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    NBC has released the first poster for the upcoming four-episode miniseries Rosemary's Baby, which is set to star Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek Into Darkness) in the role made famous by Mia Farrow in Roman Polanski's 1968 movie adaptation of Ira Levin's novel; check it out here...

    Rosemary's Baby poster

    Rosemary's Baby will air later in the year, with Saldana joined in the cast by Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Patrick J. Adams (Suits), Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only), Christina Cole (Casino Royale) and Weronika Rosati (Last Vegas).


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    There's going to be big changes behind-the-scenes for the third voyage of the rebooted U.S.S. Enterprise, with Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams having set off at warp speed to a galaxy far, far away for Disney's Star Wars: Episode VII, and screenwriters J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay linking up with Roberto Orci to pen the script for Star Trek 3. Speaking at the LDS Film Festival (via TrekCore), Payne has offered up a few hints as to the plot of the threequel:

    "We're trying to set up a kind of situation where you really could -- and not in just an 'everything's relative' sort of moral relativism -- you could be a good person of any creed or philosophical background and come down on both sides of how you should respond to this opportunity that the crew has.... that also has some pitfalls to it. Where you could argue very, very, very compellingly that 'this' is what you should do, and if you're advocating 'this' then it's actually evil. It's sort of the Adam and Eve thing, where should we eat the fruit or not eat the fruit? Well, there are some very compelling reasons why they should and why they shouldn't. So, similar kinds of things here that really give the whole movie an opportunity to sort of play with that, and have people come down on different sides and wrestle with it; then come to an ending where you can walk out and say, 'You know, I don't know what I would do.'"

    So, where would you like to see the next Star Trek movie headed? Let us know your thoughts...



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    20th Century Fox is wasting little time in fleshing out its plans for its Marvel properties. Earlier today the studio announced releaes dates for a Wolverine sequel, The Fantastic Four 2 and an-as-yet-unrevealed Marvel title, with the three films joining the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fantastic Four and X-Men: Apocalypse. And now Deadline is reporting that David James Kelly - a screenwriter on Fox's failed Daredevil reboot - has signed on to pen the follow-up to last year's The Wolverine.

    The third solo outing for the fan favourite mutant will see The Wolverine helmer James Mangold returning to the director's chair, and is set to hit cinemas on March 3rd 2017. At this point, it's unknown whether Hugh Jackman will reprise his signature role, but let's face it - chances are this will mark his ninth outing as Logan, assuming that a) he appears in X-Men: Apocalypse, and b) he doesn't pop up in a cameo on Josh Trank's Fantastic Four (which, if he did, would provide Fox the perfect opportunity to go with Weapon X as a title)... 


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    Do you enjoy watching cameras watch actors do their thing? Well, you're in luck, as Trailer Addict have just posted three behind-the-scenes videos of Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead of its release later this month. In it, you can see a camera watching Chris Evans run with a shield and stopping himself by running into a wall, Chris Evans (or his stunt double) do a load of cool kicks, and Scarlett Johansson looking meditatively down at the floor between takes. It's almost like you're actually there to stalk her.

    If you're a fan of the workings of a movie set - particularly those that involve a heavy amount of action - the total 16 minutes is actually a rather interesting watch, if a little bit voyeuristic. Just be wary of potential spoilers. Give 'em a watch after the official synopsis....

    "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.

    Check out our spoiler free review and podcast here and here.

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    Andy Serkis, best known for his mocap work in The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has signed on to direct Warner Bros.' adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic stories.

    The film will mark Serkis' feature directorial debut, although he has directed second unit on The Hobbit movies, as well as directing the barrel chase sequence from last year's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) was originally attached to direct the project but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, while Ron Howard (Rush) was also said to be in talks with the studio.

    Warner Bros.'Jungle Book movie is said to stick closely to Kipling's source material and has been penned by Callie Kloves, daughter of Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, who is also producing. The film is not to be confused with Disney's rival Jungle Book, which has Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directing and Idris Elba (Thor: The Dark World) set to lend his voice to the fearsome tiger Shere Khan.



