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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

More Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Follow-Up Plot Details Teased

Source: Schmoes Know
Get your filthy hands off me, you damn dirty - oh, sorry, we didn't notice you over there! Please feel free to read on.
Director Matt Reeves has today announced new details surrounding the narrative of the third instalment of 20th Century Fox's rebooted Planet of the Apes fantasy film franchise. Scheduled to launch in one of the most crammed Summer of Film blockbuster seasons to date, the Reeves-directed sequel will act as a direct continuation of the story arcs established in both 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes and this year's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Those keeping a watchful eye on On-Screen may well recall that both of those opening chapters earned themselves rare 5* ratings from us here and over at The Carmine Project , a truly admirable feat which of course only places all the more pressure on Reeves to excel once again with his second contribution to the pseudo-dystopian saga which currently seems set to simply keep on giving for the time being. Here's our round-up of precisely what the helmer had to say regarding one of our most anticipated motion pictures of 2016:

  • ON CAESAR'S ROLE IN THE NEXT APES INSTALMENT - "In the first movie [Rise], he sort of rises from humble beginnings to become a revolutionary, Dawn was very much about him ascending to become a leader in really difficult times and having to be tested in that way, but this next movie I think is about him becoming the seminal figure for ape history. [It's] like myth ascension, him becoming the the ape Moses, for lack of a better sort of character to model him after. He is very much that way of being sort of caught between these two worlds [ape-kind and the humans who raised him only to eventually alienate him from their society], and I think that's going to be exciting to see the ways in which we can push him to places that are [going to] make him very uncomfortable."
  • ON THE PREMISE OF THE SEQUEL TO DAWN - "This situation is exactly what [Caesar] was trying to avoid. The oncoming war is what Dawn was all about avoiding and (SPOILER ALERT...) it wasn't avoided, so what does that mean to him as a character and how he will lead his people through this [...]?"
  • ON THE THIRD OUTING'S TITLE - "It might be one word shorter..."
The hugely potent sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will clamber into cinemas worldwide on July 29th, 2016, a solid seventeen months or so after Dawn launches on DVD and Blu-Ray this November 24th.

Just Cause 3 Announced

Source: Game Informer
Ready to fight alongside the REAPERS and, more importantly, Bolo Santozi once more? We sure are!
Game Informer have today announced that Avalanche Studios are presently hard at work on the development of a new instalment of Just Cause, better known as their long-running saga of open-world action-adventure video games. Currently going by the ever-so-inspired title of Just Cause 3, the long-rumoured successor to 2010's similarly creatively-named second outing - we'll let our readership take an educated guess on this front - will launch exclusively on next-generation consoles in a similar vein to how its predecessor ditched the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in favour of the PS3, 360 and PC.

Once again, Avalanche appear to be refusing to play it safe in terms of the product's setting, relocating secret agent-turned-Super Mario-esque-platformer Rico Rodriguez to an endearingly warm Mediterranean island - we'd wager that James Bond envies him after having battled terrorists from the 'sanctity' of a rain-swept Scottish mansion in 2013 - for his third and potentially final mission. Details on the precise plot of next year's presumably-refined trilogy closer weren't forthcoming in Game Informer's initial reveal story earlier today, although that's not to say that the latest edition of the magazine in question - which will sport a nifty Just Cause 3-themed cover, if the image above wasn't an obvious enough indicator in that regard - won't reveal a few hidden secrets in the next few days, all of which will feature either here or in another On-Screen article if and when they reach the increasingly transparent surface of the interwebs...

Just Cause 3 rappels onto PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC consoles worldwide in 2015.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series - Iron From Ice Announced

Source: Game of Thrones Guide
Winter is coming, but this time, it's bringing a treat or two along for the ride...
Telltale Games have today announced the development of the first episode in their Game of Thrones series of quasi-RPG downloadable video games. Titled "Iron From Ice", the opening instalment of the previously-announced Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series - which first came to light at the Spike Video Game Awards in the Winter of 2013, aptly enough - will pick up where the Red Wedding left off by presenting the immediate ramifications of the infamous yet seismic event which brought the third season of HBO's beloved fantasy drama to a devastating conclusion.

If that seems like a rather familiar premise at first glance, then fret not, as Telltale are once again miles ahead of us. In spite of their decision to analyse the much-discussed denouement of Season Three in further detail, the developers aren't retreading well-covered ground for the sake of it, but instead will introduce House Forrester - a Westerosian family who've only been referenced fleetingly in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels and who'll never likely make an appearance in the show despite now being regarded as canon by HBO thanks to this project - into the mix through five family members and servants based both in the realms of Westeros and Essos, each of whom will influence one another's character arcs and actions in a variety of ways as the six-episode narrative progresses. Key settings for the Telltale Games Series will include hallowed fan favourites such as King's Landing and the Wall, yet we suspect that the vast majority of fans of the show and its increasingly irregularly-updated source material will be more than content with the knowledge that perhaps the most accomplished digital episodic story-teller of the century will see us through to Season Five both figuratively and literally, since the final instalment will purportedly act as a direct prequel to the much-anticipated new run.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series will début with "Iron From Ice" this Winter on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC, iOS and other still-to-be-revealed hardware.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

National Theatre Live: Danny Boyle's Frankenstein (Encore) Review

As ODEON's season of encore screenings of the National Theatre's most lauded play comes to an end, we offer up our definitive verdict.
"This is your universe, Frankenstein!"

