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    Jim Fern gets to colour the world of Judge Dredd along with writers John Wagner and Alan Grant as well as artist Carlos Ezquerra in next week's Judge Dredd Classics #8, and we've got an exclusive preview which you can see right here...


    Dredd and his crack team of judges have infiltrated the borders of Mega-City One’s Sov enemies! Will Dredd finally get a hold of the rogue war criminal “Mad Dog” Kazan?















    Judge Dredd Classics # 8 arrives on February 5th.


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    It's been a big week for 20th Century Fox's upcoming superhero sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, what with 25 special edition Empire covers featuring much of the cast [see here], as well as two batches of images [see here and here], and word from director Bryan Singer that Anna Paquin's Rogue might still feature in the movie, despite him cutting an action sequence featuring the original X-Men trilogy star [see here]. However, Singer and producer-screenwriter Simon Kinberg (shepherd of Fox's Marvel universe) have taken a break from Days of Future Past to look further into the future - 2016, specifically - and the studio's next mutant offering X-Men: Apocalypse.

    "[X-Men: Apocalypse] is more of a First Class sequel [and] it will take place some time after [Days of Future Past]," Singer told Empire (via SHH). "What happens in this movie brings about what'll happen in that movie... One thing that interests me is the notion of ancient mutants. What would people thousands of years ago, without the benefit of science, think mutants were? And more importantly, what would mutants thousands of years ago think they were? Gods? Titans? Angels? Demons? And if such mutants did exist thousands of years ago, what became of them? Did one survive?"

    Kinberg - whose other Fox-Marvel credits include X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class and the upcoming The Fantastic Four - went on to add that, "Age of Apocalypse was one of my favorite stores,” he said. “We like the stakes of it, and it feels like a story that could impact a lot of our favorite characters in big, dramatic ways. We feel it's a very different story from Days of Future Past. For starters, it's a very different villain, and the characters will be in very different places emotionally."

    X-Men: Apocalypse is set for release on May 26th 2016 while X-Men: Days of Future Past hits screens May 23rd this year.


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    Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting comeback hasn't exactly got off to the best of starts, with the likes of The Last Stand and Escape Plan failing to score the kind of success that the Austrian Oak enjoyed during the height of his career. However, things could change as Arnie starts revisiting some of his earlier work, and while the Twins sequel Triplets is unlikely to recapture the glory days, he's got Terminator: Genesis due in 2015, and he's also set to revisit his breakthrough role as Conan the Cimmerian for The Legend of Conan. Speaking to IGN, screenwriter Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious 6) has offered a few words about the fantasy sequel, describing it as Schwarzenegger's Unforgiven:

    "I don't want to give away plot, but Conan's Conan to me. Look, for my money, I don't think that the right way. I'm not interested in passing on the torch. It's Conan! It's Arnold Schwarzenegger. We're bringing him back for a reason. When I say Unforgiven, I mean it's a guy who has to come back, and I want him to play his age. I want him to be looking at the later years of his life and have to contemplate this horrific threat. Sitting down and walking through the story with [Schwarzenegger], he's amazing. It's one of the projects that I am incredibly excited about, because I know when you hear Conan and you hear certain things, like the instinct is 'There was just a Conan movie and we know those Conan things' -- this is different, I'm telling you. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't perfectly fitting and built off that first movie and if it wasn't awesome, and it's awesome. It's a great character journey. People think it's just going to swords and hacking and effects. It is not. It is a character story. It's awesome."

    Morgan then went on to discuss 2011's failed reboot Conan the Barbarian, which starred Jason Momoa in the lead role, and how it compared to John Milius 1982 original: "Look, I think Jason is a really good actor. I love him, especially in Game of Thrones -- holy s***, he's great! But it is what it is. That's the version they set out and did. The version that I am really interested in, the one that I went to Arnold with, and went to the studio with is, it's a different version, and it really is a take on...Conan the Barbarian, people can say what they want about it, I think it's actually a brilliant movie. I think the lack of dialogue in it...I think John did such a good job with it, such a good job. There's a lesson about what it is to be a man and a warrior and 'What is civilization in barbarism?' and 'What do you believe in?' and lessons of life. I think there's so much in that movie that we are now going to be able to jump ahead and build on that foundation that they built, those types of lessons. I think it's going to be something really special and iconic and different than people expect."

    Are you excited for The Legend of Conan? Let us know in the comments below....


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    Following on from yesterday's character posters, Marvel Studios has released two new one-sheets for the upcoming superhero sequel Captain America: The First Avenger featuring Chris Evans (Cap), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier) and Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), along with a teaser for Sunday's Super Bowl spot featuring an exciting glimpse at the brand new footage set to debut during the big game...



    "After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy — the Winter Soldier."


    Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release on March 26th in the UK and April 4th in North America, with a cast that also includes  Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola) and Maximiliano Hernandez (Agent Jasper Sitwell) and MCU newcomers Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain) as Sam Wilson / Falcon, Emily VanCamp (Revenge) as Sharon Carter / Agent 13, Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty) as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones and George St-Pierre (Death Warrior) as Georges Batroc / Batroc the Leaper.


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    Regarded by some as the greatest TV show of all time, The Wire is an almost Shakespearean tale of rival drug gangs in Baltimore, examining how the police, school systems and media interact with them. As a complete and unyielding social commentary on a particular city, it was pretty much unprecedented and still generates interest even several years after it finished.

    With so many hardcore fans proclaiming its genius,The Wire helped kick-start the careers of many, with its alumni having gone on to great things in other shows and Hollywood. Here, we look at what has happened to those fearsome gangsters we learned to love on the show.

    Stringer Bell – Idris Elba

    As drug kingpin Bell, who attempts to shield himself from dirty money with property deals and by influencing politicians, Idris Elba was an instant hit on The Wire and the opportunity has propelled him into the big leagues. Whether it's playing the titular detective-with-issues in the BBC’s Luther, or Nelson Mandela in the current Hollywood biopic, Elba's career is going from strength to strength.

    Omar Little - Michael K. Williams

    The gay predator of the drug scene, Omar was a big favourite among The Wire's audience. Actor Michael K. Williams has gone on to huge acclaim as Chalky White in HBO's similarly-sprawling Boardwalk Empire and can currently be seen in Oscar-tipped epic 12 Years a Slave.

    Felicia ‘Snoop’ Pearson – Herself

    Played by a non-professional actor with a troubled past, Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson was one of The Wire's most feared characters. In reality, Pearson has appeared in several music videos, including hits from ASAP Rocky and Rick Ross, as well as founding her own youth drama school.

