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Saturday, 31 August 2013

RIP Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

A brief tribute to one of English Literature's defining modern greats, lost but never forgotten.
We are immensely saddened by the news that we must report today- Seamus Heaney passed away at the age of 74 yesterday. An Irish poet whose acclaim and influence upon the realms of English literature knew virtually no bounds, our loss of Seamus this week has come as a tragic shock for followers of his work across the world.

One of the most inevitable and bittersweet elements of reporting a passing such as this is this writer's admission that he cannot provide personal anecdotes of Seamus' life beyond his earning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and his publication of countless translations of classic English texts such as Beowulf and Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. The consolation to be found in this time comes, then, in the legacy which the poet leaves. This legacy can be found not just in terms of his conceptual influence on literature, but moreso in the physical terms of his inspired works of poetry which blended historic context with unbiased patriotic passion, unprovoked yet effective personal humour and raw emotive content.

Like any truly talented crafter of great literature, Seamus could never possibly have gauged the full extent of the influence his works and projects would have upon millions of readers and writers alike. However, those of us who live on can and will remember Seamus' mastery of the English language, his ceaseless passion for the history and development of his own country and his similarly irrefutable dedication to upholding the history of classic literature. Seamus Heaney was a legendary figure of modern English and the grief of his passing will be felt by countless generations of literary contributors and consumers on this warm Summer's eve.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Seamus' family and friends in this difficult time of mourning and commemoration. I have no doubt that obituary articles elsewhere online will use a single quotation to summarise the power and sheer intelligence of this lost great's work, but to me the only truly worthy tribute that can be paid to him is to present you with one of his finest pieces in its full, unblemished form:

September 2013: The 5 Releases You Can't Miss

September often tends to pack a few blockbuster releases before the Autumn's onslaught, and in 2013 that's very much the case!
The calm before the storm. That's what September is in proverbal terms- a month which brings with it a host of anticipated entertainment releases, all the while opening the floodgates for the plethora of big releases coming our way in October, November and December. After this coming month, we've still got Grand Theft Auto Online, Batman: Arkham Origins, Thor: The Dark World, LEGO Marvel Superheroes, Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special/2013 Christmas Special, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Call of Duty: Ghosts, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Arrow, Anchorman: The Legend Continues and plenty more thrilling entertainment content to eagerly await.

For now, though, there's still a fair reason or five to be thrilled with what's to come in the next four weeks. Here's our guide to all that's hot heading your way in September 2013...

5. ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS II- Sometimes it's the little ones that surprise you. The Angry Birds franchise has been slowly chirping away, gathering strength for a few franchise instalments now, but undoubtedly Angry Birds Star Wars was the series' finest hour so far. That fact alone bodes fortuitously for the release of this 'Prequel Trilogy'-themed sequel, featuring Skylanders-esque bonus toy character integration and plenty of new Force and Sith powers to help hurtle those persistent bird warriors at their Pig opponents! (Thursday 19th)
4. ABOUT TIME- While 2013's remaining big blockbusters such as Gravity, The Hunger Games, Anchorman and The Hobbit all look magnificent, there's something to be said for the understated pieces of cinema heading to the box office before the year's end. About Time is penned by Love Actually's Richard Curtis, so you know roughly the kind of narrative to expect here amongst its science-fiction time-travel strands, yet its cast could turn out to be a cracking little ensemble, featuring Harry Potter's Domnhall Gleeson, the legend that is Bill Nighy, Sherlock Holmes' Rachel McAdams and plenty more British stars. This could be 2013's most innovative romantic-comedy, and you know what? It's about time. (Wednesday 4th)
3. THE NEWSROOM- With the preview of Season Two's first episode under its belt via Sky On Demand, The Newsroom can now make a fully-fledged return to Sky Atlantic. Season Two consists of nine episodes, chronicling the aftermath of a PR disaster that befalls the News Night team when a potentially catastrophic story is leaked to the public. This is an intriguing set-up, and while the first episode wasn't one of the show's best, once again there's plenty of potential for the series to reclaim its throne as one of the best US dramas ever to have been put into production...(Monday 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th)
2. MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D- If this prestigious shortlist hasn't already made it abundantly clear, then I'll put it simply for you- television is making a big comeback this Autumn. Amongst the newcomers in this impending season of descending leaves and- presumably- a return for Britain's wet weather is Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Perhaps the most audacious offering of the lot, the show takes place in the same universe as Avengers Assemble, Iron Man 3 and the like, which could help it to bridge between Iron Man 3 and the incoming release of Thor: The Dark World next month. For Marvel fans, there really is no better place to be than Channel 4 this month. In other words- Excelsior! (TBC)
1. GRAND THEFT AUTO V- Inevitably, though, virtually every other release known to man that could come to retail this month would be unable to quell this writer's anticipation for Rockstar Games' latest effort. Grand Theft Auto IV redefined the current-generation back in 2008, and it would be foolish not to expect the same grand endeavour from GTA V in two weeks' time. Set in the open world of Los Santos, this fifth instalment introduces three new protagonists, a dynamic combat gameplay system, breathtaking 360/PS3 visuals and an Online experience like no other. Be prepared for Rockstar to rock your world again just as no other video games developer possibly can...(Tuesday 17th)

Friday, 30 August 2013

Doctor Who 50th 'Greatest Moments' Special Announced

BBC Three bring us a new addition to the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary celebratory ensemble this November!
BBC Three have today announced the production of a new Doctor Who 50th Anniversary documentary programme for broadcast later this year. This latest project from the BBC joins a wealth of celebratory instalments including Series Seven Part Two, the blockbuster 50th Anniversary Special, the 2013 Christmas Special, a special edition of The Culture Show, Mark Gatiss' docudrama An Adventure In Space And Time, the multi-classic Doctor audio drama The Light at the End, the Destiny of the Doctor audio range, a series of eBooks from beloved children's authors, the Heathrow Airport promotional events, the 50th Anniversary Official Convention and even a recreation of the TARDIS' first journey.

The news itself comes from comedian Tom Crane, who had this to say on his Twitter account earlier today: "Delighted that I'll be appearing as a guest in a forthcoming BBC Three celebrating fifty years of Doctor Who. Wouldn't put it past me to have a few stern words about the Daleks." Reports claim that this will be a Greatest Moments retrospective of the show's finest hours in the past fifty years, featuring a host of celebrity guest stars reminiscing on Who days gone by. Suffice to say that if it hasn't become clear already, there will be hordes upon hordes of Who-themed offerings come November to celebrate what could perhaps be the show's greatest moment of them all...until the 100th Anniversary, of course.

Doctor Who: Greatest Moments will broadcast on BBC Three this November. Doctor Who returns with its blockbuster 50th Anniversary Special on BBC One and in cinemas everywhere this November 23rd.

New Guardians of the Galaxy Star Announced

You may not quite believe just who Marvel Studios have cast as Rocket Raccoon in their 2014 sci-fi intergalatic adventure.
Marvel Studios have today announced a new member of the cast of their upcoming science-fiction superhero motion picture Guardians of the Galaxy. The first instalment in a new sub-franchise created as part of Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Two, Guardians takes place in realms far across the galaxy from Earth, its focus placed on a team of extra-terresterial heroes who team up with a human accomplise to battle the intergalactic tyrant Thanos.

