in this chilling horror-esque jaunt.
2. SHERLOCK: A SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA (5/5)- If you ever get the chance to read the novel A Scandal In Bohemia, you should do so not just to see how Arthur Conan Doyle originally portrayed Irene Adler, but how little material Steven Moffat had to work with and thus how ingenious his season opener was. Cumberbatch and Freeman gave it their all here, and Lara Pulver was just the icing on the cake as the Woman. Let's get her back next year, eh?
1. SHERLOCK: THE REICHENBACH FALL (5/5)- But all of the four predecessors on this list pale in comparison to the televisual masterpiece that was Sherlock Series Two's finale The Reicenbach Fall. Seriously, can you think of any work of fictitious media in recent times that has proved as much discussion and controversy and utter love as this? I can't, and that people are still discussing just how he did it really is testament to Steve Thompson's wonderous innovation and daring ambition.
WINNER: SHERLOCK- Well, was it really ever going to be anything else? I've sat through three months of great dramas, comedies and reality TV shows (okay, so maybe the latter weren't exactly great), yet nothing I've seen after the three almightly ninety-minute episodes of Sherlock aired in the New Year has ever managed to top that surprise, those thrills and the utter captivation that lasted with me throughout the run. I don't think I've ever been as eager to buy a season DVD boxset as I was Sherlock: The Complete Second Series, and that the series integrates and merges with the original run so effortlessly and meaningfully really does show how masterful a creation Moffat, Gattis and Thompson have concocted. Bring on Series Three, but before that I look forward to seeing whether the likes of House, Glee, An Idiot Abroad, Derek, Merlin or Doctor Who can top this anytime soon!

Glee: On My Way Review (5/5)

This short run has opened and ended with two stunning episodes!
It never ceases to amaze me how despite often wavering in the middle sections of its Americanised bunches of seven or eight episodes, Glee can so regularly pick itself up for the opening and closing episodes of its new run. Yes/No was an absolutely sublime piece of comedy drama, and On My Way wraps this section of Series Three up fantastically, providing genuine scares along the way as the lives of students we've come to know and love are put at risk and of course the typical laughs and cheers we've come to know and expect from the programme. The best moment of the episode has to be Karoskvy's shocking attempt at suicide for the revelation and bullying regarding his homosexuality he has recieved- it's a dramatic shift in the character's otherwise stunted story arc, and something I hope gets picked up upon fully in the final run of the season. Rarely has the show gone to such dark places as this, but when it does it so well you can't help but wonder why it doesn't try to do so more often. I understand that that might turn the whole affair into a rather morbid experience (certainly we don't want too many fear-inducing cliffhangers like Quinn's car crash for the kiddies!), yet it's done Glee such wonders this time around that I reckon it should happen a little more frequently. As such, the awards for Best Portrayals of the night must go to Diana Agron as Quinn and a surprise turn by Jane Lynch as Sue, giving us some of the most emotive and tear-jerking moments of the hour. I haven't even got around to the song selection yet, however I can safely say that with Glad You Came, Here's To Us, I Believe I Can Fly, Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) and so many other greats cunningly thrust in we really did have one of the best episodes of the entire show so far. That fans will be so eager to see the resolution to both the car crash storyline and indeed the riotous wedding of Rachel and Finn is testament to how high Glee has come in this instance, and the sheer quality of On My Way is something I really hope the writers, directors and cast members can keep up as we race towards the finale when the show returns to Sky1 in a fortnight's time!

UK Film Charts: March 19th-25th

The World Was Most Certainly Watching!
As if there was ever any doubt- The Hunger Games has topped the UK box office charts by a distinct mile, outshining other current cinema offerings with its breathtaking action sequences, emotional twists and the exciting potential it boasts for the trilogy franchise of movies that have been spawned from it. The only other newbie is Act Of Valour (which has also performed pretty well), but it's good to see 21 Jump Street riding high on the listings too as it really is one of the better and funnier flicks you can catch at cinemas right now. Here's the list in full...
10. THE MUPPETS (5/5)
7. JOHN CARTER (3/5)
5. WE BOUGHT A ZOO (TF: 3/5)
2. 21 JUMP STREET (4/5)

Total Wipeout Cancelled

Richard Hammond's comedic competition gets wiped out from the TV schedules.
The BBC have today confirmed that their sports game show Total Wipeout will not return for a sixth season of episodes. This means that the fifth season of the show (currently filming ten episodes abroad) will be the last ever run, unless distributor Endemol decides to revamp it via another channel. Nevertheless, it's certainly the forseeable end, which is a shame in some ways, as Richard Hammond and Amanda Byram certainly managed to light up Saturday nights with their gags ranging from the Big Balls and the waves to just dissing the contestants that came on each week. However, much as I hate to say it, I somehow don't see this programme being one of those sorely missed hits removed from the BBC line-up in days to come. Winter Wipeout's first season continues airing on BBC1 on Saturdays, and Total Wipeout returns for the final time this Autum.