In the defence of Victor Frankenstein's iconic creation - played by Elementary's Jonny Lee Miller in the version of Danny Boyle's much-praised 2011 production we were lucky enough to experience on-screen at ODEON Maidenhead last week - he couldn't possibly have known quite how false his sentiments seemed to the audience at large as they were projected out of his grotesquely-scarred mouth. Much as Miller's exquisitely-portrayed incarnation might have seen himself as representing the solitary occupant of a universe governed only by the scientific principles (or lack thereof) which led his creator to endow him with the spark of life, the reality soon became altogether different as the audience - at least in this instance, though I would imagine the same could have been said of all of the preceding performances - inevitably found themselves immersed in a simultaneously historically detached and disconcertingly familiar narrative universe that raised just as many questions regarding our race's intertwined concern with morality and the limitations of our scientific prowess as the esteemed source material did when Mary Shelly first débuted her unforgettable contribution to the realms of gothic in the early days of the 19th Century.

Although it perhaps shouldn't have come as such a great surprise given the number of times both performers have demonstrated their near-unparalleled conviction and tonal versatility, that Benedict Cumberbatch - who here took on the role of Victor, an infinitely interpretable construct who here shared striking parallels with Cumberbatch's incarnation of Sherlock Holmes more as a fascinating result of Boyle's intricately-crafted script than of any conscious effort on the Imitation Game thespian's part to highlight such inherent representational similarities - agreed to take on one of the show's leading roles alongside Miller and Skyfall's Naomie Harris doubtless provided Boyle - whose direction of proceedings is every iota as masterful as his work on both Slumdog Millionaire and the immensely well-received London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony - with no insubstantial degree of confidence regarding his critical prospects here, and rightly so - each of these increasingly beloved British stars were all too clearly thrilled by the opportunity to delve into what arguably remains one of the most deliciously complex - particularly from a philosophical and sociological perspective - literary works of the Victorian era (if not of the entire English canon), leading them to render Victor, the Creature and Elizabeth in a subversive and therefore wholly refreshing light in spite of the niggling concerns that this reviewer initially had regarding the (over-)familiarity of these oft-adapted characters.

Naturally, though, countless other contributory elements work in tandem in order to ensure an optimal theatrical experience plays out before the audience. One might argue that the downright masterful scripting, haunting score, assured adaptive decisions (that Boyle refuses to depict either the Creature's creation or demise says everything with regards to his quest to de-construct the purely apathetic beast presented in Whale's iconic-to-the-point-of-seeming-clichéd 1931 big-screen rendition, not least through the near-unyielding focus he places on this tragic protagonist by depicting almost all of the key beats of Shelly's narrative word-for-word from his perspective), intelligent use of the stage - which transforms over the course of mere seconds from a blatantly industrialised society (represented via a staggeringly rendered steam train the likes of which the vast majority of viewers could never possibly have begun to envision) to the altogether more rural slopes of a snow-capped mountain - and stunning editorial work of those who filmed the production so as to allow us cinema-goers to witness it in all its majesty are all but expected of Boyle, yet under no circumstances should their predictable nature detract from the immeasurable credit each and every member of the production team deserved and received in full thanks to the purportedly regular standing ovations offered back in 2011. Indeed, that ODEON and a variety of other UK cinema chains have seen fit to arrange these Encore performances a full three years after the play concluded its run at the National Theatre in London is truly telling of the critical and mainstream acclaim with which it was met from the time of its première until the very last instance when Cumberbatch and Miller bowed before their inevitably ecstatic onlookers.

This should, with any luck, mark the first in a number of critical retrospectives on acclaimed and divisive stage shows alike here at On-Screen, but rather than looking to the future in a futile attempt to predict what might lie on the horizon for both the blog and the West End overall, we'll conclude by wholeheartedly confirming the grand extent to which Boyle and his astoundingly diligent company have succeeded in taking a literary text that too many assume has been so comprehensively analysed that there remains little to say and transforming it into a far more prudent and intellectually stimulating viewing experience than even the most hardened Shelly devotees (or indeed devotees of either James Whale's somewhat emotionally soulless - as Boyle rightly went some way to assert during the introductory Creating Frankenstein short film which preceded the production's 'live' broadcast - cinematic adaptation or Kenneth Branagh's dramatically charged yet critically loathed 1994 rendition) could have anticipated. Oh, and make no mistake, given that we had the pleasure of witnessing National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (Encore) on the big-screen, we've thus endeavoured to evaluate its merit not only against the accomplished dramas of our age but also - to a greater extent - the films which have stayed with us throughout this year; trust us when we say that this one has every right to find itself amongst the upper echelons of our Top 10 Best Films of 2014 shortlist come the New Year.

