OS Cover Image

OS Cover Image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

New Star Wars Film Trilogy Announced

Three years to go, until we return to a galaxy far, far away!!!
In case you're wondering, the answer is yes. Yes, you did read right: today, Disney have announced their acquisition of Lucasfilm, making them responsible for all future Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie projects. Fresh off the press, then, we have had it confirmed through various press releases and conference calls that three entirely new Star Wars big-screen instalments are coming our way in the years ahead.

First up and a definite is Star Wars Episode VII, the seventh full entry that will likely follow on from where 1983's Return Of The Jedi left off, as Luke Skywalker and his allies must deal with the reprecussions of the destruction of the Empire. Could a new cast of heroes come into play? Perhaps; no matter what happens, that we're going to be getting three new trips to a galaxy far, far away in the next seven years is information that's exciting enough to go on for now. We'll bring you all of the news on this huge filmic development in the days that follow! Star Wars Episode VII is set to première in cinemas in 2015.

November 2012: Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases

Check out the ten big releases you'll want to watch, purchase and play this coming month...
November's most definitely one of the most exciting times for the entertainment industry in any year, as developers and publishers begin to cash in on the impending festive buzz with a host of big new releases. The penultimate month of 2012 is no different in this respect, containing a host of thrilling entries that many respective fanbases have been waiting a long time to see, experience and play this year. Without further ado or delay, then, I'll enlighten you with my Top 10 (yep, 10!) Most Anticipated Releases this month...
10. THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL- Rereleased in lieu of its 20th Anniversary this year, Jim Henson's puppets gave us a beautiful take on Dickens' classic phantasmical tale. Indeed, it'll be a delight to see The Muppets Christmas Carol back in cinemas for one final celebratory run. (Friday 23rd)
9. CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II- For all their overzealousness and bombast, the Call Of Duty games do at least maintain a consistent strive for quality every year and succeed for the most part. I cannot deny a good marketing strategy, and so far the sequel to 2010's Black Ops is looking like one of the most ace modern warfare first-person shooters in a good while! (Tuesday 13th)
8. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2- Boys, relax: it's over. The final instalment in The Twilight Saga has arrived, and judging by first impressions the franchise should go out with a bang. Prepare for the ultimate battle as the Cullens fight to save their immortal child from the hands of the Volturi with the aid of vampires from across the world and a pack of werewolves...(Friday 16th)
7. LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS- Have Travellers' Tales ever really mucked up a LEGO video game? Sure, the second Indiana Jones was probably their one low-key moment of the past few years, but short of that it's hard to be in anything but very strong faith about their take on The Lord Of The Rings this month. Here's hoping we get a Hobbit-inspired sequel next year! (Friday 23rd)
6. NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER- Yep, it really is time for the Christmas spirit to kick itself back into the film industry. With Nativity 2, we've got a charming British romp across cities and the countryside that features David Tennant, Joanna Page, Ian McNeice and a host of other cult stars who will likely boost the film's cultural success significantly. (Friday 23rd)
5. AN IDIOT ABROAD: THE SHORT WAY ROUND- Karl Pilkington's worldwide antics have been annual hits ever since his documentary debut in 2010. With Warwick Davis on board too, however, perhaps An Idiot Abroad can shake the deja vu feeling that plagued its second season and come back to its former glory in time for Christmas. (TBA)
4. HITMAN ABSOLUTION- Yet another big game on the list, the latest Hitman outing appears set to send the stealth franchise further than ever before. Packing an intense storyline, a near-infinite Contracts mode and Arkham-inspired Detective Modes, Absolution is a sure-fire one to watch for Game Of The Year status in 2012! (Friday 16th)
3. NINTENDO WiiU- It's hard to believe that amongst all of these big releases, Nintendo are launching the next generation of video gaming too, but it's true! The WiiU is coming, and it brings with it everything from New Super Mario Bros U and ZombiU to hi-resolution ports of Batman Arkham City and Mass Effect 3. Nintendo fans, take heed- you'll want to own this! (Friday 30th)
2. FARCRY 3- And another big game on its way...FarCry 3 looks set to revolutionise its franchise, bringing with it a colossal open-world and one of the most psychological video game storylines of recent times. Will FarCry finally get much deserved success? There is certainly not long until we find out for sure, and I can't wait. (Friday 30th)
1. HALO 4- Remember what I was saying about big games? Halo 4 stands as the epitome of what to be excited about this coming month, launching the Master Chief onto the planet of Requiem as he fights to stop the ultimate threat from being reborn while dealing with his best friend's impending reprisal of insanity. Now this should be one for the history books...(Tuesday 6th)

LEGO Lord Of The Rings, Dead Island 2 Dated

Two big upcoming video games get their release periods confirmed!
Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment and Deep Silver have today revealed the UK release dates of their new video games LEGO The Lord Of The Rings and Dead Island: Riptide respectively. The former action-adventure title spans all three of JRR Tolkien's classic novels in its storyline, utilising the vocals from Peter Jackson's recent trilogy of adaptations while also paving the way no doubt for a fully-fledged Hobbit LEGO spin to be set into stores by either late 2013 or Summer 2014. Meanwhile, Deep Silver appear to be scavenging their zombie-slaying original's surprise success in spite of the mixed critical reviews, giving us more of the same in Riptide and yet innovating with new characters and locales. Both titles look to have impressive strengths, so you'll want to keep your eyes on them as their days of release get nearer. LEGO The Lord Of The Rings hits British stores on 360, PS3, Wii, Vita and 3DS on Friday, November 23rd and Dead Island: Riptide on PS3, 360 and PC on Friday, April 26th 2013.

Who News: 50th Anniversary Novels Announced

Discover the secrets of BBC Books' celebrations in 2013!
2013 is already shaping up to be perhaps the biggest year ever for Doctor Who as the show's fiftieth anniversary, and BBC Books are preparing in full with a host of newly confirmed exciting novels. First up, there'll be a new Quick Reads adventure for the Eleventh Doctor and Clara taking place after the events of this year's Christmas Special- that'll be called A Silurian Gift, and be released in the run-up to World Book Day 2013. Before that, though, there'll be a republication of the award-winning novelisation of the lost Tom Baker story Shada, originally penned by Douglas Adams and now resurrected by Gareth Roberts.

In March, there's a set of eleven Who already-released books based around each Doctor including Beautiful Chaos, Ten Little Aliens and Only Human, while in April we'll get three brand new New Series Adventures novels- Plague Of The Cyber-Men, Dalek Generation and Shroud Of Sorrow. For anyone who has noticed, all of this will arrive in the first four months of 2013 alone, and brand-runner Albert DePetrillo says that'll continue: "Next year we have new stuff publishing every month. We are trying to celebrate the anniversary in every different way- the past of classic episodes and stories, the present, and looking to the future too." We'll have all the news on Who's future at BBC Books as it comes in the weeks ahead. The Silurian Gift is published on February 14th, the Eleven Doctors set in March and the New Series Adventures in April 2013.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Stars Revealed

Discover who'll we see gracing our screens in the 2014 sequel.
Earlier this year, Marvel Studios confirmed a strong set of new superhero films that would form the second phase of the hit Avengers franchise on the big screen. One such new entry was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a follow-up to 2011's much-loved The First Avenger that would focus on the titular comic storyline with Bucky Barnes' resurrection as a trained killer who sets his sights on Steve Rogers in present day America. We've now got a rough cast list of the main stars of The Winter Soldier, with a few unexpected returnees from Avengers Assemble and some newcomers on there too:

