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Thursday, 31 January 2013

February 2013: Your Guide To The Big Dates

Another packed month- all the release dates you need to know!
Once again, February 2013 is a month packed with key entertainment releases that you can't afford to miss. This I showcased in my '5 Releases You Can't Miss' feature, but now I'll display that in full by providing you with a full guide to all of the release dates you'll want to note down for the four weeks ahead. Here it is...
FRIDAY 1ST- GAMES: Hitman HD Trilogy; BOOKS: Doctor Who: The Silurian Gift
SUNDAY 3RD- TV: Glee: The Role You Were Born To Play; Being Human: The Trinity
MONDAY 4TH- GAMES: Halo 4: Spartan Ops Episode 8; TV: Arrow: Vertigo; Game Of Thrones: What Is Dead May Never Die; EVENTS: Doctor Who Second Doctor eBook Author Reveal
WEDNESDAY 6TH- TV: Derek Episode 2
FRIDAY 8TH- MOVIES: Wreck-It Ralph
SUNDAY 10TH- TV: Glee: Grease; Being Human Episode 2; BAFTA Film Awards 2013
MONDAY 11TH- GAMES: Halo 4: Spartan Ops Episode 9; TV: Two & A Half Men Returns; Game Of Thrones: Garden Of Bones
TUESDAY 12TH- GAMES: Aliens: Colonial Marines
WEDNESDAY 13TH- TV: Derek Episode 3
SUNDAY 17TH- TV: Glee: Dynamic Duets; Being Human Episode 3
MONDAY 18TH- DVDS: Skyfall; GAMES: Halo 4: Spartan Ops Finale; TV: Game Of Thrones: The Ghost Of Harrenhal; Arrow: The Odyssey
TUESDAY 19TH- GAMES: Assassin's Creed III: The Tyranny Of King Washington- The Infamy
WEDNESDAY 20TH- TV: Derek Episode 4
FRIDAY 22ND- GAMES: Crysis 3
SATURDAY 23RD- BOOKS: Doctor Who Second Doctor eBook Short Story
SUNDAY 24TH- TV: Glee: Thanksgiving; Being Human Episode 4; Academy Awards 2013
MONDAY 25TH- TV: Game Of Thrones: The Old Gods And The New; Arrow: Dodger
WEDNESDAY 27TH- TV: Derek Episode 5
THURSDAY 28TH- GAMES: Metal Gear Rising Revengeance

February 2013: 5 Releases You Can't Miss

Disney's Wreck-It-Ralph heads up another blockbuster month for worldwide entertainment!
With January thankfully now done and dusted, we move into the second month of 2013, where more brilliant entertainment releases still await us. Often, February heralds the big kick-off of major entertainment release blitzes occuring in the year after the post-Christmas slums, and this year seems absolutely no different in that respect. So, just what can you expect to see in the next four weeks? Here's our full guide to the five releases you simply can't miss...
5. SKYFALL DVD & BLU-RAY- James Bond's twenty-third adventure hit cinemas last Autumn to mass acclaim, and thus its release on DVD and Blu-Ray after the franchise's 50th Anniversary is something to be heralded indeed. Packed with extras and HD goodness, Skyfall retains all of the sheer majesty of its cinema release, yet with the added incentive of being able to watch one of the best action films in a long time for countless hours on end! (Monday 18th)
4. DEREK- Ricky Gervais' new comedy-drama was always going to be controversial. That said, Derek is sitting well so far on Channel 4, with 1.4 million viewers having tuned into the season premiere last night. In the weeks ahead, we'll learn more of the financial problems plaguing the nursing home, Derek's autism and more, all endowed with the brilliant humour and melancholy that promises to make this ambitious British comedy-drama such a cult winner. (Wednesday 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th)
3. BEING HUMAN- Despite a weaker fourth season, Being Human is back on BBC3 with a bombastic fifth season featuring an all-new cast. As the menacing Captain Hatch manipulates Hal and Tom into his hungersome vampire-werewolf conflict, and as Mr Rook threatens to end the supernatural world as we know it, it's up to 'The Trinity' to save the Earth once more. The question is, are the stakes just too great for them this time around...? (Sunday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th)
2. HITMAN HD TRILOGY- Those of us who joined onto iO Interactive's brilliant Hitman video game franchise last Autumn with Absolution can't wait to now get the chance to try out three of the franchise's classic hits. Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money are all compiled together along with the fantastic Sniper Challenge DLC, making for a killer package that should be one of the early defining video games of 2013! (Friday 1st)
1. WRECK-IT RALPH- Ever since Disney released Toy Story 3 back in 2010, they've been searching for a new animated hit on that scale, yet have failed with the likes of Brave and Frankenweenie. Enter Wreck-It Ralph, a rather revolutionary video game-themed new endeavour that looks poised to take the UK by storm with its belated release this month. Couple a cast including A-Listers such as John O'Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch with cameos from the games industry's most iconic characters including Sonic, Pac-Man, Bowser, Sangeif and so many more, and we could be in for something truly special. The best Disney film in years? It just could be...watch this space! (Friday 8th)

January 2013: Best Release

Our Best Release of 2013's opening month is revealed- Can You Hear The People Sing?
Choosing a respective month's Best Release in any month of 2013 is likely going to be tougher than ever, especially with big entertainment releases now arriving with such an alarming frequency throughout each month. You'll have noticed that we haven't had reviews of Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln yet, but that's only because of our minor hiatuses, our dedication to reviews of Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Derek, Arrow, Game Of Thrones and other big hitters this month. All the same, those two flicks will have their reviews soon, and if relevant be included in the Best Of 2013 awards come the year's end.

Back onto topic, though, why is it Les Miserables that scooped up January's most prestigious award? Those of you who witnessed my overwhelmingly congratulatory review earlier this month will know that I reckon it's an incredible early contender for Film Of The Year. Every element of the motion picture production reeks of quality and scale, with Tom Hooper's direction in particular turning out to be the shining highlight of the entire flick. Truly, Hooper has come on leaps and bounds from his already impressive work in The King's Speech, and it begs the question just what kind of new cinematic masterpiece he'll move onto next.

On top of the direction, both the iconic narrative of Les Mis and an incredible cast boost its standing even more than we might have thought possible. From the main stars such as Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried to more minor performances such as those of Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham-Carter and Samantha Barks, there isn't a loose note in the entire production, and that's saying something. Better yet, we get spell-binding renditions of the musical's famous and lesser-known numbers, with Valjean's Soliloquy, Master Of The House, Suddenly, Stars, One Day More and Can You Hear The People Sing? all incredible highlights of this masterful instalment for this reader.

If you haven't checked out Les Miserables this month, then you'll need to right that error in the next few weeks so as not to miss out on one of the greatest films that's hit cinemas in a long, long time. I can't recommend this movie masterpiece highly enough, and any negligence to see it will prove one of the most infamous mistakes in your entertainment viewing career come the DVD & Blu-Ray releases and indeed the multitude of awards Les Mis is undoubtedly sure to deservedly garner this coming month.

Game Of Thrones: The Night Lands Review

Can Season Two keep up the ante in its second episode?
It seems that following up on a season premiere is getting to be something of a trickier prospect for Game Of Thrones nowadays, with Season Two's second instalment The Night Lands sadly failing to hit the heights of its predecessor. There's a few interesting minor plot developments, sure, but much is the problem with a direct adaptation of the second novel that the first half of that particular paperback wasn't exactly packed with big events like its predecessor.

