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Monday, 30 June 2014

First Game of Thrones Season Five Plot Details Revealed

Source: Fansided
When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. Suffice to say that a LOT of people have died so far. SPOILERS within...
Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and ex-lead star Michelle Fairley (who played Catelyn Stark in Seasons One-Three) have this month confirmed the first details on the planned narratives of the fifth season of HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Rest assured that there are SPOILERS for the final episodes of Season Four within, but those worrying that anything concrete will be revealed about future storylines set to be adapted from the novels can breathe a (brief) sigh of relief here and now.

Let's dilly-dally no longer, and instead dive straight into what Benioff, Weiss and Fairley (all of whom spoke to Entertainment Weekly) have to say on what we can expect to see from the series in around nine months' time:
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON THE QUALITY OF SEASON FIVE'S STORYLINES- "For Season Five, again [as was the case with Season Four], the fear started to dissipate when we outlined it and realized how much story we had to tell. Now that we're nearly finished with the first drafts of each episode, we see no reason why the coming season shouldn't be the strongest yet."
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON MOVING TO DORNE- "There will be Dorne [the home kingdom of Oberyn Martell, where Mycella Lannister is currently situated], and we're excited about it. Who wouldn't want to hang out in Dorne? They have admirable values and priorities. And have you seen Oberyn's coat?"
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON LITTLEFINGER AND VARYS- "Littlefinger [...] wants everything. He wants to sit on that throne. By necessity, his path there will be twisted and indirect. [...] As for Varys: early in the season, when speaking with Tyrion, Varys claims to be concerned primarily with self preservation. At the end of the season, though, his actions prove otherwise. He throws away the entire life he's built for himself in King's Landing to save Tyrion's life. Now what? ... "Now what?" will become eminently clear in Season Five."
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON SEASON FIVE'S FANTASTICAL ELEMENTS- "The White Walkers aren't going away. The dragons aren't getting any smaller. Melisandre's still sorceressing, the giants are more pissed than ever, and Jaime's almost done building his jetpack. So...yeah, the fantasy's not going away. It is a fantasy show."
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON THE CHARACTER DYNAMICS AND ADAPTATION STRUCTURE OF SEASON FIVE- "[Season Four] almost feels like this is the midpoint for us. If we're going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season Four is right down the middle. [...] It's been an expanding universe and will now start to contract. Which doesn't mean we won't meet any new characters in Season Five, because we will. But it's going to start to shrink for sure. We're not going in strict order [when adapting the novels' various story arcs] because we can't. We can't adapt Feast [A Feast for Crows] and leave out half our characters. We'll be drawing heavily from Feast and Dance [A Dance with Dragons] in Season Five."
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON THE CONCLUSION OF BOOK/TV NARRATIVES- "There are some characters who will die that [we] don't think people will predict.And as George has said, we're killing off more characters than in the books and will continue to do so."
  • BENIOFF AND WEISS ON POSSIBLE GAME OF THRONES TV SPIN-OFFS- "We have not talked about that. If that happens, it's up to HBO and George. It's not something [we] would be a part of. We're interested in A Song of Ice and Fire."
  • FAIRLEY ON HER CHARACTER'S POTENTIAL RESURRECTION [A LAST-MINUTE TWIST IN THE SEASON THREE/FOUR NOVEL A STORM OF SWORDS]- "Yeah, the character's dead. She's dead. You respect the writers' decision. I knew the arc, and that was it. They can't stick to the books 100 percent. It's impossible - they only have 10 hours per season. They have got to keep it dramatic and exciting, and extraneous stuff along the way gets lost in order to maintain the quality of this brilliant show."
To be honest, the Lady Stoneheart omission reveal from Fairley took us (and a lot of other fans, by the sounds of it) more than a little off-guard, since the character's surprise appearance just a dozen or so chapters after Catelyn Stark's death in A Storm of Swords was amongst the novel's finest twists. The necessary change in circumstances will probably make sense with hindsight, especially if George R.R. Martin begins to decide that even bringing back Catelyn in the books was a step too far into fantastical territory, but for now, RIP Lady Stoneheart (Unspecified Fictitious Westerosian Year-Also Unspecified Fictitious Westerosian Year).

Game of Thrones will return for its action-packed fifth season on HBO and Sky Atlantic in Spring 2015.

More Doctor Who Season Eight Antagonists & New Guest Star Announced

Source: Wales Online
Michelle Gomez and the Cybermen battle the Doctor this Autumn...
The BBC have today announced several antagonists set to feature in the new series of their science-fiction drama Doctor Who. Starring Peter Capaldi as the titular eternal Time Lord, the run will mark the show's eighth full season since its revival by Russell T Davies in 2005 and will also see the return of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald and the introduction of Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink, a new member of the TARDIS crew.

More excitingly still, Michelle Gomez (pictured above with Capaldi) has just been confirmed to star in the two-part finale of Season Eight (comprising Episodes 11 and 12 - there's no Episode 13 as a) the 50th needed a sizeable budget increase and b) Episode 1 is a feature-length instalment) as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere. Searching the term 'Nethersphere' on Doctor Who wikis yields no immediate results, so it seems as if Steven Moffat (the writer of the story) has created an original character and realm for Gomez (who has previously starred in shows such as Bad Education and plays such as The Merchant of Venice) to inhabit in this instance.

Keen-eyed readers will no doubt have spotted that Capaldi and Gomez are by no means the only victims of Wales Online's camera-work above: the Cybermen have additionally been officially confirmed to return in the upcoming (still to-be-titled) serial. First conceived in the 2013 story "Nightmare in Silver", the latest incarnation of these robotic warriors derives from our universe rather than the parallel universe versions introduced in 2006's "Rise of the Cybermen", but it remains to be seen whether they'll have a starring role as they did in the aforementioned serials or they'll merely cameo as they did in 2010's "The Pandorica Opens", 2011's "A Good Man Goes To War" and 2013's "The Day of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor".

As if all of those news updates weren't enough, photos taken on set by Wales Online today have even revealed that both Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver will return in (at least) Episode 12 to reprise their roles as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and her trusted assistant Osgood along with a substantial number of UNIT troops who today took arms against the invading Cyber forces. At this rate, the next two months won't possibly be able to pass quick enough for the vast majority of fans. Keep it On-Screen for more details on Doctor Who Season Eight and the show's future in the days ahead...

Doctor Who returns for a new series of time-travelling adventures, beginning with a feature-length instalment titled "Deep Breath", on BBC One this August 23rd.

