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Movies, TV and Comic Books

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    On February 9th, before the debut episode of True Detective, HBO is set to deliver a 15-minute presentation entitled Game of Thrones: Ice and Fire - A Foreshadowing, teasing the upcoming fourth season of the epic fantasy series, as well as providing a catch up on all of the happenings to date.

    Now a short promo for the special has arrived online offering up some new footage, along with a few quick comments from the likes of Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow).

    Check it out here....


    Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6th in the States and gets underway on Sky Atlantic here in the UK on April 7th.


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    The undead do not seem to want to leave Manhattan in a story written by George Romero and illustrated by Alex Maleev.


    Deep in the pit of the bloody Circus Maximus – the undead battle for the amusement of the living. But not all here is as it seems. Amid the fury of the arena, vampires roam New York City, hiding in plain sight! What menacing secrets lie in the dark corners of the once bustling metropolis? And when the zombies and vampires prowl – where does that leave the humans?







    George Romero’s Empire of the Dead #2 which features variant covers by Arthur Suydam and Greg Horn arrives on February 26, 2014.


    United by a cosmic accident, Marvel’s First Family gets a seismic reboot by Eisner Award winning writer James Robinson (Starman) and artist Leonard Kirk (Supergirl) who have teamed together to produce Fantastic Four #1.


    The brilliant Mr. Fantastic, the compassionate Invisible Woman, hot-headed Human Torch, and the ever-lovin’ Thing return for a new ongoing series fraught with danger, excitement and intrigue. Only they won’t be met with new beginnings – but an untimely end!


    “The team will be brought down,” says James Robinson, in an interview with Marvel.com. “Despite the fact these characters are a family and have always stuck together, there are forces that push them into directions you never thought you’d see.” 


    As the family of cosmic explorers rushes headlong into their darkest hours, who could possibly be behind their downfall? And how does it involve one of the Fantastic Four’s greatest enemies – the sadistic dragon Fin Fang Foom!


    “Some rifts will be so big the Fantastic Four may never be the same,” stated editor Mark Paniccia, “We’re talking about a serious, hardcore attempt at destroying them…not just on a physical level but emotionally as well.”







    Fantastic Four #1 which includes variant covers by Alex Ross, Jerome Opena, Skottie Young and Katie Cook goes on sale February 26, 2014.

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    We've already caught a brief glimpse of Tom Hiddleston auditioning for the role of the eponymous hero in 2011's Thor earlier this week thanks to an animated gif, and now Marvel has released a new video featurette from the Thor: The Dark World special features centring on his casting as Loki, which happens to include more of his screen test for the God of Thunder. Take a look below...

    "Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel's "Thor" and "Marvel's The Avengers," Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos...but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all."


    If you've not seen them already, be sure to check out the deleted scene between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Frigga (Rene Russo) [see here], as well as Hiddleston dressed as Captain America during the filming of Chris Evans' surprise cameo [see here].

    Thor: The Dark World is released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 24th in the UK and February 25th in North America, with Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) directing a cast that also includes Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Jaimie Alexander, Tadanobu Asano, Kat Dennings, Zachary Levi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Christopher Eccleston.  


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    Anthony Stokes asks whether Quentin Tarantino needs to grow up....

    As a kid in the mid 90s, I was largely unexposed to Quentin Tarantino.  I had heard about Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, but never had a chance to see them. My introduction to the man came years later with this really cool-looking movie called Inglourious Basterds.  I saw it and was blown away by its originality, dialogue, performances, and boldness.  It's probably on the shortlist of films that made me want to get into film commentary.  I was drinking the kool-aid and thought Tarantino was god's gift to cinema. So when I got home I watched Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.  Both masterpieces in their own rights, I was blown away at how good the dialogue was and was happy to see the progression between the two, with Tarantino's dialogue and characters improving with Pulp Fiction.  And then I saw Jackie Brown.  I won't say that it was a bad movie, but I started to see the formula.  Take a sub genre, add in great dialogue in place of story and character development, cherrypick the best parts of the genre, remake it hyperstylized, and get accolades.