We're treated to a strong variety of plot arcs being developed in some way or another, though. In the forests, Arya's identity as a girl and a lady of Winterfell becomes known to her accomplice, while Jon Snow deals with a troublesome pregnancy situation in the Northern forests that leads to a rather anti-climatic and basic cliffhanger. Meanwhile, in King's Landing we see the vicious acts of Joffrey begin to take shape behind the scenes, with Cersei and Tyrion both worried as to how things will turn out for the King if he continues his reckless slaughter campaign. Finally, on top of another minor scene of grief for Danerys and the remainder of the Dothraki tribe she commands, we see Davos witness Stannis Baratheon's corruption while Theon Greyjoy witnesses his own father's shunning of his actions for the Stark in the past.

Keeping up? Indeed, more than one colleague who was following this second episode confessed having real troubles understanding all of the various plot strands, moreso than ever in the fairly straight-forward first season. The A Song Of Ice And Fire series of novels by George R.R. Martin were always convoluted, yet there was something that seemed supremely simpler for Martin in accomplishing the various tales on paper than it does here on screen. Thankfully, though, despite the confusion, the cast keep up the ante in terms of acting quality throughout, endeavouring to make each and every performance captivating to watch.

In the end, then, Game Of Thrones: The Night Lands suffers from 'season premiere backlash', struggling to hold the same impact and gravitas as its predecessor. All the same, there's still tonnes of potential on offer here in the background, and I for one cannot wait to see the rest of this (Sky Atlantic re-run) season play out!

Grand Theft Auto V Release Date Announced

Rockstar Games confirm that the latest instalment in their open-world franchise will arrive in September...
Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive have today announced the official worldwide release date for their new open-world video game Grand Theft Auto V. Set in Los Santos, the latest instalment in this acclaimed franchise focuses on three divided protagonists, each of whom live their own separate lives across the huge city and who work together in missions indicative of GTA IV's 'Three Leaf Clover' heist that promise to turn the entire gameplay experience on its head.

This new release date is a slight delay on what's been originally planned, with Rockstar confirming that they had initially wanted a May 2013 release, yet they say that "GTA V is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require." It's a completely valid justification on the developer's part, and certainly doesn't reek of the same marketing scepticism that surrounded the delays of games like BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider and Aliens: Colonial Marines into March of this year. I still await this one with incredibly eager anticipation!

Grand Theft Auto V is set for release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 17th.

New The Wolverine Plot Details Surface

Hugh Jackman is back as the world's most ferocious X-Man this Summer...
What with all the hype and furore surrounding X-Men: Days Of Future Past right now, it's easy to forget that we've still got another entry in that franchise a whole year before its Summer 2014 release. The Wolverine is heading to cinemas in just half a year's time, and today 20th Century Fox have celebrated by releasing a few new plot details on the flick.

Here's what producer Hutch Parker has to say: "We pick up Logan after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand in a very isolated state, full of self-loathing. He is sought out by a young Asian woman for reasons he doesn't fully understand, who is asking him to follow her to Japan where he is meant to reconnect with someone from his past. What you'll come to find is that this is someone he spent prison-time with in Nagasaki. And the legacy of that experience- effectively Logan saved him- is that the man is on his deathbed, and is looking to give him a gift, to thank him for the life he's had. But this gift draws Logan into a very complex and very unexpected world within both contemporary Japan and, to some extent, the feudal history of Japan. He's so in isolation, he's so out of his element. It's a much more powerful distillation of his character than you've seen before."

It sounds intriguing to say the very least, and we should expect a trailer for the movie to surface in the next month or so! The Wolverine rips into cinemas everywhere on July 26th.

First The World's End Images Debut

The Cornetto Trilogy's finale is coming, and we've got the first pictures!
Universal Studios have today unveiled the first official promotional images from their new comedy film The World's End. Set in modern-day England, the movie marks the final instalment of the 'Cornetto Trilogy' formed by Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright through 2004's Shaun Of The Dead and 2007's Hot Fuzz.

This new flick focuses on an apocalyptic situation whereby Pegg and Frost's characters must race with a British comedy ensemble across the country to reach the fabled 'The World's End' pub in order to save the Earth and get a great drink while they're at it. This is suitably overdramatic and lovable 'Cornetto' fanfare, and no doubt should prove a massive hit with UK viewers in particular, and hopefully in the States when it arrives a few months after This Is The End in October. You can see the movie's first images (copyright Empire) below...

The World's End explodes into British cinemas everywhere on August 14th.

LEGO City Undercover, GRID 2 Dated

Travellers' Tales and Codemasters reveal the days that their two latest projects will hit stores!
Today has seen a blitz of video game release date announcements, with publishers and developers seemingly looking to shed the common perception that the opening months of 2013 are rather lacklustre in terms of new releases. Among these reveals have been the release dates for LEGO City Undercover and GRID 2 by Nintendo and Codemasters respectively. The former game is a WiiU exclusive that features voice acting, a GTA-style free roaming world and a fully-fledged standalone storyline that deviates from films and TV series that have preceded it, while the latter is the latest instalment in the Colin McRae series that promises to overhaul the already-strong gameplay engine of the 2010 original. We'll have reviews on both of these games later in 2013! LEGO City Undercover will drive into UK stores along with a new WiiU bundle on March 18th and GRID 2 on 360, PC and PS3 on May 31st.

New Battlefield Game Announced

EA and DICE are back for another new instalment of modern warfare goodness next year!
Electronic Arts have today announced the development of a new Battlefield video game. President Frank Gibeau has told us today that "we'll be launching a new Battlefield game next year," with the company apparently "very excited to show you guys more detail on that coming soon".

Of course, something interesting on this matter is that a beta for a game titled Battlefield 4 was promised in the package of 2012's Danger Close shooter Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, and thus players of that game are already owed that seemingly 'announced' title, but it seems likely that this announcement today regards the game in question. Or, perhaps, could there now be two Battlefield video games coming in two years, kicking off an annualised schedule for the series? Gibeau was currently specific on the matter, stating that EA is "not announcing an annualisation of Battlefield at this time". It's interesting to contemplate on this matter nevertheless, especially with the subsequent reveal of Medal Of Honor's franchise demise coming hot on this news' heels!

Battlefield 4 is set for release in fiscal year 2014 (April 2013-March 2014), with a full reveal of the new entry confirmed to be on its way in April.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Setting Revealed

The X-Men are back in 2014...but when will their new outing be set?
A casting call released today for 20th Century Fox's new superhero film project X-Men: Days Of Future Past has seemingly revealed the time setting for the latest instalment in the hit franchise. The advertisement has listed the year 1973 as the setting for the movie, meaning that it takes place ten years after the events of 2011's X-Men: First Class and twenty seven years before the events of 2000's original X-Men.

Presumably, this means that the Brotherhood of Mutants we saw begin to form in First Class' final moments will be back in full force one decade on, albeit with January Jones' Emma Frost allegedly not making a return. More importantly, of course, will be the discovery of just when the future segment of Days Of Future Past takes place, as there's distortion of the surviving characters from 2005's The Last Stand with the inclusions of Patrick Stewart as Professor X and the omission of Cyclops from the list of returning past characters. All the same, with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Shaun Ashmore, Anna Paquin and Nicholas Hoult all confirmed to be on board for starters, this is going to be one heck of an exhilarating production!

X-Men: Days Of Future Past is set for release on July 18th, 2014.