(P.S. Below is the brilliantly designed cover image for this year's mandatory official Doctor Who annual, The Official Doctor Who Annual 2015, this time front-headed by none other than Peter Capaldi's stern-looking Twelfth Doctor.)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley Opening Date Announced

Source: Attractions Magazine
Take a trip behind the streets of London for a magical adventure like no other...
Universal Studios Orlando and Warner Brothers Pictures have this week announced the opening date of the much-vaunted impending expansion to their The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park attraction. Previously confined to Universal Islands of Adventure (a park located adjacent to the central Universal Studios site in Florida), the 'land' will now span both parks, with the new venue based at Studios playing host to a grand recreation of none other than the iconic Diagon Alley.

Whether it's uncanny replicas of classic Rowling creations such as the Ollivander's and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes shops or thrilling roller-coaster rides (here in the form of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which depicts an epic underground mine-chart chase based loosely on the opening setpiece of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2) you're looking for from Wizarding World, the Diagon Alley section will boast both in abundance and so much more. Better yet, a stunning working version of the Hogwarts Express will transport you between the makeshift Diagon Alley and the original Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure (the latter of which is definitely still worth a visit), and who knows? Perhaps a few cameos from beloved Potter characters of days gone by await you aboard the esteemed steam train...

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will open its doors to the world on Tuesday, July 8th.

Our Girl Season One Teaser Trailer Released

Source: BBC
Lacey Turner returns for five further episodes of military turmoil this Summer.
The BBC have this week released the teaser trailer (below) for the upcoming first season of their military drama Our Girl. Starring Lacey Turner as its eponymous protagonist, the full run of five 90-minute instalments follows a one-off standalone episode which aired to mass critical acclaim back in March 2013.

Considering that the film in question managed to gain a final average rating of 6.31 million viewers (which, to be clear, is nothing to be gawked at: only the likes of Doctor Who, Sherlock, Strictly Come Dancing, Mrs Brown's Boys and the soaps go much higher than that figure these days), it should come as no great shock to us to see the series back for more, yet the film worked so efficiently as an isolated entity that we can't help but wonder whether the Beeb would have been best of leaving it as such. Even so, we're intrigued to see what Game of Thrones' own Iwan Rheon (better known to fans as Theon's psychotic torturer Ramsay Snow) brings to his latest role here, plus any chance to spend more time in the 'company' of one of Turner's most convincing characters yet is more than welcome at the On-Screen offices.

Our Girl returns to BBC One for a new series of international conflict this Summer.

New The Jungle Book Guest Star Announced

Source: The Telegraph
The Mandarin himself goes head-to-head with Mowgli. It's truly a jungle out there now...
Walt Disney Pictures have this week announced a new central cast member set to feature in their upcoming fantasy film The Jungle Book. Taking place in a narrative continuity which is completely isolated from Disney's original animated adaptations of Rudyard Kipling's iconic children's short stories, this potentially controversial reboot will be directed by Iron Man's Jon Favreau and its screenplay written by Justin Marks.

Already, we've discovered that hot thespians such as Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Scarlet Johansson (Kaa) and Lupita Nyong'o (Raksha) are attached to Favreau's latest production (and if you're looking for further examples of the guy's work, go and check out Chef at cinemas this month!), but with the appointment of Ben Kingsley, things have just become deadly serious. Writing out Kingsley's filmography in full would probably take more time than copying out the Kipling source material in full, yet suffice to say that he has appeared in countless beloved motion pictures including (but by no means limited to) Shutter Island, Hugo, Thunderbirds, Twelfth Night and more recently Iron Man 3 (who can possibly forget Trevor Slattery?), making him a superb addition to the already promising ensemble in the role of Bagheera. Stay tuned to On-Screen for more news on this increasingly potent reboot as and when it breaks!

The Jungle Book tells its story in cinemas worldwide on October 9th, 2015. Disney's version isn't to be confused, however, with Warner Brothers Pictures' ongoing live-action project, another adaptation of the same Kipling texts which is to be written by Steve Kloves and directed by Andy Serkis. In the words of the not-so-immortal Harry Hill, we like Favreau, but we like Serkis too. Who will come out on top? There's only one way to find out...FIGHT! (Or, you know, carry on with your lives. That works fine too.)

Splash! Cancelled

Source: The Telegraph
Another show bites the dust as the Olympic diver starts preparations for the 2016 Games.
iTV have this week announced the cancellation of their celebrity sports programme Splash!. Hosted by Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay, the weekly Saturday primetime series centred on a diving contest between various celebrities who had been recently mentored by Olympic bronze medalist Tom Daley so as to prepare for the Games-esque competition ahead of them.

Despite not necessarily being this writer's cup of tea, Splash! has performed remarkably well from a ratings perspective, its success evidenced by the 5-million average viewing ratings of Season One and the 3.75-million average produced by Season Two earlier this year. According to a iTV source who spoke to the Radio Times, "commitments to training for Rio" are preventing Daley from returning for a third series rather than the second run's slight ratings lull. Fans of the British athlete who are desperate to see more of him outside of any upcoming training videos needn't fret, however, since the same source claimed that "[iTV] love having him on the channel and are looking at other projects for him".

Stay tuned to On-Screen in the coming weeks for all of the latest developments on upcoming BBC and iTV television projects.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Viral Trailer Released

Source: Screenrant
President Snow wants to talk to us, and he has brought along an old friend to help him out.
Lionsgate Entertainment have this week released a viral trailer (below) for their upcoming fantasy film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. Picking up just moments after the climax of last year's Catching Fire, the first instalment in the two-part franchise finale will again star Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, but will additionally introduce new characters and cast members into the mix such as Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)'s Cressida and Evan Ross (90210)'s Messalla so as to shake up the series' status quo somewhat (as if the sensational second outing didn't do enough of that back in November 2013!).

Any doubts that Mockingjay - Part 1 will indeed send the Hunger Games saga on a completely different trajectory to what has come before can be firmly cast aside here, not least as the trailer features a last-minute twist which is sure to have those fans who've yet to read the books opening their jaws wider than a mockingjay's wingspan. Around some parts of the interwebs, this tantalising preview is being called a 'teaser trailer', but with no sign of the movie's logo or any studio branding to be found, we'll stick with the 'viral trailer' concept until we hear otherwise from Lionsgate. What's safe to say regardless of how one terms the video is that it's about as compelling and generically subversive a teaser as we're likely to witness over the course of this year, or (perhaps) period.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 sews the seeds of rebellion in cinemas worldwide this November 21st.

Obituaries: June 29th, 2014

Source: TRB
Our brief tributes to two lost legends of the film and music industries.
It is with deep grief that we must report the tragic passings of Eli Wallach and Bobby Womack, both of whom left us over the course of this week. Since these disheartening losses occurred in such close proximity to one another, we have elected to compile our tributes to both of these iconic pioneers of their respective industries and genres into one comprehensive piece.