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    Jon M. Chu to direct Jem and the Holograms movie
    Jon M. Chu certainly likes his 80s cartoons. The director of G.I. Joe: Retaliation spent over a year developing a Masters of the Universe movie before stepping aside to concentrate on G.I. Joe 3, and now it's been announced that he's attached himself to another Hasbro / Marvel / Sunbow Productions series in Jem and the Holograms.

    Created by Christy Marx, the series premiered in 1985 and revolved around a young girl called Jerrica Benton, who uses a holographic computer to transform her into the front-woman of the rock group Jem and the Holograms, who also happened to battle an evil girl group known as The Misfits.

    The film adaptation is being produced by Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber, who's headlined two of Chu's previous concert films in Never Say Never and Believe. Somewhat bizarrely, the producing team also includes Jason Blum, producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and The Conjuring.




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    With Game of Thrones gearing up for its fourth season premiere, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, during which she recalled her first audition for the role of the Mother of Dragons, as well as bringing with her a clip from the eagerly-anticipated new season, which sees Dany joined by Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel)....


    Meanwhile, we've also got a new featurette on the Making of Game of Thrones which sees location manager Robert Boake discussing the challenges of shooting the new season on location, followed by a couple of TV spots...




    Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6th in the States and on Sky Atlantic on April 7th here in the UK.




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    Victor Crowley heads back to the swamp for another massacre of epic proportions when the horror sequel Hatchet III arrives here in the UK on DVD on Monday, March 31st and to celebrate we've got three copies of the film up for grabs courtesy of the lovely people at Metrodome; read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter...

    There are your average, run-of-the-mill serial killers – and then there’s Victor Crowley.

    A hulking, massive ghoul who relishes in the dismemberment of anyone who wanders into his Louisiana swamp, this cinematic sociopath has been thrilling awestruck audiences since first bursting onto the horror scene in writer/director Adam Green’s 2006 scarefest Hatchet.

    After discovering her father and brother’s mangled corpses in the original Hatchet, young Marybeth (Danielle Harris) has done all she can to destroy their supernatural killer. Blinded by an unstoppable vengeance that burns inside of her, the young woman’s wild quest for revenge has cost countless lives and now, as Crowley’s swamp is overrun by special forces, the stakes raised to the breaking point.

    This time, Marybeth will need to find a way to put down Victor Crowley for good – or die trying.


    To be in with a chance of winning, firstly make sure you like us on Facebook (or follow us on Twitter)...



    ...Then complete your details below, using the subject heading "HATCHET". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, April 5th
    . UK entrants only please.

     
     By entering this competition you agree to our terms and conditions, which you can read here.



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    We've seen a couple of official images from Fox's Batman prequel series Gotham giving us our first look at Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) as Detective Harvey Bullock and newcomers Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, and now we've got a batch of set images depicting the Wayne family murder. Here's a few photos featuring David Mazouz (Touch) as Bruce Wayne, Grayson McCrouch (Hollywood Heights) as Thomas Wayne, and Brette Taylor (Rescue Me) as Martha Wayne...




    Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world’s greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon’s story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner? What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker?

    Gotham is currently filming under director Danny Cannon (Judge Dredd), with a cast that also includes Ben McKenzie (The O.C.) as Detective Jim Gordon, Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) as Alfred Pennyworth, Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth) as Oswald Cobblepot, Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix) as Fish Mooney, Zabryna Guevara (The Guilt Trip) as Detective Essen, Erin Richards (Being Human) as Barbara Kean, and Drew Powell (Malcolm in the Middle) as Butch Gilzean.

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    Having already shot some action photography on location in Johannesburg, South Africa, it's being reported that principal photography on Joss Whedon's eagerly-anticipated sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to get underway today at the Forte di Bard in Aosta Valley, Italy. The shoot will apparently feature "intense battle scenes", with cast members Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) announced as participating. Expect the usual flood of set photos soon....

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release on May 1st 2015, with a cast that also includes returning MCU stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Incredible Hulk), 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 Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula) as Baron Strucker and James Spader (The Blacklist) as Ultron.



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    Hollywood’s relationship with strong female lead characters and the exploration of feminist themes in general has been hit and miss. Cat Balou of 1965, starring Jane Fonda, certainly fits the bill of a movie that had both elements, but it was a film that never forgot to be mainstream piece of entertainment either. Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise of 1991 and Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple of 1985 are both often held up as examples of movies that have feminism as a central theme, but it must be said that such features are more the exception than the rule. There are, of course, other instances that could be mentioned, too.

