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Movies, TV and Comic Books

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    To celebrate the release of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit in cinemas nationwide 24th January, we’re giving you the chance to win a super spy merchandise pack, including video camera pen, iPhone 5 charger case, USB travel adapter and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit poster.

    Based on the character created by bestselling author Tom Clancy, “Jack Ryan” is a global action thriller set in the present day.  This original story follows a young Jack (Chris Pine) as he uncovers a financial terrorist plot. The story follows him from 9/11, through his tour of duty in Afghanistan, which scarred him forever, and into his early days in the Financial Intelligence Unit of the modern CIA where he becomes an analyst, under the guardianship of his handler, Harper (Kevin Costner).

    When Ryan believes he’s uncovered a Russian plot to collapse the United States economy, he goes from being an analyst to becoming a spy and must fight to save his own life and those of countless others, while also trying to protect the thing that’s more important to him than anything, his relationship with his fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley).


    © 2014 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    To be in with a chance of winning, firstly make sure you like us on Facebook (or follow us on Twitter)...


    ...Then complete your details below, using the subject heading "JACK RYAN". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, February 1st
    . UK entrants only please.

     
     By entering this competition you agree to our terms and conditions, which you can read here.


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    British actor Roger Lloyd-Pack - best known for his role as the loveable dimwit Trigger in the classic British sitcom Only Fools and Horses - has passed away today aged 69 after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Born in London in 1944, Lloyd-Pack trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before enjoying his first TV appearance in 1965 with a bit part role in an episode of The Avengers. His first film role came in 1968's The Magus, and he much spent the next decade guest starring in TV shows before getting his big break when he was cast as Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, a part he continued to play until the final episode in 2003.

    As well as Only Fools and Horses, he would go on to feature in shows such as The Vicar of Dibley, Byker Grove, 2point4 children, Mr. Bean, The Bill, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Doctor Who, The Old Guys and The Borgias, while he film roles included the likes of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Made in Dagenham and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.





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    Villordsutch reviews The X-Files: Conspiracy #1...

    Comic Book Review - The X-Files: Conspiracy #1"The event of the year begins here! When The Lone Gunmen discover Internet files from future, they learn that a plague will soon wipe out most of humanity. With Agents Mulder and Scully working one lead, the Gunmen must spring into action and investigate several urban legends: a group of ghost-hunters, mutant turtles that live in the sewers, shape-changing alien robots, and a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave!"

    I’m going to reveal my hand early in this review. I know this isn’t the preferred method of reviewing as normally I go on for a while with either praise or venom then say my sentence to wrap it all up, but reading through The X-Files: Conspiracy #1 made me want to say my piece early.  This comic is like an amazing salad which is covered in all the junk you love, then right at the bottom of the salad you find a half-eaten cockroach, and you’re left disgusted.

    Now let’s go back in time to the beginning of this issue, which some people like to call the start.  You are greeted with a nerdgasam of a cover as we see the Lone Gunmen, A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Ghostbusters HQ, Optimus Prime and a Crow; unaware of why these icons from my youth are sellotaped to the front of this comic, I was rather excited to find out.

    Paul Crilley has given us here a rather fantastic X-Files tale here.  The humour is spot on and the story too is perfect for the Lone Gunmen. If you can push their tragic spin-off series from your mind and just keep you memories lodged in The X-Files TV series this would be a perfect play for these three stooges.

    Starting at CERN, an invisible force taps away at a keyboard directing an email towards our three protagonists; this email contains news articles from the close future and with that our chaps seek the help of Mulder and Scully who are currently in the process of investigating a fairly gruesome scene where an unknown containment has just brought death to all those people living in an apartment block -death by forcing their bodies to erupt metal spikes from within themselves.  Chased from the city by two well-dressed killers, our three heroes drive towards the Ghostbusters for further help.

    It’s gruesome, it’s a mystery, and it’s brilliant.  It looks good too with the art and colouring by John Stanisci and Steven Downer (respectively) with well-drawn scenes and excellent shading, my only fault being the occasional odd looking head on a character, but I can let this pass as it’s only a minor concern.

    As I finish the comic I realise the earlier nerdgasam cover is actually the half-eaten cockroach.  As a “fun thing to do” IDW have managed to tie all of the above properties - Transformers, Ghostbusters, TMNT etc - into one big story running over six issues for the next three months.  Conspiracy will weave its way around these other franchises returning eventually to the X-Files.  Now you may believe I’m frustrated as it appears to be a money making scheme; I’m not as I’ve bought crossover comics many times in the past, it’s gotten my back up as it doesn’t fit X-Files Lore!  Mulder constantly tries to prove we are not alone and Scully finds a way to bring the situation back to reality.  Well it now appears that both Mulder and Scully are blind fools and like some type of pantomime fools they've kept missing the 112ft Marshmallow Man stopping over New York, or the 32ft tall robots smashing the world to pieces with their space spanning war.  How have Scully and Mulder missed these!?  These additions may sound cool, but in the end they are not. A shame really as I enjoyed it up until the last page.

    Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

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    Anghus Houvouras is getting sick of Meryl Streep...

