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    As part of our coverage of the Academy Awards, we're producing a series of videos looking at the contenders for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay (Original and Adapted), and we want your opinions to include as part of the shows on Flickering Myth TV (we're on YouTube, be sure to subscribe to us here).

    Basically, what we want to know is who you think will win (or who you think is deserving of winning) and why, for the six categories mentioned. Here's a handy reminder of the nominees...

    Best Picture:
    "American Hustle"
    "Captain Phillips"
    "Dallas Buyers Club"
    "12 Years a Slave"
    "The Wolf of Wall Street"

    Best Director:
    David O. Russell, "American Hustle"
    Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
    Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
    Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
    Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street

    Best Actor:
    Christian Bale, "American Hustle"
    Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
    Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
    Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
    Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyer's Club"

    Best Actress:
    Amy Adams, "American Hustle"
    Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
    Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
    Judi Dench, "Philomena"
    Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"

    Best Original Screenplay:
    "American Hustle"
    "Blue Jasmine"
    "Dallas Buyers Club"

    Best Adapted Screenplay:
    "Before Midnight"
    "Captain Phillips"
    "12 Years a Slave"
    "The Wolf Of Wall Street"

    There are several ways you can get involved here...

    1) Leave us your comments below.
    2) Interact with us on Facebook or Twitter.
    3) Head on over to the Movies section of The Flickering Myth Forum to leave us your thoughts.

    You've got until 5pm GMT tomorrow if you'd like to get involved!

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    Ahead of its release in the States this Friday, Entertainment One has debuted a new UK quad poster for director Paul W.S. Anderson's latest, the historical disaster romance Pompeii, which sees Game of Thrones star Kit Harington bravely / foolishly standing at the foot of an erupting volcano...

    Pompeii quad poster

    Set in 79 A.D., POMPEII tells the epic story of Milo (Kit Harrington), a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia (Emily Browning), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.

    Pompeii will open in the UK on May 2nd, with Harington and Browning joined in the cast by 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). Watch the trailer here.

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    Ahead of its release this April, EOne has debuted a new trailer for Honour, which is written and directed by BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Shah Khan and sees Paddy Considine (Tyrannosaur, The World's End) and Aiysha Hart (Atlantis) leading a cast that also includes Harvey Virdi (East is East, Bend It Like Beckham), Nikesh Patel (Jadoo, Bedlam), Shubham Saraf and Faraz Ayub.

    "After a failed attempt at an honour killing at the hands of her family, Mona (Hart) is forced to go on the run. The family, desperate to save face, enlist the services of a bounty hunter (Considine) to search the streets of London to track her down."

    Check out the trailer here...

    Honour is released in UK cinemas on April 4th and hits DVD on April 28th.

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    By now, I'm sure you've had a chance to watch the first trailer for Marvel Studios'Guardians of the Galaxy (if you haven't, you can see it here), and now director James Gunn has provided Total Film with a trailer breakdown, giving us further insight into Marvel's cosmic superhero ensemble...

    Indiana Jones Influence - "There is probably no film that influenced me more as a child – no film that excited me more or that I loved more – than Raiders Of The Lost Ark. It not only influences how I see Guardians, it influences how I live my life"

    Silent Rocket -"We’ve recorded most of Bradley [Cooper’s] dialogue already. I suppose you would expect me to tell you he’s fantastic and his characterisation of Rocket will blow your mind – so don’t believe me and just wait to see (or hear) it for yourself. In all truth, we hired Bradley because he’s able to do both comedy and drama – it’s the thing I look for most in the actors on all my films – and to truly sell Rocket – for you to believe a Raccoon can talk (and blow up and shoot tons of stuff) we need a well-rounded actor. To create the line-up shot for the trailer, 15 people worked on Rocket and 15 people worked on Groot. That’s 30 people. For one shot."

    Groot - "I love Groot so much I get teary eyed when I think of him sometimes. Essentially, all the Guardians start out the movie as bastards - except Groot. He’s an innocent. He’s a hundred percent deadly and a hundred percent sweet. He’s caught up in Rocket’s life, really. The shot of Groot in the trailer took a few weeks to create, but the development of his look and how he moves took the better part of a year."

    Gamora - "Zoe [Saldana] is about as un-intimidating as you can imagine! She gets in the zone the moment that cameras start filming – but before that she’s basically her loud, brash, completely lovable and goofball self. She got it easy with the makeup – it only took about four hours to put on, whereas it took Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan six hours or more. Zoe and Karen are the two most hardass characters in the movie – they’re our Clint Eastwoods. It should take more than a few people by surprise."