Anchorman 2 Announced

The biggest news of the decade...? Quite possibly!
Will Ferrell confirmed last night on the US chatshow Conan that he would reprise his role as Ron Burgandy in a sequel to Anchorman that had been settled upon with Paramount Pictures. Until the programme aired, it had seemed as if the rumoured second act in the story of the eccentric and cocky news anchor that began way back in 2004 was cancelled, but in character Ferrell assured us that we'll get to see a reprise from himself in the near future. It's great news to be sure for fans of the original, especially considering that its 63% average critics' score on Metacritic is not the best a comedy has ever had by a long way, yet that there was such charm and general explicit fun in the first movie has got my hopes up that this will feel less like a cameo ensemble piece and more a thoroughly modern comedy extravaganza. You can catch that clip of the announcement below, and sleep safe in the knowledge that Will is also working on a sequel to Step Brothers 2- no news yet on what order these two second entries will take in filming and release, but expect at least one of them to arrive at cinemas in 2013 if all goes according to plan!

Darksiders II Confirmed As WiiU Launch Title

One of this year's biggest fantasy video games hits the next-generation!
We've sort-of known this since E3, but it has now been confirmed: THQ's new fantasy epic Darksiders II will retail as a launch title for the new Nintendo WiiU console. The confirmation from the publisher marks a pivotal moment in the new hardware's marketing strategy in that no other launch titles had been previously confirmed to ship on day one alongside the WiiU. If you haven't heard of Darksiders, the series is basically a visually impressive hack-and-slasher where the Horsemen of Death are assigned brutal enemies from beyond to kill in the most violent and gruesome ways possible. The first entry showed a lot of potential for the franchise, so here's hoping that the sequel will fare just as well, if not better! Darksiders II lands on PS3 and 360 on June 29th, then on the WiiU this Winter at the console's launch.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Q1 2012 Awards: Top 5 Best Films

Find out my personal favourite five movies of this year's first three months...
Well, as much as it amazes me to say it, we're here: we've reached the end of the first quarter of 2012. There's certainly been a lot going on, so I thought I would round things off with a look at the best moments in the main industries that the blog covers. Starting with the film industry, here's my countdown of my Top 5 fave flicks of this quarter...
5. STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D (3.5/5)- It seems bizzare to place what used to be one of my most loathed movies on this list, but Star Wars Episode I actually turned out a lot better than I remembered it when I saw it recently on the big screen in 3D. There was something about the lightsaber battles, the podraces, the spaceship battles and all of that grand CGI Lucas fanfare that really compelled me to keep watching throughout. Although this is not one of the saga's best entries, The Phantom Menace is definitely worth a rewatch thirteen years on from its debut.
4. 21 JUMP STREET (4/5)- I love pleasant surprises, and catching 21 Jump Street was one such example of such a pleasant surprise. There is nothing groundbreaking for a comedy film here, yet it's the swagger and bravado with which the writers pull off the hilarious, relevant proceedings that really secures the movie's place as one of the better romps of this quarter.
3. THE HUNGER GAMES (4.5/5)- There's always going to be a risk in adapting such a deep and compelling fantasy novel as The Hunger Games onto the big screen that something will get lost in transition. Thankfully, I was happy to confirm that for the most part the new version was successful, a thrilling fantasy adventure that is sure to captivate its teenage audience throughout. I couldn't award it full marks due to the incoherence of some plot elements for newcomers and the overall lack of depth to many of the character arcs, but overall I still really loved it and can't wait to see how Lionsgate deal with the concluding two novels in the trilogy!
2. THE MUPPETS (5/5)- Undoubtedly, though, this was one of the finest films on offer in this quarter. The Muppets was packed with charm, strong humour and innuendo-twisting gags that came together to give us a musical masterpiece of a film which won't ever likely be forgotten by viewers. I'll admit that The Artist represents a filmic achievement in revitalising the silent cinema genre, but in many ways I believe Muppets has been overlooked for actually using full-blown song numbers throughout in a similar vein to The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz and other Disney movies. Unless you're a total anti-Muppet kind of person, I would really recommend you check out this fantastic comedy when it hits DVD and Blu-Ray this June. Few jokeathons come anywhere close to matching the laughs and tears that The Muppets provides in such plentitude.
1. WAR HORSE (5/5)- I don't think there was ever any question in my mind as to which movie deserved to reach the top of this list. In terms of true cinematic masterpieces, things have been pretty sparse as of late, but for me War Horse was the sole definition of how to pull off a historical, emotive and dramatic piece of fiction on the big screen. Every element of the production, from the wonderous cast of celebrities and rising stars, to the beautifully rendered setpieces and animation to the wonderfully Spielberg-esque storyline (and of course Spielberg's actual direction) was brought to life perfectly here, creating one of the most engaging and compelling works of cinema in a long time. There's no point in comparing this to the stage show, because quite simply both pieces represent absolute landmarks in their respective dramatic contexts, and to put them into competition against one another would be to discredit Michael Morpurgo for spawning such fantastic inspirations.