    I care less about awards with each passing year, maturing past the idea that art requires peer validation.  I'm not aggressively anti-award.  I won't sit here perched atop my high horse and declare you all fools for caring.  For many years I was more than happy to indulge in award prognostication and talk about the deserving and undeserving as if Ihad any real insight.  I enjoyed the conversation and the discussion surrounding the awards season and what the various other movie awards meant for the potential contenders.  What was once enjoyable turned kind of sour.  A couple of years ago, the whole thing began to feel empty and pointless.  Right around the time Avatar was nominated for Best Picture.  That's when I had my Network moment and declared that I was "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!"  After that, I tried to find the enthusiasm and the passion I once had for movie awards, but it was gone. The ridiculousness of it all had been exposed, and I no longer saw any value in them.  Now I sit back and enjoy the award season not really caring what makes it in and what doesn't. 

    This year's Academy Award nominations area fine group of potential contenders.  Quality films all around.  There's no sore thumb like Avatar taking up valuable real estate.  As a guy who used to pour over every category with an obsessive level of speculation, I can honestly say there wasn't anything or anyone on the ballot that seemed out of place.  Until I saw her name…

    Meryl Streep.

    There she was, nominated for August: Osage County.  One of those Weinstein production that no one outside of New York or Los Angeles knows exist.  That cloying Oscar bait that Weinstein seems hell bent on forcing into consideration every year. 

    Meryl Streep. 

    Our generation's greatest actress.  Nominated 18 times for an Academy Award (with 3 wins).  28 Golden Globe nominations (does anyone really care how many Globes someone won?).  It seems like her name pops up every year.  Frankly, I'm getting a little sick of seeing her there.  That name, that obligatory name that shows up again and again every year…

    Meryl Streep.

    That's not an indoctrination of her ability as an actress, though I'd be lying if I said her recent output doesn't seem to border on the broad and cartoonish.  Meryl Streep is a fine, well respected actress.  But the frequency with which she has been nominated lately is becoming kind of comical. 

    She's been nominated five times in the last eight years.  And the quality of the movies varies greatly.  While there may have been some real character work going into films like Doubt and The Iron Lady, is anyone going to sincerely argue that her work in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia was among the five best performances of that or any other year?  Streep is an icon.  An actress that has achieved unparalleled success and respect from her peers.  But let's be honest: these nominations are starting to feel less like a marvel and more like a mandate.

    Aren't there some other actresses that could use a nomination?  New names and faces that could benefit from a little peer validation?  Should we just automatically assume that on any given year there will only be four nominees for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress and the obligatory Streep nomination.

    It feels like they call her name out every year.  This annual tradition of unbridled adulation.  I think they'd probably nominate Meryl Streep for Best Actress in a year where she didn't even appear in a film, just because.  They'll just say:

    "And the nominees are Meryl Streep for just being Meryl Streep."

    And after she dies they'll honor her with an award posthumously.  Perhaps they'll just rename the category after her.

    The Meryl Streep Best Actress award.

    Then we're guaranteed to here that name every year from now until the end of time.  They can fashion the award itself to look like her and change the name from 'Oscar' to 'Meryl' guaranteeing that every year we recognize her brilliance…

    Meryl Streep.

    Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/My-Career-Suicide-Note-ebook/dp/B00D3ULU5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371583147&sr=8-1&keywords=my+career+suicide+note


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    Alice Rush reviews the eleventh episode of American Horror Story: Coven...

    American Horror Story: Coven - Episode 11 Review
    With the end of the season in sight, this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven sees things starting to get a little more bloody, along with a few familiar faces reappearing (what’s new?). The witches still face the threat of witch hunters but with their numbers dropping after Misty’s entrapment and Nan’s murder it seems like the uniting power between them is fading.

    It is during the funeral held for Nan at the beginning of the episode entitled ‘Protect the Coven’ that we see two old faces again, as Queenie arrives with Madame LaLaurie in tow, head firmly fixed on her body. The surprise of both of them being alive seems lost on the rest of the witches and Kyle, who actually makes an appearance this episode, though it was great to see Kathy Bates back as Delphine and she certainly makes up for her absence.

    As she is accepted back as the maid to the academy, and through a flashback sequence to 1830 where we see her kill her first black slave, LaLaurie’s character is developed more as she admits to having felt lonely and displaced as a child and is now doomed to suffer for eternity. The audience almost feels sympathy towards her as she is tormented by Marie and bossed around by the other witches. However, any feelings of sadness for her predicament are robustly thrown out of the door as we see her back to her old sadistic ways and viciously mutilating the Academy’s gardener. She is caught in the act by Spaulding’s spirit who hatches a plan with her to kill Marie or so it seems, as he dupes her into thinking antihistamines are a powerful magic that will make her mortal.

    The way the show plays around with the ideas of good and evil is very interesting, as no character is solely good or bad, thus allowing for certain degrees of empathy and revulsion at the same time. This ambiguous dichotomy is developed further as the dream team of Marie and Fiona, fresh from killing Nan last week, plan to rid themselves of the witch hunting Delphi Corporation. Enlisting Fiona’s axe-wielding, saxophone-playing boyfriend as help, they meet with the company under the pretence of starting a truce; however murder seen becomes the main agenda as the company members are slaughtered in a terrifically bloody mess. It seems Fiona and Marie are ruthless in their insistence on keeping the Coven safe, but there are questions are to whether their reckless actions will help or hinder their cause.

    American Horror Story: Coven - Episode 11 Review Back at the Academy, Cordelia exhibits a touching but gory moment of self-sacrifice as she gouges her eyes out in an attempt to get back her lost Second Sight. Sensing that tensions will run high after Delia’s old ability to read peoples thoughts and actions returns, Myrtle sends Zoe and Kyle away from the coven in order to protect them. With the jealous and powerful Madison also threatening the young lovers’ safety, the two take up Myrtle’s offer and flee the coven to an uncertain future. Though it would be nice to see some characters survive the inevitable, if the series is anything to go by they won’t be gone from danger for long. Marie’s fate is also questioned towards the end of the episode, as she is knocked unconscious by Spaulding who tells Delphine to bury her deep so she cannot fight her way out.

