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Movies, TV and Comic Books

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    The Spider-Man comic book villain Big Man and his Enforcers have been namedropped several times on Sony's Daily Bugle site, and now the little viral interquel between The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 appears to have come to its conclusion with the latest article, in which the wall-crawler has apprehended the mob boss:

    Spider-Man Lands a Big Fish! by Ned Leeds, City Bureau

    A daring nighttime raid by Spider-Man on a nondescript townhouse in Greenwich Village led to the arrest of the reputed organized crime boss, The Big Man. Spider-Man, having conducted his own investigation and in another instance of his now all-too-common vigilantism, left the webbed-up gangster hanging from a lamp post, for the arrival of a surprised police squad.

    But the biggest shock of all came when the mask of the Big Man was yanked off and the gangster was revealed to be Daily Bugle crime beat reporter Frederick Foswell! In a prepared statement, NYPD Major Crimes Unit Sergeant Stan Carter said, “Foswell confessed to his role as the organizing force behind the city’s recent surge in crime. He has not provided a motive for his actions.”

    Daily Bugle Publisher and brilliant, stunning, generous philanthropist, J. Jonah Jameson issued a statement, “For the record, the Daily Bugle has been a proud institution in this great city for generations. We report the news, we don’t make ourselves a part of the story. Foswell’s a good writer. I look forward to reading his insider account of Ryker’s Island Penitentiary over the next twenty-five years to life.”


    And here's a TV spot ahead of today's 'final' trailer...


    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th in the UK and on May 1st in North America, with returning stars Andrew Garfield (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) and new additions 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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    Alice Rush reviews the third episode of Bates Motel season 2....

    After last week’s reveal that Norma’s sexually abusive brother, Caleb, has arrived in town tensions are running high this week when he attempts to make contact with the Bates’, much to Norma’s horror. The outfall of Bradley’s fake suicide is also tackled this week as well as introducing some new characters who are possible allies for Norma, though if anything is clear from season one the inhabitants of White Pine Bay are not likely to be telling the whole truth.

    The introduction of Caleb definitely provides the main drama for the episode with Norma throwing him out of the house as he tries to make contact and Dylan taking pity on him, seeing him as another mistreated male in Norma’s life. With Dylan lacking a strong male influence in his life he connects with Caleb and even subs him some money, though this trusting act may have been a little premature with the big reveal of the episode being that Caleb is actually Dylan’s father. No doubt this will have huge repercussions for the main characters throughout the rest of the series, especially Dylan as he will have to come to terms with the psychological impact of being a product of sibling incest. Heavy stuff, yes, but if handled correctly and in a sensitive manner I think this could be a fantastic concept for the Bates family backstory and definitely fuel some real fireworks later on in the season.

    The rest of the episode is quite tame in comparison to the shock ending, though some new plot points are nicely set up. It’s not all bad news for Norma as though she doesn’t get a part in the musical she makes friends with the former director who invites her to a party where she meets new and seemingly less judgemental townspeople than she has been used to. It’s a small victory but it’s a great sight to see Norma have normal interaction with friendly and well to do people with a possible love interest on the cards.

    The same goes for Norman who attends a memorial beach party for Bradley and finds that Cody, a girl whom he met at the grocery store and who is also a part of the play he has a part in, is also in attendance. She’s quite a marked difference from Bradley, preferring a more ‘live fast die young’ idea of life, but there seems to be something darker lurking beneath the surface, especially when Norman presses about her relationship with her dad. Not a great deal else happens for the rest of the characters this week, with the focus of the episode firmly set on Norma. Dylan and his drug dealing friends find some of their colleagues dead and the new boss Zayn seems intent on revenge, but even this storyline seems tame in comparison to what’s going on in the Bates’ personal lives.

    Overall it was a good episode with a strong ending and I’m definitely looking forward to the outfall of Norma’s confession, however sometimes within ‘Bates Motel’ I do feel that some storylines are just a little too weak when standing up to the family drama. Of course this dysfunctional relationship is at the heart of the show, but the threatening aspect of the town and the sinister goings on are sometimes not felt as strongly when they could provide a really effective backdrop for the programme. However the season is still in its early stages and if the first season is anything to go by Bates Motel a slow build up to climactic ending is definitely worth the wait.

    Alice Rush



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    Last night ABC aired the documentary special Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, which featured a sneak peek at Marvel's Phase Two line-up, as well as our first look at Joss Whedon's eagerly-anticipated sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron. First up, here's some Age of Ultron concept art, including a look at the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and The Incredible Hulk going up against Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor (via CBM)...

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

    And, if you missed it (or you're in the UK, or just want to watch it again), here's The Avengers: Age of Ultron segment...


    The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release on May 1st 2015, with a cast that includes returning MCU stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Incredible Hulk), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Paul Bettany (JARVIS / The Vision) alongside new additions Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2) as Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy) as the Scarlet Witch, Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula) as Baron Strucker and James Spader (The Blacklist) as Ultron.

    Next up, here's a couple of pieces of concept art from Guardians of the Galaxy, followed by a sneak peek video:




    Guardians of the Galaxy is set for release on August 1st, with James Gunn (Super) directing a cast that includesChris 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: An Unexpected Journey) 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.

    And if that's not enough Marvel goodness, here's a few stills from the test reel from Phase Three's Ant-Man:





    Ant-Man is set for release on July 17th 2015, with Edgar Wright (The World's End) directing Paul Rudd (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra) as Hank Pym and Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) in an as-yet-unrevealed role.



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    With just over a couple of weeks to go before its eagerly anticipated premiere, HBO has released a brand new trailer for the fourth season of Game of Thrones packed with new footage from the epic fantasy series, which you can check out right here....


    "Encouraged by the Red Wedding slaughter in the Riverlands that wiped out many of their Stark nemeses, the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne remains intact … but can they survive their own egos, as well as new and ongoing threats from the south, north and east? While an unbowed Stannis Baratheon continues to rebuild his army in Dragonstone, a more immediate danger comes from the south, as Oberyn Martell, the Lannister-loathing “Red Viper of Dorne,” arrives at King’s Landing to attend Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell, and perhaps act on an ulterior agenda. In the north, a depleted Night’s Watch seems overmatched against the inexorable Wall advances of Mance Rayder’s army of wildlings, which in turn is being trailed by an even more formidable foe: the undead White Walkers. As if that weren’t enough, Daenerys Targaryen, accompanied by her menacing trio of dragons and army of Unsullied, is poised to liberate Meereen, the largest city in Slaver’s Bay, which could ultimately provide her with enough ships to sail to Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne."


    Game of Thrones season four premieres on HBO on April 6th in the States and on Sky Atlantic on April 7th in the UK.


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    Villordsutch reviews Annihilation: A Novel (Book 1 of The Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer...

    The first thing I have to say here is that the hardback version of this book is a beautiful trap.  You’ve often heard, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Well those that have visited my home have picked up Annihilation and said, “How beautiful it looks!” and “How they’d like to read it to.” Those people have no idea that inside that piece of artwork is a drug that hooks you in so badly you’re damning VanderMeer for making you wait two months (Part 2 is out in May).

    Annihilation is a dandelion seed of a book that lands on a concrete path; it may initially look perfectly harmless but rapidly the roots will bring chaos as it burrows and twists its way deep into the path as it blooms.

    Our story begins entering Area X (we are to assume that Area X is on the coast of America somewhere), as an old battle worn Lighthouse stands on the beach.  Something is not right within the borders of this town and expeditions are sent in after months of screening and numerous moments of being placed into a trance like state to be programmed for hypnotic suggestions.  The people within the expeditions are then once again hypnotised before being placed within the border of Area X and given only items which are technologically backward by about thirty years; the expedition we join is the twelfth and they are all female.  The expedition is sent in to Area X to catalogue and study the changes that are happening and then to return after either days/months/years depending.

    The book is complete devoid of names - even when threatened with death at the end of an rifle, our narrator “The Biologist” still doesn’t give it (her name) as she cannot understand why “The Surveyor” would want it; the closest we ever come to a name for our protagonist is “Ghost Bird” given to her by her husband who was on the eleventh expedition.  This lack of true names adds to the hidden horror within this book. You can feel it in the words as the Biologist searches the Lighthouse for the Psychologist, or the reeds for whatever is making the noise - even the eye of the dolphin had me unnerved.  There is also excitement and chaos in the book; looking at the beginning it’s fascinating as the narrator takes us back to moments in the panic, then as the story grows darker and the fear sets in the past tales jar in like a drunkard remembering moments of their walk home.

    Yet we come to the end and we know not what, nor where Area X is; clues are given though I doubt red herrings are in there but I’m not sure. I’ve combed over my review a fair number of times making sure that I’ve given nothing away that could spoil this story for you as you do need to read it. This is perhaps the start of one of the best science fiction stories I’ve read in a long time.

    Book 2 of The Southern Reach Trilogy Authority is out in May 2014

    Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.




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    Following the sad passing of Harold Ramis, director Ivan Reitman has decided to pass on directing duties on the long-gestating third instalment of the Ghostbusters franchise, with Deadline reporting that Reitman will instead assist Sony chief Amy Pascal in finding a new helmer for the project, which the studio is planning to shoot next year: "There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters," Reitman tells Deadline. "I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters."

    Reitman then went on to discuss the development for the third movie, stating that: "The first [script] was done by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and me, Harold and Dan helped them on it. It was a really good script, but then it became clear that Bill really didn’t want to do another Ghostbusters and that it was literally impossible to find him to speak to for the year or two we tried to get it going. When Bill finally…well, he never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film. We decided to start over again, and I started working with Etan Cohen, with Dan lending a helping hand. Harold got sick about three years ago, and we kept hoping he would get better. I kept pushing forward on the Etan Cohen and we now have a draft that is very good, that the studio is very excited about. It’s a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role. When I came back from Harold’s funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I’d just finished directing Draft Day, which I’m really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with Amy and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I’d been thinking about it for weeks, that I’d rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let’s find a really good director and make it with him. So that’s what we’ve agreed will happen. I didn’t want all kinds of speculation about what happened with me, that is the real story."

    How do you feel about a third Ghostbusters movie without Reitman in the director's chair? Let us know in the comments below....


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    UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday 14th - Sunday 16th March 2014....

    The Aaron Paul-headlined video game adaptation Need for Speed has taken first place at the UK box office, dethroning 300: Rise of an Empire with an opening weekend haul of £2,011,249, while Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel climbed one place to second, giving Anderson his best UK return with a total of £4.1 million to date.

    Elsewhere, the only other newcomer to manage to crack the top ten was Under the Skin, which stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien seductress looking for men in the Scottish highlands. The film pulled in £238,694 to claim tenth place. 

    Number one this time last year: Oz the Great and Powerful

    1. Need for Speed, £2,011,249 weekend (New)
    2. The Grand Budapest Hotel, £1,309,103 weekend; £4,115,618 total (2 weeks)
    3. 300: Rise of an Empire, £1,223,370 weekend; £5,351,262 total (2 weeks)
    4. The LEGO Movie, £998,176 weekend; £30,063,416 total (5 weeks)
    5. Non-Stop, £901,107 weekend; £6,905,787 total (3 weeks)
    6. Ride Along, £426,034 weekend;£3,540,829 total (3 weeks)
    7. The Book Thief, £281,937 weekend; £3,366,007 total (4 weeks)
    8. Escape from Planet Earth, £257,812 weekend; £721,489 total (2 weeks)
    9. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, £242,010 weekend; £12,364,901 total (6 weeks)
    10. Under the Skin, £238,694 weekend (New) 

    Incoming...

    Aaron Paul returns to screens this week with the release of A Long Way Down (cert. TBC), while other new releases this Friday include Labor Day (cert. 12A), Starred Up (cert. 18), About Last Night (cert. 15), Svengali (cert. 15) and The Machine (cert. 15).


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    Kelsey Grammer's Beast rumoured for X-Men: Days of Future Past cameo
    We know that Bryan Singer is set to reunite much of the cast of the original X-Men trilogy for the upcoming sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, and if Showbiz Spy is to be believed, we might be seeing another familiar face popping up too, with the site claiming that X-Men: The Last Stand star Kelsey Grammer has shot a cameo as the Future Hank McCoy, a.k.a. Beast. Of course, until we hear something official, this should be treated as a rumour.

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

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    Trevor Hogg attempts to get up to speed with Rocket Girl by reviewing back-to-back issues...


    Changing the future is hard to do. Sparks fly when DaYoung becomes Most Wanted in two different New York Cities. Police in battling timestreams — 1986 and an alternate 2013 — want to get their girl. But bringing her in is going to take a coordinated effort from a mysterious player who straddles both worlds.


    The third issue titled Double Reagent opens with DaYoung Johanssonbeing interrogated by middle-aged and overweight NYPD Detective Ciccone who sees her as delinquent rather than a teenage law enforcement officer from the future. DaYoung becomes enraged when she learns that her jetpack has been handed back to Quintum Mechanics.   A panicked NYPD Detective Tran interrupts the proceedings as the top brass is heading to the police station which provides an opportune moment for an escape.


    A flashback occurs where a teenage police officer is the verge of being apprehended at Quintum Mechanics headquarters by special security forces operated by the company.  An antagonistic Commissioner Gomez intervenes resulting in a gunfight and him fleeing along with his underling.   The showdown turns out to be a diversion to allow DaYoung Johansson the opportunity to make her way to the time machine.  A sign that something is not right is when the informer appears as an encrypted hologram instead of in person. Upon entering the security access room DaYoung Johansson encounters two Quintum Mechanics enforcers who overpower her and throw the unconscious detective into the time machine.


    Amy Reeder turns everything from the police lights to the futuristic display technology into a vibrant and luminescent display of colours; she also utilizes every inch of the page incorporating various shaped panels which allow the action to unfold in inventive ways.  One gripe is that the wide mouth shouting by the protagonist is beginning to feel rather repetitive.  The narration scripted by Brandon Montclare provides some sassy remarks and insights into the character of the protagonist plus helps to transition between the different timelines.  The fight that happens in front of the time machine is a curious one considering the end result; however, the revelation that the mysterious informer is using the overzealous pursuit of justice by Rocket Girl for some bigger nefarious plan raises the stakes and intrigue.


    It’s all-out action with a rocket chase through the graffiti-littered subway tunnels of NYC. DaYoung is stuck in the '80s, with only her jetpack and wits to help the teenager crack a time-spanning conspiracy. Rocket Girl will get the who, what, where, when, and why — and deliver the wham!


    In the Nowhere Fast instalment everything is moving at rocket speed literally.  DaYoung Johansson is the not only one from the future reappearing in 1986 as she becomes pursued by the two Quintum Mechanics enforcers who threw her into time machine.  The MacGuffin is the jetpack worn by the teenage detective which is the key to a master plan devised by the mysterious informer; complicating matters is a revenge seeking enforcer who turns the pursuit into a New York City spectacle.
     

    Back in the future Commissioner Gomez and Detective Leshawn from the New York Teen Police Department have become fugitives and subject to manhunt sponsored by Quintum Mechanics; the two of them end up in a bar where their relationship fractures over drinks and in front of an attentive female bartender.  Gomez chases after a Leshawn in the pouring rain where a sense of duty reigns supreme despite the odds rising against them.


    Flying high in the sky in an effort to avoid capture, DaYoung Johansson realizes that she will not last long so a change in plan is required.  The escape plan is to dive beyond street level where civilians will be at risk and head underground.  The unsuspecting subway patrons waiting on the platform get treated to a high octane chase between a jetpack and two flying rocket bikes above the tracks.  Besides dodging subway trains DaYoung Johansson has to avoid being hit by laser blasts by performing aerial acrobatics within the confines of the underground tunnel.   As the subway chaos unfolds the group of scientists at Quintum Mechanics go about reconstructing the time machine.

    There is no doubt that layout style of Amy Reeder is excels where there is a major action sequence is to be depicted.  Details like the graffiti on the walls add a lot of character to the setting as well not ignoring the fact that there are spectators.  The split layout of the final page divided between the past and future has become an effective way to conclude each issue as well as tease what is to come.  Brandon Montclare has some fun with one subway patron breathing a sigh of relief that the train was on time for a change only to discover he is greatly mistaken.  It is nice to see that the reactions of the onlookers are incorporated.

    The great debate sparked by the destruction of New York City and loss of human life in Man of Steel(2013) is avoided as the protagonist makes a conscious decision to minimize civilian casualties.  Overall, the fourth instalment is an entertaining tale where a thrilling action sequence takes centre stage.


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

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    Birds of Prey
     
    The Suicide Squad will make their debut on tonight's episode of Arrow, while next week will see the introduction of the Birds of Prey, and The CW has released a batch of promo images for the episode featuring plenty of shots of The Canary (Caity Lotz) and The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) in action; check them out here courtesy of CBM...


    WHEN THE HUNTRESS MET THE CANARY — When Frank Bertinelli (guest star Jeffrey Nordling) is arrested, Oliver (Stephen Amell) knows it’s only a matter of time before his daughter, Helena, AKA The Huntress (guest star Jessica De Gouw), returns to town. To make matters worse, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is picked to try Frank’s case, putting her right in the path of Helena. Oliver tells Sara (Caity Lotz) he will handle his ex-girlfriend, but when Helena takes hostages at the courthouse, including Laurel, the Canary will stop at nothing to save her sister. When The Huntress and Canary meet, an epic battle begins. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) realizes he needs to keep Thea (Willa Holland) safe, but doesn’t like the way he is forced to go about it.

    Birds of Prey will air on March 26th.

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    Oliver Davis reviews Prophet #43...

    Issue 43 begins telling the story of Hiyonhoiagn. At first, it's a little bewildering, and you worry that this is another filler installment like last month's. The art is different, smudged somewhat, like Szymon Kudranski's work on Spawn. But within eight pages, Hiyonhoiagn is revealed as the nerve centre of the Insula Tergum, John's ship. The opening was simply him remembering his life. In the Now, two titans the size of planets, Troll and Badrock, entangle in a simultaneous COMBAT/JOINING.

    As they fight, their joint mind pushes through the ship, and provides John with A SCENE FROM THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO of the titans' past. The art changes for a panel, a lot closer to the standard pencils of mainstream comics, lines clearly defined and colours kept within their bounds. It's an effective moment, positioning the book's past as our current. As though the DC and Marvel styles of today will eventually evolve into Prophet's fluid art in the future. It reminds us that we'll eventually look back on today's aesthetics with the same eye we use for the crude Kirby's and boxed-in Ditko's of the Silver Age.

    Issue 43's third person narration matches the art's transcendence. Everything appears to be happening at once. It's written in the present tense; HE THINKS OF THE LIVES IN HIS SHIP, HE TRIES TO REMEMBER YIALA'S FACE. It's breathless, exhilarating. The events unfolding in the same difficult-to-pin-down manner of a dream.

    The second half (to the page) continues the imprisoned Greenknife's story. We left him as he journeyed into a living planet in issue 41, one of the series' most memerising sequences thus far. Now he finds himself suspended above THE DEATH MAZE OF THE BODY-CITY, a horrifying labyrinth where prisoners are decapitated for the Queen's pleasure.

    Prophet consistently remains one of the most innovative comics out today. It'll be a shame when it concludes in two issues' time. There will be a mini-series to wrap up the Universe, but then Brandon Graham will move onto other things. If you don't pick this up now, you certainly will in a few years, when friends recommend it to friends who recommend it to you.


    Oliver Davis is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors. You can follow him on Twitter @OliDavis.


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    Matt Smith reviews episode 9 of The Following season 2...

    This week’s episode of The Following is a tough one to review. I’m not sure if I like it, with its constant twist and turns, surprises round the corner and shock-grabs. The question of whether it’s perhaps becoming a pleasure, while not being categorically ‘good’ is popping up in my head. The question that, even if it’s not necessarily high quality television with it’s constant stream of plot twists and soap opera-esque turns, it might still be enjoyable at the least.

    Stuff certainly happens, you have to give it that. At no point can you ever accuse The Following of having a plot that doesn’t move, even if it’s not always forward or if the quality dips. Even with the misplaced romcom moment between Max and Mike, in which the former walks in on the latter while he’s naked, The Following proves it can go anywhere for a bit of sudden surprise.

    Joe Carroll pushes further to put himself at the top of the new cult this week, manipulating Micah to do his bidding. There’s a strange sort of enjoyment in watching Carroll. Despite the fact he didn’t exactly orchestrate the cult’s change, so much as it was a coincidence that Micah wanted him around to help, the show does its best to convince us that Carroll is the best among the archetype of infamy-seeking killers.

    It’s probably down to the way Carroll, both within James Purefoy’s performance and the character itself, never takes things too seriously. With Kevin Bacon and, particularly in recent episodes, Shawn Ashmore doing the heavy lifting when it comes to the sombre and brooding, it leaves a place for Purefoy to engage in more amusing turns. Beats such as the funny moment when Carroll tries to teach Micah his lines for a homemade video they’re planning on sending to the media, where Micah reveals he’s more into improv than his director would like.

    With all the shocks the show has in store, perhaps it was inevitable that some of the episode gave away a bit too much in terms of what was coming next. With the promise of more to come, perhaps it was inevitable that Lance would just get shot and become one of the many inconsequential killers that have become nothing more than a gaggle of TV trope-psychopaths. The show made an excellent commentary on itself when it killed off an interesting character while falsely toasting immortality.

    But this episode does show that, even with everything staring you in the face, even the people in charge of our safety can be blinded to the truth. And that’s the theme The Following has been playing on from the very first episode. That no one is beyond turning to the other side at a given moment, and that those sides aren’t good and evil. They’re Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll.

    So, from the reveal of Micah being not so much a huge part of the series as much as he was a mini-saga and a tool to bring Joe Carroll back to infamous power and the revelation at the end that defies belief and everything else within the human brain, the series has bought things back to where they were in season one. While the first series was, in this critic’s opinion, better than what has followed, I’m still unsure as to whether this is a further return to quality, or just another way the show has made itself uninteresting.


    Matt Smith - follow me on Twitter.



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    DAMMIT CAS SKY!


    In news that is sure to upset many, Sky Living has announced that it will not be picking up the latest season of Supernatural, or any in the future.

    Season 9 is moving along at a pace on US TV already, with not only a 10th season but also spin-off - Bloodlines - commissioned. So with its popularity not appearing to wane it does seem an odd move to make. This leaves UK viewers with no legal way of viewing the latest episodes.

    In a statement on Sky's website, the company said: 

    "We understand fans of the show may be disappointed by this news and we want to reassure you that we appreciate your passion for TV, Sky Living and these shows in particular.

    Please be assured that here at Sky Living we're committed to bringing you a fantastic line-up of new shows in 2014. To find out more about what's coming up over the next few months please visit www.sky.com/living.

    Of course, we take your feedback very seriously, and we anticipate a lot of you will want to get in touch with us about this. We can't promise to reply to you all on an individual basis, but we'll make sure we post any updates on Facebook, Twitter or online.

    Meantime we have lots on offer here on Sky Living, and are working hard to bring you even more exciting and entertaining shows in 2014."

    Poor show SKY. If anything changes we'll be sure to let you know. In the meantime you'll just have to dig out the previous box sets or check out the image above to stare at Dean.



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  • 03/19/14--10:47: Comic Book Review - Zero #6
  • Anghus Houvouras reviews Zero #6...

    Comic Book Review - Zero #6"The Large Hadron Collider. Edward Zero's newly gained knowledge. A man with a plan to end the universe so a better one can be born.

    They all connect here."

    Where did the horses go?  That question resonated in my head long after finishing the latest issue of Zero from Image Comics.

    Ales Kot's Zero is one of a handful of titles I find myself actively excited to read each month.  It has really tapped into something creatively unique and is pushing boundaries in an era of comic books where it seemed like every direction had already been traveled.  Zero is a series that feels like equal parts art and espionage.  Every month's issue, drawn by a different artist, forces you to engage with the characters and the story in a way traditional comics don't.  Each new issues is like a re-introduction to the concepts and the characters. 

    Agent Zero has had a rough time of late dealing with some harsh realities of his existence.  After enduring a gauntlet of brutality in the search for super terrorist Ginsberg Nova, he's finally close to tracking him down.  He's also dealing with a great deal of deception from the organization that berthed him into the espionage game.  He is slowly making steps to break free of the programming that has controlled him his entire life, like rejecting the sanctioned medication doses he has taken for years.

    The issue blends some fantastic scripting with some amazing art.  Ales Kot weaves a beautiful, prose like narrative in this issue that sees Zero and Nova finally get some face to face time.  It turns out Nova has connections to the same shadowy organization that controls Zero.  The world's greatest monster has been engineered from the same monster factory.  

    Vanessa Del Ray's art is stunning and perfectly complimented by Jordie Bellaire's striking colors.  There are some downright gorgeous panels in this issue.  There's some wonderfully bloody action that is both brutal and kinetic.  Kot continues to pair with interesting artists who deliver a unique experience with each issue.

    What I liked about this issue was that we finally get a proper villain.  The series has been dealing with a few complexities and conundrums, but up until now the bad guys seemed nebulous and ethereal.  Issue #6 gives us a scenery chewing, black hearted villain who fits perfectly into the world Kot is creating.  Ginsberg Nova's scenes are electric and wonderfully staged. 

    Zero #6 is another fantastic issue of what has fast become the best book on the market today.  

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

    http://www.amazon.com/My-Career-Suicide-Note-ebook/dp/B00D3ULU5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371583147&sr=8-1&keywords=my+career+suicide+note


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    The Machine, 2013.

    Written and Directed by Caradog W. James.
    Starring Caity Lotz, Toby Stephens, Denis Lawson, and Sam Hazeldine.


    SYNOPSIS:

    With an impoverished world plunged into a Cold War with a new enemy, Britain's Ministry of Defence is on the brink of developing a game-changing weapon. Lead scientist Vincent McCarthy provides the answer with his creation, The Machine - an android with unrivalled physical and processing skills. When a programming glitch causes an early prototype to destroy his lab, McCarthy enlists artificial intelligence expert Ava to help him harness the full potential of a truly conscious fighting machine.


    Have you ever finished watching a film and felt that, despite its technical merits and objective qualities, you’re simply not sure whether you liked it or not? That perhaps the film adds up to less than the sum of its parts? Many may feel that way after seeing new science-fiction thriller from writer and director Caradog James (2006’s Little White Lies).

    Set in the near future, in the midst of a Cold War with China, Britain is at the forefront of robotic technology. Artificial limbs give their bearers super-strength and implants allow brain-damaged soldiers to interact with the world once more. The Ministry of Defence is hoping that an advanced artificial intelligence is key to winning the war; scientists Vincent (Toby Stephens, Severance, Die Another Day) and Ava (Caity Lotz, The Pact, Arrow) are close to creating the AI, but hope it will be used for peaceful means. Denis Lawson (Bleak House, Star Wars) plays scheming government stooge Thomson, who has Ava killed after she starts to discover the sinister side to events around the compound. This prompts Vincent, who has completed his research, to design the super-advanced robot with Ava’s appearance. And so, The Machine is born.

    From here, the film explores questions about artificial intelligence, such as at what point would a sufficiently advanced AI merely be a mimic of real life or actually be fully alive, and how such a life form would eventually overshadow mankind, all before climaxing in a huge, action-packed shootout as Vincent and The Machine attempt to escape from the MoD and defeat Thomson.

    The film, which has already won several awards, including best UK film at the 2013 Raindance film festival, has been favourably compared to sci-fi films such as Blade Runner. Other influences, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, are clearly evident in the film’s DNA. Much of the praise is well-earned: the synthesised and electro soundtrack brilliantly creates a moody, tense atmosphere, strongly evoking Blade Runner; while the stunts, CGI and visual effects are beyond stunning. Of particular note is the sequence where the newly created, metallic Machine is first shown, floating in a vat in the foetal-position. As a vision of a dystopic future Britain governed by what is implied to be fascist, militaristic government, it is very compelling.

    One of the signs of a good sci-fi film is that it provokes questions in the audience, and The Machine manages to raise several fascinating questions about science, morality and humanity that audiences will talk about. The acting and writing is also generally very good, especially Lotz who performs dual roles as Ava and The Machine, whose emotional spectrum over the course of the film slides from naive innocent to cold-blooded killer.

    However, the flashy surface doesn’t do enough to hide the fundamental fact that this is effectively a B-movie, evident in a number of ways. For instance, the over-the-top final act, where The Machine rips through several units of Special Forces with her bare hands, gets a little silly. Also, there are various plot contrivances: someone decides it was a good idea to trust the base’s whole security system to a single person (an implant-controlled woman called Suri, which might be a dig at the phone app Siri); we’re told that those with implants are unable to speak, but nobody on the base notices the dozens of times the implant soldiers speak to one another in strange computer voices. Furthermore, while the film manages to do a lot with a small budget, the world depicted never feels real, and locations are mostly limited to corridors, airplane hangars, labs and more corridors.

    Other small annoyances held me back from truly enjoying the film. For instance, the decision to give The Machine a high-pitched, soft, childish voice may have been meant to communicate The Machine’s innocent nature, but in practise it sounds like a bad Marilyn Munroe impersonation, which became grating rather quickly.

    I can’t wholly recommend you rush out and see this film, but fans of sci-fi and B-movies will get a kick out of it, and it’s definitely worth a watch.

    The Machine is available on DVD and on demand from March 21st.

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

    Luke Graham is a writer and works in newspaper production. If you enjoyed this review, follow him @LukeWGraham and check out his blog here.




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    With the Doctor Who Titan Comics only a few months away you may be interested in what your first issues will look like; we revealed the Cover As just a few weeks back [see here] and now we can show you the other variants you can get your hands on.  As an added bonus the more your comic store orders they better it gets as the covers begin to vary and Titan Doctor Who figures start to appear for the store to order... 

    DOCTOR WHO: THE TENTH DOCTOR #1

    WRITER: NICK ABADZIS
    ARTIST: ELENA CASAGRANDE
    COLORIST: ARIANNA FLOREAN
    LETTERER: COMICRAFT

    DETAILS
    PAGE COUNT:  32PP
    FULL COLOR, B&W, OR PARTIAL COLOR: FC
    COVER DIMENSIONS: 6.625 X 10.25
    RETAIL PRICE: $3.99
    ON SALE DATE: 23 JULY 2014

    SYNOPSIS
    THE TENTH DOCTOR IS BACK, IN AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES! NEW COMPANION! NEW FOES! UNFORGETTABLE NEW HORIZONS! ALLONS-Y!

    The Eisner Award-winning Nick Abadzis (Laika) and fan-favorite Elena Casagrande (Angel, Suicide Risk, Doctor Who, Star Trek) take control of the TARDIS for their first five-issue arc with the Tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant!

    Gabriella Gonzalez is stuck in a dead-end job in her family’s New York Laundromat, dreaming of college and bigger, better and brighter things.

    So when a strange man with an even stranger big blue box barges into her life on the eve of the Day of the Dead celebrations – talking about an infestation of psychic aliens – she seizes her chance for adventure with both hands.

    After Donna’s tragic exit, the Doctor thought he was done with new companions. But Gabby Gonzalez is going to prove him wrong… if she survives the night!




    DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #1

    WRITERS: AL EWING & ROB WILLIAMS
    ARTIST: SIMON FRASER
    COLORISTS: GARY CALDWELL
    LETTERER: COMICRAFT

    DETAILS
    PAGE COUNT:  32PP
    FULL COLOR, B&W, OR PARTIAL COLOR: FC
    COVER DIMENSIONS: 6.625 X 10.25
    RETAIL PRICE: $3.99
    ON-SALE: JULY 23, 2014

    SYNOPSIS
    THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR RETURNS IN AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES, WITH A TIME-TWISTING LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN! GERONIMO!

    A stunning new era begins for the Eleventh Doctor, as played by Matt Smith!

    Alice Obiefune has just lost her mother when the Doctor explodes into her life.

    But what does this grieving young woman have to do with the career of a 70s musician, an amnesiac alien, and a terrifying cosmic threat?

    In the wake of the second Big Bang, find out what the Doctor gets up to when Amy and Rory aren’t around!

    Series architects Al Ewing (Loki: Agent of Asgard, Mighty Avengers, Trifecta) and Rob Williams (Revolutionary War, Ordinary, Miss Fury, The Royals: Masters of War, Trifecta) kick off a whirlwind adventure through eternity with artist Simon Fraser (Nikolai Dante, Grindhouse, Doctor Who)!




    Here at Flickering Myth, we’ll be covering more of Titan Comics' Doctor Who as the release draws closer. Keep your eyes open.

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    There's just under a month to go before its release, so I very much doubt this is the case, but Sony has debuted what it's calling the 'Final' trailer for the much-marketed superhero sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and we've got it for you right here....

    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 (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). 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 (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.


    And here's a low-res featurette that's leaked online, which features an Easter egg that fans of a certain symbiote are sure to enjoy...


    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th in the UK and on May 1st in North America, with returning stars Andrew Garfield (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) and new additions 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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    With just a week to go until its UK release, Marvel Studios has debuted an IMAX poster for the Phase Two solo sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as a couple of new TV spots; check them out right here....


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



    Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release on March 28th in the UK and April 4th in North America, with Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola) and Maximiliano Hernandez (Agent Jasper Sitwell) joined in the cast by MCU newcomers Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) as Sam Wilson / Falcon, Emily VanCamp (Revenge) as Sharon Carter / Agent 13, Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty) as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones, George St-Pierre (Death Warrior) as Georges Batroc / Batroc the Leaper, and Robert Redford (All Is Lost) as Alexander Pierce.


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    Luke Owen reviews the second episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series...


    In an interview promoting the show's debut, Robert Rodriguez said that this television adaptation of From Dusk Till Dawn would be "much better" than the 1996 cult classic. Based on the second episode Blood Runs Thick (aired last night on the El Ray network and now available on Amazon and Netflix), he might just be right.

    Last week's pilot received some flak by its viewers for being "pointless" and "redundant", as it was basically the opening 10 minutes of the original movie stretched out over 45. Blood Runs Thick on the other hand gives fans more of what they were clamouring for with last week's outing - namely the bank robbery that set Seth and Ritchie Gecko on the journey that would eventually lead them to the Twitty Twister. We're also introduced to the Fuller family prior to their restaurant introduction we get in the movie which gives a chance to delve into Jacob's loss of faith and the impact it has had on his two children.

    It's reasons like this which are why this adaptation exists. Rodriguez has more time to develop his characters and it gives us a chance to see first hand what we were only told about in dialogue exchanges nearly 20 years ago. The bank robbery scenes in particular are fantastic and the two leads shine. Even though we know where it's heading, Rodriguez still manages to add a level of gripping tension. D.J. Cotrona as Seth is an incredibly watchable presence, but it's Zane Holtz who steals the show as the unhinged Ritchie. The voices he heard in his head last week play more of a role in this episode and there are subtle hints as to where they might have originated from, sure to be explored further down the line. While the show is treading "old ground" so to speak, Rodriguez has made efforts to add new elements to the story which are give the show some purpose.

    And it doesn't just stop with Ritchie's "powers". We're given a tiny slither more of Freddie who is now chasing down the Gecko Brothers to avenge Earl's death and there is an interesting twist in the tale for Wilma Valderrama's Carlos. In the movie, Carlos is more of a 'name' than anything else who shows up at the end to add a bit of a punchline gag, but this series is taking him in a totally new direction which is a nice and refreshing touch. Valderrama looks to be quite good in the role and there is an excellent scene towards the end which gives us an idea of what we can expect from him as the series progresses.


    Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport) has been given a character overhaul as well, although this one is not for the better. Gone is the shy and quiet girl who is thrust into a situation she adapts to and in her place is a bratty teenager who texts "a boy" and accuses her father of kidnapping her. Likewise her brother Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo) has been turned into a caricature of what the media perceives "geek culture" to be (writing poems in elfish, saying "frak" etc) which, while are fitting 21st Century updates, does make them a little less likeable. Perhaps as we get further into their story we may grow to like them, but Kate in particular is a little irksome who inexplicably changes her mind on a dime.

    With that said, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is quickly becoming a 'must watch' show (much to the dismay of Anghus Houvouras I'm sure). The acting is incredible, the writing is Tarantino-esque without trying too hard and the story is really starting to get interesting - even if you've already seen the movie. Rodriguez should be praised for this show and, while these earlier episodes may end up being the most interesting, it is definitely worth your time.

    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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    Harley Quinn in Arrow

    Last night, Harley Quinn made a brief appearance in Arrow's'Suicide Squad', with Tara Strong reprising her role from Batman: Arkham City for a one-line cameo as 'Deranged Squad Female', and if you missed the episode, you can check it out right here....


    Meanwhile, The CW has also released two promos for next week's episode, entitled 'Birds of Prey', which you can see after the official description...

    "WHEN THE HUNTRESS MET THE CANARY — When Frank Bertinelli (guest star Jeffrey Nordling) is arrested, Oliver (Stephen Amell) knows it’s only a matter of time before his daughter, Helena, AKA The Huntress (guest star Jessica De Gouw), returns to town. To make matters worse, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is picked to try Frank’s case, putting her right in the path of Helena. Oliver tells Sara (Caity Lotz) he will handle his ex-girlfriend, but when Helena takes hostages at the courthouse, including Laurel, the Canary will stop at nothing to save her sister. When The Huntress and Canary meet, an epic battle begins. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) realizes he needs to keep Thea (Willa Holland) safe, but doesn’t like the way he is forced to go about it."





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