  • Chris Evans- CAPTAIN AMERICA
  • Sebastian Stan- BUCKY BARNES
  • Frank Grillo- CROSSBONES
  • Anthony Mackie- THE FALCON
  • Samuel L Jackson- NICK FURY
  • Cobie Smaulders- MARIA HILL
  • Scarlett Johnasson- BLACK WIDOW
It's great to see that SHIELD's most iconic agents will be back on duty to aid the Cap this time around, especially as we'll be nearing closer to Avengers 2 and thus the hints at what's to come should be thick and fast by that point! Captain America: The Winter Soldier blasts into cinemas on April 4th, 2014. For those interested, here's a quick recap of key upcoming dates for superhero films...
APRIL 26TH- Iron Man 3
JUNE 14TH- Man Of Steel
JULY 26TH- The Wolverine
NOVEMBER 8TH- Thor: The Dark World
APRIL 4TH- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
MAY 2ND- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
JULY 18TH- X-Men: Days Of Future Past
AUGUST 1ST- Guardians Of The Galaxy
MAY- The Avengers 2
TBA- Justice League

Monday, 29 October 2012

New Nativity 2 Trailer Unveiled

Danger will brew In The Manger this Christmas!
It's hard for British film fans to deny that the original Nativity! proved something of a festive treat when it landed in cinemas back in 2009, so the appearance of a sequel is by no means an unpleasant surprise. Titled Danger In The Manger, the second instalment in the series casts David Tennant as its new teacher protagonist, with stars such as Marc Wooton, Jason Watkins and Pam Bevans returning this time around and Brit cult greats including Joanna Page, Jessica Hynes and Ian McNeice tagging along for the snow-bound ride. We've got the first trailer for the festive romp below, and sufficed to say it's looking like nothing less than a fun and oft-hilarious journey once again. Nativity! 2: Danger In The Manger jingles into cinemas everywhere across the United Kingdom (and exclusively here!) on November 23rd.

Marvel News: Wolverine Poster & Details Released

Find out where the new X-Men movie fits into the series' timeline!
As well as releasing the great stylistic new promotional poster for their new X-Men movie The Wolverine, producers 20th Century Fox have begun to unveil new details on their upcoming superhero thriller movie. Chatting with Empire on the matter of where the latest entry in the mutant saga sits in its franchise's continuity, director James Mangold was surprisingly forthcoming about the placement of the storyline in the overall lore. "Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all," the director says, "Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded and gone, so there's a tremendous sense of isolation for him." It's intriguing to think that the rumoured sequel to 2009's duff prequel is in fact a follow-up that takes place after X-Men, X2: United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class, but with any luck that should help things feel rather fresh and unique in comparison to the recent prequel effort. Expect a full new trailer for the anticipated flick in the next few weeks online. The Wolverine claws its way into cinemas on July 26th, 2013.

WC- Merlin: Arthur's Sorrow Review

Get a full verdict on Merlin's latest epic adventure...
Over at WhatCulture, my reviews of Merlin's latest episodes will continue week by week. This time around it's the turn of Another's Sorrow to go under the radar, yet unfortunately the fifth season is continuing to take a steady decline in quality as we get another rehashed Morgana revenge plot to contend with. Princess Mithian gets a nice reprisal, but other than that there really isn't much to be pleased about here. You can catch the full review right here at this link: http://whatculture.com/tv/merlin-anothers-sorrow-review.php

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Coming Up This Week: October 29th-November 4th

The final instalment in Desmond's Assassin's Creed saga arrives, plus Wizards VS Aliens kicks off and Need For Speed returns!
The busiest period in entertainment for the entirety of 2012 is most certainly in full swing, with big new releases hitting steady and fast each and every week from now on. Indeed, the next seven days are no different in this respect, containing within them both some of the year's most anticipated releases and yet also some more subtle potential sleeper hits. Here's a round-up of everything you can expect to see before Sunday rolls around...
WIZARDS VS ALIENS: DAWN OF THE NEKROSS- After the tragic passing of Elisabeth Sladen, the Sarah Jane Adventures production team were left wondering where to go next. Thankfully, it turns out that Russell T Davies knew what to do, drafting in CGI and writing teams for Wizards VS Aliens, a brand new CBBC fantasy/science-fiction drama. That show debuts this week with Dawn Of The Nekross, the first of six two-part stories airing on a dual basis and looking pretty ace. (Monday 29th, Tuesday 30th)
ASSASSIN'S CREED III- It's really here- the final instalment in the 2007-2012 trilogy of Assassin's Creed lands in stores this week. Playing as Desmond in modern day America and Native Assassin Connor in the country's Revolution, you'll work to discover the final secrets of the First Civilisation before an all-consuming Apocalypse dawns on the planet Earth...Expect nothing less than a surefire Game Of The Year contender right here! (Wednesday 31st)
NEED FOR SPEED: MOST WANTED- Criterion Games are back in action, fresh off huge success with Hot Pursuit and another big stab at the Need For Speed franchise. By remaking the series' most popular entry, this esteemed developer will no doubt acquire even greater acclaim, especially with a revamped version of the monumental Autolog online challenge system. (Friday 2nd)
MERLIN: THE DISRI- After last week's Morgana attack, we're back to a standalone storyline in Merlin, as King Arthur rattles three mystic beings who reign an age of terror upon Camelot. We're told that our warlock hero must pay the ultimate price to save his friend, but could that warrant a revelation of his magic or something even worse...? (Saturday 3rd)
AND THERE'S MORE- The London 2012 Olympic Games bundle of the Opening Ceremony, Closing Ceremony and Sports Highlights arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow from BBC Worldwide along with the first five episodes of the new run of Doctor Who compiled into a Series 7 Part 1 boxset. On top of those releases, Professor Layton & The Miracle Mask comes to 3DS on Friday and Two & A Half Men continues with a BIG twist tomorrow!
ON THE BLOG- Prepare for tonnes of big review verdicts this week, including Elementary's pilot episode, Assassin's Creed III, Borderlands 2, Merlin: The Disri, Arrow's second episode and the WORLD EXCLUSIVE take on Merlin: The Game right here. In addition, we'll have more on Grand Theft Auto V, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and plenty more in days to come.
AND NEXT WEEK...Prepare for the ultimate battle as Halo 4 kicks off the Xbox 360-exclusive Reclaimer Trilogy from 343 Industries next week, with a full reveal for Grand Theft Auto V on its way too, as well as Wizards VS Aliens: Gryzlak Attacks and an epic race to free Gwen from Morgana's Dark Tower in Merlin!

Dishonored Review

The final verdict on one of 2012's biggest and best video games yet!
Bethesda sure have a helluva reputation, having provided us with the award-winning The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (10/10) last year, but many of us remained rather uncertain when the developers announced their step back to let co-dev Arkane Studios helm one of their new projects, Dishonored. It is with a heavy sigh of relief, then, that I can turn around and confirm that we needn't have been worried- if anything, this masterful role-playing experience is an even more tightly refined and consistent affair than its massive fantasy predecessor!

Dishonored's tale is set around a protector of an Empress for the mysterious kingdom of Dunwall, the former of whom is framed for the latter's murder at the hands of masked conspirators. It's a quick and accessible premise that leads into a whole world of gameplay styles, whereby the player can choose to play the game either stealthily, ruthlessly or mix up those two vastly contrasting styles. Naturally, achievements, trophies and multiple endings are available for those who choose to play the game through several times, but it truly feels that you're able to craft your own play and as a result the consequences of your actions and intentions shape how things end up come the game's possible conclusions.