    The end is increasingly nigh for this series, and this episode definitely felt like it was moving towards some conclusion, that conclusion being an internal fight between the witches. Whilst I am enjoying the quickened pace and the characters more ruthless actions as they must fight to survive, the tension and drama seems to be lacking ever so slightly and the emphasis on the gore seems to be taking centre place. However, the scene is definitely set for a deadly showdown between the coven, I just hope it redeems the lack of intensity that has characterised the rest of this season. 

    Alice Rush

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    By now, there's been more posters for 300: Rise of an Empire than there were Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, but that hasn't stopped Warner Bros. from releasing yet another one today, once again featuring new lead Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) as the Greek general Themistokles...

    300: Rise of an Empire poster

    Based on Frank Miller's latest graphic novel Xerxes, and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster 300, this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield - on the sea - as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. 300: Rise of an Empire pits Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.


    300: Rise of an Empire opens on March 7th, with Noam Murro (Smart People) directing a cast that also includes the returning Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro and David Wenham alongside Eva Green (Dark Shadows), Jack O'Connell (Skins), Hans Matheson (Clash of the Titans) and Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty).


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    New trailer for Hammer's latest horror The Quiet Ones
    After the global box office success of the Daniel Radcliffe-headlined The Woman in Black, the iconic British horror production house Hammer is set to release its latest supernatural chiller this April with the release of The Quiet Ones, and a new trailer has arrived online which you can check out after the official synopsis...

    A university student (Sam Claflin of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and some classmates are recruited to carry out a private experiment -- to create a poltergeist. Their subject: an alluring, but dangerously disturbed young woman (Olivia Cooke of Bates Motel). Their quest: to explore the dark energy that her damaged psyche might manifest. As the experiment unravels along with their sanity, the rogue PHD students are soon confronted with a terrifying reality: they have triggered an unspeakable force with a power beyond all explanation.


    The Quiet Ones opens in the UK on April 11th and in North America on April 25th.


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    Oliver Davis continues our Buster Keaton month with reviews of The Electric House and The Navigator...

    The Electric House, 1922.

    Silent comedies like these often have such overly complex set-ups. For The Electric House, a two-reeler (about 20 minutes long), Buster Keaton has his 'Botany' degree mixed up with an electrical engineer's (Steve Murphy) at their graduation ceremony. As the University Dean quickly needs someone to fit his house with the latest technological gadgets, he recruits Buster as his electrician. In a mixture of bewilderment and wanting to get into the Dean's daughter's (Virginia Fox) knickers (who is inexplicably also at the ceremony), Buster accepts. You know, that old tired and cliched plot.

    That's all done with in the opening few minutes, leaving the rest of the movie to get on with the good stuff: Buster installing the most useless and potentially harmful inventions he can imagine. It's a classic Keaton trope, of him vs. the modern world.

    They include a mechanical food server, which is really just plates on a miniature train set; there's a pool that empties and refills itself with the pull of a lever; and, most impressively, an escalator in place of a stairway. The first third of the short introduces each device to the family in perfect working order, setting up each to go wrong for the conclusion.

    The real electrician then sabotages the house for revenge against Buster. The food (gravy?) train derails into the matriarch's lap; the automatic library starts punching guests with books; and the escalator goes haywire, moving backwards, forwards and, at great speed, propelling people through the first floor window into the pool outside.

    Just as you forget about one household modification, it literally slaps Buster in the face. The movie goes rather black at one point, too, where, upon losing his electrician job, Keaton ties a boulder around his neck and throws himself in the pool. Unfortunately for him, the water had already been emptied. I cackled loudly in the theatre.

    Watching The Electric House, you can really see from where Wallace & Gromit came. It's no coincidence that the plasticine dog is considered one of the great silent comedy characters. He's borrowing from the best in Buster.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★


    The Navigator, 1924.

    The Navigator uses a plot even more second-hand than The Electric House: a bunch of villains set an ocean liner adrift because it has just been bought by an unnamed country to use in a war against another unnamed country, hoping the rocks and waves will have their way with it.

    This only concerns the movie's opening five minutes, and the 'countries at war' set-up doesn't feature again. It's purely a way to get the "idle rich" Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) and the equally-wealthy woman of his dreams, Betsy O'Brien (Kathryn McGuire), aboard a boat together completely alone. Betsy O'Brien. That's a solid name. They don't make names like that anymore.

    The 'woman of his dreams' part is quite interesting, as Rollo had only decided he will marry her that morning...beat...later "today." Like any normal person, Betsy O'Brien (such a good name) declines. Then for reasons stated above, they end up on the vast ocean liner together and alone. Two rich kids who don't even know how to dress themselves without servants must cope with life on the seas.

    Watching them do so is a masterclass in idiocy. Betsy O'Brien (seriously, a name like this deserves to be written in full each time) counts out precisely three beans to make coffee. Rollo, equally as dumb, throws a bucket overboard to collect the water for the brew. Upon taking his first sip, Rollo looks confused in the way only Buster can. He then reaches for the sugar, pouring its entire contents into his salty mug.

    Buster's typical deadpan confusion, however, is slightly askew. Here, he plays the reverse of his standard character - idiot rich kid Rollo Treadway - which requires a tweaked form of his usual bemusement. Rather than the everyman coping in a modern world, this is a modern man dealing with everyday life: making coffee, boiling eggs, getting dressed. The comedy comes from a profound sense of dumbness rather than Buster's usual confusion. Which is more academically known as 'confusualion.'

