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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

New Taken 2 Trailer Debuts

The sequel to Liam Neeson's best thriller is on its way...
Liam Neeson struck gold four years back in his dark thriller movie Taken, a fast-paced and often disturbing adventure that really pushed the limits of its own genre. We've now got a follow-up on its way, where Neeson's character must enlist his once-hostage daughter's help as their mother/wife is taken hostage by vengeful gangsters who crave vengeance for the murders of their own relatives at Bryan Mills' hands. These kinds of sequels can often disappoint due to their lack of innovation and uniqueness, but there's a good chance that Taken 2 will hold something extra special through Neeson's passion for his work and the grand setpieces on show in the new trailer that you can see below. There's not long now until it comes out, so make the most of an exciting preview. Taken 2 blasts into cinemas on October 5th.

UK Film Charts: July 23rd-29th

Batman triumphs again for his second week here!
The Brit Film Charts were always going to be changed quite significantly by The Dark Knight Rises' release in cinema- this second week of its dominance stands as proof to that. To be fair, The Lorax, Searching For A Sugar Man and Carry On Jatta have debuted at solid positions too, but it seems as the fastest-selling film of the year so far, Batman's final adventure will stay strong in the charts for some time to come. Will it top Avengers Assemble? That seems unlikely, but at least it's having a better time of it than the pretty strong The Amazing Spider-Man (4.5/5), which is doing well but clearly not so amazing when old favourites like The Pirates! are able to make a return. Here's the chart rankings for the past week:
10. MEN IN BLACK III (4/5)
5. MAGIC MIKE (TF: 4/5)

August 2012: The Release Dates

The Bourne series continues, but that's by no means all...
It's always been a useful guide to myself and hopefully you loyal readers to check out just when the big releases of each month are actually coming to our stores and screens. For August, it will with any luck prove invaluable to concoct such a guide as the one you see below, as there really are tonnes of great entertainment releases on their way in the four weeks ahead. What are they, you may ask? Check out August's 'Most Anticipated' list for the details on the best of them, but without further ado let's have a look at August's big release dates...
THURSDAY 2ND- EVENTS: Doctor Who Series Seven Trailer On BBC1 At 8pm & Official Site At 9am
FRIDAY 3RD- EVENTS: Merlin Series Five Trailer On BBC1 At 8pm
SUNDAY 5TH- TV: Sinbad Episode 5
TUESDAY 7TH- TV: The Newsroom Episode 5
FRIDAY 10TH- MOVIES: Toy Story 3 (Sky Movies Première)
SUNDAY 12TH- TV: Sinbad Episode 6
MONDAY 13TH- MOVIES: The Bourne Legacy
TUESDAY 14TH- TV: The Newsroom Episode 6
WEDNESDAY 15TH- EVENTS: Gamescom Day One
THURSDAY 16TH- EVENTS: Gamescom Day Two; BOOKS: Doctor Who: The Wheel Of Ice
FRIDAY 17TH- EVENTS: Gamescom Day Three; MOVIES: Brave; The Expendables 2; Puss In Boots (Sky Movies Premiere); GAMES: Sleeping Dogs; New Super Mario Bros 2
SATURDAY 18TH- EVENTS: Gamescom Day Four
SUNDAY 19TH- EVENTS: Gamescom Day Five; TV: Sinbad Episode 7
TUESDAY 21ST- TV: The Newsroom Episode 7
FRIDAY 24TH- MOVIES: Keith Lemon: The Movie; Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Sky Movies Premiere)
SATURDAY 25TH- TV: Doctor Who: Asylum Of The Daleks
SUNDAY 26TH- TV: Sinbad Episode 8
TUESDAY 28TH- TV: The Newsroom Episode 8
WEDNESDAY 29TH- MOVIES: Total Recall; The Watch
THURSDAY 30TH- BOOKS: Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom Of The Wicked
FRIDAY 31ST- MOVIES: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Sky Movies Premiere); GAMES: Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron

Full Skyfall Trailer Arrives

Bond Is Back- With A New Preview Of Skyfall!
As the Summer Of Film begins to draw to a close, so do too revelations surrounding the final months of 2012's film offerings begin to increase at an equal proportion. Yesterday, it was the confirmation that The Hobbit will become three films, now it's something just as exciting...Skyfall has got a new trailer! The twenty-third James Bond movie sees its protagonist supposedly killed at the hands of MI6, only for us to find him alive and ready to catch the man responsible for Agent M's framing, on his deadliest mission yet. Perhaps it'll just be your average blockbuster like Quantum Of Solace, or perhaps it'll transcend such boundaries to become something stronger as Casino Royale did...who knows? For now, dig your teeth into the thrilling preview below, and let the speculation begin. Skyfall reaches cinemas here in the UK alone on October 26th.

Avatar 2 Delayed

The sequel to James Cameron's epic is pushed back again.
James Cameron's having a tough and slow old time of it getting his new fantasy movie Avatar 2 off the ground and running. The director's plan was initially to shoot the second and third films in the hit franchise back-to-back for release in 2014 and 2015, but now it seems unlikely that even those distant date goals will be met in time for the projected debuts. This week, Cameron has confirmed that production on Avatar 2 has been delayed again. On top of that, the rumours sparked by star Sigourney Weaver that a fourth Avatar flick would also be shot in time for a 2016 release are apparently "premature", something that the director will only consider if and when the second entry enters production and depending on the ease of the two-movie process. Avatar 2 is now set for release in cinemas during the year of 2015. Keep checking back at On-Screen in the next few months for more details on what's to come and the progress of the project's development!

X-Men: First Class Sequel Named?

Do we have a title for 'X-Men 2'?
For fear of falling into copyright issues and general challenges of understanding, there'll be no way that the follow-up to X-Men: First Class will simply be called X-Men 2. What title lies ahead for us when the sequel does finally arrive, then? The rumours correlate on this one central, overarching name- X-Men: Days Of Future Past. This similarly structured title layout would make sense given that these new entries in the film franchise are essentially prequels to the main trilogy, and as such with X-Men 4 still early in planning stages there's no point including numbers to confuse the audience. There's more than meets the eye here, though. Days Of Future Past was a classic comic-book storyline that focused on an alternate reality caused by an unpredictable attack on humankind from Magneto and his Brotherhood leading to all-out nuclear war. The original narrative also featured Wolverine to a large extent too, although the odds of that happening are pretty slim despite Hugh Jackman's cameo in the original spin-off as the actor is currently working on The Wolverine. This idea of alternate realities may seem a bit far-fetched for the superhero series, but considering we've had dark Phoenix spirits present before, perhaps nothing of that sort will be too unrealistic for the series. X-Men: First Class' follow-up will land in June 2014.