    Avon Barksdale - Wood Harris


    As the dominant drug dealer Avon Barksdale, Wood Harris quickly established himself as a key player of The Wire. He has since starred in several films including Sweetwater, about the first black player in the NBA, and Just Another Day, where two rappers clash. After narrating the documentary Benji, the story of tragic basketball player Ben Wilson, Harris took on a Broadway role in A Streetcar Named Desire.

    Marlo Stanfield - Jamie Hector

    Jamie Hector played the role of the ambitious and ruthless gangster Marlo Stanfield and since leaving The Wire has appeared in films such as Blackout with Melvin Van Peebles and Just Another Day with fellow Wire star, Wood Harris. He has also played small roles in CSI Miami and Common Law.

    So there's our run-down of what has happened to our favourite gangsters from The Wire. As one of the most acclaimed TV shows of all time, it's certainly been an excellent springboard for some fantastic talent.


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    Out of the Furnace, 2013.

    Directed by Scott Cooper.
    Starring Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker.

    Movie Review - Out of the Furnace (2013)

    SYNOPSIS:

    When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn't follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

    Movie Review - Out of the Furnace (2013)

    Watching Out of the Furnace I got a warm feeling inside. Not because the story is a delight or because the characters are charming (far, far from it), but because I was reminded of the cinematic sensibilities of American cinema of the 1970s. To my mind, nothing can touch the American New Wave for consistent brilliance; the film makers had something to say, often driven by political climates, or a vision so strong that nothing was going to get in their way, even if it ultimately resulted in financial failure. The art came first; an ethic seemingly lost today.

    Director Scott Cooper shares my love for that period and this, his second feature, reminds us of what modern American cinema is so sorely missing. That said, when films such as this and David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints do get released, they fill me with such joy that I believe, for a fleeting moment, that not all cinema is now driven by the studios and ‘likes’ on Facebook to unlock teaser clips.

    Anyone who calls themselves a film fan will see Cooper clearly and unashamedly paying homage to Michael Cimino’s 1978 masterpiece The Deer Hunter throughout the film, sometimes to a fault. Moreover, the final shot is, according to the director, inspired by the final shot of Francis Ford Coppola’s flawless picture The Godfather Part II. I didn’t see the connection when I saw the film, as many won’t, but reading interviews with the director allows me to appreciate the film even more. The final shot now says so much with so little, keeping in line with the screenplay as a whole.

    The film uses dialogue sparingly, often relying on the viewer to bridge gaps in narrative and time. As brothers Russell and Rodney Baze, Christian Bale and Casey Affleck communicate not purely through words but with actions, punches, revving car engines. They feel like real brothers off the page, as does the relationship between Russell and his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) feel like two people who are, and have been, in love. There is a scene on a bridge, after the two have had to split, that is heart achingly sad; it’s the sort of emotion that only great acting, intelligent writing, and perfect lens choice to both get close and then distance and isolate characters can bring.

    This isn’t a complex film in its story, but there is so much going on contextually that Cooper builds far more from this simple story than one might expect. There is a dower mood and foreboding sense of dread from the very first scene, which applies an extra layer of gloom to the already gloomy situation the characters find themselves in. It is 2008 and the US economy is in a slump which means the mill where Russell has worked all his life is facing closure. Rodney is back from Iraq, unable to find a job like his brother has, or unwilling to accept this is normality for him if he stays in the town. Rodney, so full of rage and aggression, pays his debts by bare knuckle boxing, but is being asked to take a dive and that is something which goes against the code he holds as a man.

    Cooper’s skill as a director are on show in two fantastic, if very obvious, cross cutting scenes depicting the rebuilding of one brother’s life whilst the other slowly leads himself to ultimate destruction. I have no problem with these sequences, despite the most clear comparisons to The Deer Hunter the film has, for they drive the story forward with a grace we so rarely see anymore. I ask, however, is it better for a young director to take inspiration from such as film as Cimino’s in a cinematic climate such as today’s where films are being promoted three years before release and sequels are greenlit before the first film even comes out, or stick to the same copy and paste formula in sad attempts to mask the fact that a director has no vision or love for their material?

    Considering, at the time of writing, the film has taken less than $12 million in nearly two months at the US box office and The Hangover Part III took more than that in its first day, it’s no surprise this type of film making and film maker is so scarce.

    Cooper’s film is violent in a way which reminds us how uncomfortable and real violence is. The boxing scenes with Rodney are unforgiving, but the scenes where Russell is called into action struck me the most. The final act, where the film may well divide most audience, is essentially a revenge story but not one where a man takes on an army which results in a climatic gun battle. No, in Cooper’s film the climax has no entertainment or pleasure for either audience or character and revenge is not seen a cathartic. Notice that Russell is at a distance when he fires his gun; he distances himself for the shots both physically and metaphorically for this is not his world but a world he now finds himself drawn into but also one he can still escape. He cannot get out of the furnace, but he’s not yet into the fire.

    I can’t pretend the film is without its minor issues, most notably an ill conceived rip off of The Silence Of The Lambs which should have been taken out for it adds false tension when the film is naturally tense and dangerous as it is. The inclusion of Forest Whitaker as the local sheriff who is now dating Russell’s ex-girlfriend does seem rather trite, but is necessary for the aforementioned final shot to have impact, considering the actions which unfold moments before.

    As you can see, Out of the Furnace is my type of cinema. It’s reminiscent of the cinema I watched when I began to appreciate the art of film making and the films I fall back on whenever I’m asked to name some of my favourites. We’ll never see a Heaven’s Gate, The Deer Hunter, or McCabe and Mrs Miller again but it’s nice to know some directors want to evoke that style once again.

    I’ll leave the final word to Cooper, who said in a recent interview: “If [critics] crush a film like this, then we're all in cape misery and sequels and comic book movies. So many people who have seen the film are saying the exact same thing: They want to see movies like this.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

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

    Rohan Morbey - follow me on Twitter




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    After bumper ratings for its premiere last year, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been bleeding viewers over the first half of its season, so the producers have started pulling out the big guns for the back-nine episodes, with Stan Lee set to cameo, J. August Richards' Mike Peterson turning into Deathlok, Jaimie Alexander reprising the role of Lady Sif to battle Lorelei (Elena Satine), and Bill Paxton joning for a guest role as Agent John Garrett in an upcoming story arc. And, with the midseason premiere approaching, Clark Gregg has adopted a rather odd approach to convincing the six million or so fans who've turned off to give the show another shot.

    "Those aren’t geeks. Those are losers," Gregg tells The Salt Lake City Tribune, referring to fans who've given up on the series. "You start to have people like Deathlok showing up; You start to understand that a bunch of these different episodes were connected. A lot of the geeks that I respect most... are very excited about where we’re going. So I’m going to choose to work for them." Gregg then went on to backtrack a little, stating that, "I guess I don’t mean to say that people who have been frustrated by that discovery period are necessarily losers. I just think they should be, perhaps, a little more patient."