    The Navigator is an hour-long movie, so the absence of a plot becomes rather noticeable whenever the gags lessen, and there are only so many falls on one's bottom at which you can politely snigger. There's also a small dash of blackface, for the cannibal island climax, which, although the product of its time, still induces a quiet toe-curl. It's like the wince you make when your nan refers to the TV repairman as a 'darkie.'

    Overall, though, The Navigator is a tremendous film. The visual gags are truly inspired and incredibly well directed and paced. The swordfish fight, the 'long walk' home across the road, the rowing boat towing an ocean liner - they all had the audience in stitches.

    Granted, the audeince's average age was 102, but I laughed as well. And I have the mental age of a 12-year-old.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ 

    Oliver Davis is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors. You can follow him on Twitter @OliDavis.

    For more info on A Serious Man, a Modern World: Buster Keaton and the Cinema of Today, visit the BFI website here.


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    This week, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced the "stealth" release of a new all-ages animated DC movie entitled JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, which is set to arrive on shelves next week, with barely so much as a whisper of promotion. After debuting the cover art, The World's Finest has now got its hands on the official synopsis, which you can read right here...

    "Get ready for a battle of the ages when the Justice League faces off against its archenemies, the Legion of Doom, in an all-new movie from DC Comics. A mysterious being known as the Time Trapper arises, and a sinister plan led by Lex Luthor sends the Legion of Doom back in time to eliminate Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman before they become super heroes. For Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg, along with teen super heroes Karate Kid and Dawnstar, the stakes have never been higher, the rescue mission never deadlier. So join the fight for the future as the Justice League confronts its ultimate challenge… the threat of having never existed!"

    As well as the synopsis, it's also been revealed that the film's Justice League line-up features Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, Karate Kid, and Dawnstar while The Legion of Doom roster is Lex Luthor, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, Bizarro, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, Toy Man, Captain Cold and Time Trapper.

    JLA Adevntures: Trapped in Time is set fro release on January 21st, with a voice cast that includes  Dante Basco as Karate Kid, Grey DeLisle as Wonder Woman, Jason Spisak as The Flash, Laura Bailey as Dawnstar, Diedrich Bader as Batman, Jack DeSena as Robin and Liam O’Brien as Aquaman.


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    Jackson Ball on his five essential Leonardo DiCaprio Performances...

    Over the past 20 years of cinema, there have been few leading men that have been able to deliver the same level of consistency as Leonardo DiCaprio. Blossoming from a teen heartthrob into an actor with unrivalled intensity and dedication, he has managed to string together a plethora of memorable performances in a large variety of roles.

    The fact that he is yet to be recognised by the Academy is one of the longest-running ‘jokes’ in Hollywood, and it can surely only be a matter of time until he receives the statuette he so rightly deserves. Until then though, we’ll just have to enjoy the gifts he’s already given us as an audience. Here are my top 5 Essential Leonardo DiCaprio Performances....


    5. The Departed (dir. Martin Scorsese, 2006).

    In a film so crammed with excellence, it was always going to be difficult to stand out, but that was no deterrent for DiCaprio. His performance in The Departed is perhaps the most ‘real’ of his whole career and really displayed Leo as the finished article as an actor.



    4. Blood Diamond (dir. Edward Zwick, 2006).

    One of his most powerful performances to date, DiCaprio delivers yet another complex and layered role in this politic thriller set in Sierra Leone. He embodies his character’s personal arc to redemption, from low-life gunrunner and diamond smuggler, to the self-sac ricing hero of the story. The fact he was able to achieve all this while delivering the trickiest of accents makes it all the more impressive.




    3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (dir. Lasse Hallström, 1993).

    As you watch this film, you cannot help but mull over the staggering fact that DiCaprio is only 16 years old. Originally a star-vehicle film for a young Johnny Depp, nobody could have expected the startling way in which Leo steals the limelight with a heartbreakingly realistic performance as the mentally-challenged Arnie. Nominated for the Oscar, but perhaps too young for the award, DiCaprio burst onto the scene in a big way.   



    2. Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2013).

    DiCaprio adds another string to his bow with a rare turn as a villain. As plantation owner Calvin Candie, the actor adds all the right ingredients when delivering Tarantino’s Oscar-winning dialogue, creating a truly despicable character. Candie’s villainy and DiCaprio’s commitment are both made brutally clear in the famous dinner table scene, in which the actor unintentionally cut open his hand with glass, making the split-second decision to keep acting and use his injury in the scene.  



    1. The Aviator (dir. Martin Scorsese, 2004).

    If ever there was a film for which there could be no question whatsoever that he deserved the Oscar, it was this one. DiCaprio delivers his trademark passion to a performance so layered, he’s basically playing 3 different parts: a young, charismatic playboy; the genius, tormented by a thirst for perfection; and the isolated OCD sufferer. Not only does he manage to bring all these different elements together, but he excels at each one, creating a powerful yet nuanced performance that is truly unforgettable.  


     Agree? Disagree? As always we’d love to hear your comments… 

    Jackson Ball - follow me on Twitter.

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    Gary Collinson on the Art of the Movie Scoop....

    The movie scoop. In the early days of the internet, it was a glorious thing to behold, with an online writer unearthing a golden nugget of information and dropping it to the masses, leaving studio executives scratching their heads and wondering just how this super top secret piece of news managed to leak out of their vault and make its way onto the interweb. Fast forward a decade or so, and the landscape has shifted dramatically. And not in a good way.