Dunwall is undoubtedly a sight to behold, mirroring BioShock's Rapture, Gears' Sera, GTA's Liberty City, the Arkham game worlds and even Bethesda's own 2011 beauty for depth and immersion on the player's part. You'll find yourself effortlessly drawn into the land, its inhabitants and the events that have brought the kingdom to the state which you find it in upon your arrival in the opening sequence. This provides a totally empathetic reasoning for you to pursue the emotive quest which you're handed, and thus indeed to approach it in the manner that reflects your reactions to those characters who live within the story. Just as Irrational are moving elsewhere with BioShock Infinite for fear of dampening Rapture's legacy, so too does it feel as if this brief yet inspired glance into Dunwall's walls is the perfect experience in terms of the amount of time there, rife for further exploration within this solitary instalment yet perhaps a land that's best left untouched in sequels and spin-offs. Who knows? Either way, Dunwall is truly a technological marvel.

Thankfully, the gameplay engine more than lives up to the immersive world and Dishonored's stunning narrative. Here we get some of the best shooting and sword-play mechances ever to feature in a video game, the latter form of combat in particular surprisingly capable of apeing recent swashbuckling hits like Pirates Of The Carribbean in its execution. Additionally, the scope of gameplay styles and choices remains massive throughout, with powers such as Blink and Possession providing completely different routes through the nine huge 'worlds' (missions) in which you carry out your assassinations, and indeed the moral ambiguity of the script ensuring that you won't even have to kill your targets or come into contact with them to dispose of them. To explain how this system works would be to spoil the pleasurable surprise, but sufficed to say that there are entire side mission arcs which can be missed but ultimately prove crucial to your immersion into the world and thus your overall enjoyment of the piece.

I never expected Dishonored to be a game which ranked very highly in my list of 2012 video games, and yet surprisingly, it's likely to end up right near the very top! Dishonored is a groundbreaking role-playing experience that beckons the way for the next-generation of storytelling and gameplay freedom, raising a finger to the Call Of Dutys of this day and age that believe they can get away with the same cookie-cutter tactics year in, year out. The general consensus on these lazy efforts based on Arkane's latest offspring? If things keep going the way they are, COD and its derivatives may soon be a thing of the past.

Skyfall Review

Bond Is Back in one of the greatest films of 2012!
Getting a James Bond film right is no easy task. Want evidence? You only need to look at how recent poorly received entries like Die Another Day and the underrated Quantum Of Solace (4/5) to see how things can go wrong in the eyes of fans, and with the latter being the most recent instalment despite having released four years back, expectations were rightly high for Skyfall to pick up the shaken but unstirred gauntlet for a smashing 50th Anniversary. Here's the question we're here for, then- does Daniel Craig's third film as Agent 007 accomplish its task?

The answer is as simple as I might have hoped: Yes, Yes and Yes. Quite frankly, it's hard to see how you can make a Bond film much better than Skyfall, a stunning and innovative piece of cinema that completely plays on fans' expectations and in this viewer's eyes even goes so far as to outright top 2006's best film, the great Craig opener Casino Royale (5/5). It opens with a typical Bond chase sequence, yet immediately you'll see twists on the normal apparent here, especially with the gripping cliffhanger that leads into a beautiful title sequence backed by Adele. More and more as the film progresses through its beefy yet justified 140 minute running time, fans of MGM's saga of adaptations of Ian Fleming's classic franchise will notice how much this flick attempts to and succeeds in deviating massively from the status quo, branching off onto tangents that few would ever have thought even feasible for such a once-predictable series.

Truly, Skyfall's core strength lies in its cast and direction- Craig's Bond at first seems more restrained and obedient than his Casino self, yet the moment the aforementioned title cliffhanger kicks in really does change everything for his character- it commences an emotional journey for the character like never before, culminating in a beautiful ending tinged with both melancholy and nostalgia. The way this film bows out will perhaps divide the masses, but for the most part it's a dignified narrative success, carrying true depth and emotional resonance to an alarming extent. There's a real sense of justice done to this iconic British staplemate here, whereby not only are there nods to the past (both in terms of gadgets and the crux of the plot), but elements of past flicks come and go as if to fully push Bond on and prove that 'old dogs can learn new tricks'. You'll read that quotation a lot in reviews, but rightly so, because it really does go to summarise the mastery with which the storyline has been handled.

Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw and Javier Bardem all in particular give equally impressive performances too. Better yet, Sam Mendes is by far the perfect director for modern Bond, lending a bizarre sense of Britishness to a flick so steeped in riffs of the American action greats, and by far providing some of the most dazzling and noteworthy shots of the franchise yet while shooting abroad. If we get Mendes back for the rumoured two-film arc that's beginning production next year, we can at least guarantee the following instalments will be treats on the eyes at the very least.

If ever there was any doubt in your mind as there was in mine as to the likeliehood of Skyfall's recovery from Quantum's failures, then lay those fears to rest right now. Skyfall is without question one of the best films on offer for your viewing pleasure this year, a tour de force in what modern James Bond films should represent and how most efficiently to carry out on one's promises. Truly, you'll be hard pressed to name a Bond flick which completely betters this one once you've had the absolute pleasure of watching it, and if you don't indulge that pleasure then you may just find yourself that less shaken come the end of 2012's offerings from the film industry.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted WiiU Announced

This year's biggest multi-platform racer heads to next-gen in 2013...
Playground Games have already played their racing video game hand for 2012 with the release of Forza Horizon this past week (our review of which will land closer to Christmas), and of course Activision have their much anticipated open-worlder Need For Speed: Most Wanted to contend with in the next couple of weeks. The publisher has this week announced that it is expanding the experience of Most Wanted to the next-generation, with a release for the Nintendo WiiU console confirmed. "Nintendo fans will be able to experience what it means to be Most Wanted amongst their friends on the WiiU," or so the press release goes, with rumours of social features and multi-player exclusive to the hardware now not seeming so unprecedented. Expect more details on this ported version to arrive shortly after the 360, PS3, PC, Vita, iOS and Android release. Need For Speed: Most Wanted hits those consoles on November 2nd, while the WiiU version will head to retail in Spring 2013.

Who News: New Series 7.2/CIN Details Unleashed

Find out more on the 2013 run and Children In Need 2012's offerings...
We've still got a month and three weeks until Doctor Who returns to our screens proper for its annual Christmas Special, but the production and marketing teams are at least keeping us posted on impending proceedings. This week, news on what we'll see from Who at the Children In Need live show and indeed what the future holds for the series has been unveiled at the London Comic Con. Without further ado, then, let's find out what's coming up...
  • CHILDREN IN NEED- The BBC have this week confirmed that Doctor Who will once again have a presence at this year's annual Children In Need live show. This time around, there'll be a fully-fledged prequel to the Christmas Special starring both Matt as the Doctor and his new companion played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. On top of that, we'll get an extended trailer for the special, so there's plenty to be excited about for fans!
  • EPISODE 7 TEASED- At the Comic Con convention, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith spoke about Steven Moffat's opener, letting us know that we can expect a "great monster" from Jenna-Louise's first regular episode after Episode 6 (the Christmas Special) and promising an absolute classic.
  • EPISODE 13 TEASED- Next up, talk moved onto Neil Gaiman's penultimate episode of the seventh season before the Moff's finale. Executive producer Caroline Skinner reckons it's looking stunning so far, with "some old classics" teased as returning to the show. Set rumours imply that the classic Cyber-Men may return to Who this time, so perhaps we should expect Gaiman to provide a new twist on the famous foe?
  • THE RETURNS- Matt and Caroline went on to confirm that River Song would return later on in Series Seven (probably the finale), and they also claimed they'd like to see the Ice Warriors and the Yeti back. This seems to imply that they're not back this season as previously rumoured, yet a Series Eight return probably isn't off the cards.
  • THE FALL- Asked whether the 'Fall Of The Eleventh' prophecised in The Wedding Of River Song will factor into the end of this season, Matt only went on to say that we can expect plenty more great adventures before that momentous event. My guess? The Moff's saving that big day for the 50th Anniversary, though the 'Fall' doesn't have to be that of the Doctor's life necessarily.
  • THE ANNIVERSARY- Finally, although Matt and Caroline couldn't spill the beans on what to expect come the end of 2013 in Doctor Who's anniversary run, they did let us know that "there are big plans, cool and exciting" on their way. Thrilling times!
Children In Need 2012 airs on Friday, November 16th and Doctor Who returns on Christmas Day.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Dishonored DLC Packs Detailed

Where will the land of Dunwall take us next?
I'll be publishing my review of Dishonored here at On-Screen very soon, but sufficed to say that for now I can tell you it is a strong new contender for Game Of The Year 2012. It's an unexpected yet very pleasant surprise, and better yet we've now had it confirmed by Bethesda that several DLC offerings are on the way. These will start with Dunwall City Trials, essentially a challenge map pack that allows players to hone their skills in the ultimate stealth and combat scenarios, with two more unnamed packs confirmed to follow on 360, PS3 and PC networks later on. There's no word on pricing yet, but we do know that the second and third DLC offerings will be all new mini single-player campaigns for players to really indulge in, so look forward to those! Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials will be uploaded in December, with further DLC packs to come in early 2013.

