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Sunday, 30 December 2012

NITAS: Merlin Series Five Review

Merlin: Series 5My verdict on the final season of the fantasy drama at News In Time And Space!
As per usual, in 2013 I'll be keeping you up-to-date on all my latest outer-site entertainment writing exploits. That transition further into the other realms of the internet begins today, as I have provided a full season review of the fifth and final run of Merlin over at the hit cult science-fiction news website News In Time And Space. Does this conclusive run of the fantasy drama prove the hit that BBC1 were no doubt hoping for? You'll have to read on to get the full verdict on the series and indeed the ways in which the show ended. Here's the link to the review: http://reviews.newsintimeandspace.net/2012/12/merlin-series5-291212204508.html

Coming Up This Week: December 31st-January 6th

Find out what the world of entertainment holds for you in the opening days of 2013...
Now, first things first: brace yourselves. Why? Because at an initial glance, this week will seem like one of the quietest periods of entertainment that we've seen in a long while. Gone are the likes of Merlin, Arrow and Doctor Who from our radar for now, some lights of 2012 permanently extinguished through cancellation or running their natural course, and some still to relight themselves later in 2013. For now, then, we're left with a couple of hot TV releases that will likely cater to far more specific cult audiences than usual. All the same, why not check out the likes of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life Of Pi or even Skyfall in the cinemas if you haven't already? Each of them are well worth first and second viewings, so there's a great start to your entertainment roster for 2013 right now. Don't worry, things get busier virtually every week from next week onwards, so just relax and enjoy the New Year festivities...
TOP OF THE POPS NEW YEAR'S EVE SPECIAL- This year's Top Of The Pops Christmas Special was a lavish look back at the best of 2012 music, and that trend will continue with the New Year's Eve finale to this incarnation of the show. Featuring One Direction, The Script, Tulisa, Robbie Williams and countless other guest acts, it's going to be a fine send-off for one of the industry's greatest years to be sure, one you won't want to miss if you're staying in for the early hours of the evening. (Monday 31st)
GLEE: THE NEW RACHEL- Yep, Sky1's biggest US viewer-grab is back on our screens. Glee returns for an unbroken fourth season on the UK channel, with the narrative focus now split across the McKinley High New Directions team's antics and Rachel's own exploits with NYADA in the Big Apple. It's not everyone's cup of tea, granted, yet Glee remains on fine form for the mainstream audience. (Sunday 6th)
AND THERE'S MORE- The Hour's second season and the second run of Trollied both hit DVD stores everywhere tomorrow, so check those out if you missed them first time around. And...that's your lot. Yes, it really is quite a slow week to kick off the New Year, so thank goodness the only way is up (not Essex) from here!
AND NEXT WEEK...Les Miserables finally lands in UK cinemas with a bang, as does Gangster Squad, while Glee continues with Britney 2.0, the beloved Ruth Jones drama Stella returns to Sky1 and Arrow bounces back for its second full run on Sky1!
AND NEXT YEAR...Just in case the rather quiet opening days of 2013 have you worried, there is PLENTY of exciting stuff to come this coming year. I'm just going to compile a big list here of everything I can think of beyond January, and you can sleep safe in the knowledge that all of this is just the tip of the iceberg...

  • MOVIES: Wreck-It-Ralph, Oz: The Great And Powerful, Iron Man 3, Scary Movie 5, The Great Gatsby, Fast Six, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hangover Part III, Man Of Steel, The Wolverine, Grown Ups 2, Despicable Me 2, R.E.D. 2, Star Wars Episode II & Episode III In 3D; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Thor: The Dark World and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
  • TV: Derek; Arrow; Being Human; Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary; The Newsroom; Sherlock; S.H.I.E.L.D.; Glee; Anger Management; Two & A Half Men; Elementary; The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones for absolute starters!
  • GAMES: Tomb Raider; Aliens: Colonial Marines; Gears Of War: Judgement; BioShock Infinite; Injustice: Gods Among Us; The Last Of Us; Grand Theft Auto V; Beyond: Two Souls; Deadpool; Watch Dogs; LEGO The Hobbit; Metal Gear Rising Revengeance; Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes; Crysis 3; Hitman HD Trilogy; Star Wars 1313; Rayman Legends; Battlefield 4; Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 4; Assassin's Creed IV; XCOM; The Elder Scrolls Online; Fortnite; Star Trek; Metro: Last Light; Homefront 2 and so many other exciting titles that will lead us into the next-generation of consoles...

January 2013: Your Guide To The Big Dates

Discover the biggest and best of January 2013 through our guide to all of the release dates you need!
We've always made it a monthly affair to bring you a guide to the big release dates of each month of each respective year. In 2013, we're taking that up a notch, with full overviews of the twelve months ahead no matter how busy or quiet they may be. Here's our guide, then, to January 2013- a calmer month, to be sure, but one which has a good few releases that you can't afford to miss...
SUNDAY 6TH- TV: Glee: The New Rachel
MONDAY 7TH-  DVDS: Doctor Who: The Legacy Collection; Call The Midwife Christmas Special; A Young Doctor's Notebook
FRIDAY 11TH- MOVIES: Les Miserables; Gangster Squad
SUNDAY 13TH- TV: Glee: Britney 2.0
MONDAY 14TH- DVDS: Dredd; Lawless
FRIDAY 18TH- MOVIES: Django Unchained
SUNDAY 20TH- TV: Glee: Makeover
MONDAY 21ST- DVDS: Merlin: The Complete Fifth Series; The Sweeney
FRIDAY 25TH- MOVIES: Lincoln; Zero Dark Thirty
SUNDAY 27TH- TV: Glee: The Break Up
MONDAY 28TH- DVDS: Resident Evil: Retribution
UNPLACED- Game Of Thrones Season 2 Sky1 Rerun; Derek Season 1; Being Human Season 5; Arrow Season 1 Part Two

January 2013: 5 Releases You Can't Miss

Check out the entertainment that'll kick off your New Year with a bang!
It's always a strange feeling to start looking ahead to a brand new year of entertainment. Yet here we are today, doing just that, with a host of brilliant new entertainment releases on the horizon. January is usually a quiet time of year, but thankfully here in the UK that's not the case, as a good multitude of US release dates were pushed back for us to help avoid the Christmas rush of goodwill and festive specials. Contained below, then, are five exciting new releases that you'll probably have heard of, with all the reasons you could ever need to go and see them.

Hopefully, you'll notice we've rebranded the 'Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases' list name as '5 Releases You Can't Miss', and that's just the beginning of a whole load of small-yet-important changes to the site's infrastructure coming in the year ahead. Without further ado, then, let's begin our look ahead to January 2013...
5. ZERO DARK THIRTY- In case you hadn't heard, Zero Dark Thirty has hit big in the States, already tipped for Academy Awards with its engaging retelling of the Bin Laden hunt. The first signs are looking very promising, and hundreds of overly praising critics in the US can't be wrong, can they...? (Friday 25th)
4. DEREK- Ricky Gervais' touching comedy-drama Derek came as a genuine surprise hit back in April 2012, so it's great to see the show back for its first full season on Channel 4. We know there'll be just six episodes, but all the same it'll be brilliant to see this emotive series back on our screens. (TBC)
3. ARROW- I could never have expected The CW's spiritual successor to Smallville to take off, and yet that's exactly what Arrow has done. Now, the show returns for another breathtaking run of episodes on Sky1, as the Green Arrow fights to keep his identity and mission a secret and the darkest days are yet to come...(TBC)
2. DJANGO UNCHAINED- This much-anticipated new spaghetti Western movie comes from the mind of Inglorious Bastards' Quienten Tarantino. With Christopher Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio on board, we already can know for sure that there's cinema gold within, and now it remains to be seen whether Django Unchained can be an early Film Of The Year 2013 contender! (Friday 18th)
1. LES MISERABLES- Can anyone fail to miss this megamoth project? Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron-Cohen, Les Miserables is not to be trifled with, an intense musical film adaptation that features one of the greatest West End storylines of all time rendered the way it was meant to be seen, on the big screen and packing some of the biggest Brit stars around. Make this your mission for January viewing...(Friday 11th)