    Everybody loves a good scoop, but these days you can't go an hour without a big "exclusive" from one site or another, the majority of which leads to a huge stir on social media, before fading into obscurity, never to be mentioned again. And of course, 99% of these "scoops" revolve around superhero movies and Star Wars Why? Because superhero movies and Star Wars just so happen to be the biggest traffic drivers for movie sites. It's all about generating traffic, which in turn generates income. If you can fool a few hundred people on Twitter, that's great, and if you article gets picked up by the movie news sites, you're laughing.

    These big scoops used to be confined to a select few websites, who got things wrong sure, but more often than not they were on the money. When they said someone was cast, they were cast. Not "auditioned". Or "discussed behind the scenes". Or "completely made up" (okay, you'll not see that admission very often). Nowadays, even the best scoopers are batting around a 20-25% success rate, and some former giants have faded into irrelevance, having dropped debunked story after debunked story. Now, we have a whole tonne of websites pulling names out of hats left, right and centre, dropping "exclusives" like they're going out of fashion, and nine times out of ten, completely fabricating their stories. There are sites batting 0% who still drop "scoops" on a weekly basis, and sure enough they spread like wildfire, despite a complete lack of a track record. Hell, claim Betty White is going to play Janet van Dyne in Ant-Man and you can be sure Yahoo! Movies will pick it up at the very least.

    Before we get into the meat of this article, it should be noted that Flickering Myth reports many of these rumours, or at least the ones from "reputable" rumour sites, if that even makes sense. So you could argue we're just as bad as the sites that peddle the original stories. I've wrestled with that very thought myself, especially when I've spent time writing up a news story, only for the "scoop" to be debunked by the time I've finished typing. For sites like us, who aren't in the business of seeking out scoops, it's a catch-22 situation. It's tough to ignore a piece of "news" on Batman vs. Superman or The Avengers: Age of Ultron when virtually every website on the internet is reporting it. We ignore all the rumours, and we're not keeping our readers informed. All we can do is make sure we clearly mark the story as a rumour, and advise you to take it with a pinch of salt. And of course, there's also handful of times when these scoops turn out to be true. It's pretty hard to distinguish between truth and fiction when there's so much information, misinformation, and blatantly false information floating around.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that every single "scoop" is guesswork. Obviously that's not the case, and many of the main offenders do deliver genuine scoops. On occasion. Any website can get a genuine scoop, and many do. Hell, we've even had one or two ourselves in the past, and we're not in the scooping game. But beyond the trades, it's rare for a website to consistently drop genuine scoops time and time again, no matter how hard they'll try to convince you of their track record. Manage to get one scoop confirmed, and you can use this to justify another five or ten dubious scoops, directing any dissenting voices to that one that turned out to be true. Clearly there are 100% genuine scoops, provided by an insider, which will eventually get confirmed and the site can rightfully claim "TOLD YA".

    By the same token, there are "scoops" that are 100% rubbish, designed purely to a) attract hits, b) attract links, and c) spread like wildfire on social media before fading into obscurity, hopefully before being debunked. If they do happen to be debunked, everyone will have moved on to a new rumour anyway, so the damage is minimal. But of course you can't just go throwing out random statements and stick an "exclusive rumour" tag on it - there's an art to this thing. Fortunately for the wannabe scooper, it's not a very complex art, and if you're so much as half decent at it, you could be up and running in no time. Be clever about it, keep it simple, believable, and probable, and you might even get your first scoop "confirmed" without any insider information whatsoever. Take this for example:

    "EXCLUSIVE - James McAvoy to reprise the role of Professor X for X-Men: Apocalypse"

    "With Bryan Singer set for a quick return to the X-Men universe in 2016, we're hearing from our source that James McAvoy will be back as Professor Xavier in X-Men: Apocalypse. This is 100% confirmed by our source, who we trust implicitly. We're trying to get confirmation on other returnees, so be sure to follow us on Twitter so you don't miss any more of our exclusive scoops."


    If we ran this story today, there's a good chance it would be confirmed in the next twelve months or so. McAvoy has already said he's signed up for another X-Men movie after X-Men: Days of Future Past, and unless Bryan Singer decides to stick with the original X-Men cast, he's going to be in the movie. You could substitute McAvoy for Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman... chances are, they're all going to appear in X-Men: Apocalypse. Hey, we could get four or five "scoops" out of this one...

    We'll call this "The Educated Guess" scoop, and aside from actually having insider information, it's probably the best way of building a reputation as a "scooper". Occasionally you'll get it wrong, like suggesting Iron Man 3 would set up Guardians of the Galaxy when every man and his dog was expecting it anyway, but keep it within the comfort zone - "The Millennium Falcon / Lightsabers / Opening Crawl confirmed for Star Wars: Episode VII!!" - and most of the time, it's a safe bet. If and when this story is proven to be correct, you can use it to deflect criticism of any future scoops you feel like making up. And once you've got this "track record", you've got plenty of room to maneuver and really step up your game.

    Beyond the Educated Guess, there's the "Cover Your Arse" scoop, which is massively growing in popularity and follows a rather simple formula:

    - Choose a movie, preferably a superhero movie. Or Star Wars.
    - Choose an actor who's popular (or unpopular).
    - Link the two.
    - Cover Your Arse.