Without further ado or expression of the greatly demoralizing effects of these events, then, let's remember Eli and Bobby for their innumerable successes and for their unquestionably sustainable legacies:
  • RIP ELI WALLACH (1915-2014)- Unlike the countless screen stars these days whose careers last barely any longer than it takes for a match to burn itself out, Eli Wallach refused to rob Hollywood of his presence for more than sixty years, starring in countless commercially and critically groundbreaking projects such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven and even the original Adam West Batman TV show. That the man managed to live his life for a whopping 98 years is fittingly representative of the enduring nature of his prolonged filmography, and we have no doubt whatsoever that his ever-loyal fanbase must have struggled to come to terms with the news that he passed away on Tuesday, June 24th.
  • RIP BOBBY WOMACK (1944-2014)- Known across the globe for his plentiful contributions to the R&B and soul musical genres, Bobby Womack left us on Friday, June 27th after an elongated battle with afflictions such as prostate cancer and pneumonia. We've said it before in the case of other celebrity passings and we'll say it again here - though Bobby's work admittedly launched before our time, that's no great excuse for us to ignore it, and indeed, with the singer having recently passed away, perhaps now represents the most significant opportunity for us to cherish the works he left us with and to honour his memory whilst his family and followers grieve over their terrible loss.
Much as it may be ultimately impossible to summarize the extent of Eli and Bobby's impact upon their respective viewerships in the space of a single YouTube video, we do believe that we can at least begin to do the latter musician justice by including one of his most acclaimed compositions, "Lookin' For a Love", below. Be sure to leave your comments and/or memories of this iconic pair's esteemed work on our Facebook page or via the usual social networking domains.
Rest In Peace, Eli and Bobby.

Batman: Arkham Origins - The Complete Edition Leaked

Source: Eurogamer
Everyone's favourite Caped Crusader returns for a half-hearted victory run. You're welcome...?
Amazon.de have this week leaked the existence of an upgraded current-generation version of Warner Brothers Montreal's 2013 open-world action-adventure video game Batman: Arkham Origins. Titled Batman: Arkham Origins - The Complete Edition, the bumper-sized product will (we presume - the box art, above, doesn't exactly reveal much regarding its content) feature both the original single-player and multiplayer campaigns along with all of the downloadable content which has been uploaded to Xbox Live, PSN and PC marketplaces since Origins' original retail release last October.

Of course, news such as this would be met with a far warmer reception from the On-Screen team if the original product in question warranted a 'Game of the Year Edition'-esque re-release, yet as commendable candidates for an update go, Arkham Origins doesn't rank as one of the more obvious choices, particularly since it earned itself a mere 6/10 at the climax of our scarcely complementary review (which can be found over at Expose, by our recollection). In case you missed out on Origins and are hoping to find out how WB Montreal dropped the ball first-hand, here's a brief round-up of the DLC which will feature in The Complete Edition:
  • Deathstroke Pack- Contains a playable Deathstroke for use in Origins' Challenge Maps component, Injustice: Gods Among Us and Judas Contract skins for the character and two Deathstroke-themed Challenge Maps.
  • Knightfall Pack- Contains five The Dark Knight Returns-inspired Challenge Maps and two new skins for Batman.
  • Batman Legends Skin Pack- Contains four new skins (Batman Long Halloween, Thrillkiller, Earth 2 and Dark Knight of the Round Table) for Batman.
  • New Millennium Skin Pack- Contains five new skins (First Appearance (1939), Red Son, Noel, New 52, Blackest Night) for Batman and a single new skin (2006-2008 Tim Drake) for his faithful accomplice Robin.
  • Infinite Earths Skin Pack- Contains one more skin (1989-2006 Classic Tim Drake) for use with Robin in Arkham Origins' multiplayer component.
  • Initiation Challenge Map Pack- Contains two further skins (Initiation and Vigilante) for Batman's use within the main campaign, online modes and Challenge Maps and five League of Shadows-themed Challenge Maps.
  • Black Mask Challenge Map Pack- Contains two new Black Mask-inspired Challenge Maps.
  • Cold, Cold Night- A single-player DLC mini-campaign which takes place after the events of Arkham Origins and chronicles the Dark Knight's initial encounter with Victor Fries, aka Mr Freeze!
Batman: Arkham Origins - The Complete Edition is scheduled (according to Amazon.de) for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC this August 21st.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Production Details Revealed

Source: Fanpop
Disney refuses to send their most commercially lucrative pirate series to Davy Jones' Locker.
Director Jerry Bruckheimer has this week announced the first revised details regarding the delayed production of Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming fantasy movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Starring (you guessed it) Johnny "Can't Find Another Regular Role" Depp as the infamous buccaneering protagonist Captain Jack Sparrow, the fifth instalment in the best-selling franchise of globe-trotting films will likely see the character commence a high-octane quest to free the crew of the Black Pearl from bottle-based imprisonment after the events of 2011's mediocre fourth entry On Stranger Tides.

Whilst he wasn't particularly forthcoming in the realms of plot details, Bruckheimer did at least confirm that Depp and the series' refreshed ensemble will begin filming "after the first of next year", i.e. soon after January 2015. Earlier reports had suggested that Disney were uneager to even give the initial screenplay for the film the green light, but unless the helmer was simply offering up an optimistic prediction for the project's future, it appears that Dead Men Tell No Tales is going ahead...for better or for worse. Stay tuned to On-Screen over the next few weeks as more details on its narrative and its (still TBC) release schedule arrive at Comic-Con.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into cinemas worldwide in 2016.

Predators Sequel Announced

Source: Film School Rejects
For better or for worse, the story of the galaxy's deadliest hunters isn't over just yet...
Universally renowned Hollywood director Shane Black has this week announced the development of a sequel to the 2010 action blockbuster Predators at 20th Century Fox. Previously thought to be a reboot of the oft-overlooked series of Alien spin-off flicks, the film will instead continue to explore narrative threads opened in past cinematic instalments, albeit not necessarily in a manner which forces it to directly follow on from Predator, Predator 2, Predators or (gods forbid) the two Alien Vs. Predator crossover movies.

Just as Black (who's apparently set to direct the follow-up) himself questions the logic behind scrapping the dense continuity of the Predator series outright, so too does it seem pointless to convey his comments to you in any form other than straight from the horse's mouth (via his recent interview with Collider): "As fair as Fred [Dekker, the project's current screenplay writer] and I are concerned, why start over, when you've all this rich mythology yet to mine? [I can] really get behind inventive sequels [...] and the idea of expanding and exploring the existing Predator mythology, rather than hitting the restart button." After the inertly dull motion picture that presented itself under the name Predators two years ago, Fox have a way to go until they can restore our faith in the series, yet to their credit, the studio have already proved their capability to do so with franchises such as Planet of the Apes and with Black at the helm, there's every chance they'll do the same here.