Marvel Entertainment revealed the news on their Twitter account earlier this evening that Bradley Cooper will join the ensemble cast of the 2014 CGI flick. The Hangover and Silver Linings Playbook star will take on the vocal mantle of Rocket Racoon in the film, joining an already all-star cast including the likes of Chris Pratt (Zero Dark Thirty), Zoe Saldana (Avatar), John C. Reilly (Step Brothers; Wreck-It Ralph) and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) within a narrative that will tie together the events of 2012's Avengers Assemble with the impending 2015 debut of Avengers: Age of Ultron in US and UK cinemas.

Our take on the matter? This is another inspired coup for Marvel in the wake of other star appearances such as Jeff Bridges, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, Ben Kingsley and Christopher Eccleston. All the same, whether Cooper can be taken seriously in an action-orientated role such as this after the disappointment of his gung-ho portrayal of Phil in The Hangover: Part III earlier this Summer will be a matter to settle in the film itself. With any luck this should be yet another successful casting decision that entices audiences into an adaptation of a lesser-known franchise. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past all more recognised mainstays due out in 2014, though, Cooper and co. have their work cut out!

Guardians of the Galaxy materialises in cinemas worldwide on August 1st, 2014.

First Batman: Arkham Origins- Blackgate Trailer Released

Warner Brothers Montreal reveal the first gameplay footage of their spiritual sequel to Batman: Arkham Origins...
Warner Brothers Montreal have today released the first gameplay trailer of their upcoming side-scrolling action video game Batman: Arkham Origins- Blackgate. Launching alongside the console version of Arkham Origins this Autumn and taking place after the events of the much-anticipated Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 prequel, Blackgate integrates Metroidvania-esque '2.5D' combat and stealth mechanics in an entirely new narrative.

The campaign itself takes the Dark Knight into the dark recesses of Blackgate Prison, where a failed escape attempt has resulted in the jail's most notorious inmates taking control of the facility. Classic DC villains teased for returns in the trailer (below) include the Joker, the Penguin, Black Mask, Deadshot, Catwoman and Solomon Grundy. That latter pair of aforementioned antagonists are both exclusive to Blackgate, offering handheld players the chance to encounter iconic Bat-villains for the first time along with the Caped Crusader.

Batman: Arkham Origins- Blackgate glides onto PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS on October 30th.

Halo 5 Narrative Synopsis Released

The Master Chief returns exclusively on Xbox One- check out the first plot teasers for the next Halo game right here.
Microsoft Game Studios have today released the first storyline details for their upcoming science-fiction first-person-shooter Xbox One Halo instalment. The next chapter in the Reclaimer Saga, this new edition of the Master Chief's adventures will take place after the events of 2012's Halo 4, with the Spartan hero now left companionless and initiating a vengeance mission to destroy the Didact and his Forerunner armada.

Here's the synopsis as it currently stands, accidentally posted on Microsoft's official retail website today: "Halo for Xbox One takes the now-legendary saga to new heights and is one of the most anticipated games for the new console. In possession of a mysterious data chip, Petty Officer John-117, aka Master Chief, confronts a new battery of challenges and tests in a Herculean effort to stay alive in a galaxy where sentient life is mercilessly hunted." Fans have already speculated that the 'merciless' hunters mentioned in the plot brief could allude to the Chief's infamous adversaries the Flood, but it seems likely that we'll have a fair wait until the fifth full instalment in the franchise gets more plot reveals from 343 Industries.

Halo returns exclusively on Xbox One in 2014.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Video Corner: Robots, Twerks & More

Our latest round-up of YouTube's finest entertainment videos compiles Ranting Robots, Fan Reactions and tonnes more.
Despite the rapid rate at which 2013 is progressing, there's still no shortage of stellar YouTube videos both hilarious and relevant to the entertainment industry online. The Video Corner feature you have at your fingertips this week compiles another host of beloved franchises including Disney Infinity, The Hobbit, Star Wars, Batman, Star Trek, Spider-Man and yes, even the MTV Video Music Awards!

Without further ado, then, as ever our definitive guide to the most hilarious and most relevant entertainment videos on YouTube right now is here:

RANTING ROBOTS: DISNEY INFINITY- If you haven't checked out the Ranting Robots review series yet, now's your best chance. This eccentric pair of pseudo-robotic reviewers present us with an insightful and comedic take on Disney Infinity that fans of the new video game title aren't likely to soon forget...
THE HOBBIT TRAILER FAN REACTIONS- Often, witnessing a fanbase's reactions to a new film trailer is just as compelling and entertaining as the trailer itself. Indeed, there's a rather brilliant Inception-esque vibe of multiple screens going on here, as Orlando Bloom and other members of The Hobbit's supporting cast react to fan reactions to The Desolation of Smaug's latest trailer. Got it?
DARTH SIDIOUS IS...THE JOKER?- Ever wondered what Mark Hamill's voicework as the Joker would sound like if it was dubbed over Ian McDiarmid's work as Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi? Us neither, but we're so glad we discovered the truth of the matter in this utterly masterful remix!
STAR TREK INTO DARNKESS: HONEST TRAILER/HOW IT SHOULD HAVE ENDED- This writer never thought that he would see the day when the Honest Trailers and How It Should Have Ended YouTube series would cross over, yet that day has come. The film in question? Star Trek Into Darkness, which plays host to a stellar combination of two hit YouTube channels working in tandem...
HOW THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN SHOULD HAVE ENDED- Another work of fine art from the team at How It Should Have Ended, this inspired rendition of the Spider-Man motion picture reboot is just as gut-wrenchingly humorous as ever. Stick around for the team's portrayal of The Amazing Spider-Man's final moments, as that's truly one for the ages.
VMAs MILEY CYRUS PERFORMANCE- Because why not? Discover the meaning of the word 'twerk' in all of its glory, and see what all the fuss is about right now...your perception of the girl who gave us Hannah Montana will never be the same again!

Grand Theft Auto V: The Official Trailer Released

Rockstar Games unveil their tasty launch trailer for the most anticipated video game release of the year!
Rockstar Games have today released the launch trailer for their upcoming open-world shooter video game Grand Theft Auto V. Launching on current-generation consoles next month, this latest instalment in the acclaimed franchise features three protagonists in an upgraded version of the Los Santos area which was first depicted in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The latest video (below) is quite aptly titled 'The Official Trailer', setting up the basic narrative premise of the main campaign. Rockstar recently announced that the single-player experience will retail a fortnight ahead of their much-vaunted multiplayer experience Grand Theft Auto Online. The developers intend this brief window of development time to simultaneously allow them to hone the Online system while players have the opportunity to best GTA V's narrative and explore the realms of Los Santos.

Grand Theft Auto V blasts onto Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this September 17th.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Stars Announced

Marvel Studios confirm two more returning members of the World's Greatest Heroes and the man who'll stand against them...
Marvel Studios have today announced the names of three further cast members in their upcoming superhero film sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. This second ensemble piece promises to be one of the biggest entries in the already-impressive ranks of 2015, matching up against Superman Vs. Batman, Bond 24, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 and Star Wars Episode VII in perhaps the hottest competition in the history of cinema.

First and foremost on the announcement roster is that James Spader (Frasier, Stargate, The Office USA) will take on the role of Ultron in the much-anticipated follow up. The movie's titular antagonist is an esteemed member of the leagues of villains in the Marvel comic-book universe- originally created by Hank Pym (Ant-Man), this deadly robotic menace went rogue and eventually became the most powerful and destructive creature on the planet Earth. Writer and director Joss Whedon has confirmed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Ultron will not be the work of Pym, although that doesn't rule out a cameo for Ant-Man's alter-ego ahead of his own heroic début in Edgar Wright's Ant-Man later in 2015.