December 2012: Best Release

Our final Best Release of 2012 is revealed- and it's the Hobbit's turn to shine...
Here we are, then, at the end of 2012. Over the course of the past eleven months, we've seen infinite numbers of absolutely fantastic entertainment releases horde into our stores and cinemas, and in this respect December was no different. Between the season finale of Merlin, Doctor Who's Christmas Special The Snowmen, Life Of Pi and Arrow, there were plentiful memorable new instalments, but in the end I've gone with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson's new first adaptation of the classic Tolkien novel is a beautiful piece of filmmaking, filled with standout performances and incredible direction. The core narrative of this first instalment focuses on Bilbo's recruitment into a company of dwarves and their initial journeys through the outlying lands of Hobbiton and the Misty Mountains, and it does an admirable job of keeping things very interesting throughout despite barely covering a third of the novel. Martin Freeman is by far the best actor of the bunch, but it's with Andy Serkis as Gollum that he shines most in the highlight scene of the flick. We're left, then, with a stunning addition to the ranks of cinema- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is by far one of the best films of 2012, and we can't wait to see what Peter Jackson has waiting for us next December and in July 2014!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Best Of 2012 Awards: Top 10 Best Television Episodes

Our final Best Of 2012 countdown looks at this year's hottest telly...
Here we are then- the culmination of our Best Of 2012 awards series. We hope you've enjoyed the ride through Film Of The Year, Game Of The Year, The Miscellaneous Awards and the various other feature segments, but now it really is time to bring things to a close as the impending year of 2013 looms to kick off another hot twelve months of entertainment. Just before the New Year, then, here's our Top 10 Best Television Episodes Of 2012 list...
10. MERLIN: THE DIAMOND OF THE DAY PART 1- The opening half of the show finale for Merlin was a spectacular build-up, teasing the Battle Of Camlann while featuring a great cameo from John Lynch as the last Dragonlord. Thank goodness Part 2 didn't fluff it all up, even if the modern-day flash-forward was just a little too daring...
9. THE NEWSROOM: 5/1- Opening with a mysteriously anonymous phone call and developing from there into a masterful piece of realist storytelling, 5/1 was one of the finest moments in the spectacular first run of The Newsroom. Its closing moments have a profound resonance for just about any viewer who has come into contact with the Bin Laden conflict in its ten-year reign.
8. HOUSE: EVERYONE DIES- Does everyone have to die? House's answer sadly stuck to the affirmative, yet it was through this rather solemn message that the show conveyed a beautiful finale, especially thanks to the ever-palpable chemistry of Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard that carried it through.
7. THE NEWSROOM: I'LL TRY TO FIX YOU- I won't lie, primarily I'll Try To Fix You is in here because of its masterful closing sequence. Set to Coldplay's iconic Fix You, the final scenes of the episode are amongst the most memorable of the first season, featuring a host of stunning performances.
6. SHERLOCK: THE HOUNDS OF BASKERVILLE- It's saying something when the lowest ranked of a season's offerings on this list still achieves sixth place. In no small part thanks to Russell Tovey's appearance as a psychologically damaged adult in the forests of Dartmoor, Hounds remains a gripping watch that helps showcase Sherlock as the BBC1's shining TV gem of 2012.
5. DOCTOR WHO: THE SNOWMEN- The 2012 Christmas Special of Doctor Who aired just four days ago, yet it's a shining example of British telly that more than earns its place here. The Snowmen introduces Jenna-Louise Coleman's companion character proper with a bang, plus featured great performances from Matt Smith, Dan Starkey, Ian McKellen and Richard E Grant to boot!
4. DOCTOR WHO: ASYLUM OF THE DALEKS- Another Jenna-starring adventure on the list, Asylum Of The Daleks revels both in the ludricity of its initial premise and indeed in the numerous shocks it pulls for the viewer. The lead trio are all fantastic throughout the adventure, the Daleks scarier than ever, and Jenna-Louise's surprise cameo a masterfully done surprise here by Steven Moffat.
3. SHERLOCK: A SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA- The competition between the Top 3 entries on the list was pretty heated, but Sherlock's premiere episode of Season Two had to come rather high. Lara Pulver was a fantastic Irene Adler, the resolution to the big cliffhanger of the first season a masterpiece in modern storytelling, and the narrative packing all of the shock factor of a blockbuster film.
2. DOCTOR WHO: THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN- There was always fair potential for the fall of the Ponds to reach big heights, and Steven Moffat didn't disappoint in this respect. Kudos to Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill for ensuring their departure from Doctor Who was quite possibly the best and most memorable closure we've ever had for a pair of companions.
1. SHERLOCK: THE REICENBACH FALL- At the top of the list comes the best finale we've seen to a run of a show in a long time. Sherlock's fall was a captivating watch for every viewer, and that we're still talking about how the man in Baker Street could possibly have survived right to this day is truly testament to the sheer intelligence of the writing team on the show. Bring on the third season!

