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Friday, 29 November 2013

New Frankenstein Guest Star Announced

Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy are joined by the Great Detective's nemesis in 2015...
20th Century Fox have today announced a new guest star set to feature in their upcoming science-fiction film Frankenstein. A remake of Mary Shelley's classic horror text, the audacious blockbuster production stars James McAvoy as Dr. Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as his diabolical Creature.

Andrew Scott will join Radcliffe and McAvoy in an as of yet unspecified role. Scott is best known for his superb portrayal of Jim Moriarty in the first and second seasons of the BBC's detective drama Sherlock, and he has since appeared in a West End one-off sequel to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as his now-iconic version of the Conan Doyle villain, as well as episodes of The Hour and The Town. Given the talents for antagonism the Irish actor has displayed in his most renowned performance, it should be thrilling to discover where Fox intend to take Scott in his first major big-screen role...

Frankenstein is born in cinemas worldwide on January 16th, 2015.

Sherlock Series Three Broadcast Dates Announced

BBC One's most successful detective drama returns in the New Year!
The BBC have today announced the UK airdates for their upcoming third season of Sherlock. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the detective drama has become a cult hit with its vast fanbase, Series Two having earned a strong average rating of 10 million viewers.

Those followers disappointed by the absence of The Empty Hearse on Christmas Day should for now take note of the regular returnees already scheduled to air on December 25th. Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, Call the Midwife and Eastenders now make up the annual festive primetime line-up for BBC One, and with its whopping 90-minute running time, the first episode of Sherlock's latest run simply had nowhere to go this Christmas. On the bright side, UK viewers will have the opportunity to see all three episodes of the third run before BBC America have even broadcast Episode 1!

Sherlock returns to BBC One with The Empty Hearse on New Year's Day 2014, with The Sign of Three on January 5th and with His Last Vow on January 12th.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Mobile Announced

One of the PlayStation 2's defining video game experiences comes to mobiles next month.
Rockstar Games have today announced the development of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Mobile for release on handheld devices in the near future. An upgraded version of the 2004 open-world shooter of the same name (well, sans Mobile), the port follows GTA III and Vice City in the team's release schedule for 2013.

San Andreas Mobile will boast touch-screen controls, reworked visual technology and enhanced character and vehicle models. Fans have bemoaned the tetchy driving controls of the handheld versions of previous instalments- if Rockstar aspire for the universal acclaim which GTA V received to be repeated here, then that flaw has to be their primary focus of refinement!

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Mobile launches on iOS, Android, Kindle and Windows Phone devices in December.

Sherlock: The Empty Hearse Broadcast Window Announced

#SherlockLives, as the Great Detective returns to BBC One- but when...?
The BBC have today announced a broadcast window for the first episode of their detective drama Sherlock's third season. Titled The Empty House, the series opener takes place two years after the events of Series Two's finale The Reichenbach Fall and chronicles Sherlock Holmes' return to the world in the midst of an impending terrorist plot.

At this stage, the studio haven't offered up a definitive broadcast date for Episode 1. What they have provided, however, is confirmation that the ninety-minute première will air on BBC One between December 21st and January 3rd (i.e. during the Christmas season). It's impossible to know exactly when to expect The Empty Hearse, but given that Series Two commenced broadcasting on New Year's Day 2012, a New Year début for Series Three isn't out of the question.

For all the latest news, reviews and previews of BBC programming, keep it On-Screen in the days ahead!

Who News: New Series 8 Director Confirmed, Format Rumoured

Discover the latest details on Peter Capaldi's first season as the Doctor...
The BBC have this week announced the second director of their latest series of Doctor Who. Scheduled to enter production in January 2014, the new run of the acclaimed science-fiction drama stars Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.

Our first word on the direction of Series Eight came last month, when the studio confirmed that Sightseers helm Ben Wheatley would oversee the first two-parter of the run. Now, it has been confirmed that Paul Murphy will direct Episodes 3 and 6 of the latest season. Murphy is renowned for his work on UK cult programmes such as Waterloo Road, Hollyoaks, Grange Hill and Trollied, and in light of this being his first attempt at Who, it appears that Series Eight will offer a fresh perspective on the Doctor's adventures in both its lead star and its aesthetic aspects.

There are rumours abound, though, that the series format from 2014 onwards will take a change that would disappoint fans aplenty. Bleeding Cool reported earlier this week that after this year, we can expect seven 45-minute episodes and a 60-minute Christmas Special in a regular annual format. The decision would come as a result of the studio's financial setbacks since the license fee freeze enacted in 2010, whereby Doctor Who's continuing success has helped the BBC to fund other original drama prospects. No one would dare see this immortal broadcaster go under, so in that sense, this potential alteration to Who's format isn't a real tragedy, but the thought of losing the original 14-episode yearly run established in 2005-2010 is disillusioning nonetheless.

Doctor Who returns with its 2013 Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor, this Christmas Day on BBC One.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Nan Christmas Special Commissioned

Catherine Tate returns to BBC One for festive comedy antics this Christmas.
The BBC have today commissioned a Christmas Special of their new comedy show Nan. A spin-off of their hit sketch programme The Catherine Tate Show, the new series focuses exclusively on Tate's titular iconic 'Nan' character and her escapades on her home turf while her grandson Jamie is abroad.

Nan most recently made an appearance on the Children In Need 2013 live telethon, although the reaction to the Holby City crossover skit from critics was less than complementary at the time. That said, with the character evidently having resonated enough with the British audience upon her return, the likelihood of Nan's success next month is all but inevitable, even if it does deserve to thrive about as much as Mrs Brown's Boys...

Nan débuts with its Christmas Special on BBC One this Christmas Day.

Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor Announced

In a town named Christmas, on a planet named Trenzalore, Silence Will Fall...
The BBC have today announced the title of the Doctor Who Christmas Special for 2013, along with the release of the first plot synopsis for the upcoming feature-length episode. Starring Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman and Orla Brady, Smith's final turn as the Doctor will air next month.

For starters, we now know the official title of the final Who episode of the year- The Time of the Doctor. Steven Moffat seems to like the 'The [...] of the Doctor' theme judging by his recent contributions to the series, including The Name of the Doctor, The Night of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor and now The Time of the Doctor. With any luck, episode titles should revert back to normal and inspire more originality come Series Eight!

Over on Facebook, the BBC marketing team have confirmed that Matt's last instalment will be set in a town called 'Christmas' on the planet Trenzalore. The first teaser trailer (below) confirmed that the Daleks, the Weeping Angels, the Cybermen and the Silence will all return before the regeneration sequence at the episode's climax, but the plot synopsis released today at least offers some concrete hints of what to expect. Here's the synopsis in full: "Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe's deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out amongst the stars- and amongst them, the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe..."

Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor will broadcast on BBC One this Christmas Day.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Online Trailer Confirmed

December kicks off with a web-slinging bang courtesy of Marc Webb.
Sony Pictures have today announced the release of a teaser trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 online. The sequel to 2012's underrated superhero reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, the second instalment in the revived franchise pits the Webbed Wonder against Sinister Six foes Electro and Rhino.