New Iron Man 3 Promotional Poster Unveiled

Tony Stark descends from the skies in freefall before Sunday's trailer!
If you hadn't already heard, then you can now be excited in the news that a brand new teaser trailer for Iron Man 3 is coming this week via the Super Bowl XLVII competition in the States. Before that, though, Marvel Studios have released a new promotional poster for the upcoming poster, which can be seen below. This third instalment focuses on Tony Stark's mental state post-Avengers, whereby seeing fully-fledged superheroes from other times and worlds has hampered his own vision of the universe. Stark doesn't have long to grieve, however, as a personal tragedy strikes, and he must chase the deadly Mandarin and the mysterious Extremis in pursuit of answers- and in doing so, discover whether the man makes the suit or the suit makes the man! Iron Man 3 hits UK cinemas everywhere on April 26th.
Iron Man 3 poster

Medal Of Honor Franchise Shelved By EA

The publishers confirm they're giving the semi-Battlefield series a long rest!
Electronic Arts have today confirmed that the Medal Of Honor modern warfare shooter video game series will not be continued for the foreseeable future. The franchise's newest instalment was Warfighter, released last year to mediocre sales and even worse critical reviews on the whole.

Here's the official word from EA on the matter: "We haven't announced a new project for the Medal Of Honor development team, although there are other projects in development in Los Angeles and throughout our other EA studios. We're going to give Medal Of Honor a rest while we plan its return. We haven't made a decision on how or when it will returns." The signs certainly aren't positive, though, especially with the company's CEO Peter Moore adding the following comments on the 2012 incarnation: "Warfighter was solid, but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumers. Critics were polarised and gave the game scores which frankly were lower than deserved. This one is behind us now. We're taking Medal Of Honor out of rotation and have to bring year-over-year continuity to our shooter offerings."

We'll have all the latest news on the developments for the Medal Of Honor franchise as it comes in the year ahead. EA's next big modern warfare shooter, Battlefield 4, is set for release in fiscal year 2014 (April 2013-March 2014).

Fuse Delayed

EA confirm a release setback for Overstrike's spiritual successor...
Electronic Arts have today confirmed that their new video game third-person shooter Fuse has suffered a delay. Transformed from E3 2011's revealed quirky shooter Overstrike into a more gritty and realistic adventure for the hardcore Call Of Duty and Battlefield audience, in all honesty this one isn't looking amazing, but at least EA are taking the time to put further work into it. Here's hoping that the extra development time helps improve this into something the developers can be truly proud of! Fuse is now set for release on PS3 and 360 in Q2 2014 (April-June 2013).

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Derek: Episode One Review

Our verdict on the season premiere of Ricky Gervais' new drama.
There have been many strange televisual oddities these past few months, yet in this respect Ricky Gervais' comedy-drama Derek takes the cake. At times, it approaches melancholic levels of seriousness and reflection, with a genuine sense of pathos for the elderly residents of its focused nursing home. At other times, though, it's a typical Gervais comedy, albeit packed with a little more heart than some viewers may be used to even from The Office and Extras. So, now the show's back for its first full season, what's the verdict?

Unsurprisingly, writer and director Gervais plays it fairly safe with the narrative of the first full episode, investigating the challenges of counsellors interrupting in the staff's daily lives. The episode's strength, then, lies in its core cast, with the primary focus being on Gervais' protagonist, Karl Pilkington's Dougie, Kerry Godliman's Hannah and David Earl's Kev, and each of these minor British stars get their rightful times to shine with their own unique little moments. It's testament to the creative vision of the show's creator that such minuscule yet significant moments are featured throughout this premiere instalment, and these scenes really do hone in the sense that Gervais has another cult hit on his hands that should really resonate with UK viewers.

On a fundamental level, this character focus does inevitably mean that the episode's structure and narrative is rather basic, though. It's all fairly predictable fanfare both in terms of comedy and pathos, even if the latter moments do hold some extremely compassionate emotion for the more sensitive viewers. Overall, then, Derek's opening episode of Season One is a lovely showcase of what this little-but-ambitious programme has the potential to achieve, and if things continue to develop in a meaningful way, then there's potential for this to be one of the standout shows of 2013.

Iron Man 3 Phase Two Connections Revealed?

Could the new instalment's placement within the Avengers 2 story arc now be known to us?
As of today, it seems that we may know just how Iron Man 3 connects into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of hints as to what's to come in The Avengers 2. According to reliable rumour source The Latino Review, in the closing scenes of the movie, once whatever battles Tony Stark faces are done, he'll hook up with the Guardians Of The Galaxy for a mission that'll conclude with a cameo in that alien team's own film next year. It's an intriguing crossover project, and one that suggests that the Guardians' arch-foe Thanos will have a bigger role to play this time around than his cameo in Avengers Assemble (5/5). We'll have all the news on this plot development and the post-credits sequence for this third entry as it comes! Iron Man 3 blasts into cinemas on April 26th, while Guardians Of The Galaxy is due August 16th, 2014.

New Injustice: Gods Among Us Trailer Lands

The first narrative trailer for this ambitious DC fighter is here!
DC Comics, Warner Brothers Games and Neatherrealm Studios have today released the first full plot-based trailer for their new upcoming video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Set in the DC comic-book universe, this fighting title opens with Metropolis in ruins after a mass attack that left millions of civilians dead, with superheroes from across the world rallying onto various sides of the conflict as alleigances are made and lines must be drawn. Surprisingly, the campaign mode's plot looks really interesting, an amalgamation of super powers that could only be dreamt of in TV and film realms and thus remains a perfect acquisition for the games industry. Now, it simply remains to see whether Neatherrealm can pack a strong fighting gameplay engine to support the ambitious narrative- check out the trailer below for your first glimpse. Injustice: Gods Among Us launches on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo WiiU on April 19th.

The Muppets...Again! Images & Synopsis Debut

Jim Henson's iconic puppets are back next Spring- the first details, right here!
Walt Disney Studios have today increased their marketing campaign for the recently-announced sequel to 2011's hit film The Muppets massively, releasing the title, first images and plot synopsis for the much anticipated follow-up. It's what fans have been craving ever since the second instalment's existence was revealed a few months back, and the reveals don't disappoint!

Titled The Muppets...Again!, the latest film in the hit franchise will take place after the events of the 2011 surprise winner (5/5), once again featuring Chris Cooper as the new addition Walter. Here's the first narrative synopsis for the sequel as it reads right now: "The Muppets...Again! takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theatres in some of Europe's most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine- the World's Number One criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit- and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais, creator of Derek, The Office and Extras. The film stars 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Modern Family's Ty Burrell too."

It sounds as if this time around, the film will be in the vein of the more traditional original Muppets movies, yet with Bret McKenzie back on board for songwriting after his Oscar win with Man Or Muppet and James Bobin back on directing duties, I'm sure we can expect cinematic gold once again. The first images of Gervais and the company of Muppets in a London Underground station can be seen below.

The Muppets...Again rolls into cinemas everywhere on March 21st, 2014.

Who News: Steven Moffat On Series 7.2, 50th

Doctor Who's showrunner takes us through what to expect in the new episodes coming in 2013...
Today, we're exactly just two months away from Doctor Who's return. With this in mind, at the Radio Times cover party last night, showrunner Steven Moffat started chatting with an intrepid journalist on what we can expect to see in the episodes that will broadcast in this celebratory anniversary year. So far, we know that we've got the eight-part anniversary season this Spring, with the 50th Anniversary Special and BBC2 docudrama An Adventure In Time And Space heading up the televised celebrations amongst loads of big events this November. Here's everything that the Moff had to say on the adventures ahead...