    So, are you a geek, or are you a loser? How patient should you be with a 22 episode season before you decide to call it a day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below....



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    The second instalment of a five-part miniseries created by Hawaii Five-O writer Joe Halpin Sr. sees him collaborating with Juanfracisco Guerrero who handles the artwork and colouring on Gate-Way #2, and we've got an exclusive preview for you right here...


    Jake Ryan abandons the safety of Hope Town to explore the cold depths of the city proper. Will he adjust to the anarchic city of the dead? As he struggles to find the ghosts of his past, and confront old regrets, he will find that even in Purgatory some mistakes can follow you to the grave.










    Gate-Way #2 goes on sale February 5th.

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    Back in 2012, actors Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn reprised their roles as Lister, Rimmer, The Cat and Kryten for Red Dwarf X, the first full series of the classic British sci-fi sitcom to hit our screens in over a decade. Flickering Myth's Villordsutch caught up with Robert Llewellyn this past week and asked Robert how he felt about returning to the much-loved character for the latest series:

    "There is no question that Red Dwarf has become a very big part of my life since 1989, it’s been a massive privilege to be involved and I count the cast as some of my best mates so it’s always fun to work with them. I essentially worship the ground Doug Naylor walks on so I am always full of admiration for his insights and the incredible effort he puts into writing the scripts. When we sit down together and read through the new scripts, that’s as close as we get to the experience the audience gets when the see the episode on the telly. I love those days, then my heart sinks when I remember I have to learn all those lines and remember them when my head is reaching temperatures that would set off alarms in Sellafield."

    And, with British TV stars such as Harry Hill and Alan Partridge making the jump to the big screen, we asked if there was any update on the long-rumoured Red Dwarf movie: "That is so much a question for Doug, I’m sure if he wrote the script and managed to raise the budget, none of us would say ‘No Doug, I don’t want to make a Red Dwarf movie.’ I was very happy when we made a new series and recorded it in front of a live audience, it kind of felt that’s where Red Dwarf belongs, it’s a sit com about four space bums trapped together… for ever. I’d never say never, I think a movie could work if it was pitched right, but I’m happy that we’ll (hopefully) make another series soon."

    Be sure to check back tomorrow for Villordsutch's full interview with Robert Llewellyn.



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    There's news, and then there's news. Yesterday, though, neither happened. Instead, we had NEWS! Things went up a notch.

    Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Now You See Me) was announced as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie. It isn't yet clear whether he'll be the film's central villain, or just a peripheral player, but he'll most likely be around for many a DC movie to come.

    To celebrate, the wonderful Screen Junkies have cut together clips of Eisenberg in various movies with Man of Steel to form a mock trailer for Batman vs. Superman. There's a bit of adult humour past 1.20, so beware. Check it out after director Zack Snyder's (Sucker Punch, Watchmen) comments on Eisenberg's casting below...

    "Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavoury reputation preceding him since 1940," said Snyder on Eisenberg's casting. "What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions."


    Batman vs. Superman is set for release on May 6th 2016, with a cast that includes Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) and Lawrence Fishburne (Perry White).

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    After working together on Gangs of New York, Deadline are reporting that Liam Neeson (Taken, A Million Ways to Die in the West) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo) will reunite for the director's next film Silence.

    The movie is an adaptation of Shusaku Endo's novel about Jesuits attempting to spread Christianity in 17th century Japan, and has been one of Scorsese's pet projects for over 20 years. The cast also includes Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Never Let Me Go) as Father Rodrigues, and Ken Watanabe (Godzilla, Batman Begins) and Adam Driver (Girls, Inside Llewyn Davis) in yet-to-be-announced roles. Read a more detailed description of the plot below...

    Young Portuguese Jesuit Sebastião Rodrigues (Garfield) is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy. (Ferreira is a historical figure, who apostatized after torture and later married a Japanese woman and wrote a treatise against Christianity.) 

    Fr. Rodrigues and his companion Fr. Francisco Garrpe arrive in Japan in 1638. There they find the local Christian population driven underground. Security officials force suspected Christians to trample on fumie, which are crudely carved images of Christ. Those who refuse are imprisoned and killed. The novel relates the trials of the Christians and increasing hardship suffered by Rodrigues, as more is learnt about the circumstances of Ferreira’s apostasy.

    Going by that synopsis, you'd expect Neeson to playthe disgraced mentorFr. Cristóvão Ferreira. It all sounds a bit 'Heart of Darkness,' and, going by Scorsese's recent form, is very exciting.

    Silence is currently scheduled for a 2015 release.

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    The Flickering Myth writing team sit down to discuss Jesse Eisenberg's casting as Lex Luthor...


    Let's be honest, who saw this one coming? Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor is Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman, set for release in 2016, while Jeremy Irons will play Alfred Pennyworth.

    But what do our writers think? Here's the latest Flickering Myth reaction on Eisenberg's casting...

    Chris Cooper: Well bloody hell.

    Scott J Davis: Get the Irons thing, that's great casting. Eisenberg is a train wreck casting. Then again, same was said of Ledger... The real "villain" of the piece is Snyder in my book. Dude couldn't direct a Yellow Pages advert...

    Helen Murdoch: Eisenberg is the same in everything! Wasn't going to watch this anyway, but wow!

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: Thank God they got a good actor

    Gary Collinson: I just can't see how I'll enjoy his cocky performance as Lex Luthor, or buy him in the role. He's got about as much physical presence as Gal Gadot.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: But he doesn't need physical presence unlike Gal Gadot, all he needs to do is pull off being intelligent.

    Thomas Harris: He's a fine actor with enough charisma to carry the role. However, Snyder isn't exactly the greatest director of actors and Eisenberg has never played a genuinely interesting, multidimensional character.

    Gary Collinson: I think Luthor needs some physical presence about him. He's going to be dwarfed by Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck. But obviously they're going for a different take on the role. I'm not really criticising Eisenberg's acting ability, although he's only really got the one character and it's not really the way I'd like to see Luthor portrayed. Who knows though, maybe he'll surprise me.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: I loved him in The Social Network if Gal can be Wonder Woman, then he can be Lex. I'm more worried about Goyer still being attached then Jesse being cast. He got 5-6 Oscar caliber actors and ultimately they were wasted due to the failings of the script

    Scott J Davis: I agree, I think Luther needs a physical presence and Eisenberg doesn't have that. He's a decent actor, but I have always found he is more adept as a loveable loser rather than this type of character, a big one at that. Similar things were said about Ledger, but I always felt he had that command to make the Joker work, even before we saw it. Irons is great casting though, but I'm like Martin Deer and others in that the biggest problem this film has is Snyder.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: I'm still concerned with Goyer. Would anybody call the performances in Man of Steel or Watchmen bad? I think the shortcomings of the script is what ruined Man Of Steel for a lot of people.