It's difficult to shake the sense that this marketing strategy comes directly in the wake of the immense levels of speculation surrounding Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy. The chance still remains for this ambitious sequel to top the latter, but besting the much-anticipated former pair of follow-ups could be all the more of a challenge next Summer. Next week's trailer should hold the first hints as to Spidey's chances in the intense Summer of Film 2014 season...

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will swing into cinemas worldwide on May 2nd, 2014, with the teaser trailer set to launch online on December 5th.

LEGO The Hobbit Announced

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Far over ranges and mountains lies a single solitary peak- will you help the Dwarves reclaim their homeland?
Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and Travellers' Tales Games have today announced the development of LEGO The Hobbit for release next year. A fantasy adventure which acts as a prelude to the latter studio's hit LEGO The Lord of the Rings, the multi-generation release will feature all of the best-loved characters from Peter Jackson's adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic children's novel.

However, fans expecting to play The Hobbit's storyline in its entirety best manage their aspirations. LEGO The Hobbit will feature missions adapting the events of both An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, but it will not incorporate the narrative of the film trilogy's final instalment There and Back Again. There's a chance given that the first two films cover so much of the text that this product will essentially wrap up The Hobbit's plot of its own accord, but the cynic lurking inside this writer's psyche knows that a Complete Saga-style product featuring the levels based on all six Jackson efforts is all-but-inevitable due to the LEGO franchise's ongoing success. If LEGO Marvel Superheroes is anything to go by, though, it's comforting to know that the series remains in safe hands- the first screenshots from the game can be found below.

LEGO The Hobbit travels onto Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 3DS and PC in Spring 2014.

Who News: Moffat On Regenerations, Xmas Stars & Images Revealed

doctor-who-christmas-2013Matt Smith's final episode airs in one month's time- find out the first details here!
The next week or so will no doubt be a peculiar time for any self-respecting Doctor Who fan. With the glorious 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor (our review of which will be here within the week), now having broadcast to critical acclaim and a spectacular 11.8 million viewers overnight in the UK alone, it's odd to think where exactly the show heads next in stepping towards the bold new storyline Steven Moffat teased at the episode's climax.

While a definitive solution isn't coming anytime soon, for now we can at least look at the new tidbits on the impending 2013 Christmas Special, starting with the promotional image above that teases the return of the Cybermen and more importantly the Silence. This is to be Matt Smith's final episode as the Doctor (for obvious reasons, numbering is becoming irrelevant now- it's one Time Lord with many faces!), and rumour has it that the title will be The Time of the Doctor. Here's a round-up of all the latest news on what's to come:
  • STEVEN MOFFAT ON THE REGENERATION LIMIT- Speaking to the Daily Mirror at the show's official Celebration Convention, executive producer Steven Moffat has discussed the Doctor's limit of twelve regenerations. An aspect of Time Lord biology established in 1976's The Deadly Assassin, until now the cap on the number of times the Doctor could change his face had not seemed worrying for the programme's future. All may not be as it seems, however- in the Christmas Special set to air next month, it appears that Matt Smith's Doctor will reveal he is in his 13th body due to the regeneration from John Hurt to Christopher Eccleston's incarnation counting and David Tennant having used up another regeneration in Journey's End, his consistent face not preventing the loss of another renewal. This will mean that the Doctor must face his supposedly inevitable final demise at Trenzalore, and in Moffat's words, "so if the Doctor can never change again, what's Peter Capaldi doing in the Christmas Special?" My take on the matter? Prepare for a big alteration of the series' mythology, culminating with the previously unthinkable- a potentially endless regeneration cycle for the character...
  • CHRISTMAS GUEST STAR ANNOUNCED- Digital Spy have today confirmed the first supporting actress in the festive feature-length Doctor Who special episode. Orla Brandy will star as someone from the Doctor's past during Matt's final trip in the TARDIS to Trenzalore, her fate playing a pivotal role in securing that of the Time Lord's. Brandy is best known for her work on Fringe, yet she has also appeared in cult programmes including Sinbad in the past. The Special will deal with key Moffat plot arcs including the notion that "Silence Will Fall", the TARDIS' explosion in The Pandorica Opens, the cracks in space and time and Trenzalore itself!
Doctor Who returns with its 2013 Christmas Special on Christmas Day.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

New Sherlock Series Three Teaser Trailer Released

Never mind Coulson- Sherlock lives! Hashtags at the ready...
The BBC have today released a second teaser trailer for the return of their detective drama Sherlock. In Season Three, the titular iconic protagonist will face three new and deadly cases, titled The Empty Hearse, The Sign of Three and His Last Vow.

This second preview (below) only briefly features stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson respectively, instead investigating the repercussions of the revelation of Sherlock's survival to social networking fans of the Great Detective. If the wait to see Sherlock's opening episode wasn't difficult enough already, now fans will most probably see it as damn near unbearable to endure.

Sherlock returns to BBC One on New Year's Day, 2014 (TBC).

Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Released

So just what did become of Doctors Five-Seven in the 50th celebrations? Find out now.
The BBC have today released Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot on iPlayer, YouTube and their Red Button Service. A fictitious 30-minute comedy starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, it's a hilarious successor to The Day of the Doctor that fans of Doctor Who young or old can't miss under any circumstances.

For fear of spoilers, it's best for me just to advise a preparation on your part for an all manner of cameos. Doctors, companions, showrunners, supporting stars, writers and so many more iconic figures besides all feature in the episode, which has been both written and directed by Davison himself. If the physical absence of three surviving Doctors from the 50th celebrations startled you, then FDR is a perfect substitute...

Doctor Who returns for its 2013 Christmas Special this Christmas Day on BBC One.

Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special Trailer Released

The Pandorica has opened, but when will Silence fall? A bell is tolling for the Eleventh Doctor this Christmas...
The BBC have today released the first teaser trailer for Doctor Who's latest Christmas Special. Picking up in the aftermath of The Day of the Doctor, the feature-length episode stars Matt Smith as the Doctor, Jenna Coleman as Clara and ultimately will introduce Peter Capaldi as the Doctor too.

With the episode itself still over a month away from broadcast, the clip (below) doesn't reveal much beyond an inkling of the basic premise. We see the Doctor ask for the name of the planet he stands on (or perhaps that he has heard mentioned as part of a plot prompt to get him there), then a flurry of clips of Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Silence are shown, along with an unseen female character's revelation that the Time Lord has returned to Trenzalore. Bearing in mind the new path the Doctor set out for himself in the final moments of last night's groundbreaking 50th Anniversary Special, it stands to reason that he might return to the place of his tomb for the final battle mentioned in The Name of the Doctor, so as to change his destiny and begin his journey towards Gallifrey. Who knows, though?

Steven Moffat is promising answers to key story arcs and conflicts in the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who here. That the Silence are back and the tagline 'Silence Will Fall' returns at the end of the teaser lends weight to the notion that a resolution to their non-participation in The Name of the Doctor is coming next month. Perhaps the Fall of the Eleventh and the First Question's significance will be revealed in full here? Moffat added to these speculations in a recent DWM, hinting that viewers will learn how and why the TARDIS exploded in The Pandorica Opens, why Kovarian raised an army against the Doctor in A Good Man Goes To War and just what Prisoner Zero meant by 'Silence Will Fall' in Matt's very first episode, The Eleventh Hour. Stay tuned!