An Idiot Abroad 3 Trailer Lands

Karl and Warwick Davis pair up this Christmas...
We've had two cracking seasons of An Idiot Abroad courtersy of Sky1 now since 2010, and we've got another hilarious run of the hit documentary show on the way later this year. Titled The Short Way Round, this new three-part special run will take Karl Pilkington on a bike ride across Europe with dwarf celebrity Warwick Davis in his basket to a host of exciting and varied locations. As per usual, you can expect Karl's trademark selection of oddity phrases to be employed throughout the show, along with jabs from Ricky Gervais on the phone and in person along the way. The first trailer for the new season has arrived; catch it below. An Idiot Abroad: The Short Way Round arrives on Sky1 in November.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

ME News: New Entry Teased; Movie Progresses

BioWare tease their next franchise moves, plus the Mass Effect film gains pace...
Since the release of Mass Effect 3 back in March, BioWare haven't been saying much on the days ahead for their science-fiction video game franchise. Thankfully, though, that's started to change as we near the end of the year. Maybe we'll hear about the next Mass Effect properly in 2013, but for now savour the juicy morsels that the head honchos have been willing to share with us!

  • NO SHEPHERD 2 FOR ME4- Speaking about the future of the Mass Effect franchise, BioWare's Montreal studio producer Fabrice Conominas had some interesting snippets for us. Here's what he had to say: "This universe is vast and very, very rich. So at this point in time, we don't even know what timeframe we're going to be in [for Mass Effect 4]. All we're doing is gathering more ideas from the teams, gathering feedback to see several things. So first, we don't want to make 'Shepherd 2' or 'you're a soldier in the universe'- this will be a very, very different context for sure and nothing has been decided on the rest."
  • LIGHTS, WRITER, ACTION- Meanwhile, just as the Assassin's Creed movie gained a producer earlier this week, so too is the Mass Effect film making progress. It's been confirmed that Morgan Davis Foehl- assistant editor on Adam Sandler comedy Click and writer of many other film greats- will help to edit the already-penned script of the flick. It'll be based on the original film, and odds are we'll see it released either in late 2014 or early 2015.
For all the latest Mass Effect updates, keep checking back at On-Screen...

New Grand Theft Auto V Art Unveiled

Get another look at 2013's most exciting open-world video game!
Rockstar Games' marketing campaign for Grand Theft Auto V has been gradually ramping up in scale these past few months, with ten screenshots for the big open-worlder released back in August and a cover story reveal from GameInformer confirmed for next month. Before that, though, we've got a brand new piece of animation-style art for the new instalment. Titled 'Pest Control', the image is hugely remniscent of the cartoon depictions of gritty situations that have often been displayed on GTA box art, so perhaps we can expect pics of this style to once again adorn the new entry's cover next year. Rockstar are promising us more details very soon, so keep an eye on On-Screen for all the big updates. Grand Theft Auto V launches on PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360 in Spring 2013.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Runtime Announced

How long will the first part of Peter Jackson's prequel trilogy be?
There's just over a month now until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey lands in cinemas, kicking off a blockbuster fantasy prequel trilogy of films to The Lord Of The Rings that could well attain Film Of The Year status if it's handled correctly. This first part follows Bilbo Baggins as he is recruited by Gandalf The Grey to aid a band of dwarves in reclaiming their treasure, encountering goblins, riddles and the menacing Gollum along the way. Today, Peter Jackson has confirmed the running time for An Unexpected Journey, revealing just how long we can expect to be sitting down in the cinemas come Christmastime. The announced timing is currently 160 minutes- that's 2 hours and 40 minutes, the same length as The Dark Knight Rises and just 10 minutes shorter than The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. Make no mistake, that's a hefty number for Part One alone, and with an Extended Edition of the flick confirmed for DVD and Blu-Ray release the next year we can bet that this and the others will move over three hours each. Let the true excitement begin! The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey travels into British theatres everywhere on December 14th.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hitman; Need For Speed Reviews Commence

Find out what the critics are saying on two big new game releases...
The Autumn Of Gaming is now in full flow, with dozens of new releases hitting every week, so it's a great idea to keep an eye on how the critics are recieving each title when we're trying to decide what to buy. Hitman Absolution and Need For Speed: Most Wanted are both among the more varied and diverse of new games out there, and now we've got the first reviews. Here's the round-up...
OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE (8/10)- "Most Wanted's only real flaw is that it doesn't do anything new, but that doesn't make Criterion's triumph a triumph of rearrangement- the studio has empowered players to do the arranging themselves."
OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE (9/10)- "Here Hitman has finally been perfected in what is probably a peak for the series so far. It takes the ideas that made the original games so great and presents them in a modern context of checkpoints, hints and forgiveness but without sacrificing any of the challenge or excitement of pulling off a beautifully planned hit!"
OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE (9/10)- "Everything about the world revolves around entertaining you, whether it's the wide scope of murder options or the amazing dialogue in between. Whatever kind of killer you decide to be, Absolution is an unmissable hit."
Need For Speed: Most Wanted launches on November 2nd and Hitman Absolution on the 20th, with my review of the latter set to hit shortly after release day.

Merlin Episode Five Synopsis Released

Arthur will deal with three devilish witches next week!
Fresh off another arc-heavy narrative for Merlin with Another's Sorrow this week, the BBC have revealed that the fifth instalment in the final season will focus on a more standalone addition of lore to the Arthurian legends. The as-of-yet untitled Episode Five will air a week on Saturday, and the synopsis for the new adventure reads as follows:

"In the inky depths of an ancient pool, three soothsayers cast a dark judgement upon the king of Camelot. But despite Merlin's warnings, headstrong Arthur refuses to take the words of the Disir seriously and their fury rains down on Camelot. Only the greatest sacrifice can appease them, and with the kingdom in jeaprody, is it one that Arthur is prepared to make? Faced with the King's uncertainty, Merlin has just one chance to save him from his destiny, but this decision comes at the highest price."

With all the terms of 'sacrifices' and 'prices' thrown around in the plot outline, fans may well begin to wonder if perhaps a big death in the regular cast or even a revelation regarding Merlin's secret is on its way. We'll find out for sure next week! Merlin continues this Saturday on BBC1.