Best Of 2012 Awards: Top 10 Best Actors & Actresses

Our penultimate set of awards highlights the biggest and best stars of entertainment releases in 2012...
We're close to the end of the 'Best Of 2012 Awards' series of features now, and today's pair of lists focuses on the Top 10 Best Actors & Actresses Of 2012. As there are essentially twenty listed stars here, each and every one of them just gets a small listing with the show and character they won their place for, as well as a reason for their placement. Without further ado, then, that brief introduction from me aside, let's look back fondly on what the past year has given us from big Brit and American stars...
10. COLIN MORGAN- Who else but the lead star of Merlin could place the final season of the brilliant BBC1 fantasy drama on this list? Colin gave an inspired and layered performance as the world's most iconic Arthurian warlock.
9. MATT SMITH- Clocking in his third year as the Doctor, Matt performed brilliantly in his six blockbuster adventures. The highlight here was undoubtedly with the fall of the Ponds in the superb The Angels Take Manhattan.
8. DANIEL CRAIG- As James Bond in both Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, Daniel had already more than proved his credientials. However, it was in Skyfall that things came to a head, as Mr Craig showed that even a fifty-year old character can have newfound depth.
7. TOM HARDY- Having watched The Dark Knight Rises again just last night, I can happily state without a doubt that Tom Hardy's Bane proves more than a match for Heath Ledger's Joker. That's in no small part due to Hardy's vigour and pure strength in this tough-to-accomplish role.
6. HUGH LAURIE- All this British legend essentially had to do to succeed in his final season of House was turn up. It's testament to Hugh Laurie, then, that he does so much more with that, providing us with a fitting and realistic final rendition of the doctor we've grown to love these past ten years.
5. JEFF DANIELS- The Newsroom was by far one of 2012's greatest new television shows. Again, that's in no small part due to the introduction of Jeff Daniels as newsreader Will McAvoy, a likeable and layered rogue who we look forward to seeing develop further in the second season.
4. BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH- The follow-up series of Sherlock was packed with great performances, one of which scored even higher on this list. All the same, Benedict Cumberbatch was fantastic once again as the titular hero, bringing new depth and passion to the character.
3. TOM CRUISE- Well, this was a surprise entry, wasn't it? In Rock Of Ages' Stacee Jaxx, Tom Cruise pulled a shocker, coming into his own as a drug-riddled addict of rock and roll whose only salvation lay with an intrepid journalist eager to find love- honestly, this performance is well worth a watch.
2. MARTIN FREEMAN- I've always loved watching Martin Freeman as Watson, but this award goes to him for another role. As Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the man finally 'found his feet', standing up against screen legends like Andy Serkis without so much as a blink of fear.
1. ANDREW SCOTT- We had the briefest of glimpses of Andrew Scott as the villainous Moriarty in Sherlock Season One. However, it was in Season Two where the man truly shone to his full potential, providing the perfect scary rendition of this iconic antagonist in a truly unforgettable manner!
10. KATE MCGRATH- After last year's set of pantomime-esque performances, I didn't think I would be placing Kate McGrath's Morgana on this list. Nevertheless, in Merlin's fifth and final season, McGrath gave us both a emotional and iconic villain to root against one final time.
9. SCARLETT JOHNASSON- It was great to have a full appearance from Scarlet as the infamous Black Widow in Avengers Assemble after her cameo role in Iron Man 2. This time around, Scarlet gave a passionate and captivating portrayal, readying us in anticipation for future appearances.
8. JENNIFER LAWRENCE- Jennifer showed off the first strands of her acting talents in X-Men: First Class, but it was in The Hunger Games where she really came into her own. As Katniss, Lawrence possesses a degree of sheer empathy and engagement the likes of which we haven't seen in ages...
7. EMMA STONE- Gwen Stacy was always going to be a difficult performance for anyone to pull off after Kirsten Dunst's Mary-Jane Watson. That said, Emma Stone was perfect for the role, utilising her experience from flicks like The Help in a way that made her intoxicating to watch.
6. ANNE HATHAWAY- Easily the standout surprise performance in The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway was by far the most layered and in-depth version of Catwoman we've seen so far, and with any luck we'll see her back in a future movie spin-off.
5. ALEX KINGSTON- This E.R. actress has taken the guise of the Doctor's wife ever since Steven Moffat's 2008 Doctor Who episodes Silence In The Library and Forest Of The Dead. In The Angels Take Manhattan, Kingston brought new layers to the role, showcasing River's pain and age with beautiful veracity.
4. JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN- Few fans could have predicted that the new companion in Doctor Who would be split across multiple time-periods. Jenna-Louise Coleman brought across that shocking truth with ease, providing shifting and unpredictable performances as Oswin Oswald and Clara Oswin Oswald in a sense that already has us eagerly awaiting the 2013 run!
3. KAREN GILLAN- Karen has been a fantastic companion to the Doctor these past two years as Amy Pond. It was a great tragedy to see her depart Doctor Who this year, but she did it with the utmost sense of style, leaving in dramatic fashion with the masterful The Angels Take Manhattan.
2. LARA PULVER- In Irene Adler, Lara Pulver gave us a beautiful and intelligent ploy to Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock could not have kicked off on a better note, and that's due in no small part to Pulver's brilliant debut on the show.
1. JUDI DENCH- I think that it's fair to say that Judi Dench's final appearance in the James Bond film franchise will never be forgotten. Her portrayal of M in Skyfall was beautifully done, a masterclass in realist acting that touched the souls and hearts of film viewers across the world.

Jack Reacher Review

Can Tom Cruise's latest action blockbuster be a colossal hit? In short: No.
There comes a time in every year where the annual Tom Cruise Blockbuster movie release rears its head. In 2011, we received the rather brilliant Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (4.5/5), which surpassed expectations and breathed new life into its respective franchise in time for Christmas. This time around, it’s Jack Reacher which has the job of kick-starting an all-new series of movies. Does it do the job with just as much success? No.

Tom Cruise’s protagonist here feels ripped out of just about every action movie before this one- mysterious, seemingly omniscient and apathetic, Reacher lacks just about any connection to the wider audience, a war veteran-turned-recluse whose only redeeming qualities lie in the inert humour of the actor himself. Soon enough, you as a viewer will learn that it’s best just to ignore this blatantly type-cast characterisation, and roll along with the ride, even if it that prospect alone is challenging enough.

In terms of the actual narrative of the piece, there’s little of real surprise or substance here to speak of either. Jack Reacher sets a depressingly linear path for its plot to trod along, devoid of unexpected twists and littered with the tropes and clichés of action movies gone by. The script is both predictable and over exhaustive, the characters are damn-near dislikeable and apathetic at the worst of times, and the easy-to-guess ending will leave just as many viewers dissatisfied as those who will inevitably to choose to flick the channel when this becomes a primetime TV release.

Boy, do I wish there was a way of ‘flicking the channel’ in the cinema by this point, because short of walking out of the auditorium, there couldn’t have been a more favourable release from the suffering that was watching this film. I could go on about the sub-par action sequences, lacklustre visual effects and offensively repetitive soundtrack for an infinite length of time, but to do so would be to waste your time in much the same vein as Jack Reacher has done for 130 precious minutes of your life. If you want to end your cinematic viewing experiences with a bang rather than a whimper, then at least take comfort in the knowledge that through this review, you at least stand a better chance of doing so. Avoid Jack Reacher like the plague, and your life will be better off for it.

Tomb Raider Multiplayer Component Confirmed

Could this be our Game Of The Year 2013? More exciting details on online modes ahoy!
"Ok, so after all the speculation...yes it's true." Developer Crystal Dynamics' Karl Stewart opened his latest tweet regarding their new reboot video game project Tomb Raider with these words, and in doing so today confirmed that there will be a multi-player component in the open-world survival title.

This new instalment in the franchise takes place in a different continuity to the recent trilogy of Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, instead focusing on a young Lara Croft who finds herself shipwrecked on a mysterious island, forced to glimpse the legend that she will become as she is pitted in a gruesome battle for her life. It's easily one of our most anticipated games of 2013, so to hear that there'll be further modes beyond the main single-player campaign is pretty exciting. We've got no word on exactly what the online modes in the title will entail, but it's rumoured that a face-off between survivors from the shipwreck and the savages from the island is in the offings with team-based cooperative gameplay involved.

Stewart promises that we'll hear more from Official Xbox Magazine USA in their January issue next month, so look out for further details right here as they emerge in the New Year! Tomb Raider explodes onto Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on March 5th, 2013.

New Grand Theft Auto V Screenshots Arrive

Grand Theft Auto V screenshotsMore images land from next year's biggest game...
It's safe to say that with the next-generation of video gaming consoles on the horizon, 2013 is going to be a massive year for this industry. One such example of the big happenings coming our way next year is Grand Theft Auto V, an incredibly ambitious new instalment in Rockstar Games' open-world shooter franchise. This week, the development studio have released a series of new screenshots from the fifth game in the GTA saga, and they're showcasing sharks, submarines, jet-planes and dark looks aplenty in the latest epic storyline. Check out the other four screenshots below...Grand Theft Auto V launches on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Spring 2013.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Doctor Who: The Snowmen Review

The Doctor returns for his eighth festive adventure- is it still a cracker?
When it comes to this time of year, the BBC always have one TARDIS-shaped ace up their sleeve for the Christmas Day line-up (or at least they have eight years in a row now): Doctor Who. Just as special editions of The Royle Family, Strictly and Eastenders have cemented themselves as festive mainstays, so too has the Time Lord reclaimed his place amidst the best of the big day. This time around, it's the job of Steven Moffat to once again impress with The Snowmen, following in the wake of his brilliant A Christmas Carol (2010, 5/5) and the decent The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe (2011, 4.5/5).

Certainly, from the moment that this new blockbuster story opens you'll see it's not for want of ambition. The special effects work is great as we pan in on a planet Earth marauded by gnawing snowflakes, a Great Intelligence not seen since the days of Patrick Troughton and now voiced wonderfully by Ian McKellen, and the villainous Doctor Simeon portrayed by none other than Richard E Grant. All of these antagonist elements serve their purpose well, even if this year it's not the battle of good and evil that's the crux of the narrative. Instead, we focus on one Clara Oswin Oswald, brought to life with stunning aplomb by our new series regular Jenna-Louise Coleman. Jenna's chemistry with Matt becomes plain to see right from the off, with Clara and the Doctor constantly engaging in a battle of wits and words that actually gives a fresh dynamic, even moreso than the Doctor-Donna relationship in 2008.