For all the latest news on the currently-in-development follow-ups to both Predators and Prometheus, along with the future of the Alien Vs. Predator franchise overall, keep it On-Screen in the months ahead.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theatrical Trailer Released

Source: Screenrant
Leonardo, Donatello and the gang return in a form unlike any you've seen before.
Paramount Pictures have this week released the theatrical trailer for their action-fantasy blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Produced by Transformers' Michael Bay and directed by Wrath of the Titans' Jonathan Liebesman, this long-in-development reboot of the long-running film series of the same name stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett and Whoopi Goldberg as well as the voices of Johnny Knoxville, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard and Tony Shalhoub.

We only wish that we had better news to report when it comes to providing initial impressions of Turtles based on its latest extended video teaser. This writer has long held an apathy towards the movie franchise overall due to the increasingly lacklustre quality of its subsequent instalments (the attempted all-CGI 2007 reboot, TMNT, certainly didn't help matters on this front) and much as we must aim to enter an auditorium with as great a degree of objectivity towards the finished product as humanly possible, it's in our nature to raise or lower expectations based on a motion picture's marketing campaign, and at this rate, the Turtles' latest big-screen outing couldn't look more clichéd or less emotionally compelling if it tried. Perhaps that explains why Paramount have chosen to shunt it out of the UK's Summer of Film blockbuster season entirely...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles skids into US cinemas nationwide on August 8th, with UK theatres following suit on October 17th.

Metro Redux Release Date Announced

Source: Nvidia
Experience 2033 and Last Light together for the first time on next-gen consoles next month!
Deep Silver have this week announced the US and UK release dates of their upcoming first-person-shooter video game compilation Metro Redux. Merging Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light into one cohesive budget-priced package, Redux will launch exclusively on next-generation platforms with a host of upgraded gameplay features and refined aesthetic aspects.

There's still a major problem that the product will have to overcome in order to fully take advantage of the lack of AAA video gaming releases in August, though, and that's the lack of general hype surrounding the Metro series at present. Much as goodwill helped sustain Tomb Raider and Rayman Legends' sales upon their conversion to Xbox One and PS4 titles, it's difficult to imagine that the same will necessarily be said of what is arguably a last-ditch effort on Deep Silver's part to revive an oft-forgotten saga of dystopian FPS narratives. Keep it On-Screen in the coming weeks for more on Metro Redux and other still to-be-announced hi-res editions of acclaimed (or otherwise) titles from the previous generation of consoles.

Metro Redux infiltrates PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles this August 26th in the United States and on August 29th in the United Kingdom.

New Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Promotional Video Released

Source: Screenrant
Guardians of the Galaxy's hottest competitor for the July box office throne continues to gain traction.
Channel 4 have this released a new promotional clip intended to promote 20th Century Fox's impending fantasy motion picture Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Starring Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman, the sequel to 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes follows its predecessor's protagonist Caesar as he strives to maintain control of his hyper-intelligent primate army whilst fending off attacks from the last surviving remnants of humanity on the outskirts of a now-deserted San Francisco.

The video preview (below) clocks in at around three minutes and does a worthy job of recapping Rise's storyline for those foolish enough to have passed it up this time around (in case you'd forgotten, we gave it a 5* score here at On-Screen and stand by our decision to award it our Film of the Year title for 2011), summarising the use of the ALZ112 and ALZ113 drugs by Gen-Sys to enhance the intelligence of apes such as Caesar (the first member of his increasingly dominant sub-species) and the eventual outbreak of a virus which has all but wiped humanity off the face of the Earth one decade on (which is where Dawn kicks off its narrative). A quick glance at the film's Metacritic page reveals that all three reviewers who've seen it so far have slapped a full 5/5 or 10/10 rating on their published verdict, so at this stage, we'd wager that it's on track to garner critical praise aplenty and to simultaneously reap the commercial benefits of its regularly-promoted ambition (just look at the motion-capture work, for heaven's sake!) at the global box office.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wages war in UK cinemas nationwide this July 17th (and hits US theatres on July 11th).

New Sense8 Central Cast Member Announced

Source: Eye of Horus
From Time Lords to telepaths - Freema Agyeman is back in action on Netflix...
Studio JMS and Netflix have this week announced a new central cast member for their upcoming science-fiction drama Sense8. Focusing on the potential future effects of our society's ever-advancing implementation of modern technology, the series will première exclusively on Netflix and packs a potent ensemble of up-and-coming international thespians such as Naveen Andrews and Brian J. Smith.

For anyone who's paid even the slightest ounce of attention to Doctor Who since its 2005 revival, however, the latest addition to the on-screen team should ring a cloister bell instantly: Freema Agyeman. Since at least seven months still separate us from laying eyes upon the first season of this intriguing project as a whole, Agyeman (who has also featured in productions such as Torchwood and Law and Order since her departure from the TARDIS)'s role logically remains a closely guarded secret, but to know that the talented actress who accomplished the considerable feat of following on from Billie Piper's beloved Rose Tyler in 2007 is attached is enough in itself to raise our anticipation levels higher than ever before.

Sense8's dramatic first season débuts on Netflix in Spring 2015

Star Wars Episode VIII Director Revealed?

Source: NYO Gallerist
George Lucas' iconic saga continues in 2017 with Looper's director at the helm!
Variety have this week all but confirmed the identity of the director of Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming science-fiction blockbuster Star Wars Episode VIII. Set to launch in cinemas two years on from Episode VII (provided Harrison Ford's recent accident doesn't prompt a delay in its release schedule, that is) and one year on from the classic franchise's first spin-off film (which we now know will be helmed by Godzilla's Gareth Edwards), the eighth full instalment in the series will presumably pick up where the narrative of the J.J. Abrams-directed VII concludes, reportedly placing more of an emphasis on the younger cast members such as Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie than old favourites like Ford and Fisher.

Bear in mind that contracts have apparently not been officially signed yet, but short of a sudden deadly twist in proceedings, it's near-inevitable that Rian Johnson will be on directorial duties for Episode VIII. Though he's also been tipped by some entertainment news sites to partially write and/or direct Episode IX, for now the concrete news seems to be that he'll helm the second part of the third trilogy. Best known for his work on the critically acclaimed science-fiction thriller Looper (starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels), Johnson tweeted the following message to his fans after news of his appointment broke on Twitter earlier this week:
Rumours are still abound at the moment that what's going on with Ford over at Pinewood Studios is causing all kinds of trouble for the production of the first instalment in Disney's revived saga. That said, the odds are favourable that Abrams will simply expand Isaac's role (he's apparently going to be portraying Han's son in the much-anticipated sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi) or the screen-time of one of the younger, less physically vulnerable members of the central cast in order to compensate for the prolonged absence of the original (supposed) lead star of the piece. Keep it On-Screen in days ahead to stay on top of all of the latest details regarding the production of Star Wars Episode VII and its various sequels and spin-offs...