First Iron Man 3 Trailer Lands

What will our metal-clad superhero get up to in his next solo flick?
After a host of image and video teasers such as the poster shown here, Marvel Studios have today released a full theatrical trailer for the new superhero movie Iron Man 3. Set after the events of the original Iron Man films and this year's Avengers Assemble, the third instalment sees Tony Stark's personal world brought to the brink of ruin by the Mandarin, forcing him to question the truth behind whether the man makes the suit or vice versa. Judging by the first trailer that you can see below, this is going to be something of a stunner to kick off the Summer Of Film next year, more than fit to compete with its successors such as Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hangover Part III, Scary Movie 5, The Great Gatsby, Man Of Steel, The Wolverine, Monsters University, Kick-Ass 2, Despicable Me 2, Grown Ups 2, 300: Rise Of An Empire, RED 2 and Percy Jackson: The Sea Of Monsters in 2013. Iron Man 3 powers up into cinemas everywhere on April 26th, 2013.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Assassin's Creed Movie Update Arrives

We know that the project is well and truly underway!
Earlier this year, Ubisoft's film studio branch were pleased to confirm that an Assassin's Creed movie project was in development with Michael Fassbender as its lead star. It turns out that wasn't the only step forward we'd get this year, as today it has been announced that New Regency Pictures will produce the flick, confirming that it is most definitely in the works. The intention right now is for shooting to commence next Summer once Fassbender is done with filming for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, although the time-scale of the narrative has yet to be revealed: could it be that the film focuses entirely on Altair or Ezio Auditore, or perhaps there'll be interweaving timelines with Fassbender playing both past and modern heroes? Whatever the outcome, it's an exciting project we'll be keeping our eyes on with eager anticipation. Assassin's Creed will likely debut in cinemas during 2014, but for now you can catch our Assassin's Creed III review coming up next week shortly after release day.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Gets Its Mary-Jane

Find out who'll be taking Kirsten Dunst's place in 2014!
It's safe to say that this year's superhero film reboot The Amazing Spider-Man was a surprise hit in the Summer Of Film- it might have not been the most original effort, but it packed a lot of heart and some great narrative surprises. Well, now we have casting details on the woman who'll rock Spidey's world in the final two entries of the announced trilogy: Mary-Jane Watson herself. Marvel Studios have confirmed that Shaliene Woodley will portray Peter Parker's most influential love interest, taking on the role after Kirsten Dunst's portrayal in the original 2002-2007 trilogy and indeed coming off the back of further teen angst in the flawed-but-decent The Descendants. No doubt that once filming gets started we'll find out if this means the Death Of Gwen Stacy storyline awaits Emma Stone's romantic rival character in the follow-up; either way, it'll be interesting to see how the Webbed Wonder's love life progresses next time around! The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swings into cinemas everywhere on May 2nd, 2014.

Paranormal Activity- The Future Revealed

ANOTHER sequel AND a spin-off are on the way...
Within just a few short days of Paranormal Activity 4's release in cinemas has come confirmation from its studio Paramount Pictures of where the franchise will head next. Yep, the story is by no means over in its fourth instalment, both with a fifth sequel and a spin-off movie heading our way. First up, Paranormal Activity 5 will continue the story from where this year's entry left off, with Katie's hauntings reaching their ultimate crescendo as her family of the possessed gathers to take full vengeance. It's sure to be another great horror romp for fans, but more intriguingly still there's a Spanish-Latino 'cousin' to the franchise coming too. Titled The Oxnord Files, the new instalment will focus more on the realm of witchcraft and sorcery, but you can be sure there will be some connections to the main instalments that link it all together. For now, we know for sure that Paranormal Activity 5 will appear in cinemas in October 2013.

Arrow: Pilot Review

Was the first episode of this spiritual Smallville successor a bullseye?
Following up on the hit Superman adaptation Smallville with a new superhero drama was always going to be a challenge for The CW, yet tonight on Sky1 with the opening episode of Arrow its writers have proven this new show means business. Taking place in the aftermath of the Green Arrow's alter-ego Oliver Queen's five-year shipwreck on a mysterious island, Pilot focused on the return of Queen to Starling City and his hunt for the first of a list of key targets as a gritty Guardian Angel. While this premise could easily have been predictable, Arrow made great use of its key stars while throwing in old faces from Smallville and other realms of acting along the way.

The actual plot of Queen's hunt for the menacing Adam Hunt was a little obvious in its execution, yet the Dark Knight-esque realistic vibe the production team were so clearly going for seems to have worked pretty well. Stephen Amell looks to be a likeable enough protagonist, even if his varying hairstyles are a little hard to keep up with. Better yet, the opening episode employed some sets from straight out of its spiritual predecessor, and while Smallville fans will undoubtedly see the Metropolis-Starling continuity, it's at least a nice touch. On the whole, Arrow: Pilot set up an intriguing narrative arc for its lead character that could be interesting to watch develop and thus made for a thoroughly enjoyable watch. Here's hoping the rest of this first season keeps up the good work!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Coming Up This Week: October 22nd-28th

Bond Hits 50, Forza & Medal Of Honor Blast In, Iron Man Returns And Two New Exciting Shows Arrive This Week!
As I mentioned earlier this week, the coming seven days kick off a thrilling period of entertainment whereby things don't calm down now until well after Christmas. As such, you can expect a flurry of big and exciting releases every week starting with this one, as franchises both old and new make their returns and/or debuts on the big and small screens in what promises to be an epic week for entertainment. Here, then, is the full round-up of what's ahead in the final week of October (and where has the month gone...?):
ARROW- It's barely been a year since The CW's hit superhero teen drama Smallville concluded the young adventures of the Man Of Steel, yet now we've got a fresh take on one of Superman's closest allies. The Green Arrow has always been something of a B-List DC Comics character, but all the same Sky1's Arrow definitely seems to provide an innovative reprisal for the character that gives him a Nolan-esque edge that may even one day rival Batman Begins and its successors for quality! (Monday 22nd)
IRON MAN 3 TRAILER- We've had synopses for both Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World in the past fortnight, but now we've got something even more exciting coming up: a trailer for the former superhero flick! We'll get our first proper look at Robert Downey Jr's next adventure as Tony Stark's personal world is destroyed all around him...(Tuesday 23rd)
ELEMENTARY- Sky Living have their hands on the American version of the BBC's hit modern Sherlock. Dubbed Elementary, the new series casts Jonny Lee Miller as Arthur Conan Doyle's heroic detective and Lucy Liu as a female Watson, but can the show hold the same mettle as its inspiration? We'll find out on Tuesday. (Tuesday 23rd)
SKYFALL- Bond Is Back. That not enough for you? Well then, with Skyfall we've got the full package, as Adele provides the theme tune, Judi Dench gets the chance to really shine as M, Javier Bardem gives us a thrilling and captivating new villain for Agent 007 to best, Ben Wishaw making his debut as Q and best of all Daniel Craig making another successful return as the head of the franchise. Prepare for what could be a Film Of The Year contender! (Friday 26th)
FORZA HORIZON- Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games have been waiting for a while to unveil their full spin-off to the Forza racing game franchise, and sufficed to say that it doesn't look like Horizon will disappoint. From a fully plot-driven campaign to high-octane races against fighter planes, this deviation from the main series looks to be a project that's entirely in good health, rife for further DLC and future sequels. (Friday 26th)
MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER- Before Activison have their chance to make Call Of Duty the biggest FPS name on the planet once again, EA are rolling out their own shooter contender to make an impact early on. Medal Of Honor: Warfighter isn't likely to break much new ground over Battlefield 3, but as far as blockbuster movie-esque worldwide experiences go, until November 13th it isn't looking like it's going to be much better. (Friday 26th)
MERLIN: ANOTHER'S SORROW- As sure as day turns to night, so too must Morgana return to Camelot. With the hauntings of Uther over and done with, King Arthur and his loyal warlock must now face the ultimate deception as Princess Mithian is used as a ploy for a new invasion. Can Merlin see through the lies and stop his oldest foe? And what role will Mordred have to play in the deadly games...? (Saturday 27th)
AND THERE'S MORE- The final season of House, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, What To Expect When You're Expecting and Dynamo: Magician Impossible Series Two are all headed to DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow, plus Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition hits games retailers everywhere from Friday and Two & A Half Men and Threesome continue their TV reigns on Comedy Central tomorrow.
ON THE BLOG- We've got a WORLD EXCLUSIVE article on its way, plus a host of exciting news and reviews coming your way too very soon with Skyfall rated and the Autumn Of Gaming kicking into full flow!
AND NEXT WEEK...Assassin's Creed III finally arrives in stores, Criterion Games bounce back with Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Russell T Davies brings back children's primetime drama with Wizards VS Aliens and Queen Guienneviere faces the darkest of emotional challenges at the hands of Morgana in Merlin: The Blood Reign. Yep, it's another very busy week of entertainment, and things don't get any quieter from here on out!