    In hindsight, Jackie Brown was a wake up call, and where I realised this guy wasn't as good as I'd thought he was. The once charming hyperstylization had really worn out its welcome and I was ready to see more progression.  But once Tarantino made the two-parter Kill Bill, that was the turning point for his career.  Kill Bill: Vol 1. is a really fun film that has great pacing, great characters and funny dialogue.  Kill Bill: Vol 2. is a masturbatory exercise in film school with monologues that are neither funny nor particularly well delivered by David Carradine, who couldn't open his mouth without running on for minutes at a time.   And next up was Death Proof, which is the only Tarantino movie I'd describe flat out bad.  He made a return to form with Basterds and then made Django Unchained, which I thought was somewhere in  the middle of his filmography, although it still had some glaring issues people usually shy away from, such as the gratuitous usage of the n-word.

    No other genre director has remained in Hollywood this long with this repetitive a formula.  While I'm not a big fan of his, Robert Rodriquez - who also could benefit from some maturing - branches out from his typical style, or at least applies his style to different kinds of films, such as the Spy Kids movies.  However, every Tarantino film is a collage of his previous work with a different genre as a back drop.  Once you've done something bold and innovative and go on to repeat this several times it's no longer so bold and innovative any more and it's time to find a new angle or approach. It's clear from watching him that Tarantino is his own biggest fan. Seeing the way he talks about his movies - and, in fairness, all movies in general - he has this child-like excitement about them. But it's obvious tthat Tarantino makes movies for himself and if he wasn't recieving the accolades and praise he does I'm sure he would continue to make the movies he wants to make regardless.  And while idealistically there's nothing wrong with that it leads to his films being extremely prententious and self-indulgent. 

    Another thing that bothers me is his response to controversy.  When Spike Lee questioned Tarantino's obsession with the n-word, he went off talking about how it's racist to say he can't use the n-word and it's about his right as an artist. Nobody is saying he can't use the n-word, but does he need to use it so gratuitously?  I thought it was funny in Pulp Fiction and even in Jackie Brown it had context but in Death proof it was simply too much.  And in Django it felt like his character sounded like a little kid cursing for the first time.  He could respond to the criticism like an adult but instead just gets defensive.  If he's fascinated with the word he should make a documentary about it or explore it through film, rather than using it as much as possible and then act like a baby when people question him about it. And really, he only gets away with it because he's Tarantino. If a Michael Bay movie had frequent use of the n-word, people would lose their minds, but because it's Tarantino he uses it gratuitously and gets an Oscar.

    And so we come to the whole leaked script situation regarding The Hateful Eight.  Now I understand Tarantino's frustration, but to decide not make a movie because a script leaked reminds me of a kid losing at basketball and taking his ball home so nobody else can play.  If he wasn't going to make the movie he could've just not made it, rather than making a big deal out of it. And furthermore if the script is pretty much dead, then why is he suing Gawker for providing download links to view the script? I'd understand if he planned on making the movie and Gawker actually went and leaked it online, but he'd already said himself he wouldn't be making it.

    So, this brings me to my point - does Tarantino need to grow up? I say yes.  We as a film community have allowed him to get away with things no other directors or writers would be allowed to get away with.  If Django Unchained had been written by Spike Lee do you think it would've won an Oscar?  The Best Original Screenplay category may as well be renamed "The Obligatory Quentin Tarantino Award".  But more importantly his films need to mature. Nothing would make me happier then to see a non-genre movie from Tarantino. He is an incredible talent and by taking on board some legitimate criticism, he could make more Pulp Fictions and less Death Proofs.  I honestly don't blame Tarantino for most of the flaws in his movies - I blame the critics.  If nobody complains, then why should he try to make better films?  Hopefully, at some point in the future before his retirement, we'll see a more focused and refined Tarantino...

    Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker who also assists with the music blog DopesterMusic and co-hosts the podcast Delusional Losers.


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    We've already had a couple of trailers for 22 Jump Street [see here and here], and now Columbia Pictures has debuted the first poster for the upcoming comedy sequel, which sees Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their roles from the 2012 box office hit....

    First poster for 22 Jump Street

    After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.


    22 Jump Street is is once again directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) and sees Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle and Nick Offerman back alongside new cast additions Craig Roberts (Submarine), Jillian Bell (Workaholics) and Amber Stevens (Greek). The sequel is set for release on June 6th in the U.K. and on June 13th in North America.