    In 1998 Indian-born Shekhar Kapur made ground with Cate Blanchett in the title role of the Hollywood made Elizabeth, for example. However, Indian films that discuss feminist ideas are even rarer than Hollywood ones. In the West, Bollywood is probably more associated with rom-coms and sappy escapism than serious film-making. Nonetheless, Hindi language movies which explore the social underbelly of the sub-continent are more common than you might think and now there is an Indian movie which features strong women taking control of their lives as the central issue of the plot to look forward to.

    One of the new Bollywood movies that will see a UK release, Gulaab Gang has been written and directed by Soumik Sen, a debutant behind the lens. Part of Sahara Movie Studios’ output, the film is currently being widely promoted in Mumbai – the epicentre of Indian film making – by Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla who have lead roles. Both ladies have expressed to the Indian film press how they see the picture as being about female empowerment. The story revolves around a social activist called Rajjo, played by Dixit, who establishes a sort of ashram for women who are determined to fight for equal rights. With recent violence against women in India becoming global news, it is perhaps hardly surprising that Hindi film makers have started to engage with such themes.

    Rajjo does not have everything her own way and she faces official corruption in the form of a politician named Sumitra Devi, portrayed by the veteran movie actress Chawla. The local official is determined to battle against Raijo’s campaign for justice. That both of the protagonists happen to be women is unusual – to say the least – in Bollywood and Asian cinema more generally.

    “The film gives a sense of empowerment in a lot of ways,” said Dixit. “This movie tries to say that the girls in it need access to education because that will offer them the resources they need so that they can stand on their own feet and to be independent.”

    According to the star of films such as Devdas andBeta, the story’s theme demonstrates that it is only through self-respect that women can gain the respect of wider society. Dixit went on to say that for many families their socio-economic background becomes a barrier and they cannot afford to educate girls, preferring the boys to be educated, instead. However, the film is not simply a worthy social play but a drama that has thrills and spills along the way. Dixit received training in many martial arts, which included Taekwondo, in preparation for her role in the action thriller. Yes, Gulaab Gang may feature feminist ideas, but this is Bollywood and entertainment comes first, after all.



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    If you’ve ever wanted to see The Punisher, RoboCop, Hellboy and Spawn together in a film then Skin Trade will probably be the closest you’ll ever get to seeing that epic cheese dream fantasy coming true. Alongside former Punisher, Dolph Lundgren, Peter Weller (RoboCop), Michael Jai White (Spawn) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) appear in action revenge flick, Skin Trade. For good measure, the man who laughs at Newton’s theory of gravity, Tony Jaa (the Punisher…of Elephant thieves) co-leads the picture with Lundgren. For even further good measure, fans of the recent Arrow series will recognise Celina Jade who also stars in this.

    Lundgren plays a New York detective whose family gets killed by a Serbian mobster (Perlman) who runs a sex trafficking ring. Lundgren follows them to Bangkok and ends up reluctantly teaming up with local cop Jaa, who has his own personal reasons for wanting to put an end to the ring.

    Directed by Thai art-house director Ekachai Uekrongtham, with Ben Nott (Daybreakers) on director of photography duties, Skin Trade has just wrapped in Thailand after two months of shooting, with a further couple of weeks left to film in Vancouver. Despite the fact it’s still being shot, it seems that they (Jaa in particular) can’t wait to get footage out with a very early, but impressive teaser being released, which teases the prospect of not only a mano-a-mano between Lundgren and Jaa, but also Michael Jai White vs Jaa.


    Skin Trade should start trading early next year.



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    Anghus Houvouras on Noah and the stormy sea of noble failures....

    Noah is on its way into theaters soon, and the first reviews are hitting the net like a torrential downpour.  The reviews are skewing towards the favorable, though a lot of words are spent discussing the imperfections and half-baked ideas of a movie that struggles to be all things to all people.

    The recent documentary Jodorowsky's Dune is a celebration of strangeness delving into the wonderful world of what might have been.  It's a psychedelic, day-glo journey into what could have been a magnificent, garish nightmare.  The same kind of loving treatment is being applied to Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage's insane looking Superman Lives project that died during the inception phase. 