Selfie Cancelled

Source: BBC America
It seems that The Girl Who Waited will have to wait a bit longer for her next big break.
ABC have this week announced the cancellation of their short-lived US sitcom Selfie. Headlined by none other than Doctor Who's Karen Gillan, the opening season of this critically scorned series - which centres on a complacent ex-model (Gillan)'s attempts to reconcile with those co-workers who she scorned in her previous quest to dominate the social media stratosphere - was originally intended to last for twenty-twenty two episodes as is the traditional structure of US TV runs, yet its broadcast future is all the more uncertain now that its studio have dropped their ever-looming axe upon its evidently vulnerable skull.

In a week where increasingly critically acclaimed productions such as Downton Abbey have been provided a new lease of life by their respective televisual distributors (iTV in Downton's case), for Gillan's latest foray on the small-screen to have perished before its writers even had the chance to innovate upon the show's (admittedly uninspired) premise might justifiably seem akin to a tragedy for long-running followers of the Guardians of the Galaxy star's post-Who work. Even so, though, between Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.LD., Marvel's Agent Carter and Forever, ABC already have more than enough in the way of quality television on the go at the moment, ultimately rendering the loss of one of their least ambitious projects to date as a step in the right direction rather than as a negative omen for the studio's immediate future.

Despite its days now being officially numbered, Selfie will return for the seventh episode of its first (and final) season - "Landline" - this Tuesday, November 11th on ABC.

Friday, 7 November 2014

More Mass Effect 3 Sequel Plot Details & Concept Art Revealed

Images Source: Gamespot
Commander Shepard's demise won't stop his franchise from entering a whole new frontier!
BioWare and Electronic Arts have today unveiled a host of new plot details and promotional images (left, below) for the much-anticipated follow-up to their 2013 science-fiction third-person-shooter Mass Effect 3. Though it has yet to receive an official title, the sequel is already amongst the most anticipated RPG's of recent times, not least since it's set to introduce a new protagonist with no connections to the late Commander Shepard into the doubtless catastrophic fray.

Not unlike their showing at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 for short, in case you were wondering), the development team are staying cagey about the product's central narrative, but the glimpses we receive here of a reworked Capital, new alien protagonists, the return of the infamous Mako tank and even the core construct himself should be more than enough to whet the appetite of even the most starved Mass Effect fans fr the time being. If that's not quite enough for you, though, dear reader, then we'll boldly go where no Trekkian has ever gone before by compiling a series of comments on the franchise's purportedly glamorous future posted on BioWare's official website by those execs who are heading the project as we speak:
  • CHRIS SCHLERF (LEAD WRITER)  "Every day is a revelation and every day I get to play in a new corner of the [Mass Effect] universe. To be able to look three steps ahead to, "Where does this take us and how does it add to the way we look at the Mass Effect trilogy?" You couldn't ask for a better playground."
  • FABRICE CONDOMINAS (PRODUCER) - "If we were just doing Mass Effect 4, we would be failing in a way. You can see even in the [original] trilogy how the games differ from one to the next, and if we were less ambitious we could have just done the same thing and it would have worked. But we want to take the risk and deliver something new and exciting."
  • MAC WALTERS (CREATIVE DIRECTOR) - "We're working to bring back some of that wonder and sense of exploration that we had in the original trilogy. [...] With Shepard, you arrived on the scene as a hero, and you were called forward from there. For the next Mass Effect, however, we've been looking at more of a hero's journey: how you become a legend and what it takes to get there. We're opening up this whole new world for players to explore. [...] It's so familiar, but it also has new things, which is exciting [...]."
The fourth instalment in the Mass Effect saga will reportedly dock in all good video game retailers ready to launch exclusively on next-generation consoles in 2016 (don't take our word for it just yet, though, as nothing's set in stone), while BioWare's next fantasy-orientated RPG experience - Dragon Age: Inquisition - will ship on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC this November 21st in the UK.

Into the Woods Theatrical Trailer Released

Source: Movie Pilot
Forget Mamma Mia, this could be the most chilling movie musical to date!
Walt Disney Pictures have this week unveiled the second full trailer for their upcoming fantasy musical film Into the Woods. Based loosely on a variety of fairy-tales taken from throughout our race's past, the piece will take more recent inspiration from the beloved Broadway musical of the same name, introducing viewers to a near-identical yarn which nonetheless boasts a few new and unexpected facets.