It was fantastic to witness a host of exciting new reveals on top of Clara, her chemistry and indeed the exciting time-twisting arc that appears to surround her in Series Seven Part 2- I'm already longing to see more of the beautiful new TARDIS, for example. Initial production photos didn't do anywhere near justice to the new incarnation of the time machine, so it was a welcome surprise for it to look so effortlessly modern at the same time as its nostalgic 80s sci-fi roots at once. The new theme tune and title sequence were ace too, again featuring homages to the classic era- the face is back!- while also retaining that sense of looking forward to days ahead with a dynamic middle eight twist and that eerieness the tune should always keep ahold of. One more great reveal was the 'Coming Soon' trailer, where with Cybermen, submarines, British thrillers, exotic alien planets, ghosts and the Oswin reveal teased, we can be assured that things can only keep getting better come April 2013 and indeed come the 50th Anniversary next November.

So, just where does the show go from here? Judging by The Snowmen, Steven Moffat has found the ability to redefine the core elements of Doctor Who, while still holding true to the moral values and beliefs of the incarnations of the character who have come before Matt's Eleventh Doctor. With a bold new story arc to play out in the final eight episodes of the seventh season, and the Fields Of Trenzalore and the Fall Of The Eleventh still presumably waiting for their resolution in the anniversary special, this is a drama that's nowhere close to running out of ideas. The BBC would likely have to give around a two-year window for any kind of cancellation, so that in essence guarantees Doctor Who will run until at least 2015 (ten years since Rose!), but given just how popular this new season is proving, with the Christmas Special having beaten Downton and Call The Midwife in both overnight ratings and a poorer timeslot, do not expect it to go anywhere except up, higher than the clouds!

Monday, 24 December 2012


A quick Christmas message from us...
This is just a brief message from us here at On-Screen to wish every reader of the blog a very Merry Christmas. Christmas is an incredibly significant time of the year for everyone, so we hope that everyone who's followed the blog this year can have a wonderful December 25th with their families. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, make the most of the festivities as such grand times really do only come once a year! We'll be back in action on December 27th after our break with new reviews of Merlin's final two episodes and Doctor Who: The Snowmen for starters, but for now have a brilliant few days, and we'll see you back here very soon.

The On-Screen Advent Calendar 2012: Day Twenty-Four

On a number of the remaining days of our Advent Calendar, we'll be retelling the adventures of the Eleventh Doctor so far in Doctor Who. Through his dealings with the cracks of time in Series Five to the death of the Doctor arc in Series Six and indeed the fall of the Ponds, we'll recap all of the major events in the new Time Lord's life up until The Snowmen. Without further ado, then, let's get going...
An adventure with the Arwells in World War Two London convinced the Doctor that he needed his old friends the Ponds back in his life. From there on out, he visited his parents-in-law on numerous occasions when he needed their help on a mission or indeed simply when he just missed them.

At one point, it seemed Amy and Rory might divorce due to Amy’s inability to have children after the experimentation at Demon’s Run. Thankfully, when the time trio were taken to the Asylum Of The Daleks, the pair rekindled their relationship. Meanwhile, the Doctor heard the voice of a strange girl named Oswin Oswald, who had crash-landed in the Asylum and unwittingly been turned into a Dalek. Oswin managed to help the Time Lord escape, but seemingly at the cost of her own life in a planet-shattering explosion, where she told us viewers simply to “remember”…

The next few adventures took the Doctor and the Ponds to a dinosaur-laden spaceship and the Wild West, where the Time Lord displayed the results of his friends leaving him by being more open to the thought of killing his foes. Mercifully, Amy helped redeem him, and they both remarked during an invasion of Earth by killer cubes that they didn’t know what they would do without each other.

However, all good things must come to an end. Chasing Rory after he was zapped back to 1930s New York by the Weeping Angels, the Doctor and Amy met up with River and tracked their fellow Pond. The couple were reunited and created a time-defying Paradox to stop their foes, only for a final vengeful Angel to ensure that they had to stay in the 30s forever and never see the Time Lord again. The Doctor offered for River to travel with him, but she noted that there should be “one psychopath per TARDIS”, agreeing only to come aboard for infrequent adventures.

Thanks to an epilogue in her own novel, Amy said a final goodbye to her Raggedy Man, and the Doctor travelled back to see little Amelia and tell her tales of the adventures to come, yet in reality the Time Lord found himself alone once more. In Victorian England, we’ve seen Vastra, Jenny and Strax try to convince him to resume his battles against evil, but it seems the Doctor’s losses have finally taken their toll, as he refuses to leave the TARDIS ever again…

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Coming Up This Week: December 24th-30th

It's CHRISTMAAASS!!! Revel in an entertainment blitz this week, and above all have a fantastic festive season!
That time of year that we all love to indulge ourselves in has finally arrived- yes, Christmas really is here. As per usual, On-Screen will take a mini-hiatus of reduced post quantities over the course of Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and with good reason, yet you can still expect reviews of the big new TV shows set to air in the next few days. So just what can you actually expect to see on your tellies this festive week? Our full round-up of what's to come is below...
MERLIN: THE DIAMOND OF THE DAY PART 2- The final battle of Camelot awaits- will anyone make it out alive? With his magical powers back in action, Merlin must race to find his King amidst all of the death and destruction caused by Morgana. Lives will be laid down, secrets will be revealed and the ultimate sacrifice made to save the kingdom, yet it'll no doubt be how this Arthurian legend's finale to the show ends that determines the legacy Merlin leaves with its fans. We're counting down the hours already...(BBC1, 8.15pm)
THE SNOWMAN AND THE SNOWDOG- Channel 4 have been avidly advertising their spiritual successor to The Snowmen, and with good reason. Although it's hard to believe that Raymond Briggs' classic original festive storyline can ever be topped, this should still be a great watch for the kids, packed with charm, laughs and even a few tears. (Channel 4, 8pm)
TROLLIED CHRISTMAS SPECIAL- Anyone who's joined onto the Trollied bandwagon in its first two seasons will no doubt be overjoyed to see a special feature-length episode in the December 24th line-up. When a rival Valco store steals key supplies from the mothership, Gavin and his crew must drive cross-country to recover their goods, before a party that gets blown to hilarious proportions! (Sky1, 9pm)
OUTNUMBERED CHRISTMAS SPECIAL- Last year's festive Outnumbered episode was a bit of a disappointment, so here's hoping that the 2012 edition compensates with a surprise before the fourth season. This time around, the family are throwing a big party for their neighbours to celebrate Christmas' impending arrival- what could possibly go wrong...? (BBC1, 9.35pm)
AND THERE'S MORE- BBC1 bring us Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol at 6.45pm; BBC2 re-broadcast the brilliant original Nativity! at 3.55pm, and perhaps best of all, Channel 4 will commence the annual reprisal of the ever-incredible The Muppets Christmas Carol at 11am!
TOP OF THE POPS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL- Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton are back to present us with the highlights of the British music industry in 2012. Emile Sande, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and plenty more big highlights of the year are live on stage to provide sublime renditions of amongst 2012's most memorable and best tracks! (BBC1, 2pm)
DOCTOR WHO: THE SNOWMEN- Jenna-Louise Coleman makes her full-debut as the Doctor's new companion Clara Oswin- wait a moment, doesn't that sound familiar...? The Oswin mystery is just the beginning, as we see a new theme tune, a new TARDIS and an eerie new foe (voiced by Ian McKellen and led by Richard E Grant!) that introduces Clara in the most exciting of ways. You will not want to miss this thrilling prelude to the epic 50th Anniversary year of Doctor Who(BBC1, 5.15pm)
AND THERE'S MORE- BBC1 also have screenings of Call The Midwife; Strictly Come Dancing and Shrek Forever After to look forward to, with Miranda also returning on Boxing Day, while iTV are bringing us a brand new festive Downton Abbey special on Christmas Day and the ultimate Wild At Heart finale on December 30th.
AND NEXT WEEK...Top Of The Pops returns one final time for a New Year's Day special looking ahead to the music of 2013, and Glee gets a reprisal for the premiere episode of its fourth season on Sky1, The New Rachel!
On-Screen would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

First Derek Teaser Preview Arrives

The first full season of Ricky Gervais' new drama gets a trailer...
Channel 4 struck unexpected gold earlier this year with the broadcast of the pilot episode for Ricky Gervais' emotional drama-comedy television series Derek. Well, now we're getting close to the commencement of broadcast for the first full season of the show, commissioned by the executives of the channel just a month after the pilot. As such we've got a great trailer preview of the full run of an unspecified number of episodes. You can see the heartwarming trail for what's to come below. Derek returns to Channel 4 in early 2013.