    I love the noble failures.  Movies that take risks and try to be something different.  High priced deviations from the form. There seem to be a lot of fans of these noble failures when they die on the vine in pre-production and the fruit of their labors is never harvested.  However, when a weird movie actually make it through the stormy weather of the production cycle and see the light of day, we're less forgiving. 

    This seems to apply to Darren Aronofsky's epic biblical fantasy film Noah. Cinephiles are curious.  Religious purists are agitated and concerned about factual accuracy (snicker).  The movie is scraping a lot of raw nerves.  This is not a bad thing.  In fact, it would be nice if more big budget films openly courted this much controversy or stirred up this much interest.  Big budget movies rarely generate this level of conversational complexity.

    Someone gave Darren Aronofsky $130 million dollars to make an apocalyptic biblical fantasy.  This is the kind of behavior we should be rewarding, even if the final film is flawed.  Studios are so averse to risk these days that the existence of movies like Noah feels like an anomoly. Some critics are comparing Noah to bloated blockbusters like Waterworld.  Lazy critics and entertainment writers make comparisons like this because it takes little effort.  Buoy one water themed, high priced studio film with questionable box office potential to another, but I take issue with this.  Not just because of the hyperbolic box office disaster that Waterworld is still saddled with (not a massive hit, but $400 million worldwide adjusted for inflation is hardly the disaster some paint it to be), but more for the assertion that large, weird risky spectacles are something that shouldn't be attempted.  The dismissal of these beautiful disasters seems odd.   Do film journalists really prefer a world where crazy films like Waterworld don't exist?

    Media writers seem to love the idea of movies like Noah, but then go knives out when it hits the marketplace and the square corners don't necessarily fit into the round holes, creatively speaking.  Sure, Noah is unconventional.  The very concept of the project seemed insane when it was first announced, and everything I've seen subsequently has only bolstered that assertion.  Everybody seems to get behind the idea of strange epic films that defy conventional categorization.  In theory we want to see Burton's crazy zombie version of Superman realized or would love to know how Jodorowsky's Dune would have turned out.  Once those ideas are brought to fruition, it's much easier to judge them  It's easy to love the idea of Jodorowsky's Dune.  The reality of the finished product, for example David Lynch's off maligned adaptation of Dune, is often a much less attractive proposition.

    I'd bet a hefty sum that if Lynch's version of Dune died in pre-production, there would be someone making a documentary about what could have been.  Much like those who question what a Lynch helmed version of Return of the Jedi would have ended up being.  As opposed to Lynch's actual version of Dune which is a magnificent monstrosity that most people would prefer to forget. 

    We romanticize the idea of what never was because it never went beyond the inception phase, even though the reality is often far less inspirational.  I'm guessing Jodorowsky's Dune and Burton's Superman Lives would have ended up with an even number of promoters and detractors, as so many noble failures often do.

    As a fan of film, I admire the noble failures like Dune and Waterworld because while they are far from perfect, they are unique films that deviate from the norm. We should celebrate these kind of projects rather than question or attempt to validate their existence. 

    Whether Noah turns out to be another noble failure is yet to be seen, but I for one am glad it exists and hope more studios are willing to take risks on weird, wonderful big budget blockbusters.


    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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    Trevor Hogg chats with Will Cohen about making timeless visual effects for the Doctor Who franchise....


    “The Milk team [as MILL TV] have been creating the VFX for Doctor Who since the series’ regeneration in 2005,” states Milk VFX CEO Will Cohen.  “The team continued to work on Day of the Doctor as Milk when it launched in June 2013. Milk was recently commissioned by the BBC to create the VFX for the forthcoming 8th series of Doctor Who, starring new Doctor Peter Capaldi [In the Loop].”  The iconic British TV series celebrated a 50th anniversary. “Television is a medium that often allows for true collaborative production partnership. The budgets and schedules create a situation where the VFX team is able to have a lot of creative ownership over what they are doing. As teams are smaller all the way up the chain, you get greater access to the client and so internal and external communication is a lot more streamlined. The Dalek Pods are a good example of being able to update and freshened the look of an asset; Milk created them for the Day of the Doctor. With an established franchise like Doctor Who, everybody always respects what has come before but they also have the desire to push things further with new ideas or embellishments.”