WC- Merlin: The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon Review

Another week, another mediocre entry in the fantasy drama...
As per usual, I'm bringing you a full review of the latest episode of Merlin over at WhatCulture. This week, it's The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon that's going under the radar, and sadly the news isn't nearly as good as I might have hoped. While Bradley James, Colin Morgan and Anthony Head give some of their best performances on the show yet, the third instalment of the fifth season is ridden with horror film cliches that lag its narrative with dull repetition and a total lack of originality. Death Song turns out, then, to be an average episode at best. Here's the review: http://whatculture.com/tv/merlin-the-death-song-of-uther-pendragon-review.php

New BioShock Infinite Trailer Unveiled

Our first glimpse in ages at one of the most exciting games of 2013!
2K Games and Irrational Games have today revealed a brand new trailer for BioShock Infinite, a game that's been in the shadows while E3 and Gamescom have boomed on yet that looks all the better for it. Indeed, Infinite remains one of my most anticipated games of 2013 off the back of the superb original and its weaker-but-thrilling 2010 sequel, so it's great to see the game fully in action for a juicy 90 seconds of footage. There's a Songbird edition with DLC and Concept Art aplenty for those truly hardened fans, but either way this is looking like a must-have experience. BioShock Infinite hits stores on February 26th, 2013.

Marvel News: Fox; X-Men & Deadpool's Future

Stan Lee's finest provide us with updates on the days ahead for Marvel's film studios!
What with Avengers Phase Two and plenty of other projects already in the works at Marvel Studios, you'd forgive their marketing team for staying focused on the present day situation rather than the releases that could follow. It turns out that's not the case, though: already, they're talking about what's to come in the years ahead! Here's a strong roundup of what's been said recently to whet your appetite until the Iron Man 3 trailer heading our way on Tuesday...

  • 20TH CENTURY FUTURE- Mark Millar has now joined Marvel Studios' 20th Century Fox branch, and he's quickly been stating his intentions for their upcoming flicks. "Fox have said they want to build a cohesive universe," he says, "And I'd personally like this to work in complement with the Marvel one. It would be cool if those universes didn't contradict other so if you want to see Spidey, The Avengers, X-Men etc. as a viewer you would have no idea that all three are coming from different studios." It's an exciting idea, and one I'm sure Marvel, Fox and Sony have all debated in the past, so here's to there being better developments while Millar sticks around.
  • X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE THRILLS- On another note, Millar has also been chatting with SFX Magazine about the future of the X-Men franchise under Matthew Vaughn. Chatting on the 2014 First Class sequel- Days Of Future Past- Millar had the following to say: "Vaughn is going for a big sci-fi style thing- it's X-Men meets The Terminator. You've got robots, you've got time travel, you've got superheroes- it's everything in one film!" Sounds good to us...
  • DORMANT BUT DEAD-LY- After the failure of X-Men Origins: Wolverine's take on Ryan Renyolds' Deadpool, most fans of the character thought the odds of a big-screen follow-up for him were now pretty slim. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. The proposed director of the Deadpool film (Tim Miller) has had this to say on the project: "We've turned in an amazing script and done some early tests and visual development that I'm confident will get the fans stoked. And Ryan still loves the project. So it's really up to Fox as to whether or not the film happens- all I can do is hope that it will move ahead." The likelihood of the project commencing probably depends on whether the next two X-Men films (including next Summer's The Wolverine) fare well, yet perhaps it could happen...we'll see.
For now, Fox's confirmed Marvel projects are as follows: The Wolverine (out July 26th, 2013) and X-Men: Days Of Future Past (July 18th, 2014).

New Being Human Series Five Details Released

BBC3's top fantasy drama is returning in a few months' time...
The BBC Press Team for BBC3 fantasy television series Being Human has issued a few exciting new details on its upcoming fifth season. Courtesy of showrunner Toby Whithouse, we've now discovered a few more intriguing morsels regarding the aftermath of Annie's final sacrifice to destroy the Old Ones, and sufficed to say that the dark message that 'He Will Rise' left with us earlier this year will have big ramifications later on. Here's a quick news roundup:

  • ON PHIL DAVIS' ANTAGONIST: "He's in all six episodes. Yes, and it's more complicated than that. I can't tell you how happy I was when we got Phil. I was writing the first draft of the finale, which is a colossal episode for the character, and I was struggling to find the character's voice; something about it wasn't clicking. Then I thought, 'Oh, y'know who'd be brilliant for this part? Phil Davis.' Suddenly, writing that character became infinitely easier. And he's just brilliant- he's so gloriously horrible in the role!"
  • ON THE OLD ONES' FATE- "We're moving onto pastures new. In the series opener there's a scene that puts a full stop on the Old Ones, and we move on to much bigger and greater threats."
Expect plenty more plot hints as we move closer to the drama's full return! Being Human recommences broadcasting on BBC3 in February 2013.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Halo 4, Assassin's Creed III Launch Trailers Debut

Are you ready for two of 2012's most exciting video games yet?
The Autumn Of Gaming is in full swing now, with FIFA 13, Borderlands 2, Dishonored, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Fable: The Journey, Skylanders Giants and 007 Legends all having now released in stores. The most exciting part, though? They're all just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with the biggies of Assassin's Creed III and Halo 4 now literally just around the corner. We've got the definitive launch trailers for both titles courtersy of Ubisoft and Microsoft respectively today, and it's safe to say that they'll more than whet your appetites for them once you check 'em out below. Assassin's Creed III ships on 360 and PS3 on October 31st (and WiiU on November 30th), while Halo 4 lands exclusively on the 360 on November 6th.

Iron Man 3 Plot Synopsis Released

Our first details on the premiere Avengers Phase Two movie arrive!
Fresh off last week's synopsis for Thor: The Dark World and ahead of its trailer's arrival next week, Marvel Studios have today released the first narrative synopsis for the upcoming superhero sequel Iron Man 3. With Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle back on board and both Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce joining the cast for this new instalment, our excitement levels for this project were always going to be high anyway, but this first set of details on the film's storyline just raise the bar even higher for our anticipation!

The synopsis reads as follows: "Marvel Studios' Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?"

Between Thor's needing to protect the Nine Realms and Stark's 'surviv[ing] by his own devices' in their respective solo sequels, it certainly seems that Marvel is carrying out on their goal of viewers being unable to simply ask why the Avengers don't show up to help, giving each individual character a personal or universal challenge which only they and they alone can deal with! The trailer for this one hits next Monday. Iron Man 3 lands in cinemas on April 24th, 2013.

Merlin Episode Four Synopsis Unveiled

Morgana returns to wreak havoc as Merlin continues next week!
If there was any doubting that this season wouldn't be arc-heavy every week, then the release of a plot synopsis for the fourth episode of Merlin, The Blood Reign, should lay it to rest. Kate McGrath's Morgana doesn't look to have an appearance in Episode Three, so fans of her character will no doubt be pleased to see that she's back in full force to wreak havoc in the kingdom of Camelot once more.