Star Wars Episode VII jumps out of hyperspace and into cinemas on December 18th, 2015, with Gareth Edwards' spin-off contribution landing on December 16th, 2016 and Star Wars Episode VIII following them both in 2017.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

New Daredevil Cast Member Announced

Source: Parade
Sins and Devils blend to create the ultimate superheroic cocktail in Hell's Kitchen!
Marvel Studios and Netflix have this week announced a new regular cast member for their upcoming TV superhero drama Daredevil. Based within the same Marvel Cinematic Universe that has spawned such accomplished motion pictures as Iron Man and Captain America: The Winter Soldier in years gone by, the series' ongoing narrative will centre on Matt Murdock, an acclaimed lawyer who gained an extraordinary mastery of his senses after being blinded in a childhood accident, and who now fights to defend justice on the streets of Hell's Kitchen.

The image above should showcase a familiar face to fans of either Robot Chicken or Sin City - it's Rosario Dawson, who'll portray an as-of-yet unnamed character in the first season of this grounded superhero project. A key female presence in the life of Daredevil is obviously Elektra (last portrayed by Jennifer Garner in both the mediocre Ben Affleck film and her own weak spin-off flick), but it seems that we'll have to wait until Netflix moves closer to uploading Season One before the identity of Dawson's character is revealed to the world at large. Stay tuned for more details on Daredevil, Guardians of the Galaxy and other major upcoming Marvel productions in the coming weeks here at On-Screen.

Daredevil will swing onto Netflix in Spring 2015.

Better Call Saul Season One Delayed & Second Season Commissioned

Source: Breaking Bad Wiki
Saul Goodman will return to our screens, but not just yet...
AMC have this week announced a delay in the production and broadcast schedule of the upcoming first season of their drama Better Call Saul and the commissioning of a second series of the programme. Currently filming over in the United States, the show in question will serve as a spin-off from the beloved cult smash-hit Breaking Bad (which is available to watch in its entirety on Netflix now, in case you've yet to experience the original series) and will see Bob Odenkirk reprise his role as corrupt barrister Saul Goodman alongside Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn and a host of other acclaimed guest stars.

Now, we'll make an honest admission right from the off - at the time of writing, we've only actually watched the first season of Breaking Bad as a whole, and as such have yet to come across the character of Saul in his initial guise. While we can't necessarily deliver a direct verdict on Better Call Saul's potential as both a standalone and narratively-intertwined entity, then, what's plain to see is that both the mother show and this titular character in particular have garnered more than enough appeal to warrant the spin-off's creation, and that AMC have gone ahead and announced a full second season speaks wonders about the project's potency anyway.

Better Call Saul will début its electrifying first season on AMC and Netflix in 2015 and will return for a second season of madcap outings in 2016.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Gameplay Demo Released

Source: Gamespot
After the Ground Zeroes debacle, Snake needs a hit to return to form - could this be it?
Konami have this week released an extended gameplay demo video for their upcoming open-world third-person-shooter video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Scheduled to launch on both next-generation and current-generation hardware next year, Phantom's narrative will essentially resume where this March's controversial Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes concluded, with Snake having just woken up from a coma nine years after rescuing a group of hostages from an insurgent camp in Cuba.

The general rule regarding E3 press demos is that video gaming critics in particular will have the chance to bear witness to extended versions of such clips behind closed doors, yet Konami appear to have taken an admirably subversive approach in this regard, releasing the full 30-minute demo (which begins at 50 minutes in the video below) for fans across the Earth to digest in its unrestrained glory. Whilst those seeking entirely innovative gameplay mechanics may well be disappointed here, Metal Gear Solid has seemingly never looked or played better than this, and as such, The Phantom Pain certainly holds tonnes of potential to eventually find itself on Game of the Year 2016 shortlists.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain infiltrates PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC in 2016.

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Follow-Up Announced

Source: Tennant News
Work permitting, of course! Doctor Number Eight slyly lets the cat out of the bag.
Guest star Paul McGann has this week confirmed that a sequel to Peter Davison's critically acclaimed extended short film Doctor Who: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot is currently in development. Originally released online to coincide with the 50th Anniversary, the video garnered mass plaudits from fans the world over, focusing on Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy's valiant attempts to appear in last year's triumphant 50th Anniversary Special, "The Day of the Doctor".

Better known to the world of Who fandom as the short-lived Eighth Doctor, McGann only had a cameo role in "Five(ish)" as a result of him eventually being asked by the BBC to film an exemplary prequel to the 50th, "The Night of the Doctor", in the late stages of "Day"'s production. The news landed at an interview he attended at the Cambridge Union Society, and though there's been no official confirmation of the project as of yet, it's hardly difficult to imagine that the BBC are intending to keep this under wraps until such a time when they can launch it to coincide with the beginning (or indeed the climax) of Season Eight. Stay tuned for more news on "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot"'s follow-up in the weeks ahead!

Doctor Who will return for a new series of darker yet no less exhilarating adventures this August 23rd.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Star Trek Into Darkness Sequel Tonal Details Revealed

Source: Flavorwire
"Beam me up, Orci!" Star Trek 3's helmer discusses what's to come.
Director Roberto Orci has today announced the first details on the tone of Paramount Pictures' upcoming follow-up to their hit 2013 science-fiction motion picture Star Trek Into Darkness. Taking place shortly after the events of Into Darkness, the third instalment in the rebooted franchise of big-screen blockbusters will once again star Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto amongst plenty of other beloved international thespians.

One man who won't be beaming himself back up to the U.S.S. Enterprise in the sequel, however, is J.J. Abrams. In fairness, the reasons for his departure from the director's chair are fairly clear-cut: the Super 8 helmer's direct ties to a certain film project called Star Wars Episode VII are far too significant to allow him to take time off for one of the other biggest cinematic science-fiction sagas (not to mention Harrison Ford's injuries, which are reportedly causing problems aplenty over at Pinewood at present).

Enter Orci, who had this to say on the tonal aspects of the next Star Trek flick: "The first two films [were examples of] an origin story. It was about [the Enterprise crew] coming together. [...] In this movie they are closer than they are to the original series characters than you have ever seen. They have set off on their five-year mission. So their adventure is going to be in deep space." Well, colour us intrigued, though after Into Darkness burnt us last year and subsequently earned itself an average 3* score from On-Screen, the proof will very much need to be in the pudding here. Stay tuned to On-Screen for more info on what's to come for the Star Trek film series in months ahead...