August 2012: Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases

The Doctor Calls, Plus Loads More Exciting New Releases!
This coming month is thankfully a particularly busy one for the world of entertainment given the quiet periods we had in July, and quite honestly from here on out things show no sign of slowing down until the end of 2012! So just what can you expect from the various media industries in the next four weeks? This is the place where you find out. Here are my Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of August 2012 (and blimey, is it really August?):
10. THE NEWSROOM- This fantastic US journalism-based drama continues with new cases, new reports and new challenges for the budding Newsnight team to overcome. As ever, a brilliant insight into the world of journalism for anyone who's so inclined towards it. (Tuesday 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th)
9. KEITH LEMON: THE MOVIE- Yes, there's every chance it could flop, but this latest big-screen take on the Celebrity Juice character of Leigh Francis does actually look pretty darn funny. With celebrity cameos galore, it'll be worth a watch for anyone who's in need of some strong risque comedy this month! (Friday 24th)
8. THE WATCH- Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill headline this big sci-fi comedy movie. It focuses on a team of Neighbourhood Watch members getting a little more than they bargained for when they stumble upon an alien invasion- as you do...(Friday 24th)
7. TOTAL RECALL- This is where things on the list start to get really interesting! A remake of a classic Arnold Schwazeneger sci-fi, this Colin Farrell reboot of a classic will focus on the mind wipe of a civilian whose potential to save the world is gone. Bizarre stuff, but very exciting nevertheless. (Thursday 29th)
6. TRANSFORMERS: FALL OF CYBERTRON- Lo and behold, we have a new video game! All jesting aside, the sequel to 2010's hit War For Cybertron from High Moon Studios is looking really strong, telling the tragic story of the death of Cybertron and the escape of the Transformers to a planet called Earth (I know, I hadn't heard of it either!). (Friday 31st)
5. THE BOURNE LEGACY- Jeremy Renner has been an aid to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and Hawkeye in Avengers already this year, but now he's taking on his biggest role yet. Helming a spin-off to the main Bourne franchise, Renner plays Aaron Cross, a rogue agent tasked with dealing with the aftermath of Ultimatum and learning his own true path in the process. (Monday 13th)
4. SLEEPING DOGS- Lo and behold, we have another new video game! This one's essentially a spin on the classic open-world GTA formula, only this time boasting stunning graphics, a Hong Kong-set blazing narrative and some great stars to boot (Emma Stone! Tom Wilkinson!). Keep your eye on Sleeping Dogs, it may just sneak up and surprise you...(Friday 17th)
3. TED (3.5/5)- Seth MacFarlane is back for a big screen adventure that's simply hilarious. Having already seen this one in an early, World Exclusive screening, I can wholeheartedly recommend Ted to anyone who enjoys Family Guy, The Cleveland Show or any of MacFarlane's other great animated projects- it will have you in stitches! (Wednesday 1st)
2. SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: KINGDOM OF THE WICKED- A new novel from the hilarious and thrilling fantasy author Derek Landy is always welcome, especially when it's the latest instalment in the Skulduggery Pleasant series! Kingdom Of The Wicked takes a suitably lighter approach after the dark, trilogy-climaxing events of Death-Bringer, where the apocalypse is not nigh yet, but magic is starting to seep into the real world and cause all kinds of havoc! A must-read for fans. (Thursday 30th)
1. DOCTOR WHO- But of course, at the top of this prestigious list must go the programme whose every return is becoming more and more of a worldwide event. Doctor Who will return to BBC1 with five new instalments starting from this month with Asylum Of The Daleks- will the Fields Of Trenzalore begin to loom in the loose arc, or are there even darker days to come? There isn't long until we find out for sure, and I can't wait! (Saturday 25th)

July 2012: Best Release

Batman's finale takes the crown of this month's Best Release!
Well, I mean come on. Just look at it: The Dark Knight Rises was an incredible cinematic experience, a masterful piece of filmic art that demonstrated just why Christopher Nolan is one of the hottest names in the industry right now. From the introductions of very memorable and engaging characters like Bane (played brilliantly by Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (pitched perfectly by Ms. Hathaway) to the wonderful narrative itself that wrapped up the Dark Knight legend in a manner capable of pleasing just above every comic-book fan alive, this masterpiece was packed with key elements that made it such a deserved success with fans and newcomers alike. Kudos must go to Nolan in particular, who directed the whole thing with astounding creative vision and motivation, giving us a piece that won't soon be forgotten and will be a point of comparison for superhero films, thriller films and the action film genre in general for the rest of 2012 and in years to come. Indeed, The Dark Knight Rises transcends its intended genre of film to become something far greater and ambitious than its DC/comic ties which will forever be remembered as quite possibly the Best Film Of 2012, certainly one of the best films we've seen here at On-Screen in a long while. Now, the only question is...where next for Batman? Judging by this fantastic final effort from Nolan, I can't wait to find out the answer. Congratulations to the entire production team for giving us a perfect finale to one of the best film trilogies of all time.


The Hobbit 3 Announced

The Unexpected Journey just got a bit longer!
We already knew that J.R.R Tolkien's classic Lord Of The Rings fantasy prequel novel The Hobbit was to be split by Peter Jackson for his upcoming motion picture adaptation, but today it has been confirmed that the said split is even wider than we had originally anticipated! The Hobbit will now be sliced into three, not two movies for release in the near future. This will mean the overall piece may follow a similar structure to the LOTR trilogy, although the transition will be interesting to follow as that series consisted of three books to adapt whereas this one has just a single, shorter book. This won't be all of the content, though- Jackson and his writing team will be digging out of the appendices in Rings and The Similarrion which tease many more further events occuring within the prequel chronology, so as to expand our understanding of the events that led to the finding of the Ring and the beginning of the story of the Fellowship. To tell you the full story, I'll use Jackson's own words, so here we go...

"It is only at the end of the shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first film- and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And our answer from the perspective of the filmmakers, the fans, was an unreserved 'yes'.

We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves Of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord Of The Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting history of Middle-Earth.

So without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, Wingnut Films and the entire cast and crew of the Hobbit films, I'd like to announce that two films will become three."

It's a very exciting move, in my opinion, and one that could well transform the production from a simple kids' novel adaptation into something far darker and greater. The second film may get its name There And Back Again taken and given a new name along with whatever the third's title turns out to be, though. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey lands on December 14th, 2013.

The Hangover: Part III Teaser Logo Revealed

The Wolfpack are back...
Any comedy film fan out there who knows of the existence of The Hangover: Part III is no doubt eagerly awaiting the final entry in the hilarious trilogy of drunken mishaps. Well, we're one step closer to the film's release now, with a teaser logo having been unveiled which depicts the humorous 'wolfpack' motif that ran throughout both the first and second instalments of the series. Part III reportedly sees Alan handed to a mental asylum in Las Vegas as a result of his actions when drunk, which forces Phil, Stu and Doug to initiate a rescue mission when they awaken to free their friend before it's too late. Whether the Hangover formula will have got stale come next Summer remains to be seen, but I'm sure there are a good few laughs still to come! The Hangover: Part III stumbles into cinemas on May 24th, 2013; you can see the first logo image below.

Merlin News: Kate McGrath Teases Series 5 Role

More sneaky details on what the future holds for Morgana...
With the release of the first Merlin Series Five trailer earlier this week, it's starting to look like the amount of news surrounding the new series coming out will increase drastically soon. As such, we'll now have a dedicated Merlin News post roundup to cover all of the big surprises and twists in the tale up until the series' launch, at which point you'll get day-one reviews for each of the thirteen episodes straight after broadcast! Today's piece of news regards Kate McGrath's friend-turned-foe Morgana Pendragon, who spent most of the last season cackling in an old hut about her plans to overthrow Camelot, only to be left near-death and resurrected by the young dragon Aithusa as the series' cliffhanger. So what next for Morgana? Here are the first details straight from McGrath's mouth...
  • MORGANA'S AIMS IN SERIES FIVE: "It's about revenge. It's her personal crusade to get back at the people who have done this to her, and I think she thinks Arthur is behind a lot of that. If you thought she was bad before...she's badder!"
  • MORGANA'S POSITION IN SERIES FIVE: "For Morgana's story, the most important time you don't see, is the time off [there's a three-year gap between Series Four and Five]. You discover that she has spent quite a large time of those three years imprisoned, so Morgana's worst fear about what would happen if people discovered her powers has come true."
It seems that Morgana will be placed in a very different position to where she's been before, now at the hands of "Arthur's bane" (and the man we know in legends who eventually kills the King) Mordred. This should make for a very different run, which is extremely welcome given the repetition of some of its predecessors! Merlin returns on September 29th.