21 Jump Street Review (4/5)

A true sequel to the classic 80s US TV show?
I like comedies like 21 Jump Street- it's great to see films which take themselves in such a lighthearted vein, their only purpose to entertain with some mild laughs and a neat storyline. While Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's comedy reinterpretation of a classic 1980s American cop show is hardly what you might call groundbreaking, it's packing some good gags and just a soulful heart underneath all of its bravado and knowing stereotypes (Ice Cube gets a particularly grin-inducing line about stereotypical angry black police captains). Barely a moment goes by when the writers of the script aren't playing on the differences between high school in the 80s and modern-day slang, colloquialisms and mannerisms, something which resonates for me as a teenager who witnesses much of the things which are picked up on firsthand. Indeed, I would say that the '15' rating the movie has acquired is spot-on, allowing for a specific audience with enough hindsight of the current situation to understand the humour the makers and director have gone for here. Adults (particularly those fond of language studies) may well find some fun here too with the modern retrospective gags, but I'd say it's teens around the age of 16-18 who will really get the maximum enjoyment factor out of this. In terms of the cast consistency, barring a few woefully corny portrayals of teenagers at the college, it's a pretty likable bunch of actors- Hill and Tatum in particular shine in their lead roles as undercover secret agents, and there are a few cameos from stars of The Hangover and...well, I don't want to spoil one of the best celebrity cameos of recent times, but it'll have you heading straight to the web to find out this man's intriguing connection to the original series which even I knew nothing of! Of course, as storylines go this is pretty sub-standard stuff that you've seen before elsewhere, so a lot of the film's enjoyment rests on the infrequently repetitive jokes and farcical elements. Thankfully, though, for once there are very few gags which are too drawn-out, and seeing as trailers have held back a fair bit on revealing the jokes, there are a few great surprise laughs along the way. My main criticism other than the plot just has to be that at times, it feels as if the film could have been a little more daring with its gags, but feared doing so in case of them leaking in the promotional campaign. Other than those shortcomings and the predictable endings, though, 21 Jump Street is one of the best comedies I've seen in a fair while now, a genuine surprise hit which I recommend you see over the holidays.

March 2012: Best Release

BioWare's epic sci-fi shooter scoops the award for this month's best entertainment release!
March has been a bit of a mixed bag in some respects- Being Human and John Carter were particular disappointments for me- but as a whole there was one saving grace which really made all the waiting and anticipation that fans had gone through worthwhile: Mass Effect 3. Let's forget that ending and all the controversy surrounding it- why, you ask? Because quite honestly, it's not just the final ten minutes of a product that we should consider when attempting to review or rate it, but rather the journey leading up to them and the scale of which it is successful in building up tension and atomsphere, and it is in this respect that BioWare have shined so very brightly with their new RPG. Every single major decision that you have made in the past two entries in the series is taken into account here, having a profound impact on your playthrough experience to the point that no two recountings of the 'same' campaign will ever be the same thanks to the various murders, romantic affairs and genocides you have commited in the past thirty or so hours leading up to the finale that all come to fruition in some form or another. Better still, the shooter gameplay itself has been tightened up dramatically, refined enough that it blends vastly better with the cinematic tone of the storyline to the point that you might as well be playing through a twenty-hour blockbuster movie. Add to that a killer multiplayer offering sure to entice fans for months on end and some great Kinect features and you've got a quality package, but that BioWare are even considering manipulating or providing further clarification on the ending shows their supreme dedication to making their products the best that they can be, so I'm not even going to try to let my minor disappointment at the game's climax overwhelm my huge love for Mass Effect 3, a video game which is sure to go down as one of the best of its genre and its generation. I rarely pick a first- or third-person shooter for Game of the Year, but even so I have a feeling that this as close as one such entry in those genres will have ever come to scooping this award.


WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Hunger Games Adventures Impressions

Does the Facebook prequel RPG live up to the great movie?Before I start, a quick reminder: if you've yet to see the brilliant new Hunger Games movie (4.5/5) at cinemas, make sure you do so over the Easter holidays as it's one of the best flicks out right now. Okay, back to this impressions piece. Hunger Games Adventures is going to be a free-to-play Facebook role playing game that will allow players to explore District 11 and perform tasks which will eventually lead up to the events of the novel/the film. From what I've played so far of the private beta, this RPG has a lot of potential to go places if its developers can keep up the level of innovation and incentives throughout its storyline. You'll find yourself working alongside Katniss, Gale and other familiar characters from Suzanne Collins' piece, each needing your help in completing missions and objectives crucial to District 11's survival within the oppression of the Capitol. The visuals are pleasant, the text language appropriate for the target kids/young teens demographic and the storyline compelling enough to keep Games fans quite addicted to the whole experience. My only gripe so far is that it looks like Facebook want you to pay small amounts via credit card or Visa should you want to boost your character's health or experience points, a strategy which I reckon may work to the creators' detriment in the near future as people start to recognise the scam and give up on the game as a result. If this financially disturbing problem can be addressed before the game gets released to the entirety of Facebook's following, then Hunger Games Adventures will be a great expansion to the series lore for those already desperate to see Catching Fire when it arrives in cinemas in November 2013.