The On-Screen Advent Calendar 2012: Day Twenty-Two

On a number of the remaining days of our Advent Calendar, we'll be retelling the adventures of the Eleventh Doctor so far in Doctor Who. Through his dealings with the cracks of time in Series Five to the death of the Doctor arc in Series Six and indeed the fall of the Ponds, we'll recap all of the major events in the new Time Lord's life up until The Snowmen. Without further ado, then, let's get going...

While Amy and Rory went on their honeymoon, the Doctor dealt with a Scrooge-like mister who threatened to send the Ponds to their deaths on a cruise ship. Travelling on, the Time Lord recruited Amy, Rory and River to meet him in 21st Century America for a secret mission, only for his companions to see him gunned down by an Impossible Astronaut at Lake Silencio in Utah. It became apparent when another Doctor appeared to them that the man they had seen die was two-hundred years older than the current incarnation, yet how could the Ponds and River prevent this seemingly inevitable fate?

In 1960s USA, the time team encountered the agents of the Silence, a race who had manipulated the Doctor’s death. Thankfully, they managed to stop the aliens taking over humankind, but not before the Silence created the fabled suit of the Impossible Astronaut and a strange girl showed the ability to regenerate on the streets of New York. From here, Amy and Rory travelled on the high seas and beyond the universe with the younger Doctor, all the while knowing the fate that awaited him. Things came to a head when it was revealed that Amy was in fact a Flesh clone of her true self, with the real Amy pregnant in the Silence’s fortress of Demon’s Run. The Doctor and Rory raced to save her, recruiting Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Dorium Maldovar to help, but ultimately they failed to prevent the Silence escaping with her baby. Just who was that baby? At this point, River Song appeared and revealed that she was Melody Pond, giving a positive sign that things would turn out alright.

The Time Lord searched for Melody for three months, yet it took a journey back to Nazi Germany with the Ponds and their friend ‘Mels’ to discover that the child had grown up in Leadworth with her parents unwittingly bringing her up. The Doctor left River (who had sacrificed all of her regenerations to save her love from the Silence) at a space academy to train as an archaeologist, hoping this would keep her safe from the Silence. After adventures involving living dolls, an older Amy Pond and a hotel-trapped Minotaur, the Ponds decided life in the TARDIS was now too dangerous for them, leaving the Doctor to his fate. On a last stop before his death, the Doctor met Craig and the Cybermen once again, only for the Silence to work in parallel to capture River and place her in the Impossible Astronaut suit to kill her lover at Lake Silencio. Ultimately, it turned out that the Doctor had used a robotic suit to fake his death, though, and he decided to retreat back into the shadows.

The adventure was by no means over, though: deep below the surface, Dorium warned the Time Lord that the Silence wanted to stop him reaching the Fields Of Trenzalore, as there he would have to answer a question that could end everything…Doctor Who?

This Is The End Teaser Trailer Revealed

2013's hottest apocalypse US comedy gets its first video preview!
Columbia Pictures have this week released their first teaser trailer for This Is The End. An American take on the Mayan apocalypse that's been and past us, this new film will likely prove an antithesis to the upcoming British movie The World's End coming from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost next Summer. The timing of these two flicks was purely coincidental, and in the US the latter has been pushed back to Autumn 2013 to avoid confusion, but nevertheless this looks like a hilarious new comedy. Tonnes of celebrity stars play themselves here, and already we know the roster includes James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Emma Watson for starters, which is as strong as a foundation as any ensemble piece could possibly require. Below, you can check out that first trailer. This Is The End bursts into cinemas everywhere on June 14th, 2013.

First Scary Movie 5 Trailer Unleashed

The image may be outdated, but the preview still stands!
Dimension Films have today provided us with the first full preview for their upcoming comedy parody movie Scary Movie 5. Riffing from recent horror and fantasy flicks including Paranormal Activity, The Devil Inside and Inception, this creepy new instalment in the controversial motion picture franchise features appearances from the likes of Ashley Tisdale, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan and plenty of brilliantly crude gags to keep the series' fans entertained once again. Naturally, this first preview doesn't reveal them all, yet it's at least a great start to the promotional campaign, so with any luck the film itself will turn out to be just as satisfying! Check out the trailer below. Scary Movie 5 screams into cinemas everywhere on April 19th, 2013.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Life Of Pi Review

Our verdict on 2012's final big movie...
Adapting Yann Martel's children's fantasy novel Life Of Pi into a fully-fledged motion picture couldn't have been an easy task for director Ang Lee. That said, what Lee has done here is transform a mildly compelling tale first spun eleven years ago, into a beautiful visionary piece of filmic art that boasts a thoroughly engaging narrative. Where once the storyline of the book itself only compelled those readers who empathised with protagonist Piscene enough to read on, here it's brought across in a fascinating way that won't lose the interest of viewers at any point in the two-hour running time.

Make no mistake, Pi's appeal is in no small way indebted to the genius direction of Ang Lee and indeed the visual effects production team who worked to make it a stunner. It has to be said that for me, this is the best-looking film since Avatar released in 2009, performing beautifully in terms of its documentary-realistic encapsulations of real-world animals through either motion filming or cunning CGI effects work post-production. Regardless of just how such a visionary feat was accomplished- something which I'm sure warrants its own documentary or reference book soon to depict the process- the overall effects throughout the movie are simply ground-breaking, a genuine step forward for this industry of entertainment that sets a precedent for each and every effects-driven piece of cinema to come. An additional note on this front: see this one in 3D. I probably haven't advised you as such since Avatar, but that's simply because not until now has the technology been put to so dramatically innovative use in a motion picture, to the point that seeing Pi in another dimension warrants the extra couple of quid you'll fork out.

I mentioned the concept of this kind of cinema being effects-driven, yet by no means am I attempting to discredit the core structure of the movie's narrative. Life Of Pi does admittedly have one or two sagging moments that feel as if they perhaps stretch out the running time slightly further than necessary (105-115 minutes as opposed to 125 would just about have done it), and the ending leaves a little to be desired with a touch of pseudo-ambiguity, yet these weaknesses are likely paralleled in the novel and thus hardly really of any true fault to the flick. The message to get across here is that thanks to a career-defining performance from newcomer Suraj Sharma, we're truly able to emphasise with Pi in ways that previously seemed impossible in the limited novel version. Sharma rightly has to do a lot of the legwork with his character stranded on a marooned boat with a Bengal Tiger, however this seems no problem at all for the actor, and if anything such a prolonged opportunity merely allows him time to shine. While somewhat disjointed in terms of their placement in the plot, the 'modern day' sections featuring an elder Pi and a budding author are neat interludes too.