As if that news weren't enough in itself, the studio has also provided confirmation (via IGN) of two returning cast members reprising their roles from the 2012 best-selling film Avengers Assemble. Both Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth will be back for further adventures as Captain America and Thor respectively in this second instalment. Evans was taken as a given for proceedings, with his original Marvel Studios contract allocating him six appearances and only three of those having been completed so far. It is rumoured that the ex-Human Torch did renegotiate this contract in recent months and that Hemsworth only wants the contract on his own financial terms, yet with Robert Downey Jr confirmed for both this film and Marvel's The Avengers 3, a compromise for those two motion pictures seems inevitable.

Avengers: Age of Ultron assembles in cinemas worldwide on May 1st, 2015.

Warface: Xbox 360 Edition Announced

CryTek's beloved Free-To-Play multiplayer shooter comes exclusively to Xbox 360 consoles in 2014.
CryTek Games and Microsoft Game Studios have today announced the development of Warface: Xbox 360 Edition for release next year. A port of the acclaimed PC Free-To-Play multiplayer shooter Warface, this latest version of the title will ship with new console-exclusive features and remains an FTP project, though whether access to the world will require an Xbox Live Gold account has yet to be confirmed.

Warface revolves around a pseudo-dystopian future featuring wars of mechanoid creatures and human rebels, a narrative that is constantly expanding on PC and thus which should enable considerable replay value and sustainability on Xbox 360. The title is currently being shipped to various regions for PC play, so a worldwide port for Microsoft's home console may not be instantaneous, yet it's promised that the vast majority of major regions will receive its latest incarnation on the same launch day.

Warface: Xbox 360 Edition will retail exclusively on Xbox 360 in Spring 2014.

New The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Star Announced

Find out the latest addition to this two-part franchise finale's all-star cast right here...
Lionsgate Studios have today announced another cast member in their upcoming two-part film adaptation of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Taking place hours after the events of this November's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the final two movies in the franchise will chronicle Katniss' ascension to become the spearhead of the Rebellion, as a war dawns which will decide the fate of Panem and each of its twelve Districts.

Evan Ross has been confirmed to play the character of Messalla in Mockingjay. In the original 2011 novel, Messalla was the cameraman of Capital reject Cressida (recently announced as being played by Game of Thrones' Natalie Dormer), although whether the character will be presented with a more extensive role in this much-anticipated franchise finale remains to be seen. Over in the States, Ross is recognised amongst teen audiences for his roles in 90210; Jeff, Who Lives At Home; ATL and The Family Tree, but it's conceivable that this particular role could elevate him into a far greater status of entertainment acclaim.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 burns into cinemas worldwide on November 21st, 2014, and Part 2 hits the box office on November 20th, 2015.

DWNP- Doctor Who: Enemy Aliens Review

Our verdict on the eighth Destiny of the Doctor release, this time starring Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor!
Over at Doctor Who News Page and Reviews In Time And Space each month, we're providing reviews of each and every one of AudioGo's Destiny of the Doctor audio drama range. In August, it's the turn of Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor to take centre-stage, with India Fisher narrating the Alan Barnes release Enemy Aliens.

Sadly, as I reveal in the 2* review of this eighth instalment, all does not go according to plan. Enemy Aliens has its moments, yet overall it's simply not a compelling successor to its relatively compelling predecessors. Perhaps the challenge of reimagining a one-off television Doctor proved too much for Barnes, perhaps not. Certainly that seems to be the case judging by this mediocre narrative experience. It's safe to say that this particular adventure has diehard Eighth Doctor fans only as its target audience.

Here's the link to our review: http://reviews.doctorwhonews.net/2013/08/enemy-aliens-260813130008.html

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Nintendo 2013 Game Release Dates Announced

You want MORE? Alright, then- the world's most eccentric publisher offers up a firm release schedule for upcoming titles!
Nintendo have today confirmed new release dates for their upcoming first-party titles set to retail on Nintendo WiiU and Nintendo 3DS during the remaining months of 2013. The schedule update comes simultaneously along with the announcements of a WiiU price cut, new WiiU console-and-game bundles and the release of the Nintendo 2DS console this Autumn.

Those fans who've been clamouring to discover just when they can expect Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and more much-anticipated projects head to UK retailers can finally get the answers now. Here's our guide to all of the key Nintendo video game release dates you'll want to know in the months ahead:
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU)- October 4th
  • Wii Party U (WiiU)- October 25th
  • Super Mario 3D World (WiiU)- November 22nd
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)- November 22nd
  • Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS)- November 22nd
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (WiiU)- December 6th
For all the latest news on Nintendo's first-party titles, their console initiatives and their future as a video gaming publisher, keep it On-Screen in the months ahead!

Nintendo 2DS Announced

The company that brought us GameBoy, GameBoy Advance and DS fight back against Apple this Autumn!
Not content with confirming a price cut for their WiiU console and a series of release dates for their upcoming much-anticipated first party titles in 2013, Nintendo have today announced a new handheld console. Titled the Nintendo 2DS, this latest incarnation of the DS franchise will take the majority of the features of the 3DS, while at the same time removing the controversial 3D sensors of the original hardware. Both 3DS and DS titles will be compatible with the console at launch.

Although the WiiU's price cut seemed borderline inevitable by the time of its announcement today, this turn of events for the DS hardware series was not quite so foreseeable for fans. The 3DS console's sales have certainly picked up since their initial slump thanks to the release of Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time HD and Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance over the course of 2012 and 2013. By initiating this promotional tactic, though, Nintendo have a sublime opportunity to overtake Apple in hardware successes, the £110 RRP of the 2DS posing something of a taxing dilemma for those parents considering purchasing their kids a new handheld device come the Christmas season...

The Nintendo 2DS console will ship in UK retailers everywhere on October 12th.

Nintendo WiiU Price Cut, Bundles Announced

Link returns, plus Nintendo cave into their disappointing WiiU sales with a quite impressive pricing rearrangement...
Nintendo have today announced a new price for the Nintendo WiiU video games console and two new bundles that will retail this Autumn alongside the price cut. First, as of October, the Nintendo WiiU will be priced at $300 (£200). The vast majority of the publisher's followers and critics could likely have seen this decision coming, with the WiiU's recent sales having proven to be some of the worst in the company's history of innovative pieces of hardware. That RRP in itself could even be cut further by retailers, forming an undeniably enticing proposition for parents this Christmas in contrast to the PlayStation 4 (with PSEye) and Xbox One's £429 price tags.

On top of that announcement, the publisher revealed two new hardware and software bundles set to launch later this year. These will tie the Nintendo WiiU console with its bestselling titles LEGO City Undercover and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. Official RRPs for these packages have yet to be announced in the UK- however, GAME have today confirmed that the Zelda bundle will retail at a price of £250 at the same time as Wind Waker HD's UK release on October 4th.

The Nintendo WiiU console is available now worldwide, with the price cut due to be placed into effect as of September 20th.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Doctor Who At The Proms 2013 Review

A musical celebration of spectacular proportions, or an injustice to the 50th Anniversary? Our verdict on the 2013 Proms.
Throughout Doctor Who's long and illustrious history, it's become clear that we viewers can all too easily get complacent, overlooking the supposedly minor elements of the show in favour of the eye candy presented on the screen itself. In no respect is this regularly more apparent than with Murray Gold's stellar soundtrack, a key factor of the new series' success since 2005 that really should be given more attention at times than it regularly receives.