NSA- UK Games Charts Analysis: July 23rd-29th

London 2012: The Game bests LEGO Batman as the Games kick off!
As much as LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes tried to ride the wave of Dark Knight Rises success, it was almost inevitable that when the Olympic Games rolled around it was going to be toppled by the tie-in London 2012: The Game. Sure enough, that's happened! As always, I'm covering the biggest developments and smallest changes in the Brit video game charts for the past week over at Non Specific Action, so you can get all the details from my article over there right now. Here's the link: http://nonspecificaction.co.uk/uk-games-charts-analysis-july-23rd-29th-14918

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Coming Up This Week: July 30th-August 5th

Ted arrives in cinemas, plus exciting new trailers and more from the Olympics!
Slowly but surely, the weeks are starting to get increasingly busier after a slight slum of new releases for the world of entertainment. In the next seven days, while you're unlikely to see anything absolutely groundbreaking hit shelves or theatres, at the very least there's still some great new content on offer and some thrilling previews of the future to come. Here's a roundup of the most enticing releases, news and other stuff heading our way this week...and blimey, is it August already?!? Yep, you probably will hear me say something along those lines every month, because 2012 really does seem to be flying by- we're already two thirds of the way through the year!
OLYMPICS WEEK TWO- After the stunning, patriotically passionate Opening Ceremony last Friday (a link to the footage of which I'll post on the blog soon), we're heading into the first full week of the Olympics 2012 competition. This blog has never been about covering the goings-on of the world of sports, but all the same this is as ever a historic event the challenges and surprises of which don't deserved to be missed. Next week is the proper Athletics portion of the Games, but for now enjoy Rowing, Diving and many more exhilarating events! (Monday 30th-Sunday 5th)
THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW FINALE- As its creator Gervais confirmed last month, The Ricky Gervais Show is meeting its end while the titular comedian moves off to work on his touching comedy-drama Derek for its first season of episodes in 2013. All the same, it'll be great to see Ricky, Steven and Karl off with another chuckleworthy discussion of random topics and the curious workings of Mr Pilkington's mind. A nice send-off while the show is still on a high. (Tuesday 31st)
TED- I've already handed the new live-action and animated blended comedy movie Ted a solid 3.5/5 rating here at On-Screen via my World Exclusive review, and that should definitely serve as a strong incentive for you to check it out. Mark Wahlberg is more likeable than usual, Mila Kunis does her thing and Seth MacFarlane will undoubtedly have you bellowing with laughter. Family Guy fans, you owe it to yourselves to see this hilarious film! (Wednesday 1st)
NEW BBC TRAILERS- We've already seen a teaser for the Merlin Series Five trailer online this week, but on Friday the full trailer will be unveiled at 8pm on BBC1 during the Olympics season. On top of that, a brand new trailer for Doctor Who Series Seven will be arriving just a few weeks before the sci-fi drama's big return on BBC1, so keep your eyes peeled for both of these thrilling first glimpses! (Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd)
AND THERE'S MORE- Mirror Mirror steps through the looking glass onto DVD and Blu-Ray players everywhere this week; The Newsroom and Sinbad continue with new instalments; no new games to report but expect a few exciting reveals and news updates nevertheless.
ON THE BLOG- We'll be bringing you reviews of recent movies like The Help, Attack The Block and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, revealing July 2012's Best Release and our Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases of August 2012, plus providing you on what's coming up in the next fortnight as we take a brief 'hiatus' of sorts when there'll be posts at a slightly less regular rate. Believe us, though, there'll still be many interesting things to come from us in the next two weeks, it'll just mean slight changes. For now, though, revel in new posts, reviews and features fresh from On-Screen!
AND NEXT WEEK...The Olympics reach their finale, The Bourne Legacy, Brave and The Expendables 2 land in cinemas, Sleeping Dogs debuts on consoles, Doctor Who: The Wheel Of Ice heads to book retailers and many more exciting events take shape in the weeks starting August 6th and 19th!

Tonight's The Night Cancelled

Apparently Tonight Is No Longer The Night.
John Barrowman's BBC programme Tonight's The Night will not be continued for a fourth season, it has been confirmed by official Beeb representatives today. The entertainment show focused on less privileged individuals who had earned the right to have their deepest wishes and aspirations granted and fulfilled for one special night. It was great, often heartwarming stuff, and although it is debatable whether the series could have lasted for a much longer period given the ultimate repetition that lay in its premise, it will most definitely be a shame not to see it return to the airwaves later this year. Barrowman is allegedly very disappointed with the decision to axe Series Four according to his close colleagues and insider sources, and what with the current hiatus of Torchwood it appears that the actor may be getting more hopeful for a 50th Anniversary return on Doctor Who by the day! We wish the cast and crew of Tonight's The Night the best of luck in the future finding work and new experiences in this tough television industry.

What Culture: 5 Routes For An Avengers TV Show

The road to a Marvel Cinematic Universe adaptation begins...
There are a strong number of reports emerging this week that suggest a television show based around the film universe of Avengers Assemble is in discussion between Marvel Studios and American broadcaster NBC. This would likely be a deviation from the main adventures of the titular team, instead focusing on smaller sections of the lore which would not provide as many budgetary and legal restrictions. All the same, it's a very exciting proposition for comic-book fans! Just what directions could this ambitious proposed project take, though? Over at What Culture, I've been speculating on that subject in a new feature article where I look at five possible angles the production team could take the show from and to. It's a long and challenging period ahead for whoever decides to pick the project up, but there's no doubting that the results could be fruitful should the writing team listen to even some of these suggestions. Here's the link to the article: http://whatculture.com/tv/5-ways-marvel-should-assemble-the-avengers-tv-show.php

NSA: Top 5 Most Anticipated...FPSes

A preview of the most exciting shooters of 2012 and 2013!
In the months ahead, it will pay to know which video game titles are worth your time when just so many are heading your way onto the various consoles. Over the next few days, I'll be covering the hottest upcoming contenders for best in genre in a handful of different gameplay aspects and styles over at Non Specific Action in a series of features. First of all I'm taking a look at the first-person shooter genre, and showing that the new Call Of Duty is by no means all we've got to look forward to before the end of the current generation. There'll be more to come later in the week! Here's the link: http://nonspecificaction.co.uk/top-5-most-anticipated-first-person-shooters-14781

Saturday, 28 July 2012

New Merlin Trailer Unveiled

Merlin returns this Autumn- get your first glimpse at Series Five!
Thanks to the BBC's new 'Original British Drama' campaign airing within the first week of the Olympics, we're going to be getting some exciting new trailers for big upcoming shows from the Beeb very soon. Kicking this off is a brand new preview of Merlin's fifth season, backed by Muse's Knights Of Cyndonia and teasing 'A New King', 'A New Era', 'An Ancient Legend' and 'The Legend Begins'! It's a brief yet wholly exciting snippet of what's to come for the fantasy drama, especially interesting considering that the idea of the seeds of Arthur's end being sewn with Mordred's return is coming to light this season. Perhaps the final battle of the King will air on the small screen either this season's finale or in a possible Series Six? Time will tell...you can catch the trailer below. Merlin returns to BBC1 on September 29th.