    Here's an example of a Cover Your Arse:

    "EXCLUSIVE - Zac Efron wanted for The Fantastic Four"

    We're hearing from our source - who revealed to us that James McAvoy will reprise the role of Professor X in X-Men: Apocalypse - that Fox is considering Zac Efron for a role in The Fantastic Four. Yes, we know it's a different studio, but he's got friends at Fox, and we trust him 100%, cos, y'know, he was right about McAvoy. Now, we don't know what role Efron is up for, or if the studio is going to make him an offer, or if Efron is aware that he's under consideration, or if the story has any more depth than his name being brought up in general conversation between two execs at the urinals, but his name HAS been mentioned. Expect denials from the studio. Expect denials from Efron and his people (who might not even know that he's in the frame).

    The above is a perfect 10 when it comes to Covering Your Arse. It can be proved true, in the unlikely chance that Zac Efron ends up cast in The Fantastic Four, but it can't be debunked. If Fox or Efron say there's no truth in it, you signpost your critics to the "expect denials" part, and remind them about your previous successes. And then when someone else is cast in the role, you can justify your scoop by stating, "I never said he'd get the role, just that he was mentioned as a possibility by someone at the studio." Which he possibly might have been at one point, even for the briefest of seconds. Along with a hundred other names. It's a win-win situation for the movie scooper.

    We've looked at the Educated Guess, we've looked at the Cover Your Arse, but there's one more tool at the movie scooper's disposal, which we'll call the "Nostradamus". With this one, you pick a film that's so far in the future, and concoct whatever rubbish you think will bring as many hits as possible. For example:

    "EXCLUSIVE - Man of Steel 3 will not feature any other DC superheroes apart from Superman"

    It seems that Warner Bros. has listened to fan concerns about the Man of Steel sequel shifting the focus from Henry Cavill's Superman to include the likes of Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). We're hearing from our source that Man of Steel 3 will not feature any other DC superheroes apart from the Big Blue Boy Scout, giving Superman fans the sequel they've been clamouring for.

    The Nostradamus is a fantastic way of building links and traffic, and as with the Cover Your Arse, it's virtually impossible to disprove (before it becomes long-forgotten, anyway). Man of Steel 3 won't arrive until 2017 or 2018, and should it turn out to include the entire roster of Justice League Unlimited as supporting characters, you can deflect criticism with two simple words: "Plans changed". Another win-win situation for the scooper.

    The expert movie scooper is able to incorporate elements of the Educated Guess, the Cover Your Arse and the Nostradamus to deliver the "Mother of All Scoops":

    "EXCLUSIVE - Thanos WILL battle Earth's Mightiest Heroes in The Avengers 3"

    It's been expected since we glimpsed the villain during the closing credits of The Avengers, but we can exclusively confirm that Earth's Mightiest Heroes will battle the Mad Titan Thanos in The Avengers 3. This is 100% confirmed by our source. The same source who told us that James McAvoy would appear in X-Men: Apocalypse, and who told us that Zac Efron was in contention for The Fantastic Four, which he was, honest (remember, we never said he'd get the part). So take this to the bank. Thanos is the villain. 100% official. FACT. Expect denials from Marvel. They don't want fans knowing their plans this far ahead. 

    Oh, and of course, with several years still to go before the film arrives, there is a chance that those plans might change.

    BOOM. You're trending on Twitter.

    So, if you fancy yourself as a movie scooper, it's easy to get going. Lots of folk are doing it. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and an active imagination. I'd suggest starting out with a few Educated Guesses to build your rep, maybe incorporating some Cover Your Arse conventions until you get in the swing of things, a hit-baiting Nostradamus or two, and then you can build up to the big one, setting the internet ablaze with the Mother of All Scoops. If you play your cards right, you'll be able to scream "TOLD YA" in no time. But even if your MOAS turns out wide of the mark, we'll all have forgotten about it anyway, due to the thousand other scoops we've had to suffer through since you dropped it. So what are you waiting for? There's no better time to get started - we've got a tonne of superhero movies on the horizon, and plenty of Star Wars. You'll be laughing all the way to the bank in no time.

    Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.

     

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    Dallas Buyers Club, 2013.

    Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.
    Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn Dallas Roberts, Kevin Rankin, Denis O'Hare, Juliet Reeves and Griffin Dunne.


    SYNOPSIS:

    In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.


    Like all my best cinematic experiences, ignorance is bliss. Before taking my seat to enjoy Jean-Marc Vallée's much anticipated Dallas Buyers Club, all I knew was a very brief cast list and the outlined subject matter, AIDS. I knew no intricacies. What I experienced was delightfully unexpected. Dallas Buyers Club is arguably, a modern classic, a film that tackles a complex subject matter with bravery, and showcases some of the finest acting in recent cinema.

    Dallas Buyers Club is set, you guessed it, in Dallas – 1985 – during the AIDS epidemic. Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is the epitome of a stereotypical ‘redneck’ or, deep Southerner; deeply prejudice in views and living a life consisting of heavy drug use and casual, unprotected sex. On the discovery that he is HIV positive, Woodroof realises the value of time, as the doctors say he has 30 days to live. In a natural panic, he researches on the illness and discovers that the newly created drug AZT, has shown significant signs of effectiveness. After locating the valuable drug, still in its clinical stage, Ron begins to distribute it out to other HIV positive patients across America. With the assistance of Rayon (Jared Leto), a flamboyant transsexual sufferer of the disease, the pair form the Dallas Buyers Club, twisting the pharmaceutical system, and in doing so saving thousands of lives across America.