WORLD EXCLUSIVE Dara O'Brian: Craic Dealer Review (4.5/5)

Is the Irish comedian's latest tour any good?
Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Dara O'Briain doing stand-up live will agree with me when I say that his recent assessement that you'll often 'have to be there' to get the full experience is deeply true. Having sat through Dara's new stand-up show Craic Dealer in Oxford this month, I can happily confirm that the comedian has not lost his 'touch' by any stretch of the imagination, as he skillfully weaves elements of his jokes and the general surprise occurrences of the night together to form a hilarious evening of entertainment from which it is damn near impossible to come away disappointed. As characters go, Dara is up there with the best of them- you can just sense the connection the audience instantaneously gains with him the moment he steps on stage and opens his mouth, and that is quite honestly the best mark of a strong comedian nowadays. Of course, it's always hard putting a definitive score on a night of comedy, as short of watching a dire comedian roll out the same jokes as always with no charism or individualism on the night, you're generally guaranteed to come out in a fair degree of fits of laughter. The only criticism I could possibly level at my time with Dara was that one or two of his jokes seemed to be somewhat recycled from previous tours (video games, fortune tellers and religion cropped up again, and I had only recently seen them used on DVDs), meaning that at times it could feel as if Dara was 'forced' to interact more with the audience than use his own array of jokes. However, I do not by any means want you to think that my evening was anything less than a brilliant one, since what Dara lacked in innovative, hilarious new jokes of his own, he made up for with his sheer wit and intelligence with regards to the details and events he took from the audience and used to make a cohesive, grandly-structured piece of comedic brilliance that will not soon be forgotten by me or anyone else who sat in the Oxford New Theatre that night. One thing that I can guarantee you right now is that so long as they take the best bits from every show, the makers of the Dara O'Brian: Craic Dealer DVD this November will be in for an absolute shedload of sales thanks to the sheer masterpiece that is Mr O'Brian's new tour.

New The Dictator Trailer Released

A new preview for what may be the most controversial film of the year!
Sacha Baron Cohen appears to be getting more and more dangerous with his controversial array of films, moving from insulting foreigners in Borat to homosexual designers in Bruno and now to racist dictators in what he calls The Dictator. The newly released trailer for the movie again shows off the various real-world clips of famed leaders speaking out against terroism, but later goes off on a tangent to show us a big plot twist which looks to occur quite early on in the film. For the first time, this ploy is looking to give the movie some promise, however based on Baron Cohen's rather atrocious past efforts I wouldn't hold out much hope if and when you head to see The Dictator in cinemas on May 11th...

The Gadget Show: World Tour Announced

A new format of the tech show hits Channel 5 next month!
It would be easy to let a programme as (dare I say it) trivial as The Gadget Show become dull and predictable over time, so it's probably with this in mind that the powers that be at Channel 5 have prompted a drastic overhaul of the programme, shedding three of its presenters and givingt it a new name. The Gadget Show: World Tour will see Jason Bradbury and Polly Woodward travelling across the world to investigate some of the most "bleeding-edge" technology around, testing out pieces of hardware that would never have been available in the original Gadget Show. Apparently, this new approach will allow the programme to take on a more humorous and edgy tone, more akin to Top Gear than anything else, and while it will be a shame to see Ortis, Suzie and John depart from the TGS presentation room, perhaps this will be just the shift the show needs to be as globally renowned as its scale and ambition can allow. The Gadget Show: World Tour commences broadcasting in April on Channel 5.

CLIP Carnegie Shortlist Revealed

The big Brit shortlist for teen fiction arrives!
The CLIP organisation have this week released the shortlist for the nominated books for the Carnegie medal. This medal commemorates the publication of brilliant teenage fiction in the past year, and this year's roster of books looks to provide no less of a difficult challenge for the judging panel to decide a winner. The shortlisted pieces (along with the official Carnegie synopses for each) are as follows...
My Name Is Mina (David Almond)- "Mina writes and writes in an empty notebook, and through her stories, thoughts, lessons and dreams, her journal grows into something extraordinary. A prequel to the author's CILIP Carnegie Medal-winning novel, Skellig."
Small Change For Stuart (Lissa Evans)- "Ten years old and small for his age, Stuart Horten moves to the dreary town of Beeton, away from all his friends. But before long he is swept up in a quest to find his great-uncle's lost workshop, a place stuffed with trickery, magic – and danger."
The Midnight Zoo (Sonya Hartnett)- "Under cover of darkness, two brothers cross a war-ravaged country carrying a secret bundle. One night they stumble across a town that has been reduced to smouldering ruins. Amidst the wreckage is a zoo, filled with animals in need of hope."
Everybody Jam (Ali Lewis)- "Danny lives in middle of the outback. His older brother Jonny was killed in an accident last year, but no-one ever talks about it. Meanwhile his sister is pregnant, the rains haven't come and it's time for the annual cattle muster, during which Danny is determined to prove he can fill his brother's shoes."
Trash (Andy Mulligan)- "Three friends, Raphael, Gardo and Rat live on a heap of trash and spend their days sifting through other people's rubbish. One day they find something extraordinary – a deadly secret. From that moment onwards, they are hunted without mercy, and their lives will never be the same again."
A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)- "The monster shows up after midnight. It isn't the one Conor has been expecting; the one from his nightmare; the one he has had nearly every night since his mother started her treatment. But this new monster is ancient, and wild, and it wants something just as dangerous from Conor: the truth." Patrick is renowned for his Carnegie pieces, so I can't wait to see what this standalone novel based on a concept by the late Siobhan Dowd holds...
My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece (Annabel Pitcher)- "Ten year old Jamie hasn't cried since his sister's death five years before. Though everyone kept saying they would get better with time; things are now worse than ever. Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie still has a whole heap of unanswered questions." Eager followers of this blog may remember that I handed this piece a strong 4.5/5 back in January, so I can't wait to see how the other novels on the shortlist match up to (or best?) it.
Between Shades Of Grey (Ruta Sepetys)- "Ten year old Jamie hasn't cried since his sister's death five years before. Though everyone kept saying they would get better with time; things are now worse than ever. Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie still has a whole heap of unanswered questions."