At least we have the BBC Proms, though, a now-regular instalment of Doctor Who's annual programming that pays tribute to one of the most influential teams behind the camera. This year's edition of the Who-dedicated concert is doubly significant, housing not only some of the most iconic tunes from Series Seven, but in addition a selection of classic tracks from the 1963-1989 era in honour of the 50th Anniversary. Compiling such melodies under one conceptual roof must have been an unenviable challenge for BBC Worldwide, and inevitably there's going to be potential disappointment to be had for a variety of the show's followers.

In the case of this particular review, what doesn't work quite so efficiently in the Doctor Who At The Proms 2013 BBC One programme is the general structure of proceedings. Initially, it must have seemed an inspired idea by the episode's editors to intersperse behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals and costume dressings between the various performances, yet as the broadcast progressed, that these minor interlude segments were taking the place of omitted musical sequences was notable and irritating given their complete inclusion on the original BBC Radio 2 broadcast. That's not to say that Song For 50, for example, won't appear on the inevitable Christmas Red Button service edition of the programme, yet when that particular inclusion was teased on a recent Proms video preview programme, its omission here seems completely hypocritical on the part of the programme's marketing team.

However, every cloud has a silver- in this case a Cyber-clad silver- lining, a cliché which remains completely apt here thanks to Gold's brilliantly rendered compilation of his Series One-Seven work. The highlights here for this reviewer were All The Strange Strange Creatures, I Am The Doctor, The Long Song (arguably The Rings of Akhaten's redeeming grace for many fans) and The Name of the Doctor. It's perhaps a little telling that half of these landmark pieces were taken from seasons prior to the current one, although one could assert of this that it only serves to demonstrate the composer's incredible ability to create iconic, effortlessly catchy tracks which few viewers could ever willfully forget.

Having classic series stars like Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor) and Carole Ann Ford (Susan) along for the ride certainly added to the sense of passion exuded by the production team for the 50th Anniversary in the programme. Both of these beloved past legends of the show are obviously still keen to maintain their connection with the Doctor's modern adventures, so we can hope and speculate that the pair still have a future with Doctor Who, even if it is confined more to their Big Finish works than the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors' ongoing travels in time and space. There's nothing wrong with the latter restriction, although wouldn't it be superb to have the man David Tennant called "my Doctor" and the Time Lord's own granddaughter back on board the TARDIS one day?

That aside, once the credits roll, Doctor Who At The Proms 2013 can't help but leave an ever-so-slightly bittersweet impression. Whether that's partly as a result of our tense wait until the 50th Anniversary Special this November is up to debate, yet the omission of key tracks from the initial Radio 2 broadcast certainly hasn't allowed the programme to fare as well with fans as it arguably should have. Once again, Murray Gold's music (plus the great BBC Radiophonic Workshop skit) remains a shining highlight of proceedings, and Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Neve McIntosh and Dan Starkey are fine hosts, but even if BBC One do bring us the concert in full this Christmas, this reviewer can't help but feel that'll be 'too little, too late'.

Arrow Season Two Promotional Poster Released

The Hood returns this Autumn with a new vendetta and a new name- Starling City is the City of Heroes!
The CW have today released the first promotional poster for the second season of their acclaimed superhero drama Arrow. Taking place months after the events of Season One, the new run opens with Oliver Queen still reeling from the losses he took during the Undertaking, while an entirely new world of superheroes is beginning to form outside of his reclusive antics in his base of operations.

Predictably enough, the poster (below) hardly gives away anything regarding what we'll see occur during Season Two. What it does show, though, is the members of Season One's extensive cast who will take on integral roles during the course of the second twenty-two episode series. From left to right, they are: Laurel Lance, Slade Wilson, Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen, John Diggle, Thea Queen and Roy Harper. Slade's inclusion in the poster indicates that the flashback sequences which were met with a mixed reception last year will return, although hopefully not in a manner that will become as intrusive as before!

Arrow shoots onto The CW on October 9th, with a Sky1 première for Season Two set to broadcast shortly after this date.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Combat Trailer Released

He may be Connor's grandfather, but Edward Kenway certainly has the moves to match his successor...
Ubisoft Montreal have today unveiled another new gameplay trailer for their upcoming fantasy video game release Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Readying for a Winter launch, this latest instalment takes place after the events of Assassin's Creed III, with the player adopting the mantle of an Abstergo agent tasked with discovering the secrets of the Kenway family trinity via a new Animus system.

This latest trailer (below) is titled 'Naval and On-Foot Combat', featuring narration from one of the project's major directors of the Gamescom 2013 convention demo. Within, viewers can expect to see teasers of the chemistry between the crew of Kenway's Jackdaw vessel, a fort siege mission, sea-based warfare and an on-foot confrontation between the title's new protagonist and his Templar foes. Black Flag was rated as one of the surprise hits of Gamescom, a fact which bodes fairly well for the game's impending arrival at retailing ports later this year.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag sets sail on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo WiiU and PC on November 1st.

Marvel News: Joss Whedon Teases Avengers 2

Could a mortal fate await one of the World's Greatest Heroes? Plus, what's the deal with the Loki no-show?
Director and writer Joss Whedon has today revealed a new selection of hints regarding his screenplay for the upcoming superhero film sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Set after the events of Avengers Assemble, Iron Man 3, Agents of SHIELD Season One, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy (phew!), this new ensemble instalment reunites the cast of the 2012 bestseller along with Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and reportedly Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch.

The writer of Avengers Assemble and The Cabin In The Woods clearly wants to deal with his initial teaser of "death, death and death" issued when he was first questioned on the much anticipated follow-up. Here's our round-up of what Whedon has to say on his biggest project yet:

  • ON POTENTIAL AVENGERS DEATHS- "I'm always joking about that. Um, maybe? But I'd have to have a really good reason, a really great sequence for [Marvel executives] to go, 'We'll cut off a potential franchise, that's fine!'. They know, as any good studio does, that without some stakes, some real danger, how involved can we get? We don't just rule it out across the board, but neither is the mission statement 'Who can we kill?'. We try to build the story organically and go, 'How hard can we make it on these people?'."
  • ON LOKI'S ABSENCE- "Every movie is going to be a different villain. Loki's awesome, and he is awesome in Thor 2. But The Avengers is a different thing. I worked with Tom more than any other actor in Avengers Assemble, because he was the only villain and there were six heroes. And he was as great as anyone I've ever worked with, and I get why people loved the character. But it's an Avengers movie."
  • ON THE DIRECTION OF THE SEQUEL- "I want to be clearer about how I engage the audience, and where I take them. I want more control visually, more time to prep it. Not that I didn't dictate every shot- I did. But there's only so much you can do when you're making a summer film when the ball is already rolling as fast as it was when I got in. Why do it again if you can't do better?"
The Avengers: Age of Ultron assembles in cinemas worldwide on May 1st, 2015.

Best of Who: The Second Doctor- A Retrospective

Our personal evaluation of the Doctor's first regeneration, featuring thoughts on Patrick Troughton's incarnation and three of his key adventures.
While the other members of a human excavation team scour an ancient tomb on the planet Telos for their prize, the action of The Tomb of the Cybermen settles for a single, isolated, crucial moment in time. The viewer is presented with a stark contrast to the action sequences to come involving the Doctor's greatest adversaries, instead witnessing a brief exchange between a 500-year old Time Lord and his companion Victoria.