Chief among those new-found assets are Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, both of whom look to have taken their latest roles extremely seriously (to the point of their characters being represented in downright unsettling fashion) in spite of the relative absurdity powering what has all the makings of the most bonkers motion picture since Alice in Wonderland hit cinemas in 2010. Just as the marketing campaigns for both Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet-Street and - to a far lesser extent, admittedly - Les Miserables did a fair job of keeping their respective subject's musical roots relatively under wraps, so too does this theatrical trail shy away from revealing anything more than glimpses of the adapted Broadway show-tunes which will doubtless be peppered throughout its whimsical narrative. Will this minimal act of deception leave the general viewership feeling short-changed come the New Year? Unless the songs in question fall monumentally short of the benchmark left by Rock of Ages and the like, we'd wager that such an outcome is damn near impossible; in fact, on the basis of this sensational secondary preview, we'd be more than willing to call this one of our most anticipated films due to land in the next twelve months!

Into the Woods imparts its first magical tale on January 9th, 2015.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Theatrical Trailer Released

Source: Nerdist
"You have but one question to ask yourselves: how will this day end?" Our thoughts exactly, Gandalf!
Warner Bros. Pictures have this week premièred the theatrical trailer for their impending fantasy blockbuster The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Starring Sherlock's Martin Freeman as its titular protagonist, the sequel to An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013) will mark both the final instalment in a trilogy of divisive adaptations and Peter Jackson's last cinematic trip into the realms of Middle-Earth (or so the marketing team would have us believe).

That's hardly the most fascinating aspect of the motion picture in question, though - that particular honour goes to the tagline, which brands Battle as the "defining chapter of the Middle-Earth saga". Could this mean we'll see Jackson directly link up The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (despite sixt years separating their respective narratives) so as to allow fans to partake in one monumental marathon come the movie's release on DVD and Blu-Ray next Spring? We're certainly not going to proclaim otherwise, although to the Australian director's considerable credit, he did allow for such an eventuality by depicting the final conversation Frodo had with an elderly Bilbo (played once again by Ian Holm, who'll seemingly return to provide a climactic monologue in Battle's dying moments) before his quest to destroy the One Ring ensued, meaning that even if Elijah Wood remains absent from the trilogy's final outing - as the rumour mill is currently saying - we'll at least be able to watch the six instalments of said "saga" without worrying the narrative's structure coming off as disjointed in hindsight. More details are sure to land on the interwebs surrounding Battle's denouement and running time in the next few days, so to stay up-to-date, stay tuned to On-Screen.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies unleashes a barrage of arrows in cinemas worldwide this December 12th.

The Hunger Games Theatrical Adaptation Announced

Source: Hello Giggles
But the question is, will Katniss' success carry through to the stage or will she Catch Fire when placed in the physical limelight?
Lionsgate have today confirmed the development of a theatrical show based on their award-winning franchise of big-screen adaptations of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games novels. The series - which started life with a quasi-standalone adventure of the same name in printed form - remains amongst the most widely acclaimed teen fantasy sagas of this century, not least thanks to the pair of uncharacteristically accomplished cinematic renditions which the studio have provided fans with so far in the form of The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Whilst conquering the filmic box office is no mean feat, though, those members of the esteemed production team who'll serve as consultants on the production's development may well be in for a shock to the system when it comes to matching the equally lofty (if not moreso) expectations of stage critics. The chance remains that Lionsgate will look to cater solely towards the young adult demographic in light of Collins' unashamed decision to do so in the source material, yet if they're truly hoping to contend with the beloved dramas of our age, then some dramatic deviations from the show's inspiration could soon be necessitated so as to allow producers Harvey Goldsmith, Warren Adams, Robert Harris, Gary Ricci and Brandon Victor Dixon to build towards providing the "uniquely immersive experience" which the studio are so eager to indicate is on the way. As ever, keep it locked at On-Screen to learn more about precisely what the show will entail plus what lies in store in Lionsgate's two-part take on Mockingjay in the coming weeks.

The Hunger Games' first "theatrical experience" will début in a purpose-built theatre situated next to Wembley Stadium, London in Summer 2016.

Toy Story 4 Announced

Source: Toy Story Wiki
Andy's song may be over, but in the case of Woody and the gang, the story never ends.
Walt Disney Pictures have today announced the production of a fourth instalment in their Toy Story franchise of animated films for release in just under three years' time. Currently dubbed Toy Story 4, the direct follow-up to 2010's purportedly climactic outing Toy Story 3 has unsurprisingly caught the attention of fans the world over ever since its existence was revealed by the studio in their latest investors' call, hence why its title is presently located on Twitter's 'Top Trending' list not only here in the UK but across the planet Earth.