  • ON THE SPRING ANNIVERSARY SEASON- "We'll be up in the air, we're under the water, we're on a fantastic alien planet, we're back in time, we're forward in time, and the Doctor's greatest secret is in jeopardy..."
  • ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL- "It's pretty big. You can't do this job if you're nervous all the time. So, seriously, I'm mostly excited, a little bit nervous and aware of trying not to let people down. But, you know, I don't want people to get bored just yet. So let's just wait and get our next eight episodes out of the way before we start talking about it."
With the revelation that 'the Doctor's greatest secret is in jeopardy', could the Moff be teasing that the first hints of what's to come at the Fields Of Trenzalore- as has been hinted since the Season Six finale The Wedding Of River Song- be included in the final few episodes of the season? I'd say don't be surprised if that's the case, even the prophesied infamous event itself doesn't come to fruition until the big 60-minute special coming our way in November! Beyond that? We'll likely get further announcements on the fairly likely 2013 Christmas Special and 2014's Season Eight during the broadcast of the anniversary season this Spring.

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 30th March.

An Adventure In Time And Space Cast Announced

Mark Gatiss reveals who we can expect to see in the BBC2 docudrama!
News announcements for Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary year are getting more frequent by the day, and among today's reveals is writer Mark Gatiss' revelation of the major cast members for his origins docudrama An Adventure In Time And Space. Set to air as part of the anniversary celebrations later this year, the 90-minute drama will focus on the inception of the sci-fi programme and the early days of its production for the original BBC1 team.

It's been confirmed by Gatiss today that David Bradley (Harry Potter's Filch and Dinosaurs On A Spaceship's Solomon) will play William Hartnell. It's a great piece of casting, and one that seems to fit more and more the moment you compare images of the 70-year old Game Of Thrones star to those of Hartnell himself. In addition, Jessica Raine (star of Call The Midwife and the upcoming Who story Phantoms Of The Hex) will portray Verity Lambert, and Brian Cox (best known as X-Men 2's William Stryker) will be the episode's Sydney Newman. Finally, Sacha Dahawan will play Waris Hussein, the director of the very first ever story An Unearthly Child.

This exciting docudrama is written by Mark Gatiss, who's also its executive producer along with Doctor Who head honchos Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. An Adventure In Time And Space will broadcast on BBC2 this November.

Epic Mickey Developers Junction Point Close

The team behind the Epic Mickey franchise suffer a tragic turn of events this week as Junction Point shuts down.
Disney Interactive Studios have today confirmed the heartbreaking news that their third-party video games developer Junction Point has shut down. Headed up by writer and artist Warren Spector, the developers were acclaimed for their original Epic Mickey project in 2010, which led to the production of a sequel- Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two- yet the latter game proved to be a big flop in stores last Winter after releasing next to Call Of Duty: Black Ops II, Assassin's Creed, Halo 4, FarCry 3 and Hitman: Absolution for starters. The Power Of Two was met with a mediocre reception too, yet there were tonnes of gameplay strengths in there that many critics still picked up on, and with a third instalment in the Disneyland-themed series perhaps the developers could have found innovative ways to right their franchise's wrongs. Nevertheless, it's a challengingly difficult time for the video gaming industry, as THQ will have recently agreed with their own shutdown. We wish the staff of Junction Point the best of luck in their future endeavours, and send our best wishes at what must be a difficult time for these creative men and women.

Super Bowl XLVII Movie Trailers Announced

The big movie reveals that'll highlight the US sports competition are revealed!
The Super Bowl promotional team in the United States have this week revealed the new film blockbuster trailers that will highlight the competition's XLVII event this Sunday. It's an exciting line-up that's sure to entice the film fan in all of us everywhere in a few days' time. Here's the full list of announced trailers:

  • Oz: The Great And Powerful (March)
  • Iron Man 3 (April)
  • Star Trek Into Darkness (May)
  • Fast And Furious Six (May)
  • World War Z (June)
The Super Bowl XLVII competition broadcasts this Sunday February 3rd. Expect each of these big trailer reveals to debut right here at On-Screen next Monday...

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

DC News: Justice League Status Update Lands

Superman is coming this Summer- could JLA hang in the balance?
There's been a number of interesting rumours surrounding the much-hyped Justice League movie project these past few weeks, yet today has brought with it the most intriguing evidence yet. It seems we know just how the likelihood of the creation of this film will fare, and it could be ominous if things don't turn out well for DC's latest standalone superhero movie.

Variety are reporting that a Warner Bros conference call from key studio heads featured the following sentiments on Justice League: if, and only if, Man Of Steel performs above expectations, then DC Studios will move on with the 2015 project. If not, though? Well, now that's the big question of the day. The rumours are that if the Zack Snyder-directed and Christopher Nolan-produced movie doesn't attain the same kind of success as at least Batman Begins did back in 2005, then DC Studios will shelve or quite possibly even cancelled the anticipated superhero team-up that was meant to go up against The Avengers 2 in 2015.

Personally, I reckon it'll be a shame if the ensemble film doesn't ever make it to screens, as there was a lot of potential for it to reboot the movie franchises of several heroes and kick off a big new DC Cinematic Universe. All the same, competition in 2015 will be heavy with films such as The Avengers 2, Pirates Of The Carribbean 5, The Fantastic Four and Star Wars: Episode VII all set for release that year...Man Of Steel is set for release in cinemas worldwide on June 14th.

First Sherlock Series Three Director Announced

A series newcomer arrives for the return of Holmes to BBC1...
The BBC have today confirmed the name of the first of three directors for the new season of Sherlock. Set to shoot this Spring for broadcast later this year, the third season will feature three new blockbuster episodes that encapsulate Sherlock's return from the dead and the themes 'Rat. Wedding. Bow.' It has been announced that Jeremy Loving, the man behind hit British projects such as Spooks and Hot Fuzz, will helm one of the new ninety-minute instalments. However, expect Loving to helm the second episode rather than the premiere or the finale, which will likely contain big continuity-shaping events that directors who've helmed the show before will probably be best picked to deal with! Sherlock returns to BBC1 this Autumn.

Being Human Episode 2 Synopsis Arrives

Alex discovers she isn't alone as a ghost at Honolulu Heights!
We're just days away now from the return of Being Human to BBC3 this Sunday, and in recognition of this, the press team have released another plot synopsis for next week's second episode of the new season. Here's the brief: "Alex discovers she isn't the only ghost haunting Honolulu Heights. Meanwhile, Tom and Hal go head-to-head in the hotel's Employee Of The Month competition, much to the delight of Captain Hatch, who feeds on werewolf/vampire conflict. In the supernatural archive, Mr Rook is hatching a devious scheme to save his department, one that involves newly made vampire Crumb." Being Human returns this Sunday February 3rd on BBC3 at 10pm.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Temple Run 2 Review

Does the sequel to the best-selling iOS and Android time-waster provide the goods?
Reviewing free apps available on the iOS, Android and Google Play marketplaces is always a tricky ask. If anything, you're just as free not to 'buy' these entertainment releases as you are to do so, and thus in some ways that means it's all really up to you. All the same, given the success of Temple Run for its developers last Winter, it's still intriguing to track the progress on the sequel, and so I at least thought I'd provide a quick verdict.

On the whole, the changes in Temple Run 2 are rather cosmetic. You'll still swipe left and right to quickly veer your cave runner in various directions to keep him moving, plus swipe up and down to jump and duck respectively just as George Lucas' Indiana Jones once did. Nevertheless, the cosmetic graphical tweaks are certainly neat, especially once you reach a mine cart section that suitably shakes things up for the franchise. The major shortcoming of this free app? The lack of innovation and thus ambition on offer, with little more than addiction and a few extra characters with no bonus abilities to unlock.

Overall, then, as I mentioned the choice with deciding on app games such as this lies solely with the preferences of you, the player. If you liked Temple Run, then know that Temple Run 2 is completely more of the same, yet that does mean you'll be just addicted playing this fun adventure as you ever were!