One of the great travesties of this particular era of Doctor Who is that its début tale, The Evil of the Daleks, is currently lost from the archives of the BBC. Were we to still hold that apparently sublime tale in our grasp, then Victoria's moment of sombre contemplation here would be placed into a more empathetic context. This new companion's father was lost just as swiftly as the aforementioned story was in the BBC's wiping run, and she's now naturally feeling an inherent sadness that she and her father can never reunite in this life.

In this case, though, out of death comes new life for the Doctor, as writers Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis confidently establish a quirkier, often more optimistic and courageous incarnation of the character than his predecessor. Patrick Troughton inherits the role perfectly in this minor scene of Tomb, comforting Victoria with a simultaneously sympathetic, personal and logical assertion of familial loss: "That's the point, really- I have to really want to [remember his family], to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they...they sleep in my mind and I forget. And so will you. You'll find there's so much else to think about...That's the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we're doing."

Our Best Of Who Awards feature series will continue on a weekly basis throughout the year leading up to November 23rd, yet on top of that, we can promise an extra series of eleven retrospectives based around each incarnation of the Doctor. Today, it's the turn of Patrick Troughton's comedic, vulnerable and ever-defiant Time Lord to face judgement, as we explore three of his landmark survivng adventures. Here, then, is our retrospective on the Second Doctor in all of its black-and-white glory:

  • THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN (1967)- A little-known fact for you: The Tomb of the Cybermen is the first surviving full story of the Second Doctor era. Thankfully, it's an absolute treasure, with much of its intense dramatic impact still capable of being fully conveyed to a 2013 audience. This time around, the Cybermen are more clearly defined than their Tenth Planet incarnations, the metallic armour and recognisably robotic voices they now don far more reminiscent of those persistent adversaries we've seen return in Closing Time and Nightmare In Silver. All the same, these iconic villains are not necessarily intended as the star of this beloved adventure. In this reviewer's mind, that accolade should be awarded to the lead cast, whose first surviving appearance does wonders in terms of demonstrating the brewing chemistry between Pat Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. The aforementioned subtle scene of familial discussion between the Doctor and Victoria remains one of the most memorable elements of the story by far, along with the successful reinterpretation of the Cybermen, assured direction and surprisingly laudable special effects. Fans of the show's post-2004 era desiring to delve into a few great classic stories need only start with Tomb, by far one of Doctor Who's greatest voyages into time and space.
  • THE MIND ROBBER (1968)- Cut-and-paste storyline premises were by no means an alien concept to the writers of Who during this era or others in the history of the show, with historical tales in particular often bearing uncanny resemblances to one another. Indeed, The Mind Robber has more than a hint of a Celestial Toymaker vibe about it, for better or for worse. Perhaps with the knowledge that the aforementioned material of inspiration has now been virtually fully lost from the BBC archives, this narrative caveat can be forgiven somewhat, yet from what we know the original contained many of the same style of cliffhangers, twists and visual setpieces as this. There's an inevitable disappointment to be found at first with Mind Robber, then, but to its credit, as the story develops its writers at least grow in confidence with utilising fictional characters of folklore and literature as constructs in an ongoing psychological battle of wits. For me, The Mind Robber's success is mostly undone by its over-familiarity. However, as with any Doctor Who yarn, there are plenty of merits to be found, especially once the adventure progresses past its initial state of deja Who!
  • THE SEEDS OF DEATH (1969)- This final instalment in our retrospective is neither stellar nor abysmal, rather a simply mediocre outing. Mars' infamous Ice Warriors proved an undisputed hit with viewers upon their première in 1967's The Ice Warriors, so it doesn't come as a massive surprise that this sequel series of episodes cover much the same territory with these latest adversaries. Nor is it particularly shocking that as a result, this adventure as a whole is hardly above average. As ever, Troughton, Hines and Wendy Padbury (Zoe) each have a great time with the content they're offered, although the rest of the supporting cast give rather restrained performances that seem to echo what's come before. For a viewer such as myself who had a ball with Cold War, the slow, clunky movements of the Warriors here aren't treated in a manner which provokes such eerie tension and (sorry) chills as their 2013 revival. The Seeds of Death isn't one of Doctor Who's worst televised outings by any stretch, but equally it's just as distant from the Hall of Fame of its best outings to match. It's neither a wonder nor a dissssssgracccce...
For all the latest Doctor Who news, reviews, previews and features, keep it On-Screen in the days ahead!

Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition Announced

Microsoft Game Studios collate all of their DLC packages with one of 2012's most acclaimed shooters!
Microsoft Game Studios have today announced the development of Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition for release later this year. An updated version of the latest instalment in 343 Industries' science-fiction video game franchise, this new release will contain the original campaign and multiplayer offerings from the initial retail product, along with all of the downloadable content released since last November.

Here's a round-up of the extra content that players will receive should they choose to either experience Halo 4 for the first time or revisit it in its Game of the Year edition:
  • Spartan Ops Season One Single Player/Co-Op Campaign
  • War Games Multiplayer Map Pass
  • Halo 4 Champions Multiplayer Bundle
  • Pre-Order & Limited Collector's Edition Exclusive Content
Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition will retail exclusively exclusively on Xbox 360 for £30 this October.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Coming Up This Week: August 26th-September 1st

A Legend returns, Doctor Who is back, Skulduggery Pleasant's greatest battle is here and Coldplay's latest song arrives this week...
August seems to have been one of the most fast-paced months of 2013, such that we're now heading into its final days and the first day of September is about to dawn. September will bring with it a host of new and thrilling releases of its own, yet just before that, August does still have a few more gems to offer entertainment fans!

Here's our round-up of the latest and greatest entertainment releases coming to high streets, digital retailers and TV screens in the next seven days:

DOCTOR WHO AT THE PROMS- "The fans who waited- you've waited long enough." BBC One are finally premiering the BBC Doctor Who Prom that was held earlier this Summer, featuring a major selection of music from Series Seven, past seasons and the classic era of the show. Expect to hear classic Murray Gold renditions of tracks including All The Strange Strange Creatures, The Long Song, Goodbye Amelia Pond and The Name of the Doctor as we explore the aural realms of the greatest television show in the universe...(Monday 26th, 4pm, BBC One)
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE COLDPLAY TRACK- Coldplay have returned as part of the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and they're set to light up music retailers everywhere this week by releasing Atlas ahead of the movie's November launch. We've heard no previews of the song yet, but don't be surprised if its tone catches you off guard a little- Coldplay have never been known to stick to the status quo! (Monday 26th)
SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: LAST STAND OF DEAD MEN- The penultimate instalment in the acclaimed teen fiction fantasy saga, Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men chronicles a devastating war taking place between international Sanctuaries. In the midst of the destruction, Skulduggery and Valkyrie must fight harder than ever before, and in doing so strive to unlock the secret of how to prevent the oncoming storm that Darquesse will bring in her wake. The ending approaches...(Thursday 29th)
RAYMAN LEGENDS- After the esteemed return of franchises such as Splinter Cell, XCOM, Saint's Row and Disney Infinity last week, we've got another classic beloved video gaming icon coming back to consoles very soon. Rayman Legends is the highly anticipated follow-up to the 2010 beauty that was Rayman Origins, and it's coming packed with both the grand visuals of the original along with some truly innovative musical platforming sequences that could easily make it a Game of the Year 2013 contender! (Friday 30th)
AND THERE'S MORE- Olympus Has Fallen, Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors and Robin Hood: Special Edition are all headed to DVD and Blu-Ray retailers on Monday, plus Madden NFL 25 lands on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles on Friday too. Trollied fans can also check out the second episode of Season Three on Sky1 this Thursday, and The Newsroom Season Two will be previewed via Sky On Demand this Tuesday.
AND NEXT WEEK...September is here- in the first full week, get ready for a cracking new science-fiction comedy film in About Time, the return of Star Trek Into Darkness for a fully-fledged DVD and Blu-Ray release, the Sky Atlantic premiere of The Newsroom Season Two and perhaps greatest of all, the release of the ambitious strategy historical video game Total War Rome II on PC!