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    Having been in development since 2006, Edgar Wright's Ant-Man is finally gearing up to go into production this May, with Marvel securing Paul Rudd (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) and Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra) as two incarnations of the miniature hero in Scott Lang and Hank Pym, and Rudd has shared a few thoughts about the long-awaited superhero movie, which is due to kick off Marvel's Phase Three in July 2015.

    "Well, It's all just kind of starting, so it's really cool," Rudd told Flicks and the City (via CBM) during the premiere of his latest film They Came Together. "I'm very excited about it. I've read some comics and seen some [Marvel] movies and I knew Edgar Wright for many years. The whole thing that it's actually happened, that I got the part, is still kind of surreal. It's still sinking in over these last several months."

    Rudd then went on to comment on the casting of Michael Douglas, stating that "it's a thrill, he's amazing" before swerving a question about whether he's excited to reunite with his I Love You, Man co-star Rashida Jones, who's been heavily linked to the female lead: "I follow what comes out online and even then I don't quite follow. I let those powers at be announce what they want to announce when they announce it. A lot of that stuff you hear is not true."

    So might that be "not true" like the whole Paul Rudd / Ant-Man casting he said was "all rumour"?


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    The anticipated science fiction film, The Machine, has received an official UK release date. Directed by Caradog James (Little White Lies), the film will be released in cinemas and video on demand on March 21st. It will also be available on DVD on March 31st.

    The Machine stars Toby Stevens (Robin Hood, Vexed) as scientist Vincent McCarthy, Caity Lotz (Arrow, Mad Men) in the dual role of Ava and The Machine, and Denis Lawson (Star Wars, Bleak House) as antagonist Thomson.

    The film has already received critical acclaim, having won Best UK Film at the Raindance Film Festival 2013 and three BAFTA Cymru awards. For more information, visit the film’s official website.




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    Well, Paramount Pictures isn't waiting until Sunday's big game to give us a peek at Darren Aronofsky's upcoming Biblical epic Noah, with the studio releasing the film's Super Bowl TV spot early, and you can watch it right here....

    "NOAH is a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. In a world ravaged by human sin, Noah is given a divine mission: to build an Ark to save creation from the coming flood."

    Noah sees Russell Crowe (Man of Steel) leading the cast as the Ark-builder, alongside Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream), Douglas Booth (Romeo and Juliet), Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Emma Watson (Harry Potter), Anthony Hopkins (Thor: The Dark World), Ray Winstone (Snow White and the Huntsman), Kevin Durand (Resident Evil: Retribution), Marton Csokas (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Dakota Goyo (Real Steel).


    Noah is set for release on March 28th.


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    With its fourth season set to resume early next month, AMC has released another short promo for the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, which you can watch right here...

    Following the devastating events of the mid-season finale, Rick and the group are still reeling from the loss of their home, family, and friends. With the destruction of the prison, we see the group of survivors broken apart and sent on divergent paths, unsure of everyone else's fate. What was a challenging life behind fences and walls grows that much more perilous and precious as they are exposed to new dangers, new enemies, and heartbreaking choices. They will have their faith thoroughly tested -- a faith that breaks some of them and redeems others.


    The Walking Dead season four returns to AMC in the States on February 9th.

     

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    A24 has debuted the first teaser trailer for the dystopian Aussie thriller The Rover, which sees Animal Kingdom director David Michod reuniting with Guy Pearce, alongside former Twilight star Robert Pattinson; check it out after the official synopsis....

    "The film is set in the Australian desert, in a dangerous and damaged near future. Eric (Pearce) has left everything, everyone and every semblance of human kindness behind him when a gang of desperate criminals steals his last possession.  Eric sets off on a ruthless mission to track them down, forced along the way to enlist the help of Rey (Pattinson), the naïve and injured junior member of the gang  who was left behind in the chaos of the gang’s most recent robbery."

    Also featuring in the cast are Animal Kingdom stars Susan Prior and Anthony Hayes alongside David Field (Chopper), Gillian Jones (Oscar and Lucinda) and Scoot McNairy (Argo).


    The Rover is currently without a set release date but is due to arrive some time this year.


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    Earlier this week Walt Disney Pictures debuted a new trailer for Maleficent featuring Lana del Rey's cover of the classic Sleeping Beauty theme 'Once Upon a Dream' [see here], and now the studio has dropped two new images from the live-action reimagining of the fairy tale, which we have for you right here...