As I mentioned, the film isn't absolutely perfect. There are a minor handful of instances where Lee appears to get so immersed in the beauty and wonder of the world he's depicting, that plot direction seems to be lost for a moment as a result. I'm all for this kind of immersion at perhaps one or two intervals in any motion picture, yet when I would wager that such contemplative shots entailed around 1/10th of the film's running time, things don't necessarily feel quite as they should. Do not let that stop you from seeing this, though. Life Of Pi is a stunning showcase of the leaps and bounds the teams behind the cameras have made with technology in the past decade, the Avatar of 2012 that branches out from James Cameron's epic with a successful narrative to boot. If you catch one film that isn't The Hobbit before the end of this year, make it this, because believe me, your life may just well seem that little more deepened for it.

The On-Screen Advent Calendar 2012: Day Twenty-One

There's no denying that the coming few days leading into and indeed entailing Christmas Day are packed with brilliant television shows for viewers to hook into. That said, the days succeeding December 25th are equally important for couch potatoes, again heralding some exciting new instalments of telly and repeat broadcasts of films that those of us still reeling from the Christmas feast can relax with. Today, with just four days to go until the festivities truly begin, we've handpicked five engaging new shows and re-releases that you will not want to miss after the big day- read on and get your TV remote's record button at the ready...
5. MIRANDA- Personally, I've never been a massive fan of Miranda Hart's first-person comedy series on BBC1, yet I see the appeal for fans of the genre nevertheless. Miranda is back for its third full season of hilarious hi-jinks, and you can be sure that Hart's escapades will feature plenty of raunchy gags. (Boxing Day, New Year's Day On BBC1)
4. ALICE IN WONDERLAND- Mia Wasikowoska's turn as Lewis Carroll's rabbit-hole-plunging female protagonist was a strange one to say the very least. It's the other performances of Tim Burton's adaptation, then, that make it worth your time- Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter and a host of other British stars all highlight a generally compelling motion picture production. (Boxing Day On BBC1)
3. WILD AT HEART- As hard as it is to believe it, Wild At Heart has run on iTV for eight years now, so the time is probably right for the show to reach its end. This breathtaking season finale puts Du Plessis in mortal danger, when a terminal disease threatens to finish his journeys in the wild forever, and Danny's family must deal with one final crisis. (December 30th On iTV1)
2. TOP OF THE POPS- Top Of The Pops remains one of my personal favourite music shows in current existence, and it's a tragedy we only ever get it back on this annual basis. All the same, having two new specials in the cult show is definitely a positive turn of events, and long may the festivities continue to reign on the mainstream BBC channel. (New Year's Day On BBC1)
1. THE LORD OF THE RINGS- You can catch the first instalment in Peter Jackson's rightly acclaimed trilogy of novel-to-film adaptations, The Fellowship Of The Ring, on Christmas Day. After that, The Two Towers and The Return Of The King will broadcast shortly, and you'd be well advised to check them out again if you want to recall just why The Hobbit has been such a major success! (Boxing Day, December 29th On Channel 4)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Star Trek Game Release Date Announced

The new movie game for Into Darkness gets dated...
Paramount Pictures and Bandai Namco Games have today announced the release date for their new movie title Star Trek. Taking place in between the events of the hit 2009 original and next year's much-anticipated science-fiction film sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, the new instalment in the series will focus on co-operative gameplay mechanics between Kirk and Spock both on the USS Enterprise and indeed on mysterious alien planets where new threats await. As ever, it's hard to know just yet whether this will be a bonafida Game Of The Year contender due to it being a licensed game, one of the most tricky genres for developers and writers to master, but the jury doesn't have to be out for too long now that we know exactly when the game will release. It's been confirmed that the following costume DLCs for the two protagonists will be available with pre-orders: the Stealth Pack; the Brawler Pack; the Kelvin Pack and the Academy Pack. Star Trek vworps onto PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles everywhere on April 23rd, 2013.

Being Human Series Five Plot Synopsis Released

Get a taste of the secrets and surprises that await in 2013...
The BBC have today released a brief narrative outline for the fifth and final season of their fantasy drama Being Human. Season Four culminated in March this year, so it's been a while for fans since they saw the Old Ones defeated as Annie stepped into the veil with her friends' daughter, leaving a new vampire-werewolf-ghost crew to face supernatural horrors on Earth.

Here's the synopsis: "Strapped to a chair in the living room, Hal is finding it tough going cold-turkey. But when Tom and Alex release Hal, they're not to know it's far too soon to be letting a blood-thirsty vampire onto the streets...When Hal recruits Crumb as a vampire and welcomes him to the supernatural world, the meek become mighty and we see what happens when a bullied man finds his bite. Meanwhile, Rook- head of a shady government department in charge of keeping the supernatural world secret- is given some devastating news."

The six episodes of this climactic run have been filmed and are now undergoing final CG and sound edits in the lead-up to transmission. Being Human returns to BBC3 in February 2013.

New The Great Gatsby Trailer Unveiled

Check out the latest preview for Baz Luhrrman's classic novel adaptation right here...
Warner Bros Pictures have today released the second full trailer for their upcoming film adaptation The Great Gatsby. Helmed by director Baz Luhrrman, the new motion picture adapts the narrative of F Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, featuring a mysterious bachelor whose life and lies come back to haunt him one Summer evening when his lost love appears in his home. The new trailer is epic in scale, and makes this look like a genuine Film Of The Year contender for next year- see it for yourself below. The Great Gatsby drives into cinemas everywhere on May 10th, 2013.

Anchorman 2 Release Date Announced

The comedy sequel lands next year- it's kind of a big thing!
Today, Paramount Pictures have announced the official worldwide release date for Anchorman: The Legend Continues. The sequel to the 2004 cult comedy hit film Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, this new flick will take place a few years after the original, with Ron and Veronica dealing with a divorce and indeed the custody of their children amidst the biggest news case of their careers. So far, we know that Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carrell, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn are all set to return for this exciting comedy motion picture, but beyond that, we can most probably expect a big host of celebrity cameos and hilarious gags that push the genre further than ever before. So just when can we see this much-anticipated follow-up? Anchorman: The Legend Continues fills cinemas everywhere with glass cases of emotion on December 20th, 2013.

The On-Screen Advent Calendar 2012: Day Twenty

On a number of the remaining days of our Advent Calendar, we'll be retelling the adventures of the Eleventh Doctor so far in Doctor Who. Through his dealings with the cracks of time in Series Five to the death of the Doctor arc in Series Six and indeed the fall of the Ponds, we'll recap all of the major events in the new Time Lord's life up until The Snowmen. Without further ado, then, let's get going...
Hurtling down to Earth after an explosive regeneration sent the TARDIS astray, the new Doctor found himself crashing in the village of Leadworth. Here he met a little girl named Amelia Pond, who showed him a mysterious crack inside his wall. Before he had time to investigate, though, the Doctor was forced to take the TARDIS into the Time Vortex, only accidentally returning to Leadworth fourteen years later when Amy was a full-grown adult working as a kissogram.

Once the Doctor had regained the faith of The Girl Who Waited, they worked together with her fiancée Rory to stop the sinister Prisoner Zero, who warned that “the universe is cracked” and “silence will fall” before being taken back for execution by the Atraxi. From here on out, the Doctor and Amy commenced their travels in time, facing Smilers deep into humanity’s future, Daleks in the Second World War and Weeping Angels at the Crash of the Byzantium. Soon enough, Amy gave a big revelation: she had journeyed away with the Time Lord on the night before her wedding!

After a rather raunchy jaunt to discuss this turn of events in Amy’s home, the Doctor picked up Rory and took the Ponds back to 18th Century Venice. Here, they fought sinister Vampire-like creatures, before departing for further adventures including an encounter with the Dream Lord and Silurians in the depths of Wales. After the Silurian investigation, the Doctor discovered that the cracks in time were following him, linked to an explosion taking place on Amy’s wedding day and caused by none other than the TARDIS itself. Rory found himself sucked in by a crack after a worthy sacrifice, leaving Amy to forget her husband-to-be as they departed.