    Edgy Humour - "The "bunch of a-holes" line is still in the trailer, which I love. That was an ad-lib I threw to Peter Serafinowicz on the day we were shooting. He wasn’t sure he wanted to say it – it’s not something British people say – but it works perfectly in the trailer. The movie has a lot of edgy humour, unusual for a comic book movie. But we were encouraged by Marvel to take risks, so we did.  However, we never wanted the humour to get in the way of the fun or the emotional heart of the film – those things came first."

    Star-Lord's Walkman - "Yes, 'Hooked On A Feeling' is used in the movie. That and a lot of other old songs are on Quill’s mixed tape in his Sony Walkman. It’s one of the few things he has from Earth. I don’t think of it as a joke, because it’s very dear to him. It’s the umbilical cord that connects him to earth and the home and family he lost."

    Behind Bars - "The Guardians are criminals, essentially – a thief, two thugs, a murderer, and a maniac. They end up in prison together. When you have those personalities all in one place at one time, you can imagine a scrap or two starting pretty easily."

    Star-Lord's spaceship - "At that point in the film, Star-Lord and the gang are facing off with a fleet of Ronan’s Necrocraft. Someone’s about to go down."

    Nebula - "Well, a lot of shots in the Comic-Con trailer were simply shots from make-up and camera tests before we ever filmed. I knew I wanted to add some shots of Nebula, as she’s super badass (we only had one make-up test of her in the Comic-Con trailer – and it wasn’t even Karen Gillan)."

    The Collector - " We also added a shot of Benicio Del Toro as the Collector, who some people saw at the end of Thor 2. We hadn’t even shot any Benicio when we did the Comic-Con trailer.  We added more nearly–finished shots of Rocket and Groot, and some shots of space battles we didn’t have back then. And then we added a few cool shots we didn’t have because, well, we thought they looked cool. It’s important to add that we left out some of our coolest characters – Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, Michael Rooker’s Yondu, and Glenn Close’s Nova Prime – because we want to save them for the full trailer in a couple months."

    Rocket and Groot - "There is no doubt that the cinematic pinnacle of my career is our cameras circling around a maniacal raccoon shooting a machine gun on the back of a living tree. And I say this with as much modesty as I can muster – because certainly it is not me, but the hand of God guiding us all as we make this film – but it just may be the pinnacle of cinema in general. When we shot it we were twirling around an empty space in a giant set. But I think all of us could see the raccoon and the tree in our minds. They were already starting to form. I can’t wait to share them with everyone in August."

    "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."

    Guardians of the Galaxy is set for release on August 1st with Gunn 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 fifth episode of House of Cards season 2...

    House of Cards Season 2 posterThis season’s explosive beginning is now just a distant memory as we start to enter its meaty core. Francis ‘Frank’ Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his loving wife/partner-in-crime Clare (Robin Wright) have already overcome most of the obstacles laid down in the season’s opening third, but now a set of fresh challenges are beginning to creep out of the shadows.

    Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!

    First of all, let me start by stating my personal belief that one of House of Cards biggest strengths is its restraint. Where other shows might opt for brash exposition, this political thriller usually offers a much more subtle approach, allowing viewers to connect the dots themselves. Perhaps that stems from David Fincher’s influence, although to be honest his recent films have been decidedly lacking in that area. In this fifth episode though, I am sorry to report, subtlety and restraint take a back seat as we are repeatedly force-fed obvious, unimaginative metaphors.

    The main plotline running through this episode involves Frank visiting a Civil war re-enactment as part of his Vice Presidential duties. Cue endless war-themed metaphors and needless winks to the camera from Frank. It’s a direction that doesn’t flatter the show, or the audience.

    That being said, the Civil War backdrop does provide a decent excuse for further exploration of Frank’s character. Upon learning of his great-great-great-grandfather in the Confederate army, Frank becomes fascinated with his ancestor, eager to learn as much as he can about the man. It’s a rare insight into the man behind the politics, given that we already know he has little to no family to speak of (or friends for that matter). It reminds me of one of my favourite episodes from the first season, Chapter 8, in which we see Frank return to his alma mater. Yes, we all know and love him as the conniving part-man part-shark, but it really pays off to bring him back to basic humanity.