Friday, 27 July 2012

New Doctor Who & Merlin Trailers Announced

The Die Is Cast And The Final Days Of The Ponds Are Here!
While promoting their extensive coverage of the simply fantastic Olympics Opening Ceremony and of course the London 2012 Games, the BBC have confirmed that they will be running a 'season' of feature-length trailers for upcoming new and returning shows. For those of you readers interested, these will include Hunted, Accused and Good Cop amongst other new/standalone series. What may well prove of more interest to you, though, is that amongst these will be brand new feature-length trails for both Doctor Who Series Seven and Merlin Series Five! Here's when and where you can find the new previews...
The trailers will run in the middle of 7pm-10pm Olympics coverage so don't be surprised if they don't appear immediatedly at 8. Nevertheless, it will be great to learn more about the new seasons of these brilliant dramas, especially while experiencing the exciting Games themselves! Doctor Who lands on BBC1 on August 25th, while Merlin returns on September 29th.

New Life Of Pi Trailer Released

Another preview of this year's most exciting mythological drama...
This Winter is simply flooded with great book adaptations into movies, including The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 2, The Great Gatsby and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. One of the more interesting pieces of filmmaking also on its way is Life Of Pi. based on Yann Martel's 2001 novel, the flick will follow the tale of young Pi, a boy cast adrift onto the seas with a pack of zoo animals he once lived with. A brand new trailer for director Ang Lee's new movie has landed (and can be seen below), and so far while it's looking almost as bizarre as Dark Shadows, there's a good chance that this will be taken as something of a surprise hit! Life Of Pi floats into cinemas on November 21st.


The first true gamer's verdict on the new 3DS console!
There's no hiding the fact that the original 3DS console did not sell nearly as strongly as Nintendo might have hoped. This fact is the reasoning behind the drastic drop in price of that version, and indeed Nintendo heading back to the drawing board to bring us a bigger, chunkier yet still sleek new rendition of the 3DS hardware in the form of the 3DS XL. So, how is it? Well, fundamentally if you weren't exactly keen on the concept of third-dimensional visuals blaring out into your eye sockets while playing video games, then little has changed here in the technology to alter your mindset. Problems can still be found in the amount of time which can be spent viewing the screen to a far greater degree than say playing an Xbox 360 or the original dual-screen Nintendo console. That said, the make and mould of the hardware is far less prone to damage than the first version, making for a substantial improvement which feels far more like a casual handheld console than its predecessor. The screen visibility is much more efficient too, adapting to a wider variety of environmental settings and thus allowing players to still be enabled to have a shot on Mario's hardest level one last time even in the brightest of resorts during the Summer months. In all honesty, though, the 3DS XL hasn't really undergone many major changes, and while it's definitely an improvement, it still does not shed away the truth that there are still a lack of killer apps for the console, with Mario 3D Land, Kingdom Hearts and Ocarina Of Time being amongst the only main reasons to own it. I won't discredit the improved hardware on that front, but I'd definitely warn you to wait just a little longer to see if Nintendo's first- and third-party offerings improve in late 2012 and early 2013 before scooping up the new Nintendo 3DS XL console.

Who News: More DWM Details On The Future

Find out what's to come in 2013 and beyond right here...
Up until now, Steven Moffat and the Doctor Who production and marketing teams have remained relatively cagey on what lies ahead for the hit British science-fiction drama beyond this year. We know that five new episodes of Who lie ahead starting in mid-August and continuing until the end of September, and that these adventures will be the final stories we share with the Eleventh Doctor's faithful companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams. After that, a Christmas Special is on its way in December, introducing Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion on the show who has a dangerous and exhilirating story of her own to tell! Beyond those six episodes, though? Other than the remaining eight adventures of Series Seven broadcasting in Spring 2013, we haven't heard zilch about the future of the show bar that it will have some stellar 50th Anniversary celebrations for Autumn and Winter 2013. Now, Matt Smith has been chatting with Doctor Who Magazine in its landmark anniversary 450th issue on what's to come, as well as about the current run in Entertainment Weekly. Here's a roundup on just what he had to say on the future of Who...

  • ON THE SEASON OPENER: "I got to meet my favourite Daleks, which are actually from Patrick Troughton's era, I think. They're sort of the pale blue and whitey ones. They're a bit smaller, actually. I think they're groovy! I mean, we've got every Dalek that exists in the world."
  • ON THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: "Steven makes me laugh more than most people in the world. I just read it and there's a bit in it where I'm like, "Where does he get it from? Where? Where does it come from?". Because it's totally left-field as an idea, and it's magic. The imagination through form in this show- I mean, can you imagine having to plot this show?"
  • ON JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN: "She's doing really well. She's thoroughly prepared, has a lovely nature about her, and I think she really gets Steven's writing. The show is about change and it's about regeneration and the only thing you can do is move with it. So we embrace and we welcome Jenna and she's doing really well."
  • ON JAMES CORDEN: "We'd love him to [come back], but he's pretty busy being a Tony-award winning actor on Broadway and having a baby. But we'd love to get James back."
  • ON THE CRIMSON HORROR: "I think Mark Gatiss has written a wonderfully sprawling episode. Let me read you a line- this is an exclusive! "Well, thanks a million, you three. Have some Ponterfract cakes on me!" So there we go. I'm giving it all away! It's a great episode. The Doctor gets a cool new Victorian costume. I get a hat and a three-piece suit. I'm having a ball!"
  • ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY EPISODE: "It's as brilliant and mental as you'd expect from Steven Moffat."
  • ON SERIES EIGHT IN 2014: "I've just heard Steven Moffat's pitch- are you ready to cry? I know nothing more that I can tell you right now."
  • ON HIS FUTURE ON WHO: "We've got the 50th Anniversary stuff next year. I take it year by year. Because it's such a commitment for your life. I don't think you could do seven years like Tom Baker did. It would age you too savagely. The great thing about the Doctor is there's no stop sign. He can keep going and moving and evolving and the moment that he doesn't surprise you is probably the moment that you should hand it over. But he still surprises me, so I'm hanging in there."
To summarise that long overload of great facts and comments from Matt, then. It appears that once Series Seven has concluded airing either in February or June 2013 (depending on whether there's a gap between the Christmas Special and Episode 7) we'll have more special 50th Anniversary episodes to look forward to. I would imagine the production team will start shooting those in early 2013, and thus that we'll either have them close to one another in the year's concluding months or spread out like the 2009 specials. Expect a lot of big Who events in-between to make 2013 a truly momentous year for the show, though!

Beyond that, it seems we will return to a new full series in 2014, or perhaps a consistent Autumn-to-Spring schedule whereby the show returns in the Autumn every year rather than the Spring. As long as everyone keeps in mind that the drama will have been back on our screens for nine whole years when Series Eight arrives, it's far easier to stay optimistic despite what the critics and trolls say. 

Here's the running order for the future of Who, then...
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 with Asylum Of The Daleks on August 25th.

New Game Release Dates Round-Up

Find out when Skylanders, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 and MGS Rising arrive...
The games industry's news releases seem to be getting more frequent and intense now as we head towards the Autumn Of Gaming season, and one area where things have intensified is in the realm of release dates. In this week alone, we've had three big updates on when a handful of much anticipated titles are coming our way. Here's my roundup of what you need to know...

  • SKYLANDERS: GIANTS- This big sequel to Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure features all new action figures to collect and a exciting new monster storyline to explore and engage with. Giants will land in stores on October 19th.
  • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR 2- Suffering another delay within the space of just one month, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 nevertheless looks to be an exciting use of the CryEngine and indeed a blockbuster shooter to boot. The FPS will now arrive on January 13th, 2013.
  • METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE- Platinum Games now have full control of this spin-off to the Metal Gear Solid franchise which focuses on supporting character Raiden. Revengeance has been revealed to ship in February 2013.
For all the latest games news and release date reveals, keep checking back at On-Screen!