The much-vaunted successor to Star Trek Into Darkness will materialize in cinemas worldwide in 2016.

Final Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Theatrical Trailer Released

Source: IGN
Don't expect heaps of new footage here, but do expect to feel as if mid-July couldn't be further away!
20th Century Fox have this week released the final theatrical trailer for their impending fantasy film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Picking up ten years after the events of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel's narrative chronicles the dying days of humanity and the increasingly hopeless struggle of a group of survivors to hold their own against the now world-dominating legion of primates who have taken control of San Francisco.

Normally, we'd provide you with a few comments on the quality of the trailer itself, but it should virtually go without saying that Fox's latest Dawn preview is a solid teaser for a blockbuster which is guaranteed to be both a critical and a commercial hit (indeed, we'll be astounded if it doesn't earn itself a 4* or 5* rating here at On-Screen). It's with this in mind that we've therefore decided to compile a few mini-reviews of the film which have emerged on Twitter in the twenty-four hours or so that have elapsed since its world premiere in the United States. See for yourselves what critics and fans alike have to say on the quality of the finished product (and under no circumstances should you miss our definitive verdict on Rise's follow-up next month!):

Sold yet? If not, then by all means, check out the rather smashing final trail below, and keep it On-Screen in the days ahead for all the latest details on the future of the Planet of the Apes franchise (not to mention this year's Summer of Film overall)!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes climbs into UK cinemas nationwide this July 17th.

Arrow Season Three & The Flash Season One Première Dates Announced

Source: WhatCulture
Small-screen heroes will clash on the same channel later this year...
The CW have this week announced the première dates of the third season of their superhero drama Arrow and the first season of its much-anticipated spin-off The Flash. Based in a single interwoven narrative continuity, the two shows follow the origins stories of their respective eponymous DC superheroes, albeit by presenting both characters in a more grounded and thus compelling fashion than many past televised adaptations.

For The Flash's production team, however, the official début of their first full episode (a pilot instalment which pretty much instantly earned enough respect from The CW to warrant a full-season commission on the spot) may end up becoming something of a sore point in their show's immediate history (or future, depending on how one perceives the situation), since said instalment somehow leaked onto the interwebs earlier this year. We've taken a look at "Pilot" (quite honestly, as superhero fans, how could we not?) and without spoiling any major plot details can promise that the studio's latest take on DC's iconic speedster appears to be well on its way to eclipsing Smallville (and perhaps even Arrow, someday) by a fair margin. In the case of Arrow, of course, there really is very little to be hesitant about at this stage, mainly due to the fact that the series has more than established itself as a stellar isolated (well, partially) entry in its genre that easily holds its own against its big-screen competitors, and with potential crossovers between the two programmes all but guaranteed, the future seems to be looking increasingly brighter for the pair...

The Flash dashes onto The CW for the first time this October 7th and Arrow returns to the US channel for its action-packed third season on October 8th. Sky1 will no doubt announce UK airdates for both shows in due course.

Doctor Who Season Eight Première Date & Episode 1 Title Announced

Doctor Who
Source: BBC - Blogs - Doctor Who
Take a deep breath as the Twelfth Doctor blasts onto a screen near you this Summer.
BBC Worldwide have today announced the UK and US première date of the eighth season of their revived science-fiction drama Doctor Who. Starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman as the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald respectively, the upcoming run will comprise of twelve instalments, featuring guest stars such as Ben Miller, Samuel Anderson and Keeley Hawes.

As if it wasn't enough to witness Andy Murray's triumph over Roberto Bautatista Agut at Wimbledon this evening, viewers on BBC One were treated to a dramatic teaser trailer for Season Eight (check it out below) as well as official confirmation on when the series will return here in the UK (at which point BBC America interjected with the simultaneous American airdate - again, look below for both of them). The official Doctor Who website were evidently not going to let their televised competitors best them, though, going so far as to subsequently announce that the title of the feature-length opening episode of the run is "Deep Breath". A rumoured leaked segment of the script of the Twelfth Doctor's début did supposedly reveal that the TARDIS would crash land in the Thames in Victorian London after it went haywire in the final moments of "The Time of the Doctor", but we'll just have to wait and see whether the aforementioned episode title refers to a literal aquatic setpiece or a more thematic strand of the first chapter in the new season's narrative.

Doctor Who will return with a new series of epic time-travelling adventures this August 23rd on BBC One (time TBC) and BBC America (at 8/7c).

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

First Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor US Comics Cover Art Released

Source: TARDIS Wiki
Even if he doesn't go Stateside in Season Eight, the Twelfth Doctor has at least a few American escapades ahead of him.
BBC Worldwide and Titan Magazines have today released the cover art for the first issue of their 2014 Doctor Who US comic-strip collaboration. Starring Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor, the upcoming series of graphically novelized time-travelling adventures will also see the return of Jenna Coleman's ever-charming and ever-loyal assistant character Clara Oswald.

Although the majority of the four variant covers utilize promotional images from press releases and seasons gone by, we must confess that we're overwhelmingly pleased with Alice X Zhang's contributions (the first version, below) and if they're any indication of the tone of Season Eight and the Twelfth Doctor overall, then we're in for a treat come the end of the Summer. Speculation is rife, naturally, that Clara will leave the TARDIS at the end of Season Eight (the vast majority of modern companions have only stuck around for one-two seasons in the past), though, so if nothing else, let's hope that Titan provide her comic-book incarnation with a worthy send-off to coincide with her on-screen departure.

Doctor Who returns with a new series of interdimensional voyages on BBC One this August and Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Issue 01 will be published in the US of A in October.

(Cover Images Source: SFX)

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light Cover Art Released

Source: Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress
All good things must come to an end, and the World's Other Greatest Detective knows that better than most...
HarperCollins have today unveiled the official UK cover art for their upcoming fantasy novel Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light. Written as ever by the Skulduggery franchise's solitary scribe, Derek Landy, the ninth and final instalment will chronicle the prophecised confrontation between the remnants of its titular protagonist's Dead Men team and his former ally Valkyrie Cain's demonic incarnation, better known to the world at large as Darquesse or the Bringer of the Apocalypse.

Landy's relentlessly quick-witted Skeleton Detective has often found himself encountering life-threatening dangers over the course of his prolonged career (which is ironic, really, in light of his undead status), but based on Dying's cover art (left), it seems probable that the foes he'll battle in two months' time will place him in a life-or-death situation, with the latter outcome apparently all but guaranteed this time around.