    Vallée has produced a truly special piece of work here. The tone is haunting; bleak yet hopeful, a strange mix of decay and positivity.  What raises Dallas Buyers Club above the competition is the truly exceptional work of Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, who both produce career defining performances here. They both lost mass amounts of weight to portray the physical deterioration that AIDS creates – McConaughey lost 47 pounds and Leto lost 30, which is incredible commitment. These two actors become almost unrecognisable at points, especially Leto, who outshines himself as Rayon. The emotional complexity needed to perform these roles is extreme, and requires immense sensitivity and empathy, which both McConaughey and Leto do so with immense profundity and conviction in two groundbreaking performances. If it wasn’t for Chiwetel Ejiofor and 12 Years a Slave, McConaughey would be leading the pack for Best Actor in the upcoming Oscars.  Thankfully, they have both received nominations which is just acclaim. For once, praise the Academy.

    Despite the positives however, Dallas Buyers Club falls back on some areas. Jennifer Garner is for me miscast as Doctor Eve, as I feel she is slightly too perfect in mannerisms and appearance for this ultimately gritty picture. This is arguable, of course, but I simply felt her character became weak under her lead. Another victim is the mid section of the film. Similarly to David O. Russell’s American Hustle, this lost its edge, as it became a standard, obvious narrative which the opening edged away from. This all being said, these are not detrimental problems to the film, as McConaughey and Leto more than make up for any minor problems.

    Dallas Buyers Club is truly a beautiful piece. AIDS is a subject rarely touched upon in cinema, and this is a refreshing depiction to the pandemic that plagued the latter end of the 20th century. My advice: let Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey’s performances immerse you, as they are mesmerising. Congratulations on the deserved Oscar nominations. If it wasn’t for 12 Years a Slave, this would have been a true contender. 

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

    Jordan Schwarzenberger is a young writer from North London, UK. Follow him on twitter @jordanerschwarz and visit his website lostVHS.



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    After debuting a new batch of images yesterday, Sony has now dropped two new posters for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 featuring Andrew Garfield's wall-crawler and Jamie Foxx's villain Electro. The big surprise? It's a new shot of Electro, although he's still wearing his hoodie. Check them out here...



    Update - And here's another one, which does feature Electro in his suit, although we've already seen the shot, minus the photoshopped lightning...


    We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.

    It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.


    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th 2014 in the UK and May 2nd 2014 in North America with a cast that also includes Emma Stone, Paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaanSally Field, Chris Cooper, Felicity Jones, Colm Feore, B.J. Novak, Chris Zylka, Embeth Davidtz, and Campbell Scott.


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    Hot off the release of his highly acclaimed thriller Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve has his next project in sight, and it's certainly an interesting one. The Canadian director is mostly known for various thrillers, showing an ability to capture stories that contain mysteries and enigmas to quite a great degree. In that regard, his first venture into the science fiction genre should be a natural fit in terms of style and content. THR are reporting Denis Villeneuve recently signed up to direct FilmNation's adaptation of short story The Story of Your Life, found in the similarly named collection of short stories written by Ted Chiang.

    The story is being penned by Eric Heisserer, who recently wrote the scripts for the new versions of The Thing and Nightmare On Elm Street. The story involves alien space crafts unexpectedly landing around the world, with no clear sign if the aliens are friend or foe. An expert linguist is hired to attempt to communicate with the alien-kind, triggering her to see visions pertaining to a greater mystery, and the nature of the alien's visit to earth.

    The project seems ambitious, but Denis Villeneuve has proven he can construct quite an intriguing mystery on the big screen, again and again. Heisserer's last few scripts haven't been great, but it could be said those films failed for other reasons than a bad write up. The story compilation is a highly praised piece of literature, that should be an overtly different experience if nothing else. We look forward to it. More news as it comes.



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    Last year, Darren Aronofsky signed up to direct an intriguing novel adaptation, in the form of Jason Matthews spy thriller novel Red Sparrow. In recent events, Heat Vision are reporting Aronofsky has since left the project, and is currently seeking other work. Fox are still optimistic about the project, and are now focusing on finding a writer to adapt said novel, perhaps looking to keep the door open for Aronofsky to change his mind, if he so chooses. It's currently unknown what Aronofsky will follow up his religious epic Noah with.

    Here's the synopsis for Jason Matthews' novel...

    "In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.

    As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate’s game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC."

    More news as it comes.


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    Back in November, the Make-A-Wish foundation made Miles' dream come true: to become Batkid for a day. For it, San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City, as the 5-year-old boy, in remission from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, got his own Batmobile and Batsuit, and fought The Riddler and Penguin alongside Batman himself. The San Francisco Chronicle even went as far to print 1,000 special edition 'Gotham City Chronicle' newspapers, complete with articles written by Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Perry White. Just...just give me a second...I can't see the screen through the tears...

    Only the odd bit of footage was released, as well as a bunch of heartwarming photos from the day, but now an entire 10-minute film has been uploaded recapping the event. Of course, this is about Miles being awesome. But it also hints towards something larger, of an entire city coming together, and the more endearing side of the Internet for enabling it.

    Watch it all in the well-worthwhile video below...


    The adult version of Batkid (as in 'grown up,' not 'pornographic') will next appear in Batman vs. Superman, which is set for release on July 17th. The cast includes Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Lawrence Fishburne (Perry White), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman).

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    Marvel taps writers for Agent Carter TV seriesIt looks like Marvel's rumoured Agent Carter small screen spin-off is moving closer towards becoming a reality, with Deadline revealing that Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas "have quietly boarded" the series, with the Reaper duo also set to executive produce.