Given the extent to which Marvel divulged their plans for their own franchise - better known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe - last month, Disney diehards would be forgiven for expecting the latter studio to follow suit with information aplenty regarding Toy Story 4's narrative, returning players and the like. Quite to the contrary, however, all we know so far is that John Lasseter - aka the helmer of the series' first two instalments - will return as the project's director and - as if this wasn't already a given - both Woody and Buzz will have a central involvement in a storyline that'll likely remain shrouded in secrecy for a good while yet (and rightly so, we might add, since any attempts at justifying the existence of a fourth entry in a franchise which arguably received a perfect denouement last time around will need the support of a potent teaser trailer in our eyes). We'd like to think that it goes without saying that On-Screen will keep you posted on the latest and greatest news surrounding the project, its filming schedule and the inevitably ambitious promotional campaign that's sure to accompany it in the run-up to its cinematic launch, but just in case, be sure to keep a watchful eye on the blog as we prepare to travel to infinity and (in an ideal world, anyway) beyond once again.

Toy Story 4 will leap from the Toy Box and into Star Command-approved auditoriums on June 16th, 2017.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Announced

Source: Screenrant
Gone is 'Episode VII', replaced by the sub-title which heralds a new era for the space opera!
Walt Disney Pictures have just announced (via a tweet which we've embedded below for your viewing pleasure) the revised official title for their science-fiction blockbuster Star Wars Episode VII. Starring Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill at the head of an all-star ensemble of talented thespians old and new, the seventh full instalment in George Lucas' award-winning saga of space-faring motion pictures will pick up thirty years after the Battle of Endor and in doing so will doubtless introduce us to the most dangerous threat to galactic sanctity yet.

Once the iconic pre-title card containing the memorable introductory words 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...' has rolled, it transpires that what follows will be the following vague-yet-no less alluring title: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Although it's interesting to consider the obvious removal of the previously-touted Episode VII - which suggests that Disney don't want to risk having to call future instalments 'Episode XIII', 'Episode XXIX' and so on - it's the sub-title which ultimately has left us the most intrigued, since it implies that rather than building a Jedi Academy as was the case in the Expanded Universe, Luke has allowed his Force powers - and indeed any remnants of the Force binding the universe at large together - to enter a metaphorical slumber in the three decades since the events of Return of the Jedi. How exactly will they come back into play, we hear you ask? If it's any consolation, the answer is barely a year away now...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ignites its lightsaber in cinemas worldwide on December 18th, 2015.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events TV Adaptation Commissioned

Source: Magic of Ice Cream
Cast away all thoughts of Jim Carrey as we journey into a new incarnation of Lemony Snicket's consistently downbeat literary saga...
Netflix and Paramount Television have today announced the development of a small-screen adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events series of teen fiction novels. Originally released on an irregular basis between 1999 and 2006, these tonally disheartening yet dramatically compelling literary works for the most part went down a storm with their young(-ish) target audience upon their début over in the United States and subsequent release here in the United Kingdom.

If only the same could be said of Brad Silberling's much-loathed 2004 cinematic adaptation; despite starring the likes of Jim Carrey, Timothy Spall, Jude Law and Billy Connolly - quite what was going through their minds when they agreed to appear on the basis of its seemingly woeful screenplay is, for once, beyond us - this inherently flawed motion picture hasn't stood the test of time by any means, especially given the vast disparity in quality between it and the wave of accomplished Hollywood adaptations such as The Hunger Games and Divergent which has landed on our shores in the meantime. Netflix's marketing team had little to say regarding what we can expect from their own take on Snicket's twelve-part exploration of all that's grim in the world save for more of the "unique, darkly funny, and relatable" action witnessed in the source material, but with any luck, having Paramount - whose film division produced the original motion picture and therefore knows all too well how things went astray - along for the ride should allow them to acquire all of the resources needed in order to craft a rendition that finally does its license the justice it deserves.

Keep it On-Screen to discover the latest news and thoughts on developments surrounding Netflix's impending reimagining of A Series of Unfortunate Events as and when they surface online.

New The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Promotional Clip Released

Source: Hypable
Is it just us, or is Katniss channelling Victor Frankenstein as she proclaims "he's alive"?
Lionsgate have today débuted a new video clip (below) from their impending fantasy movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. Scheduled to blaze into auditoriums across the globe a full twelve months after the franchise's second outing, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Part 1 will introduce newcomers and long-running followers of the dystopian world of Panem to those characters old and new who'll play a pivotal role in the coming war for the fate of all thirteen districts.

Don't go expecting the conflict itself to break out in full force, though, since the clip hints at a more psychological battle between politically corrupted warlords and valiant yet imperfect rebels wherein the citizens who comprise the rest of Panem may, for better or for worse, soon find themselves caught in No Man's Land. First up to the firing line is none other than Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the courageous freedom fighter who was unlucky enough to remain undiscovered when Haymitch, Plutarch and Alma Coin brought the Quarter Quell to a mercifully premature halt in order to release Katniss (whose reaction to her most loyal ally's sustained imprisonment within the Capital was depicted beautifully by the marvellously talented Jennifer Lawrence, we might add) from the clutches of resident ruthless dictator President Snow. Those who've read the climactic novel by Suzanne Collins will doubtless attest to the inner and physical struggles which Mr. Mallark will have to endure in both Part 1 and Part 2, but that's not to say that surprises aren't on the horizon for those somewhat fortunate - we say "somewhat" as the experience of reading Mockingjay can feel akin to that of watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in terms of its severe mishandling of beloved fictitious constructs - individuals; if anything, given the rumours that have been circulating about a potential alteration to the final Hunger Games instalment's denouement, it looks as if the odds are no longer in the all-too-critical original readership's favour.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 sews the seeds of rebellion in UK cinemas nationwide this November 21st.
More ABC US news | ABC Health News