    Elsewhere, this episode introduces us to shady Chinese businessman, Feng. The character is clearly a good-intentioned ploy by the writers to help spice up the mid-season weariness, what with his ‘eccentricities’ (read: autoerotic asphyxia), however these efforts sadly fall flat. Between this quirky Oriental addition and wily Southern-tycoon Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney), Frank’s enemies are starting to look like a line-up of rejected Bond villains from the Pierce Brosnan era; not a favourable look.

    All these things have led me – for the first time, admittedly – to question whether or not the show’s writers have a finite direction they want the season to go in. Right now it all seems a bit jumbled and messy. Hopefully this is a minor folly, and it will quickly return to its more succinct ways.

    Jackson Ball - follow me on Twitter.

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  • 02/19/14--11:59: Second Opinion - Her (2013)
  • Her, 2013.

    Written and Directed by Spike Jonze.
    Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pratt and Rooney Mara.


    A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.

    Spike Jonze's Her made a lot of waves upon its release in the US last year with glowing reviews across the board and now it has been released here in the UK, it's easy to see why. It's a gorgeous love story with great lead performances, sublime visuals and a creative sense of wonder. When you break it down it's a movie that doesn't try anything new, but there is so much to this movie that it doesn't matter.

    As the poster would suggest, Her is a love story and at its basic level, it's relatively simple. A lonely guy meets a new girl, the pair flirt and have fun, become friends and eventually fall in love with their relationship being tested along the way. The core difference here is that the girl isn't a real-life girl, she's an operating system. Displaying elements of Black Mirror's Be Right Back, The Twilight Zone episode From Agnes - With Love and last year's Robot & Frank, Jonze creates a world in which this doesn't seem like a peculiar thing. This new operating system is more than just an autonomous voice that checks your emails, it's a self-aware conscience that learns, adapts and even feels. This new discovery of life works for both characters as the shut-in recluse Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) realises there is more to life than his divorce and Samantha (the voice of Scarlet Johansson) finds out who she truly is in this world. Their relationship feels real, it feels fresh and different and it's beautiful to an almost heart-breaking level.

    Jonze's script plays a huge part in this as Phoenix and Johansson talk like a real couple and their love feels genuine. As each scene rolls into the next, their love grows in a naturalistic way and nothing feels forced. You understand why these two people fall for each other - even if it is in bizarre circumstances. Furthermore, Jonze has created a futuristic world that is not too dissimilar to how our world may look in years to come. It's not a hyper-realistic future a la I, Robot but a more realistic portrayal of where technology is heading. It's smart choices like this that help you settle into the unusual love story presented.

    Of course, this wouldn't all be possible without the superb leading performances from Phoenix and Johansson. Given that he's on camera (often alone) for 100% of the movie, Phoenix commands the screen with an absorbing presence that makes you warm to every inch of his character. There is something intrinsically likeable about Theodore and the sweetness of his performance makes his relationship with Samantha all the more beautiful. However, this wouldn't have worked as just one way traffic, which is where Scarlett Johansson comes in. Her gorgeous, sultry voice is just one element of her character and she morphs from helpful friend, to curious being, to jealous lover to loving girlfriend. She brings a world of expression with just her vocal chords and it's amazing just how much emotion she gets across without using any physicality. Amy Adams is almost unrecognisable from her overly-sexual performance in American Hustle as the struggling documentarian Amy and her relationship provides perfect counter-balance to Theodore and Samantha. Chris Pratt once again shows just how charismatic he can be and Olivia Wilde and Rooney Mara also shine in their small roles. Jonze's script may be fantastic, but he needed actors who could bring it to life and he has that in this cast.

    Sadly, Her isn't quite perfect. For all of its brilliant ideas and excellent performances, Jonze can't quite keep the pace flowing as the film roles into its third act. In an almost Return of the King move, Her often suffers from false endings by reaching natural conclusions but carrying on the story. On one hand it's great as it gives us more time with these wonderful characters, but at the same time it is bound to agitate others. It's a shame in a way as the first two thirds of the movie are perfectly constructed.

    But not everyone will be bothered by the pacing issues and those who immerse themselves into this world will be gifted with one of the best love stories cinema has produced in quite some time. The relationship between Theodore and Samantha is stunningly gorgeous and often heart-breaking. Jonze's script is cutting, clever and genuinely real in a surreal surrounding and the performances he directs are outstanding. In the most romantic month of the year, we've been treated to one of the best love stories ever told.

    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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    Continuing the marketing blitz for X-Men: Days of Future Past, 20th Century Fox has updated its official website, delivering a batch of character images of most of the main players from Bryan Singer's upcoming mutant superhero sequel; check them out here via CBM....