Doctor Who returns for its 2013 Christmas Special this Christmas Day on BBC One.

An Adventure in Space and Time Review

The birth of a legend, and the only review you need of Mark Gatiss' poignant tribute.
On the eve of the 50th Anniversary Special, it took just a single, masterful programme in order to assure this reviewer that Doctor Who's landmark event was going to fulfil all of the lofty expectations of the show's strict fandom. That programme, of course, was Mark Gatiss' BBC Two docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.

Gatiss' script is finely structured, opening proceedings with a glimpse at William Hartnell on the brink of his departure from Who in 1965, only to then flash back to 1963, the year it all started, and fo subsequently provide a retrospective of how the elderly star became an icon. At times, certain scenes descend into comedy, yet for the most part, this is a pure drama at heart and a greatly powerful one in terms of the stirring and oft-heartbreaking material contained within. It would undoubtedly take a hardened viewer to not have a hint of a tear or two in their eyes come the programme's conclusion, and it remains a testament to Gatiss' ability that he never allows a descent into tepid, superfluous melodrama either.

Were Adventure devoid of a worthy cast ensemble, then there would be an unrelenting sense of lost potential about the whole production. Enter David Bradley, whose portrayal of Hartnell is a near-unbelievable reproduction of the 'original' Doctor, steeped in pathos towards the special episode's climax and never anything short of captivating. Call The Midwife's Jessica Raine is equally impressive as producer Verity Lambert, whose influence upon the show's initial survival appears profound judging by her role here. Aside from the leads, Brian Cox, Sacha Dhawan and even Matt Smith have their chance to and do provide wonderful turns to accompany Bradley and Raine, though undoubtedly it's the latter pair's central dynamic is the core foundation upon which the programme develops and thrives.

All too often, the director's work on a biopic is understated and inspiring, but Terry McDonough evidently begs to differ. His depiction of the world and British society of the 1960s naturally inherits some of the fundamental stereotypes that a modern viewer might assign to the period; however, on the whole there's a clear respect shown for Doctor Who's defining age, the neat visual touches such as the implementation of the initial BBC TV logo intended to be a admiring homage to days gone by rather than any distasteful parody. This reviewer would in fact be thrilled to hear that McDonough had been appointed as a director on Who itself, since his eye for the show's key tropes and his own passion for the programme are crystal clear in this spin-off piece.

At this stage, of course, we find ourselves on Sunday November 24th, with the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who now behind us and the 100th Anniversary less than half a century away. Our review of The Day of the Doctor will première later today, but for now, any fan holding any suspicions of Mark Gatiss' stunning biopic who hasn't watched Adventure yet can be certain that there's nothing to fear, quite the contrary. An Adventure in Space and Time was the perfect prelude to the perfect anniversary present, thanks in no small part to Bradley and Raine's electrifying performances and what may just be Gatiss' finest script yet. Indeed, the journey to the 50th has been a long one, but with Adventure and its successor, the realisation has been that in fact, our journey to Doctor Who's return is the same as that of the Time Lord's next chapter- we were going home, the long way round.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Expose: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

The surprise hit of 2013- do NOT miss Catching Fire under any circumstances!
Our second film review Expose link post is particularly special, since I'm here introducing a fantasy sequel which has caught me completely off guard. Despite The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's novelised source material being the strongest entry in Suzanne Collins' series, until this moment it would have been impossible to imagine that the film adaptation could match its inspiration.

And yet Catching Fire does that and far more besides, in many senses eclipsing its source thanks to the screenplay adding substantial depth to many previously neglected characters (Effie and Haymitch are both more layered here). On-Screen's score for the follow-up is a major surprise, the flick ranking at an incredible 5*. Keep in mind that this is only our third 5* score awarded to a film in 2013, Les Miserables and Gravity currently the only other major Film of the Year contenders at present. If anything, Catching Fire has proved that nothing is certain until the very last moment, and so the potential for Saving Mr Banks or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to scoop up the crown either isn't as limited as we might have initially thought...

Check out our unmissable verdict on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire now right here: http://xmedia.ex.ac.uk/wp/wordpress/review-the-hunger-games-catching-fire/

Alice In Wonderland 2, Jungle Book Release Dates Announced

Mia Wasikowska returns to believe more impossible things before breakfast in 2015!
Walt Disney Pictures have today announced the worldwide release dates for two of their upcoming fantasy film projects. They follow Into The Woods, a fantastical musical starring Meryl Streep, James Corden, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt and set to release next Christmas.

First up is Jungle Book. A live-action reboot of the classic Disney flick of the same title, this updated take on Rupyard Kipling's acclaimed children's novel is set to début in one of the most dangerous years for the film industry yet. Granted, the team have evaded the particularly destructive Summer of Film, but Bond 24, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Star Wars Episode VII are all set to release in close proximity to the project, and thus this is a financial risk nonetheless.

After that, viewers can expect to see a fully-fledged sequel to Tim Burton's 2010 motion picture Alice In Wonderland. Continuing the franchise of live-action successors to Lewis Carroll's novels and the 1951 Disney film, the second instalment will again star both Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. 2016 is a more unpredictable front at this stage (due in no small part to the year itself still being twenty five months away!), yet even from the sequel's release date, it's clear that the Summer of Film 2016 will be another manic blockbuster season, with The Amazing Spider-Man 3, How To Train Your Dragon 3, Finding Dory, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Angry Birds all readying for release at the same time...

Jungle Book swings into cinemas worldwide on October 9th, 2015, while Alice In Wonderland 2 tumbles through a rabbit hole onto the big screen on May 27th, 2016.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Expose: Thor: The Dark World Review

Will Thor's latest leave you hammered with thrills, or has it been crushed under its own weight?
I'll make this one relatively short as the post's premise is simple- though it's been a few weeks since Thor: The Dark World launched in UK cinemas, it's still available for you to go out and watch should you so desire. Before you do that, though, check out my definitive verdict on the superhero sequel over at Expose's website.

On-Screen's score for The Dark World is 3.5*, and to put that score in the context of our reviews of other recent superhero efforts, Thor earned 4.5*, Avengers Assemble acquired the mighty 5* ranking and Iron Man 3 landed 4.5* earlier this year. Here's the link to my review at Exposehttp://xmedia.ex.ac.uk/wp/wordpress/review-thor-the-dark-world-2/

How To Train Your Dragon 2 Promotional Poster Released

A Warrior and his winged Steed return for further airborne adventures in 2014.
Dreamworks Studios have today released the first promotional poster for their upcoming animated fantasy film How To Train Your Dragon 2. The much-anticipated sequel to the surprisingly accomplished How To Train Your Dragon (2010, 4/5), this second instalment pits young Viking character Hiccup and his faithful companion Toothless against an army of wild dragons and the uncovered Dragon Rider himself.

As is so often the case for the first stage of a film's marketing campaign, the initial poster (left) isn't heavy on plot teasers by any stretch. The follow-up's protagonist is clad in armour and appears more determined ahead of his next conflict this time around, but that shouldn't detract from the effective comedy setpieces which made the original such a welcome hit three years back.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 glides into cinemas worldwide on June 20th, 2014.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Gravity Spin-Off Short Film Released

One of 2013's best movies gets its first full spin-off feature just weeks after release...
Warner Brothers Pictures have today released a short drama film spin-off to their science-fiction blockbuster Gravity. Titled Aningaaq (below), the miniature flick depicts a moment in the life of one of its source material's supporting characters.