Here's the official plot synopsis for the saga's action-packed finale: "The FINAL shocking, heart-wrenching book in the jaw-droppingly stupendous Skulduggery Pleasant series. Valkyrie. Darquesse. Stephanie. The world ain't big enough for the three of them. The end will come. The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties. Following the loss of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder. And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals...and Valkyrie's own murderous reflection. The war may be over, but the final battle is about to begin. And not everyone gets out of here alive..." If that isn't enough to warrant a pre-order here and now, then we'll be truly flabbergasted.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light cries havoc and lets loose the dogs of war in all good book retailers on August 28th.

Paddington Lead Star Departure Announced (UPDATED - 18/07/2014)

Source: Screenrant
A new actor will have to bring Michael Bond's iconic creation to life through their voice - and fast!
Entertainment Weekly have just announced the departure of (ex-) lead star Colin Firth from the central cast of StudioCanal's upcoming festive animated movie Paddington. Based, as you'd probably expect, on Michael Bond's Paddington Bear children's stories, the reboot will feature the voices of beloved Brit thesipans such as Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi, Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2's Julie Walters and The Railway Man's Nicole Kidman to name but a few.

None of those contributors were intended to lend their enthusiastic tones to the character of Paddington himself, though, since (until today, that is) Firth was cast in the role last year. "It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn't have my voice," said Firth to EW, "[...] I still feel rather protective of this bear and I'm pestering [the production team] with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him." Fans of Bond's culturally esteemed literary construct will just have to hope that someone steps in to replace the Mamma Mia actor soon enough to ensure that his sudden exit from the project doesn't result in an immediate delay of its release schedule...

Paddington steps off a London-bound train and into UK cinemas nationwide this November 28th.

UPDATE (18/07/2014) - StudioCanal have today confirmed that Ben Whishaw will take over as the thespian lending his voice to the role of Paddington in the upcoming film reboot of the same name. Fans of Skyfall will no doubt remember Whishaw's near-iconic portrayal of Q and as such should already hold a strong degree of confidence in the man's abilities as an accomplished performer. Paddington is still on track for its November 28th release date, and we'll endeavour to keep you posted on any further marketing or casting updates in the months leading up to its domestic première.

New Guardians of the Galaxy UK Theatrical Trailer Released

Source: No More Mutants
What the latest preview of Guardians lacks in 1980s tunes it makes up for in pure adrenaline!
Marvel Studios have today released a UK-exclusive theatrical trailer for their impending science-fiction superhero motion picture Guardians of the Galaxy. Picking up in the aftermath of both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the film follows four unlikely heroes (played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) drawn together by fate in order to protect the known universe from the threat of the almighty conquer Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and his scheming master Thanos (Josh Brolin).

Far removed from its predecessors tonally, this third full video preview (below) doesn't feature a classic 1960s rock anthem such as "Hooked on a Feeling" or "Spirit in the Sky", but so as to compensate, Marvel and director James Gunn have jammed an enviable number of action set-pieces and hilarious gags in here instead. We had our reservations about Bradley Cooper's portrayal (in vocal form, at least) of Rocket Raccoon in the initial US theatrical trail, however those can be all but dispelled today, since the Hangover star seems set to own the role in the finished product. Stay tuned to On-Screen in the weeks ahead for more details on Guardians and its potential influence on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy hooks audiences on a feeling (and refuses to let 'em go) in UK cinemas nationwide this July 31st.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Angry Birds Transformers Announced

Source: CNET
Birds disguised as Robots in disguise...we're confused already.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd and Hasbro have today announced the development of Angry Birds Transformers for release on mobile devices later this year. Marking the landmark tenth instalment in the best-selling franchise of puzzle-physics handheld video games (before this Autumn's allegedly series-revolutionizing spin-off Angry Birds Stella), this licensed entry will act as a not-so-coincidental tie-in to Michael Bay's impending big-screen follow-up Transformers: Age of Extinction ahead of (or after- release details are TBC) the latter's launch next month.

It wouldn't be an Angry Birds game without a sizeable number of cringeworthy puns, of course, and in this respect, Transformers won't come up lacking in the slightest. Rather than sticking with the beloved comic-books and TV series' traditional faction titles, Rovio are naming the titular winged protagonists "Autobirds" and their persistent porky foes the "Deceptihogs" (we're truly sorry- these almost insulting words are completely beyond our control), and as was the case with Angry Birds Star Wars II (available now for iOS and Android phones), it'll boast Telepod functionality too. Keep it On-Screen in the days ahead to learn more on the project's development progress and its major gameplay alterations (we can dream, can't we?).

Angry Birds Transformers will mobilize on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Kindle handheld consoles this Summer.

Marvel News Round-Up: June 16th, 2014

Source: The Guardian
Discover the identities of Daredevil's lead stars, the release dates of multiple MCU DVDs and more within!
Another week, another truckload of Marvel-themed entertainment news to compile into one comprehensive feature article. We shouldn't really complain, though, since the aforementioned pieces of news are tasty morsels to be sure, and indeed contain crucial information which fans of all things "Excelsior!" simply cannot afford to miss on this fine Monday eve.

In other words, if it's Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: The Winter Soldier news which is guaranteed to make your day, then look no further than our latest Marvel News round-up:
  • DAREDEVIL LEAD STARS ANNOUNCED- Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios and Netflix have this week announced the identities of two actors set to take on leading roles in their impending superhero drama Daredevil. The show will star Charlie Cox (an image of whom can be seen above; he's best known for his starring role in the hit 2007 Matthew Vaughn fantasy romp Stardust) as the titular blinded defender of justice Matt Murdock, a man who protects the innocent as a lawyer by day and as a masked vigilante stalking Hell's Kitchen by night. On the other side of the character's moral compass is the near-omnipotent antagonist Kingpin, who'll be portrayed here by Law & Order: Criminal Intent's Vincent Philip D'Onofrio. Like many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's cast selections of days gone by, neither of these two actors are necessarily household names, yet we sincerely doubt that this will prevent them from attaining a near unprecedented level of critical and commercial acclaim this time next year. Daredevil will première exclusively on Netflix in Spring 2015.
  • NEW AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON GUEST STAR REVEALED- Set photos of Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming superhero ensemble blockbuster Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron have been leaked in the midst of its filming period and have revealed a guest star who's apparently scheduled to reprise his role from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a result. According to a number of reliable on-set sources, B.J. Britt (aka Triplett, an ex-follower of Hydra fanatic John Garrett who joined Director Coulson's team in the aftermath of the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier) will receive a cameo in Joss Whedon's much-anticipated sequel, which should mean that it's all but guaranteed that Coulson (Clark Gregg) himself will have a presence as well (three cheers!). Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron assembles in UK cinemas nationwide on April 24th, 2015.
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. & THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 DVD & BLU-RAY RELEASE DATES CONFIRMED- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have this week revealed the UK release dates of three major DVD and Blu-Ray retail discs. They are as follows: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the superhero thriller that left the vast majority of its competitors gasping for air as it picked up where Avengers Assemble concluded and revolutionized its genre in the process, will land in UK entertainment retailers on August 18th; The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel to the mediocre 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man which introduced not one, not two, but three new villains and did a damn fine job of managing the balancing act, arrives on our shores this September 1st and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season finishes riding on the success of its initial Channel 4 broadcast and catapults itself into a retailer near you this October 20th. In short...you're welcome.
For all the latest news and gossip on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and/or Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four's latest cinematic excursions, keep it On-Screen in the days ahead!

