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Sunday, 31 August 2014

New Nintendo 3DS & 3DS XL Consoles Announced

Nintendo 3DS XL Screenshot
Source: CVG
Has a new Golden Age of handheld video gaming begun? Well, this is certainly a start...
Nintendo have this week announced the development of new iterations of their acclaimed 3DS and 3DS XL hardware. This particular family of handheld video game consoles started life in the Spring of 2011 and - unlike the PlayStation Vita, much as it pains us to admit it - has since gone from strength to strength, prompting the production of numerous revised editions of the hardware such as the XL (Xtra-Large, in case it somehow wasn't immediately clear) and the upgraded models which will land on our shores in the not too distant future.

Although we've yet to hear the precise product names for these particular incarnations of the now-beloved dual-screen console, there's still a decent amount of valuable information to go on. As ever, we've seen fit to compile a definitive list of the new features and gizmos which will adorn both of these nifty pieces of kit, and it reads something like this:
  • Both the "new 3DS" and "new 3DS XL" will sport a second analogue stick, an upgraded CPU and two additional shoulder buttons, not to mention a second screen which is now compatible with the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology Nintendo plans to implement via the use of Amiibo (read: Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures, albeit without the third-party branding).
  • An upgraded camera featured on both of the upgraded consoles will keep an eye on where players are positioning their heads so as to reactively reduce the visual strain of following the 3D imagery, thereby limiting the number of future health-related complaints (much as they'd have us believe otherwise, these behind-the-scenes execs aren't complete fools!).
  • The four 'face buttons' (i.e. 'X'; 'A'; 'Y' and 'B') will now be coloured in a similar style to those which were present on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube controllers as opposed to being the same colour as the hardware itself - no specific reason for this minor aesthetic switch-up was provided in the press release, but we'd suspect continuity was the primary intent here.
  • Last but not least, the two handhelds will pack a "micro" SD card slot, for those who give a Yoshi's tongue about such borderline-irrelevant matters. Neat, huh?
The new Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL consoles will ship for an approximate RRP of £90 and £150 respectively in 2015.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition Announced

Source: Battlescreen
Take the fight to the streets (again) on next-gen consoles this Autumn.
Square Enix and United Front Games have this week announced the development of an upgraded version of their open-world third-person-shooter Sleeping Dogs for release later this year. Titled Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, the expanded package will contain not only the main campaign of the original product, but additional content such as all of the DLC packs which were released in the aftermath of its August 2012 launch.

Now, whilst we've no doubt that most readers will know what's coming next, we'll state the blindingly obvious nonetheless: the so-called Definitive remake will be shipping exclusively on next-generation hardware. Why? To be oh-so-brutally frank, for all its ambition, Sleeping Dogs wasn't a stellar open-world experience, not least as it seemed to cower in the shadow of Grand Theft Auto in particular and therefore suffered greatly by launching just a year in advance of the incredibly audacious GTA V. Sales were respectable enough, sure, yet plenty of 2012 titles acquired far stronger final sales figures and that Rockstar North's upscaled next-gen rendition of their latest (and arguably finest) technological marvel will launch in relatively close proximity isn't going to help matters either. Praying for a miracle seems like Square Enix's best bet at this stage, or at least it would be if we didn't traditionally rely on Rockstar for those...

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition will hijack Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC consoles this October 10th.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1 Announced

Source: Star Wars 7 News
If you're craving non-canon galactic escapades aplenty, then by all means, step this way...
StarWars.com and Marvel Entertainment have this week announced the publication of a new Star Wars comic-book compilation for release next year. Dubbed Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1 (don't ask why Disney felt the need to include that horrendously clichéd adjective shortly before the sub-title), the bumper-sized graphic novel will bring together (deep breath) Star Wars: Republic Issues 78-80; Star Wars: Purge Issue 1; Star Wars: Purge - Seconds to Die Issue 1; Star Wars: Purge - The Hidden Blade Issue 1; Star Wars: Purge - The Tyrant's Fist Issues 1-2; Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command Issues 1-5 and finally Star Wars: Dark Times Issues 1-5.

As its name suggests from the outset, though, there's a substantial catch; by inhabiting the Legends range, The Empire Vol. 1 will need to be regarded as an isolated narrative entity, since Disney confirmed earlier this year that only the storylines contained within the six core Star Wars films and the spin-off TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be regarded as 'canon' (let's not delve into just how ambiguous and to some extent indefinable a term such as that is right now) from this point onwards and as a result, none of the standalone tales featured in the Epic Collection range (more instalments of which - primarily based around the Rebellion and other factions - are planned for release in the not too distant future) will have any impact on Episode VII or future instalments in the long-running saga. Whether the fact that these bombastic narratives - which were originally devised as a creative means by which to bridge the gap between Episode III and Episode IV amongst other chronological voids in the franchise's mythology - will be outright retconned from this point onwards holds positive implications for Star Wars' future is a hotly contested matter at present, but for anyone who feels as if there's still a space for these semi-parallel universe exploits in the wider context of the increasingly convoluted universe, The Empire Vol. 1 should be a fitting place to start gaining an insight into what might have been.

Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1 TPB will jump out of hyperspace and into all good book retailers in April 2015.

Game of Thrones Season Five Returning Cast Member Announced

Source: The Guardian
Mycroft Holmes has more business to attend to in Westeros - and thank goodness!
Entertainment Weekly have this week revealed a Game of Thrones cast member who's set to reprise his role in the fifth season of HBO's critically lauded fantasy drama. Whilst we're still just under seven months away from our return to George R.R. Martin's fictitious realm of Westeros (well, from a televisual perspective anyway - who knows when we'll see The Winds of Winter land on our shelves, eh?), production on Season Five is already well underway and this particular casting announcement sure to tide Sherlock fans over in the meantime.

From what we've heard, most fans who have already read Martin's hefty A Song of Ice and Fire novels (or at least those which have been released up until now) speculated that Mark Gatiss would reprise his role as Tychio Nestoris, the deliciously enigmatic Iron Bank representative who Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth discussed (when the latter wasn't busy singing the former's praises, anyway) the economics of war with in the eighth episode of Season Four ("The Laws of Gods and Men") and it's a genuine thrill for us to be able to confirm that they were correct in their predictions. The character appears on multiple occasions in A Dance with Dragons (the loose inspiration for next year's series), which - in theory - means that Gatiss will have signed up for more than one episode this time around, but given that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are known for taking liberties with their source material on-screen, we'd advise against taking anything for granted until official confirmation and/or promotional material arrives on our shores.

Game of Thrones will be back for a fifth season of violent and (no doubt) risqué excursions on HBO and Sky Atlantic in Spring 2015.

New Arrow Season Three Recurring Cast Member Announced

Source: WhatCulture
From The Wolverine to The CW's hit TV series, Rila Fukushima is certainly doing the rounds!
Entertainment Weekly have today confirmed a new cast member set to feature in a recurring capacity in the third season of The CW's now-beloved superhero drama Arrow. Starring Stephen Amell and John Barrowman, the series (which, for reasons unbeknownst to everyone outside of Warner Bros., remains separated from the still-blossoming DC Cinematic Universe in continuity terms) chronicles the rise of the Green Arrow and his ongoing mission to bring down the criminals who threaten to tear Starling City (not to mention his own family) apart.