For the purpose of viewer engagement with the piece, I shan't spoil any more regarding what to expect here. Suffice to say that the approach Alfonso Cuaron has taken with this secondary feature is refreshingly innovative, especially given the protagonist's minor role in Gravity. Aningaaq has already been considered for Short Film awards for 2014, and if it does receive nominations, then we'll be in the first ever situation where a film and its spin-off have been nominees for yearly awards in the same annual period...

Gravity is out now in cinemas worldwide- check out our 5* review here: http://on-screen-reviews.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/gravity-review.html

Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Announced

Another 50th Anniversary treat set to launch on Saturday is revealed.
The BBC have today announced the broadcast of Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot on their Red Button service this weekend. A fifteen-minute comedy production, the one-off special joins An Adventure In Space And Time, An Unearthly Child's BBC Four broadcast, Who Is The Doctor?, You, Me And Who: A Culture Show Special, Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty and The Day of the Doctor itself in the studio's plethora of celebratory programmes.

Until now, though, this was a project which we had seldom heard of. It transpires that The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot has been written and directed by Peter Davison, and will feature Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and David Tennant in a fictitious quest to right the classic Doctors' absences from the 50th Anniversary Special. That showrunner Steven Moffat has given the green light to this charming little project likely means that things are a bit tongue-in-cheek, and that The Day of the Doctor may yet feature some presence from classic Doctors (indeed, Tom Baker has virtually confirmed a cameo appearance!), but either way, this is a great treat to look forward to on the big day!

Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot launches via the BBC Red Button service on Saturday November 23rd from 10pm.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

First Star Wars Episode VII Character Announced

Find out which lovable droid will definitely be returning to a galaxy far, far away in 2015!
Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have today announced a character set to feature in their upcoming science-fiction movie Star Wars Episode VII. Taking place years after the events of 1983's Return of the Jedi, the seventh full instalment in the iconic motion picture franchise will introduce new Jedi heroes into a devastating personal conflict isolated from the War of the Empire.

Joining the revamped ensemble are presumed to be a considerable number of returning actors and actresses from the Original Trilogy. As of today, we know that R2-D2 will be amongst the old hands back to see in the new talent. A beloved mainstay of the series, the eccentric, linguistically-challenged astromech droid has appeared in each of the six previous Star Wars flicks, and thus there's a sense of inevitability about its return, even if the latest model of the character will be crafted by a dedicated group of fans in this instance.

Star Wars Episode VII jumps from hyperspace into cinemas worldwide on December 18th, 2015.

Doctor Who: The Last Day Released

Doctor Who goes FPS in this underwhelming final mini-episode teasing the 50th.
BBC Worldwide have today released a Doctor Who mini-episode ahead of the broadcast of the show's 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor. Titled The Last Day, the short (below) does not feature any member of the central cast of the upcoming blockbuster adventure, yet it does set up the premise and background of the War Doctor's battles by depicting the opening moments of the Fall of Arcadia on Gallifrey (fans may recall the Tenth Doctor's referencing of this conflict in Doomsday).

If it seems as if there's a new Doctor Who post here at On-Screen every day right now, it's simply because the BBC have gone to such great lengths this month to promote their landmark televisual event. In three days' time, the floodgates will open and the 76-minute blockbuster will air on BBC One, in cinemas and across the world on international TV networks simultaneously. Steven Moffat's second prequel remains an enigmatic teaser for what's to come, only going so far as to confirm that the conflict from which John Hurt's Doctor derives is that which many of us had speculated.

Doctor Who: The Last Day is available now on the iTunes Store for download onto iOS devices.

Source: (50th Mini epsode The Last Day by culttvstuff)

Muppets Most Wanted Theatrical Trailer Released

It's time to meet the Muppets...again! Disney première a second preview of 2014's Most Wanted comedy.
Walt Disney Pictures have today released a theatrical trailer for their upcoming comedy film Muppets Most Wanted. A sequel to 2012's The Muppets, this second instalment is something of an international caper, taking viewers on a tour of the world's greatest landmarks with Kermit, Walter and the gang, only for the cast of The Muppet Show to become embroiled in a dastardly conspiracy.

One area in which The Muppets undoubtedly flourished was in its celebrity cameos- Jack Black, Ken Jeong, Jason Segel, Zach Galifanakas, Miranda Cosgrove and a host of other stars cropped up in the course of its limited 90-minute running time. In this respect, Most Wanted isn't lacking either, for Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Tom Hiddleston, Danny Trejo, Sean Combs and even Galifanakas himself all appear in this brief preview (below) alone. Segel won't be back due to his intentions only extending as far as reviving the Muppets franchise as he did two years ago, but clearly fans won't be left wanting for star factor in compensation.

Muppets Most Wanted sneaks into cinemas worldwide on March 21st, 2014.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Best of Who: An Unearthly Child VS The Name of the Doctor

On the eve of Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary, On-Screen pays tribute to the world's longest running science-fiction drama!
The promotional campaign for Doctor Who's momentous 50th Anniversary celebrations has been so extensive and thoroughly impressive that with just days remaining until The Day of the Doctor's broadcast, it would be churlish of us to attempt to re-express once more why the show deserves to still be here in 2013. If it's those kind of sentiments that readers want, then they can find them in our Best of Who Awards and A Retrospective weekly features published throughout the early months of the year.

Instead, On-Screen is putting a different spin on its final celebrations for the big day. Having rewatched both the 1963 première episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, and the latest broadcast 2013 instalment- the finale of Season Seven- The Name of the Doctor. This isn't a domain for intense criticism of either the classic series or the 21st Century revival, rather an overall retrospective on the strengths of both eras and thus the enduring strength of the BBC's finest drama as a whole. Join us in our strangely familiar police box, then, as we journey to two groundbreaking moments in the show's history which have defined its vast mythology:

THE NARRATIVES- Placed at the beginning and conclusion of their televised season respectively, Unearthly and Name naturally fulfil notably contrasting functions. In the former, Coal Hill schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright follow the mysterious Susan Foreman into an abandoned junkyard, where they encounter an enigmatic, anonymous figure and eventually find themselves transported in a logic-defying time machine to the age of Neanderthals, where a shadowy figure approaches the TARDIS. It's a meek initial tale when placed in comparison to the latter's journey to Trenzalore, where the Doctor's tomb is revealed, Clara discovers the source of her interdimensional fragmentation and a mysterious new incarnation of the Time Lord comes to light. Nevertheless, both stories engage the viewer from the outset, Unearthly's first part benefiting from the personal perspective on nameless students in Coal Hill School and the relationship between Ian and Barbara, and Name flourishing with its immediate action blockbuster-esque tone. The Season Seven finale inevitably builds to a cliffhanger in preparation for The Day of the Doctor, yet in both cases there's a substantial degree of ambiguity regarding what the closing moments of the narratives entail for their respective players- what will the figure's reaction be towards the TARDIS, and just what does John Hurt's Doctor noticing his future incarnation in his time stream mean for the TARDIS crew in the 50th Anniversary Special? That's the great strength of Who, though, particularly endorsed by Moffat: its plotlines never give the viewers all of the answers they desire at once, but it teases out enough information in order to guarantee that they never feel short-changed and to simultaneously ensure their booking of a place on the sofa next week.