The Penguins of Madagascar Teaser Trailer Released

Source: Nickelodeon
Madagascar has earned itself a fully-fledged spin-off film, apparently. Who knew?
DreamWorks Pictures have this week released the teaser trailer for their upcoming animated comedy film The Penguins of Madagascar. Taking place after the events of the acclaimed children's TV series of the same name and the first three motion picture instalments in the shockingly popular Madagascar franchise, this spin-off feature predictably places its focus upon the quartet of charming penguins who together served as one of the series' regular highlights.

Will Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, John DiMaggio and Christopher Knights bring the same level of unparalleled enthusiasm and vigour to what was originally intended to be a direct-to-DVD flick, however? If nothing else, the teaser (below) gives no significant indication of a lapse in quality having occurred since the release of the mediocre Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, yet quite how much of a compliment that is in terms of Penguins' potential quality we're not certain as of yet. Joining the supporting cast in this instance are Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch, R.E.D. 2's John Malkovich and The Hangover's Ken Jeong, each of whom have without question demonstrated their comedic talents enough in various capacities to warrant their vocal contribution here. Make no mistake, this one is unlikely to match The LEGO Movie or How To Train Your Dragon 2 for ambition or depth in its narrative, yet that shouldn't necessarily prevent it from scoring considerably highly at the box office come the annual festive season.

The Penguins of Madagascar infiltrates cinemas worldwide this November 26th.

Sonic the Hedgehog Film Adaptation Announced

Source: Droid-Life
Never mind Speed Racer or Rush, one iconic hedgehog is about to outrun all of his cinematic competitors...
Sony Pictures have this week announced that a motion picture adaptation of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise of platforming video games is currently in the works. Published by SEGA, the series centres on the high-octane exploits of the titular blue sprinter and his ongoing battles against the nefarious Dr. Robotnik (or Dr. Eggman, as we now must apparently resign ourselves to calling the much-maligned regular antagonist).

Evidently unfazed by the notion of setting fans' alarm bells ringing by creating yet another risky video game movie, Sony have gone one dangerous step further, revealing that they're taking cues from similarly controversial flicks such as The Smurfs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by combining live-action and animated elements into a supposedly seamless and adrenaline-charged blockbuster. Hannah Minghella (a major Sony/Columbia exec) had this to say on the adaptation: "[Sony are] looking to capture everything that generations of fans know and love about Sonic while also growing his audience wider than ever before".

Were it not for the countless on-screen remakes of esteemed gaming franchises which have failed spectacularly in their efforts to live up to their source material (Super Mario Bros and Hitman amongst the most notorious flops), we'd try our utmost to hold out a little more hope for Sonic's prospects at the box office, but whilst we won't discount the possibility of the character's reputation preceding SEGA's mascot to such an extent that he rakes in a substantial profit in auditoriums, it'll take more than good-will and over-indulgent nostalgia to convince us that this project is a worthwhile endeavour, not to mention the overall worldwide community of film critics.

Keep it On-Screen for more details on Sonic the Hedgehog's production schedule and central players as and when they come...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

New Insurgent Guest Star Announced

Source: Forbes
And you thought that The Hunger Games marked the end of the annual book-to-film adaptation franchises...
Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate have announced a new guest star set to feature in the central cast ensemble of the next three instalments in their Divergent dystopian-fantasy film franchise. Titled Insurgent, The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1 and The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 2, the upcoming trio of blockbusters will continue to tell the tale of protagonist Beatrice Prior's quest to discover the truth about her identity and the ruined, categorised world which she inhabits.

For all its spunk and (restrained) ingenuity (the original film won itself a decent 3* rating here), Divergent came up severely lacking in terms of A-list Hollywood actors, with Torchwood: Miracle Day's Mekhi Phifer and Titanic's Kate Winslet representing the only major performers to have attached themselves to the project. Thankfully, it seems that the tide is turning in the series' favour for the foreseeable future, since Naomi Watts has just been attached to all three of its remaining cinematic yarns. Watts' screen career spans from the 1980s right up to today, with recent big-screen appearances from the actor including J. Edgar (2011) and The Impossible (2012), so she should turn out to be nothing less than a fine fit for an up-and-coming saga of motion pictures such as this one.

Insurgent launches a rebellion in cinemas worldwide on March 20th, 2015, and The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1 and The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 2 will bring the franchise to its epic conclusion on March 18th, 2016 and March 24th, 2017 respectively.

May 2014: Best Release

Source: Project Fandom
For the second month running, HBO's finest drama yet steals our Best Release award.
It's rare that not even halfway through a year, we've stumbled upon multiple potent Film of the Year, TV Show of the Year and Game of the Year contenders, but 2014 is evidently daring to be different, with The LEGO Movie, Derek and South Park: The Stick of Truth each having gone the extra mile to impress over the course of its first five months. Moreso than any of its competitors, however, Game of Thrones is currently experiencing one of its strongest runs to date, especially as none of its instalments so far have earned anything below a 4* score here at On-Screen.

The best episode of Season Four (before tomorrow's finale, at least)? "Mockingbird". Despite not playing host to the compulsive and dramatically captivating trial of Tyrion Lannister in the King's Landing throne room or indeed his eventful trial by combat in the capital city of Westeros' outskirts, the seventh 'chapter' of perhaps the show's best series yet thrived in its intricacies. In fact, we'd wager that the lack of a major setpiece allowed its producers and writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to place further emphasis on the various thematic and narrative strands of the current run than ever before, whether through the brilliant retrospectives we gained on Tyrion's relationships with Jaime, Bronn and Oberyn (RIP, incidentally) in his cell-bound sequences or Petyr Baelish's utterly gripping political machinations in the Eyrie (as end-of-episode cliffhangers go, Lysa's flight through the Moon-Door is a tough one to match!). Whilst our brief solitary excursion to Castle Black for "The Watchers on the Wall" last week was a memorable diversion from the status quo, if "Mockingbird" is even partially indicative of what Benioff and Weiss have in store for us in Monday's heartbreaking denouement, "The Children", then we can undoubtedly prepare for one of the show's most emotionally rigorous send-off outings yet.

As ever, here's a full list of all of our monthly Best Release award victors for 2014 so far: