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    Trevor Hogg chats with Chris Buck about the creating an animated musical with a snowballing appeal with critics and moviegoers...

    Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Producer Peter Del Vecho
    With a flurry of Best Animated Feature awards from the Visual Effects Society and BAFTAs as well as an Oscar nomination, Frozen co-director Chris Buck (Surf’s Up) is overwhelmed by the worldwide movie industry acclaim.  “It has been crazy.  There’s been at least one [award] a week for the last two or three weeks.”  Adapting the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Snow Queen about a royal who casts an icy spell and a young woman who attempts to break it began in 2008 when Buck pitched his version to Disney.  “There were two female protagonists.  We were always trying to get these two together and Elsa [Indina Menzel] was more of a villain at the time too.  It wasn’t until someone asked, ‘What if they were sisters?’  Suddenly everybody could wrap their heads around the emotion of the story and how do you take these two people who have a problem and split them up?   If they’re family it just made the movie so much stronger and emotional.”  Sharing the directorial duties was Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph).  “Jen being the writer, especially, when it started to get into our crunch time she took on the responsibility of more the story end of it and working with the story artists while I was off working with the animators, effects artists, and the backgrounds.  We still worked together quite a bit during the day.   There were a few hours here and there that we would have to split up to keep everything going.  All the balls were up in the air and we didn’t want to drop any of them.”

    Despite being computer generated Frozen remains grounded in the tradition of hand-draw animation.  “It’s Disney’s legacy,” observes Chris Buck.  “We still have quite a few of our hand-drawn animators there and CG guys.  I come from hand-drawn too.  In the animation dailies room we would stop on a frame when a CG animator was showing his scene and Mark [Empey] would go over it and give a wonderful hand-drawn appeal to the poses.  There’s the combination of that in all of the animation where you get that feeling of the hand-drawn and then we do have some hand-drawn effects that are in the movie too.  It’s a nice blend in the whole thing.”  Scouting trips were taken to Norway and Canada.  “The one I did was the ice hotel in Quebec City; that was a huge inspiration for Elsa’s ice palace.  We could see how the light came through the ice, and the reflections and refractions of things.  We took a little of pictures and videos while we were there and that was terrific.  Jen and I did not go on the Norway trip because we were still working on the story while our Art Director Mike Giaimo [Pocahontas] and several of his artists went.   They took in everything in Norway from the scope of the environment all the way down to the detail of the folk art which is called rosemaling in Norway; we even put it into the clothing and architecture.  There are so many things even the opening song happened to come from a bit of music they found in Norway.  Norway was terrific even though we’re not saying that the movie was in Norway it was still a huge inspiration.”

    “One of the things I was drawn to was that Disney had never done a feature that all took place in this ice and snow,” states Chris Buck.  “Ice and snow to me is magical.  You don’t even have to add the Disney magic but we did.  The challenge of the ice and snow was that the snow we first did looked like Styrofoam or packing peanuts.  It didn’t have the quality of believable snow so we created this software for that and the same thing for the ice.  The first ice that we did was too perfect.  It looked too much like glass or plastic so we had to go in and give it the flaws that real life has.  Those were the struggles throughout and we did have to create some new software to make those things happen.  I’m very happy with the result.”  A dramatic blizzard had to be simulated by the CG animators.  “They took a box and put different kinds of snow falling in it.  Some snow had wind to it, some was falling straight down and some swirled around.  We had different choices of snow to look at and put it into the scene.  But then they would still have to go in there by hand to craft it so it would fit. That’s how we did it on the fjord in the final sequence.  They would take some of the snow they’d already done but would have to go in and say, ‘We have to clear this area out here.  You have to be able to see Anna [Kristen Bell] and Kristoff [Jonathan Groff].’”

    Music plays a pivotal role.  “The songs have to be part of the story,” notes Chris Buck.  “We worked closely with Bobby Lopez [Avenue Q] and Kristen Anderson- Lopez [Winnie the Pooh] to craft the story with the songs.  We were working with them everyday.  For two hours we were video conferencing between L.A. and New York making sure that we were never stopping the action for a song.  It was always telling some story within the song and we were hopefully moving the story along.  Bobby and Kristen taught Jen and I the shape of a musical so they helped us immensely and are very talented people.  Christophe Beck [Edge of Tomorrow] used a beautiful score but also used some of the elements of the songs in there to remind the audience once and awhile the feeling that they had when hearing the song so to bring back some of that emotion to something that happens later in the movie.”  Amongst all of the music are sound effects.   “Our amazing Sound Designer Odin Benitez [Silver Linings Playbook] went up to Mammoth Mountain, a resort in California; he went on a frozen lake and recorded stuff there.  What it was like when you put a hammer on the ice or threw things.  Odin had some beautiful ice and snow falling effects that he got on his own.  These weren’t from his library; they were special for our movie.  All sorts of things he took care of that give you the feeling of being out there in these mountains and fjords yet are unique.  Odin did a beautiful job.”

    “There were a lot of technical challenges,” remarks Chris Buck.  “Luckily the studio was on board when we said we wanted to do a musical.  One of the challenges was we had two strong female protagonists and as we went through we had to define them and finally found it.  Anna is ruled by love and Elsa is ruled by fear.  That took us awhile to get there to clarify who they were and once we did the story clicked in and was much easier but it took us a few years to get there.”  Two sequences standout to Buck.  “One is the Let It Go Sequence, the song is so wonderful and amazing that the challenge was there for us to match it visually and the artists were all up to it.  We worked really hard on that one.  The other one is the finale on the fjord with everything that went on and all of the effects and snow, and the emotion of that whole sequence where Anna goes and saves her sister.  That was a real bear to do but luckily it was one of the first sequences that went into production so we had time to craft that one.”  The creative talent behind Frozen is a source of admiration for the filmmaker from Wichita, Kansas.  “They have become our family throughout and we work on these movies for a long time.  I’m forever grateful to these amazing artists.”

    Production stills, concept art and video © 2013 Disney.  All rights reserved.

    Many thanks to Chris Buck for taking the time for this interview.

    Make sure to visit the official website for Frozen.

    Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada. 

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    Ahead of its release next month, Machinima has debuted an action-packed, bloody clip from Sabotage, which sees Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team of crack DEA agents doing what they do best and taking out a house full of bad guys; check it out after the official synopsis...

    In SABOTAGE Arnold Schwarzengger leads an elite DEA task force that takes on the world’s deadliest drug cartels. When the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house, they think their work is done – until, one-by-one, the ten members mysteriously start to be eliminated.

    Sabotage is directed by David Ayer (End of Watch) and sees Arnie joined by Sam Worthington (Avatar), Terrence Howard (The Best Man Holiday), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Harold Perrineau (Lost), Olivia Williams (Dollhouse), Mireille Enos (World War Z), Josh Holloway (Lost), and Max Martini (Pacific Rim).

    Sabotage is set for release on April 11th 2014 in North America and April 25th 2014 here in the UK. Watch the red band trailer here.

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  • 02/26/14--00:21: Watch 300's 'Honest Trailer'
  • Screen Junkies have posted their latest 'honest trailer' - a four minute or so piece of film criticism using the 'In a world...' voiceover style. And a congratulations! is in order, as not only is this their 50th ever video; this is also SPAAAARTA!

    That's right, before the release of the 300 sequel (annoyingly not entitled 301), they're talking...

    -Zack Snyder's overused bag of visual tricks.

    -That mutant Persian goat thing.

    -And lots of homoerotic imagery.

    Wait a second...Michael Fassbender was in that movie!?

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    Although we are yet to get our first official look at the live-action reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we do have a better look at the LEGO tie-in sets courtesy of Groove Bricks. “Turtle Van Takedown,” Big Rig Snow Getaway,” and “Turtle Lair Invasion” will all be direct scenes within the film while “Turtle Sub Undersea Chase” is a tie-in with the popular Nickelodeon series.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) and produced by Michael Bay (Transformers: Age of Extinction), with Megan Fox (Transformers) as April O'Neil, Alan Ritchson (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) as Raphael, Pete Ploszek (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Jeremy Howard (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) as Donatello, Noel Fisher (Battle Los Angeles) as Michaelangelo, Danny Woodburn (Seinfeld) as Splinter, Will Arnett (Arrested Development) as Vernon Fenwick, and William Fichtner (The Lone Ranger) as Shredder. The film is due for release on August 8th in North America, and October 17th here in the UK.