    Unlike most current VFX projects photorealism was not the primary objective as the programme makes use of fantastical elements.  “Few people know exactly what a spaceship re-entering the earth’s atmosphere actually looks like,” explains Will Cohen.  “In science fiction the only things you can compare your work to, is things that have come before in film or TV.”  Producing visual effects for the big and small screen is not the same thing. “Although TV and film have converged over recent years in terms of technical pipeline, shooting methodology and ambition, they are very different with different sets of disciplines. Time and budget constraints and also the greater level of detail and polish required for film to stand up to scrutiny on a 90 foot screen in the dark, mean that generally a movie’s trailer shots are the equivalent to the finished article on TV, creating a different set of rules.”



    Day of the Doctor featured an updated spacecraft.  “Milk had the chance in this Special to create a new form of Dalek fighter,” states Will Cohen.  “This was designed for maximum speed and agility during the attack sequence and to create fast-paced, dynamic animations. We worked up the new design from the BBC’s Art Department concepts and developed it further to work for the style of animation we had planned. Modelled and textured in Maya, the new Dalek Fighter Pod maintained the classic elements of the Daleks with the added ability to release Daleks onto the ground after landing.”  The Dalek Fighter Pods take part in the siege of Gallifrey.  “For the dramatic sequences set in Arcadia, we created a large-scale 3D environment in Cinema 4D, of the city under siege. Milk designed huge fly-through shots to add a sense of drama and scale as the viewer plunges into the city alongside attacking Dalek Fighter Pods. Milk aimed to give the feel of a city that was near collapse, fighting for survival. The shots are frenetic with lots of explosions and laser fire. The buildings had to stand up to close up scrutiny because of the extreme camera moves. We ended up with around thirty wrecked ‘hero’ buildings that were then instanced [repeated] hundreds of times and the street filled with debris, explosions, fire, crashed saucers and tiny running figures. Working in stereoscopic 3D meant that often we were not able to ‘cheat’ effects and instead had to render smoke and fire in Houdini instead of using pre-filmed smoke and fire elements.  As it was in Stereo, it was a great excuse to have lasers flying right past the camera!”



    “The Time Lord paintings at the National Gallery were scripted as being ‘bigger on the inside’, as they are Time Lord art,” remarks Will Cohen. They also needed to look like traditional oil paintings. They are a pivotal point in the storyline as it is through the paintings that the Doctor and Clara witness the catastrophic battle and fall of Arcadia. They also form the entry point for the viewer to fly into the siege. One of the biggest challenges therefore was creating a framed painting that appears to be a two dimensional object but which, when the camera moves around it, is revealed to be a full 3D environment with depth, whilst still remaining within the picture frame. Working in Stereo meant that we had to cheat things to appear flat but still sit at the correct depth in the scene.   We worked with Michael Pickwoad the BBC’s Art Director for Doctor Who on the look on the paintings. The reference we had from the BBC was a classic ‘old master’ oil painting, however, it looked quite dark. When we showed Nick Hurran, the Director, our shot of the Gallifrey Citadel he asked us to make the 3D painting look lighter and more like this.”



    “There is always a lot of collaboration between us and the special effects team Real FX,” notes Will Cohen. “Particularly in the Fall of Gallifrey Sequence, where there were a lot of practical explosions, smoke and atmospherics. They used snow candles, which helped give the scenes depth and enhanced the stereo 3D.”  Compositing, lighting, shader and rendering took longer because of show being in stereoscopic.  The kind of shots we created were ambitious for TV, such as the fly-through shot into the siege of Arcadia thus there were many different lighting scenarios to bring together.  Some of the older assets, such as the Dalek Saucer, needed to go through the look development process again so that they would work with our new renderer, Arnold. We took the opportunity to spruce up the textures and refine the shaders at that stage too. Regarding the lighting, the biggest challenge was lighting the Arcadia cityscape for the full CG shots. Fortunately we’d learned a lot from a night-time London flyover shot that we created for Channel 4's Skins [more information on this can be found here: http://www.solidangle.com/news/skins-bright-lights-big-city/]. All of the geometry for each Arcadia shot was held in a single scene so that at render time all of the lighting, reflections and shadows interacted correctly to give the shot a sense of cohesion that is difficult to recreate using layered renders from separate scenes. The render time peaked at about 24 hours a frame [actually 48 hours because of the stereo] but Arnold was extremely reliable and the final renders did not require much additional compositing work.”