Best Of Who Awards: Top 5 Best Dalek Adventures

Thirteen weeks to go! Our countdown of the greatest adventures featuring Skaro's deadliest inhabitants...
Every fairytale needs a good old fashioned villain. Jim Moriarty's fateful assertion in Sherlock is equally true within the realms of Doctor Who, where the world's most famous Time Lord regularly faces off against charismatic, crazed or Candy-themed antagonists on a weekly basis.

While the question of just who the Doctor's arch-nemesis (or indeed arch-nemeses) is remains a topic of ongoing discussion among fans, few could contest that the Daleks are the most persistent and dangerous enemies that the character has battled in the past fifty years. As we move ever closer to the 50th Anniversary Special, a revelatory episode which will again feature these genocidal travel machines, it's time for a definitive shortlist of the best Dalek adventures produced in Doctor Who's history...so far:

5. ASYLUM OF THE DALEKS (2012)- Something that remains of key interest regarding fandom debate on Asylum is just how far we can classify it as a 'true' Dalek tale. At the heart of this controversy is Oswin Oswald, the first televised incarnation of Jenna Coleman's fractured time traveller Clara. While much of the story's focus is rightly on Jenna's beautifully portrayed new character, there's plenty of stellar Skaro material within too, the Parliament of the Daleks an intriguing conceptual teaser, the appearance of classic incarnations of the robotic foes a glorious bout of nostalgia, and the decision by writer Steven Moffat to completely wipe these adversaries' memories of the Doctor from their databanks a potentially revolutionary one in narrative times. Regardless of the prominence of a one-off Pond dilemma and the Oswald series arc, Asylum remains a stunning re-establishment of the menace, the layered moral apathy and the sheer strength of the Dalek regime for a new generation...
4. REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS (1988)- Too often, the Sylvester McCoy era is seen as a totally destructive period of Who due to its culmination resulting in the temporary cancellation of the programme. If newcomers to the classic series need evidence of the growing strength of this all-too-brief incarnation of the Doctor, then Remembrance is a sublime place to start. From the first on-screen hovering Dalek to the rather grand battle between two Skaro factions and the mass military power of the Special Weapons Dalek, there's little in the way of disappointment to be found from these arch-nemeses' final appearance in the original incarnation of the series. Sure, Terry Molloy's Davros could have ideally been afforded a little more time to flourish in his return, but Remembrance more than compensates with a strong balance of action, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey distortion and surprising emotion to boot.
3. GENESIS OF THE DALEKS (1975)- Prior to Doctor Who's return in 2005, Genesis was once voted the show's greatest story by fans in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, and it's not difficult to understand why this was the case. Michael Wisher's debut as the Daleks' uncompromising creator Davros is nothing short of gripping, his exchanges with Tom Baker's Doctor in the midst of the latter's incarceration providing a fascinating insight into the complete and utter conviction this scarred individual holds in his own beliefs and the manner in which he intends to act upon them. In one of the show's most famous scenes, the Doctor is forced to contemplate whether he can truly justify destroying an entire race, even the Daleks, but given all that we learn of the complete lack of sympathy and compassion these foes and their creator hold for the universe at large here, we're left in no doubt as to the immense danger of the Time Lord's decision to reject the mission his race has bestowed upon him!
2. DALEK (2005)- When we as fans initiate any kind of retrospective regarding the evolution of the Daleks since Robert Shearman's acclaimed 2005 adventure Dalek, it's vital to bear in mind that once was a time where Terry Nation's creations were set not to feature in the new series at all. Instead, Russell T. Davies would have tasked Shearman with integrating a lone Toclafane into his mid-season tale, with these Series Three adversaries then likely to be integrated into Russell's Series One finale. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and with Dalek any fear of Nation's finest conceptions that had been lost by questions of stair-flight or vulnerability was reignited with a bang, as a lone survivor of the Time War wreaked havoc upon an entire human establishment with ease. Most fans have tried to remove the memory of Bruno Langley's Adam from this adventure, but to be frank that's simple, seeing as the return of a newly golden Dalek onto our screens is television history in the making, and the shocking pathos this seemingly last resident of Skaro evokes just as shocking and simultaneously effective.
1. THE STOLEN EARTH/JOURNEY'S END (2008)- Here's the most important fact surrounding the success of Russell T. Davies' climatic Series Four two-parter Stolen/Journey's: it could all have gone so wrong. To some, an over-indulgence in nostalgic narratives seemed to be the cause of Doctor Who's temporary demise during the 1980s, so alarm bells might rightly have been ringing as the marketing for this ambitious Dalek adventure began to roll out. Such bells were needless, though, because with this glorious adventure the viewer was presented with perhaps the ultimate balance of structured nostalgia and equally innovative thrills. Julian Bleach makes for an absolutely stunning Davros, his realisation of Sarah-Jane's return all those years after the events of Genesis pitched perfectly, and his deconstruction of the Doctor's tormented and guilt-ridden psyche an unexpected yet sublime diversion from the main action. There are so many landmark moments in this intelligent, intricate Dalek adventure that it would be churlish to recount them all, but it's that reinstatement of the genuine fear these beloved antagonists can enable in the viewer's living room, the thrilling tension that could send 1960s fans behind the sofa without any prior warning that proves the most memorable, a lone Dalek's sudden and brutal interruption of the Doctor and Rose's long-awaited reunion sending the internet into a frenzy for an entire week as a supposed regeneration commenced. Witness that fantastic Who moment for yourself once more below:

Friday, 23 August 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy Villains Teased

Thanos is coming- the first details on 2014's intergalactic superhero film that expands the second phase of The Avengers!
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has today revealed some new hints on the antagonists in Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming science-fiction superhero movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Starring Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt and John C. Reilly, this new instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe places its focus on a team of intergalactic extraterresterial heroes whose battles may hold a formative influence over days to come for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Here's our round-up of what Feige had to say on Guardians' villains, the return of Thanos and the film's integration within the course of the Avengers Phase Two narrative:
  • ON THE VILLAINS- "Ronan The Accuser is very much the main bad guy. And Thanos is lurking above [the war between the Guardians and Ronan]."
  • ON THANOS- "You will learn more about Thanos [who first appeared in Avengers Assemble] in Guardians, for sure. Certainly you'll get more than the one turn around and smirk. You'll get much more than that!"
  • ON THE FILM'S PLACEMENT IN AVENGERS LORE- "It's not exactly revealed what year or month it is in relation to the other Phase Two films. But yes, it's the same time. We've already said that Thanos plays a part in it and is a character in it. That in and of itself should tell you it's connected to the other worlds."
Guardians of the Galaxy invades cinemas worldwide on August 1st, 2014.

New Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Trailer Released

One month to go! A brand new preview of one of the hottest new TV shows coming to our screens this Autumn.
ABC Studios and Marvel Studios have today released a new promotional trailer (below) for their upcoming television drama series Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Taking place after the events of Avengers Assemble, the show maintains a mantra that "not all heroes are super", chronicling the commissioning of a team of SHIELD agents by the revived Agent Coulson to battle supernatural and super-powered threats in New York.