    Although Agent Carter is yet to be confirmed by Marvel Studios, all signs point towards the project joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the upcoming Netflix miniseries Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and The Defenders, with Hayley Atwell expected to reprise her role from Captain America: The First Avenger and the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier - not to mention the Marvel One-Shot that accompanied the home-entertainment release of Iron Man 3.

    Are you excited at the prospect of an Agent Carter series, or has Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. put you off? Let us know in the comments below....



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    To celebrate the release of the "Jump-out-of-your-seat scary” (Little White Lies) horror ‘Banshee Chapter’ - out on DVD & VOD 27th January - we have a DVD to give away to one lucky winner!

    From Executive Producer Zachary Quinto’s (Star Trek, American Horror Story) Before the Door Pictures comes this highly entertaining horror that will terrify with its unique blend of fact, conspiracy and the paranormal. ‘Banshee Chapter’ is the deserved winner of Total Film’s ‘Scariest Movie Award’ at Film4 FrightFest and is “guaranteed to make you squeal like a newborn” (Time Out)!

    Read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter...

    A young journalist (Katia Winter) with an appetite for controversy, follows the trail of a strange government research chemical that might have caused the disappearance of her close friend (Michael McMillian). After tracing the substance to the desert ranch of an infamous retired novelist (Ted Levine), she's drawn into an experience of terror and frightening entities that she cannot escape. 

    The labyrinthine trail of evidence leads her into the disturbing world of black ops chemical projects, unexplained radio transmissions, and shadowy disfigured entities in the blackness of night. Anne will do anything to uncover what lies behind her friend’s disappearance. But to her horror, she discovers that it wants to find her too.

    Pre-order Banshee Chapter on Amazon and iTunes. 

    To be in with a chance of winning, firstly make sure you like us on Facebook (or follow us on Twitter)...


    ...Then complete your details below, using the subject heading "BANSHEE". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, February 1st
    . UK entrants only please.

     
     By entering this competition you agree to our terms and conditions, which you can read here.


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    Matthew Spencer-Skeen on his top five snubs from this week's Oscar nominations....

    So the Oscar nominations have been announced (in case you’ve missed all this you can find the nominations here) and what a wonderful array of very predictable picks they were. The most interesting part of the Oscar nom for me though is all the furore afterwards about who and what got ‘snubbed’ by the Academy. Every year there are message boards filled with outrage over this very subject and I just love it!

    Already today we are hearing that Robert Redford feels like the film distributor did not do enough to publicize the film and campaign for him to get the nomination. I definitely feel like he has a point, as although I love him in All is Lost I’d forgotten about it somewhat amongst everything else that has been released, considering it debuted back in May.

    So who else was potentially deserving of a nomination this year but has been unrewarded for whatever reason? Well here are my top 5 Oscar snubs...

    5. Tom Hanks - Whilst he did do an excellent job inCaptain Phillips, do we expect anything otherwise from him? He has sustained such a high level over his career that this feels more like a regression to the mean when you look at some of his other non-Oscar nominated performances.

    4. The Long Walk to Freedom - Okay this is more me being surprised that it was snubbed as opposed to feeling it deserved a nomination. I’m glad that they weren’t blinded by sentimentality and judged the film for what it was. An average film, about a brilliant man, with a good song earning it it’s only Oscar nod.

    3. Lee Daniels The Butler - this is another film that, when released, looked Oscar bound. Loosely based on real life of Eugene Allen and set during a period of turmoil and depicting different American Presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan this seemed like an Oscar shoo in. However, I feel that with 12 Years a Slave being so well received and rated the American people struggle reminding themselves of two different periods of such racial hatred and rewarding those films that do so.

    2. Emma Thompson - I thought she did a fantastic job portraying P.L. Travers in this with excellent haughtiness and comic timing to make hers one of the more memorable performances of the year. Couple that with the film being about making a film and Hollywood, (something which, funnily enough, Hollywood normally loves) it is surprising to see her without a nomination and the film receiving just the one. It appears that the Academy have reserved the last place of the Best Actress award for Meryl Streep indefinitely.

    1. American Hustle - Best Makeup and Hairstyling- I know you’re wondering how can a film with 10 nominations be snubbed? Well the film hasn’t but how on earth did it not receive a nomination in the above category?! Did you see the amount of effort that went into the various hairstyles? Bale’s comb-over, Adam’s perm, Cooper’s perm! They even showed us that Jeremy Renner can have more than 1 hairstyle. It was nominated for Best Original Screenplay but not this? I really feel for those hairstylists not being nominated when The Lone Ranger somehow managed to scrape one for this.

    So those are my top 5, what do you think?

    Matthew Spencer-Skeen


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    With the wait for Oscar nominations to be announced now over, the wait for information regarding many films we still know very little about, has begun. One of these in particular is Ernest & Celestine, directed by Benjamin Renner, Stephanie Aubier and Vincent Patar which received a nomination for Best Animated Feature. The film is being premièred for the first time in its English language version this week at Sundance Film Festival, and with that comes several new posters celebrating the film's release.


    Little is known about the film's narrative, other than the fact it revolves around a relationship between a mouse and a bear, and the inherent differences that they both have. The English voice cast is very solid, featuring such talents as Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Wright. Ernest & Celestine will be facing off against The Croods, Frozen, Despicable Me 2 and the highly anticipated Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises in the feature animation category when the 86th Academy Awards ceremony goes live March 2nd. Here's the trailer for Ernest & Celestine...




    Ernest and Celestine is set for wide release in the U.S as of March 14th.


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