Here's the synopsis for the episode: "With Princess Mithian (Janet Montgomery) as the perfect bait, Morgana conjures a deception so powerful that the whole of Camelot is taken in- even Merlin himself. But as the storm clouds gather, will the young warlock see through the lies? Or will Morgana at long last fulfill her dreams of revenge?"

Although at first the answers to those last two questions appear relatively straightforward, if anything we should know from the events of Arthur's Bane not to trust our instincts on the show this time around. Merlin continues tomorrow on BBC1 at 8.05pm, while The Blood Reign airs next week.

Who News: Series Seven Part 2 Line-Up Confirmed

With the first five episodes having aired, the Doctor Who production team looks ahead to its 50th Anniversary year...
No sooner have we finished watching the spectacular first part of Doctor Who Series Seven, having seen off the Ponds from the show, than DWM have begun revealing full details of what awaits us in the series' remainder after the mandatory Christmas Special later this year. When Who returns next Spring, it will be with new companion Clara Oswin (Jenna-Louise Coleman) fully in tow, no doubt with a strange mystery of an arc waiting to be unlocked given Jenna-Louise's earlier appearance in Episode One of the season! So, just what can we expect from the eight new episodes? Well, all of that's still to come, but for now here's the confirmed line-up:

EPISODE 7- Writer: Steven Moffat; Director: Colin McCarthy (Filming)
EPISODE 8- Writer: Neil Cross; Director: Farren Blackburn (Upcoming)
EPISODE 9- Writer: Mark Gatiss; Director: Douglas McKinnon (Filmed)
EPISODE 10- Writer: Neil Cross; Director: Jamie Payne (Filmed)
EPISODE 11- Writer: Stephen Thompson; Director: Matt King (Filmed)
EPISODE 12- Writer: Mark Gatiss; Director: Saul Metskein (Filmed)
EPISODE 13- Writer: Neil Gaiman; Director: Stephen Wolfedon (Upcoming)
EPISODE 14- Writer: Steven Moffat; Director: TBA (Upcoming)

For those interested, Steven Moffat of course returns for the mid-season opener and the series finale, while Neil Cross is new to Who but comes from the writing talent of Luther. In addition, Mark Gatiss returns off the back of The Unquiet Dead, The Idiot's Lantern, Victory Of The Daleks and Night Terrors, Stephen Thompson from The Curse Of The Black Spot and esteemed sci-fi author Neil Gaiman after the hugely successful The Doctor's Wife. It's undoubtedly a very strong team that the Moff's composed here, then, and here's hoping they can send off Series Seven with a bang!

Before that, of course, we've got the unnamed Christmas Special from Steven too, and afterwards...? We'll definitely get more Who later next year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, and expect plenty more live events, classic broadcasts and much more on the way. Doctor Who returns this Christmas and in Spring 2013.

First Transformers 4 Details Unleashed

Where will Michael Bay's megamoth CGI franchise head next? The first details, right here.
Hot off the press of a conference held by Paramount Pictures to mark a filmic milestone, we've got strongly reported first details on the fourth instalment of the Transformers movie franchise. It seems that along with a cast of virtually all-new robot characters who are seperate from the original trilogy's CGI 'bots, we'll once again have two human protagonists. This time, though, it appears that the lead role may take the form of "a new female lead of a high school senior" with a "Texas racing driver" for a boyfriend. Certainly, this approach by director and producer Michael Bay would definitely fit with his idea of this new sequel proving a big shake-up and mini-reboot of the series, but we'll have to see how this story develops in full in the months ahead. Transformers 4 is due in theatres everywhere on June 27th, 2014.

Kick-Ass 2 Plot Synopsis Emerges

Find out just what to expect from the daring superhero sequel next Summer!
As hard as it might be to remember, amongst Iron Man 3, Man Of Steel, The Wolverine and Thor: The Dark World next year, there's another superhero movie heading our way: Kick-Ass 2. With the original hit having proved to be one of the best films of 2010, don't be surprised if Universal Pictures have another absolute winner on their hands here. We've now got the full synopsis for the follow-up to Kick-Ass with initial details on the plot.

It reads as follows: "After Kick-Ass' (Aaron Johnson) inspired bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amaeturs are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) can prevent their anhiliation. Red Mist assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there's one problem with his scheme: if you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all!"

We'll likely get the first proper images and trailer for this one nearer to its release, but for now it's intriguing and exciting stuff all the same. Kick-Ass 2 bursts into cinemas on June 28th, 2013.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified Dated

Discover when the portable Black Ops lands in stores!
E3 2012 saw the announcement of Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified exclusively for PlayStation Vita, while today Activision has taken things one step further and confirmed the spin-off's release date. Set between the original Black Ops and its sequel's narrative, Declassified focuses on bite-sized action missions rather than a fully-fledged storyline, so whether it will work quite as well as its COD portable predecessors remains to be seen. Either way, at least Black Ops II is looking ace on consoles! Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified hits PSVita retailers everywhere on November 13th.

Elysium And RoboCop Delayed

Paramount Pictures confirm two filmic setbacks...
Hot on the heels of a big press conference where they unveiled more on Transformers 4 (we'll hear more soon) and upcoming projects, Paramount Pictures have confirmed today that two of their upcoming releases have suffered delays. The first, Elysium, touches on a post-apocalyptic Earth and stars Matt Damon in the lead role, while the latter RoboCop is a remake of the 1987 Peter Weller classic version about a futuristic cop who'll go to any lengths to get justice. The new release dates are as such: Elysium will be with us on August 9th, 2013 and RoboCop on February 7th, 2014.

First Carrie Trailer Arrives

Get your first look at 2013's biggest horror (remake)!
The production of the new horror movie remake Carrie has gathered full steam now, with a teaser trailer for the film having now arrived on the internet. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz in the titular role, the flick focuses on a teenage outcast whose obsession to be popular at prom drives her to the darkest of destinies. This narrative proved a hit in Stephen King's original novel and indeed in the classic film adaptation, so there's no reason why it can't do that again with Moretz on board (who'll be pretty busy, with Kick-Ass 2 coming that same Summer). You can check out the teaser trailer below and get your first glimpse at the scares that await! Carrie burns its mark on cinemas everywhere on March 15th, 2013.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Will The Fable Franchise Meet Its End?

Does an unspectacular new debut herald the beginning of the end for Molyneux's franchise?
UK Games Charts listings released today for the past week of October 8th-14th have shown that the tide for Brit-developed Xbox 360 Kinect exclusive Fable: The Journey is not in its favour. Whereas Peter Molyneux's well-regarded Fable II and Fable III both debuted in first place in their opening weeks in 2008 and 2010 respectively, Journey has reached merely thirty-seventh place in its first week of sales.

Now, were it to have been released a little later in the game for 2012, facing direct competition in weeks to come such as the releases of Assassin's Creed III, Halo 4 or Hitman Absolution as has been the case for many past Lionhead efforts, this result might have been foreseeable. That the only other main releases were cult hits Dishonored (which really is worth your time, I can already confirm) and X-COM: Enemy Unknown last week really doesn't speak in the game's favour either, especially when you consider that this was essentially meant to be the title which proved Kinect a worthy addition to the 360 brand. Right now, we're merely sitting on Kinect Sports as the only true utilisation of the product, and from what I've seen of the new Fable nothing has changed in that regard.

It would certainly be a shame for Microsoft to have to cann what's been a remarkably successful fantasy franchise so far, yet with Halo, Forza and Gears Of War still all retaining their consistent quality year in, year out and in these harsh economic times it's challenging to see what the other option would be. This is just opinion-based speculation on my part, but I'll keep you posted on the situation as it develops...