Star Wars 3D Re-Releases Cancelled

These are no longer the 3D big screen returns you're looking for...
Two years back, Lucasfilm announced the incredible decision to re-release all six Star Wars films in a stunning 3D format once again on the big screen. Fast forward eighteen months, and Walt Disney Studios announced their own big project acquisition of the entire Lucas franchise for future film instalments. Yep, it's certainly a fantastic time to be a fan, with re-releases of Episode II: Attack Of The Clones and Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith set for back-to-back distribution this September and October...

...Or so we thought. Today, Deadline has confirmed that in fact, both 3D re-releases have been cancelled by Disney. Yes, you read right- we're no longer going to get the chance to relive the Battle Of Genosis, the Clone Wars, Order 66 or the rise of Darth Vader on the big screen in 2013. For some of 'fans' who hated the prequels, perhaps this will be a blessing, but given that they would have been by no means obliged to catch these cash shoe-ins, it's a major shame for those of us who were looking forward to them. I caught Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D (3.5/5) last February in my local ODEON, and it proved to be a heck of a better film than I had ever remembered as a result.

The worst part of this tragic turn of events? It means that we won't have the chance to see Episodes IV-VI in 3D on the big screen again, either. No announcement has been yet made on the classic re-releases, yet chances are that they're gone and dusted now too. It's a genuine shame, and something that I reckon Disney and Lucasfilm will live to regret despite the only decent sales of The Phantom Menace 3D in 2012. It seems that Disney want to place all of their focus with JJ Abrams' resurrection of the film franchise with Episode VII, yet they had best be wary of deserting the legacy of filmic greatness that the final chronological four movies left behind in 2005. Star Wars: Episode VII is set for release in 2015.
Update: StarWars.com has at least released an official statement that may yet hold some hope for the re-releases: "Lucasfilm has decided to postpone this fall's scheduled release of Star Wars Episode II and III in 3D. Given the recent development that we are moving forward with a new Star Wars trilogy, we will now focus 100% of our efforts on Star Wars: Episode VII in order to ensure the best possible experience for our fans. We will post further information about our 3D plans at a later date."

Hitman: HD Trilogy Launch Trailer Debuts

Agent 47 Is Back This Friday...
Hitman: Absolution fans who haven't tried iO Interactive's previous Agent 47 outings have the ultimate chance come this week, with the release of Hitman: HD Trilogy in stores. Compiling the last-generation efforts Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and Hitman: Contracts with the cross-generation launch title Hitman: Blood Money and the DLC mini-game Hitman: Sniper Challenge, this is a killer package and a real steal at just £20. Square Enix have today produced the first full trailer for the HD collection, and it's looking like a rather ace high-resolution upbringing even for those fans who've already played the original three games! Hitman: HD Trilogy launches on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this Friday, February 1st.

Arrow: Trust But Verify Review

As the Dark Archer's plans begin to seep into Oliver's life, can the episode quality keep up at the season's halfway point?
It's fair to say that Arrow has had a pretty consistently impressive run so far, packed with unexpected plot twists that have no doubt reinvigorated the legend of the Green Arrow for DC fans and newcomers alike. The eleventh episode- Trust But Verify- does a fantastic job of raising the ante once again, daring to shock the viewer, even if in doing so it still makes a few structural stumbles along the way.

First and foremost, it was a pleasant turn of events to see Doctor Who's John Barrowman back for another turn as Malcolm Merlyn. Slowly we're beginning to learn more of Merlyn and his funding organisation's plans for Starling City, and the Queen family are beginning to feel the consequences too with Moira forced to deceive both of her children to keep their secrets safe. It was certainly refreshing to see both actors placed in a sly and cunning game of deception with the Queen youths, even if there is still the sense lingering that there's a little bit of time-killing going on until this season nears what should prove to be an epic crescendo.

At first, the core narrative of Diggle's personal conflict at Oliver hunting down one of his closest friends seemed set to provide one of the most compelling adventures of the lot. In the end, though, Ben Browder's portrayal of this hunted ally was rather understated and basic, and gave way to a lot of the various other plot arc elements. We had Malcolm's dinner, Moira's suspicions, the car crash and other big events taking precedence over what could have been a brilliant standalone tale in its own right, so it's hard not to wonder why this instalment couldn't have been placed earlier in the run.

Once again, my sole niggle with this latest episode was the flashback sequences we witnessed. Now that Oliver's modern-day adventures are becoming so exciting to watch play out, moving back to the 'Five Years Ago' setting feels like a disjointed transition, and one hopes that the majority of the big secrets are revealed before the end of the season so that the inevitable second run can to some extent leave those plot strands behind. All the same, Trust But Verify was another strong outing for Arrow, proving that the show isn't afraid to tackle vital issues such as affairs and drug misuse, while additionally setting a great precedent for the remaining half of this so-far very impressive première season.

Best Of Who Awards: Top 5 Greatest Alien Planets

Travel in the TARDIS to the greatest alien worlds in Doctor Who's fifty-year history...
"So, where do you wanna go- what do you want to see?" In just two months' time from now, the Eleventh Doctor will ask his new companion Clara Oswin Oswald that very same question as they reunite for more travels in the TARDIS in the show's fiftieth anniversary season. First, though, why don't we look back on the worlds that ancient time machine has visited first? Because while the TARDIS doesn't always take the Time Lord where he wants to go, in its own words, "I always took you where you needed to go". Let us open those blue police doors once again, to go through all of time and space, everywhere and anywhere...
5. ALFAVA METRAXIS (2010)- Although the name of this deadly planet may not ring a bell at first, when I tell you that the Crash Of The Byzantium and the Maze Of The Dead's treacherous realm of Weeping Angels lay here, it should prove a great refresher. Alfava Metraxis was a gripping setting for The Time Of Angels and Flesh & Stone in Season Five, an ambiguous and unpredictable locale that felt as if it was constantly conspiring against the Doctor, especially with a powerful crack in the fabric of time and space lying deep within its core...
4. THE ASTEROID OUTSIDE THE UNIVERSE (2011)- Neil Gaiman has always had a knack for creating visionary science-fiction settings, and the locale he chose for the Doctor to encounter a human form of the TARDIS in The Doctor's Wife was just as iconic. We saw ruined time machines, a living consciousness called House and met quirky alien mish-mash characters Auntie and Uncle in an intriguing yet teasing glimpse of this fascinating realm beyond the known universe.
3. THE LIBRARY (2008)- Another location creation from the mind of showrunner Steven Moffat. The Library featured in the Season Four introductory two-parter to the character of River Song, bringing with it incredible towering spires and skylines the likes of which Doctor Who had been previously incapable of thanks to CGI constraints. Once again, a stunning and iconic realm for the Time Lord and his TARDIS to visit at the click of the Doctor's fingers!
2. SKARO (1963-2012)- You may have noticed there aren't many Classic Series planets on this list- just Skaro, in fact. For the most part, that's because Doctor Who's strength lay primarily in its cast in 1963-1989 rather than the oft-lamented sets, whereas in 2005-2013 its strengths know no bounds. That said, the Dalek home planet of Skaro has always been a fascinating extraterresterial world to return to, and Asylum Of The Daleks gave us long-term fans perhaps the most beautiful rendition of this ancient and war-torn planet yet. And may the legends continue...
1. NEW EARTH (2006-2007)- Perhaps this top ranking will seem like a strange choice to some- New Earth and Gridlock were hardly revolutionary new Who stories. Nevertheless, in both, we gained intriguing insights into the new home world of humanity, and particularly in the latter, we saw the hope and love retained by our race even in the deepest recesses of the Underground with their binding rendition of Abide With Me. Truly, the depiction of New Earth on our screens marks a landmark moment in Doctor Who's interplanetary storytelling, a shining example of the show's daring exploits into the deepest depths of time and space. And what now, as we enter Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary year? Well, naturally- Onwards...