GAME: The Full List Of Closed Stores

It's a truly sad day for the British high-street retailer industry.
Yesterday, it was confirmed that the GAME group had entered administration, and after a few subsequent detailings on the wiping of all Reward Card and Voucher redemption funds, the chain then confirmed that 277 of their GAME and GameStation stores would soon close. I want to pay my respects here to a sublime franchise of British shops, the likes of which are impossible to find elsewhere and probably will never be found again, and who encouraged my passion and thousands of other people's passions for video gaming to the end. My thoughts and best wishes go to all of the loyal staff who have been left jobless by this tragic turn of events- this must be a challenging time to say the very least, and I wish you the very best in your future employment. Here is just the beginning of the list of the stores which closed/are about to close: Abergavveny; Accrington; Aintree; Altrincham; Andover; Antrim; Ashford; Ashington; Ashton; Athlone; Aylesbury; Ballymena; Banbury; Bangor; Barking; Barnet; Barnsley; Barnstaple; Burrow In Furness; Basildon; Basingstoke; Bath; Beckton; Belfast; Birkington; Birmingham; Bishop; Blackburn; Blackpool; Bluewater; Bolton; Boston; Bracknell; Bournemouth; Bradford; Brent Cross; Bridgend; Bristol; Bromley; Buxton; Camden; Cardiff; Cheltham; Chester; Chiswick; Cork; Coventry; Doncaster; Dorchester; Dublin; Dudley; Dundee; Edinbrugh; Glasgow; Halifax; Hastings; High Wycombe; Hull; Kingston; Leeds; Liverpool; Maidenhead; Manchester; Milton Keynes; Newbury; Newcastle; Newport; Norwich; Nottingham; Portsmouth; Preston; Reading; Salisbury; Slough; Southhampton; St Albans; Swansea; Torquay; Uxbridge.
For the full list, visit this link: http://techtroid.co.uk/full-list-of-closed-gamegamestation-stores-7108

TechTroid: Kinect Star Wars Launch Trailer Released

Will this new motion game do the peripheral justice?
There's only a few days left till Kinect Star Wars releases on Xbox 360, so LucasArts have debuted their cheesy launch trailer for the new Microsoft-exclusive video game. You can get the full details and the video itself over at TechTroid- as ever, I would please urge you to continue to follow their site alongside this blog, as both are great news sources for entertainment in terms of their coverage! Thanks, enjoy the piece: http://techtroid.co.uk/kinect-star-wars-launch-trailer-released-7115

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Glee Double Review (Spanish Teacher, Heart)

How are the latest two episodes?
Glee can often go through a bit of a meandering phase towards its mid-season finale, but nevertheless I thought I'd take a look at the latest two episodes to air on Sky1...
THE SPANISH TEACHER (2.5/5)- This is one prime example of Glee seeming to lose its way a little on the journey to On My Way. Although there are one or two great covers- Sexy And I Know It is certainly a memorable highlight- the majority of the episode's focus is on Will's strive to 'beat' the Spanish teacher at a rendition of a foreign song and Emma's leaflet campaign taking a turn for the best, and this is testament to the writing team's apparent fear of moving the series arc forward too early. As ever, the episode has its laughs and moments, but as a whole it's pretty weak filler.
HEART (3/5)- Here we have what was obviously aired as the Valentine's Day special over in America. The lighthearted competition between Artie and Rory to win Sugar's love is a step above some of the humorous escapades in previous weeks, and although the song selection is by no means a winner (I Will Always Love You, Love Shack, you name it and the cheesy name is probably there), this shortcoming's impact is reduced by the fun that's had throughout. Blaine's cameo at the end is plain bizarre, but overall there's just a lot more to like (or rather love) about this one.