THE STARS- Doctor Who has frequently relied upon relatively restrained cast ensembles in terms of quantity, a trait which resonates in both its first and latest adventures. An Unearthly Child introduces the world to William Russell and Jacqueline Hill first and foremost, and thank goodness, as both of them are hugely talented thespians who eventually bring out the best in their co-stars William Hartnell and Carole Ann Ford. Ann Ford's portrayal of Susan can hardly be discredited, either, for it conveys an impressively alien humanoid character steeped in mystery and naivety. Come the time of The Name of the Doctor, fans have had more time to accumulate to the sublime talents of Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey, all of whom are on their greatest form yet at this stage. Once again, it's clear that Who endures thanks to the unyielding strength of its central and supporting actors and actresses, another aspect of its popularity which has developed immensely over the years.

THE DIRECTION- In hindsight, few fans would have envied An Unearthly Child's director Waris Hussein for the challenge in establishing one of the most iconic entertainment properties of the last century. During the year 1963, of course, no-one had even a faint conception of the success Doctor Who would amass in days to come, and as such the direction of its debut episode falls firmly in line with the BBC's standard drama offerings of the '60s, Hussein's depiction of the three locales of the episode- Coal Hill School, 76 Totter's Lane and the Neanderthal-scoured field- is understated and visibly restricted by his tight budget. Meanwhile, Saul Metzein can afford himself a greater deal of confidence in 2013 with Name thanks to an enhanced budget (though the use of the merely semi-effective Whispermen shows that the BBC's CGI restrictions still reside) and greater tonal assurance on the part of the incumbent showrunner, Steven Moffat. Moffat's vision for his third season finale seems to have been profoundly clear, especially due to its relation to The Day of the Doctor. Thus in spite of its narrative ambivalences, Name thrives on the more assured vision of Doctor Who's current helm in terms of its aesthetic fidelity.

THE VERDICT- Surely this one is fairly simple? To conclude, Doctor Who has never really fallen short of an astounding benchmark of greatness in its past half-century of integration into British culture and wider entertainment history. It's most certainly had its moments where that aforementioned benchmark has been matched and surpassed with more aplomb than in other instances, but the show's dramatic power has survived and continued to manifest itself in its every form, whether on television, in audio, in publication or elsewhere. This weekend's historic 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor, will only serve as a continued expression and refinement of that greatness, but as Moffat himself has said, not to mention the First Doctor, "it's far from being all over".

The truth of the situation? This isn't the end, it's the beginning- and the moment has been prepared for. That moment is coming, and it's been fifty years in the making...

Promotion: The Doctor & I Available For Pre-Order

You can now reserve your copy of WhovianNet's glorious celebratory 50th Anniversary book, featuring an essay by yours truly...
It's not often here at On-Screen that I ask for your attention on a matter of interest outside the realms of entertainment coverage, so you'll hopefully appreciate the relevance of this particular post. Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary celebratory releases are landing in their multitudes this week, but there's one particular paperback publication which I believe truly warrants your attention.

Published by the writers of the unofficial Who site WhovianNet, The Doctor & I is a definitive collection of plenty of fans' touching memoirs on the bold science-fiction drama which has survived for half a century. On the eve of the broadcast of The Day of the Doctor this Saturday, there's no better time to experience a retrospective of what makes the programme such a success in 2013 and the number of lives the Doctor has touched outside of his fictitious narrative's boundaries in his time on-screen, on audio and everywhere besides.

The book features an introduction by Richard Curtis, the iconic director of Love, Actually and About Time and the writer of the beloved Who episode Vincent and the Doctor. My published essay is titled Turn Right, and features in the publication alongside 85 other grand summaries of Doctor Who's history and its power over viewers worldwide. Classic series star Katy Manning had this to say on the text: "We wouldn't be celebrating Doctor Who's fabulous 50th if it weren't for three major factors. First, the original concept. Second, the commitment, passion and creativity of the teams that have worked on it over the years and third, and most importantly, all the fans around the world, some of which are featured in WhovianNet's The Doctor & I! Thanks for your love and support over these 50 brilliant years of the unstoppable Who!"

The Doctor & I is published on Saturday November 23rd and can be pre-ordered now at GJB Publishing. Please support the project, as the work that has gone into it from WhovianNet, Richard and all of the book's contributors is incredible: http://www.gjbpublishing.co.uk/The_Doctor_%26_I_UK.html

The LEGO Movie Videogame Box Art Released

Embedded image permalinkThe next adventure after LEGO Marvel Superheroes may be Traveller's Tales most meta-orientated video game yet!
Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and TT Games have today released the cover art for their upcoming platforming video game The LEGO Movie Videogame. An official tie-in to the upcoming blockbuster (sorry!) film, the product's narrative will be based in the same universe as the motion picture storyline, although it's yet to be confirmed whether the two narratives will align directly or The Videogame's will take place in succession.

Surprisingly, there's quite a lot we can assert of the project simply from this boxart image (left). Appearing on the game's cover are Emmett, Wyldstyle, Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman), President Business (Will Ferrell) and DC's iconic superhero Batman himself. The latter has of course featured in LEGO Batman: The Videogame and LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes, both of which were met with mass acclaim, so his presence here bodes extremely well for the team's success. You can check out the latest trailer for The LEGO Movie below.

The LEGO Movie Videogame is set for release on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS and PC in March 2014.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Who News: New The Day of the Doctor Clip Released

Six. Days. To. Go. Prepare yourself with a second full preview of the 50th Anniversary Special!
The BBC have this week released a second clip from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. Titled The Day of the Doctor, this feature-length blockbuster episode takes place months after the events of The Name of the Doctor, as Clara reunites with the Doctor to embark on the ultimate intergalactic and interdimensional adventure, the day that will change her valiant Time Lord's life forever.

This second footage preview (below) is taken from the BBC's Children In Need telethon on Friday. What with the mainstream nature of the audience, most of what's offered up will be self-explanatory and unrevelatory to the majority of fans. All the same, with the wait until the episode's worldwide and cinema broadcast on Saturday growing ever more unbearable, any new footage is welcome, and there'll be a few more mini-clips to look forward to as the week progresses via the #SaveTheDay website.

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor airs on BBC One, on international networks and in cinemas worldwide this Saturday November 23rd at 7.50pm.

Uncharted 4 Announced

Naughty Dog are hard at work on a fourth instalment in the hit PlayStation-exclusive franchise.
Sony Computer Entertainment and Naughty Dog Games have this week announced the development of a new Uncharted video game title. The news came at Sony's PlayStation 4 launch event via a teaser trailer released to hint at a future chapter in Nathan Drake's adventures on the publisher's latest hardware.