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Marvel Comics "Everything Ends" Story Arc Teased

Source: Talk Android
"It's the end - the end of the path I started us on." Tony Stark's words might apply to more than just the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Marvel Comics have today announced the publication of a series of new comic-books which could herald major changes for their long-running narrative universe of interconnected superhero storylines. Whereas Detective Comics recently rebooted their rich (if overly dense, an attribute which could easily be cast in Marvel's direction too) continuity so as to enable themselves to forge more innovative story arcs for their central players whilst simultaneously reducing the number of crossover events (albeit to debatable effect given the sheer number of DC multi-franchise tales currently available on the comic-book market), the creators of characters such as Captain America, Spider-Man and the X-Men have (up until now, at least) stuck to their guns and continued to offer yarns stuffed to the brim with references to past events, characters and locales alike.

Where and when could everything shift in this respect, then? If this tweet from the publishing house's resident Executive Editorial Director is anything to go by - and we're willing to bet that it's just that - then the times could be a'changing sooner than any of us might originally have expected (although in light of the fact that this interconnected continuity began life with the marriage of Reed and Susan Richards storyline back in the 1960s, fans would equally be forgiven for asserting that it's about time):
Now, in fairness, we'll concede that there's little to be taken away from this particular promotional image (and indeed Penagos' words) save for that the arc in question - supposedly entitled "Everything Ends" - will be with us in the early stages of 2015. What might be of more significance, however, is Marvel's recent secretive marketing scheme, wherein they've released a series of seemingly unconnected images teasing the returns of classic 20th Century storylines such as "Days of Future Past" (now going by the name "Years of Future Past" - see what they did there?) and "The Infinity Gauntlet" as well as more recent efforts like "Civil War" and "Avengers Vs. X-Men", many of which fans reckon will serve as spin-offs to the recently-announced universe-wide crossover reprisal of the "Secret Wars" arc of old. Perhaps "Everything Ends" will signal a multiverse-spanning reboot or indeed a transition towards another Marvel Universe where key events played out differently - this would, of course, allow for the all too convenient return of the recently-deceased Wolverine -  and where character arcs can thus head off in a different trajectory to their predecessors a la "The New 52" (that's the brand which DC used to signify their rebooted tales, for those who hadn't already heard).

A central talking point that's likely to be raised in light of this controversial and oh-so-vague marketing campaign, however, is whether or not the potential decision to nix decades' worth of continuity will truly benefit Marvel Comics in the long run, especially given that DC look set to either renege on their own decision to do so or at least reintroduce elements from their pre-reboot multiverse in their Spring 2015 crossover event "Convergence". For all the former comics corporation's gusto, if "Everything Ends" were to be received poorly, it'd hardly bode well for such an overhaul, yet Marvel would quite likely have very little choice in the matter due to the fact that they'll presumably have mapped out a relatively rigid structure for their 2016 and 2017 output. Regardless of the immediate ramifications of their still-to-be-announced plans, though, On-Screen readers can rest assured that we'll have all the latest details on the future of Marvel and DC's printed (and digital, of course) works as and when they hit the web in the days ahead.

The opening issue of the "Everything Ends" arc will be published via all good US and UK comic-book retailers in Summer 2015.

Minions Official Trailer Released

Source: Despicable Me Wiki
Proof if ever any was necessitated that there ain't no party quite like a Minion shindig.
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have today unveiled the "official" trailer - they're shying away from using the adjective of "teaser" as they released one such video back in July 2013 - for their upcoming animated motion picture Minions. Acting as a direct prequel to both 2010's Despicable Me and its 2013 follow-up Despicable Me 2, this much-anticipated Summer blockbuster will follow the titular band of obedient yellow workers as they strive to find a suitable master who'll take them to new heights (or should that be new lows, we wonder?) of subordination forty years before they even stumble across an eccentric quasi-antagonised named Gru.

As any fan of all things Despicable would rightly expect at this stage, gags involving bananas, slapstick confrontations, figures of folklore who can't stand the sight of the most adorable animated characters since Toy Story's three-eyed aliens and the like litter this initial preview...for better or for worse. Suffice to say that after experiencing nearly three full hours' worth of similarly childish and satirically shallow jokes, even the most ardent franchise loyalists might justifiably begin to tire of the film's namesake come next year unless the screenwriters have held back some of the most hilarious and innovative punch-lines for the final product (and don't get us wrong, that's been known to happen in the past - Despicable Me 2 had its fair share of humorous withheld surprises). All the same, we'll endeavour to keep those interested abreast of Minions' potential as a Summer of Film contender as and when its promotional campaign kicks into gear; indeed, we'd wager that the floodgates will soon begin to open after this teaser accompanies whatever clichéd animated drivel the mainstream studios have scheduled for release during the festive season.