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    Karl Urban says conversations are taking place about a Dredd sequel
    It may not have set the box office alight, but the 2012 reboot Dredd certainly won its fair share of fans, many of whom are still holding out hope for a second outing for Karl Urban's Lawman of the Future. Well, those hopes have been raised this week, with Urban stating at Destination Star Trek Frankfurt (via WhatCulture) that "conversations" have been taking place with the studio about a sequel, which would reunite The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek star with writer-producer Alex Garland.

    As it happens, Garland has plans for three movies (read what he had to say about his Dredd trilogy at the 2012 London Film and Comic-Con here), and with the film performing well on home video, it seems that a sequel is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. Would you like to see Urban don the helmet once again? Let us know in the comments below or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum....

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    It’s been less than two days since the incredibly sad passing of comedy great Harold Ramis, but it seems as if this short amount of time has become a catalyst for the production of the long-rumoured Ghostbusters III.

    Over at The Hollywood Reporter, it has been revealed that the project hasn’t been totally derailed. Instead the script from Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky is being tweaked, with director Ivan Reitman scheduled to meet the bosses over at Sony to see how the film can move forward without one of its original stars.

    Raimi's passing was shocking and untimely, and he will certainly be remembered as one of the greats. Read Luke Owen's tribute to the man here.

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    Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice set for December
    It’s been two long years since Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and the wait for his latest, Inherent Vice, is slowly coming to a close. Warner Bros. has announced that the film is to open on December 12th, competing against Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus and Paddington. Before its official release, it can be expected to be shown throughout different film festivals with Venice most likely.

    Taking place in 1970 Los Angeles, Inherent Vice sees Joaquin Phoenix (Her) starring a pothead private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello, who is helping a former lover with an intriguing case that involves infidelity, mental institution and a policeman called Bigfoot. Starring alongside Phoenix are Josh Brolin (Oldboy), Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy), Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde), Martin Short (Frankenweenie), Martin Donovan (Insomnia), Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class), Owen Wilson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jena Malone (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids).

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    Gangster Squad and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer has signed onto helm family comedy Overnight, a Home Alone-style romp set in a toy shop similar to FAO Schwartz. Plot details are being kept to an absolute minimum but it looks set to centre on a recently divorced father trying to save his relationship with his son.

    Neal Moritz (21 Jump Street) is set to produce Overnight and 22 Jump Street screenwriter Oren Uziel has penned the screenplay, which is a promising sign. As yet, there's no word on potential cast members, or a start date for production.

    Meanwhile, in other comedy news, it's been revealed that the We're the Millers sequel has found a screenwriter, with Adam Sztykiel (Due Date, Made of Honor) attached to pen the script. with Rawson Marshall Thurber will once again return to direct. The original made an impressive $269 million worldwide last year, with a cast that included Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter.

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    It appears Liam Neeson has Taken (apologies, I couldn’t resist) a break from his press tour of new film Non-Stop to film a part for the upcoming Entourage movie.

    All indications are that it’s likely to be a small role and could possibly be doing a cameo with eyewitness claiming to have seen him driving around L.A in a gold Bentley and Jeremy Piven in a brand new red Ferrari.

    Warner Bros. has also announced that the release date for the HBO TV series movie spinoff is to be June 12, 2015, with all the main cast of Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven confirmed as returning.

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    Over the past couple of years, Warner Bros. has really struggled to hold a director down for its planned adaptation of the Stephen King epic The Stand. The project has already passed through the hands of David Yates (Harry Potter), Ben Affleck (Argo) and Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace), and now The Wrap is reporting that Josh Boone (Stuck in Love, The Fault in Our Stars) is making a deal to write and direct.

    According to the report, Warner Bros. and CBS Films want Boone to "adapt King's epic novel as a single, R-rated movie that will be faithful to the book" - although you have to wonder how faithful a single movie can be, unless the studio is intended on delivering an absolutely arse-numbing running time that would put Shoah to shame.

    Is Boone the right choice for The Stand, and how do you feel about Warner's plans to adapt it as a single movie? Let us know in the comments below or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum...

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    Luke Owen reviews the first issue of the Mass Hysteria maxi-series of Ghostbusters...

    Lucky issue 13 is here, and with it, the first installment of the eight-part event that will shake the boys and girls in grey to their core! Gozer the Gozerian, the Destructor, was once drawn to Manhattan, but could not complete his work. That's the good news. The bad news is that he isn't the only god who has taken notice of Earth...  MASS HYSTERIA and our 30th anniversary tribute to the Ghostbusters begins here!