Certainly, as premises go this is one quite different set-up to anything we've seen before. Of course, shows based around secret organisations are commonplace these days, but to have a series so richly integrated into the realms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise is an enticing prospect indeed.  A central strand in the first season's narrative arc will revolve around just how Coulson was resurrected, yet naturally director and writer Joss Whedon will play his cards on the matter close to his chest until later in the run!

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD premieres on ABC this September 24th and on Channel 4 this Autumn.

First Rayman Legends Review Published

Official Nintendo Magazine ranks the sequel to 2010's most visually splendid video game!
Believe it or not, Rayman Legends is fast becoming one of this writer's most anticipated video game titles of 2013, its recent spectacular demo a superb showcase of the project's visual and gameplay assets. This week, the Official Nintendo Magazine have provided us with the first review of Legends, including a score and assessment of its contributory elements.

Legends earns a mighty 92% score from ONM. Here's our round-up of what the official publication had to say on the title's various features:
  • There's virtually as many original ideas as could be found in the Super Mario Galaxy games.
  • The single-screen multiplayer (along with the WiiU GamePad co-op) is one of the best implementations of the WiiU controller set-up yet.
  • Although it's a fantastic experience regardless of player numbers, it's better with friends.
  • The Murphy stages are a particular area where playing solo just isn't quite as engaging as playing through with at least a mate.
  • You won't struggle to beat the 'core' narrative in around 7 hours, but the more taxing levels beyond will test fans just as much Super Mario Galaxy 2 did.
  • Expect plenty of replay value added too from the extensive range of levels, a whopping 40 'classic' levels from Rayman Origins revived with a new art style and competitive high score events!
Rayman Legends retails on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo WiiU this August 30th.

Superman Vs. Batman Lead Star Announced

One of the biggest names in Hollywood will adopt the mantle of the Dark Knight in one of 2015's biggest blockbusters!
Warner Brothers Pictures have today announced a major lead cast member in their upcoming superhero crossover movie Superman Vs. Batman. Starring Henry Cavill and taking place after the events of this year's hit motion picture Man of Steel, this follow-up will loosely adapt the acclaimed graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns along with other elements of both Superman and Batman lore.

Today, then, marks a definitive step forward in pre-production progress. We now know for certain that Ben Affleck will play Bruce Wayne and his caped alter-ego Batman in the upcoming project. Other cast members reprising their roles confirmed so far include Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Laurence Fishbourne (Perry White) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent), but this development in particular is doubly thrilling, seeing as Affleck's performance work in recent efforts like Argo has been nothing short of sublime, setting a brilliant precedent for what's to come here.

Here's what Zack Snyder had to say on the matter: "Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry's Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in Bruce Wayne. I can't wait to work with him." Of course, this does mean that the storyline of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy must no longer be the present Batman narrative, given Bruce's hanging up of the cowl at the climax of The Dark Knight Rises, but fans should no doubt have faith in Snyder to do the character's new incarnation justice.

Superman Vs. Batman collides into cinemas worldwide on July 17th, 2015.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Cast Member Announced

From Game of Thrones to Elementary to The Hunger Games- Natalie Dormer's rapid rise to stardom continues...
Lionsgate Pictures have today announced a new cast member set to feature in their upcoming fantasy films The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2. The final two instalments in the acclaimed franchise of film adaptations of Suzanne Collins' works, these two movies will chronicle a full-scale war as uprisings across every District threaten to tear Panem apart, leaving Katniss and the army of District 12 with no option but to rally their troops and march on the Capitol.

The latest addition to the franchise's extensive and star-studded cast is none other than Natalie Dormer. Natalie is perhaps best known for her stellar portrayal of Margeary Tyrell in the third season of Game of Thrones, yet has recently had a number of other impressive roles such as that of the dual alter-ego of Irene Adler and Moriarty in Elementary and a minor stint as the lecherous Private Lerraine in Captain America: The First Avenger. She will portray Cressida, a significant member of the Rebellion who defects from the leadership of the Capitol in the early stages of this final chapter in the Hunger Games saga.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 ignites in cinemas worldwide on November 21st, 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 blows a distinctive whistle as it storms the box office on November 20th, 2015.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Title Revealed

Which classic line from the original Pirates ride has been utilised for the title of the next cinematic instalment?
Walt Disney Pictures have today revealed the title of the fifth instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean motion picture franchise. Taking place after the events of 2011's On Stranger Tides, the narrative of the latest chapter in Jack Sparrow's journey is currently shrouded in secrecy, but it has been speculated that the only returning cast members will be the crew of the Black Pearl rather than Penelope Cruz or Geoffrey Rush.

The news of the next film's title comes from the pair of directors helming Pirates 5, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. Ready? It's called Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Dedicated fans of the franchise as a whole will recall that the phrase "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is derived from the words of a villainous buccaneer encountered in the original Pirates boat ride attraction at Disneyland theme parks which originally inspired the movies. Certainly, this is a rather neat homage from the production team, but the more important matter at hand is surely whether this fifth film can recapture the charm and vigour of the original trilogy rather than falling into the trap of the tedious shores found in On Stranger Tides.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into cinemas worldwide on July 10th, 2015.

The X Factor Broadcast Date Announced

iTV's most prized talent show returns for its tenth season later this month- find out the initial broadcast dates now.
iTV Studios have this week announced the broadcast date of the première episode of The X Factor Season Ten. The hit reality talent programme will feature Gary Barlow, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell on its 2013 judging panel in the final few months of the year.

This time around, though, with the programme having reached ten seasons and having aired on iTV for a decade now, the set-up will be a little different and slightly nostalgic. Live audiences are gone from the audition stages, forcing contestants to re-enter the Closed Room scenarios posed in earlier seasons with a five-on-one audition between the singer and the panel themselves. On top of that, The X Factor will now broadcast on both Saturday and Sunday nights every week, which has inevitably meant that more auditions have been conducted and further time is spent in Boot Camp and at the Judges' Houses.

The X Factor returns to iTV1 on Saturday August 31st.

Who News: Steven Moffat On The Future

The Eleventh Hour will end, and secrets will be revealed. Our round-up of all of Steven Moffat's latest teasers...
Doing the rounds at the Edinburgh Television Festival and in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, executive producer Steven Moffat has this week unleashed a host of new hints regarding the future of Doctor Who. These teasers entail the 50th Anniversary Special, the Christmas Special, Series Eight and even elements as obscure as upcoming merchandise, and each of them is well worth a read.

Let's dawdle no longer, then, and instead get straight onto what the Moff has been saying recently. Here's our full round-up of all the latest details on the future of Doctor Who...

  • ON THE DOCTOR AND CLARA'S REACTIONS TO HIS REGENERATION- "I think the fun story will be is this is what regeneration can do to you. He can be very, very different. Just as Clara's learning to have a proper old crush on him, suddenly he's Malcolm Tucker! People really love Jenna, so we make the Doctor quite difficult..."
  • ON PETER JACKSON DIRECTING A WHO EPISODE- "He's serious about it. We talked at The Hobbit premiere- he just wants a Dalek. So we'll give him a Dalek and he'll direct an episode. I think he'd like us to go to New Zealand. I think it's entirely possible."
  • ON JK ROWLING WRITING A 50TH ANNIVERSARY eBOOK- "I can't confirm that...yet!"
  • ON A RETURN FOR THE DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER- "The door is open, it's entirely possible."
  • ON A RETURN FOR ROMANA- "I have actually given no thought at all to Romana. The Time Lords are dead in my mind. They died."
  • ON WHETHER THE TWELFTH DOCTOR WILL HAVE CAPALDI'S SCOT ACCENT- "I'd be very surprised if he didn't. I can't see why not!"
  • ON SHERLOCK'S SURVIVAL- "He cunningly avoided the pavement- that really is the only way to avoid dying. There's only a limited number of ways he can do this. He's got to interrupt his fall before he hits the pavement."
  • ON THE 2013 CHRISTMAS SPECIAL- "The special ties up stuff from all corners of Matt's tenure- there are things I set in motion in Matt's very first episode that I'm paying off now. It's been a long game, but most of the questions that people asked will be answered..."
Doctor Who returns with its blockbuster 50th Anniversary Special on BBC One and in cinemas worldwide this November 23rd.

New BBC One, Sky1 Drama Commissions Announced

Get the full lowdown on all of the latest drama coming to BBC One and Sky1 this year, right here!
The Edinburgh Television Festival always plays host to a strong number of announcements regarding newly commissioned dramas on terrestrial and subscription-enabled UK television channels. Thankfully, the 2013 event has proved no different in this respect, with both BBC One and Sky1 unveiling compelling new projects that their production teams will bring to our screens later this year.

Here's our full round-up of today's biggest and most relevant news reveals, each pertaining to the future of these two acclaimed broadcasters:

  • BBC ONE COMMISSIONS- Roald Dahl's beloved novel Esio Trot will soon be adapted for a one-off special film on BBC One, written by Richard Curtis and starring Dame Judi Dench along with Dustin Hoffman. On top of that, a new six-part drama called Ordinary Lies will shortly enter production, each instalment focusing on a different character dealing with an everyday domestic dilemma that soon grows beyond their control. Finally, Talk to the Animals investigates the same age-old question as was once posed to us by Dr Dolittle- can we talk to our co-inhabitants of the planet Earth? If so, what secrets might we learn from the animal kingdom? Each of these newly commissioned projects will broadcast in Spring 2014.
  • SKY1 COMMISSIONS- Sky1's newly announced roster is somewhat more imminent in terms of broadcasting, with each of the following programmes set to air this Autumn and Winter: a two-part series finale of the acclaimed globe-spanning lads' drama Mad Dogs; a revived version of the family comedy The Kumars returning in a six-part season; Martin Freeman's directorial debut starring the Sherlock actor in a new edition of Little Crackers; along with returns from Karl Pilkington in Karl Pilkington's Moaning of Life, Chris O'Dowd in Moone Boy, Ruth Jones in Stella and Ross Kemp in Extreme World.
For all the latest news on new drama commissions, reviews and previews of upcoming television seasons, keep it On-Screen in the months ahead!

Marvel News: Agents, Soldiers, Ultron & More

All the latest news on Captain America, Agents of SHIELD and The Avengers 2 at your best possible source!
Unexpected as it may be, in the midst of Gamescom alongside the wealth of video gaming reveals we've had a tonne of television and film news come to light. Paramount to these developments have been Marvel Studios, arguably the spearhead of such announcements with plenty of their own content to reveal this week.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and more franchises all have roles to play in our definitive round-up of everything that could possibly make a fan scream "Excelsior!"...

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER SYNOPSIS RELEASED- Marvel Studios have this week unveiled a new textual synopsis for their upcoming superhero film sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Set a year after the events of Avengers Assemble, this follow-up focuses on Steve Rogers' quest to be integrated into a modern day America. Here's the synopsis: "After the cataclysmic events in New York with the Avengers, we find Steve Rogers- aka Captain America- living quietly in Washington, DC, and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a SHIELD colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Cap and the Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy- the Winter Soldier."
  • AGE OF ULTRON VILLAIN DETAILS REVEALED- Joss Whedon has provided a few more hints on how Avengers: Age of Ultron's antagonist will be adapted and manipulated in order to give the World's Greatest Heroes their greatest challenge yet. Here's what the man behind Avengers Assemble had to say on the matter: "I have to ground Ultron while still evoking that guy. We'll take away some of his powers because otherwise at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone who's a witch!"
  • AGENTS OF SHIELD UK BROADCASTER ANNOUNCED- Finally, and perhaps most thrilling of all, we now know which UK channel will broadcast Marvel's Agents of SHIELD this Autumn. It's Channel 4, a terrestrial broadcaster, which should come as an immensely exciting surprise for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who are not in possession of a Sky Digital box right now. Only one month now until the games begin, then.
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD explodes onto Channel 4 this October, Captain America: The Winter Soldier ricochets into cinemas worldwide on April 4th, 2014 and Avengers: Age of Ultron assembles across the world's box office auditoriums on May 1st, 2014.

Gamescom- The Other News Round Up

Missed any of the big news from Gamescom 2013? Discover it right here...
As you may have noticed, the Gamescom 2013 convention over in Cologne has brought with it a grand plethora of video gaming news and announcements. It would be damn near impossible to recap them all in a single article, hence why we've had a variety of them placed throughout the course of this week.

Nevertheless, at this late stage in the convention, it's now at least feasible to recap some of the smaller news reveals that you may have missed in days gone by. Without further ado, then, here's our definitive summary of the latest and greatest news fresh from the floor of Gamescom itself:

  • NEW LEGO MARVEL SUPERHEROES CHARACTERS ANNOUNCED- Travellers' Tales and Warner Brothers Games have today announced a series of new playable characters who will feature in their upcoming open-world title LEGO Marvel Superheroes. They are as follows: Archangel, Ghost Rider, Rocket Raccoon, Captain Britain, Daredevil, General Ross/Red Hulk, Mysterio, Lizard and Super Skrull. LEGO Marvel Superheroes lands on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita and PC this Autumn.
  • MORE BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS DETAILS REVEALED- In a new interview with VG24-7, Warner Brothers Montreal have confirmed more details regarding their upcoming superhero action project Batman: Arkham Origins. The final product will take place in the Dark Knight's second year of caped crusading and five years before the events of Arkham Asylum. It will also feature a gadget called the Electroshock Gauntlet, 1 Vs. 100 challenge mode along with the returns of Hard and New Game + difficulty modes! Batman: Arkham Origins glides onto Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo WiiU and PC on October 30th.
  • INFAMOUS SECOND SON RELEASE WINDOW ANNOUNCED- Sony Computer Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions have today announced a release window for their upcoming action-adventure title Infamous: Second Son. The third full instalment in the Sony-exclusive visceral franchise, Second Son will retail exclusively on PlayStation 4 in February 2014.
  • DICE TEASE STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT- Fans of Star Wars would truly have had to lose all faith in the science-fiction saga in order not to feel psyched at DICE's acquiring the Star Wars: Battlefront license as announced at E3 2013. Well, now the developers have been kind enough as to offer a minor update on how their new instalment is progressing. Achieving an Arkham Asylum-rivalling level of success is the team's aim here, and we've been told that DICE "have access to everything that was done during the LucasArts era" to guide their latest franchise. All the same, the developers are emphasising this time around that they "do want to take [their] own stance" on the series, so expect the most successful elements of the Battlefield games to influence this project in some manner. Star Wars: Battlefront is set to retail on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in 2015.
For all the latest news, reviews and previews of all the key releases in the video gaming industry, keep it On-Screen in the weeks ahead!

Plus check out a brand new 'Stealth' trailer for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, fresh from Gamescom this very eve, below!