    X-Men: Days of Future Past

    And that's not all, as Fox has also released a batch of official stills...

    "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 includes Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), 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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    The Flickering Myth writing team look at the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy...

    It's had a mostly positive reaction (apart from that one guy on our Facebook page who hated it), but the Guardians of the Galaxy has taken the world by storm. People who had no idea of who or what the Guardians were are now all excited for their big screen debut.

    But what did our writing team think?

    Oliver Davis: Excellent use of Blue Swede's Hooked on a Feeling! I've loved that tune since I first heard it in Reservoir Dogs.

    Helen Murdoch: Great trailer! Tons of comedy and draws you in without revealing too much plot

    Thomas Harris: Take my money now. Reveals little, brilliant use of music, a great shame we have to wait until August.

    Gary Collinson: Very impressed. Great visuals, some good humour, excellent use of music... can't wait to see more.

    Matthew Spencer-Skeen: Looking forward to seeing some more characters in the next trailer, really impressed with how they went at this. Quite a risk for Marvel and it looks like they might pull it off!

    Ozzy Armstrong:  I'm still not sure to be honest. The trailer was OK but I'm not sure how the characters will play out on the big screen. Think I'm more willing to give it a chance thanks to this trailer but still very much on the fence.

    J-P Wooding: The trailer is good with a brief intro the Guardians who I'm, and I dare say a few others, aren't that familiar with. Looks like it'll have a decent amount of humour alongside the usual CGI. It definitely has my attention and I'd like to see perhaps one more trailer just to tease a little of the storyline.

    Luke Owen: When the trailer ended, my first thought was, 'well that was an odd tone', but repeated watches have totally sold me. I was pumped for this movie and its tone is so different from what we've been given before from comic book movie trailers that you can't help be intrigued by it. The cast all look great and the trailer did a great job of letting us know just who the Guardians of the Galaxy are. Top work!

    Sadé Green: Definitely got my attention. I've been slightly intrigued since it was announced but not knowing much about it, I haven't been hugely bothered. But now.... I'm very excited to see this! It looks great!

    Scott J Davis: Looks like good fun. Still skeptic about it as a whole and whether it will work, but does look pretty impressive.

    Chris Cooper: Humour, oooga chaka, good music, flipped birds and a-holes. Really like the mix of real make-up and CGI. Am I wrong in getting a Star Wars feel from it? I don't know, but something about it just feels right. Would have liked to hear Rocket and Groot, but that will come in time.
    This could be the sci-fi movie I didn't know I really really wanted.

    Anthony Donovan Stokes: As far as the movie goes I'm excited easily my most anticipated movie of the year. As far as a trailer goes it was kind of bad. It felt like 4 different TV spots spliced together. Some funny moments or some dialogue would've made it more appealing, I don't think this will be getting people invested.

    Brogan Jameson Morris: The trailer is a bit clunky, but what you get to see of the film makes it seem like something special. Completely different vibe to any other Marvel movie. Love the eclectic cast, and the whole 'misfits working together'-style storyline. More excited to see this than any other Marvel movie in development right now, and what you get to see in the trailer is really promising.

    Tom Jolliffe: Looks pretty good. The other Marvel films are becoming much of a muchness but this looks like something very different. I have no prior knowledge of the source material but there's a bit of a Serenity vibe about this, which is a good thing. Plus it has John C. Reilly in it. That's a plus point right there.

    So there you have it. Much like the rest of the Internet, a mostly positive reaction to the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy. Some might be on the fence, but it seems Marvel have pulled this one out of the bag against all odds.

    What did you think of the trailer? Let us know your thoughts below, or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum...

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    Jai Courtney cast as Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genesis
    Last week we heard that the race for the role of Kyle Reese in Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor's Terminator: Genesis was down to two contenders and now we have a winner, with Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard) securing the part of the time-travelling hero against competition from Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl).

    Terminator: Genesis is a reboot of James Cameron's sci-fi classic, with Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) set to play Sarah Connor and Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) cast as her future son John Connor. And of course, reboot or not, you can't have The Terminator without The Terminator (well, unless you're Terminator: Salvation, kind of), so naturally Arnold Schwarzenegger is on board as his signature role.

    Terminator: Genesis is set for release on July 1st 2015.

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    Every Wednesday, FM writers Simon Columb and Brogan Morris write two short reviews on Woody Allen films ... in the hope of watching all his films over the course of roughly 49 weeks. If you have been watching Woody's films and want to join in, feel free to comment with short reviews yourself! Next up is September and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask...