    "A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well."

     Maleficent is directed by Robert Stromberg (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland) and sees Angelina Jolie leading the cast alongside Elle Fanning (Super 8), Sharlto Copley (Elysium), Imelda Staunton (The Pirates! Band of Misfits), Miranda Richardson (The Hours), Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises) and Lesley Manville (Romeo and Juliet).


    Maleficent is set for release on March 14th.


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    Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle to script Thor 3
    Well, it seems that Marvel's Phase Three is starting to take shape. Earlier this week it was announced that Captain America: The Winter Soldier directing duo Anthony and Joe Russo are developing Captain America 3, and now Marvel has revealed that veteran Marvel writers Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle will pen the screenplay for Thor 3.

    "I am proud of Craig and have enjoyed working with him over these past years," said Marvel chief Kevin Feige. "His creative instincts have helped shape Thor and Thor: The Dark World at every level of the filmmaking process. The entire team at Marvel is very happy to continue collaborating with Craig as he continues as a screenwriter working with Christopher on the forthcoming chapter of Thor’s adventure."

    The duo certainly have plenty of Marvel experience between them, including the animated offerings X-Men: Evolution, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, The Invincible Iron Man, Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Wolverine and the X-Men, Hulk Vs., Iron Man: Armored Adventures, and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

    At this point it's unknown when Marvel plans to release Thor 3, although it would seem a safe bet that Chris Hemsworth's third solo movie will occupy one of Marvel's two release dates in 2016.


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    From Dusk Till Dawn: The SeriesThe Gecko brothers are back (albeit with a new look), with Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network releasing the first full-length trailer for From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, the upcoming small screen adaptation of Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's cult 1996 genre mash-up, and you can watch it right here...

    The series, which is set to premiere in March, sees D.J. Cotrona (Dear John, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Zane Holtz (Holes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) taking over from George Clooney and Tarantino as the Gecko brothers, while the rest of the cast includes Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The X-Files) as Jacob Fuller, Madison Davenport (Save Me, Shameless) as Kate Fuller, Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder, Ender’s Game) as Scott Fuller, Don Johnson (Django Unchained, Nash Bridges) as Sheriff Earl McGraw, Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) as Vanessa Styles, Jake Busey (Starship Troopers, Enemy of the State) as Professor Aiden Tanner, Lane Garrison (Bonnie & Clyde, Prison Break) as Pete and Eiza González(Lola: Érase Una Vez) as Santánico Pandemonium.


    From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series gets underway on March 11th.

     

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    With production on Warner Bros.'Batman vs. Superman seemingly underway in Michigan, it should only be a matter of time before we finally get some solid news on the Man of Steel sequel, not to mention our first look at Ben Affleck's Batman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, along with Henry Cavill's Man of Steel in his updated costume. We've already heard some comments from costume designer Michael Wilkinson about his work on the hotly-anticipated sequel, and now he's offered up a few more words during a chat with Entertainment Weekly:

    "I’m not really at liberty to talk about the details of everything, but suffice to say we really respect the histories of all of these characters. We’re all very reverent about the iconic graphic nature of these characters and their costumes. We see ourselves as part of the natural lineage of how these characters are being portrayed through out the ages and our goal is to create something relevant and exciting for today’s audiences and something that works for this thrilling cinematic universe that our director Zack Snyder is creating."

    Wilkinson then went on to discuss the process of designing such iconic costumes, "You really dive into the source material. We’re looking at all of the different ways these characters have been portrayed over the ages. We’re looking hard into Zack’s script and working out what makes sense as far as telling the story — who these people really are and what they represent, how to make sense of them in today’s world. It’s an interesting, multilayered design challenge."

    And lastly, as for when we might get to see his designs, Wilkinson played coy, stating that "Our film just got pushed. It’s now not being released until June or July 2016. I don’t know. We’re been having some interesting camera tests and photo shoots so far. I’m not exactly sure what dates we’re going to get them released, but I’m sure Warner Bros. has it all worked out."

    Batman vs. Superman is set for release on May 6th 2016, with a cast that also includes returning Man of Steel stars Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Lawrence Fishburne (Perry White) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent).