Ant-Man Gets A Release Date

Find out when Avengers Phase Three kicks off!
Marvel Studios have today confirmed the release date for their upcoming film project Ant-Man. Helmed by Edgar Wright of Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz fame, the latest superhero instalment in the Avengers movie franchise is set for release after the second team-up ensemble, leaving many fans to wonder if its titular character's alter-ego Hank Pym will either be fully introduced in Avengers 2 or have a cameo in the Phase Two line-up. Either way, the announcement today virtually confirms that a third phase of flicks based on the Earth's Mightiest Heroes is coming, which is good news indeed! On top of that, the 3D reign of Marvel will continue, with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World both confirmed to use the format next year. Ant-Man crawls into cinemas on November 6th, 2015.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Coming Up This Week: October 15th-21st

Uther Pendragon and BioShock Infinite return this week!
Good news, everyone- the blitz is coming. What do I mean by that? Well, after this final week of relative quiet, there's literally a big release of some sort coming for the entertainment industry every week between now and Christmas! Skyfall, Forza Horizon, Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, Arrow, Elementary, the Iron Man 3 trailer, Assassin's Creed III, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Halo 4, Call Of Duty: Black Ops II, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Hitman: Absolution, Life Of Pi, The Muppets Christmas Carol, the WiiU, New Super Mario Bros U, ZombiU, Far Cry 3, LEGO The Lord Of The Rings, Merlin, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Nativity 2, Outnumbered and of course Doctor Who are all headed our way in the next ten weeks or so, so these last seven days of quietness should be pretty tolerable. All the same, there are still some releases here, so let's round them up...
007 LEGENDS- Bond is back...but not as you expect him quite yet! Just before Skyfall hits cinemas, Activision are bringing us a tie-in video game that draws together modern adaptations of Moonraker, On His Majesty's Secret Service, The World Is Not Enough, Goldfinger and Die Another Day for a blistering retrospective starring Daniel Craig that's sure to leave fans of the fifty-year old series more than shaken and stirred. (Tuesday 16th)
MERLIN: THE DEATH SONG OF UTHER PENDRAGON- Yep, the previous King of Camelot is back to see what his son's been up to in the third instalment of Merlin Series Five. When Arthur is given the power to summon the dead, he knows exactly who to turn to, but when the spirit world unleashes its darkest remnants upon his kingdom, Merlin must race against time to send Uther back from whence he came-no matter what the emotional spillage he causes his greatest friend...(Saturday 20th)
BIOSHOCK INFINITE RETURNS- Irrational Games have spent two months in the dark from E3 and Gamescom in the hope of perfecting their big new project BioShock: Infinite, and now we're about to see the full fruit of their labour. A new trailer for the finished game will land this week, no doubt packing a full release date and some beautiful vistas and setpieces to behold! (Sunday 21st)
AND THERE'S MORE- You can catch Johnny Depp's new fantasy comedy Dark Shadows on DVD and Blu-Ray from tomorrow along with a lenticular Blu-Ray edition of Avatar, plus Game Of Thrones' Sky1 re-run, Two & A Half Men, Anger Management and Trollied all continue their runs on their respective channels over the course of the week.
ON THE BLOG- We'll be providing you with the full reviews of The Casual Vacancy and Merlin: The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon as well as all the latest news coverage and a big new WORLD EXCLUSIVE to boot!
AND NEXT WEEK...Bond is really back along with Adele in Skyfall, while Playground Games rev up their gears with Forza Horizon, EA get ready to face off against Call Of Duty with Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, Merlin enters the Trials Of Fire, we get introduced to new shows in Arrow and Elementary and the Iron Man 3 trailer arrives! Yep, it's a busy old week for entertainment, and all of that is really just the beginning...

WhatCulture- Merlin: Arthur's Bane Part 2 Review

Get my thoughts on Arthur's Bane Part 2 at WhatCulture!
Our weekly reviews of the fifth season of Merlin will now be moving over to WhatCulture, but worry not: I'll keep you posted on their whereabouts and the scores for each episode as they come. This week, it's time for Arthur's Bane Part 2 to go under the radar, and sufficed to say I haven't been quite as enamoured with it as other critics and indeed in the comparison to the pretty strong opening episode. Here's a quick round-up of episode scores so far which I'll keep updated with a series average on a weekly basis:
For anyone who wants to keep score here, the most recent run of Doctor Who came out with a strong average of 4.8/5 and Sherlock with a sterling 5/5 (though bear in mind there were just three episodes there), so Merlin is a way out right now. We'll see if the quality really picks up in weeks to come. Here's the link to the Part 2 review: http://whatculture.com/tv/merlin-arthurs-bane-part-2-review.php#comment-157362

Clark Gregg Confirmed For SHIELD Return

Agent Coulson Lives!
It appears you just can't keep a good S.H.I.E.L.D. agent down- at the New York Comic Con, Joss Whedon has exclusively revealed the exciting news that Clark Gregg will return to his role as Agent Coulson in the SHIELD television series next year. Gregg's character was seemingly killed at the hands of the evil Loki earlier in 2012 in the hit superhero movie Avengers Assemble, and Whedon acknowledged this alleged demise at the panel, stating that naturally he knew of the potential continuity problems and will be covering them either in the pilot (which could well remain virtually individual to the main lore) or the likely full first season. Let's be honest, fans will be desperate to see the issue revolved, so we'll probably learn more sooner rather than later! SHIELD's pilot episode will air across the world in late 2013.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Taken 2 Review

Is this the predictable sequel everyone predicted it would be?
A recommendation: if you plan to go and see Taken 2, do so with an open mind, without expectations of the flick merely rehashing the plot of the original. Surprisingly and thankfully, this second instalment in the Liam Neeson action franchise is actually a strong departure from its predecessor, packing enough twists on its series formula to make it akin to the ways in which The Hangover: Part II (4.5/5) managed to innovate despite its similarities.

Make no mistake, though, this is a Neeson action romp through and through, with dizzying fistfights, choppy direction and one-dimensional characters and exposition aplenty that don't help in the writer's infrequent attempts to transcend the boundaries of the traditional blockbuster. There are moments where you are led to believe the film may attain an even higher level of quality than we possibly thought it capable of, yet they're usually robbed of their effectiveness by a weak pun ("What I do best." Sigh- did we have to sum up Neeson in a nutshell?), overdramatic soundtrack work or just a blatantly stereotyped portrayal of a colleague or adversary. These are undoubtedly the main caveats of the flick, and they do hold it back.

All the same, the lead gives it his all in spite of his age, really carrying a weight of empathy and confidence in his character's plight that the audience can easily connect to in the relatively realistic situations. Those playing his adversaries are certainly less compelling, but the stars of the family are still likeable enough that when they're inevitably Taken in some form we're not rooting for them to bite the bullet at any point. If anything, we could have done with far more time with the family, or just a longer running time in general, as bizarrely, the team went for a mere 90 minute running time here. I'm not suggesting we should have had more setpieces, there were more than enough of those, it was just that the pressure of the pace was really harshly felt here. Overall, while Taken 2 lacks the daringness and pure thrills of the original movie, Liam Neeson still elevates it well above standard blockbuster fare to make this a thoroughly compelling Autumn sitting.

Muppets Christmas Carol Re-Release Poster Debuts

A brief nostalgia tour of an image!
This article will be relatively fast as it's definitely one for the more nostalgia-tendant among us. Here we have a nice new poster for the upcoming cinema re-release of the now 20-year old The Muppets Christmas Carol. Yep, the original release really was as far back as 1992, so Jim Hensen Studios are rightfully ready to celebrate by bringing classic songs like Scrooge, It Feels Like Christmas and Thankful Heart back to the big screen for a re-run of one of the most charming festive flicks in a long time. And the best part? It's NOT in 3D- thank heavens, eh...? The Muppets Christmas Carol returns exclusively to UK cinemas on November 23rd.