    Simon Columb on September...

    “I’m not who I thought I was” notes Steffie (Dianne Wiest) in Woody Allen’s sober and sincere September. Loosely based on Chekhov play Uncle Vanya, Allen contains the drama within a single house. Friends and family are supporting clinically-depressed Lane (Mia Farrow) following a failed suicide attempt but everyone finds it difficult to cope. Lane loves her boyfriend Peter (Sam Waterston), but he has fallen for Steffie, a married woman going through a rough patch. Lane’s Mum, Diane (Elaine Stritch), a retired actress is desperate for Peter to write her biography frustrating Lane further. Suffice to say, no-one is, emotionally, who they think they are. Lacking the laughs, September provides a solemn approach to relationships. Allen takes a step towards seriousness as affairs are not flippant and suicide is real. A tender story, September lacks the pace and immediacy that drives a drama forward making this more miss than hit.

    Simon Columb

    Brogan Morris on Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex...
    Like many sketch shows, not all in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex is comedy gold – opening sketch ‘Do aphrodisiacs work?’ falls back on unimaginative wordplay, and the homage to Fellini and Italian cinema, ‘Why do some women have trouble reaching an orgasm?’ mostly feels flat. But the stuff that hits is excellent: the sketch in which Gene Wilder’s doctor falls in love with a sheep is darkly amusing, as is the episode of fictional game show What’s My Perversion? One segment, a dead-on B movie parody about a giant, murderous breast, shows Allen could’ve turned a Mel Brooks-esque knack for lampooning other movies into a side-career, but all leads up to one scene of Woody Allen genius: ‘What happens during ejaculation?’ in which the body of a man having sex is manned by a crew of hundreds, digesting recently consumed Italian food and operating his erections.

    Brogan Morris - Lover of film, writer of words, pretentious beyond belief. Thinks Scorsese and Kubrick are the kings of cinema, but PT Anderson and David Fincher are the young princes. Follow Brogan on Twitter if you can take shameless self-promotion.

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    Jada Pinkett Smith to play mob boss Fish Mooney in Gotham
    Fox's Batman prequel series Gotham has added a new villain to its cast, with Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Revolutions, Madagascar) set to play newly-created mobster Fish Mooney, who Deadline describes as "an imposing, hotheaded and notoriously sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner with street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book who is not one to be crossed."

    Gotham has been created by Bruno Heller (The Mentalist), with Danny Cannon (Judge Dredd set to direct the pilot. The show will revolve around a young Detective Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie (Southland) and will also feature Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) as Alfred Pennyworth, Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth) as Oswald Cobblepot, Zabryna Guevara (The Guilt Trip) as Detective Essen, Erin Richards (Being Human) as Barbara Kean, and Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) as Detective Harvey Bullock.

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    Anghus Houvouras on how spoilers are ruining film sites...

    I've been pretty ambivalent about the spoiler outrage that has gripped the online communities since their existence.  Even when they were microscopic.  No doubt at some point in 1992 there were four film fans on a BBS Bulletin Board and one of them ruined The Crying Game for the other three.  Probably with a ASCII picture of a penis.   The fundamental truth here is that spoilers exist.  And in the internet age of always-on 24 hour streaming information, they are getting harder and harder to miss.  They make the rounds on every film site.  They hit the front page of Reddit.  They pop up in your social media feeds.  Spoilers are everywhere.  They are inevitable.  To be online is to expose yourself to potential spoilage. No doubt at some point in 1992 there were four film fans on a BBS Bulletin Board and one of them ruined The Crying Game for the other three.  Probably with a ASCII picture of a penis. 

    I found myself contributing to a conversation with Superior Spider-Man writer Dan Slott who has been extremely vocal about comic book spoilers hitting the web, funneling most of his welling rage towards EIC Rich Johnston:

    @richjohnston Rich, you have a heavily trafficked site. If you DIDN'T spoil stories the information would not spread as fast. Please don't.

    To which Rich replied:

    @DanSlott then stop launching public tirades when the real problems is elsewhere. Please stop.

    Dan's final word on the subject summed up how many creators feel:

    Done arguing, Rich. All other arguments aside, this still holds true: When YOU spoil stories, the spoilers spread faster. Please stop.

    Slott's final thought on the subject mirrors how I'm starting to feel about spoilers.  Every film site claims that they're merely reporting what's already out there, spreading spoilers like a virus.  This week there was a slew of spoilage about Captain America: The Winter Soldier based on some toy photos and a soundtrack listing.  The kernels of truth were quickly popping up everywhere online.  To me, the spoilers weren't nearly as interesting as how the websites opted to cover this 'news'.