    It's been a sad week for Ghostbusters fans with the passing of Harold Ramis, but if there is one thing that we can celebrate is the legacy he left behind. Without his influence, we may not have had great Ghostbusters comics like the ones we get from IDW. So with that said, I'd like to dedicate this review to the man behind Dr. Egon Spengler. Rest in peace sir, see you on the other side.

    The previous mini-run of Ghostbusters,which saw our heroes battling holiday themed ghoulies, was pretty underwhelming given the run of comics that came before it and they just felt like place holder fodder until the 30th anniversary celebration series could kick off. But now that the series has arrived, it feels like a breath of fresh air. Ghostbusters #13, the first part of Mass Hysteria, is really great and totally worth the wait.

    The comic is split into three plot threads with the ragtag team of Ghostbuster helpers (most of which made up The New Ghostbusters from last year) covering for our heroes as they attend the long-awaited wedding of Winston Zeddermore. Meanwhile, it seems as though Dana Barrett is heading for a visit from a face we've not seen since 1984 - a certain Sumerian God who is looking for the woman who was once the Gate Keeper.

    Erik Burnham balances these three plot threads incredibly well and Ghostbusters #13 never feels like its juggling too much. The New Ghostbusters (along with Rookie) are given ample time for their thread to be exciting, Winston's wedding isn't rushed and there is a great amount of build and payoff from Dana's story. It's a great first issue of this maxi-series and a good sign of things to come. The dynamic between Dana and Peter should be very interesting given Ortiz's role in the series and there's even a tease of an appearance of baby Oscar who would be (does the math) 25 by now. It's also a testament to Burnham's writing and characterisation that he never has to explicitly say who Dana is, trusting the reader to connect the dots. Like Chris Mowry on Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Burham is a writer that gets this franchise and knows what the fans will recognise by words alone.

    Although, I'm not sure about the Terror Dogs being replaced with ostriches...

    Ghostbusters #13 is superb jumping off point for what should be a great series. It may feel like treading old water to return to old bad guys, but isn't that what a 30th anniversary celebration should be for? There is a good level of intrigue in this opening chapter and the next seven months should be a lot of fun.

    Cats and dogs may end up living together after all.

    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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    After yesterday's new trailer [see here], Empire has given us our best look yet at the King of the Monsters from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures'Godzilla reboot, thanks to the latest cover of the magazine....


    "An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Kaiju, this spectacular adventure pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence."

    Godzilla is directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and features a cast that includes  includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Elizabeth Olsen (Red Lights), David Strathairn (Lincoln), Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), and Ken Watanabe (Inception). The film opens on May 16th.

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    Marvel Studios has released a new featurette for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce) and Marvel chief Kevin Feige discussing the story and theme of the upcoming Phase Two superhero sequel / political thriller; check it out below....

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

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Community) and also stars MCU veterans Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola) and Maximiliano Hernandez (Agent Jasper Sitwell) alongside Emily VanCamp (Revenge) as Sharon Carter / Agent 13, Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty) as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones and George St-Pierre (Death Warrior) as Georges Batroc / Batroc the Leaper. The sequel opens in the UK on March 26th and in North America on April 4th.

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    To promote next month's update for Random House's George R.R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire app, a brief excerpt - read single paragraph - from the The Winds of Winter, the sixth novel of Martin's epic fantasy saga has arrived online, with a full chapter set to land with the app update. The chapter in question is from Tyrion's point of view, and you can read it here courtesy of EW...

    Somewhere off in the far distance, a dying man was screaming for his mother. “To horse!” a man was yelling in Ghiscari, in the next camp to the north of the Second Sons. “To horse! To horse!” High and shrill, his voice carried a long way in the morning air, far beyond his own encampment. Tyrion knew just enough Ghiscari to understand the words, but the fear in his voice would have been plain in any tongue. I know how he feels.

    George R.R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire is available on iTunes and Google Play, while Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its fourth season on April 6th, and The Winds of Winter will hit shelves when King's Landing freezes over.

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

    House of Cards Season 2 poster
    It’s the second season’s penultimate episode, and the Washington walls are beginning to close in around Francis ‘Frank’ Underwood (Kevin Spacey). He and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) are so close to the goal they’ve been working towards the entire series, but now it appears that their ‘friends’ are turning on them.

    Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!

    For the first time since Season 2 began, I find myself face-to-face with a very familiar problem. It’s a problem that has fallen on every television reviewer over the past few years. Despite their best efforts to prevent it from happening, at some point they are going to compare a show to Breaking Bad. I call it the Heisenberg Syndrome.

    I know, House of Cards could not be any further removed from Walter White’s exploits (despite the fact that they are both excellent!), but I have to admit that Episode 12 had me reminiscing. Remember those last few episodes before Breaking Bad’s finale, when all the supporting characters (quite rightly) turned on poor Walter? Well, that’s exactly what Frank’s going through now.

    It’s not massively surprising though. It’s textbook anti-hero writing and, make no mistake about it, Frank is definitely an anti-hero. He might lack the good-intentions of Mr. White, but Underwood’s relentlessly watchable personality has earned him a begrudged place in all our hearts.

    So, those people who had previously been Frank’s ‘puppets’ have finally wised up to his shenanigans; House Whip Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker), Special Prosecutor Dunbar (Elizabeth Marvel) and even President Walker (Michael Gill) have all finally broke Underwood’s spell over them. To be honest though, it’s about damn time! Yes, Underwood is very crafty and it’s always nice to see how his two-faced schemes pan out, but honestly, is everyone in Washington really that gullible? In the end, it’s actually quite refreshing to see people not falling for Frank’s antics.

    Having said that though, it doesn’t last very long. By the end of the episode, the Underwood’s have gone on the offensive and seem dead-set on punishing those that have got in their way. Also, thanks to a prolonged waltzing analogy, Frank’s even managed to talk Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson) into joining his cause of betraying the President. Turns out they are that gullible…

     Jackson Ball - follow me on Twitter

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    If Monday's 'Rise of Electro' trailer wasn't enough to get your Spider-Senses tingling, Sony has now released yet another (!) international trailer for the upcoming superhero sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well as an extended international TV spot which also features a few snippets of previously unseen footage... not that there's much left by now, given the sheer volume of trailers we've seen so far. Check them out via CBM....

    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 includes returning stars 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) 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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    Trevor Hogg reviews two versions of a DC Comics icon which both aimed to entertain viewers on the small screen and are now available on Blu-ray...

    For many people the golden standard of bringing Gotham City and its legendary protector to the world of animation remains Batman: The Animated Series which was able to stylishly combine darkness with a wink of humour.  Many incarnations have followed with the Warner Archive Collection recently releasing on Blu-ray two Cartoon Network shows with one targeting your funny bone while the other strikes at the knees.

    Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season includes 26 independent episodes which have a production design pallet that is as colourful as the characters.  Each show begins with an action sequence that usually has nothing to do with the subsequent storyline.  The majority of the action happens in the daylight with a wide spectrum of criminals are showcased from the iconic Riddler to the far lesser known Crazy Quilt.  Assisting Batman as he attempts to have justice prevail is his trusted sidekick Robin but also a collection of superheroes from Green Arrow to Blue Beetle.

    Sure there is plenty of destruction that unfolds but good fun is to be had as the Dark Knight gets to indulge in juvenile antics as he attempts to best his buddy Green Arrow in capturing the most number of criminals and getting to the crime scene the fastest.  Continuous themes make an appearance such as the importance of working as a team, the bright and bold colours, and the exclamation mark that follows every episode title which emphasizes that the program is intended to entertain children.

    Batman encounters magical characters such as Merlin but the most entertaining episode finds him lost inside a musical in The Mayhem of the Music Meister; the title rogue voiced by Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)sports various outfits, hairdos and musical note sunglasses as he attempts to hijack a satellite and win the heart of Black Canary.  The 22 minutes are filled with the cast singing songs such as Drives Me Bats, I'm the Music Meister, Death Trap and If Only.

    If a Light rather Dark Knight is what you crave then certainly watch Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season.                       

    After spending three seasons on the Cartoon Network, Batman: The Brave and the Bold was replaced by a computer animated program that lurks in the shadows rather than the daylight of Gotham City.

    Beware the Batman: Shadows of Gotham covers the first 13 episodes of season one of the computer animated series which is either cancelled or on an extended hiatus.  Each show has its own plot but there is an overriding story arc dealing with the League of Assassins which echoes the Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan. 