Marvel News: More X-Men 2 News Lands

1024x768 X-men RogueNews unveils for Days Of Future Past continue thanks to director Bryan Singer!
We've had a host of big official news reveals on the upcoming superhero film X-Men: Days Of Future Past these past few weeks, and director Bryan Singer has continued that trend today with even more exciting announcements. From castings to storyline details, the man behind the camera has a lot to say of his continuity-melding big project. Read on for the full guide to Singer's words...

  • MORE X-RETURNS- First up, director Singer has confirmed via Twitter three previous stars of the main X-Men trilogy who'll return to franchise after over a half decade performing elsewhere. They are as follows: True Blood's Anna Paquin reprising her role as Rogue, Juno and Inception's Ellen Page as Kitty Pride and Smallville's own Jimmy Olsen Shawn Ashmore as Iceman. These three previously teen stars were big hits with fans in the original trilogy, so their returns onto the X-Men scene for this time-travelling follow-up to First Class alongside the already confirmed cast members of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and plenty of the franchise's stars should certainly be welcome!
  • SINGER ON ADAPTING THE DOFP COMIC- "It has a lot of aspects- the actual comic of Days Of Future Past had a whole ton of stuff going on, so it's like any of these things; you have to ddistill it. But I think the fans will be pleased that some of the most exciting parts of the comic are going to be connected to this movie."
  • SINGER ON FRANCHISE CONTINUITY- "I'm taking into account every movie- I'm not just grabbing [X-Men and X2: United] and First Class and smashing them together. I'm taking into account the entire universe as it's been laid out so far on the screen, and really respecting it and trying to work with that. People took things in various directions, so there's some clean-up. But ultimately I'm not just ignoring them either..."
This exciting project is beginning to look more and more like the Avengers ensemble for the X-Men franchise, which is something that's already establishing the movie as one of my Most Anticipated for 2014 by a long way! X-Men: Days Of Future Past travels into cinemas everywhere on July 18th, 2014, but of course don't forget that the story continues first with The Wolverine this July 26th.

New Sonic Next-Generation Game Rumoured

Could SEGA's iconic hedgehog return on PS4 and Xbox 720?
Reports are beginning to circulate that a new Sonic The Hedgehog game is on its way to next-generation consoles later this year. Reliable domain GoNintendo are the source of the rumours so far, suggesting that there'll be more than twenty stages (not including boss battles), multiple routes and exits, loads of new playable characters and a refined focus on 3D platforming. Presumably, there'll be a multi-generation crossover release so the 360 and PS3 get in on the action too, but most of all, SEGA will no doubt hope that this instalment doesn't flop as their 2006 next-gen launch title Sonic The Hedgehog did! GoNintendo reports that Sonic 5 will début for Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 this Winter, with a press reveal reportedly set for February.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Coming Up This Week: January 28th-February 3rd

Hitman, Derek, Being Human and Doctor Who all return to the world, plus loads more exciting releases to come this week!
Last week was something of a blitz for entertainment releases, and while things calm down a little for the next seven days ahead, there's still a lot of stuff for you entertainment fans to be excited about. As per usual, here's a full round-up of what the week ahead has in store- as you'll see, once again there's definitely something for every fan out there...
HALO 4: SPARTAN OPS EPISODE SEVEN- The story beyond Halo 4 continues, as Halsey is taken up on her dealings with the Covenant, and the enemy's search for the secrets of the Librarian reaches a climax. Worse still, the Infinity is invaded by Forerunners- will the UNSC troops make it out alive? (Monday 28th)
ARROW: TRUST BUT VERIFY- This week's instalment of Arrow puts the Hood in his most challenging situation yet. As Diggs discovers that one of Oliver's list is a man who saved his life years back in the force, Oliver's only true ally stands in the way of his next key target. It's time to see if Queen will make the ultimate sacrifice to honour his late father's legacy...(Monday 28th)
GAME OF THRONES: THE NIGHT LANDS- Sky Atlantic's re-run of Season Two continues, with Tyrion Lannister forced to resort to desperate measures in order to restrain King Joffrey and keep King's Landing safe. Meanwhile, the first signs of uprising are surfacing! (Monday 28th)
ANGER MANAGEMENT SEASON TWO- Charlie Sheen and company return for a second full season of this promising US comedy. Anger Management's season premiere sees Martin Sheen's character fly off the rails in a sudden event, leaving Charlie to question his own father's sanity- again...(Wednesday 30th)
DEREK SEASON ONE- Another big returnee, Ricky Gervais' hit UK comedy-drama Derek has now got its first full season of six episodes. The new series opens with the Nursing Home under threat of closure, as Derek and Hannah must rally the elderly together to save their workplace and home. This should be moving stuff for sure, well worth a watch! (Wednesday 30th)
DOCTOR WHO: THE SILURIAN GIFT- No, it's not the show's full-scale anniversary season return yet, that'll be just over a month away come Saturday! For now, we've got a brand new Quick Reads novel- The Silurian Gift- to continue the Doctor's post-Clara adventures, with the Time Lord investigating a strange mining project in the North Pole that holds deadly secrets. (Friday 1st)
HITMAN HD TRILOGY- Agent 47 is back for more adventures on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. IO Interactive combine Hitman 2, Contracts and Blood Money into one almighty HD package for £30, bringing us a sublime catch-up compilation for Absolution newcomers. (Friday 1st)
GLEE: THE ROLE YOU WERE BORN TO PLAY- Mercedes and Mike both return to McKinley High post-graduation, as Glee enters its Grease phase and the New Directions audition for the big parts. Expect everyone to be feeling the big reprecussions from The Break-Up, so it's emotional stuff this week...(Sunday 3rd)
BEING HUMAN: THE TRINITY- Is it time for Being Human's redemption after its weaker fourth season? We'll see, as Hal, Tom and Alex move on from Annie's demise and learn to cope with the real world, meeting the mysterious Men In Black and the ancient-and-deadly Mr Rook- let havoc commence! (Sunday 3rd)
AND THERE'S MORE- Looper, Doctor Who: The Reign Of Terror, Resident Evil: Retribution and Everything Or Nothing all land in DVD and Blu-Ray retailers tomorrow, plus Ni No Kuni marks another great indie release out for the PS3 this week!
ON THE BLOG- We'll reveal more on who's returning for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, our choices for January 2013's Best Release and Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases Of February 2013 and tonnes more exciting surprises. On top of that, there'll be our reviews of Temple Run 2, Game Of Thrones: The Night Lands, Derek Episode One and Being Human: The Trinity...
AND NEXT WEEK...Wreck-It-Ralph levels up into cinemas everywhere in the UK, the Hood meets Count Vertigo in Arrow, Glee enters West End territory, Derek and Being Human continue, Halo 4: Spartan Ops races towards its conclusion and the BAFTA Film Awards are announced!

Doctor Who: Countdown To 50- Week Four

The times, they are a'changing. As the Doctor, Ian and Barbara set off from 2160s London after the departure of Susan in The Dalek Invasion Of Earth (1964), they have as much idea as the viewer about who'll be the replacement for the teen girl companion. Sure enough, though, Vicki bursts into the realm of Who in the Season Two adventure The Rescue, which focuses on a host of survivors stranded on a mysterious planet who are calling for help in the midst of a deadly alien tracking them all the while.