    There are two distinct groups when it comes to spoilers online.   There are those who blatantly expose those secrets with a sick level of glee.  The ones who enjoy ruining things for others.  The sites that will post the spoilers in the headline of the story giving you no choice in the matter.  Sites that make highly questionable editorial choices that make it come across like they want to ruin the movie for you.  Like that episode of The IT Crowd where the Dominator tries to ruin the Tarantino produced Zombie film or on a recent episode of Community where Britta goes to extreme lengths to expose the ending of a Game of Thrones style fantasy series to Abed.  I don't know what you do about those wretched souls.  There will always be an uncontrollable element, like those people who drive to bookstores at midnight yelling "Snape kills Dumbledore."  The creatively malignant who find humor in spoiling it for everybody else.

    Then there are those like Drew McWeeney over at HitFix who post a story about spoilers and then get weirdly sanctimonious about it.  The headline of the story over at Hitfix:

    Soundtrack listing and toys reveal 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' spoiler (But we won't give it away)

    In the column, McWeeny (formerly Moriarty at Ain't it Cool News) explains the whole sordid scenario behind The Captain America: Winter Soldier spoilers hitting the web and then gets preachy about it.

    "I'm not going to repeat the spoiler here. I'm genuinely frustrated that I learned it, and I'm especially irritated that I learned it the way I did."

    McWeeney represents that new school of online film journalist.  The ones who are desperate to come across as above it all, but still pass along the spoiler information in a kind of passive-aggressive way.  By posting the story about the spoilers, he's contributing to the potential ruination of the new Captain America movie. He provides all the links where you can find the spoilers, but doesn't reveal the twist in the body of the article.  Then he spends a paragraph or two talking about frustrated he is by it all.  As if this story was so important publishing it was a mandate and that it's all out of his control.  It's such a strange read.  McWeeney helped usher in this spoiler plagued age with his Ain't it Cool cronies, and yet he chastises the existence of these spoilers while writing a story that basically gives the reader everything they know to reveal the twist.  It's so wonderfully sanctimonious and simultaneously sociopathic.

    It's like McWeeny walks into the room of someone considering suicide and places a box of bullets and a gun on the table.  Then proceeds to provide instructions on how to load the gun, unlock the safety, chamber a bullet, and pull the trigger.  Just before leaving, he turns back to explain why it's wrong to kill yourself, then lectures you on your selfishness for even considering something so terrible. 

    Let's be honest, they're just spoilers.  It's not exactly life and death.  For online film sites, they have become a currency.  They are leveraged and traded.  Even the most ridiculous ones are passed around from site to site because everyone is afraid of potentially missing out.  Sites that broker in rampant speculation like Latino Review with a heinous track record get constantly linked and re-posted because of one important principle:

    Page views are more important than the truth. 

    The truth stopped mattering once film sites realized you get ten times the traffic for posting an erroneous rumor about the design of Batman's codpiece as opposed to a traditional film review.  Why bother with a well thought out piece about film theory when a two paragraph blurb about casting speculation for a superhero movie gets you twenty times the traffic?  It's a sobering realization.  Standards have eroded to an embarrassing level.  Even the most supposedly legitimate film sites engage in a symbiotic relationship of story sharing to guarantee they maintain certain traffic levels.  The spoiler stream isn't going anywhere. 

    There are a lot of people online who are constantly hungry for information.  Who love the internet because it provides them a comprehensive look behind the scenes.  You can know more about a movie than you ever could before.  From inception to creation, it's all there to be found online.  There are some who believe it strips away some of the magic from the experience. There's certainly some truth there.  The reality is if you enjoy film and spend enough time online, the odds of the latest movie being ruined for you increase exponentially.  The sad part of this new spoiler driven culture is that it feels like choice has been removed from the equation.  For some, even finding out the movie has a twist is tantamount to ruining the experience.  Seeing the words SPOILER ALERT in front of a story is often as deflating as the content of the story itself.

    I'm of an age where realism consistently wins out over idealism.  Accepting the fact that spoilers are a permanent fixture of the online film culture gives you a certain level of freedom.  Expecting standards from these film sites is a waste of energy and effort.  The one nagging thorn with all this are the sites that still seems way too excited to ruin a movie for their readers and the writers who re-post the stories while simultaneously lecturing us on the topic.

    Spoiler Alert: They're both pretty useless.