First Captain America 2 Details Teased

The sequel to The First Avenger has a new tone and narrative!
ComicCon 2012 saw the announcement that Captain America: The Winter Soldier would be the sequel to last year's hit superhero film The First Avenger, a reveal met with rapturous applause from fans everywhere given the high esteem of the Bucky Barnes resurrection storyline. The follow-up's co director Anthony Russio has begun speaking to Bleeding Cool about just what we can expect from The Winter Soldier, and I've rounded up his first thoughts and comments below...

  • ON THE WINTER SOLDIER AS A DIRECT ADAPTATION: "In a way. I mean, they're all sort of rooted in what's come before, but they're all also their own jumping-off points."
  • ON WHAT THE APPEAL OF THE STORYLINE WAS: "Well, we like the story. I can't talk too much about specifics, that's the way Marvel handles things. I can say there's a darker, edgier sensibility at work there that we found appealing, and that it's going to find its way to Captain America in the modern day."
  • ON THE LIKELIHOOD OF FLASHBACKS TO WW2: "Certainly Cap has this complicated history. We're making the movie for first-time viewers, not just for fans, so because Cap does have this complicated history- he was this skinny guy who became a Super Soldier, he was born back then and he's living here now- in the storytelling, you need to convey that to an audience who doesn't know Cap's story."
So what with the relatively standalone nature of the film teased by Russio, can we expect the sequel not to have many references to Avengers or its sequel, or is this just cover up of another post-credits preview? We've got a while to wait, but the speculation will no doubt begin now! Captain America: The Winter Soldier ricochets into theatres on April 4th, 2014.

NSA: UK Charts Analysis: July 16th-22nd

The Dark Knight Rises once again!
Our video games charts here in the UK has always been an interesting list to keep a watch on. Sadly, this Summer has been a dull old time for the industry, but at least LEGO Batman 2 is maintaining its rightful five-week throne on the top of the rankings. Besting new competition like Kingdom Hearts, the ambitious open-world LEGO title has reached first place once again alongside the release of The Dark Knight Rises in cinemas everywhere over the past week. So Batman trumps again! Will things change with the release of Sleeping Dogs or Transformers next week? We'll find out soon...my full analysis for the week of July 16th-22nd can be found over at Non Specific Action. Here's the link that will take you to the article in question: http://nonspecificaction.co.uk/uk-games-charts-analysis-july-16th-22nd-14648

WhatCulture: The Superhero Film Battle Of 2012

Which superhero film turned out to be the best of the year?
My latest feature article at WhatCulture is a major retrospective one. The topic? Laying down a verdict on just which superhero film has turned out to be the best of its genre for 2012. The movies that have entered the fray are these: Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance; Avengers Assemble; The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. Each has their own strengths, but which was the best example of modern superhero filmmaking? That's what I attempt to find out here, and for some of you the results may prove very surprising. Here's the link to this big new feature: http://whatculture.com/film/is-the-dark-knight-rises-really-the-best-superhero-movie-of-2012.php#comment-119764

New Sleeping Dogs Demo Released

Get another look at August's most exciting video game!
What with the slum period that the video gaming industry has been going through as per usual for the Summer months, it's reassuring to know that from August onwards things will start to pick up again. This positive trend begins with Sleeping Dogs, a promising open-world shooter from Square Enix that mimicks franchises like GTA and Saint's Row while providing its own unique take on Hong Kong action and gunplay. United Front Games have released a new demo walkthrough for the upcoming title, showing off the 'Mrs Chu's Revenge' mission in its gloriously violent entirety. There's nothing hugely groundbreaking on offer here, but the visuals and gameplay are pretty impressive, certainly rivalling the best of Rockstar's recent work! You can check out the video below; Sleeping Dogs lands on August 17th.

Mass Effect Movie Update Revealed

More details on a highly anticipated sci-fi premiere!
Since ComicCon 2011's big reveal, there has been little extra news on the announced Mass Effect live-action movie project...until now! After this long period of silence, it has been confirmed by Deadline that Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures have had a script for this opening film penned and drafted. This is a big development considering that things were merely in the planning stages last year, although it seems there's a fair way to go yet in terms of assembling a definite cast and crew for the motion picture adaptation. Oh yes, it's an adaptation- another report from Deadline confirmed that it will be the first Mass Effect game with its male protagonist of Commander Shepherd that forms the basis for the first of the three planned movies. Released in 2007, Mass Effect told the tale of Shepherd's fight to stop a rogue Spectre unleashing an ancient force capable of destroying the galaxy before it was too late. The narrative had its minor problems, but it should hopefully prove prime material for this kind of project. Expect more details on the flick soon; the Mass Effect movie is likely to release in Winter 2014 or Spring 2015.

Despicable Me Spin-Off Film Announced

A new spin-off movie is coming for the animated franchise!
The Despicable Me film franchise will grow with the release of a new spin-off instalment, Universal Pictures have confirmed this week. Taking place after the events of the upcoming animated sequel Despicable Me 2, the side-entry will focus primarily on the hilarious yellow minions that the original protagonist Gru employed to carry out his evil schemes. Considering that the Minions were the best part of the first movie and are getting a lot of attention in the second film's marketing campaign, it's a highly justified move on Universal's past. Here's hoping they do a better job with their spin-off than Dreamworks did last year with the merely servicable Puss In Boots (3/5), though. Despicable Me 2 blows a hole into cinemas on July 3rd, 2013, while the franchise spin-off is set for release in Summer 2014.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Hobbit 3 Rumours Deepen

Will Peter Jackson add another movie to the Rings prequel series?
Peter Jackson's words at ComicCon sparked rumours that a third Hobbit film might be sent into production early next year- it seems the rumours now have a little more substance to them. A report today in the Los Angeles Times from a source close to the production of An Unexpected Journey and There And Back Again indicates that Jackson and Warner Brothers are currently in further talks about the idea of turning much of the Lord Of The Rings prequel appendices content into a new motion picture. "If we're going to do it," the source says, "We have to make a decision soon. It's strongly driven by the filmmakers' desire to tell more of the story." I doubt we'll see a proper announcement until we are merely a few months away from the first part of the proposed trilogy, but to know that talks are taking place is certainly exciting to say the very least. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey lands in cinemas on December 14th, and The Hobbit: There And Back Again on December 13th, 2013.

Dance Central 3 Dated

Find out when the latest Kinect game hits stores!
Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect has been going through something of a slow period recently, with both Kinect Star Wars and Steel Batallion: Heavy Armor failing to have a substantial financial impact in their recent releases. That may change this Autumn, though, as Dance Central 3 is on its way. This new entry in the motion-dance franchise will feature pop hits like Moves Like Jagger, OMG, Get Low and I Will Survive in an intense and fast-paced new musical campaign, sure to thrill fans of the series with its blend of song and dance once again. Dance Central 3 has now got a release date- it arrives worldwide on October 16th.