Not so long ago, we revealed that Devon Aoki (a performer best known for her work in Sin City) would be joining the cast ensemble of perhaps the finest televised superhero programme to date, yet it transpires that (due to scheduling difficulties) Rila Fukushima will be replacing her in the role of Katana, an iconic DC antagonist who'll have a prominent presence in the flashback sequences of the much-anticipated third run. Whilst Fukushima's name mightn't initially ring a bell for some readers, we're pretty sure that if we mention the fact that she starred as Logan's partner-in-crime in 20th Century Fox's 2013 X-Men blockbuster The Wolverine, all will become that much clearer. The extent to which she'll feature has yet to be confirmed by The CW (and, indeed, our guess would be that we won't know for certain until the season has commenced broadcasting), yet given the esteem in which she's no doubt held by various superhero fandoms, odds are that hers will be a more substantial presence than most of the programme's semi-regular supporting players. Stay tuned for more on Arrow and its impending spin-off The Flash right here at On-Screen in the next few days...

Arrow will return with its adrenaline-fuelled third season this October 8th on The CW (in the US) and this Autumn on Sky1 (here in the UK).

Assassin's Creed Unity Delayed

Source: Forbes
Fans will have to wait a little longer to experience the next generation of the annual franchise.
Ubisoft have today announced a minor delay in the release schedule of their upcoming third-person action-adventure video game Assassin's Creed Unity. Originally scheduled for release on October 31st in the United Kingdom, the latest instalment in the recently-annualized saga will task players with making a stand as French warrior Arno Dorian in the midst of the destructive conflict known only as the French Revolution.

More importantly, though, Unity will mark the series' first fully-fledged next-generation chapter, launching exclusively on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. As we learned officially earlier this month, current-generation fans will still receive their annual dose of Assassin's Creed in the form of the Xbox 360 and PS3-exclusive Assassin's Creed Rogue (now set to release day-and-date with Unity as a result of the aforementioned development setback, which - Ubi are claiming - has come about due to Ubisoft Montreal hoping to "focus on those minor adjustments that can make a big difference - and ultimately help [the studio] deliver on the promise of the game"), but in truth, this is the product which the vast majority of hardcore series veterans are looking forward to; if nothing else, then, we're at least gladdened by the news that it'll still make its projected Winter 2014 release window, even if the final launch date will be a little later than was initially intended.

Assassin's Creed Unity will now première on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC this November 14th (in the UK - it'll land in US video game retailers on November 11th).

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Minecraft & Doctor Who Crossover DLC Products Announced

Source: CultBox
Is the Twelfth Doctor a good man? Perhaps everyone's favourite block-buster holds the answers...
Microsoft have today announced the development of downloadable content based on the BBC's beloved science-fiction drama Doctor Who for use in Mojang's similarly well-received open-world video game Minecraft. Developed in collaboration with BBC Worldwide, the DLC packs will not only feature the Twelfth Doctor (played by Peter Capaldi, though don't go expecting a voice-over) and his long-running adversaries the Daleks, but also a host of other familiar faces from the programme's past including classic Doctors and persistent extraterrestrial menaces like (we'd imagine, anyway) the Cybermen.

Proceedings will kick off with a hugely appealing Season Eight-inspired pack (an official screenshot of which can be found below) featuring six different Doctors and Skaro's most nefarious inhabitants, all of whom will be immortalised in glorious block-rendered form, while future DLC expansions will be released as Season Eight progresses over the course of the next eleven weeks. As ever, keep it locked at On-Screen for more details on what should prove to be an out-of-this-world crossover, as well as Mojang's plans for future downloadable expansions to the increasingly critically acclaimed world of Minecraft.

The first wave of Doctor Who-themed Minecraft DLC will retail for £1.99 exclusively on Xbox 360 (via the UK Xbox Games Store) this September.
The Doctor and Clara in Doctor Who on Minecraft Xbox 360
Source: BBC Worldwide

Xbox One Kinect Sensor Standalone Package Announced

Source: Digital Trends
How could you possibly say no? Hold on, that WAS meant to be a rhetorical question!
Microsoft have today announced the development of a standalone Xbox One Kinect Sensor peripheral for release in all good video gaming retailers later this year. The motion-sensing camera was originally bundled with the publisher's acclaimed next-generation console, but as the gap between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sales began to widen, the former's creator saw fit to remove one of their fanbase's biggest bugbears from the equation entirely, shipping a Kinect-less Xbox One package earlier this year to a remarkable degree of commercial success.

From our perspective, Microsoft's election to offer a standalone edition of Kinect as they did with the original Xbox 360 incarnation in 2010 can only further benefit them, since it'll allow anyone who finds themselves enticed by upcoming motion-controlled titles (one of which, Dance Central Spotlight, will in fact be bundled in free of charge!) to pick up a sensor whilst still enabling those who were initially deterred by the sensor's mandatory presence in the Xbox One package to opt out of controlling their gaming experience with their chubby (or not-so-chubby, as the case may well be) fingers and overexercised (well, we can dream!) arms. Stay tuned to On-Screen in the coming weeks as we find out more regarding the publisher's future plans for the console and its ever-expanding software line-up.

The standalone Xbox One Kinect Sensor peripheral will retail in stores worldwide for an RRP of $149.99 (approximately £89.99) this October 7th.

Sherlock 2015 Special & Season Four Production Details Unveiled

Source: Entertainment Outlook
The Boys are Back next year - but just what effect will their latest escapades have on those around them?
Executive producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have this week announced new details on the tone and production schedule of the next four episodes of the BBC's hit detective drama Sherlock. The show - which took home a mighty seven Emmy awards earlier this week - will return in 2015 and 2016 for a one-off special and a fourth season of London-bound cases, the latter of which will comprise of the traditional three 90-minute episodes.

Dedicated followers of the beloved TV series will doubtless have come to expect big changes between seasons by now, but it seems that the most dramatic (and, as the Moff puts it, "devastating"!) alterations to the status quo may well be still to come (particularly in the aftermath of Jim Moriarty's supposed ressurection - yes, Andrew Scott, we did miss you!). To discover everything that Moffat and Gatiss had to say on the subject of Season Four in particular after their Emmy victories, you need only glance below:

  • STEVEN MOFFAT ON THE PRODUCTION TEAM'S PLANS FOR FUTURE EPISODES - "We have a plan to top [Season Three] - and actually, I do think our plan is devastating. We practically reduced our cast to tears by telling them the plan. Honestly, Mark and myself are so excited with what we've got coming up, probably more excited than we've ever been about Sherlock. [...] When they go out is up to the BBC. And I am their loyal servant. I simply do what they ask me."
  • MARK GATISS ON THE TONE OF THE NEW EPISODES - "It will be a challenging place to go. We always start [seasons] with a re-introduction that builds toward a darker climax - we might just be going darker [right from the off]. [We've] got a very, very good set of ideas."
Sherlock will return to BBC One for a breathtaking one-off Special in 2015 and for its explosive fourth season in 2016.

Inferno Film Adaptation Revealed

Source: Lightmaster Studios
For Robert Langdon, it transpires that the apocalypse may be nigh.
Deadline have today reported the development of a follow-up to Sony Pictures' critically divisive adaptations of Dan Brown's no-less-controversial literary texts The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Apparently going by the name Inferno, the third instalment in the franchise of motion pictures based around the antics of symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks, who'll once again reprise his role this time around) will be loosely based on Brown's 2013 novel of the same name, somehow circumventing the narrative of his 2009 instalment The Lost Symbol in the process (although in fairness, fidelity has never seemed to be at the top of Sony's list of priorities for these projects).