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

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    Luke Owen reviews Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9 from IDW...

    Before Godzilla was king, there was another! King Caesar makes his comic book debut in a tale set thousands of years in Earth's past, in a battle that sets the stage for today's world of monsters.

    Just as its sure the sun will rise in the morning, Chris Mowry and Matt Frank have put together another fine issue of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth. Like Godzilla running amok in Tokyo, this is a behemoth that can't be stopped and it's showing no signs of slowing down. Even when it's an issue like Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9 which is 80% exposition, it's still awesome.

    The comic kicks off with an epic three-on-one battle of Godzilla against Gezora, Titanosaurus and Manda in the Pacific Ocean before Lucy gets stuck on an island where she discovers everyone's favourite fairy twins. This is where the exposition part of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9 comes in as the Shobijin explain (in vague terms) the history of Earth's monsters and how they tie into our Universe. While it may sound like it would be slightly dull, it's actually fascinating to read with some really interesting ideas behind Godzilla cannon. Mowry has a very skilled hand when it comes to writing dialogue that is genuinely interesting to read and its a testament to his skills as a writer that he makes text heavy issue such as this one as exciting as one filled with huge monster brawls.

    But of course, that's not to say that Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9 is all talk. There is a battle in the middle of the exposition that could very well be a ground-breaking fight in Godzilla comics. On one of the latest episodes of the Kaijucast, Mowry revealed that a battle would be coming up between two monsters who haven't appeared in a Western comic. The battle of which he speaks is King Ceasar and Megalon who have a pretty epic battle during the Shobijin's flashback. While Megalon has certainly appeared in Western comics (he featured in last year's Godzilla: The Half-Century War), this is the comic debut of King Ceasar and it's certainly a grand entrance. Frank's artwork is once again sublime as he brings this often forgotten kaiju off the page in superb style. Furthermore, he captures the sillyness of a creature like Megalon and turns him into a legitimate threat. Not many artists have been able to do this, but Frank can do it in his sleep.

    It's almost becoming tiresome to say month after month, but Godzilla: Rulers of Earth continues to be fantastic. We've been given a tease of a re-appearance of space-based kaiju so it's looking like this series is only going to get bigger. With the release of Gareth Edward's Godzilla not too far off, one would imagine that this will be a big year for the King of the Monster in terms of comics. However, whoever is stepping up to the bat next has some big shoes to fill.

    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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    2014 is shaping up to be a great year for directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, what with The LEGO Movie raking in the dough at the box office and the duo all but assured of another hit when Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reunite for the comedy sequel 22 Jump Street. The film has received a new green band trailer, which is pretty much identical to the last green band trailer, save for an alternate ending which is definitely worth sticking around for...

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

    22 Jump Street is set for release on June 6th 2014 in the UK and on June 13th 2014 in North America.

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    Matthew McConaughey may become an Oscar winner for Dallas Buyers Club (2013) while his HBO series True Detective with Woody Harrelson (No Country for Old Men) airs a new episode the same night as the Academy Awards. 

    Episode #7:After You’ve Gone

    Debut: March 2, 2014 @ 9 pm ET/PT   

    Written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.

    Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) forge a truce to probe a murky string of disappearances that tie to the symbology of the Dora Lange murder and the Tuttle family.

    Episode #8:Form and Void (season finale)

    Debut: March 9, 2014 @ 9 pm ET/PT

    Written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.

    An overlooked detail provides Hart and Cohle with an important new lead in their 17-year-old case.

    Lena Dunham decides to go with the ‘Flo’ with the latest episode of her HBO series Girls.

    Episode #29: Flo

    Debut: March 2, 2014 @ 10 pm ET/PT

    Written by Bruce Eric Kaplan and directed by Richard Shepard.


    While visiting her ailing grandmother (June Squibb) in the hospital, Hannah (Lena Dunham) is surprised by a strange request from her mother (Becky Ann Baker). Later, Hannah shares an uncomfortable drink with Rebecca (Sarah Steele), her overachieving med student cousin.

    Episode #30:Role-Play

    Debut: March 9, 2014 @ 10 pm ET/PT

    Written by Lena Dunham & Judd Apatow and directed by Jesse Peretz.

    Alarmed by Adam’s (Adam Driver) indifference when she fails to come home after a night out with co-workers, Hannah worries that the spark may be gone in their relationship. Marnie (Allison Williams) begins working at Soo Jin’s (Greta Lee) art gallery, though not in the role she expected; later, Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) helps her rediscover her voice. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) has a surprise for Jessa (Jemima Kirke).