Assassins News: Desmond Story To End

The tale of our modern Assassin reaches its climax in AC3!
Desmond Miles has been our consistent modern hero in the Assassin's Creed franchise, a cipher through which we have seen past heroes and legends and percieved them with a strange degree of hindsight. Ubisoft Montreal's creative director Alex Hutchinson has been chatting about what future lies in store for the protagonist in the next entry of the series. Could it be that the character will meet his story's end in Assassin's Creed III? Here's what Hutchinson had to say to The Verge on the matter: "Assassin's Creed was Altair's story, Ezio has been and gone. You can engage with these historical figures without having to necessarily understand Desmond's story. But we do eventually have to wrap it up. I think what you can do is finish it. It's not the only conceit you can use. I always pitched it to the guys on the game to think of it almost like Star Trek: each game is a season, each big number is a sub-title." That's an interesting way of looking at it, and I think Alex is right to see it as if we've had four seasons of an overarching show, with the numbered instalments 'rebooting' the storyline while keeping the overall Desmond arc. Without Desmond, of course, the 'show' will become something else entirely, yet that's a very enticing proposition for the franchise! Assassin's Creed III breaks into stores everywhere on October 31st.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Who News: River Song Return Teased

The first details on the role of Alex Kingston's character in Series Seven!
We know for sure that River Song will be back for the fifth episode of Doctor Who Series Seven to see off her parents in a finale adventure featuring the Weeping Angels and the city of New York. What we have yet to find out is just what kind of role Alex Kingston's character will play there, or indeed the overarching series narrative. Speaking in an interview weeks after their ComicCon panel, executive producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner have been discussing with iO9 what the future will hold for River- here's a roundup of what they said...

  • RIVER GOES NEW YORK: Caroline Skinner had this to comment on River's role in the final episode of Series Seven Part One: "She's so the queen of mischief in this episode!" Rumour has it that River will take on the persona of 'Melody Malone' in the 1930s version of the Big Apple which the Angels zap Rory back to, so could she be getting up to even more tricksome antics than she did as Cleopatra in the Series Five finale?
  • RIVER'S POST-ARC ANTICS: Asked where River could go after what Steven Moffat confirmed was her "big arc" last season, the Who showrunner gave this reply: "There's also just having River turn up and have fun on an adventure, which is fun too. She's one of the people who can draw the Doctor into a mad adventure very, very quickly and very, very easily. That's a different way of doing it. Sometimes you'll see her just phoning the Doctor up and saying 'Let's go see that.' There's that part of the relationship too, which is big bonafida adventure." Perhaps we won't see later versions of River as frequently in this run, then, so that her foreknowledge (or lack of) of what's to come won't have an impact on the adventure at hand. Certainly, we're getting nearer to the moment when she elects to go to the Library, and thus it might even be that the 50th Anniversary celebrations wrap up her storyline at the Fields Of Trenzalore.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on August 25th.

UK Film Charts: July 16th-22nd

Batman swoops to the top of the charts with his finale debut!
It always seemed as if The Dark Knight Rises was a shoe-in to succeed across the world in its opening week, and Christopher Nolan's brilliant finale has in no way disappointed in this respect. Batman's third modern movie has bested old favourites like Spider-Man, Men In Black and Prometheus this week- although it hasn't topped Avengers' opening, it marks the highest number of sales for a 2D film ever in opening weekends, which is quite something! Things may change a bit in weeks to come when The Bourne Legacy, Total Recall and The Watch arrive, but for now we should make the most of the rightful throne of the chart king being inhabited by the Dark Knight's legendary end. Here's this week's charts in full:
4. MAGIC MIKE (TF: 4/5)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films Of 2012's Climax

The ten movies that prove 2012 still has life in it...
What with the releases of War Horse, The Muppets, The Hunger Games, Avengers Assemble, Men In Black III, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises already this year, it would be easy to think that there are not many films left over for the impending final months of the year. All the same, there is more to come. To prove it, I'll round-up here the ten films I still cannot wait to see that will be with us before December 31st, 2012. Without further ado, then, let's get started...
10. KEITH LEMON: THE MOVIE- I know, I know, but it actually looks pretty darn hilarious! Celebrity Juice can be hit and miss, but its lead star Leigh Francis (aka Keith Lemon) always has me in stitches, so a movie based around his character is more than welcome. (August 24th)
9. TOTAL RECALL- Colin Farrell is heading this exciting new science-fiction action movie remake of a Schawezeneger classic, based around the idea of someone trying to take the mind of another yet being injected with memories of their own. It's certainly classic sci-fi, and it'll be interesting to see what kind of direction Total Recall goes in. (August 29th)
8. TAKEN 2- Liam Neeson is back! And if those four words alone aren't enough to sate your appetites, then knowing that the man himself is returning in a sequel to his greatest thriller movie should help. Taken 2 has a new approach, with every member of Neeson's fictitious family in danger, so don't think you know the story too well yet. (October 5th)
7. THE CAMPAIGN- Another great new comedy on its way to cinemas, The Campaign has stars Zach Galifinakas and Will Ferrel at its lead. I wouldn't anticipate this matching Anchorman or The Hangover, yet I'm sure there will be some fun and laughs to be had when the time of release approaches. (September 28th)
6. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN- PART 2- Yep, it's really time for the Twilight finale, for better or for worse! Breaking Dawn- Part 2 sees Bella getting little time to test out her new vampire powers, as the Volturi march to destroy her hybrid child and old alleigances will be tested to the brink. Don't expect a movie on the scale of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows- Part 2, but still expect an action-packed climax to this film franchise...(November 16th)
5. NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER- As cheesy as its title may sound, my excitement for the second Nativity film lies in the sheer quality of the original. The sequel Danger In The Manger features David Tennant, Jessica Hynes, Joanna Page and Ian McNeice, a great British cast who could make this a definite sleeper hit. (November 23rd)
4. THE BOURNE LEGACY- Although it's unclear whether Jeremy Renner will be able to lead a new spin-off to an entire action franchise, The Bourne Legacy appears to be a strong continuation of Matt Damon's storyline that works just as well as its predecessors even without their star. (August 13th)
3. SKYFALL- Daniel Craig's second James Bond film Quantum Of Solace turned out to be a major flop, thus it seems that Skyfall will mark MGM's attempt to revive their action franchise at the time of its fiftieth anniversary. Will it succeed? It's hard to tell, but the first signs are very promising...(October 28th)
2. THE GREAT GATSBY- Just missing out on first place yet still very highly ranked in my opinion is the film adaptation of classic 1920s novel The Great Gatsby. Telling the tale of an esteemed bachelor whose fate lies in the pursuit of the American Dream, Gatsby is a wonderful piece of literature, so to see it resurrected once again on the big screen is a thrilling proposition. (December 25th)
1. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY- The first entry in the two-part movie adaptation of The Hobbit outrights tops my list. An Unexpected Journey follows Bilbo Baggins as he begins a quest to steal treasure from a dragon, as well as a golden ring from the creatue Gollum, and it has every chance of matching The Dark Knight Rises judging by the quality of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy! (December 14th)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Coming Up This Week: July 23rd-29th

The biggest sports event of the decade begins now!
Much as I openly ignore the world of sports on this blog as a direct result of its repetitive and dull nature, I can't understate the importance of the international sports competition that commences this week. The London 2012 Olympics are here, but they're by no means the only release of the next seven days, even if they do mark a sadly quiet period for entertainment as a whole. Here's a roundup of what's to come...
LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS- From the Opening Ceremony to the Race Relay that will highlight the opening weekend, the latest Olympics competition promises to be the most spectacular and thrilling version yet. Expect shocks, twists and surprises galore in the first few days alone, and don't think of this as anything other than a landmark event for the entire of Great Britain!
NOW! THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC 82- Packing in hit tracks like We Are Young, Call Me Maybe, Payphone, Whistle and countless other great entries of the past three months, the latest Now! album is by far the greatest compilation out there of what's hot and what's not right now in the mainstream music industry. I've always been a big fan of these albums, even if they are something of an acquired taste.
AND THERE'S MORE...Of course, in the absence of new movies to watch, there's always The Dark Knight Rises to check out, an incredible piece of cinema. No new games on the horizon now until mid-August, really. On the television front, new episodes of Sinbad, The Newsroom and The Ricky Gervais Show are on their way to screens. Wallander and StreetDance 2 are coming to DVD and Blu-Ray too.
ON THE BLOG- It will probably be a pretty busy week for news as always so I'll keep you posted there, and there'll be a few more reviews and another WORLD EXCLUSIVE heading your way too!
AND NEXT WEEK...Ted makes its hilarious debut in cinemas, the Olympics continue and The Ricky Gervais Show reaches its final end!