What do we actually know so far about Inferno (or at least its purported big-screen rendition), then? In truth, beyond Hanks' return and the alleged appointment of Ron Howard (best known for his work on blockbusters such as Apollo 13, Angels & Demons and more recently Rush) as its incumbent director and David Koepp (who penned the screenplays for Ghost Town and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, to name but a pair) as its screenwriter, there's very little we can definitively reveal regarding the project, save for that it's set to shoot primarily in Italy. More details are sure to arrive as Howard and co. gain traction and pre-production begins, however, and as ever, On-Screen will be on hand to convey said information as quickly and reliably as possible as and when it hits the interwebs.

Inferno will (according to Deadline) begin filming in April 2015.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Power Rangers Release Date Announced

Source: We Got This Covered
First The Hunger Games, now this - is any beloved franchise beyond Lionsgate's reach?
Lionsgate have announced the official global release date for their upcoming superhero blockbuster Power Rangers. Purportedly inhabiting a revised narrative continuity akin to that of the beloved original TV series of the same name (well, save for the Mighty Morphin' adjectives that were used as part of the 1990s programme's branding, both of which have been sliced from the motion picture's title for marketing reasons), the reboot will follow a team of youngsters who must put aside their differences and learn to control their super-powers in time to combat a near-omnipotent adversary.

Whereas one can often tell how successful an individual motion picture will end up being on the basis of its cast ensemble, its premise and / or the quality of its special effects, since none of these elements have truly slotted into place in this particular instance, our insight into just how Power Rangers will perform is relatively minimal right now. Certainly, the TV series and its various small-screen spiritual successors have acquired a sizeable cult following over the years, but as the production team of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For will doubtless willingly attest after the sequel's poor opening weekend at the box office, followings can die out sooner or later and aren't nearly enough to wholly power a product commercially. Lionsgate will need to investigate critically acclaimed and commercially lucrative 'reboots' such as Doctor Who, Batman Begins and the like if they are to repeat the box office victories of their Hunger Games and Divergent series whilst battling Summer of Film flicks such as Captain America 3, Finding Dory and How to Train Your Dragon 3, but if any studio can manage it, we'd bet our bottom robot-turned-dinosaur that it's them.

Power Rangers mobilizes in cinemas worldwide on July 22nd, 2016.

Blade Runner & Prometheus Sequels Production Details Revealed

Source: Commentary Track
Like it or not, Noomi Rapace WILL be carrying Michael Fassbender's decapitated head to new realms.
British director Ridley Scott has today revealed details on the potential production of follow-ups to two of his best-selling motion pictures. Best known for his work as the helmer of classic blockbusters such as Alien, Scott is currently putting the finishing touches to Exodus: Gods and Kings, a new semi-religious action movie starring Christian Bale, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul and The Great Gatsby's Joel Edgerton.

Nevertheless, the beloved industry icon's fandom are doubtless far more intrigued by his recent comments regarding the development of sequels to both Blade Runner (1982) and Prometheus (2012). Although the former project had until recently been regarded by most as merely an idyllic fantasy which Scott had conceived so as to appease his followers' regularly-expressed desires yet would never find the time to make a reality, as it transpires, Blade Runner 2 (as we'll brand it until we hear otherwise from an official source) could be happening first! Here's what Scott had to say on the matter in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly: "[Blade Runner 2 is] written and it's damn good. Of course, it involves Harrison [Ford, now apparently confirmed to reprise his role as the protagonist introduced in the original cult classic], who is a survivor after all these years - despite the [Star Wars Episode VII] accident. So yes, that will happen. [...] The problem [is that] I've got a lot of ducks [including Prometheus 2] in a row. But they're all written." 

Of note here is that Prometheus 2 was originally thought to be scheduled by 20th Century Fox for a 2016 release, but if its director intends to tackle Blade Runner 2 first, then he'll have to wait for Ford to depart the Millennium Falcon once more (hopefully of his own accord rather than on a stretcher this time around) in 2015, which indicates that fans of the Alien series will have a hefty wait until they lay eyes on its next prequel outing. In the meantime, keep it On-Screen as we discover more about what's to come for the Xenomorph race (and their long-running adversaries, better known to the world at large as Predators) and for the intricate, infinitely-discussed dystopian world of Blade Runner, not to mention whether Exodus will live up to its esteemed helmer's heritage.

Speaking of which, Exodus: Gods and Kings will liberate cinemas worldwide this December 12th.

The Newsroom Season Three "Copier Tease" TV Trailer Released

Source: The Newsroom Wiki
Aaron Sorkin teases the "final episodes" of his controversial TV series...
HBO have this week released the first TV trailer for the impending new series of their political drama The Newsroom. As well as marking the programme's third full season, the much-anticipated run will (as HBO confirmed earlier this year) - much to the grief of fans the world over - bring the ongoing escapades of Will McAvoy and his intrepid team of news reporters to a natural conclusion over the course of ten further 50-minute instalments starring Jeff Daniels, Olivia Munn and the rest of the News Night gang.

Long-term readers of On-Screen may well recall that we were singing the praises of Aaron Sorkin's oft-subversive project so loudly in its early days that our voice-boxes might as well have developed a fault by the time Season One had finished airing on Sky Atlantic. Last year, however, our sentiments weren't quite so congratulatory, mainly as the aforementioned show-runner seemed to opt for a safer, restrained narrative which wouldn't raise as many eyebrows as several of the procedural storylines of the original run did in 2012, with the ultimate cost of his approach being that the programme's sophomore run felt far less ambitious and engaging as a result. Will Season Three right its predecessor's wrongs? There's not exactly much evidence to go on in this (gloriously metatextual) initial preview, although shots of script-pages bearing the words "I quit" (spoken by none other than Will) could at least bode well for the scope and audacity of the narrative Sorkin hopes to convey (even if said protagonist does seem to utter those words on a seasonly basis!).

The Newsroom will return to HBO (and Sky Atlantic, eventually) for its momentous final episodes this November.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Release Date Announced

LB3 KeyArt MR Color 8a CMYK
Source: Batman News
The Dark Knight ventures into space for a celebratory 75th Anniversary adventure!
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games have today announced the official UK release date for their upcoming third-person action-adventure video game LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Featuring the voices of Adam West and countless other iconic figures from the illustrious 75-year history of the titular Caped Crusader, the follow-up to LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes will see Batman team up with members of both the Justice League of America and the Joker's army of dangerous super-villains as Braniac threatens to wreak havoc in Gotham City and beyond (see what we - and the marketing team, for that matter - did there?).

Unlike so many other anticipated blockbuster (no pun intended...seriously!) titles, Beyond Gotham is seemingly staying firmly put in 2014 rather than suffering a delay to the early stages of next year as a result of the (ever-slimming) hordes of A-list products coming to consoles during the Autumn of Gaming. Much as we'd love to wholeheartedly endorse an instant pre-order, though, LEGO The Hobbit (5/10) let us down big-time back in April and it might therefore be a safer bet for those interested to keep an eye on upcoming trailers for Beyond Gotham, perhaps even sampling the inevitable gameplay demo on their respective hardware shortly before the product lands on our shores. Keep it locked at On-Screen for all the latest details on LEGO Batman 3, the upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DLC pack and TT's future projects...

