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    About Last Night, 2014.

    Directed by Steve Pink.
    Starring Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald, Adam Rodgiguez, Joe Lo Truglio and Paula Patton.


    SYNOPSIS:

    Follow two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom and are eventually put to the test in the real world.


    I've always had a rocky relationship with American comedies, especially rom-coms.  More times than not they're the absolute bottom of the barrel, and even if they're above average they work best as something to catch on Netflix or Redbox.  Silver Linings Playbook is the only one I've seen in recent memory that I felt warranted a visit to the local cinema, so when I saw the trailer to About Last Night I rolled my eyes.  Kevin Hart is a funny guy but he tends to pick some iffy projects, and Ride Along was fresh in my memory which was not a good movie for me.  The silver lining was that it was directed by Steve Pink, who helmed the vastly underrated Hot Tub Machine. Still, this seemed like it'd be a movie that'd waste every one's talents, and give away its few funny moments in the trailer.

    I am pleasantly surprised to say that About Last Night doesn't waste its potential, and in a lot of ways raises above the sum of its parts. The story sees Danny - played by Micheal Ealy (Think Like a Man, Takers) - meeting Debbie - played by Joy Bryant (Get Rich or Die Trying) - and takes us through all the stages of their relationship.  Immediately noticeable is the fact there's no goofy and cute meet here; instead, they meet like most couples do - through their friends Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Joan (Regina Hall).

    This movie has some great things going for it.  The chemistry here flies off the screen with Hall, Ealy and Hart all having previously worked together on Think Like a Man.  They're all funny and Ealy has made a great transition from being a dramatic character actor to a leading man.  Joy Bryant, who I've never cared for, delivers a great turn as Debbie and her and Ealy are so good together you forget they're not a real couple.  Paula Patton has a small role as Danny's crazy ex-girlfriend and she was absolutely hilarious.

    Another great thing is the movie's honesty.  All the jokes are character jokes rather than goofy, out-of-place slapstick humor. It also deals with relationships very gracefully and it's incredibly hard not to relate to the two leads. Not to the point of say a Woody Allen movie or a Duplass film, but what it lacks in subtly it makes up for with chemistry, satisfaction, and laughs.  It's also nice to have a comedy featuring a black cast without one joke specific to African Americans.

    The main thing About Last Night has going for it is Kevin Hart.  Kevin Hart is a funny guy who got his start working with Judd Apatow.  Just like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and the rest of the crew he understands how to balance raunchy with smart humor (but with less success, usually).  In Think Like a Man he was great because he was given good jokes and has delivery but he's never had great dialogue to work with.  He still hasn't gotten that dialogue yet, but it's getting there. He's absolutely hilarious in this movie and I'm waiting for him to step his game up and do something more daring, and if he was given Aaron Sorkin level of dialogue I think he'd be a comedic force to reckon with.  Working with Judd Apatow or other great comedy directors like Edgar Wright or Woody Allen would really make him shine outside his fanbase, but with this right here it's obvious his breakthrough role is coming up.

    The only problem here is that this movie is a mess on a technical level.  It's smarter then your average rom-com, but it's not at the level of competency of say 500 Days of Summer.  Steve Pink knows how to tell a joke on screen, but I found his direction flat and sometimes I felt the cuts were too quick and it started to strain my eyes.  The narrative bounces around their relationship much like 500 Days of Summer does, but that had a specific structure and this doesn't. It's just kind of one long act, up until the break up.  The worst offender has to be the editing, and while the movie is well-paced,  there are some weird cuts and its jumps around a little too fast, not giving the story time to breathe.

    All in all this is a good romantic comedy and is worth catching at a matinee.  These actors are all the best they've ever been and the characters are so fun and colorful that I found myself wanting to see a sequel. The only place it really fails is on a filmmaking level, but even then it's not enough to ruin the movie for me.  I wish it had been a little deeper with some better direction, which could have put it on the level of Silver Linings or 500 Days of Summer, but then again it's great for what it is. And Kevin Hart's big break is coming...

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

    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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    There's still a couple of months to go before its release, but we've already seen an awful lot of footage from The Amazing Spider-Man 2; we've had five trailers [see here, here, here, here and here], the two-part Super Bowl TV spot [see here and here], and just yesterday we brought you a couple of featurettes that included plenty of previously unseen material. And now, we have the first international TV spot, which you can watch below...

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

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



    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th 2014 in the UK and on May 1st 2014 in North America, with Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker / Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Sally Field (Aunt May), Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), Campbell Scott (Richard Parker), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Parker), Martin Sheen (Ben Parker) and Denis Leary (George Stacy) joined in the cast by new additions include Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) as Electro, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Harry Osborn, Paul Giamatti (12 Years a Slave) as The Rhino, Chris Cooper (American Beauty) as Norman Osborn, Colm Feore (Thor) as Donald Menken, Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) as Dr. Kafka, B.J. Novak (The Office) as Alistair Smythe and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) and Sarah Gadon (Cosmopolis) in as yet unrevealed roles.
     




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    Tom Jolliffe on the must-see straight-to-video action films of 2014....

    If you’re a little fed up of the never ending stream of remakes, kid friendly PG13 (12A or 15 here) CGI heavy theatrics and Marvel/DC action films that fill up the multiplexes, or you’re no stranger to the unrepentant, simple delights of a bit of straight to video (or Netflix) action, then here is a list of the best to look out for this year.

    As big screen action caters more and more for younger audiences, straight to video still largely offers a bit more adult entertainment. What it might lack in big budget thrills it makes up for with F-bombs and gallons of blood (if that’s your thing). As for myself, alongside a steady upbringing of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone and Bruce Willis in the late 80’s and 90’s, I’ve also had more than my share of video premiere heroism with guys like Dolph Lundgren, later joined by Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal when the big screen was no longer as welcoming to them.

    There’s something to be said for the home premiere. There’s also a place in my heart for the guys who made a name for themselves throughout the 80’s and 90’s as video stars. Let them not be scoffed at. I’m talking about guys like (dear 90% of our readers…prepare to scratch your heads quizzically) Olivier Gruner, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Michael Dudikoff and Gary Daniels. Some are still operating and will appear on the following (awesome) list.

    Jean Claude Van Damme:


    The Muscles from Brussels actually has potentially three home premieres coming out this year, maybe even four. As such he warrants his very own section of the list.

    First up will be Enemies Closer. This sees JCVD reteam with his Timecop and Sudden Death director, Peter Hyams, this time playing the bad guy opposite Tom Everett Scott and Orlando Jones. The film has already been released stateside and in some other territories, so expect a UK release shortly. After Jean Claude’s performance in The Expendables 2, this one will be well worth watching to see him back on bad guy duties, as well as completing his Peter Hyams trilogy.

    He also has his first foray into comedy, Welcome To The Jungle. JC plays a survival expert who leads a group of office workers out on a team building exercise on a desert island. Expect sometime in the spring.

    Van Damme can also be seen later this year in Swelter, an ensemble piece that’s been likened to Reservoir Dogs and History of Violence. Van Damme will be a supporting player in this, but it could well be another change of pace for him. Following that he’ll be shooting Pound Of Flesh, which sounds like an un-ironic version of Crank, but sees Van Damme re-team with director Ernie Barbarash, responsible for two serviceable Jean Claude specials, Assassination Games and Six Bullets.

    We also may finally see Van Damme’s long awaited sophomore directorial effort, Soldiers (previously titled The Eagle Path, and before that, Full Love). It first lensed about 5-6 years ago, and premiered in Cannes a year after to awful reviews. Since then Van Damme has re-shot, re-edited, tweaked and twanged regularly but as yet hasn’t released the thing. So holding ones breath for this one, maybe not advised.

    Dolph Lundgren:

    Much like his Universal Soldier co-star, Dolph has been busy. He’ll be flirting with the big screen once more too of course, with The Expendables 3. As for home premieres, he has potentially three (possibly four) out this year. First is the more family orientated, action adventure film, Legendary: Tomb Of The Dragon. This co-stars fellow action man, Scott Adkins (Undisputed 2 and 3). As yet no date has been set but this has already had releases in Europe and Asia. A spring release should be on the cards in Blighty.

    Next up for the big Swede sees the release of Puncture Wounds, taking on bad guy duties (including a rather fetching long blonde wig and handlebar moustache) opposite MMA fighter turned action man Cung Le (Dragon Eyes). Vinnie Jones co-stars, probably as himself as per normal.

    Most excitingly of all is Skin Trade. Dolph teams up with Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White, Ron Perlman, Peter Weller, Celina Jade and Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, in a film which sees Lundgren heading to Bangkok to take down a gang of Russian sex-traffickers responsible for killing his family, who are operating in Thailand. He teams up with local cop, Tony Jaa to take down the bad guys. This could hit tail end of the year, or early next. The film is helmed by art-house Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham (Beautiful Boxer) and judging by the almost daily set pics posted on Tony Jaa’s Facebook page, is shaping up rather nicely. In addition Jaa and Lundgren also have action/comedy A Man Will Rise shot, but post production and distribution problems may see this one left on the shelf for a while yet.

    Skin Traffik:

    From trade to traffik. While this one doesn’t boast an arthouse director, or quite as impressive a cast, it does promise an entertaining action film. The cast here is headed by British action star and straight to video legend, Gary Daniels. Having become a leading man throughout the 90’s, he became somewhat relegated to supporting roles in the mid-noughties, however in the last couple of years he’s found a few more leading roles come his way, and this is potentially his biggest film in years. Daniels heads a cast which sees Michael Madsen, Mickey Rourke and Darryl Hannah all popping up to phone in performances. Regardless, judging by the trailer this looks better than your standard straight to Netflix special. No release dates yet, but this should come summer or winter this year.

    Ninja: Shadow of a Tear:


    One of the best directors currently circulating in the vid premiere realm is Isaac Florentine. He’s the man behind Undisputed 2 and 3, and the previous Ninja film. The man certainly has a gift for filming fight scenes.

    Ninja: Shadow of a Tear sees him teaming with Brit action man Scott Adkins once again. The first Ninja film was something of a let-down, following the surprisingly good Undisputed 2, however the second film does not disappoint at all. Chock full of fantastic fights, the action in this is first class, fully utilizing the physical prowess of Adkins and the visual flair of Florentine.

    Scorpion King: The Lost Throne:

    This might seem like an odd choice; the fourth film in a series that’s a spinoff of a poor man’s Indiana Jones ripoff. However the cast alone makes this potentially essential viewing for B-movie aficionados. Lining up in this film are Michael Biehn, Lou Ferrigno, Rutger Hauer and Don “The Dragon” Wilson. That’s an eclectic mix right there, but an enticing one. Or maybe just to me!

    Hours:

    More a thriller but this film, which was released late Jan, is essential viewing for fans of the late Paul Walker. This provides Walker with a platform to flex his dramatic chops in a change from his Fast and Furious theatrics. Walker plays a father struggling to keep his daughter alive in the wake of a Tsunami.

    In addition, Walker has a reteam with Running Scared (very underrated film) director, Wayne Kramer called Pawn Shop Chronicles (also known as Hustlers) coming out at some point this year, likely straight to video here.

    Tokarev:


    As yet this Nicolas Cage actioner hasn’t been confirmed as direct to DVD, but given his recent box-office record with similar films like Stolen (which was all but direct to DVD given how few people saw it on the big screen) it would seem highly likely that Cage will find himself become a big name headliner in the home entertainment circuit. Despite the fact that Tokarev seems old hat and a bit tired, and looks pretty cheap (by Cage standards) it looks like it could be good fun and more importantly, Cage seems more engaged than he did in Stolen. The current trailer would suggest a couple of potentially vintage Cage blowout moments. This should hit some time middle of the year.

    Aside from these mentioned there will undoubtedly be a few intriguing looking star vehicles appearing on a weekly basis in your local supermarket DVD chart. The likes of Val Kilmer, Ray Liotta, Cuba Gooding Jr are pretty prolific, and generally reasonably reliable. Also expect one or two Steven Seagal epics, but don’t expect them to be very promising. Also expect to see about 50 Eric Roberts films this year, which isn’t a bad thing (seriously…it isn’t). Feel free to let us know of any more in the comments below.

    Tom Jolliffe




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    We're currently getting a look at (presumably) the entire cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past with daily character images for the mutant superhero team [check out the progress so far here, here, here, here and here], and now Bryan Singer has decided to give us a behind-the-scenes set image featuring a non-furry 1970s Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and his hi-tech computer set-up...

    Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy in X-Men: Days of Future Past

    "The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future."

    X-Men: Days of Future Past is set for release on May 23rd with a cast that also includes Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Lucas Till (Havok), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) alongside franchise newcomers 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, Evan Jonigkeit (Girls) as Toad and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Bolivar Trask.





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    Transformers: Age of Extinction star reportedly cast in Star Wars: Episode VII
    Now, at this point we're all a little jaded with Star Wars: Episode VII casting rumours, what with virtually every name in Hollywood linked to the film at one point or another. But, with filming set for May, we're going to have to tough it through another couple of months as director J.J. Abrams assembles his cast for this latest trek to a galaxy far, far away (hey, at least we'll have some official news too, assuming Lucasfilm isn't planning on doing away with actors entirely and going full CG!).

    Well, we've got another name for you now, with Harry Knowles of Aint It Cool News reporting that two sources have told him young Irish actor Jack Reynor - star of the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction - has been cast in the film in an as-yet-unspecified role. Now, bear in mind that Yoda was still a Padawan the last time Harry delivered a genuine scoop, so I'd suggest taking this one with a pinch of salt until we get something official.

    Star Wars: Episode VII is set for release on December 17th 2015. So far, no one is attached to the cast although it's expected that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Meanwhile, other names who've been linked to the film include Saoirse Ronan, Jesse Plemons, Zac Efron, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael B. Jordan, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, Adam Driver, Matt Smith, Jason Flemyng, and Judi Dench.





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    Another day, another X-Men: Days of Future Past character image courtesy of the X-Men Movies Twitter page, and this time it's the turn of original X-Men trilogy star Halle Berry, who reprises her role as the Windrider, Storm...


    Check out the previous character images for Past Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Future Magneto (Ian McKellen), Past Xavier (James McAvoy), Future Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) and watch the first trailer here.

    "The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future."

    X-Men: Days of Future Past is set for release on May 23rd with a cast that also includes Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Lucas Till (Havok), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) alongside franchise newcomers 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, Evan Jonigkeit (Girls) as Toad and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Bolivar Trask.




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    For Those in Peril, 2013.

    Written and Directed by Paul Wright.
    Starring George MacKay, Kate Dickie, Jordan Young, Nichola Burley and Michael Smiley.


    SYNOPSIS:

    The sole survivor of a fishing accident struggles to come to terms with the loss of his brother, whilst discovering that he has been cast to the fringes of the community.


    Paul Wright's feature debut pulses with the conviction of a veteran filmmaker. Whilst For Those in Peril possesses shades of the ancient myths, and in particular the journey of Odysseus which is shadowed in Aaron’s (George MacKay) journey, it is a decidedly more tragic return home for the latter.

    The film begins following Aaron's return home, the sea's treacherous deed covering the town with an oppressive ghostly presence, which is caught between the past and the future. The community is pre-occupied with mourning the dead than celebrating Aaron’s miraculous survival. This lone survivor of a fishing crew serves only as a reminder of death, and in keeping with superstition and the mythical presence of the sea in the film, Aaron is tainted by his miraculous escape from the jaws of death. One might perceive his good fortune to have escaped death, but it is also his misfortune. Neither he nor those around him will have peace until the debt of a soul has been repaid to death.

    George MacKay's turn as the tragic protagonist who becomes an immigrant within his own home gives a new meaning to the idea that you can't go home again. But what MacKay possesses is the stony quality of the masculine hero with the emotional and sensitive frailty of his feminine side. MacKay’s performance anchors what is a riveting emotional story that touches and stirs ones emotions.

    Startling is Wright's reverence not only towards the narrative but also the image and the sound. He creates a moody piece; a dance between narrative, image and sound in which Aaron is the pole around which they dance. From the very first images the film feels torn between documentary and narrative filmmaking; a fictionalised account interspersed with archival footage. It is a creative choice whose roots lie in the tragedy of the story. Wright positions documentary and narrative filmmaking as complimentary forces, and in so doing suspends our belief so that the ghost of the actuality of events lingers in the back of our minds.

    But if the watery graves of mariners and fisherman litter the ocean's depths, the sea is the film's antagonist in this tragic tale. Our intimacy with the characters, and the intimacy of the characters to the elements recalls Michael Powell's The Edge of the World; intimacy merged with the spatial vastness - the scope of life and death.

    Wright even merges the literary tradition through poetic verses spoken by his cast with lyrical voices that contextualise the suffering, and cite a respect of God fearing awe of the sea. One almost senses a return to times when the sea was to be feared and respected, a great antagonist that robbed communities of their men, and like waves crashing against the land, broke familial bonds. For Those in Peril is therein most aptly regarded as a tribute to the past and the enduring human spirit in the face of death.

    A drama that pulses with perilous death, For Those in Peril is a becoming title. Wright masterfully touches upon communal themes and harsh realities to imbue his debut feature with a meaningful subtext that will resonate deeply. From the metaphorical death of the lead protagonist unwelcomed home, the film is caught between the metaphorical death and the actuality of death. The sea’s crime is murder as well as metaphorical murder - the lives of Aaron and the community forever changed in act of metaphorical as well as the actual act of murder. The hard truths of paternal preference for the first born, and the deathly reminder of the living resonate as powerfully drawn themes. The fishing town located on the sea creates a fringe setting which is home to the displaced protagonist, an effective use of spatial symbolism.

    With his feature debut Wright has crafted a special film, and one that recalls the classical filmmaking of Powell's tale of man versus nature and the elements. It captures the tragic truth that we are haunted by the spectre of death, so much so that we hold more reverence for death than life; fearing the state of unconsciousness more than we fear the conscious.

    It is the conscious camera that perhaps imbues the film with its ghostly presence, the film leaving us with the disconcerting impression of a story told in a place where life and death meet; of youthfulness before a journey or rather trial by fire in mythologies great antagonist – the sea.

    For Those in Peril is released on DVD in the UK on 3rd March, followed by a release in Italy on 6th March and Portugal 23rd March (TBC). The film is available now via VOD in France. For more information on For Those in Peril visit: www.forthoseinperilfilm.com or visit the film’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ForThoseInPeril.

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

    Paul Risker is a freelance writer and contributor to Flickering Myth.




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    The first trailer for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is set to land later this evening, and with excitement reaching fever pitch we've now got our very first glimpse at footage from the eagerly-anticipated Phase Two film thanks to a sneak peek of the trailer, which includes our first look at Nebula and Korath the Pursuer....


    "From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team — the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits — Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance."


    What do you make of the footage? Let us know in the comments below or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum...

    Guardians of the Galaxy is set for release on August 1st with James Gunn (Super) directing a cast that inlcudes Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora, Dave Bautista (Riddick) as Drax the Destroyer, Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) as Rocket Raccoon, Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious 6) as Groot, Benicio Del Toro (Sin City) as The Collector, Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) as Ronan the Accuser, Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) as Nebula, Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) as Korath, John C. Reilly (Step Brothers) as Rhomman Dey and Glenn Close (Damages) as Nova Prime Rael.





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    Jackson Ball reviews the fourth episode of House of Cards season 2...

    House of Cards Season 2 poster
    If House of Cards’ last chapter can be accused of criminally underusing the character of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), then this episode more than makes up for it by placing her right in the thick of it.

    Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!

    In what is one of the season’s most gripping episodes, Claire and husband Francis (Kevin Spacey) reluctantly agree to partake in a live joint-interview, in the hopes of gaining some favourable PR. Due to an alleged act of terrorism (mysterious white powder delivered in the mail), Francis is placed under involuntary quarantine in his office, resulting in Claire going solo to the interview.

    Claire’s resulting interview is masterfully played out by all the House of Cards cast and crew, creating some of the most thrilling and fascinating moments yet. Revelation after revelation is delivered as Claire tells her interviewer, live on national television, that she has in fact had an abortion. It may be a fact that we as the audience already knew, but to see her openly discuss is still quite a shock.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise is when it then transpires that Claire’s admission was on the spur-of-the-moment. We’ve become so acclimatised to these characters, particularly Claire and Francis, making consistently clinical and deliberate decisions and movements that it is a genuine thrill to see one of them lose themselves in the heat of a moment. It’s always nice to see that they perhaps are human after all.

    The revelations don’t stop there either. After realising what she has actually said, Claire makes the split-second political decision to draw attention aware from the subject… by claiming that the aborted pregnancy was the result of her rape at the hands of a decorated General. Cue hysterical reactions from everyone else, including Francis watching it live from his office.

    The episode unfolds effortless, thanks in no small part to the performances on display. Wright is sublimely measured in her portrayal of Claire, producing her most naturalistic and captivating scenes to date. In a show that has always been billed as ‘the Kevin Spacey show’, Wright’s progressive excellence seems to have finally reached its crescendo, proving she is as vital to House of Cards as her on-screen husband.

    The interview dominates the episode, but elsewhere the other little story cogs keep turning. Jackie (Molly Parker) is once again desperately trying to win over congressman to her to support her tenure as the new Whip, while Lucas is double-crossed by his unnecessarily zany hacker friend.

    Jackson Ball - follow me on Twitter.



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    Marvel Studios announces that The Avengers: Age of Ultron is heading to South Korea
    We've seen a few set photos, videos and a Hulk-themed scene description for The Avengers: Age of Ultron from the Johannesburg set [see here], and now we have the first official statement from Marvel Studios about production on the eagerly-anticipated follow up to 2012's blockbuster The Avengers, with the following press release arriving online today...

    Marvel Studios announced today that the highly anticipated super hero sequel Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" will film key elements of the movie in the capital city of Seoul. Bringing production of this significant motion picture to Korea will create jobs for local extras, crews and vendors which will benefit the local film industry in South Korea.

    "South Korea is the perfect location for a movie of this magnitude because it features cutting-edge technology, beautiful landscapes and spectacular architecture," said Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and producer of Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron.""We would especially like to thank the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) for making it possible for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' to come to Korea."

    "We're very excited to have the production in Korea, and also expect this to serve as the footstep of many more opportunities yet to come," says minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism of Republic of Korea, Yoo Jinryong.

    In addition to Korea, where the number of fans of Marvel Studios' films has grown since the release of "Iron Man," the international production schedule for Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" includes locations in London, United Kingdom, where the production will be based, as well as Johannesburg, South Africa; and Aosta Valley, Italy, with additional locations to be announced.

    Directed by Joss Whedon ("Marvel's The Avengers"), the film returns its iconic cast, including Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man 3,""Marvel's The Avengers") as Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Chris Hemsworth ("Thor: The Dark World,""Marvel's The Avengers") as Thor, Mark Ruffalo ("Marvel's The Avengers,""Now You See Me") as Hulk, Chris Evans ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier,""Marvel's The Avengers") as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier,""Marvel's The Avengers") as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner ("American Hustle,""Marvel's The Avengers,") as Hawkeye, and Samuel L. Jackson ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier,""Marvel's The Avengers") as Nick Fury. Joining the cast are Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Godzilla,""Kick Ass 2") as Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen ("Godzilla") as Scarlet Witch and James Spader ("The Blacklist,""Lincoln") as Ultron.

    Set for release in the United States on May 1, 2015, Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is produced by Kevin Feige. Executive Producers are Louis D'Esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, and Jon Favreau.


    So, no confirmation on Don Cheadle (War Machine) and Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill) reprising their roles, or Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula) as Baron Strucker, but I'm sure we'll hear plenty more about additions to the cast as the shoot progresses.





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    Meet Zeb, the latest Star Wars Rebels character
    Disney and Lucasfilm Animation has been stepping up the promotion on Star Wars Rebels lately; over the past week, we've been introduced to hre new characters in Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), and the astromech Chopper and just yesterday we got our first glimpse of actual footage from the series thanks to two promos for the show, which you can view here. And now, courtesy of IGN, we've got another character introduction featurette, this time unveiling Zeb - a character from a newly-created race, who bears a striking resemblance to Ralph McQuarrie's original concept designs for Chewbacca.

    "I think I actually screamed when I was booked to play Zeb," says prolific voice actor Steve Blum (The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Wolverine and the X-Men). It is literally a role of a lifetime. I've been lucky enough to play some major superhero roles in my career, but to be given the chance to play a newcharacter in a Star Wars series? Brain explosion. As if working on a Star Wars series - in any capacity - wasn't enough to cause a grown man to squee, Zeb challenges every acting skill in my arsenal and beyond. His character design is amazing. I get to vocally take on ape-like physical power and abilities, a wicked sense of humor, intelligence and integrity, and so much more that I can't yet reveal. The attention to detail from the entire production team is inspiring. Every bit of minutia is carefully crafted to satisfy the most discerning fan of the franchise. I'm humbled and honored to be a part of the Rebels crew. I promise I will dig as deep as I'm allowed to give you guys the performance I would hope for as a fan. Get ready, guys. You're in for one helluva ride."


    Star Wars Rebels is set to air on Disney XD later this year, with Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class) and Greg Weisman (Young Justice) producing and David Oyelowo (Lee Daniels' The Butler) and Vanessa Marshall (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). 




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    The LEGO Movie, 2014.

    Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
    Featuring the voice talents of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Cobie Smulders.


    SYNOPSIS:

    A regular LEGO man is mistaken for ‘The Special’ of prophecy and goes on an adventure to stop the LEGO Universe being destroyed.


    The LEGO Movie is much better than it really should be. When initially announced way back when, it sounded like just another 'cash in' movie to make some money off the back of the Danish brick company's success over the last few years. But, just as everyone was proven wrong with the LEGO Star Wars series of games, The LEGO Movie has silenced a lot of its critics by being an outstanding, well-written, beautifully made and simply hilarious family adventure. It's fantastic.

    Telling the story of ordinary construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt), a man so generic they couldn't match his face to a database, as he discovers that anyone can be special so long as they simply believe in themselves. Through a freak occurrence, he discovers The Piece of Resistance which is the only thing that can stop Lord Business (Will Farrell)'s devastating machine The Kraggle which has has the potential to destroy the entire Universe. Along with Wild Style (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet must reach his full potential to become a Master Builder and save the world.

    Fans of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs will instantly feel a level of familiarity in terms of humour and tone from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The pair have a very unique skill of making children's animated movies that act as spoofs of the genre while never being patronising to its target audience. Similarly, they never take the low road of writing gags for children and gags for adults (movies like Shrek or Shark Tale for example) and instead provide jokes for everyone to enjoy. Granted, certain references might fly over the heads of the younger viewers but none of them are detrimental to the story.

    Anyone who grew up playing with LEGO will enjoy the nostalgic sight gags and you can tell that both Miller and Lord were LEGO fans growing up. The references come thick and fast from areas of the world being LEGO sets from the past (Pirates, Castle, Wild West, Space etc) to the fact that the instructions given to those who live in the Universe on how to live their lives look exactly like the instruction manuals that came with every LEGO set. Little things like Benny (the LEGO Spaceman) having the all-to-familiar crack in his helmet and missing visor shows how much Miller and Lord care about making the world feel like it was created and played with. There is a huge love for this company and their products which shines through while never feeling like a glorified commercial. Everything (and I do mean everything) in this movie is constructed from LEGO, from the fires being the familiar LEGO flame pieces to the sea and water being made up of smaller LEGO plate pieces. Even the explosions are made of LEGO. It's incredible to think how much work went into the look of the movie and the attention to detail is phenomenal.

    But what really sets this from other run-of-the-mill animated movies is that The LEGO Movie is story over gimmick. This could have easily been the Pokemon movies or The Transformers: The Movie which was made solely to further the product's revenue stream by selling more toys, but this is a beautifully crafted story with excellent characters, hilarious cameos, laugh-out-loud humour and a huge heart. You care about every single LEGO person (no matter the size of their role) and you want to see them succeed. And at it's very centre, The LEGO Movie highlights what makes LEGO so special - the ability to be creative and original. LEGO sets come with instructions, but it's the imagination of those holding the pieces that really bring the sets to life.

    Had this been made by any other animation studio directors, it could have been a disaster. But in the capable hands of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, The LEGO Movie a wonderful, inventive and creative piece of cinema. It's really hard to find faults in the movie. Just as the song suggests, everything is awesome. Lord and Miller have built a movie brick by brick that should rank among the best computer animated movies of all-time.

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

    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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    Andy Naylor assesses the current state of the Next-Gen War...

    It’s now been 3 months since the launch of the next generation of console gaming. So far, the PS4 leads the way with 5.3 million sales worldwide, compared to the Xbox One back on 3.6 million. The differences between the two consoles and how they work are negligible at most, but the gulf in sales can be attributed to Microsoft’s loss of credibility after some strange console implementations followed by a complete 360 on them when the gaming community erupted in disgust. Since that moment it’s been Sony’s battle to lose.

    But that isn’t the story of these consoles so far, the absolute lack of titles has been. With the exception of the annual franchises (FIFA, Madden, COD, etc.) there has been nothing of note released since launch. At the moment all that seem to be released are previously released games on older consoles with little or no improvement. Some of these games are good in their own right, but this isn’t what people bought a PS4 for. I don’t want to play a game on my PS4 that I’ve already played, completed and enjoyed on the PS3. It’s a cynical and lazy ploy that will only lead to the disillusionment of gamers at best, and at worst will give the developers a reputation as low as EA’s currently is.

    I’m sure both Sony and Microsoft are equally disappointed with the lack of content for their consoles at present, at the end of the day games sell machines. In the past I’ve picked a specific consoles based on a single game. Final Fantasy 7 is the reason I owned the original PlayStation and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the reason I bought the original Xbox. At the moment neither console has that generation defining game. Killzone on the PS4 is a major disappointment and Ryse on the Xbox One, well it’s TV advert contained the words “Not actual in game footage”, there’s no excuse to advertise a game anymore and include that phrase.

    Later this year we should have a better idea of the quality of titles this generation can produce. Personally, I’m extremely excited about Alien: Isolation, if you haven’t checked out the trailer yet then do so here. All of it is in game footage and it looks absolutely stunning. The only concern is that it has been a good long while since a game from the Alien universe was any good.

    In the meantime, don’t cast aside your Xbox 360 or your PS3, there is still an exciting wealth of games to come for them this year too, and being honest, you need something to play between the sparse next-gen releases.

    What are your thoughts on the current state of the next generation consoles? Let us know your thoughts, or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum...


    Andy Naylor - Follow me on Twitter





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    ...for his very own Kermode Awards. Misleading headlines? Us? Never...

    When Flickering Myth chatted to BBC film critic and quiff-connoisseur Mark Kermode on the BAFTA red carpet at the weekend, we asked him which movie he felt was missing from the Best Film categories. Watch the video below for his answer, and stick around until the end where he strongly hints/pretty much reveals his own Best Picture for the Kermode Awards.

    (The Kermode Awards, by the way, is Mark's own annal ceremony, where a film can't win in a category in which it has been Oscar nominated.)



    That video is from Flickering Myth's very own YouTube channel. Subscribe to it now for more great future content!




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    It's been a long while since we've heard anything about The Irishman, which would tell the story of Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran, a trade union official suspected of over 25 mob murders, including - allegedly - that of Jimmy Hoffa.

    The project has Robert De Niro attached in the lead role, with Martin Scorsese linked to the director's chair and a mouth-watering supporting cast that includes Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. While it appears that the film may have found itself stuck in development hell, De Niro has spoken to the NY Post, stating that he's hopeful the project will see the light of day.

    "We have been trying to do [the film] for the last few years, and I think we will do it," says De Niro. "It’s based on [the] book ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ by Charles Brandt. It’s about a guy who . . . confessed that he killed Hoffa and Joe Gallo. I’m gonna play that character. That’s something I’m looking forward to very much . . . I think it will [happen] . . . we’re really working towards making it happen."

    Are you excited at the prospect of De Niro reuniting with Scorsese, Pacino, Pesci and Keitel? I'm guessing that's a bit of a silly question really...





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    We've seen quite a lot of promotional material for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this week, with two new featurettes and an international TV spot offering up some previously unseen footage from this year's superhero sequel, and now we have a new banner featuring Andrew Garfield's wall-crawler, as well as a couple of behind-the-scenes post-production stills courtesy of director Marc Webb...




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

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

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th 2014 in the UK and on May 1st 2014 in North America, with a cast that also includes returning stars Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Sally Field (Aunt May), Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), Campbell Scott (Richard Parker), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Parker), Martin Sheen (Ben Parker) and Denis Leary (George Stacy) alongside new additions include Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) as Electro, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Harry Osborn, Paul Giamatti (12 Years a Slave) as The Rhino, Chris Cooper (American Beauty) as Norman Osborn, Colm Feore (Thor) as Donald Menken, Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) as Dr. Kafka, B.J. Novak (The Office) as Alistair Smythe, and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) and Sarah Gadon (Cosmopolis) in as yet unrevealed roles.




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    UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday 14th January to Sunday 16th February 2014....

    Warner Bros. animated comedy The LEGO Movie claimed first place at the UK box office in its opening weekend, with the film banking a hefty £8,051,140 (including £2.16 million of preview takings) to destroy the competition and continue directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller's (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) impressive run of form. With the half-term holidays this week, expect The LEGO Movie to have amassed a mighty haul by close of play this coming weekend.

    Alongside The LEGO Movie, four other newcomers managed to crack the top ten, with George Clooney's The Monuments Men the best of the rest in second place with £1,616,625. Disney's animated sequel Tinker Bell and The Pirate Fairy earned £966,920 in sixth, followed by the Nick Frost / Rashida Jones salsa-dancing rom-com Cuban Fury in seventh with £966,276 and the Alex Pettyfer / Gabriella Wilde romance Endless Love in eighth with £744,867.

    Number one this time last year: A Good Day to Die Hard

    1. The Lego Movie - £8,051,140 weekend (New)
    2. The Monuments Men - £1,616,625 weekend (New)
    3. RoboCop - £1,509,810 weekend (2 weeks)
    4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman - £1,404,118 weekend (2 weeks)
    5. The Wolf of Wall Street - £1,130,707 weekend (5 weeks)
    6. Tinker Bell and The Pirate Fairy - £966,920 weekend (New)
    7. Cuban Fury - £966,276 weekend (New)
    8. Endless Love - £744,867 weekend (New)
    9. Dallas Buyers Club - £716,123 weekend (2 weeks)
    10. 12 Years a Slave - £536,615 weekend (6 weeks)

    Incoming...

    Several new films enter the marketplace this Friday, but you'd have to expect them all to struggle against the might of The LEGO Movie; anyway, among the newcomers are Jim Jarmusch's vampire tale Only Lovers Left Alive (cert. 15) starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, the star-studded A New York Winter's Tale (cert. 12A) featuring Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, Colin Farrell, Matt Bomer, Jessica Brown Findlay and Eva Marie Saint, and the WWII epic Stalingrad (cert. 15).



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    Matthew McConaughey says Interstellar is Christopher Nolan's "most ambitious" film to dateMatthew McConaughey's career has enjoyed a huge resurgence over the past few years, and could culminate with an Academy Award next month for his acclaimed role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. And the actor is showing little signs of slowing down; along with the hit HBO series True Detective, his next film will see him venturing to the far reaches of space as part of Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic Interstellar. During an interview with Variety, McConaughey has spoken about the upcoming film, stating that it's Nolan's "most ambitious" project to date - no small feat when you consider his past films include the likes of The Dark KnightThe Dark Knight Rises and Inception.

    "Here’s what I can tell you," states McConaughey. "It's the most ambitious thing [Nolan] has ever done. And he’s done some ambitious stuff. He came up to me and said, ‘Mud. I love that movie.’ I sat down with him for about 2½ hours at his house. Not one word came up about Interstellar.” I walked out not sure what to think. I mean, he’s not a guy who takes general meetings. There’s no f*cking around on set. He’s a great problem solver. In that way, he’s very indie. Here’s a guy who could have whatever budget he wants — and we finished shooting early."

    Interstellar is set for release on November 7th 2014, with a cast that also includes Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Michael Caine (Inception), Mackenzie Foy (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games), Casey Affleck (Ain't Them Bodies Saints), Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3), John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Bill Irwin (Lady in the Water), David Gyasi (Cloud Atlas), Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream), David Oyelowo (The Butler) and Matt Damon (Elysium). Watch the first teaser trailer here.




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    Marvel Studios is set to explore the far reaches of its Cinematic Universe this August as the MCU goes cosmic for Guardians of the Galaxy, and after a brief teaser yesterday, we've not got the eagerly-anticipated first trailer for the film, which revolves around a ragtag group of superheroes Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel)! Check it out right here...

    "From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team — the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits — Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance."


    And here's a selection of stills released alongside the trailer...

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians

    Guardians of the Galaxy is set for release on August 1st, with James Gunn (Super) directing a cast that also includes Benicio Del Toro (Sin City) as The Collector, Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) as Ronan the Accuser, Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) as Nebula, Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) as Korath, John C. Reilly (Step Brothers) as Rhomman Dey and Glenn Close (Damages) as Nova Prime Rael. 




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    Since his controversial casting as The Dark Knight in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman, we've heard a lot of people coming out in support of Ben Affleck as the latest incarnation of the Caped Crusader. However, it seems that not everyone in Hollywood is on board with Batfleck, with Robot Chicken creator and Dads star Seth Green voicing his concerns over the casting in an interview with Larry King Live.

    "Modern mainstream is accepting of interpretations of these characters with more gravitas, you know. We’re past the time of Adam West’s kind of goofy interpretation of Batman," said Green (via Yahoo! Movies). "You gotta remember that at the core of that character, Batman’s a crazy person. Batman has no powers. Batman is a rich, screwed up kid whose parents were killed in front of him. If this movie is meant to be the idealistic alien, humans before all else Superman, and this is supposed to be the grizzled weathered Batman who’s been living in Gotham, fighting crime himself for 10 years, you need a guy who’s older, you need a guy who’s got more weight, you need a guy that a Henry Cavill Superman is gonna be actually scared of. There is only so much that you can act a role before people are or are not going to believe you in that role. I’m never going to play, um, you know, an MMA fighter, because I’d step into the ring with an actual MMA fighter like Batista and I wouldn’t look correct."

    Do you agree with Seth Green? Let us know in the comments below or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum...

    Batman vs. Superman is set for release on May 6th 2016, with a cast that also includes Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Lawrence Fishburne (Perry White) and Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth).




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