Minions will storm UK cinemas nationwide in search of its all-important horde of bananas on June 26th, 2015 before continuing to plunder US cinemas on July 10th, 2015.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Doctor Who: "Death in Heaven" TV Trailer Released (& Bonus "Dark Water" Thoughts)

Source: IGN
He's faced Daleks, Half-Faced Men and Robots of Sherwood, but the Twelfth Doctor has a battle like no other on his hands with the Cybermen.
The BBC have today released a new trailer for the final episode of the eighth season of their long-running science-fiction drama Doctor Who. Going by the name of "Death in Heaven", Episode 12 centres on the Twelfth Doctor's sky-bound efforts to rid Earth of its Cyber-infestation, rescue Clara and uncover the true nature of a seemingly unstoppable scheme put into action by his newly-regenerated arch-nemesis, the Mistress.

As ever, readers can find the brief-but-insightful preview itself below, but for now, let's discuss "Dark Water" for a moment. Anyone who's followed our Twitter verdicts on the latest season of Who will doubtless know full well by now that we currently hold this run of episodes in the lowest regard since Season Two - which, as those misfortunate enough to remember will attest, featured a whole myriad of clunkers including "New Earth" (shudders), "Love and Monsters" (wretches momentarily) and (almost faints out of sheer fear of the very concept of re-watching the next serial) "Fear Her" - but there've still been highlights, particularly in the form of Episode 6 - "The Caretaker" - and without a shadow of a doubt in the form of this spectacular penultimate instalment.

Not only did both Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson take their already-exemplary performances to an entirely new level thanks in no small part to the incredibly stirring and realistic dialogue afforded to them by incumbent showrunner Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi finally went the extra mile to impress and succeeded on just about all fronts, proving that the Doctor feels a profound sense of duty of care towards Clara in a pseudo-fatherly manner, hence his constant antagonism towards those such as Mr. Pink who vie for her attention and his challenging her on regular intervals in order to get the best out of her in a similar vein to what any parent might desire for their offspring. We're sincerely hoping that Capaldi's portrayal here is wholly indicative of what's to come in Season Nine, particularly as his incarnation has been depicted in a horrendously inconsistent manner (just take another look at Episodes 2-5 in order to gain a grasp on what we're referring to in this instance) to the immense discredit of the presumably ill-informed writing team who were tasked with penning this run's set of frequently unremarkable scripts last year.

Under no circumstances was "Dark Water"'s leading man its only true asset, of course; in fact, were it not for the Moff and (the incredibly accomplished) director Rachel Talalay's insistence on affording him, Coleman and - naturally - the simultaneously hilarious and disconcerting Michelle Gomez an ample amount of screen-time, the former actor might well have been swept up in the maelstrom of highlights the production team had in store for us here. Divisive yet dramatically charged revelations regarding the purpose of the so-called Promised Land (and whilst we're on the topic of Heaven, surely we can't be the only ones hoping that past allies and foes are thrown into the mix next week as a result of the resurrection-esque powers of the Time Lord technology stolen by 'Missy'?), brilliantly cathartic gags courtesy of The Thick of It's immeasurably talented Chris Addison, the expected yet perfectly executed twist regarding Missy's identity as none other than the Master himself and countless other elements worked together in seamless unison with the central implicit purpose of presenting viewers the finest outing of Who in some time and - in case readers haven't had chance to give it a watch as of yet - trust us when we say that everyone involved should currently be rewarding themselves to a substantial extent on a job thoroughly well done.

How does Moffat solve a problem like topping a 5* outing such as "Dark Water", then? We've no idea whatsoever, but if anyone's capable of such a feat aside from the great Russell T. Davies (or should that be Russell The Davies?), it may very well be the executive producer who gave us "The Doctor Dances", "Flesh & Stone", "The Big Bang" and "Day of the Moon", all of which flourished from a critical standpoint in spite of the extent to which their immediate predecessors did likewise at the time of broadcast (and indeed in hindsight as well). Unless yet another head-turning surprise or three lie in store for viewers in five days' time, it looks as if Clara's assertion that she "never existed" (as first expressed in the commendably deceptive Next Time trailer for "Dark Water") may well be swept under the rug from which our feet were yanked violently come the closing moments of last Saturday's instalment, although we'd advise against attempting to second guess the explosive events ahead, since the writer of "Let's Kill Hitler" is known across the Seven Kingdoms for his tendency to subvert the audience's expectations as and when they couldn't have been less ready for such an occurrence. Now, just one final question - can there really still be 120 hours separating us from "Death"'s broadcast?