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will glide onto Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 3DS, PC and PlayStation Vita this November 11th in North America and November 14th in all other regions.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Doctor Who: Deep Breath Review

Source: Life, Doctor Who & Combom
Our verdict on Peter Capaldi's fully-fledged début as the Twelfth Doctor.
For this reviewer, the prospect of analysing and evaluating "Deep Breath", the first episode of Doctor Who starring The Thick of It's Peter Capaldi as the remarkably brasher and more unhinged titular Time Lord, brought about an odd sensation of nostalgia at first, since my review of Matt Smith's own debut episode, "The Eleventh Hour" (2010), was one of the first articles ever published here at On-Screen. Despite executive producer Steven Moffat's claims to the contrary, the instalment in question seems to take inspiration from the past too, returning to plot threads established in the Smith era and plot tropes established long beforehand with simultaneously beneficial and detrimental consequences.

On the occasion of this largely victorious season première, it seems only right that we deal with some of the least successful elements of the episode first so as to allow us to spend a substantial enough amount of time praising Capaldi and the production team for what they got oh so right. Somewhat unsurprisingly, many of the issues which did present themselves came about not as a result of our new lead star's pitch-perfect delivery, Wheatley's characteristically intelligent direction of proceedings or Murray Gold's familiar yet oft-haunting score; instead, Moffat's scripting of the piece was at fault in this instance, his tendency to focus on long-dismissed arcs - the mystery of the woman in the shop which was raised back in "The Bells of Saint John" (2013), for instance, was hardly one which the majority of fans were begging to be resolved - and, worse still, on storytelling approaches which we've seen employed time and time again on Who - from the newly-regenerated Doctor noticing an individual who wasn't bothered by the present crisis in the distant (see Rory in "The Eleventh Hour") to the more explicit reprieves such as the return of the infamous Clockwork Droids from "The Girl in the Fireplace" (2006) and the Doctor's recognition of his all-too-familiar face - ultimately coming into conflict with his (and the rest of the production team's) overtly-expressed efforts to provide those Whovians who found themselves bogged down by the show's reliance on past continuity in its 50th Anniversary year with a clean slate (however minimal, given that the show-runner is justifiably opposed to the notion of a full-scale reboot).

What's more, in spite of the fact that long-running fans of the series have called for extended running times ever since the programme's revival back in 2005, with hindsight, 75 minutes might actually have been slightly too generous an upgrade to the usual 45-minute format. True, the extra half-hour enabled Moffat to write longer scenes, with the restaurant-turned-larder-house sequence representing a particular highlight in this regard (not least thanks to the increasingly enviable performing abilities of both Capaldi and Jenna Coleman), yet it also resulted in the increased presence of the Paternoster Gang and therefore, more importantly, Strax. What can we say about Strax that hasn't been expressed by reviewers (myself included) a thousand times before, save for that - in spite of his unquestionable ability to open proceedings with no small amount of hilarity (those such as myself who were lucky enough to attend a cinema screening of the episode saw him introduce "Deep Breath" by recapping each of the Doctor's regenerations, leading to some inspired comedic moments such as his recognition of the fact that the Ninth Doctor was "all ears") - his sustained presence in a scene can often rob of it any lingering dramatic tension, and not in the purgatorial (i.e. eventual relief from tension and fear through humour or a consoling denouement) manner which Aristotle once argued to be a defining element of the theatrical genre of tragedy. Had "Deep Breath" been cut down to an hour or 65 minute, we'd wager that this would have been far less of a problem, but instead, anyone who had previously expressed apathy towards Strax in particular was forced to endure physical and gender-themed gags in abundance, for better or (far more likely in this instance) for worse.

Thankfully, however, Strax's comrades fared far better this time around, with both Neve McIntosh and Catrin Stewart taking the opportunity to lend their characters much-needed emotional depth afforded to them by Moffat's screenplay with both hands. McIntosh in particular did herself proud as Vastra and Clara sparred verbally on the matter of the Doctor's newly-aged face over tea, the former character's veil acting as a worthy metaphor for the manner in which the eternal Time Lord changes his face every few years (or, in the case of the Eleventh Doctor, centuries), suggesting that as he does so, he adapts himself in order to suit the needs or desires of the world around him, hence why he transformed into a remarkably elderly fellow before Clara's eyes - what better way could there be to remind her that he could never be her "lover" (as Vastra so adequately put it)? Whilst many viewers doubtless assumed that the aforementioned ongoing plot thread of the pair's now-stunted romance was done and dusted at this point, Matt Smith's long-speculated appearance in the episode's closing moments was a work of sheer genius on the Moff's part (even if it didn't exactly help his case with regards to the script's reliance on the past - so much recycling was done here that we'd be amazed if the fictitious environment wasn't improved tenfold as a result!), serving as a fitting farewell for one of the most beloved Doctors in the show's history and a necessary moment of reassurance for any younger viewers who wondered if Capaldi's Time Lord was truly the same man as his predecessor.

Speaking of which, PETER CAPALDI IS THE DOCTOR! As was the case with Peter Davison, Matt Smith and several other incarnations of everyone's favourite time traveller, it's difficult to gain a firm hold on precisely the kind of Doctor which the Twelfth is going to be in episodes to come here, yet there's no doubting that he'll be as fierce, unpredictable and dangerous as everyone had originally hoped (although the former attribute may need to be dialled back at times if the show is to hold onto the easily-intimidated members of its supposed youthful target audience). In all honesty, though, "Deep Breath" seemed to be as much dedicated to enabling Jenna Coleman to shine as Clara Oswald - free of the constraints of last season's Impossible Girl mystery - as it was to showcasing the potency of the new Time Lord, a trait which certainly worked in its favour on numerous occasions (not least the aforementioned romance-themed exchange between her and Vastra and her closing exchange with the Twelfth, the latter of which beautifully echoed Christopher Eccleston's second episode in the role of the Ninth Doctor, "The End of the World" (2005)) to the extent that she proved to be just as compelling a construct to watch develop - if not moreso - than the 'man' who gives the programme its name. Peter Ferdinando's take on the so-called Half-Faced Man, meanwhile, was just as stoic and chilling as was presumably asked of him when he was cast in the role, while Michelle Gomez's Missy exuded eccentricity (and, to some extent, restrained insanity) as she welcomed the supposedly-deceased Clockwork Droid to the Promised Land (more on that later, we're sure - could this realm be intended as a wink of sorts by Moffat to the haters who call him up on his tendency to resurrect the dead after a short period of time? Quite honestly, we'd put nothing past the man at this point in time).