    When questioned as to what was the biggest challenge for Day of the Doctor, Will Cohen replies, “The dramatic 3D Time Lord paintings at the National Gallery, through which the Doctor and Clara witness the catastrophic battle and fall of Arcadia, and which form the entry point for the viewer to fly into the city. One of the biggest challenges was creating a flat, framed painting that appears to be a two dimensional object but which, when the camera moves around it, is revealed to be a full 3D environment with depth, whilst still remaining within the picture frame. We also had to ensure that it worked well for 2D viewers as well as looking spectacular in 3D.”  Cohen remarks, “Prior to the Doctor Who 50th Special, Milk already had substantial experience working in stereoscopic 3D on feature films Dredd[2012], 47 Ronin [2013], Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader [2010] and The Flying Machine [2011]. Generally speaking in 3D stereo, the planning process takes longer, and more time needs to be allocated to shots and renders. However, overall, this project was relatively straightforward with very few stereo fixes to do.”



    “The shot featuring the exploding Dalek [within the siege of Arcadia] is a great example of all the departments involved [both at Milk and BBC Wales] coming together to create a sequence,” notes Will Cohen.  “Technically this was one of the most demanding shots, as we were combining elements from the matte painting department and the 3D environment department, with a green screen shoot of the Doctors and a prop model of an exploding Dalek. This was bridged with three full CGI environments of battle-scarred Gallifrey, involving a complex, continuous camera move that stitched together all the separate elements. It was an epic shot for all departments.  The shot combined matte paintings, 3D and FX from smoke plumes, flames and people running, to swarms of Dalek saucers and a frozen explosion on a practical Dalek; a complex composite to make one seamless shot. We also had to integrate smoke and flames, which were created in Houdini. The whole thing was rendered out in 3 separate parts in Arnold and composited together in Nuke. After we had assembled all the different elements the shot was re-sped to fit into the edit.  The initial concept for this was to be three separate shots but we decided to make it more exciting and visceral by making this one long shot!”


    “It was an honour and a privilege to be part of TV history!” reflects Will Cohen as to visual effects work contributed to Day of the Doctor.  “We have a huge sense of pride at being part of such as massive and well-loved programme! We knew it would be big but didn’t expect it to be watched by 77 million people around the world.”  Cohen notes, “The only assets that were new for Day of the Doctor and were reused for Time of the Doctor were the Dalek fighter pods [created for Day of the Doctor] and the Dalek saucers [having been upgraded for Day of the Doctor].





    Planet Trenzalore and its surrounding asteroid belt needed to be created for The Time of the Doctor.  “The asteroid field was brought in for visual interest,” reveals Will Cohen.  “Made out of ice, it added to the feeling of bleakness and foreboding required to depict Trenzalore. We needed to ensure that the sizes and scales were correct, between the planet, the spaceships and asteroid field. The surface of the planet had been set up at the end of the previous episode, so there were visual clues from that. The challenge was to ensuring Trenzalore did not look like Earth [as viewed from space] so we had to make it more bleak and grey than Earth.”  A dramatic pull back shot reveals the gathering of enemy spaceships.  “In order to tell the story and set the scene at the beginning of the episode, it had to be a long shot and had to encompass numerous elements – to show the space environment and demonstrate the sheer number of the Doctor’s enemies’ spaceships from all over the universe surrounding Trenzalore. Given the number of elements and level of detail the shot was 20 seconds long, where usually a VFX shot would be between 6-8 seconds long.”





    “We designed the Papal Mainframe from a concept by BBC Art Department,” explains Will Cohen.  “We were given references such as a Blade Runner [1982] feel, but above all the Mainframe had to be hugely majestic and impressive in size – a peacekeeping ship yet very powerful and an imposing, unstoppable force. We created this sense of scale by never allowing it to break frame we took the BBC’s design and developed it further. It was challenging to achieve the depth required, particularly in the shot where the TARDIS flies into it, where it had to feel vast so that the TARDIS would look tiny and much less significant. The concept for it was a huge illuminated city skyline at night-time, yet with a simple feel. Milk worked in conjunction with the BBC Art department who built the internal sets of the ship, which needed to mirror the external form of the ship.”