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    Back in December, Bryan Singer indicated that Anna Paquin's Rogue had become a casualty of the crammed cast of characters in X-Men: Days of Future Past, stating that an action sequence featuring the X-Men trilogy veteran had been cut from the upcoming sequel. Well, it seems that Rogue is going to feature after all, with Singer taking the opportunity to clarify his earlier comments:

    "It was one real sequence in the movie," Singer tells Empire (via CBM). "It does not mean that we won't see her in the film. Also, I hope to make the sequence available on the DVD as she was quite wonderful in it. She is an important part of the X-Men family. I'm very pleased she will remain as one of Empire's anniversary covers."

    Are you glad that Rogue could be returning to the X-Men universe? Let us know in the comments below....


    X-Men: Days of Future Past is set for release on May 23rd with a cast that also includes X-Men veterans Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magento), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Lucas Till (Havok), Halle Berry (Storm), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) and Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) alongside X-Men newcomers Omar Sy (The Intouchables) as Bishop, Evan Peters (American Horror Story) as Quicksilver, Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) as Warpath, Fan Binbing (Iron Man 3) as Blink, Adan Canto (The Following) as Sunspot, Josh Helman (Mad Max: Fury Road) as William Stryker and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Bolivar Trask.



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    Anghus Houvouras on why Christoph Waltz should play Lex Luthor...

    With Batman vs. Superman being pushed back to 2016, there's been something a vacuum in terms of news regarding the much anticipated pairing.  We've heard about Gal Gadot joining the cast as Wonder Woman, and we've gotten some details on the new costumer Ben Affleck will be wearing, but we still haven't heard the most important detail:

    Who's going to play Lex Luthor?

    There has been conversations and rumblings since the movie was first announced.  Superman's arch-nemesis is a character that has decades of history in the comics and many iterations.  Originally Luthor was a mad scientist.  A great, malevolent mind who sought to use his intellect to defeat the Man of Steel.  Over time, this version of the character was transformed into a more lethal businessman who seemed more akin to Marvel's Kingpin than the crazed scientist that first appeared i the pages of Action Comics.

    In film, we've never really gotten the more classic version of the villain.  The Richard Donner version of Luthor was smart, conniving, and bordered on the comical.  Bryan Singer's Superman Returns took the same basic character model and replaced 'comical' with 'sinister'. 

    We've yet to get an impressive big screen version of the character.  To date, the most memorable Lex Luthor we've gotten has been courtesy of small screen performance like Michael Rosenbaum on SmallvilleBatman vs. Superman seems to be poised to deliver us a new take on one of comics' most iconic villains.

    Most of the internet buzz seems to be hovering around Bryan Cranston.  It's one of those choices that feels equal parts plausible and potentially nothing more than the excited ramblings of internet fanboys.  As Walter White, Cranston effectively portrayed the kind of psychotic sickness that Luthor has exhibited in modern comics.  Personally, I'm not a fan of the choice (or similar choices like Mark Strong) because it follows that more modern Lex Luthor model: the evil businessman who walks around in a suit and tie focused on his public perception and persona.  John Byrne's Man of Steel reduced Lex Luthor from super science genius into a tepid Kingpin clone.  The only difference between the modern era Lex Luthor and Wilson Fisk is mass.

    I'm hoping we get to see the real Lex Luthor.  The scientific genius we saw displayed in stories like Grant Morrison's superior All Star Superman.  A take on the character that gives us the sinister intentions and evil obsessions but allows the character to be a scientific super villain.  I started thinking 'who could play this classic version of the villain'.  Then i watched the Zero Therom trailer at it hit me...

    Christoph Waltz should play Lex Luthor.


    That's 'two time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz', who seems perfectly suited to play the role of a super villain.  There's a kind of calculating intensity that he displayed in movies like Inglorious Basterds that seems perfectly suited for Lex Luthor.  The kind of Lex Luthor that uses his super intellect to create giant robots and doomsday devices.  The kind of Lex Luthor that engineers plans to take down the world's most powerful hero and will raze cities to make it happen.  I'm not sure if we're ever going to get a Lex Luthor who dons a super powered battle-suit to take down Superman.  The old school  But if we are, there may be no one better than Christoph Waltz for the role.

    Is it just me?

    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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    Chris Cooper reviews Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #30...