With "Deep Breath", then, we find an episode which is wholly the sum of its parts as opposed to one which successfully strives to be something more. For every chink in the armour such as the overly nostalgic screenplay, there was a metaphorical silver lining (we'll try to lay off the metaphors, though, since Capaldi's Doctor seems none too keen on them, and we wouldn't dare incur the wrath of his "absolutely furious" eyebrows, let alone his character as a whole) such as the accomplished performances of virtually everyone involved and vice versa, but the overall finished product was still a competent enough season opener to ensure that it'll be remembered fondly by long-term followers and newcomers alike. Teething problems such as those mentioned above can easily be forgiven at this point of time, not least as there were more than enough perks on display here to compensate, yet if they're not dealt with further down the line, then Season Eight (and Doctor Who as a whole, for that matter) may run into unprecedented trouble. Let's not concern ourselves with the future of the programme for now, though - instead, we'll close this review by commending everyone involved with Episode 1 on building solid foundations for what promises to be an ambitious and subversive run of time-travelling adventures.

Is the Twelfth Doctor a good man? It's difficult to say for certain one way or the other right now, but one thing's for sure: finding out the answer could be amongst the most exhilarating televisual experiences of 2014...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

More Life on the Road Plot Details & Release Window Announced

Source: Craig Kell
The jury's still out on whether this one's a good idea, but we're starting to learn more on what to expect from David Brent's return!
Lead star, director and screenwriter Ricky Gervais has this week announced further details on his latest cinematic project. Dubbed Life on the Road, the film - which, to some extent, serves as a direct continuation of the narrative of Gervais' hit TV sitcom The Office - follows David Brent as he struggles to find success within the now-global music industry and resultantly departs the UK in the hope of leaving his mark (no doubt in more ways than one!) elsewhere.

In light of the fact that Gervais has only just begun drafting the screenplay for Life, that he's unable to reveal much more than this perhaps shouldn't come as too much of a shock to fans. All the same, we've compiled what he did reveal on This Morning recently for those interested in such things: "So, it's ten years after The Office and [David] is currently going up and down the UK selling cleaning products, but he's never let go of that dream of being a popstar! He thinks he can still make it [...] and thinks he might get signed if he goes on tour, so the film will be about that. [...] I'm writing it now, and we film it next year." The prospect of witnessing Brent's increasingly futile attempts to make it big as an aspiring pop icon is enticing if nothing else, but until we're able to pass judgement on the first official promotional images  for Life or its teaser trailer (which we'd imagine will land in the late stages of 2015), our verdict on the overall project's potency will have to remain as much of a secret as its still-to-be-revealed cast-list and the surprise cameos that are sure to be kept under wraps (well, in theory) until its UK première.

Life on the Road is (according to Gervais, at least) planned to take centre-stage in UK cinemas nationwide in 2016.

New Assassin's Creed Film Adaptation Production Details Announced

Source: Mr. Gray History
The man who made Magneto a force to be reckoned with spills the beans on the current status of Ubisoft's first major big-screen project.
Lead star and producer Michael Fassbender has this week announced new details on the production of 20th Century Fox and Ubisoft Motion Pictures' upcoming science-fiction blockbuster Assassin's Creed. Inspired by the best-selling video game franchise of the same name, the much-anticipated big-screen adaptation's narrative is shrouded in secrecy at present, though it was recently rumoured by FilmDivider to centre on a new Assassin, Aguilar de Agarorobo, who finds himself tasked with taking down the Templar Order in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition.

Speaking to IGN earlier this Summer, the X-Men: Days of Future Past and 12 Years A Slave star had this to say on the project's progress: "Nothing has changed [since previous pre-production updates were released by Ubisoft last year], yeah. I'm still a part of Assassin's Creed, and we're working on the script as we speak. Actually, I'm going to go back and see the writers when I get back to Europe [from his trip to the States to discuss his latest film, Frank]. [...] So I'm really excited about it and we're working very hard to make sure that we've got the best and most exciting, original package." 

Now, aside from his overwhelming optimism surrounding the production team's approach to adapting the dense lore of the Creed series, we'd argue that the key detail to extract from Fassbender's comments is that a script for the flick is still being developed, which indicates that unless said development has just about reached its timely climax, the movie itself won't be released next year as planned. In the grand scheme of things, however, its departure from 2015 might turn out to be a blessing, since the next twelve months are already stuffed to the brim with high-octane blockbusters that will constantly be vying for mainstream viewers' attention. Cult video game adaptations such as these often find themselves left by the wayside when pitted against franchises such as Star Wars, The Avengers and Terminator (all of which are making their voices heard once again before 2016 arrives) and as such, relocating their long-awaited project to 2016 or beyond could mean the difference between success or colossal failure at the box office for Fassbender and company.

Assassin's Creed is (for now) scheduled to sneak into cinemas worldwide on August 7th, 2015.

P.S. We've also included two new gameplay trailers for Ubisoft Sofia's upcoming Assassin's Creed title Assassin's Creed: Rogue, which serves as a sequel to both 2012's Assassin's Creed III and 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, below. See what you think and be sure to let us know whether you'll be picking Rogue up on November 11th via the usual social networking domains!

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Teaser Trailer Released

Source: Movie Review Preview
An all-star cast ensemble reunites for more international hi-jinks!
Fox Searchlight Pictures have released the teaser trailer (below) for their upcoming comedy-drama film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. In case the title wasn't overt enough, this India-set motion picture acts as a follow-up to the remarkably accomplished 2012 film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and once again stars the likes of Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton alongside newcomers such as Richard Gere.

Not since the teaser trail for The Hangover: Part II hit the web a few years back have we seen a promotional preview which so unashamedly reveals the similarities its subject bears to its predecessor, although given that the original Best Exotic was nothing short of a hidden gem (we awarded it a stellar 5* score back in 2012), that mightn't necessarily work to the finished product's detriment. Largely stereotypical cultural tropes seem to be just as much of a point of focus here as they were first time around, which inevitably places Second Best Exotic in the much-vaunted (and oft-inaccurate, though here it rings true) category of "if you liked this, you'll love this", for better or for worse. Ultimately, it's up to readers to decide whether they can get behind a production which doesn't attempt to hide the lack of innovation present in its narrative, but what with the original outing having topped both the UK and US box offices upon its release, we doubt that the production team are particularly concerned about their latest project's financial prospects at the moment.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel rides on horseback into UK cinemas nationwide on February 17th, 2015.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Doctor Who News Round-Up: August 20th, 2014

Source: Den of Geek
Only three days to go now until we journey "into darkness" - are you ready?
Almost eight months on from the broadcast of Doctor Who's 2013 Christmas Special, "The Time of the Doctor", we're now on the brink of bearing witness to the first episode of Season Eight, "Deep Breath". True to form, the BBC have been astonishingly forthcoming with regards to Who-related announcements this week and as such, we've rounded up the key bits of information into one cohesive guide.