    Gary Collinson: Off-topic, but Chris Terrio has rewritten the script, which I think could be a wise move.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: Goyer is a great story by guy he should be in charge of the outline and that's it.

    Kris Wall: Disappointed, was really hoping for Michael Cera to play Lex Luthor.

    Luke Owen:Do you know I like about this movie so far? It's ballsy casting choices. Affleck as Batman, Gadot as Wonder Woman, Eisenberg as Luthor. These are bold choices that will either go tits up or make people go, "boy were we wrong to pre-judge". I like Eisenberg a lot and he could play a power hungry, megalomaniacal Luthor really well. Hell, he just needs to do an overblown version of Mark Zuckerberg.

    Either that or Synder was looking to cast Heisenberg and got confused.

    Chris Cooper: Well. That is quite something. Eisenberg can definitely do 'smartest guy in the room' and 'smug prick'. My only issue is lack of physical stature. But not everyone needs to be 6 foot plus and barrel chested.

    Irons? Well he's English? I guess. I like him enough to again give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Very much in wait and see mode.

    Matt Spencer-Skeen: Not a fan of Eisenberg, but Luke is right in that it is ballsy casting. I guess this comes down to how they're going to use him in this clear JLA set up. Is he the main villain or is he pulling the strings in the background? I think if they go for the latter it could add the air of menace that makes this work.

    Simon Columb: I think its a great casting - and clearly he can appear in many, many sequels ...

    Chris Cooper:We have 'Batfleck'. Now we have 'Lexenberg'.

    Rohan Morbey: If there's one thing worse than Zack Snyder directing, then surely it's Zack Synder directing Jesse Eisenberg.

    J-P Wooding:  I don't see this as a problem. Eisenberg is capable of delivering Luthor. The real question is what will Snyder want Eisenberg's portrayal to be? From a physical point of view, with Supes and The Bat, perhaps Luthor needs to have minimal presence? Otherwise it may be a case of wrecking most of a state rather than just Gotham. Although would be a good twist if Wayne was ultimately responsible for it's downfall!

    Helen Murdoch: I'm not looking forward to the movie anyway but Eisenberg is just wrong in my mind. Hopefully he turns out to be brilliant and I'm proved wrong but I'm not holding my breath.

    Martin Deer: I do think it's funny a conversation about casting yet again turns to Goyer and Snyder hate. But anyway, I just hate this casting in every way. I laugh and judge those who flip out about castings, because it's the end result that matters, but this I'm just enraged about. Nothing about him says Lex and nothing about him says to me he can do it. I was hoping for an interpretation that showed Lex as the peak of human intellect but also physicality, striving to the best in all aspects. Unfortunately it looks like we might get a snotty kid version. I just don't get it. But then, what about this film is making any sense to anyone

    Who am I kidding, I just can't stand the blokes face.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: For me I brought it up because people forget that actors can only do so much with bad material. All the actors in Man Of Steel did great with what they had, but I thought they were held back by bad dialogue and weak character arcs.

    Villordsutch: Remove Snyder and I'm happy. He's the Schumacher/Bay/Emmerich thorn in my side.

    Gary Collinson: Apart from Sucker Punch, I haven't really got much against Snyder. I've liked all of his other films, and I think he could do a good job on a Justice League movie, which Batman vs. Superman is kind of shaping up to be anyway.

    Thomas Harris: I'm yet to be impressed by anything Snyder has done. Nothing more than a pornographer with a budget.

    Andrew Naylor: He's Lex? Realy? What do I know, Ledger turned out to be awesome.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: While I don't think using Heath Ledger's joker as an example to excuse any backlash for casting, I think it applies here since Eisenberg is a good actor

    Kris Wall: I just don't like Snyder as a director, apart from Dawn of the Dead which I really like and some parts of Watchmen, as he's just another Michael Bay and every decision he's made outside of Ben Affleck for this film has been nigh on ridiculous. However, if I'm proven wrong Ill be more than happy to eat my hat while embarking upon a Snyder film marathon.

    Alice Mary Rush: I see someone has already nabbed my Heisenberg joke. Dang it. In all seriousness, yes I do think it's an odd choice, but nothing about this movie thus far has been totally predictable. I'm trying to reserve my judgement because I do think he's a good actor, but I do have a slight feeling of unease that I can't really put my finger on. I reckon he could pull off a power hungry, sarcastic, dry villain, but I have to say I was hoping for something more sinister with Luthor in this film and I'm unsure of whether Eisenberg can rise to that challenge. Guess we'll see.

    Matt Spencer-Skeen: Yeah I saw the Heisenberg joke and was annoyed I hadn't thought of that, I do feel Cranston would have fit the role well if it was written with an older Luthor.

    Sadé Green: I cannot believe Eisenberg is Lex Luthor! I like him enough but I just can't see him as one of the most infamous villains to have ever existed. He doesn't seem maniacal enough. I think this role could make or break him, if he screws it up, he won't be doing anything decent for a while. As for Irons, okay casting, but Alfred is like your favourite Grandad - I don't get that feeling from Irons at all.

    Anghus Houvouras: Eisenberg is a fine actor, but let's face it, he lacks malevolence. He's more Igor than Frankenstein. It's an interesting bit of casting if nothing else. However, there was a load of interesting casting in Man of Steel that ended up going nowhere. Russell Crowe was an inspired choice for Jor-El and he was dull as dishwater. Michael Shannon was an inspired choice for Zod until he chewed all the scenery and came across like a bad cartoon character. Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White: inspired but totally useless. Fishburne was sleepwalking through the movie. Diane Lane.... zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Costner was the only one who seemed to have any level of dimension to his part. It doesn't matter who they cast, it's still Snyder behind the camera which means sleepy, one-note performances. Eisenberg has been consistently interesting throughout his career, but he seems more henchman the head honcho.

    David Bishop: I like both casting choices. I'm hoping Eisenberg would want to do something completely different to his Zuckerberg performance, but we shall see. Irons as Alfred is an odd choice, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. At least they're going in completely different directions to the casting choices in the Donner/Singer/Burton/Schumacher/Nolan films.

    Oliver Davis: I like the Eisenberg casting. I've always been a fan, and his mumbling style could be a rather nice fit. Strangely, it's the Jeremy Irons role I'm a bit apprehensive about. He doesn't feel old enough for me. Christian Bale and Michael Caine had a 40 year gap between them. Ben Affleck and Irons only have 24.