    Alfred Pennyworth has been given a major reworking as his MI6 operative expertise and background is explored making him someone who would fit right in with the British gangster tales directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).  No Robin is in sight but Bruce Wayne does not prowl the streets alone as he has a female partner Katana who is crafty with a sword and moves with the swiftness of a ninja; she also provides some deadpan humour to the proceedings.   Rather than the usual rogue gallery of The Joker, Catwoman and Two-Face other criminal masterminds step forward from Anarky, Magpie,  Humpty Dumpty and the duo of Professor Pyg and Mister Toad who have a psychotic rapport resembling Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint from Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

    The computer animation adds a cool three dimensions to the fight scenes and the opening title sequence is cleverly executed.  Not all is great with the CG as characters such as the security guard turned into toxin monster comes across as a dodgy patchwork monster.  The tone is volatile as hacksaws are present along with a split-personality Dominatrex with the agility to perform death-defying acts. Lieutenant James Gordon comes across as the necessary police adversary while his daughter Barbara is a riot as the adorning Batman fan.  One word episode titles are used such as Family, Hunted, and Fall indicating a serious atmosphere.

    Beware the Batman: Shadows of Gotham has a lot of potential to hit its stride, especially, if Aflred is allowed to leave the Bat computer and enter the fray along with Katana and Bruce Wayne as was the case with the cliffhanging episode 13.  Hopefully, the Cartoon Network will come to the same conclusion and revive the series.

    Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.

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    Adam Driver set for Vader-esque villain in Star Wars: Episode VIIOver the past year we've been tortured by rumour after rumour surrounding the casting of Disney and Lucasfilm's eagerly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII. Just this week, it's been alleged that Gary Oldman (RoboCop, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness) are set to venture to a galaxy far, far away, along with returning cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, and Warwick Davies.

    So far, absolutely none of these rumours have been confirmed, but now we may have our very first addition to Episode VII, with Variety reporting that Girls star Adam Driver is close to signing on to play the villain, described as "in the vein" of the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader. It's not the first time that Driver's name has been brought up as a possibility for the film, with reports last month suggesting that Lucasfilm were speaking to him alongside Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Captain America: The First Avenger). And it's also the second high profile blockbuster sequel film that he's been linked to in recent months, having been considered for the role of Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman before Jesse Eisenberg's casting.

    So, nothing official, but this one looks like it could be on the money, and with filming due to get going in May ahead of a December 2015 release, official casting news must surely be on the horizon...

    How do you feel about Adam Driver playing the villain in Star Wars: Episode VII? Let us know in the comments below or head on over to The Flickering Myth Forum...

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    The Conjuring 2 gets a 2015 release date
    You have around 18 months to prepare yourself for the next installment of The Conjuring, as Warner Bros. has announced that The Conjuring 2 is set to be released October 23rd 2015 – just in time for the Halloween crowd. This is just a few weeks after the release of Annabelle (October 3rd) – the nightmarish spin off garnered from the first film, about the hideous doll that seems to have a very malevolent mind of its own.

    Horror fans will be pleased to hear that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are both on board to reprise their roles as the paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. In addition, the brains behind the first Conjuring, Carey and Chad Hayes, have both been confirmed as writers. Disappointingly James Wan will definitely not be back to direct. Wan has somewhat resurrected the horror genre with his creepy take on a largely overdone genre – let's hope whoever signs on to direct doesn't ruin Wan's hard work.

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    Marvel's Netflix series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defender heading to New York
    Marvel’s upcoming Netflix miniseries are heading to New York City. The Hell’s Kitchen-set shows of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist will be shot entirely in New York, the largest production commitment in the history of New York State.

    Each episode will be an hour long with an impressive 60 episodes committed, costing $200 million. Each superhero will have a 13 episode series with The Defenders miniseries bringing them together. Drew Goddard, director of The Cabin in the Woods is to write and produce Daredevil with Melissa Rosenberg (Twilight) fronting Jessica Jones. Here's a description from the official press release....

    This pioneering agreement calls for Marvel to develop four serialized programs totaling 52 one-hour episodes culminating in a four to eight episode mini-series programming event. Led by a series focused on “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage,” the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking viewers deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a mini-series event in which the Marvel characters from the first four series team up as “The Defenders,” much like “The Avengers.”

    Filming on the Netflix series will begin this year with Daredevil expected to swing onto the streaming service in 2015.

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