    "The Turtles struggle to recuperate in Northampton. Each Turtle deals with the new status quo in his own way, and each feels lost. But can they find their way to being a family again as the past haunts them?"

    What a beautiful cover. Wistful, soft and emotional. A simple idea executed extremely well.

    Ross Campbell and Ronda Pattison have worked together to create one of the most beautiful issues of TMNT we've yet seen, capturing the mood of the turtles continuing convalescence in Northampton perfectly. I particularly like Campbell's style of making the lower half of the turtle's limbs chunkier, reminding me of real turtles.

    There is little to no action to speak of this month, with the story told mainly through Michaelangelo writing a letter to his buddy Woody back in NYC. Instead we are treated to another side of the TMNT; their love of one another as Brothers and the lessons they learn from each other. Even hot headed Raphael simmers down and gets in touch with his more thoughtful side.

    Interactions between Leo, Splinter, and their Wife/Mother are touching, and remind us that our heroes weren't always this way. Similarly, the currently common sight of the turtles without their masks reminds us that they aren't always heroes. At the moment they need to look after themselves instead of others.

    Overall #30 is an introspective and loving story. A well-judged piece of calm in otherwise turbulent waters. I'd write more but it really doesn't need it. Kudos to the entire TMNT team.

    Chris Cooper

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    Gruff Rhys releasing American Interior album, book, film and app
    Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) reunites with Dylan Gochand and the team behind Gruff’s 2010 critically acclaimed film Separado! to bring us a multisensory experience via numerous mediums as he follows the tale of John Evans from 1792 with American Interior.

    John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, travelled to America to discover whether there was, as widely believed, a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe - The Madogwys - still walking the Great Plains.

    During the course of an extraordinary adventure, Evans wrestled the largest river reptiles ever seen in the Mississippi, hunted Bison with the Omaha tribe, defected to the Spanish in St Louis, discovered imaginary volcanoes in Missouri, annexed North Dakota from the British, and created the map that guided Lewis and Clark on their legendary expedition.

    Over two hundred years later, in the summer of 2012, Gruff (a distant relative of Evans) journeys out and retraces the explorer’s route which took him through the heart of the continent by means of an “Investigative Concert Tour ™” in which he performed a series of solo gigs with little more than acoustic guitar, PowerPoint presentation and a three-foot high felt avatar of John Evans designed by artist and long-time collaborator Pete Fowler.

    American Interior explores how wild fantasies interact with hard history; how myth-making can inspire humans to partake in crazy, vain pursuits of glory, including exploration, war and the creative arts.

    Gruff’s adventures were documented across the four formats below....

    AN ALBUM: Released on Turnstile, Gruff’s fourth solo LP features thirteen phenomenal new songs inspired by Evans’ original journey. Written in part on 2012’s “Investigative Concert Tour ™”, the record is a topographical rock’n’roll masterpiece.

    A BOOK: A psychedelic historical travelogue in which Gruff traces Evans’ incredible journey from North Wales to New Spain, alongside the tale of his own strange American roadtrip following in Evans’ footsteps. This book is to be published in both hardback and eBook format by Hamish Hamilton.

    A FILM: Funny, honest and inspiring, this visual document of Gruff’s 2012 tour sees fiction, fact, fantasy, myth and music documentary collide. Directed by Dylan Goch, produced by ie ie productions and commissioned by S4C in association with Film Agency for Wales.

    AN APP: Developed by Storythings, the app consists of one hundred separate entries (including pieces of artwork, animations, prose, film clips and original music) and creates a unique, immersive version of the John Evans story.

    American Interior is due for release in the UK by Soda Pictures on May 9th.  If you’d like to find out more information and watch the trailer then wander over to www.american-interior.com (or if you prefer the Welsh language website for the film go here: www.igrombilcyfandirpell.com).



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    Fresh from the huge success of his directorial debut Ted in 2012, Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane returns to the big screen with his sophomore effort, A Million Ways To Die in the West, whose first red band trailer premiered today.

    Will lightning strike twice for MacFarlane in the film arena, or will it be a step too far? From the trailer, it looks he has another like smash comedy that like his famous animations, isn’t shy on being rude, crude and utterly tasteless. Just the way we like them!