If it's concrete plot details you're looking for, though, then prepare to come away still wanting. You, Me and Dupree's Todd Stashwick narrates the map-led video (below), yet there are no appearances from Drake or his cohorts from the original trilogy of games here. Rest assured that the visual technology of the latest entry will be nothing short of exemplary, the finesse of Naughty Dog's superb work on Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception over on the PS3 already having alluded to some of the potential greatness that may yet be achieved...

Uncharted 4 will retail exclusively for PlayStation 4 in 2014.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Coming Up This Week: November 18th-24th

This is November's grand epicentre of entertainment- the next seven days house pure, thrilling gold!
If ever we needed to trace a single week as the highlight of this month's entertainment roster, then the coming one would fit the bill without question. From Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special to the Xbox One's launch, from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to Need for Speed: Rivals, from An Adventure in Space and Time to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, the level and quantity of major releases in the next seven days is simply astonishing!

Let's neither dilly nor dally any longer, then, and in the words of Rizzle Kicks, 'skip to the good bit'. Here's our definitive round-up of everything you need to watch out for this week!:

  • DOCTOR WHO: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE- BBC Three kick off a Doctor Who-intensive week (well, it is the 50th Anniversary, after all!) with a glorious retrospective on the show's dense history. Monsters, companions and Doctors are here in full force to get fans ready and exhilarated for The Day of the Doctor, in what promises to be the ultimate warm-up treat...(Monday 18th, BBC3)
  • THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE- Katniss Everdeen is back in action, as the much-anticipated follow-up to 2012's The Hunger Games (4.5/5) arrives in cinemas worldwide. Catching Fire's action commences as Katniss and Peeta cross the twelve Districts of Panem for their Victory Tour, only to find that the Capital has other devastating plans in order to quell the rebellions which have emerged ever since the 74th Hunger Games. A blockbuster adaptation of Suzanne Collins' greatest novel, this is an unmissable motion picture experience! (Thursday 21st)
  • AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME- Shortly before the Eleventh Doctor, the Tenth Doctor and the War Doctor enter a new adventure across the fourth dimension and beyond, Mark Gatiss is offering fans a touching glimpse into Doctor Who's inception. Starring David Bradley, Jessica Raine and Brian Cox, Adventure depicts the world of 1960s England, and the trials and tribulations the show's original production team underwent in order to bring an icon to BBC One. (Thursday 21st, BBC2)
  • XBOX ONE- Amidst all of the Doctor Who presents to be unwrapped this week, a different yet similarly juicy gift awaits gamers too. Microsoft's Xbox One is launching worldwide on Friday, with initial titles for the next-generation console including Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, Ryse: Son of Rome and Need for Speed: Rivals. With the PlayStation 4 set to release next week, prepare for the commencement fo the ultimate hardware war once more...(Friday 22nd)
  • THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS- It's been a fair while since Nintendo fans received the brilliant The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword- two full years, in fact! Thankfully, the team's latest effort starring Link, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, looks to be a spectacular return to form for the franchise. Featuring intriguing connections to the series' original 2D chapters, Link Between Worlds retails exclusively on Nintendo 3DS and 2DS. (Friday 22nd)
  • THE CULTURE SHOW: YOU, ME AND DOCTOR WHO- You'd think that viewers already had enough Doctor Who content to deal this week, but BBC Two are taking the quantity of releases ever further. This special edition of The Culture Show investigates Doctor Who's impact on British and worldwide culture in the last half-century, presented by lifelong science-fiction fan Matthew Sweet and housing one or two satisfying cameos from none other than Matt Smith! (Fri 22nd, BBC2)
  • DOCTOR WHO: THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR- What could the Doctor's darkest day possibly entail? And what does his most precious secret mean for the entire universe? These game-changing questions will be answered in spectacular fashion as Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special finally broadcasts fifty years on from Saturday November 23rd, 1963. Matt Smith, David Tennant, Jenna Coleman, Billie Piper and John Hurt all headline this incredible feature-length blockbuster adventure, which fans can experience on BBC One, on international networks across the world simultaneously or on the big-screen in 3D at cinemas everywhere. Suffice to say that you will not want to miss the live showing of one of Doctor Who's most anticipated and most significant narratives ever! (Saturday 23rd, BBC1 & Cinemas)
  • DOCTOR WHO LIVE: THE AFTERPARTY- And to round off an amazing night of Doctor Who celebrations, BBC Three have one final programme in store. The Afterparty is a grand successor to The Day of the Doctor- hosted by Zoe Ball (grit your teeth, those who remember her contribution to Doctor Who Live's Twelfth Doctor reveal!), the one-off special will incorporate live reactions from fans to the 50th Special, video congratulations from One Direction (yes, really!) and many other celebrities and plenty more besides. Don't expect the world of this one, but if the adrenaline rush that The Day of the Doctor needs to continue in a celebratory form, then this is the perfect solution...(Saturday 23rd, BBC3)
Next week, Oliver and Moira face a potentially catastrophic trial in Arrow: State V. Queen, Nintendo's iconic plumber returns in Super Mario 3D World, Doctor Who fans get the chance to reclaim lost episodes on DVD with Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World and Marvel's Agents of SHIELD continues with its ninth instalment!

Busted & McFly Announce Collaboration Tour

Ready for a blast from the past? Two revived teen pop groups are hoping you'll answer in the affirmative...
The original band members of the pop music groups Busted and McFly have this week announced a joint tour of the UK to commence next year. Rallying together under the band name 'McBusted', the ensemble of artists will début new collaborative songs and old classics from both bands' history in their latest round of concerts.

Year 3000, Air Hostess and Shine A Light all featured in McBusted's first performances during McFly's 10th Anniversary celebratory concerts this September, and thus are all expected to be given reprisals in the upcoming gigs. Here's the full list of concert dates for McBusted's 2014 tour:

For all the latest music news and reviews, keep it On-Screen in the months ahead!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mission Impossible 5 Release Date Announced

Surely it's time for this mission to be terminated? Not while there's still cash for Paramount to plunder!
Paramount Pictures have today announced the worldwide release date for their upcoming action thriller film Mission Impossible 5. The fifth motion picture instalment in the franchise of (oh-so-loose) adaptations of the hit TV show of the same name, this semi-anticipated sequel will again star Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt.

Beyond Cruise, though, the cast of the film have yet to be announced. Simon Pegg's return is virtually assured, as is Jeremy Renner's provided that Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn't fill up his schedule in its entirety, and given that those two thespians were Ghost Protocol's best-known supporting stars, the effect of the returns or absences of the remainder of the ensemble will likely be neglible. All the same, what with the definite sense of cumbersome deja vu that plagued the upcoming follow-up's predecessor, director Christopher McQuarrie has to inject fresh life into the project if it is to succeed in one of the industry's toughest periods...

Mission Impossible 5 crawls into cinemas worldwide on Christmas Day, 2015.

An Adventure In Space And Time Trailer Released

"It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard..." Discover the Doctor's first televised voyage next week!
BBC Two have today released the full trailer for their upcoming documentary-drama biopic An Adventure in Space and Time. Set to broadcast as part of Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary celebrations in the week commencing November 18th, the 90-minute programme is already tipped as a poignant retrospective on the show's inception and its early tribulations.