    J-P Wooding: I agree with Oliver about Irons; unless there's more to this interpretation of Alfred's role, I can't see why you'd pick him over others of a more "appropriate" age. Perhaps he's an older Batman from future-parallel-days-gone by-past or something! He will be brought back by Superman at the end, by just spinning the Earth backwards.

    So there you have it. Not quite a 50/50 split down the room, but there are some who are in support of this "unique" casting.

    What did you make of Jesse Eisenberg's casting as Lex Luthor? Let us know in the comments below...


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    Our weekly round up of all the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Batman vs. Superman, Arrow, Constantine, Justice League: War, Son of Batman, Batman & Robin, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America 3, Thor 3, Ant-Man, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more...

    So, Henry Cavill in Michigan and production reportedly set to get underway, we've finally found out who'll be playing Kal-El's nemesis Lex Luthor in Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman. No, it's not Bryan Cranston, Mark Strong, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, David Ramsey or any of the other names plucked out of thin air these past few months, but rather The Social Network and Now You See Me star Jesse Eisenberg. "Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavoury reputation preceding him since 1940," said director Zack Snyder on Eisenberg's casting. "What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions." You can read the thoughts of our writing team on Eisenberg's casting as Lex Luthor in the latest Flickering Myth Reaction here...

    ...Eisenberg wasn't the only addition to the cast of Batman vs. Superman yesterday, with Snyder also announcing that Jeremy Irons (Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Borgias) will play Alfred Pennyworth, trusty butlerto Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne:"As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne..."

    ...Sticking with Batman vs. Superman and costume designer Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle) has spoken briefly about his work designing the iconic costumes for Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot): "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. 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..."

    ...There's been an awful lot of speculation passed off as genuine "insider info" on Batman vs. Superman since the film was announced at last year's Comic-Con, but this week saw a new "scoop" climbing to the top of the bullshit pile, and unless Cosmic Book News excels itself during the production, this one could remain king of the hill when it comes to hilariously false reporting on the Man of Steel sequel. Anyway, the award for BS "rumour" of the week goes to Brazilian entertainment reporter Ana Maria Bahiana who claimed on Twitter that Affleck is out as Batman due to the crazy fan reaction, the announcement will be made in a couple of months due to "creative differences", and potential replacements include Josh Brolin and Michael Keaton. Sadly, several websites (gotta love Yahoo! Movies) decided to run with this "story" as having even the remotest chance of being true - much like the broken leg / threatening to quit "scoops" we've suffered these last few week - despite the fact that only days before it surfaced, Ben Affleck pulled out of directing the pilot for Fox's The Middle Man so he'd be free for production of Batman vs. Superman. Nothing like taking advantage of a controversial casting. Next week's scoop - "Jesse Eisenberg is out as Lex Luthor due to [insert first thing that comes to mind]"...

    ...Batman vs. Superman may have been pushed back to 2016, but we'll see several DC Comics superheroes on the big screen this year - in brick form at least - as Channing Tatum (Superman), Will Arnett (Batman), Jonah Hill (Green Lantern) and Cobie Smulders (Wonder Woman) lend their voices to The LEGO Movie, and this week saw Warner Bros. debuting a new trailer that parodies last year's Man of Steel trailer, complete with Hans Zimmer score; check it out here...

    ...Shifting to the small screen and the next episode of Arrow will see Nyssa al Ghul - the illegitimate daughter of Ra's al Ghul - heading to Starling City and you can check out the first look images of Katrina Law (Spartacus) as Nyssa alongside Caity Lotz (The Canary) and Stephen Amell (Arrow) here, as well as two promos - the second of which reveals that The Canary has been sharing more than membership of the League of Assassins with the daughter of the Demon. Meanwhile, it's also been announced that Jessica De Gouw's Huntress is set to return to the show in March for two-thirds of a Birds of Prey reunion...

    ...Over at NBC and the pilot episode for Daniel Cerone (The Mentalist) and David S. Goyer's (The Dark Knight Trilogy) proposed Constantine TV series has secured a director in Neil Marshall, whose credits include Dog Soldiers, The Descent and the acclaimed Game of Thrones episode 'Blackwater'. There's no word yet on casting, but we shouldn't have too long to wait before we find out who'll be stepping into Keanu Reeves' shoes as the supernatural detective returns to the screen...

    ...Ahead of its arrival next week, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has debuted three new stills from the direct-to-video animated movie Justice League: War, featuring Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash. Justice League: War hits shelves this coming Tuesday, with Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) directing a voice cast that includes Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars) as Batman, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as Superman, Michelle Monaghan (Source Code) as Wonder Woman, Justin Kirk (Weeds) as Green Lantern, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as The Flash, Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) as Shazam, Steve Blum (Young Justice) as Darkseid, Bruce Thomas (Birds of Prey) as Desaad, and Rocky Carroll (NCIS) as Silas Stone...

    ...After debuting the the trailer and cover art for Son of Batman last week, Warner Bros. has now unveiled the special features set to accompany the adaptation of Grant Morrison's 'Batman and Son', which includes a look at Warner's third DC Universe Animated Original Movie of the year, Batman: Assualt on Arkham. Head here for a rundown of all the features for the May release, which sees Jason O'Mara continuing to voice the Dark Knight alongside Stuart Allan (Rise of the Guardians) as Damian Wayne / Robin, Morena Baccarin (Homeland) as Talia, Giancarlo Esposito (Once Upon a Time) as Ra's Al Ghul, David McCallum (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Alfred Pennyworth, Xander Berkeley (24) as Kirk Langstrom / Man-Bat and Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) as Deathstroke / Slade Wilson...

    ...Before we move on from DC's movie universe, George Clooney has been reminiscing about his time as the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher's 1997 travesty Batman & Robin: "I wasn't thrilled with the nipples on the Batsuit. You know that's not something you really think about when you're putting it on. You figure all Batsuits have nipples and then you realize yours was really the first. Batman was just constantly cold I guess. But I have plenty of other things that I'm really obviously embarrassed about too. Oftentimes it'll be stumbling out of a bar drunk or something dumb like that but as you get older a major goal in life is try to do less and less embarrassing things. You know, try not to face plant publicly as often as possible... I don’t think my Batman could have even walked across the stage. If Batman actually had to wear the suit that I wore, which was like 40 pounds of rubber, he literally physically wouldn’t be able to lift his arms. They put you on a flat board, lie you on the ground and bolt you into this thing, and then they just pull the board out and leave you standing. Joel Schumacher goes action, I say ‘I’m Batman’ and then, cut, they drop me back down on the board and leave me on my back. Everitt McGill could kick Batman’s ass..."