Another Hangover III Returnee Confirmed

Find out another star who's making a comeback next year!
One of this writer's most anticipated films of 2013 is undoubtedly The Hangover: Part III, Todd Phillips' exciting finale to his hilarious comedy trilogy of drunk mishaps. Set in Las Vegas and following a narrative whereby Doug, Stu and Phil must race across the city to rescue their crazed friend Alan from a mental institution, the third film in the series already has a guest star return confirmed for Ken Cheong as Mr Chow. Today, though, we've discovered another cast member rejoining the crew for the final outing- Mike Epps will make a new appearance as 'Black Doug', the kidnapped character who was mistaken for the lost Doug in the original Hangover film. Perhaps this cast addition alongside the setting suggests a return to the more successful roots of the series, perhaps not. Either way, we're probably in for one heck of a laugh when this one hits. The Hangover: Part III bursts into cinemas on May 24th, 2013.

Comedy Trailers: The Campaign; Red Dwarf X

Check out two hot upcoming comedy movies and shows...
Comedy entertainment always goes down a storm with mainstream audiences, something which the Summer Of Film has proved in full force these past few months. We've now got two brand new trailers for impending comedy releases both on the big and small screens. First up is a unique teaser for The Campaign, a cinema flick starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakas as budding Congressmen who take each other on in a battle of wits and hilarity. After that, you can take a look at the first preview of Red Dwarf X, the tenth season of fantasy sci-fi television episodes coming later this year. Campaign is certainly looking like the better of the two releases, but there'll still be fun to be had for Dwarf-fans. The trailers for both are below. The Campaign barges into the box office on September 28th, while Red Dwarf X debuts on Dave this Autumn.

Who News: Matt On Jenna; DWM 450 Cover Debuts

More news on Series Seven and DWM!
There's a mere four weeks now until Doctor Who returns to our screens- and in anticipation of this momentous occasion, the production team are continuing to promote the new season of the show. Here are a couple of interesting new Who tidbits revealed in the past few days, and let the countdown commence...

  • THE ELEVENTH DOC ON CLARA: Eleventh Doctor actor Matt Smith has been chatting to SFX about the debut of Jenna-Louise Coleman as his character's new companion, rumoured to be named Clara. Here's what he had to say: "I think Steven's writing her in a very interesting way- in a different way to Amy Pond. I can't tell you too much about her and her story because it's all top-secret as always, but we're very excited and we're planning to make the show bigger and better with her and just keep moving forward. Jenna's doing a wonderful job, she's a wonderful actress and very dedicated!" Strong words from the Doc, then, and of course we'll meet his new companion on Christmas Day.
  • 450 AND COUNTING: The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine marks the magazine publication's 450th outing, a staggering landmark achievement that really should be commended. Its simple yet effective cover can be seen above; the new issue features articles on the evolution between Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor and Matt's Eleventh, tributes to the late Caroline John and the production stages of the Christopher Eccleston finale. We can likely expect new news announcements on Series Seven and future Who releases too, and I'll keep you posted on those here on the blog.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on August 25th.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

First Man Of Steel Teaser Trailer Lands

Superman Returns next year- get the first preview right here!
As if it weren't enough to have the glorious The Dark Knight Rises enter cinemas this week, DC Entertainment have now provided us with another great comic-book infused dose of film to take in: the first teaser trailer for their next movie adaptation, Man Of Steel! Set in the early days of the Superman universe, this action-packed reboot of the franchise will focus on Clark Kent's evolution into a superhero and his first battle against General Zod and his rogue Kryptonian army. Batman's director Christopher Nolan has helped to produce this new take on the Man Of Steel, working as a producer and overseeing many of the script assets in order to help garner the same kind of mass audiences that his own movie trilogy recently recieved. I'd advise you check out Dark Knight Rises,  not only because it is an incredible cinematic experience, but also because the teaser fares far better on the big screen with full surround sound than it does online. All the same, if you're desperate to check it out, then the aforementioned tease is right here, and quite honestly, it gave me goosebumps! Man Of Steel lands on June 14th, 2013.

EXCLUSIVE: The Dark Knight Rises Review

Can Christopher Nolan's Batman finale possibly live up to expectations?
Third acts are challenging to get right to say the very least, both in terms of standalone films' pacing and indeed in entire movie franchises. To put it bluntly, I didn't think that director Christopher Nolan would ever be able to sate both my appetites as a film fan and superhero fan in delivering a conclusion to his Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises. Not for the first time this year, I could not possibly be happier to have been proved completely and utterly wrong in this respect. Not only does Nolan give each and every surviving (and new) character of his trio of gothic superhero thrillers a beautiful crescendo, he ensures that everyone has a substantial role to play in the way that his hero's legend ends, tieing in plot elements from both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight to give a satisfying feeling of well-roundedness to the entire viewing experience. This inevitably could be seen as hampering the piece were it to be viewed as a standalone movie, but quite frankly I feel that it's safe to assume the vast majority of film-goers have at least experienced the now-legendary second entry with Heath Ledger's final stunning performance.

As such, the weight and gravitas which the odes to the past give the film as a whole are deep and compelling, to the point that it seems incredible that the heavy promotional campaign managed to hold back so many of the major twists in the tale that come our way here. Despite being stretched over nearly three hours of presentation, the narrative and its pacing is handled near-perfectly, balancing intermittent action sequences and setpieces with some of the most emotional, heartbreaking and uplifting scenes you'll see in a movie this year or otherwise. Fundamental to the substantial effect of Rises, though, is undoubtedly its stellar cast. Christian Bale steals the show this time around in his finest performance as the titular Caped Crusader, actually spending much of his on-screen time in the guise of Batman's human alter-ego rather than as Batman himself. While fans might start to raise their pitchforks and torches, crying that this makes the film less entwined with its superhero heritage, I would go so far as to argue that in fact it's this increased focus on the man behind the mask and indeed the legend that has surrounded the guise he takes in times of need that could give Rises more of a chance than either of its predecessors at achieving Oscar and/or BAFTA nominations and awards.

Truly, this trilogy has been portrayed as the story of Bruce Wayne's fight to rid Gotham of crime as justice for his parents' murder, and indeed his attempts to stop those who want to do the same by destroying or corrupting the city, an overarching tale that is wrapped up magnificently over the course of 165 minutes here. Anne Hatheway and Tom Hardy make spectacular debuts as the elusive Catwoman and the physically overwhelming mastermind Bane respectively, both adding new layers of intrigue to the way in which the legend of the Dark Knight will meet its end and what will become of Gotham in the fire's aftermath. There were no actors who could replace Ledger as the better villain for the franchise, and it is true that perhaps Bane's first scene doesn't quite impact on us as heavily as the late Joker's reveal, but Bane's influence and menace reveals itself over time, and Hardy does an incredible job of representing this sheer specimen of domination and destruction. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman make impactful returns for the third instalment too, as do a few other acclaimed guest stars from the previous flicks whose names I won't spoil for you here. Aesthetically, the soundtrack and special effects don't disappoint either, only adding to the sense of the sheer class and dedication that have clearly gone into the production of this masterful finale. I could go on forever singing this near-perfect film's praises, but to wrap things up, I want to answer a few questions I've heard.