Once they had dealt with a menace plaguing Vincent Van Gogh and the third floor of Craig Owens’ apartment, the Doctor and Amy travelled back to Roman times to meet their old friend River Song. Together, they discovered Rory was still alive, and as a time team they escaped the Pandorica alliance’s sinister trap, initiating a second Big Bang to save time and reality from the Silence’s planned explosion. The Time Lord was almost erased from time in the process, but at her wedding Amy brought her Raggedy Man back into existence. The trigger? River, who somehow had the ability to see between parallel dimensions. How that was possible, the elusive time traveller wouldn’t let on, but she assured the Doctor he would know the truth soon…

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

New The Expendables 3 Star Announced

Jackie Chan joins the cast of this inexplicable third outing...
Another cast member for the recently announced thriller film The Expendables 3 has been confirmed today. It turns out that Jackie Chan, star of films such as Rush Hour and Kung Fu Panda, will assume a role in the next instalment in this critically panned, somehow commercially successful franchise of movies. So far, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis have revealed they'll be back for the new outing too, but Chuck Norris has confirmed he won't be. With any luck, the quality of the flick may improve with a man like Chan on board, but as per usual, I won't hold out my hopes too high. The Expendables 3 is set for release in 2014.

Top 15 Most Anticipated Games Of 2013

As 2013 brings us into the next-generation of video games consoles, just what can we expect to look out for in the next twelve months?
There is absolutely no doubting that the next year of entertainment will bring with it an infinite number of thrilling new video game projects for gamers to revel in, not to mention the next-generation of consoles. As we don't know exactly what these new consoles will be yet, we're more well-versed about the first half of 2013 rather than its latter half, but nevertheless there are a host of announced titles that you'll hear plenty about in the opening months. Here's our guide, then, to our Top 15 Most Anticipated Games Of 2013...
15. METAL GEAR SOLID: GROUND ZEROES- Konami's new project is rumoured to be a prelude of sorts to a next-generation Metal Gear Solid 5. What we do know for sure, though, is that with open-world gameplay and a multi-platform release, current-generation closer Ground Zeroes should be a bonafida MGS hit. (Winter)
14. HALO 5- Why has the latest potential entry in 343's new sci-fi saga placed here in the list? For now, it's not guaranteed that 343 will follow Bungie's annual Halo release schedule, and even if they do, it's unlikely this next instalment will be the next entry in the main Reclaimer Saga. For now, then, we'll await this with eager but ambiguous anticipation. (November)
13. STAR WARS 1313- Tipped to be a next-gen crossover thanks to its beautiful graphics engine, Star Wars 1313 is also likely to focus on Boba Fett in an underworld of Coruscant between Episodes III and IV. With any luck, 1313 should be a great start to the hype machine gearing up towards Disney's Episode VII in 2015! (Winter)
12. HITMAN HD TRILOGY- This follow-up boxset to the fantastic Hitman Absolution compiles three classic original PS2 and Xbox games into one great trilogy catch-up. Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money were all critical successes, making this compilation for 360 and PS3 a definite must-buy for fans and Absolution newcomers...(February)
11. DEADPOOL- From what critics are saying so far, High Moon Studios' adaptation of the Deadpool comic-book series into a video game is looking absolutely ace. It'll contain fourth-wall breaking gags, violent gunplay and hilarious plot twists aplenty, not to mention some great crossovers with other X-Men and Marvel characters to boot! (Summer)
10. LEGO THE HOBBIT- As sure as it is that day will become night, so too we can be sure that Travellers' Tales have more LEGO games to offer than LEGO City Undercover in 2013, and that one such adaptation will be of the successful Hobbit movie trilogy. With the brilliant LEGO The Lord Of The Rings (9/10) as evidence, we can safely say this should be another incredible free-roamer. (December)
9. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES- Ridley Scott's Alien franchise has been hit-and-miss to say the least as of late, with Prometheus turning out to be a rather mediocre prequel to the classic original. Here's hoping that Colonial Marines will be a worthy successor to Alien 3, because if it is, then we can anticipate the ultimate envisioning of the sci-fi saga for current-gen consoles! (February)
8. RAYMAN LEGENDS- The original Rayman Origins (9/10) was one of the best games of 2011, and now we've got a WiiU exclusive sequel on the way. Legends' storyline will be as shallow ever, yet it's in the incredible innovation of Ubisoft Montreal through their platforming puzzles and utilisation of the console's GamePad that make this another masterpiece to remember. (March)
7. GEARS OF WAR: JUDGEMENT- Xbox 360 fans should be proud to highlight this as the current solitary exclusive release of 2013's first half to match up against The Last Of Us. Gears Judgement will boast adaptive gameplay, a creative story format to play with and some of the best visuals around, crafting it into a final 360 exclusive you won't want to miss. (March)
6. ASSASSIN'S CREED IV- 2012's Assassin's Creed III is an absolutely shining example of the highs the franchise can truly reach. It's unlikely this edition will actually be the next full instalment, more of a Brotherhood or Revelations-style outing, yet all the same I reckon that our next outing with Connor Kenway should make for one of the most memorable experiences of 2013. (November)
5. SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH- Another unexpected little hit, South Park is being brought to the world of video games by Fallout's Obsidian Games, which could mean an undeniably satisfying gameplay experience. The humour of the TV series is remarkably intact, and the turn-based RPG combat systems should allow for a genuine sense of nostalgia throughout this one. (May)
4. BIOSHOCK INFINITE- Irrational Games' second full BioShock project has suffered a great number of delays these past few months, yet now it seems that Infinite is finally just about here. Could it be a Game Of The Year contender? It's hard to tell for sure, but the signs are very promising, with Irrational seeming to have created a significant and innovative FPS experience for the ages. (March)
3. TOMB RAIDER- The Lara Croft franchise is getting a reboot after the climactic events of 2008's Tomb Raider: Underworld. This time around, Lara finds herself stranded as a young girl on a mysterious island, where she must conquer her fears and begin her journey towards becoming the world's best archeaologist and femme fetale! (March)
2. GRAND THEFT AUTO V- Following in the wake of GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games continue to dominate the current-generation of video game consoles with their new full Grand Theft Auto project. We'll head back to the city of Los Santos as three different protagonists, taking on the biggest open-world in the franchise yet and thus perhaps getting a true GOTY 2013 contender along the way...(May)
1. WATCH DOGS- From one significant open-world franchise to another, Watch Dogs kicks off an all-new video game series from Ubisoft Montreal. Odds are that this will be a next-generation project, possibly with crossover platform releases, but regardless of that, this futuristic free-roamer looks like a masterpiece in the making. Don't be surprised if this just misses a 2013 release, but for now we'll keep our hopes high, because this looks like 2013's defining title! (Winter)

New X-Men: Days Of Future Past Star Announced

Hugh Jackman WILL be back as Wolverine once again.
Up until now, the reports that Hugh Jackman would be returning for upcoming superhero sequel X-Men: Days Of Future Past were just that- reports. Today, though, we've had it confirmed by director Bryan Singer that Jackman will indeed reprise his role as Wolverine in the follow-up. The Australian actor has featured in X-Men, X2: United; The Last Stand; X-Men Origins: Wolverine and cameod in this flick's predecessor First Class, so once he's done this and The Wolverine (which hits in 2013), he'll have starred in a grand total of seven consecutive films based around the iconic Marvel mutant team. Singer has promised "more [reveals] to come" of actors and actresses reprising their roles in this exciting collaboration, so look out for much more on the project in the early months of 2013. X-Men: Days For Future Past claws its way into cinemas on July 18th, 2014.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Who News: New TARDIS Interior Unveiled

The Eleventh Doctor's new homespace gets a full image reveal!
We've already had it confirmed this week that a new title sequence and theme tune for Doctor Who will be revealed in this year's Christmas Special, and now the BBC Press Team have taken things one step further. Here, you can see the new interior for the TARDIS console room that will be unveiled in full in the episode- as you can see, it's very much a cool homage to the classic days of old for the drama, a fitting way to enter the 50th Anniversary and indeed a bold new incarnation for Clara Oswin to discover in six days' time. Doctor Who: The Snowmen airs at 5.15pm on BBC1 on Christmas Day.