Let's waste no further time (or space) building up to the plethora of episode titles, plot synopses and other details which lie in wait here. Instead, we'll invite you, dear reader, to cast your eyes below and see what the age of Capaldi has in store for us meek (but terribly excited) viewers:

The Beeb have been uncharacteristically enigmatic this year with regards to the titles of the 45-minute episodes which comprise Doctor Who's latest series, but thanks to the Radio Times, the shroud of (arguably necessary) secrecy has finally been removed. Below are the official names of each of the twelve adventures which the universe has in store for the Twelfth Doctor, along with plot synopses written by none other than showrunner Steven Moffat:
  • EPISODE 1: "DEEP BREATH" (BY STEVEN MOFFAT) - "In late-1890s London, [...] Vastra, Jenny and Strax are [in] for a big surprise, and then an even bigger one. [...] As Clara struggles to recognise the man she thought she knew so well, killers stalk the capital. A slaughterhouse restaurant and a buried spaceship lead the Doctor into a confrontation with a long-forgotten foe...but how far is this new man ready to go to protect his friends?"
  • EPISODE 2: "INTO THE DALEK" (BY PHIL FORD & STEVEN MOFFAT) - "In the dying days of a bitter war, a beleaguered human army has one last hope: a Dalek so damaged that it has become good. But can it be trusted? To find out, a miniaturised team, led by the Doctor and Clara, embark on a fantastic voyage into the Dalek itself..."
  • EPISODE 3: "ROBOT OF SHERWOOD" (BY MARK GATISS) - "In a sun-dapper Sherwood Forest, the Doctor discovers an evil plan from beyond the Stars."
  • EPISODE 4: "LISTEN" (BY STEVEN MOFFAT) - "Ghosts of the past and future crowd into the lives of the Doctor and Clara: a terrified caretaker in a children's home, the last man standing in the universe, and a little boy who doesn't want to join the army..."
  • EPISODE 5: "TIME HEIST" (BY STEPHEN THOMPSON & STEVEN MOFFAT) - "The Bank of Karabroxos is the deadliest bank in the cosmos - only a fool or a genius would attempt to rob it. Fortunately for the Doctor, he's both. With the help of a beautiful shape-shifter and cyber-augmented gamer, the Doctor and Clara fight their way past the most dangerous security system ever devised [and] the Teller: a creature of terrifying power that can detect guilt."
  • EPISODE 6: "THE CARETAKER" (BY GARETH ROBERTS & STEVEN MOFFAT) - "One morning, just before assembly, Coal Hill welcomes a new relief caretaker with a Scottish accent. With Clara's world about to explode around her, terrifying events near the school make it clear that the rest of the world is about to do the same. The Skovox Blitzer is ready to destroy all humanity - and worse, any second now, Danny Pink and the Doctor are going to meet..."
  • EPISODE 7: "KILL THE MOON" (BY PETER HARNESS) - "In the near future, the Doctor and Clara arrive on a decrepit shuttle making a suicide mission to the Moon. Crashing on the lunar surface, they find a mining base full of eviscerated corpses, spider-like creatures scuttling in the dark, and a terrible dilemma. When Clara turns to the Doctor for help, she gets the shock of her life. Is the man she's trusted so long really a hero after all? Is he even her friend?"
  • EPISODE 8: "MUMMY ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS" (BY JAMIE MATHIESON) - "Aboard the most beautiful train in history, speeding among the stars of the future, a legend is stalking the passengers. Once you see the Mummy, you have 66 seconds to live. [...] As the Doctor races against the clock to defeat this mythical foe, Clara sees him at his deadliest and most ruthless - and finally realises she's made the right decision. Because this is their last adventure: it's time to say goodbye to the Time Lord."
  • EPISODE 9: "FLATLINE" (BY JAMIE MATHIESON) - "Separated from the Doctor, Clara discovers a new menace from another dimension. But how do you hide when even the walls are no protection? With people to save and no madman in a box to help, Clara goes against an enemy that exists beyond normal human perception."
  • EPISODE 10: "IN THE FOREST OF THE NIGHT" (BY FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE) - "One morning in [...] every city and town in the world, the human race wakes up to the most surprising invasion yet: the trees have moved back in. [...] The Doctor soon realizes that the final days of humanity have arrived..."
  • EPISODES 11 & 12: "DARK WATER" & "DEATH IN HEAVEN" (BY STEVEN MOFFAT) - "In the mysterious world of the Nethersphere, plans have been drawn. Old friends and old enemies manoeuvre around the Doctor, and an impossible choice is looming before him. Death is not an end, promises the sinister organization known only as 3W - but, as the Doctor and Clara soon discover, you might wish it was."
In addition to premièring the first episode of Season Eight (better known to the world at large as "Deep Breath") and the first instalment of Doctor Who Extra (details of which can be found here), BBC Worldwide are holding a commemorative Q&A event at Leicester Square once "Deep Breath" has aired in the UK. The corporation have now officially confirmed that Zoe Ball will host the first public interview (well, at least since she unveiled Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor in BBC One's Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor last Summer) with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat and that (as previously teased) this question-and-answer session will be live-streamed in cinemas across the nation as it takes place. As ever, readers can sleep easy in the knowledge that On-Screen will upload any of the key plot details and/or details regarding the programme's future that emerge during the interview as soon as humanly (or Gallifreyan-ly?) possible.

Doctor Who will return with its feature-length season opener, "Deep Breath", this Saturday, August 23rd at 7.50pm on BBC One, while Episode 2 - "Into the Dalek" - has today been confirmed (by the BBC Press Office) to air at 7.30pm on August 30th.

The Theory of Everything Teaser Trailer Released

Source: Geek Tyrant
Hope and endurance appear to be key themes of this intriguing Steven Hawkins biopic - and rightly so.
Focus Features have released the teaser trailer for their upcoming drama film The Theory of Everything. Starring Les Miserables' Eddie Redmayne, Cemetery Junction's Felicity Jones and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban's David Thewlis, this increasingly potent motion picture investigates the life and ongoing struggle of renowned physicist Steven Hawkins and the devastating effect that his sudden physical accident had on his peers and loved ones.

Redmayne in particular went some way to proving his credentials as a budding thespian with his accomplished portrayal of freedom fighter Marius in Tom Hooper's aforementioned adaptation of the beloved West End musical last year, but a role such as this requires a great deal of conviction and self-assurance in order for an actor to fully capitalize on it; with this in mind, witnessing Redmayne's attempts to capture the essence of Hawkins as an individual thinker and achiever should prove to be nothing short of a fascinating cinematic experience. Certainly, this initial preview shouldn't leave viewers particularly concerned regarding the Birdsong star's capacity to fulfil the unspoken criteria of his latest role, but (aptly enough in the case of the piece's subject) only time will tell whether Theory can truly do its 'source material' (for want of a term that doesn't risk blandly categorising Hawkins or his triumph over adversity) justice.

The Theory of Everything will present its hypotheses on life, the universe and everything in UK cinemas nationwide on January 2nd, 2015.

Marvel Cinematic Universe News Round-Up: August 20th, 2014

Source: Marvel
More details on Ant-Man and the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have surfaced.
Comic-Con may be over, but that hasn't stopped Marvel Studios from rolling out a host of equally tantalising announcements regarding the future of their long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe film and TV franchise. Enter our latest compilation, which - if we're doing our jobs right - should make the various news tidbits that much more accessible to consume.

Read on, then, for a condensed - yet no less productive - guide to what's new in the worlds of the Avengers, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and beyond...

Marvel Studios have this week unveiled the first on-set image (above) of Paul Rudd in their upcoming superhero film Ant-Man. The opening chapter of the Phase Three will have the unenviable challenge of launching just two months after Avengers: Age of Ultron and introducing Scott Lang (played by Rudd) into the series' already-crowded narrative continuity, but we'd wager that our first glimpse at Lang isn't so much intended to dispel our reservations as to hint at the substantially darker tone of the piece (which will now be directed by Peyton Reed). Well, message received and understood!