Being Human: The Complete Series Review

The definitive verdicts on each of the four seasons of this BBC3 drama!
There's a reason why the BBC just commissioned a fifth series of Being Human to air on BBC3 in 2013: the show has become immensely popular here in the UK with cult sci-fi fans, and rightly so. Below are my verdicts on each of the four seasons of the show so far...
THE COMPLETE FIRST SERIES (4.5/5)- Being Human really started off with a bang in its opening run. Although the DVD omits the pilot episode (which introduced the main characters), viewers will quickly fall in love with the empathetic cast and their various plights. Where the season is strongest by far is that despite the absurdity of the worlds of vampires, werewolves and ghosts, the writing team led by Toby Whithouse make this genre feel genuinely realistic and plausible, a massive achievement compared to the likes of The Wolfman and Jennifer's Body. In terms of best and worst moments, the episode where Annie is visited by another spirit from beyond is a true highlight, whereas the finale marks a distinct low point with its irksomely predictable resolution to the main series plot arc. Overall, a very strong start that boasted tons of potential for the show to grow.
THE COMPLETE SECOND SERIES (3.5/5)- The second bunch of episodes often feel a little more wayward than their predecessors, perhaps because the writers lost their footing in terms of innovation or because they were preparing for the big twists at the run's climax. Either way, storylines like the desperate fortune-teller, George's attempts to conceal the beast and more are shaky at best, only getting really interesting when they come together for the finale. Nevertheless, a fun set of romps all the same.
THE COMPLETE THIRD SERIES (4/5)- This epic game-changer of a run might as well have been sub-titled Reprecussions, as the majority of it focuses on the consequences and dire ramifications of all that took place in the Series Two finale. Debts must be paid, old foes reborn and the darkest of prophecies fulfilled in the most tragic of ways. Truly, the finale contains the best portrayals of Mitchell, George, Nina and Annie of the entire show, brilliantly bringing to a close the first era of the programme. That there is so little room for a 'new' plot arc rather than one prompted by last season is a bit of a shame structurally, but it's a step up nonetheless.
THE COMPLETE FOURTH SERIES (3/5)- Meanwhile the latest series of Being Human might as well have been called Unforeseen Complications. Sadly, with Mitchell gone, two more members of the main cast decide to depart too in what is a rushed opener that only occassionally pulls at the heartstrings due to its disjointed feel. From there, we get a new, far less connective group of supernaturals who really don't feel as if they can carry the show, a sense that changes little over the course of the run. The War Child arc is exciting at first, but in the end results in little but another lead's death and a useless tease for Series Five that boils down to "What if I told you that we have been...watching you?!?"; "So?"; "Oh.". I really hope the writers of the show can buck up their ideas next year for what will probably be the final season of this now-dwindling Being Human.

Monday, 26 March 2012

More Being Human Series 5 Details Confirmed

Find out more about the 2013 run right here...
Shortly after the broadcast of The War Child last night, the makers of Being Human confirmed that a fifth season of the show would enter production later this year for broadcast in 2013. Now, we have a few more details on the next series from the BBC: there will be six one-hour episodes in the run as opposed to the usual eight (this reduced number can often suggest a show's climax...?), and more interestingly Lenora Crichlow will not return as ghost Annie in any of the episodes. I've yet to see the Series Four finale so can't really comment on whether this is the right move or not, but it's strange to think that the main leads will now have been totally replaced from their Series One-Three line up, even if creator Toby Whithouse does assure us "the story and the character [have had] a natural end". Another interesting teaser the team have given us is that the final section of the prophecy regarding the War Child was 'found' and contained the following words: 'HE WILL RISE'. What could it all mean? Being Human returns in Spring 2013.

Max Payne 3, GTA V Multiplayer Crossover Revealed

An exciting new crossover for Rockstar's latest efforts.
It's hard not to name Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V as some of our most anticipated games of 2012, and Rockstar aren't doing anything to quell my (or the fans') excitement by having confirmed a multiplayer crossover between their two new experiences. Basically, the 'crews' you amass in the online modes in Max Payne 3 will be stored on a database by Rockstar, so that once you buy GTA V, your strengthened crews will import over into that game's multiplayer for further use and development. Importing files appears to be becoming more popular now that Mass Effect 3 has showed just how well it can be done, and I for one welcome Rockstar's brave decision to take the initiative in another direction. Max Payne 3 will ship on May 16th, while Grand Theft Auto V is likely to be released either this Winter or in Spring 2013.

Harry Potter: Wizards' Collection Announced

The Boy Who Lived returns to retailers!
Warner Bros have this week announced the release of Harry Potter: Wizards' Collection for later this year. Tipped as the definitive collection of the eight movies in this phenomenally successful franchise, the set will include the following features:
  • All eight films, with extended versions of the first two, and both 2D and 3D versions of the two-part Deathly Hallows finale.
  • A variety of new documentaries including The Creation Of Harry Potter and Growing Up, clocking up to around four hours of never-before-seen footage and content.
  • Brand new deleted scenes and commentaries for every movie.
This list will grow and grow as Warner Bros reveal more about the set, but you can be sure that at a £250 asking price the publishers will be eager to provide as much bang for your buck as humanly (or wizardly) possible! Wizards' Collection will retail on September 7th. Remember of course too that the Harry Potter Studio Tour is about to open over at Leavesden too, so try and get a ticket for that- I'll be bringing you my world exclusive review of the attraction this Summer!

Assassin's Creed III: New Screenshots, Details Arrive

Stunning new gameplay previews, plus the first details on the WiiU version!
You might think that having formally unveiled Assassin's Creed III, Ubisoft would then take a step back with their marketing campaign until E3, yet we've now already got a few beautiful new screenshots (below) for the game and the first details on its WiiU counterpart. Apparently, the WiiU's tablet controller will store records on all of the characters you meet, accessible at any time, as well as allowing the player to control the Animus Eagle Vision camera using its motion sensors and to change weapons mid-battle using the touch screen. How well these new features will be implemented remains to be seen, but it all sounds pretty promising, and the Eagle Vision idea could easily be used in a similar way for Batman: Arkham City's Detective Mode as that game has been confirmed for release on WiiU too. Assassin's Creed III hits 360, PC and PS3 on October 30th, while the WiiU version will ship alongside the console this Winter.

Hangover 3, 300 Prequel Release Dates Confirmed

Find out when the Wolfpack (and the Spartans) are back...
Warner Brothers have confirmed the release dates for new movies The Hangover: Part III and 300: The Battle Of Artemisia. The former film is tipped to be the finale in the much-loved comedy series, taking Alan and the gang to a new holiday destination for their wildest and most dangerous ride yet, while the latter is a prequel to the 2007 epic fantasy movie that now focuses on its antagonist Xerxes and his cruel reign. We can expect to see The Hangover: Part III on May 26th, 2013 and 300: The Battle Of Artemisia on August 2nd, and I'll be bringing you all the latest details and trailers for the films in the next few months...

First Epic Mickey 2 Trailer Released

The new Disney adventure is on its way!
Last week, Warren Spector unveiled his new project, Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two. The new sequel will feature co-op play, an improved camera and a whole new musical storyline for fans of the original to revel in, as well as coming to "next-gen" (i.e. current gen high-def) consoles for the first time. The first released trailer shows off some of the new tech used for the game, as well as teasing narrative and new gameplay elements that will be included in the final product. Check it out below; Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two will arrive on PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 (a port of the original is possible too for PS3 and 360, but don't hold out too much hope) this Autumn.

Smallville Season 11 Comics Teased

Clark Kent takes to the skies in the new digital range!
No Superman fan will ever quite be able to forget the thrill of seeing Tom Welling's Clark Kent become the Man of Steel in the final episode of Smallville last year. While it's hard to replicate that thrill on paper, Geoff Johns is going to try his best to do so, bringing fans a spiritual 'Season 11' in comic-book form later this year. Speaking to IGN, Johns has revealed a couple of details on the new range of comics:
  • "So in the finale, there was this seven year time jump that went to everyone seven years in the future. We're not that far in. We're six months after Clark became Superman and pushed Apokolyps out of orbit, so it's kind of like Superman: Year One with a Smallville cast of characters."
  • "Chloe and Oliver, who are married, want to move to Star City and get on with their lives. Because of the events of Season Ten, they didn't get a chance to be married. It's a lot of them figuring out what to do next. For them, something happens in the first twelve weeks that very much gives them pause and they have to stay and figure out what to do before they can leave."
  • "I can't wrap my brain around Season 12 right now: I definitely know how 11 ends, so there's a roadmap I've got planned out for this season, but it's hard for me because I don't know how long it's going to go for."
The Smallville Season 11 comic series commences publication in America this May, with reprints expected to be sent over here in the course of the Summer.

First Breaking Dawn Part 2 Trailer Released

It's the end for the Cullen clan this Winter...
No matter what your stance on it, there's no getting away from the fact that The Twilight Saga has been a phenomenal success for Stephenie Meyer and Lionsgate, one that won't likely be forgotten anytime soon. That said, all good things must come to an end, so it's with bittersweet anticipation that we look ahead to Breaking Dawn: Part 2, the final movie in the series. Taking place directly after Bella's transformation into a vampire in Part 1, the new flick follows the Cullens and Edward as they attempt to prove to the Volturi that they have not bred an 'immortal child' by gathering clans from across the world to stand as witnesses. There's definitely going to be a more epic feel to this one, something which the new trailer (below) begins to showcase in full...The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 comes to cinemas on November 16th.

First Doctor Who Series Seven Trailer Released

Take a sneak peak at what's to come for the Doctor, Amy and Rory!
This weekend's Doctor Who Official Convention over in Cardiff saw a few exciting announcements (more on those in this week's News Round-Up) as well as the unveiling of a full teaser trailer for the new season, Series Seven. Set to air later this year, the first part of the run will consist of five episodes that will build to the departure of Amy and Rory Pond, featuring Daleks, Egyptians, Wild West battles and Weeping Angels along the way. After that, we'll then get the Christmas Special introducing Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion, and eight episodes in early 2013 that cover the Fall of the Eleventh at the Fields of Trenzalore before we reach the late 2013 50th Anniversary specials. For now, though, revel in this glorious, oft-hilarious and visually stunning new preview of this year's roster (taken from Episode 1, the snowy Dalek opener, Episode 2, the Egyptian cave thriller, and Episode 3, the Western)! Doctor Who returns this Autumn on BBC One.

UK Gaming Charts: March 19th-25th

The new FIFA Street still rules the listings!
There weren't too many new video game releases last week, so perhaps it's not a surprise that FIFA Street has manage to retain the top spot in the UK sales charts in the past seven days. Nevertheless, newcomers Kid Icarus: Uprising and Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City made a strong debut at #7 and #2 respectively, and with Kinect Star Wars on the way next week, don't expect this chart to stay the same for long...
10. MARIO & SONIC 2012 (5/10)
9. F1 2011 (7/10)
8. BATTLEFIELD 3 (7/10)
5. SSX (8/10)
4. FIFA 12 (8/10)
3. MASS EFFECT 3 (10/10)
1. FIFA STREET (8/10)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Empire Movie Awards 2012 Announced

Which movies came out victorious?
Much as I love the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, I always like to get a more mainstream perspective on the past year of film as that has always been the perspective I myself take when choosing the 'Best Of' awards each year. Here you can see the full list of winners at the Jameson Empire 2012 Movie Awards, and my thoughts on each of the winners from 2011's roster of movies...
BEST FEMALE NEWCOMER: FELICITY JONES (Like Crazy)- I haven't seen Like Crazy, but having watched Cemetry Junction and Chalet Girl (both starring Felicity), I can safely say that Ms Jones is definitely an actress to watch here in the UK, and one who richly deseves this title.
BEST MALE NEWCOMER: TOM HIDDLESTON (Thor)- Now this one I can surely confirm. Hiddleston was sublime as the manipulative Loki in Marvel's Norse superhero epic last Summer, as well as in War Horse earlier this year, and I for one can't wait to see him return in Avengers Assemble and Thor 2!
BEST COMEDY: The Inbetweeners Movie- An easy victory for what was undoubtedly the standout comedy movie of 2011. The Hangover: Part II and Attack The Block impressed, yet it was only the superb finale to the Inbetweeners franchise that really innovated and provoked the true laughs in the audience.
BEST HORROR: Kill List- I've never been much of an authority on horrors, so I'll just cautiously agree with the viewers on this...
BEST THRILLER: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy- Somehow I struggle to classify Tinker as a thriller, and as I said last year I thought the hype was a little overexaggerated for what was a slow and infrequently dull piece, but there's still something to be said for the tension and action that diffused the Bond-esque epics of yore so magnificently.
BEST SCI-FI/FANTASY: Thor- When Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes AND X-Men: First Class were nominated for this title too, I'd dispute which movie won it, yet nevertheless I loved Chris Hemsworth's epic debut as Thor, so I don't totally mind the victory for Thor- thank goodness it went to this great film, and not Captain America!
THE ART OF 3D: The Adventures Of Tintin- My faith in the 3D format is dwindling to say the least, and I've yet to see Tintin, but if its use of the tech was as good as people claim then I will somewhat regret missing it to chance to see it like that on the big screen.
BEST ACTOR: Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)- I'm sorry to say I vastly disagree with this award. Daniel Radcliffe didn't deserve it that heavily for Potter, but Andy Serkis richly did for his mindblowing work on Planet of the Apes, a masterful take on CGI realism that truly honed in the modern relevance of the incredible technology.
BEST ACTRESS: Olivia Coleman (Tyronnosaur)- I'm doubly sorry to say I've never heard of either Olivia or her film, which is pretty rare, I won't lie! Tyrannosaur wasn't promoted as well in the UK as it was over in America.
DIRECTOR: David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)- I have no qualms with this one. Despite my niggles with Part 2's narrative execution, I cannot fault the beautiful rendition of the Battle of Hogwarts by Yates, easily one of 2011's filmic highlights!
BEST BRITISH FILM: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy- I've already mentioned my opposition to the Tinker love, and would frankly rather have seen Inbetweeners scoop this one up.
BEST FILM: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2- The shortlist for this award consisted of Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and this. Given that I named Rise my Best Film of 2011 in December, I think you'll know my stance on this one, but to be fair I did love Harry Potter (it came fifth in my final Top 15), and I haven't yet seen Drive or Tattoo- hey, you can see some, but not all...

Being Human: Fifth Series Commissioned

The gang will be back for a further round of adventures next year!
Fresh off the broadcast of the season finale, the BBC have confirmed that Being Human will return for a fifth series. The episode structure has yet to be announced, but it's fairly reliable to assume that we will get eight more one-hour romps on BBC Three with Hal, Tom and Annie all returning to face off more vampire and superhuman threats in order to avert all-out war with the Old Ones and other enemies across the world. Many BBC dramas generally last around five seasons (Merlin for example may be biting the bullet this year at its Series Five), so it's not doubtful to think that this may be the final run for this great fantasy show too, but who knows? I'll be bringing you reviews of Series One-Four in their respective DVD boxsets as soon as possible this week; Being Human returns in Spring 2013.