    A signature Doctor Who moment involves the regeneration of a Matt Smith (Clone) into Peter Capaldi.  “Milk created the effects depicting the Doctor’s twelfth and most powerful, violent regeneration ever – emanating immense power and energy – with plasma and fireballs flowing from him and culminating in a climactic explosion,” states Will Cohen.  “Almost nuclear in its power, it causes a shockwave across the landscape in a shot that is viewed from a distance so that the viewers’ experiences the full power of the shockwave which comes right up to camera. Every time a doctor regenerates we try to push it further and make it stand out. This regeneration had to be more violent than ever before, thus we created a core of energy that provided enough power for a nuclear-like explosion – enough to explode Dalek saucers up in space. Adding another element to what we already had. We needed a core string of power that was bigger and impactful than previous regenerations.”  A unique spin was sought out to make the event distinguishable from past occasions.  “We always look for a new creative way to treat the Doctor’s regeneration, for example, we have focused on the eyes or a varying small section of face. This time the regeneration needed to be more dramatic than ever – and powerful enough for a nuclear-like explosion and of course no morphing effect was used.  We used a ‘snap back’ so that the new Doctor just simply walked back into shot.”




    “We had a very tight schedule and some long, effects heavy shots [particularly with the number of spaceships and particles required] but no particular issues!” reveals Will Cohen.  “The opening shot was most challenging because we had to convey to the audience the sheer size and scale of it – with the number of spaceships – and have immediate impact. We had a lot of conversations with the producer about the composition of the shot, in order to make the most of the opening sequence.   The regeneration was also challenging as there is so much expectation behind a Doctor’s regeneration especially following the success of Day of the Doctor. We needed to make sure that Matt Smith’s Doctor’s exit was as powerful and impressive as it could possibly be!”




    Will Cohen
    “We were pleased with the way the shockwave worked, post-regeneration,” remarks Will Cohen.  “It was an absolute pleasure to be working on our third major regeneration of a Doctor!”  Milk will continue to work with the Time Lord.  “We will yet again be endeavouring to push the boundaries of TV VFX. We are really excited indeed to be working on series 8; it’s a real privilege.” Cohen notes, “Many of us on the team have been privileged to enjoy a 10 year love affair with Doctor Who so to be able to carry on collaborating with the BBC Wales team on telling these incredible stories [for series 8 and beyond] fills us with joy and provides us with an opportunity as VFX artists to help push the boundaries of what can be done visually on television. A new series with a newly regenerated Doctor is in many ways like starting working on the show all over again. Doctor Who is a show that never, ever gets boring. It’s different every week. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor will be our 4th Doctor and we are very excited!”




    VFX images and video courtesy of Milk VFX.

    Many thanks to Will Cohen for taking the time for this interview.

    To learn more visit the official websites for Doctor Who and Milk VFX.

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

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    Our weekly round up of all the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, Gotham, Arrow, Son of Batman, Powers, Bananaman and more...

    Captain America: The Winter SoldierHere in the UK we're just five days away from the start of the 2014 superhero season as Marvel Studios continues Phase Two of its Cinematic Universe with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The review embargo for Chris Evans' second solo outing lifted on Thursday evening, and it looks like Marvel has knocked it out of the park once again; you can listen to the thoughts of Luke Owen and Scott Davis in the latest Flickering Myth Podcast, and here's an excerpt from Luke's review:

    "Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a movie where everything gels. It's not perfect and it isn't a game changer like The Dark Knight for example, but it really stands above the movies that have come before it. The performances are great, the story is good and the action is pulse-racingly brilliant. It also might be the most important movie within the Marvel Universe as it is bound to play a huge part in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So, while it may feel like a cliche to give it the label, Captain America: The Winter Soldier really is the best solo Marvel movie to date."

    You can read Luke's full, spoiler-free ★★★★ review here...

    ...So, while we await the arrival of The Winter Soldier, Marvel has delivered plenty of promotional material this past week to tide us over, including five TV spots [see here, here and here], an IMAX poster [see here], over 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage [see here] and a tonne of new images featuring the majority of the cast, including Evans, Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Maximiliano Hernandez (Jasper Sitwell) and George St. Pierre (Batroc) [see here]...