    Episode #31:I Saw You

    Debut: March 16, 2014 @ 10 pm ET/PT

    Written by Lena Dunham & Paul Simms and directed by Jesse Peretz.

    Hannah gets a glimpse of some harsh realities when she invites Elijah (Andrew Rannells) to join her in her quest to complete an unfinished assignment. Jessa searches for a job. Hannah, Shoshanna and Elijah attend Marnie’s open-mic performance.


    Episode #32:Two Plane Rides (season finale)

    Debut: March 23, 2014 @ 10 pm ET/PT

    Written and directed by Lena Dunham.

    On the day of Adam’s opening night, Hannah gets news that could change the direction of her career and their relationship. Marnie chooses an inopportune moment to divulge a secret to Shoshanna, who is dealing with her own unexpected news. Jessa’s boss asks for an unusual favour.

    To learn more visit the official websites for True Detective and Girls.

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  • 02/19/14--16:42: First Look at Black Widow #4
  • Things do not get easier for Natasha Romanoff as she encounters an unfamiliar lethal adversary in story created by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto.

    From the cold streets of Russia emerges a powerful new villain. Enter – the Hand of God! And the Widow’s life will never be the same. Outmatched, outclassed, and outgunned by the Hand of God’s sheer brute force, Natasha fights for her life against her merciless new foe. The pieces are in play and the clock is ticking. The Hand of God’s globe-spanning terror plot has been activated. Is the Widow enough to stop it? She’ll have to survive first!

    Black Widow #4goes on sale March 12, 2014. 

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    With just over a week to go before its return, NBC has debuted a new poster for its serial killer drama Hannibal featuring Hugh Dancy's Will Graham, who found himself in a little spot of bother the last we saw of him...

    New poster for Hannibal season 2

    Hannibal season 2 gets underway on NBC in the States on February 28th, with returning stars Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal Lector), Lawrence Fishburne (Jack Crawford),  Caroline Dhavernas (Alana Bloom), Eddie Izzard (Abel Gideon), Gillian Anderson (Bedelia Du Maurier) and Raul Esparza (Frederick Chilton) joined by guest stars such as Jeremy Davies (Lost), Jonathan Tucker (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Amanda Plummer (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). Watch the season 2 trailer here.

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    The Star Wars Rebels promotional material is coming thick and fast this month; we've had two promos [see here], as well as character introduction featurettes for Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) and Zeb (Steve Blum), and now thanks to The Hollywood Reporter we have our first look at yet another new addition to the galaxy far, far away in Sabine, a "feisty", "sassy" and "spunky" Mandalorian weapons expert who is set to be voiced by Tiya Sircar (Vampire Diaries).

    "Star Wars Rebels continues the epic tradition of the legendary Star Wars saga with all-new exciting, action-packed adventures. It is a dark time in the galaxy, as the evil Galactic Empire tightens its grip of power from world to world. As the series begins, Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet, ruling with an iron fist and ruining the lives of its people. But there are a select few who are brave enough to stand up against the endless Stormtroopers and TIE fighters of the Empire: the clever and motley crew of the starship Ghost. Together, this ragtag group will face threatening new villains, have thrilling adventures, and become heroes."

    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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    With the Need for Speed movie revving its engine ahead of its release next month, Touchstone Pictures has debuted the first clip from the video game adaptation which sees Michael Keaton (RoboCop) getting psyched about "the race before the race" and also features Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul alongside Imogen Poots (Fright Night)...

    Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his false conviction. Tobey tears up the road in a gritty cross-country journey— one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. 

    Need for Speed is directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor), and also features Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger), Scott Mescudi (How to Make It in America), Rami Malek (The Pacific), and Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey)

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    Optimum Releasing has debuted a new full-length UK trailer for Richard Ayoade's latest directorial offering The Double, which sees Jesse Eisenberg (Now You See Me) leading a cast that also includes Mia Wasikowska (Stoker), Wallace Shawn (Toy Story), Yasmin Paige (Submarine), Craig Roberts (22 Jump Street), Chris O’Dowd (Thor: The Dark World), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and Paddy Considine (The Worlds End). Check it out after the official synopsis...

    "Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) is a timid man, scratching out an isolated existence in an indifferent world. He is overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams, Hannah, played by Mia Wasikowska. He feels powerless to change any of these things. The arrival of a new co-worker, James, serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon's exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon's horror, James slowly starts taking over his life."

    The Double opens on April 4th in the UK and May 9th in the US.

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