The On-Screen Advent Calendar 2012: Day Nineteen

In just three days' time, we'll get the chance to see the penultimate episode of Merlin as a whole, the beginning of the end in The Diamond Of The Day Part 1. Two days later than that, on Christmas Eve itself, will bring the culmination of the show as Arthur and Merlin fight for their lives and the kingdom on the plains of Camlann in Camelot's final battle. Today, then, we're celebrating Merlin's greatest moments up until this point, counting down the Top 5 Best Episodes the show's given us so far. Here's our guide, then, to the biggest and best episodes of Merlin that you just can't afford to miss...
5. THE WICKED DAY- This was the Season Four story that saw the death of Uther Pendragon. Undoubtedly Merlin's biggest failure as a sorceror was to unwittingly allow the demise of his friend's father, something which turned Arthur totally against the practise of magic, and indeed which will have BIG implications for the adventures to come in this week's two-part finale.
4. THE DARKEST HOUR- As openers go, they don't get much better than the two-parter which began Season Four. The Darkest Hour blended psychological horror with plot twists from the legends marvellously, with Lancelot's sacrifice an admirable narrative surprise in spite of his necessary resurrection tale later in the season.
3. LE'MORTE DE ARTHUR- The Season One finale focused on Arthur's near-death at the hands of a mythical lizard, forcing Merlin to travel to the Kingdom Of The Blessed to make a bargain with the sinister Nimueh (Michelle Ryan). This epic conclusion tested the relationships of the young warlock with his greatest foe, the Great Dragon, Arthur and Gaius and worked beautifully in this respect.
2. THE BEGINNING OF THE END- The first of two Mordred stories that head this list, The Beginning Of The End was a dark Season One episode that introduced Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as the young incarnation of the budding antagonist. Butterfield's portrayal was intriguing, laying many of the strong foundations that have made Alexander Vhalos' version such a success this season.
1. THE DRAWING OF THE DARK- At the top of this list comes the fantastic recent Season Five story that focuses on Mordred's turn to the dark side. Taking plot strands from across the final season and making them vital here, The Drawing Of The Dark is a fantasy masterpiece, and all that remains to be seen now is if the writers can top it in either or both instalments of The Diamond Of The Day!

Best Of 2012 Awards: Top 20 Best Films

Our countdown of the greatest motion pictures available to you in the cinema that were released this year...
Is there any industry that's thrived this year as much as that of film and cinema? I'd wager your answer here should be 'No'. As such, we've had plenty of fantastic new motion picture instalments in 2012, ranging from superheroes to realistic terrorist schemes to great journeys across distant fantasy lands, and the future continues to look brighter and brighter even into 2013. Let's keep the focus here and now, though. Today, we're counting down the Top 20 Best Films Of 2012, and to mix things up a little, I've first compiled entries #20-#11 into a mini-list to show you which entries of film didn't quite make the Top 10, then focused more time on the big shortlist itself to highlight 2012's overall greatest films. Right, then- it's time. Here's our guide to (in my personal opinion as a critic) the Top 20 Best Films Of 2012...
#20: Ted; #19: Wrath Of The Titans; #18: Taken 2; #17: 21 Jump Street; #16: Dark Shadows; #15: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2; #14: Men In Black III; #13: Looper; #12: The Hunger Games; #11: Life Of Pi
10. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN- The prospects for this reboot of the Webbed Wonder's filmic adventures weren't looking bright when the project was announced. Thankfully, The Amazing Spider-Man revels in the quality chemistry of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as its leads, on top of a strong origins narrative that sets up some intriguing arc strands for the sure-to-be brilliant trilogy to come!
9. ROCK OF AGES- I loved the West End musical Rock Of Ages, so my interest in the film version was peaked from the outset. Tom Cruise gives his best performance yet, the flick retains the best classic rock songs from the musical, and indeed new stars like Diego Bonata and Julianne Hough do a fantastic job of balancing the Glee riffing melodrama with the legendary hits that make this such a compelling watch.
8. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS- As an initial confession, I'm not a big fan of where the horror genre is currently at- much of its instalments have become far too predictable. That said, The Cabin In The Woods is a brilliant, innovative take on modern horror, blending well-placed comedy with Joss Whedon's cunning sense of wit and thrills. It's a world that I would love to enter again- prequel, anyone?
7. WAR HORSE- It's no wonder that this one made it onto Oscar lists earlier in the year. War Horse remains an incredible piece of cinema, supported both by beautiful direction once again from Steven Spielberg, perhaps the best film soundtrack of the year and brilliant performances from so many up-and-coming British stars, making this a Brit cult classic of pure merit.
6. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY- I hope most of you get the chance to catch the first film in the Hobbit trilogy this Christmas, because it really does mark a staggering return to form for Peter Jackson. From Martin Freeman's defining performance of his lifetime to the amazing special effects, from the masterfully envisioned 'Riddles In The Dark' sequence to the thrilling climax, An Unexpected Journey is every bit of the success that the Tolkien family could have wanted, truly beginning to do justice to perhaps the greatest children's novel of all-time.
5. THE MUPPETS- How do you go from only liking The Muppets Christmas Carol to naming Jim Henson's latest puppet film one of the best of 2012? That's the thought transition I've made this past year, and The Muppets richly deserves its place on this list. Its parodies of film tropes, uplifting songs and star-studded cast line-up truly make it a significantly innovative comedy, another gem from Disney that won't soon be forgotten by film-goers.
4. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE- There were so many places where this could have gone wrong. Thank goodness, then, that Joss Whedon helmed Avengers Assemble, making it the best Marvel superhero movie ever and a cracking standalone instalment in cinema to boot. Everyone involved clearly wanted to pay off the hopes and dreams of fans of the Phase One franchise in full, and they've done that in high measure, getting us psyched up 100% for what's to come now for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
3. SKYFALL- As someone who wasn't a massive fan of Quantum Of Solace, my skepticism for Sam Mendes' resurrection of the Bond franchise for its 50th Anniversary of the movie series was pretty high. Skyfall couldn't have proved me wrong with much more vigour, though, providing us with an incredibly realistic and emotional storyline that dared to be different, taking many established series topes and tossing them aside in favour of telling a masterful tale through beautiful performances and amazing direction.
2. ARGO- If you'd have told me that I would name Argo the runner-up in our Best Film race for 2012, I'd probably have answered "What the heck is Argo?" Few had heard of this project until a month before release, yet now this surefire Oscar contender is known worldwide, and rightly so, because this realistic depiction of an inspiring triumph of human hope over terror is one of 2012's defining movies.
1. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES- In the end, from the moment I saw The Dark Knight Rises and had it rock my world, I had a suspicion it just might never be topped this year. That's most certainly remained the case, seeing as the final entry in the Batman trilogy boasts stunning performances from Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and so many other cinematic greats and a masterful and cunning narrative that skilfully culminates the story of Bruce Wayne. Above all, there's incredible direction from Nolan that helps to solidify the Dark Knight trilogy as...well, the greatest film trilogy since The Lord Of The Rings. Yep, I said it, and don't you half agree when you think about it? Time to get rewatching before Justice League hits in 2015 and gives us an all new take on the Caped Crusader- yet I have a feeling this incarnation can never truly be bettered.