It's a rather typical premise for Doctor Who, and one that you get the feeling writer David Whitaker simply dreamt up in a hurry to establish a new companion. Thankfully, Maureen O'Brien shines in the role, providing us with a completely different take on a younger time traveller thanks to her future time setting and the context of her arrival on the TARDIS. Vicki is rarely known as one of the defining companions, and with good reason given her competition, yet there's certainly potential here for the much-loved character O'Brien's newcomer would grow to become over the next two years.

The Rescue is a flawed story thanks to its premise never quite carrying through to any meaningful conclusion, yet there are still great performances on offer here from the main cast. It's at least a strong introduction, then, for Maureen O'Brien as Vicki, a story that demonstrates the versatility of the show, an ability of its writers to adapt and survive in the midst of casting changes which Doctor Who has never lost in its fifty-year history.

Django Unchained Review

Tarantino's greatest, or a pile of tumbleweed? The verdict is here...
When it comes to rating an Oscar Best Picture nominee such as Django Unchained, it's important to attempt to distance oneself from the knowledge of its various nominations in order to provide an 'objective' verdict on the matter. With this in mind, I went into Django with an open mind, even after the disappointing Inglorious Bastards (3/5). Thankfully, Quinten Tarantino doesn't make the same mistakes as in that mediocre WW2 romp, with his latest instalment of cinema more than living up to its not-insubstantial potential.

Firstly, it goes without saying that the man behind the camera, Tarantino, has an eye for cinema like no other. With Django, we've got possibly one of the finest visionary pieces of film since Avatar or the visionary legends before it, a beautiful drama packed with all of the scale and awe that recent takes on the Western genre such as Lawless have often lacked. There's not a single shot here which is placed to any great misuse, each camera angle and perspective providing a strong contribution to what is without a doubt one of the most impressive visual achievements in a long time.

At its heart, the narrative Tarantino tells is a simple one- ex-slave Django (Jamie Foxx) hooks up with Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to free his wife from the clutches of slave owner and tyrant Calvin Candy (Leonardo DiCaprio). Yet it is the manner in which this acclaimed writer deals with slavery and the issues surrounding it towards the Civil War that makes the plot so memorable, an incredible satirical take on the beliefs and morals of the American people at time. Few storylines have accomplished so much in terms of a historical rendition these past few years, and for that achievement alone Django Unchained deserves to be remembered as it clearly has by Academy Award critics. Indeed, the flick carries one of the best casts in a while too, with DiCaprio's Candy carrying a terrifying unpredictable nature, Waltz's Schultz a wise-cracking hilarity throughout and Samuel L Jackson getting a few choice hit lines in his unusually brief screen time.

My question is this, then- why does Django fail to impress quite as avidly as I reckon the Film Of The Year 2013 candidates that will come our way will in the months ahead? In no small part, the closing scenes don't help, bringing with them an uneasy sense of self-indulgence on Tarantino's shoulders, as the director takes what is at first a gratuitous and satisfying bloodbath worthy of the BBFC's 18 certificate, then transforms the conflict at hand into something rather tedious that supposedly befits multiple endings. You won't quite know when the full 165 minute running time has passed, and although the resolution does its narrative justice, it still seems as if a decent 20-30 minutes or so could have been trimmed off for a later extended editions. The likes of The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Les Miserables have all justified their lengthy running times recently by proving gripping throughout, yet whereas DiCaprio's Candy might say "You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention", I felt the opposite was true of the movie's final moments. Sure, I was enjoying myself in the sheer violence and hilarity, but I wasn't exactly reeling for more as I'd hoped come the credits.

Nevertheless, with his latest movie instalment, Tarantino has mastered the arts of direction, sound design and casting, bringing us a well-rounded production that deserves the majority of merits being thrown its way these past few weeks. Django Unchained isn't quite the groundbreaking game-changer it sets out to be, but it's worth your time simply for DiCaprio and Waltz's show-stealing performances alone, and remains a fitting epitaph for the Western film genre as it stands in 2013 thanks to the mastery of the man at its helm.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Marvel News: First Avengers Phase 3 Films Announced

Kevin Feige spills the beans on what to expect after The Avengers 2...
We've been pretty lucky in terms of big Marvel film news these past few weeks, what with the confirmation of pre-production commencing on Joss Whedon's TV series SHIELD this week amongst other important reveals. Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige isn't done there, though, today revealing to the world just what movies we can expect to make up the first stages of Avengers Phase Three once The Avengers 2 has released. The full guide to Feige's unveils is right here below...

  • ON ANT-MAN: "Ant-Man is definitely a part of [Avengers] Phase Three. Like Iron Man 3, it's certainly set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's also through the lens of Edgar Wright- which is the only reason we're making the movie. It's very much an Ant-Man origins movie from the perspective of Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish. It will of course be firmly planted in the MCU, but a very different corner than we've seen before."
  • ON DOCTOR STRANGE: "Doctor Strange is definitely one of [our plans]. He's a great, original character, and he checks the box off this criteria that I have: he's totally different from anything else we have, just like Guardians Of The Galaxy. He's totally different from anything we've done before, as is Ant-Man, which keeps us excited."
  • ON THE FUTURE: "So much of the stories we're telling is about the core Avengers characters we've now met, and they'll be evolving in big, surprising ways, in Cap's next movie and Thor's next movie and of course in Iron Man 3, as we get them all into the next Avengers film. Beyond that...Ant-Man is the only one officially announced, but you probably don't have to look too far to guess at the next list of characters we're toying with and beginning to develop."
To sum up currently announced release dates: Iron Man 3 lands on May 3rd, Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians Of The Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015 and Doctor Strange in 2016.

Star Wars: Episode VII Director Announced

The man who brought Star Trek back from death will do the same for George Lucas and Disney's new revived franchise...
Disney and Lucasfilm have today brought us the exciting announcement of the name of the director of their new science-fiction film Star Wars: Episode VII. It will be J.J. Abrams who helms the project, a man who's had great experience in the realms of this genre thanks to heading up projects like Star Trek and Super 8, as well as collaborating on hit films such as Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Abrams always seemed like a prime candidate for the job, so it's great to see him succeed in acquiring what should be one of the most influential film positions of this decade.

Importantly, Abrams' contract only currently covers Episode VII rather than the entirety of the newly announced trilogy of Star Wars films, yet this could just be as the director doesn't want to commit too far down the line. Indeed, this project alone will take him up to 2015, at which point he's agreed to be at least a producer on the third Star Trek movie if his directed Into Darkness goes down a storm as it's already predicted to this Summer. Nevertheless, George Lucas is probably right to say that "the legacy [of Star Wars] couldn't be in better hands", and fans such as myself will no doubt eagerly await the film's release to see just what surprises Abram and Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Ardnt have in store.

Star Wars: Episode VII is set for release in cinemas worldwide in Summer 2015.

Assassin's Creed III Infamy DLC Dated

Not long now until the first alternate reality single-player DLC expansion arrives!
Last November's Spike Video Game Awards saw the announcement of The Tyranny Of King Washington three-part story DLC for Assassin's Creed III, and Ubisoft Montreal have this week confirmed just when we'll see the first instalment land in digital marketplaces. Titled Infamy, this first set of missions will see Connor discover an alternate reality where George Washington finds a Piece Of Eden and becomes a tyrannical King of America as a result. Assassin's Creed III: The Tyranny Of King Washington- The Infamy will launch on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on February 19th.

First Being Human Series Five Trailer Debuts

Tom (Michael Socha), Alex (KATE BRACKEN), Hal (Damien Molony) in Being HumanBBC3's hit supernatural drama returns next month!
We're just a fortnight away now from Being Human's return to our screens with its latest season (Series 5, for those keeping count) on BBC3, and to celebrate its marketing team have released the first official trailer. It's brief, but there are a few tantialising shots of the season premiere's titular Trinity, the villainous Mr Rook (Phil Davis) and the mysterious Men In Black glimpsed in the 2012 finale to get fans excited for the show's return. We'll have full reviews of every episode out of the six new instalments, but for now simply check out the epic first trailer below. Being Human returns to BBC3 on Sunday February 3rd at 10pm.