In this brief yet touching trail (below), there's adequate chance for viewers to glimpse a few of the episode's central stars. Game of Thrones' David Bradley plays Doctor Who's titular lead William Hartnell, Call The Midwife's Jessica Raine is producer Verity Lambert and Brian Cox is Head of Drama Sydney Newman. Alongside the cast's heads, fans can expect cameos from a wealth of Who stars old and new. This week's Radio Times has teased that for the more nostalgic among us, this could very well be seen as "the 50th Anniversary Special", which is quite a claim indeed!

An Adventure in Space and Time materialises on BBC Two this Thursday November 21st at 9pm.

Doctor Who: The Night of the Doctor Released

The Day draws near- but before that, check out Steven Moffat's incredible 50th Anniversary prequel episode...
BBC Worldwide have today released The Night of the Doctor (below), a Doctor Who mini-episode which acts as a prologue to the show's upcoming 50th Anniversary Special. Starring John Hurt, the video reveals the initial strands of the shady history behind his 'lost' Doctor, and just what identity the Time Lord may have adopted during his darkest hour.

As if it didn't go without saying, Night is an essential viewing for any self-respecting Whovian. Writer Steven Moffat has packed the short's 7 minutes with plenty of surprises, callbacks and hints as to what viewers can expect from the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor, in nine days' time. The only problem? Nine days has never seemed like such a long period to wait in anticipation. Check back here tomorrow night for a fresh new clip from Children In Need's 2013 live show.

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor broadcasts on BBC One, international networks and in cinemas worldwide this Saturday November 23rd at 7.50pm.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Downton Abbey Fifth Season Commissioned

The period drama that refuses to die will return for a new season of conflicts next Autumn.
iTV have this week announced the recommissioning of Downton Abbey for a fifth season. Set to broadcast next year, the new run will again star Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton and its beloved ensemble, with Paul Giamatti joining the cast as Harold Grantham in this year's Christmas Special and reprising his role for the latest season.

This move by iTV may have appeared a given on the basis of another strong set of ratings for Season Four, yet it may moreover have come as a surprise to fans who were expecting closure from the recently broadcast finale. Maggie Smith was not expected to return beyond a fourth season of the programme, which seemed to leave the future of Downton Abbey in doubt, yet either way the studio are pushing on with another run of eight episodes. Smith's absence would to this writer be a crushing blow for the admirable period drama, and if her days on the series are numbered, then perhaps next year will finally mark a resolution for this monolithic, seemingly unstoppable production.

Downton Abbey returns for its 2013 Christmas Special on Christmas Day, with Season Five set to commence broadcasting in Autumn 2014.

Who News: DWM 50th Anniversary Issue Cover Revealed

Anyone who calls themselves a fan of Doctor Who can't afford to miss this incredible celebratory edition of its official magazine...
Doctor Who Magazine have this week unveiled their spectacular special edition 50th Anniversary edition. Issue 467 will release with just nine days to go until The Day of the Doctor's broadcast, a proximity which finally allows the editorial team to reveal a few secrets on what the episode's narrative entails and where Doctor Who will go in the near future beyond its 50th year!

Perhaps the most impressive element of this month's magazine is its additional supplements. Alongside the bumper-sized 116-page issue itself, consumers will receive 12 commemorative art cards depicting each of the Twelve Doctors, a commemorative mini-magazine themed as if Doctor Who Magazine were released in 1964 on the eve of the sci-fi drama's second initial season, and a whopping 9 free downloads of fully-fledged audio dramas to boot. All of that comes before you even open the magazine, which in itself houses a full preview of The Day of the Doctor, a retrospective on The Five Doctors, a collaboration between Steven Moffat and a special guest, interviews with Matt Smith and David Tennant and so much more besides. In short, this is every Doctor Who fan's dream self-given gift for the big day...

Doctor Who Magazine 467 retails for £7.99 in all good newsagents tomorrow, Thursday November 14th.

Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor Announced

Warner Brothers Games début a new video game series set in the Lord of the Rings universe next year.
Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have today announced the development of Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor for release next year. A fantasy action video game set in the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson's adaptations of Tolkien's novels, the title will be available for both current-generation and next-generation hardware upon its release.

The player will take on the role of a Ranger who was resurrected after his murder and the demises of his family at the hands of Sauron's forces. This protagonist now strives to battle the influence of the tyrannical Lord of Darkness, in a narrative which takes place in parallel to the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gameplay details are thin at this stage, save for that Warner Brothers are branding the experience an "original, dark story of retribution". Now all that remains to see is whether the project's developers can escape the onslaught of mediocrity tied with the vast majority of LOTR video game experiences so far.

Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor retails on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 in Autumn 2014.

Tomorrowland Delayed

In the final development of a sweep of delays, Walt Disney's hugely exciting sci-fi will now open its doors in 2015...
Walt Disney Pictures have today confirmed a delay for their upcoming science-fiction drama film Tomorrowland. Starring Brit Robertson, George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, the movie centres on the titular fictitious 'land' located in Disneyland theme parks across the world, though quite what its narrative entails has yet to be revealed.

By moving this project back to a Summer of Film 2015 release, Disney have simultaneously exhibited a fair degree of confidence in its box office prospects and robbed themselves of another 2014 film launch. Next year, the ever-growing studio will release Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Planes: Fire and Rescue, Guardians of the Galaxy, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Big Hero 6, McFarland and Into The Woods, which at least means they are scarcely lacking for original or franchise content, but that doesn't make it any less of a disappointment that Tomorrowland will elude our grasp for a considerable extra length of time!

Tomorrowland opens its gates to the world on May 22nd, 2015.

Assassin's Creed, Independence Day 2 Delayed

Michael Fassbender's time-travelling video game adaptation will set sail later than expected!
20th Century Fox have today announced the delays of two of their upcoming film projects. Firstly, their science-fiction video game adaptation Assassin's Creed will shift from its June 2015 release date to a later window in the Summer of Film 2015. On top of that, their much-anticipated thriller sequel Independence Day 2 will depart 2015's roster altogether.

It's safe to say that Independence Day 2's setback is hardly the greatest surprise of 2013. The follow-up project has been laden with production hitches in the past, and Fox clearly need further time to refine what could be a sensational blockbuster that lands a sublime box office. Assassin's Creed's issues weren't quite so simple to predict, although for the most part that The Fantastic Four was yesterday delayed to a June 19th, 2015 release is probably the major cause of the alteration.

Assassin's Creed performs a leap of faith into cinemas worldwide on August 7th, 2015 and Independence Day 2 launches on July 1st, 2016.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Fantastic Four Delayed

The Fantastic-Mobile won't mobilize quite as early as expected, thanks to a setback from Fox!
Fox Studios have today announced a delay in the release scheduling of their upcoming superhero film The Fantastic Four. A reboot of the titular franchise after the underwhelming reception to Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), the narrative of this third instalment is shrouded in secrecy, though we do know that Kick-Ass' scribe Mark Millar has been an aid during production.

The reboot in question now finds itself inhabiting the increasingly dangerous Summer of Film period in 2015. Granted, Star Wars Episode VII is temporarily out of the equation, yet Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and Batman Vs. Superman are all still remaining for Fox to deal with before striving outside of the superhero genre's target audience. Given the lukewarm box office success of previous chapters in the series, a late 2015 release for the flick would have been more advisable, so at present it appears we'll just have to watch how the tide pans out with regards to this strategic alteration.