Moving on, the studio issued a press release on Monday to announce the actors who'll comprise the central ensemble of the long-awaited flick, and whilst the shocks are few, there are one or two names which readers mightn't have initially expected to appear. Regardless, here's the cast-list in full: Paul Rudd (Scott Lang / Ant-Man), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Evangeline Lily (Hope Van Dyne), Corey Stoll, Judy Greer, Michael Pena, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Gregg Turkington, T.I. and John Slattery (who took on the role of Tony Stark's father Howard in Iron Man 2, indicating that the character will return here as a means by which Marvel can strengthen the interconnectivity of its ever-expanding universe).

Ant-Man will crawl into US cinemas nationwide on July 17th, 2015 (its UK release date, meanwhile, has yet to be confirmed, but stay tuned to On-Screen, as we're sure to learn more in the coming months).

ABC have this week revealed further cast members set to feature in a recurring capacity in the second season of their up-and-coming TV detective drama Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The new run, which will première in the States next month, is set to depict the ongoing exploits of Director Phil Coulson as he strives to resurrect S.H.I.E.L.D. after Hydra's takeover of the organization in March's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and was recently confirmed to feature beloved comic-book constructs such as Mockingbird and foes of the Secret Warriors (a rag-tag team not unlike Coulson's which was originally led by Nick Fury).

NYPD Blue fans will doubtless be enthralled to hear that Henry Simmons will join Agents' ranks as an accomplished mechanic named Alphonso Mackenzie in Season Two, but foremost amongst the recent casting announcements were the press releases which confirmed that Kyle MacLachlan (How I Met Your Mother) and Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) will portray Skye's (still to be named) father and Barbara Morse (aka Mockingbird, a B-list Avenger and regular agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) respectively in Season Two. Most fans - us included - were already hugely excited to see what was next for Agents after Season One's sublime climactic episode, "Beginning of the End", aired in May, so in truth, the near-constant flurry of casting and character reveals which have landed on our doorstep in the midst of the show's hiatus is both unexpected and incredibly welcome. Let's just hope that the new series itself lives up to the now-colossal hype...

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return with its action-packed second season on ABC this September 23rd, with the run's UK broadcast currently scheduled to follow suit on Channel 4 this Autumn.

New LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Gameplay Trailer Released

Source: Game Informer
Has a character ensemble ever looked more enticing than the one pictured on the left?
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games have today released a new gameplay trailer for their upcoming third-person platforming video game LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Launching on both current-generation and last-generation hardware, the sequel to 2012's LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes picks up directly where its predecessor left off in narrative terms, with the dastardly villain Braniac now hell-bent on launching an all-out assault on planet Earth and the Justice League of America (pictured above) rallying together to prevent him from rendering humanity extinct.

It's the aforementioned classic android antagonist who's the centre of attention in the latest video preview of Beyond Gotham, as readers will soon discover for themselves in the YouTube clip below. Although the character's presence in TT Games' rendition of the world of the Dark Knight and his super-powered buddies was teased in DC Superheroes two years back, only now have the development team revealed the substantial role the comedically-challenged robot will play in their latest narrative, confirming that he'll take control of the likes of Batman and Green Lantern in his noteworthy efforts to bring down the Green Lantern Corps and bring about a ceaseless era of enforced enslavement. Aside from all of that exposition (and a surprisingly inspired undergarments-themed gag conveyed by the Joker in the clip's closing moments), though, we couldn't help but notice that Hal Jordan's ring-bearing alter-ego finds himself trapped in electronic chains towards the end of the video - would it be too much to ask for him to be incarcerated next to the Man of Steel, in what would be a glorious homage to February's exemplary animated blockbuster The LEGO Movie? Just checking.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will commence its voyage into the depths of space on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 3DS and PC this Autumn.

Doctor Who Extra First Season Commissioned

Source: The Mary Sue
Journey behind-the-scenes with the stars (both on- and off-screen) of Peter Capaldi's freshman adventures...
The BBC have today announced an online Doctor Who spin-off series scheduled to air alongside the eighth season of their hit science-fiction drama. Titled Doctor Who Extra, the programme's first full run will comprise of twelve 10-minute instalments, each of which will be uploaded to BBC iPlayer directly after the broadcast of the appropriate Season Eight episode on Saturday nights (for instance, the opening episode will launch as soon as "Deep Breath" has finished airing on BBC One and in cinemas at 9.10pm in three days' time).

Better yet, the Beeb have drafted in the majority of the production team of their beloved BBC Three documentary series Doctor Who Confidential to reveal just what went on between takes during the production of Peter Capaldi's first wave of voyages as the titular Time Lord and how the show's 50-year history has influenced its contemporary outings. We'd have been fully content with this gratifying news alone (not least since it means that the valiant creators of Confidential have finally found gainful employment once more), yet the official Doctor Who website then went on to announce an extensive roster of thespians and execs who've contributed to the spiritual resurrection of one of the most consistent and well-rounded spin-off projects of recent times. They are as follows: Peter Capaldi (the Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink), Keeley Hawes (Ms Delphox in "Time Heist"), Michelle Gomez (the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere in "Dark Water" and "Death in Heaven"), Frank Skinner (role TBC, "Mummy on the Orient Express"), Ben Miller (the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robot of Sherwood"), Foxes (role TBC, "Mummy on the Orient Express") and Steven Moffat (Executive Producer). Keep it locked at On-Screen in the coming days as we discover more on the bonus online content which awaits Whovians during the much-anticipated age of Capaldi!

Doctor Who Extra will kick off its run on BBC iPlayer (and, for one week only, in cinemas nationwide) with an unparalleled look at the production of "Deep Breath" this Saturday, August 23rd at 9.10pm

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Gamescom 2014: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition Announced

Source: ShopTo
Apologies, but this franchise just keeps on calling and refuses to leave a voice-mail!
Activision have this week announced the development of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Day Zero Edition for release alongside the standard and collector's versions of the product later this year. Despite their similar branding, Advanced Warfare's futuristic storyline takes place in an isolated narrative continuity which won't intersect with the Modern Warfare trilogy or last year's poorly-received Ghosts (or either of the Black Ops titles for that matter, but that was never in doubt).

In contrast to the vast majority of special edition video game packages, the Day Zero Edition of Sledgehammer Games' much-anticipated fully-fledged COD début will offer franchise veterans two remarkable perks which are sure to more than justify the additional entry fee. First and foremost, anyone who pre-orders this extremely limited incarnation of the Titanfall-inspired FPS will be able to start testing out its refined multiplayer experience twenty-four hours ahead of other players (hence the product's pseudo-satirical name), an opportunity which those who've found themselves frustrated by online retailers sending their colleagues previous instalments a day before their official release will surely relish this time around.

As if that weren't enough of an incentive, Day Zero players will gain double experience points online for the duration of their extra day of play, plus exclusive weapons such as the Crossbow B-2 and EM1 Quantum Directed Energy Weapon, giving them quite the edge over their soon-to-be competitors. Long-term readers of On-Screen will hopefully have worked out that we're hardly the most keen advocates of Activision's long-running online behemoth (let's be honest, does anyone purchase it for the single-player segment these days?), but when all's said and done, the publishers do appear to be offering up a premium-value package here that should more than warrant the attention of the series' devotees.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Day Zero Edition will explode onto Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC this November 3rd, while the Standard Edition of the title is set to launch the next day (November 4th).