    Set in Arizona in 1882, A Million Ways to Die… stars MacFarlane in the lead as local farmer Albert, who with the help of a former gunslinger’s wife (Charlize Theron - Monster, Prometheus), sets out to win back the heart of ex (Amanda Seyfried -  Les Miserables, Lovelace) by beating renowned local criminal (Liam Neeson - Batman Begins, Taken) in a gunfight. Co-starring Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Giovanni Ribisi (Ted) and Sarah Silverman (School of Rock), A Million Ways… looks like this summer’s must-see comedy.

    Due for its USA release of May 30th against Disney’s Malificent, it bows on UK shores a week later, on June 6th. 


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    Alice Rush reviews the season finale of American Horror Story: Coven...

    It’s that time again where we must say goodbye to the latest series of American Horror Story. It’s fair to say that ‘Coven’ has been a bit of a mix up from the previous two seasons, prising relationships and the theme of female power over the pure terror and gore that characterised the previous seasons. But as the season comes to a close with ‘The Seven Wonders’ it ends unlike any other season has: on a note of positivity.

    The build up to the reveal of the next Supreme has been hanging over the entire season though it has mainly been in the last few episodes that the importance of this has been emphasised. Well, we finally find out who it is in this episode as Cordelia was finally crowned the and she ascended to her title elegantly and beautifully, but not before we were put through our paces with the Seven Wonders.

    Opening up with a sequence of a singing Stevie Nicks wishing the witches luck, ‘The Seven Wonders’ set about resolving all of the left over story points. The episode was extremely fast paced and choppy, unlike most of the season, and left almost no stone unturned with its ruthless finality. We were warned the Seven Wonders could be fatal to whoever performs it so naturally a few possible Supremes dropped off. First we had Misty, who failed at escaping her own private Hell where she constantly had to kill a live frog in a school setting. It was quite shocking to see such a popular character be killed off in this way, but as I said, the episode’s swiftness left no time for grief. On then to transmutation, which the remaining three girls performed well until Zoe got a bit carried away and impaled herself on a spike. With Queenie unable to bring her back and Madison refusing to it looked like all was lost for the Coven, but then stepped in Cordelia, who with a few words of encouragement from Myrtle ascended to her rightful place as Supreme. For all of her frailty that we had seen in previous episodes she actually makes a convincing and beautiful Supreme, especially when her eyes were healed after she brought Zoe back to life.

    Her first act as Supreme was a rather surprising one as she opened up the doors of the Academy to all possible witches and even news reporters, giving an interview about the Coven and expressing her desire to give all witches a home. It was refreshing to see the end of a storyline that wasn’t negative and depressing, but instead positive about the future. With the “evil” characters punished (including Madison who was strangled by an angry Kyle and taken by the ever creepy Spaulding) and the “good” characters reigning supreme (sorry, couldn’t help myself) it seemed that Coven had a happy ending after all. Nearly.

    Ever the thorn in Delia’s backside, Fiona made one last appearance, not dead after all but merely waiting for the reveal of the next Supreme after implanting a fake memory of her demise in the Axe Man’s head. The scene between the two was extremely touching, if not a little tense as I nearly expected the withered Fiona to suddenly regain her powers and strike Delia down. This was not the case however, as the glowing and powerful Delia held her former Supreme mother in her arms as she passed on to the next world, arguably the most touching moment they’ve had throughout the season. Seeing Fiona awake in her own Hell (or could it be Heaven?) with the Axe Man in the cabin she promised to go to was a nice touch, as was one last glimpse of a taunting Papa Legba. Finally all of the strands are being solved.

    ‘Coven’ has not been a perfect season. It has had its faults, namely it’s slow pace, emphasis on unnecessarily convoluted narratives and its tendency to circle around the resolution for a little too long, but I felt that this episode was a fitting finale. This season was never going to be like the previous two, so it had to find its own way and its own conclusion. There were some ridiculous moments, (Myrtle being burned at the stake again?? Kyle just getting away with killing Madison??) but I did actually felt a sense of sadness as the doors to the Academy closed. The performances from the actresses this series were entertaining and brilliant each week, even if the script was a little questionable, and the art direction/cinematography was always superb. It seems as if most of the cast will be back for season four, so I guess until then the speculation as to what lies in wait begins!

    Alice Rush


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