    ...Shifting to the Marvel Cinematic Universe now and Marvel Studios has stepped up the publicity for its upcoming Phase Two offering Captain America: The Winter Soldier by releasing a batch of character posters for Cap (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), as well as a sprinkling of behind the scenes images which includes our first look at George St-Pierre (Death Warrior) as Georges Batroc / Batroc the Leaper [see here], in addition to two new-one sheets that adds The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) into the mix, and a brief teaser for this Sunday's Super Bowl TV spot comprised of new footage from the upcoming solo sequel [see here]...

    ...Chris Evans has also been speaking about his second solo outing, giving us an insight into how Steve Rogers is adapting to his life in the 21st century when we catch up with him post-The Avengers: "He feels comfortable within the structure that he’s given He likes to serve. He likes to take orders. He’s like a herding dog. He needs a task. And I think the issue in the first two, Captain America and The Avengers– well, Captain America - was about giving him the opportunity. Then he got the opportunity, and then he was thrust into a different world. And in Avengers, there were so many characters, it’s tough to kind of spend too much with any one. And on this one, it’s about him trying to not just acclimate to the modern world, but it’s always been Cap’s goal to do what’s right and to be of service, to help where he can. In this movie, I think the question is, well, what is right? I think it was a lot easier in the ’40s to know who the evil was. There’s no disputing Nazis are bad. And now, it becomes a little bit more of a difficult answers. There’s a lot more of a grey area. What is the right thing? And are you of service to that cause? That’s where it becomes a tricky dispute for Cap because things were just done differently in the 40s. Threats are different now, and precautionary measures are taken now, can be questionable and somewhat suspect in his eyes. So it’s a tough hurdle for him to jump..."

    ...At this point, it seems likely that there's more than meets the eye when it comes to Robert Redford's S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Alexander Pierce - especially as Redford has previously said he was drawn to playing a villain - and the screen legend has also been chatting more about the upcoming film this week, explaining the attraction of a Marvel movie: "One of the reasons that I did it was I wanted to experience this new form of filmmaking that’s taken over where you have kind of cartoon characters brought to life through high technology. The Avengers series is a product of high technology playing a major role in the new order of filmmaking so I wanted to experience that — I just wanted to know what that was like and I had that opportunity, so for me it was like stepping into new terrain just to experience what it was like..."

    ...Captain America: The Winter Soldier may still be a couple of months away from release, but Marvel Studios have apparently seen enough to bring back the directing duo of Anthony and Joe Russo for Cap's third outing, with the pair said to have put together an outline for Captain America 3, which they're currently developing with a view to directing. So, it seems the Sentinel of Liberty will be back for Marvel's Phase Three, and it also looks like he'll be joined by another Avenger in the God of Thunder, with Marvel also revealing this week that Thor: The Dark World screenwriter Christopher Yost will co-write Thor 3 with Marvel producer Craig Kyle. Between them, the pair have extensive Marvel experience, 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...

    ...In other Phase Three news, Paul Rudd (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) has briefly spoken about his upcoming role in Edgar Wright's Ant-Man, stating that "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 went on to state that "it's a thrill" to work with Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra), before swerving a question about the possibility of his I Love You, Man co-star Rashida Jones joining the cast as 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." Meanwhile, Edgar Wright has hinted that Rudd's Scott Lang won't be the only Ant-Man suiting up in the film, posting an image of a miniature to his blog which seems to indicate we'll also get to see Douglas' Hank Pym sporting the hero's classic 60s costume...

    ...Although it's unconfirmed by Marvel Studios, it's been reported that South Korean supermodel and actress Kim Soo Hyun (a.k.a. Yoo Ri El) has bagged a role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, where she'll apparently play a doctor working for Ultron (James Spader) before shifting sides and end up assisting Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark...

    ...With Thor: The Dark World set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray this month, we've caught a few early glimpses at the bonus material for last year's Phase Two sequel over the past seven days, including a deleted scene featuring Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Frigga (Rene Russo) [see here], Tom Hiddleston's original screen test for the role of The Mighty Avenger [see here], behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of Chris Evans' surprise cameo, featuring Hiddleston dressed in Cap's Avengers costume [see here], and a peek at the gag reel from the film [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...

    ...ABC has released the first action-packed clip from the next episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., entitled 'T.R.A.C.K.S.', which you can see here, while leading man Clark Gregg has spat his dummy out over fans who've abandoned the show in their droves: "Those aren’t geeks. Those are losers. You start to have people like Deathlok showing up; You start to understand that a bunch of these different episodes were connected. A lot of the geeks that I respect most... are very excited about where we’re going. So I’m going to choose to work for them." Perhaps sensing that criticising six million Marvel fans isn't the best way to convince them to tune back in, Gregg then went on to backtrack, stating that that, "I guess I don’t mean to say that people who have been frustrated by that discovery period are necessarily losers. I just think they should be, perhaps, a little more patient." As it happens, Marvel does seem to be pulling out a few stops to try and get fans back on board, with Stan Lee set to cameo, J. August Richards' Mike Peterson due to undergo a transformation into the cyborg Deathlok, and Jaimie Alexander reprising the role of Lady Sif for a trip to Midgard in search of The Enchantress' sister Lorelei, played by Elena Satine (Smallville). Will that be enough to boost the ratings, or ensure the show gets picked up for a second season? Only time will tell...

    ...20th Century Fox teamed up with Empire Magazine this week to preview the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past by releasing 25 special edition covers featuring most of the cast, including director Bryan Singer, 'past' and 'future' versions of the Sentinels, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Professor X (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart), Magento (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen), Stryker (Josh Helman), Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), Toad (Evan Jonigkeit), Havok (Lucas Till), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Storm (Halle Berry), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Sunspot (Adan Canto), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Bishop (Omar Sy) and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) [see them all here]. And, as if that wasn't enough, we've also had two batches of new images which you can see here and here - the latter seemingly indicating that Fox has gazumped Joss Whedon not only with Quicksilver but also the Scarlet Witch...

    ...One surprise from the Empire covers was the inclusion of Anna Paquin's Rogue, with Singer previously revealing that he'd cut the character from the film, but it seems there's a chance that she could be back, with the director clarifying his comments to state that it was only an action sequence that he'd decided to remove: "It was one real sequence in the movie. 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." Meanwhile, Singer is also turning his attention towards 2016 and the next X-Men movie X-Men: Apocalypse, offering a brief insight into his plans for the film and confirming that it will revolve around the X-Men: First Class cast / timeline: "[X-Men: Apocalypse] is more of a First Class sequel [and] it will take place some time after [Days of Future Past]. What happens in this movie brings about what'll happen in that movie... One thing that interests me is the notion of ancient mutants. What would people thousands of years ago, without the benefit of science, think mutants were? And more importantly, what would mutants thousands of years ago think they were? Gods? Titans? Angels? Demons? And if such mutants did exist thousands of years ago, what became of them? Did one survive..?"

    ...Last year Channing Tatum expressed his interest in taken on the role of the Cajun card-throwing mutant Gambit in an X-Men movie, and according to producer Lauren Shuler Donner, there's a chance that the project could become a reality: "I'm dying to do a Gambit movie with Channing Tatum. "That doesn't have to be a great big movie. It's a thief in New Orleans, it's a whole different story. He's on board, and I have to get the studio on board. How can anyone resist Channing? He's such a sweetheart..."

    ...While Fox seems intent on expanding its X-Men universe, the studio's next Marvel offering after X-Men: Days of Future Past is a reboot of The Fantastic Four, and while we've heard plenty of names linked to Mister Fantastic, Susan Storm and of course The Human Torch, this week gave us our first possibility for the role of Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing, although reports that Josh Gad (Frozen) was up for the role were quickly shot down by director Josh Trank and Gad himself. Production is set to get underway on The Fantastic Four in two months time, so the studio is presumably waiting until its secured all four leads before announcing who's set to join Michael B. Jordan's Johnny Storm as Marvel's First Family...

    ...Sony is set to give us another look at The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this Sunday with a Super Bowl TV spot for the upcoming Spidey sequel, and we've already had a peek at what's to come with a 40-second promo designed to tease the death of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), while Stone has further added to the speculation that we'll get to see a version of the events of The Amazing Spider-Man #121 playing out on the big screen, stating that "the intention the whole time has been to tell Gwen’s story has closely to the comic as possible." Meanwhile, Marc Webb has also offered up a few words on the scope of the sequel, describing it as "the most ambitious"Spider-Man movie to date: "It's huge. We're pushing the levels of effects, the level of action and the emotional capacity of this kid. It's an aggressive step forward. We throw around the term 'operatic' because of the spectacle and the theatre involved, which is pretty epic. There are enormous sets and great set-pieces. But really it's a very intimate song – this relationship between Peter and Gwen is very delicate and beautiful..."

    ...And finally, it's not often we cover the Heroes in a Half-Shell here in The Week in Spandex, but we'll make an exception this week seeing as we've now had our first look at the updated designs for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in this summer's live-action reboot from director Jonathan Leibesman (Wrath of the Titans) and producer Michael Bay (Transformers: Age of Extinction). If you've somehow missed them this week, head here to see how Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Michaelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) shape up at the TMNT, and head here for our first look at William Fichtner (The Dark Knight) as The Shredder.

    Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen - Available now via Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

    Gary Collinson






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    Luke Owen reviews Ghostbusters #12...

    The end of the year is a hectic time for most businesses, and the Ghostbusters are no exception. Beset from all sides by a surge in spectral activity over this particularly busy season, they're looking forward to a little bit of a break once the new year hits. But recent supernatural symptoms shown by the City that Doesn't Sleep are coming to a head, and the Bogeyman has arrived to take the city's future! 

    2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the Ivan Reitman comedy classic and IDW's Ghostbusters comic series is gearing up to celebrate with the return of Gozer in Mass Hysteria. However, before we get there we have the final part of Happy Horror Days in which our heroes do battle with the bogeyman.

    It's fair to say that Happy Horror Days has been very hit and miss in what still remains to be the best run of Ghostbusters comics in quite some time, but Ghostbusters #12 is easily the best of the bunch. As told through the eyes of Ortiz as she reports back to her superior, Ghostbusters #12 zips along while never feeling over-stuffed. Erik Burnham crams a lot of story into this issue but the flashback motiff allows for him to skip over certain sections without confusing a reader. While he claims to not clued in on the history of The Real Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters #12 does feel like an homage to the season one episode The Boogieman Cometh which is a nice touch for those fans of the show.

    As always, Dan Shoening's artwork is superb as he captures the characteristics of the Ghostbusters without copying their likenesses and his Bogeyman villain is very creepy. There are also some good nods for hardcore Ghostbusters fans like the aforementioned Boogieman as well as Vigo from Ghostbusters II. Like Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog series, it's light and airy but still retaining an 'adult' tone.

    And while Ghostbusters #12 is a good read and the best of the Happy Horror Days series, the real highlight is the short story at the end which acts as a prelude to Mass Hysteria. Taking story elements from the most recent video game, we see Rookie and Ron Alexander going to a Gozer exhibition being held in Chicago only for things to start going bump in the night. These shorts have always been entertaining as the interplay between Rookie and Ron is pretty funny, but this is the first short in a while that feels relevant. Like a good post-credit sequence, it tees up the upcoming Mass Hysteria really well - and it's looking like it will be a lot of fun.

    It could even be real wrath of God type stuff. The kind where cats and dogs live together.

    Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.

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    It's the Super Bowl tomorrow, which means movie fans can look forward to plenty of expensive TV spots for some of Hollywood's big upcoming releases, but if you can't wait that long or don't fancy sitting through hours of American Football then several have already started popping up online; here's one for 3 Days to Kill, the upcoming thriller from director McG (Charlie's Angels) and starring Kevin Costner (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Amber Heard (Machete Kills), Hailee Steinfeld (Ender's Game) and Connie Nielsen (Nymphomaniac).

    In this heart pounding action-thriller, Kevin Costner is a dangerous international spy, who is determined to give up his high stakes life to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he’s previously kept at arm’s length to keep out of danger. But first, he must complete one last mission- even if it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in ten years, while his wife is out of town.  

    Check out the big game spot here...


    3 Days to Kill opens on February 21st in the States, with a UK date yet to be confirmed.


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    Disney's Chip 'n' Dale looks set to be the latest classic cartoon to get the live-action/CG hybrid treatement, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that the studio has picked up a pitch from award-winning commercials director Robert Rugan, who's set to pen an updated take on the chipmunk duo, with Mandeville Films (Muppets Most Wanted) producing.

    Created back in 1943, Chip and Dale appeared in 23 animated Disney shorts featuring the likes of Pluto and Donald Duck before getting an update in 1989 with the Saturday morning TV series Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, which saw the pair opening a detective agency. Rescue Rangers ran for 65 episodes, and remained popular in syndication for much of the 1990s.

    Nostalgia time: here's the intro for Ch-ch-ch-Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers...



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    We've just posted a Super Bowl TV spot for director McG's upcoming thriller 3 Days to Kill [see here], but if that's not enough Kevin Costner for you for one day, we've also got the big game spot for another Costner-headlined upcoming release in Ivan Reitman's sports comedy-drama Draft Day.

    The film sees Costner as the GM of the Cleveland Browns and also features an all-star cast that also includes Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club), Frank Langella (Robot & Frank), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Chadwick Boseman (42), Tom Welling (Smallville), Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction), Sam Elliott (Up in the Air), Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man), Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream), Kevin Dunn (Transformers), Sean Combs (Muppets Most Wanted) and Josh Pence (The Dark Knight Rises). Check out the Super Bowl spot after the official synopsis....

    On the day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he's willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL.


    Draft Day is set for release on April 11th in North America, with a UK date yet to be confirmed.

     

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    First poster for Paul W.S. Anderson's PompeiiThe Super Bowl TV spots just keep coming, and next up is a look at the promo for Paul W.S. Anderson's upcoming disaster flick Pompeii, which sees Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) leading a cast that also includes Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Kiefer Sutherland (Melancholia), Carrie-Anne Moss (Unthinkable), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World) and Jessica Lucas (Evil Dead). Take a look after the official synopsis...

    It’s late summer in 79 A.D. and the city of Pompeii glitters at the foot of the mighty Mt. Vesuvius. MILO, the slave of a shipping tycoon, dreams of the day he will buy his freedom and marry his master’s daughter, COLUMBA. What he doesn’t know is that Columba’s debt-ridden father has promised Columba to a despicable Roman Senator to pay off an overdue loan.

    Milo does know that his friend, the Gladiator NIGELLUS, is being forced to compete the next day in a seemingly unwinnable battle in the Coliseum. As Milo tries to find a way to save his friend, he learns that Columba has been promised to another man and that he himself has been sold to a new master. Just as it seems things can’t get any worse, Mt. Vesuvius suddenly explodes with the power of 40 nuclear bombs, sending a torrent of 1,000-degree ash and smoke into the city. Lava flows down the mountainside, killing thousands. As Pompeii crumbles, Nigellus is imprisoned inside the Coliseum, Columba is locked inside her family’s villa, and Milo is trapped aboard a ship bound for Naples.

    As the people of Pompeii flee the obliterated city, Milo is determined to return to it to save his friend and his beloved Columba. With fire and ash destroying the only world he’s ever known, an ordinary man is tested to his breaking point in this heart-pounding tale of extraordinary heroism.


    Pompeii is set for release on February 21st.

     

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    The Monuments MenWe've got another Super Bowl TV spot for you ahead of Sunday's big game, this time giving us a new look at George Clooney's latest directorial effort The Monuments Men, which sees Clooney leading a team in the hunt for art plundered by the Nazis in World War II and also stars Matt Damon (Elysium), Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), John Goodman (Argo), Bill Murray (Lost in Translation), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Bob Balaban (Moonrise Kingdom). Take a look at the TV spot after the official synopsis...

    "Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action-thriller focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners.  It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed?  But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements."


    The Monuments Men is set for release on February 7th in North America and opens here in the UK on February 14th.
     

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    Oliver Davis on the *other* bit of Batman vs. Superman casting news...

    On Friday, the latest bit of casting news for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman was announced by its director, Zack Snyder. "Having Jesse [Eisenberg] in the role," he said of the new Lex Luthor, "allows us to...take the character in some new and unexpected directions."New and unexpected directions. Remember that. It'll come up later.

    People tweeted in uproar, others more wisely reserved judgement until they see the film itself. But there was another piece of casting news, one overshadowed by the Lexenberg announcement, and one that might just hint as to what these "new and unexpected directions" are: Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth.


    Here's what the director had to say on Irons' casting:

    As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.

    Pennyworth, historically, has served to lighten the Dark Knight's sombre tone. He can wisecrack, he can be sarcastic. In Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the director often deployed Michael Caine's Alfred to cheer things up. Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox served a similar purpose, but Pennyworth is a far more important role. He is Wayne's heart, his conscience, even sometimes his father. Irons, however, is not famed for such warm emotions.

    Instead, he is known for dark, complex roles. He played the tormented titular role in Kafka, and both identical twins in the psychological nightmare of Dead Ringers. He's even the voice of Scar in The Lion King, for Jor-El's sake. Of course, he's a fine actor, and thus more than capable of acting, so saying that he can't portray Pennyworth's stereotypical emotional range is very short-sighted. The acting baggage Irons carries, however, should not be ignored.

    It's known as Star Theory, when actors develop a single persona through the roles they choose. This usually applies to marquee names, like John Wayne or Brad Pitt, but it can creep into more established character actors, too. Even though Star Theory is a direct contradiction to the 'character actor' concept (they aim not to be recognised), Judi Dench, for instance, often brings a motherly gravitas. Your interpretation of her performance in Philomena is influenced by her M in Skyfall. Your fear of Ralph Fiennes' Voldermort is subconsciously informed by his Dolarhyde in Red Dragon. And, for our topic at hand, Jeremy Irons will forever be, in some small degree, Hans Gruber's brother.

    Why do we die hard, Mr Wayne?
    Irons will inevitably bring his public perception to Pennyworth, one which he can either act with or against. He is capable of both. But in respects to this casting decision, his baggage cannot be ignored.

    The other issue of Irons' casting, besides his established acting persona, is his age; and more specifically, the gap between himself and the new Bruce Wayne, Ben Affleck.

    Christian Bale was 31 when he first played Batman. Michael Caine, opposite him as Alfred Pennyworth, was 71. It's a 40 year difference.

    Batman (1989) to Batman & Robin (1997) had three different actors portray the title role - Michael Keaton (38 when he donned the cowl), Val Kilmer (36) and George Clooney (also 36). All four movies, however, saw Pennyworth portrayed by the same actor, Michael Gough. The gaps in age between Gough and each different Batman were 35, 43 and 45 years, respectively.

    When filming commences on Batman vs. Superman, Ben Affleck will be 41 - only three years older than when Keaton first played the role (which is why the argument about Affleck being too old is misinformed). Jeremy Irons will be 65 on the first day of shooting. That's a 24 year age gap - 11 years smaller than any Bruce/Alfred pairing in the last four decades (there was a 25 year gap between Adam West's Bruce and Alan Napier's Pennyworth back in the 1966 Batman television series, which is still a year more than the new duo).

    This is where the whole "new and unexpected directions" thing comes in. The two central facets of Jeremy Irons' casting - his acting baggage and his age - suggest a more youthful, involved Alfred.

    Geoff Johns wrote a wonderful graphic novel two years back, retelling the Batman origin story in a world more grounded in realism. It was called Batman: Earth One, and Alfred's character was a retired British Intelligence agent. He was handy with a shotgun, frequently clashed with Bruce on the use of lethal force, and just so happens to look like Jeremy Irons with a beard.


    The Pennyworth of Batman vs. Superman could be a reinvention of the character, an ass-kicker rather than a benign butler. Make way (potentially) for Irons Man.

    Oliver Davis



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