Is it better than The Avengers? Yes- there's far more of an emotional chord struck here that sends this above and beyond even one of the best ever superhero films ever created. Is it better than The Dark Knight? No- but it matches it for sheer quality. Oh yes, while I can't quite place this up and above its immediate predecessor, I can safely say that TDK and TDKR are my joint-favourite entries in the trilogy, and together they stand as two of my favourite films of all time. Is it perfect? There's no such thing in the film industry, and debatably it's possible to argue that the opening 20-30 minutes or so are slower than we're used to from the franchise, yet all of the plot elements that they raise that are then payed off later on are so intricate and masterfully implemented that I cannot fault the piece for that oh-so-minor niggle. The Dark Knight Rises uses every shot, every character, every locale and every event to its advantage, as here Christopher Nolan has crafted the perfect conclusion to the perfect Batman trilogy, a staggering cinematic achievement the likes of which is unlikely to be matched anytime soon. Oh, and that final shot- what an incredible note to end on...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

NSA: Why Battlefield 4 Heralds The Next-Generation

A new speculation piece over at Non Specific Action!
As I informed you guys earlier this week, Battlefield 4 has been announced by Electronic Arts. What does this mean for the video games industry? Potentially big changes, I'd guess- based on evidence of how transitions have occured in the past, I think this could start to indicate the first move towards the next generation of consoles. This is all speculation for now, but I've compiled my thoughts on the implications of the Battlefield 4 beta over at Non Specific Action with a new feature article. Feel free to get in touch with your thoughts over at the usual social networks, it's always great to hear other opinions! Here's the link: http://nonspecificaction.co.uk/why-battlefield-4-heralds-the-dawn-of-the-next-generation-14523

Assassin's News: Novel, Liberation Details Revealed

Get the first scoop on the new Assassin's Creed novel and the PSVita title!
With more and more Assassin's Creed-related news starting to crop up in the run-up to ACIII's release this October, unless things start to get quieter we'll be running this 'Assassin's News' column to keep you posted with groups of the latest news updates. For now, we've got new details on a brand new Creed book heading to retail shortly after the game's release and on the PSVita tie-in spin-off title...
  • FORSAKEN LEGEND: It has been announced today that fantasy author Oliver Bowden will pen a new Assassin's Creed novel for release this Autumn. Titled Assassin's Creed: Forsaken, the story will focus on the life of Assassin Connor (ACIII's hero), essentially retelling the events of the upcoming video game from the point of view of its main character. Previous adaptations of Assassin's Creed, II, Brotherhood and Revelations have been fun if a bit predictable, so anyone looking for more details on the series lore should make this port of call. Assassin's Creed: Forsaken arrives in good book retailers everywhere on November 8th.
  • LIBERATING THE ANIMUS: Also, there's been an interesting news update on PSVita spin-off Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. The game will focus on a female Assassin also operating in the American Revolution, but this time the fictional storyline will be that Abstergo Industries are selling copies of their Animus machines to the wider public in order to verse them in the horrors of the Assassin's Creed. Whether this means we'll get more of the Templars' perspective on their ongoing war remains to be seen, but all the same it should be an interesting prequel to whatever events wrap up Desmond Miles' storyline this Winter. Liberation ships on October 31st.
For all the latest Assassin's Creed news, keep checking back at On-Screen!

21 Jump Street Sequel Confirmed

A follow-up to this year's great comedy is definitely on its way!
Hit cop comedy 21 Jump Street will be recieving a sequel, it has today been confirmed. Sony Columbia Pictures head Doug Belgrad today revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that a new entry in the rebooted version of the classic 1980s TV show 21 Jump Street was in the works, set to once again star Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in the main roles as two undercover cops who use a high-school cover to crack major cases. The original film was a great hit in my books, garnering a strong 4/5 score here when it released back in March, so a return to see Tatum and Hill back in action can only be a good thing. 21 Jump Street 2 commences shooting this Autumn, so expect a late 2013 release.

Batman Week Day Four: Modern Retrospective

A final retrospective on the two modern Batman films before tomorrow...
So...it's just about time. Tomorrow, The Dark Knight Rises will hit cinemas, and as per usual for On-Screen we'll have the EXCLUSIVE film fan's day-one review for you of the movie. Before that, though, it's well worth having a look back at director Christopher Nolan's past modern Batman instalments in the final day of our Batman Week features. Here, then, is a retrospective look on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight...
After the travesty that was Batman & Robin released in 1997, few could have possibly predicted a major comeback for the Dark Knight in the foreseeable future on the big screen. It came as a massively pleasant surprise, then, to hear that Christopher Nolan would be adapting the film franchise for a modern-day audience in 2005, and with hindsight it's still easy to say without a doubt that the new director did not disappoint. Batman Begins is essentially a landmark for its own genres, setting the level of ambition and scale that future superhero and thriller film makers would have to try and match in their own entries in future years to come. Taking place a few years into Bruce Wayne's adulthood as the lonely billionaire finds himself locked in prison once his life goes awry, the film opens with an investigation into the League Of Shadows and Wayne's fears, before ultimately moving into his destiny as the Caped Crusader and the ramifications it has on those who care for him. Seven years after release, I noticed that perhaps the opening scenes were a little bit slower than what some superhero fans might well be used to nowadays, yet the effect of deep empathy between the viewer and the protagonist is deeply invigorating and keeps the level of engagement in the audience at a major high for the first half hour or so. Once we move firmly into 'superhero territory', Begins does not let up, bringing us countless emotional and thrilling setpieces before moving into a surprisingly dark climax. Unlike the classic Batman movies, there's a real sense begun here that nothing in the lore is quite as safe as we might like to imagine, adding a genuinely palpable air of unpredictability to the entire viewing experience. Christian Bale finds his feet quickly, as does Michael Caine, but to some extent the true credit must go to Liam Neeson, who gives a simply fantastic performance as the menacing, enigmatic presence of Ra's Al Ghul. It doesn't seem like the character will return fully in The Dark Knight Rises beyond one or two cameos, so it's good to know that Christopher Nolan did him and indeed the entire origins story such brilliant justice in his first instalment in the trilogy. Batman Begins remains a captivating watch to this day, a true landmark of modern cinema.
I know what you're thinking- now's the part where he says the sequel was a letdown in comparison, eh? As many of you may have already guessed, though, that really couldn't be further from the truth. Where Begins relishes in emotions and the building of a legend, The Dark Knight paves an entirely different narrative, instead showing how one madman can bring an entire world to its knees, and how even the most insiprational and iconic figures of hope can be corrupted. Heath Ledger of course gives a show-stealing final performance as the Joker here, the greatest of actors lost in the most tragic of ways, yet credit must go too to Aaron Eckhart, the man who gives us our first truly realistic depiction of both Harvey Dent and his two-faced counterpart. Again, on-screen the story of Eckhart's character is tragic, and the level of grittiness and believability with which the man's degredation into a monster is presented is truly groundbreaking, not just for superhero films but again for the whole of the world of cinema. Christian Bale shines massively too, really coming into his own as the role of a hero who begins to realise that in order to protect his city and home, he must make the ultimate sacrifice so that the fall of Dent can never be known, lest it ruin the society who believed in him. There are just so many elements of The Dark Knight that make it a filmic masterclass that it would be impossible to count them all, but sufficed to say it even manages to top its incredible predecessor, and still ranks alongside films like The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Kick-Ass and a select few others as one of my favourite movies of all time.
That of course leaves us with The Dark Knight Rises- can it possibly hope to live up to our expectations? Christopher Nolan has done it before, and I have very little doubt in him, such that I think it's possible he could well do it again. Whatever happens, it's going to be one heck of a ride...