Big School Season Two TV Trailer Released

Source: The Telegraph
Philip Glenister plays a P.E. teacher who's taking up Geography - now this we have to see!
The BBC have this week released a TV trailer for the impending second series of their situation comedy Big School. Directed primarily by Matt Lipsey, the run will once again star Come Fly with Me's David Walliams, Doctor Who's Catherine Tate and Life on Mars' Philip Glenister as a trio of harmless (yet undoubtedly imbecilic!) school teachers whilst simultaneously introducing newcomers such as Britain's Got Talent runner-up Jack Carroll and Very Important People's Morgana Robinson in supporting capacities.

If it's more of the same that returning fans of the show are looking for here, then by golly, they're going to find themselves delighted come the season première. This illuminating teaser trailer appears to all but guarantee that - for better or for worse - we're in for six further 30-minute instalments of slapstick hi-jinks, perfectly timed (if occasionally misjudged) one-liners and cringe-worthy romantic sub-plots galore, all of which seem to contribute heavily to Big School's success if Season One's consistently sturdy ratings were any indication. The new Little Britain this mightn't be, yet show-runner and lead star Walliams doesn't seem particularly bothered about matching or surpassing his previous works on this occasion, and believe it or not, his indifference may actually end up becoming the project's saving grace in the long run.

Big School returns to BBC One for its second season of part-educational, part-hysterical classroom antics on Friday, August 29th at 9.30pm.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Gamescom 2014: Rise of the Tomb Raider Timed Xbox Exclusivity Announced

Source: Destructoid
The world's most accomplished archaeologist (don't tell Indy) has a new home...for a while, anyway.
Microsoft have this week announced that Crystal Dynamics' upcoming third-person platforming video game Rise of the Tomb Raider will launch exclusively on Xbox consoles. Pitched as a sequel to the beloved 2013 franchise reboot Tomb Raider, Rise will follow Lara Croft as she struggles to move on from her experiences in the first instalment whilst embarking on a dangerous new globe-trotting adventure.

Suffice to say that this story has caused its fair share of tremors within the video gaming industry this week, but for PlayStation and PC fans of the series who found themselves enraged by the original announcement at Microsoft's Gamescom 2014 press conference, there's a merciful silver lining to be found behind their metaphorical cloud. Here's what Phil Spencer, head of all things Xbox, told Eurogamer shortly after the publisher's grand showcase: "I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. [But] the deal has a duration. I didn't buy [the series as a whole]. I don't own the franchise."

What exactly does this mean for Rise's release schedule and the list of platforms the much-anticipated follow-up will ship on, then? Well, by Spencer's own admission, Microsoft and Crystal's partnership "has a duration" and this - combined with the fact that Tomb Raider sold remarkably well on platforms other than those falling within the Xbox brand - strongly implies that before too long, we'll see the product ship on PlayStation consoles (or at least the PS4) and/or PC (indeed, we sincerely doubt that Crystal will risk failing to capitalize on either of these two lucrative markets, even if they do so a little later than some might have hoped on the basis of their E3 reveal). Stay tuned to On-Screen in the months ahead for all the latest details on this situation and Rise of the Tomb Raider's increasingly intriguing narrative...

Rise of the Tomb Raider will début exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in Winter 2015.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gotham UK Broadcaster & New Season One Antagonist Announced

Source: IGN
You'll never guess which programming corporation is bringing James Gordon to the UK...
Fox have this week announced the identity of the UK broadcasting corporation which will air the first season of their detective drama Gotham and a new antagonist set to feature amongst the legions of villains conspiring to tear Gotham City apart before its famed Caped Crusader can even take his first steps as a teenager. A spiritual predecessor to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy and the upcoming Warner Bros. blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the TV series in question will chronicle the rise of Detective James Gordon and those deadly criminals who'll become his and the Dark Knight's greatest foes in years to come.

We'll reveal the British programmer in question as this article comes to a close, but for now, it's a real thrill for us to be able to confirm that Mr. Freeze will be making an appearance at an as-of-yet still to be revealed stage in Season One (cue an endless stream of atrocious Arnie-inspired puns on the word 'ice'!). Provided that the producers and screenwriters steer clear of the all-too-clichéd approach of their predecessors (namely the Batman & Robin production team, lest they be met with a cold reception - sorry...), this could turn out to be another inspired decision which sends the narrative of the show's début run off in a captivating direction. Here's what producer Danny Cannon had to say on the matter: "My first conversation with Bruno Heller about the villains in [Gotham] is [...] that they need to be very credible and relatable and the science behind them needs to be real. So I had a couple of stories that I'd held onto [...] and one of them just related to Mr. Freeze. I know a real way to create an origin story!"

Gotham will première on Fox this September 22nd in the United States and on Channel 5 this Autumn in the UK.

Kingsman: The Secret Service Delayed

Source: Technology Tell
Colin Firth's début as a suave secret-agent will have to wait.
20th Century Fox have this week announced an alteration in the release schedule of their upcoming thriller film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Whereas Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was recently bumped up by two months to March 2016, fans of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons' critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name (which serves as a loose inspiration for Kingsman) will have to endure for an extra four months before witnessing the antics of secret agent Harry Hart (played by The Railway Man and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy's Colin Firth) play out on the big-screen for the first time.

In reality, meeting the increasingly lofty expectations of the source material's fanbase is the least of this much-vaunted (or should that be Vaughnted, given that X-Men: First Class helmer Matthew Vaughn took control of the director's chair here?) pseudo-blockbuster's worries. The project reportedly shifted launch dates in order to sidestep Universal's Halloween horror Ouija, yet by moving to February 2015, it'll still face competition from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hitman: Agent 47 and, most dauntingly of all, Fifty Shades of Grey (suffice to say that 2015 is kicking off with a literal bang and will ramp up the ante with each successive month), so to say that the pressure Fox are placing on Vaughn's prestige as a director has lessened seems rather dishonest, frankly. Check out the teaser trailer below for an initial glimpse into just what the man who gave us Kick-Ass is aiming to convey to his viewership in his latest audacious production.

Kingsman: The Secret Service will now reveal its hidden arsenal in cinemas worldwide on February 13th, 2015.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sequel Announced

Source: Cinema Static
Cowabunga, we suppose...?
Paramount Pictures have today announced the production of a follow-up to their upcoming fantasy action film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Starring Megan Fox and directed by Jonathan Liesbsman, the semi-anticipated reboot was released late last week in the United States and since then has apparently acquired over $65 million of domestic profits alone.

That the not-so-acclaimed blockbuster (which currently holds a Metacritic average score of just 33%) beat Guardians of the Galaxy's Stateside profits for the weekend of August 9th-10th does not guarantee it'll achieve similar commercial feats when it arrives in the UK this Autumn, though, so the studio could quite easily be argued as counting their proverbial chickens (or remarkably oversized aquatic creatures, as the case may be) before they come to roost in this instance. Nevertheless, with Michael Bay confirmed to once again serve as the second chapter in the revived franchise's producer, if nothing else, it's sure to boast a spectacular budget (although here's hoping that less cash is spent on CGI and more on enabling returning screenwriters Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec to provide us with a compelling narrative next time around, eh?) and mainstream viewer-baiting guest stars aplenty.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will sneak into UK cinemas nationwide this October 17th, with the sequel set to hit theatres across the world on June 3rd, 2016.