Resident Evil: Revelations HD Port Announced

The hit 3DS shooter spin-off comes to 360, PS3, PC and WiiU this Summer...
Capcom have this week announced a high-definition port of their popular shooter spin-off handheld title Resident Evil: Revelations. Originally released for the Nintendo 3DS in Spring 2012, the game's narrative bridged the gap between the fourth and fifth main Resident Evil instalments, placing a focus on new protagonists who went out in search of series staplemate Chris Redfield. Overall, Revelations ranked well with critics, earning a high 82% score on Metacritic, so fans of the saga will no doubt be excited to see a high-resolution version arrive on home consoles this Summer. Resident Evil: Revelations launches on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo WiiU and Microsoft Windows on May 24th, and is available now for Nintendo 3DS.

NTA 2013 Winners Announced

Dermot O'Leary presented a host of expected and surprising Brit TV awards...
The National Television Awards are always a highlight for British television, and the 2013 ceremony was no different. While I'm inclined to disagree with a lot of the winners, and Doctor Who and Sherlock's omissions after their stunning 2012 runs were criminal, this year's winners list is still decent enough, reflecting the basic mainstream needs of casual audiences.

Here's the full list:
FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT- Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs
DRAMA- Downton Abbey
DRAMA PERFORMANCE: MALE- Colin Morgan (Merlin)
DRAMA PERFORMANCE: FEMALE- Miranda Hart (Call The Midwife)
TALENT SHOW- Strictly Come Dancing
DOCUMENTARY- Frozen Planet
SERIAL- Coronation Street
DAYTIME- This Morning
ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME- I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here!
LANDMARK AWARD- London 2012 Olympic Games

For all the latest TV and Awards news, keep it On-Screen in the weeks ahead!

THQ Confirm Shutdown, Property Acquisition

Another sad day for the entertainment industry- THQ is the latest franchise to bite the bullet in 2013.
Video games developer and publisher THQ Interactive have this week confirmed that they have shut-down their company, handing over its various properties and hit franchises to other third-party sources. The move comes in the midst of intense financial difficulties for the company, leaving them unable to operate in 2013 and thus forcing them to hand over their video game franchises rather than lose them entirely. Here's the full line-up of where video game franchises will be transferred to and whether we can expect any delays of titles as a result...

  • SEGA- Relic (2014)
  • Koch Media- Volition (2014); Metro: Last Light (2013)
  • Crytek- Homefront 2 (2013)
  • Take 2- Saint's Row 4 (2013); WWE 2014 (2013); Evolve (2014)
  • Ubisoft- South Park: The Stick Of Truth (2013); Montreal (2014)
Our best wishes go to all of those staff at THQ left unemployed by this tragic turn of events. Keep it On-Screen for all the latest of the disowned video game franchises mentioned here and indeed THQ's future in any meaningful form.

DC News: Justice League, Batman 4 Updates Arrive

Justice LeagueAll the latest on upcoming DC superhero movies!
DC Studios are getting increasingly more talkative on the future of their various film franchises, a trend which has continued on great form this week. These past few days, we've had big news reveals on both the Justice League movie and indeed the next Batman instalment. Read on below for all of our news updates from DC...

  • NO BLAKE FOR JUSTICE LEAGUE?- Joseph Gordon-Levitt has firstly started to bat away (pun fully intended) some of the rumours surrounding his future as John Blake, the new Batman, after The Dark Knight Rises. "I don't think you should believe in any of them," he's said, "If there's something I'm going to be in, I'm going to tell you about it." Gordon-Levitt could be lying, but if he's not, then it'll be exciting to see who'll play the next incarnation of the Dark Knight in Justice League and beyond...The Batman reboot is currently set for release in 2017, according to strong reports.
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE REVEALED- Rumour has it we may just now know the superheroes who'll make the team line-up of the much anticipated Justice League movies. According to reports on strong evidence, the five team members will be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash. No doubt this'll appease the big JLA DC fans, as it'll mean a personal battle for the Earth against Darkseid, yet the intriguing question is this- will Henry Cavill and Ryan Renyolds reprise their roles as the Man Of Steel and Green Lantern respectively? We should hopefully get the first hints in the former movie this Summer...
Man Of Steel is set for release on June 14th, while Justice League will release in cinemas in Summer 2015.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Doctor Who: A Big Hand For The Doctor Review

Our verdict on the first of the 50th Anniversary eBook series is here!
Doctor Who fans have always been spoilt for choice in terms of novelised versions of its fifty year history, and this year is no different, quite the opposite. We've got eleven 50th Anniversary eBook short stories from famed children's authors coming our way between now and November, with Artemis Fowl's Irish wright Eoin Colfer helming the First Doctor tale A Big Hand For The Doctor. So, just how does the 'season premiere' adventure fare?

At around forty pages in length, Big Hand certainly has a great sense of pace about it. Colfer understands well the format of Who, placing his emphasis of focus on the Doctor himself, and for the most part providing a realistic (if strengthened) version of William Hartnell's Time Lord. Elements of the programme such as Gallifrey, regeneration, future incarnations and the Doctor's family are mentioned in a manner that perhaps contradicts the secrecy of Who's early years, yet it works in terms of the original incarnation's perspective on his travels. This adventure takes place before the events of An Unearthly Child, which works well in terms of providing it with an effective standalone feel in what the Doctor and Susan get up to in 1900s London.

Colfer's opening instalment to this ambitious series isn't for want of strengths, featuring an intact version of the children's author's beloved humorous tone, with cult references to Harry Potter and even Peter Pan featuring in the core storyline. There are one or two shortcomings, though- the antagonistic Soul Pirates lack the iconic roots of past hit monsters like the Daleks and Cybermen, so their actual threat to the Time Lord and his first companion feels relatively minute, and in addition the ending's overall execution felt a little rushed. All the same, Doctor Who: A Big Hand For The Doctor is a lovely, nostalgic throwback to the Hartnell era from Eoin Colfer, setting a high precedent for the ten adventures that are follow, and making me wonder this- if BBC Worldwide can hire someone as famous in Britain as the author of Artemis Fowl for the first month in the series, who might we get down the line...? The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who has well and truly begun!

Nintendo Direct: The Other Big Announcements

All the other WiiU and 3DS reveals you may have missed...
What with the domination of big Mario and Zelda announcements in today's Nintendo Direct conference, it would have been easy to miss some of the other big reveals we've seen this week. Worry not, though, as I've compiled the 'other' announcements into one cohesive guide. You'll see it below...

  • XENOBLADE DEVS BRANCH OUT: A new trailer was showcased for a unique new RPG franchise from the developers of Xenoblade Chronicles on WiiU- we'll hear more at E3.
  • VIRTUAL CONSOLE U- Another exciting reveal today was that Virtual Console is coming to WiiU. As such, GameCube titles like Luigi's Mansion will soon be available for digital purchase, owing to the fact that the console isn't backwards-compatible for those games.
  • WII PARTY U- The developers of the hit party game Wii Party are currently hard at work on a fully-fledged sequel for WiiU. It's due for release later this year.
  • YOSHI'S LAND U- Much like Kirby's Epic Yarn, the classic platforming franchise Yoshi's Land will feature quirky kid-esque visuals and a charming storyline in a new edition announced today. Again, expect lots more on this at E3 2013.
For all the latest Nintendo news, keep it On-Screen in the weeks ahead!