Doctor Who will bring its eighth season to a heartbreaking close this Saturday, November 8th with the bumper-length (60 minutes, to be precise!) "Death in Heaven" on BBC One at 8pm.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Theatrical Trailer Première Date Announced

Source: Facebook
War is looming for Thorin Oakenshield and this time, not everyone will exit unscathed...
Warner Bros. Pictures have today announced the official première date for the theatrical trailer for their impending fantasy blockbuster The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies via the film's Facebook account. Picking up directly where The Desolation of Smaug left off last Christmas, Battle's narrative - as its title suggests - not only chronicles the downfall of the treacherous Smaug but in addition a climactic confrontation between five relentless armadas, four of whom must eventually band together if they are to save Middle-Earth from the hordes of Sauron who now march on the Lonely Mountain with only one goal: the destruction of anyone and everyone who oppose the Dark Lord of all.

If that premise alone isn't enough to elicit a considerable deal of elation from you, then chances are that you'd be better catered for elsewhere this festive season, dear reader - why not try out Interstellar, Nightcrawler, The Imitation Game or one of the other sure-fire contenders for next year's Best Picture Academy Award? If, however, a sixth trip to the realms of J.R.R. Tolkien's rich (if at times damn near overpowering) fantastical setting and indeed Peter Jackson's remarkably faithful rendition of that landscape sounds like the most compelling Christmas present imaginable at this point, then there's no better place to stick around than On-Screen in the coming weeks as we build towards Battle's release by revealing all of the latest promo art, TV spots, plot details - including how its plot may eventually tie into the Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy - and the theatrical trailer itself, the latter of which will debut on Thursday, November 6th. On top of all of that coverage, expect to see our definitive verdict on the piece within the context of the ever-competitive race for our much-coveted Film of the Year 2014 gong next month.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will charge into UK cinemas nationwide (after simply walking into Mordor, of course) this December 12th.

Doctor Who: Best of Blue Peter Commissioned

Source: BBC
Well, this is new! Celebrate 51 years of Doctor Who with CBBC later this week...
The Radio Times have today announced the sudden 'commissioning' (re: schedule placement) of a one-off Doctor Who spin-off programme for broadcast on CBBC later this week. In Doctor Who: Best of Blue Peter, we'll apparently "celebrat[e] over 50 years of the [eponymous] Time Lord", "[looking] back at some of the best Doctor Who and Blue Peter moments from over the years" before witnessing a performance from a mysterious individual (although the mystery has mainly come about due to the On-Screen's team lack of engagement with this kid-orientated channel) named "Brett Domino".

Regardless of whether the announcement itself has come to light rather suddenly, given that the current run of Who concludes with "Death in Heaven" this Saturday, it's extremely unlikely that the vast majority of Whovians will pass up the opportunity to receive an extra dose of the BBC's longest-running science-fiction production before it leaves the airwaves for another year or so. Even so, though, it's worth bearing in mind that the show's 2014 output doesn't come to a complete halt this week, since the annual Children in Need telethon event set to air on BBC One next week will feature a contribution of some kind from Peter Capaldi's incarnation of the titular time traveller and better yet, there's still a Christmas Special to look forward to in just over a month's time as well. Will Jenna Coleman, better known as the impossible Clara Oswald, remain aboard the TARDIS for the Doctor's winter outings, though? If it wasn't already obvious, the answer is now just five short days away...

Doctor Who: Best of Blue Peter will première on the CBBC Channel this Friday, November 7th at 4.30pm.

Call the Midwife Fifth Season Commissioned

Source: The Independent
Miranda Hart and her team of diligent midwives will return to BBC One in 2015 AND 2016!
The BBC have today announced the commissioning of a fifth season of their hit period drama Call the Midwife as well as the show's fourth festive outing. Starring Miranda's Miranda Hart, Doctor Who's Hermione Norris and (until recently) An Adventure in Space and Time's Jessica Raine, the series centres on a band of charming yet realistically imperfect post-Second World War midwifery experts, the intricately-conveyed relationships between whom seem to transcend even the bleakest of days and the toughest of challenges.

Such challenges won't be coming to an end any-time soon, however, since Midwife will be back for a grand total of nine 60-minute episodes in both Christmas 2015 - the projected broadcast window for the 2015 Christmas Special - and Spring 2016 - the traditional broadcast slot for new seasons of the programme which is therefore all but guaranteed to play host to Season Five. Raine will doubtless remain absent due to her increasingly prominent other commitments, but given that Hart, Norris and the rest of the show's key players more than proved their own without their (ex-)leading lady earlier this year in the enduringly critically acclaimed Season Three, the odds of the tide turning against one of the most viewed BBC One dramas to date are phenomenally slim. Keep it On-Screen for all the latest info regarding Call the Midwife and other Original British Drama currently in the works over at the so-called British Broadcasting Corporation.

Call the Midwife will return for its annual Christmas Special - timing details for which are sure to be announced in the coming weeks - on BBC One this Christmas Day.