The Fantastic Four will assemble in cinemas worldwide in June 2015.

Rayman Legends Next-Gen Version Announced

Ubisoft Montpieller's beautiful platformer comes to upgraded hardware in Spring 2014.
Ubisoft Games have today announced the development of a new version of Rayman Legends for release on next-generation consoles. Launched earlier in 2013, Legends was a stellar follow-up to 2010's Rayman Origins, and it earned itself a remarkable 9/10 score here at On-Screen upon its release in September.

If it's a revolutionary update which fans of the original Legends product are looking for, though, then they'll come away dissatisfied. Beyond utilisation of Remote Play and Kinect motion control systems in a similar fashion to the WiiU GamePad, the second edition will play exactly the same as its first incarnation, albeit boasting graphics which will be considerably enhanced by the technology of Microsoft and Sony's latest hardware behemoths.

Rayman Legends retails for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in February 2014.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Coming Up This Week: November 11th-17th

Minifigures, assemble! November's second full week offers up another impressive range of entertainment releases.
What should quickly become apparent this month is that things are only going to keep on ramping up as the weeks progress. That fact is more than correct with regards to the second week in, which, it has to be said, contains some genuine corkers for entertainment fans to look out before its end.

Ready to hear what those entail? Okay, then. Here's our round-up of all of the hottest entertainment releases launching in the next seven days:

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY EXTENDED EDITION- We're just a month away from the worldwide release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which means it's high time for another look at its predecessor. An Unexpected Journey's extended cut boasts more time in Hobbiton, Rivendell and the Goblin Caves, adding an additional 13 minutes of footage in order to produce an overall upgraded running time of 182 minutes. Tolkein fans, take heed- with 9 hours of extras on top of the bumper-sized film, this is the ultimate edition of The Hobbit's first chapters. (Monday 10th)
ARROW: LEAGUE OF ASSASSINS- As Season Two of Arrow continues, more secrets will be revealed on the Black Canary's mysterious past. Just what is the enigmatic heroine's connection to the League of Assassins? As we flash between Oliver's time on the island and his modern day exploits, the answer will unveil itself over time this week. Plus, get ready to discover more on the implications of Brother Blood's plot arc...(Monday 10th, Sky1)
BIOSHOCK INFINITE: BURIAL AT SEA PART 1- This audacious DLC campaign expands the events of BioShock Infinite in a retrospective throwback to the world of Rapture. Burial At Sea sees Booker hired by the shady Elizabeth to find a lost girl in the city, a mission which leads him into a devilish conspiracy, and one which could set in motion the very fall of rapture: this is an expansion pack which you can't afford to miss! (Tuesday 12th)
THE SCIENCE OF DOCTOR WHO- Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary is shifting fully into gear starting this week. The Science of Doctor Who is an initial celebratory lecture programme helmed by Brian Cox that speculates upon the reality of such concepts as time travel and extraterresterial life. BBC Two have plenty more great Who content to come in the next two weeks, but as debuts go, this is one hell of a kick-starter that I can already confirm deserves any fan's time. (Thursday 14th)
LEGO MARVEL SUPERHEROES- The final major current-generation video game title of 2013, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is assembling in stores this week. TT Games and Marvel Studios have been hard at work rendering a LEGO-themed version of New York with various superhero teams in order to provide series veterans with the ultimate filmic experience on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, WiiU and many more consoles. This particular instalment will be available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 too, but for now, keep it current-generation to give your hardware the proper send-off...(Friday 15th)
CHILDREN IN NEED 2013- Sure, Terry Wogan does his best to sap all potential comic relief from it, but all the same, the Children In Need live show is one of the BBC's most justly popular live events. This year's programme features the first clip of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, a Call The Midwife sketch and performances from One Direction and Harry Hill, so to use an old cliche, there's something for everyone! (Friday 15th)
DOCTOR WHO: GREATEST MONSTERS AND VILLAINS WEEKEND- Another Who celebration broadcast, this time from BBC Three. Fans voted, and now it's time to discover (in order) the Top 10 Doctor Who monsters and villains of all time. Who will win- the Daleks, the Silence, or the Kandyman? Perhaps the last one is wishful thinking, yet it should be a genuinely thrilling weekend-long event for Who veterans everywhere. (Friday 15th, Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th)
AND THERE'S MORE- The Great Gatsby's 2013 adaptation from the great Baz Luhrmman lands in DVD and Blu-Ray retailers tomorrow, as does Disney Pixar's latest effort, Monsters' University!
AND NEXT WEEK...It's time- Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor has arrived! But that's by no menas all- the Xbox One, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, An Adventure In Space And Time, Super Mario 3D World, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and so many more releases première in what could be 2013's most anticipated week by far!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Who News: Night of the Doctor, Legacy & More

Can there possibly be any more 50th action? Naturally, the answer is a definitive yes...
BBC Worldwide have today announced a host of new Doctor Who projects premiering this month for the show's 50th Anniversary. Hot on the heels of this morning's brilliant first trailer for The Day of the Doctor, the reveals feature programmes, mini-episodes and even video games launching over the course of this month.

Without further ado, here's our round-up of all of the hottest Doctor Who announcements which you may have missed as you watched the trailer for the seventy-fifth time:

  • THE NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR- As if it weren't enough to receive two full trailers for The Day of the Doctor this weekend, the BBC have confirmed that a seven minute mini-episode prequel to the 50th Anniversary Special will air next weekend. Launching on the channel's Red Button service, The Night of the Doctor features John Hurt's incarnation of the Doctor, and could possibly feature a cameo from Paul McGann if rumours are to be believed! The Night of the Doctor debuts on BBC Red Button next Saturday November 16th.
  • LEGACY ON iOS & ANDROID- On top of dominating television sets, social networks and the box office this month, Doctor Who is returning to the realm of video gaming too. Titled Doctor Who: Legacy, the new free-to-play game seems to revolve around the events of the Time War, though Tiny Rebel Studios are still teasing plenty of homages to the show's illustrious past. Doctor Who: Legacy hits iOS and Android devices in late November.
  • THE ULTIMATE GUIDE- One of two newly announced celebratory shows set to air on BBC Three, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide is essentially a reprisal of the Confidential series, bringing together stars such as Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, David Tennant and Paul McGann to discuss and debate some of the series' most iconic sequences. It joins the Greatest Monsters and Villains Weekend programmes airing from November 15th-17th. Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide broadcasts on BBC Three on Monday November 18th.
  • DOCTOR WHO LIVE: THE AFTERPARTY- And if it's post-50th Doctor Who action that you're craving, then BBC Three have you covered on yet another front. DW Live: The Afterparty is hosted by The Twelfth Doctor's Zoe Ball and will house an extensive discussion of The Day of the Doctor straight after its worldwide simultaneous broadcast. Guests for the programme are yet to be announced. Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty airs on BBC Three on Saturday November 23rd at 9.05pm.
Doctor Who returns for its blockbuster, feature-length 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor, on Saturday November 23rd at 7.50pm- check out the first full clip of the episode below...