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron...On Tuesday, ABC aired the one-hour documentary special Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, which gave us our first look at Avengers: Age of Ultron with concept art for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (played by Godzilla duo Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) going up against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in his Hulkbuster armor; also included in the documentary was some new concept art and behind-the-scenes 'sneak peek' footage from Guardians of the Galaxy (including a first look at Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser and Glenn Close's Nova Prime Rael), in addition to some high-resolution images from Edgar Wright's Ant-Man test reel. If you've not had a chance to see it, you can check out the concept art, images and behind-the-scenes footage right here...

    ...Sticking with Age of Ultron for a moment and it's been reported that principal photography will get underway today with "intense battle scenes" at the Forte di Bard in Aosta Valley, Italy, with Olsen, Taylor-Johnson and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) all set to take part. Meanwhile, in other AoU news, Scarlett Johansson has discussed Black Widow's role in the film, hinting that the red in Widow's ledger could catch up with her in the sequel; Marvel chief Kevin Feige has waxed lyrical about the new villain Ultron, played by James Spader (The Blacklist); composer Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World) has been confirmed as scoring the film; and Marvel legend Stan Lee has admitted that he's not got a clue who the A.I. bad guy is, telling Playboy (via Hitfix) that, "I don’t have any idea who the hell Ultron is. He was a character developed after I stopped being involved in the Avengers story..."

    Kevin Feige teases a Captain Marvel movie...Kevin Feige may have spent time teasing the possibility of a Black Widow solo movie recently, it seems that the studio would rather bring an original character to the screen for its first female-led superhero offering, with Feige stating that: "Frankly, if we do a Black Widow movie after The Avengers: Age of Ultron, she’s been central in three or four movies, I don’t think we'd get the quote unquote credit for it. People would say, she’s already a big giant superhero. But if we’d had a great idea, we’d do it. I like the idea if we’re going to do [female lead], do a new one. Do a wholly new character, do an origin story. We’ve talking a lot about [Captain Marvel]. I think that would be very cool..."

    ...Meanwhile, with so many movies and potential movies in various stages of development, Feige has revealed that Marvel Studios is open to expanding its output beyond the usual two movies per year: "I think television is filling some of that now, in terms of bringing out more product. That’s certainly the idea with the Netflix shows. But I don’t know that we will necessarily say 'Okay, we’re now moving strategically to three a year, now we’re moving to four a year.' What I think is more likely - if [knocks on wood-like table] the next group of movies work and people want to see additional stories - we’ll have too many franchises and you can’t do one of each franchise every two or three years. We’d have to move to three a year, but that would have to be a natural move if it were to occur. We’d have a [script] draft, we’d have a filmmaker, we’d have a character the audience wants to see - let’s slot in a place for a third one. Or a fourth one. But it’s hard enough to deliver two quality, hopefully bar-raising movies a year..."

    ...Disney has announced that Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultronwill all get the IMAX treatment alongside some of the studios big tentpole releases, which also includes Maleficent, Tomorrowland and Star Wars: Episode VII...

    Patton Oswalt in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    ...Before we move on from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've had our first look at J. August Richards'Mike Peterson in his Deathlok costume from Tuesday's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., while Patton Oswalt (King of Queens, Ratatouille) has been announced as appearing in a guest role as Agent Eric Koenig, and ABC has revealed that the season finale will air on May 13th. With the network yet to reveal whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been picked up for a second season, might this also serve as the series finale..?

    ...Despite all the marketing for Captain America, Sony has made sure we remember there's a Spider-Man sequel on its way, continuing the marketing blitz for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with a new "final" trailer (I've been pretty critical about the previous trailers, but I have to say I thought this one was really solid), along with a TV spot [see here], a new theatrical poster and image of Stan Lee is in customary cameo [see here], a Chinese poster featuring Spidey (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) [see here] and a few batches of new images, which showcase our lovely couple as well the film's trio of villains in Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), and the armored Rhino (Paul Giamatti) [see here, here and here]...

    ...We know that Marc Webb will be back to direct 2016's The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but it seems he'll be calling time after that, with Webb ruling out a return to the director's chair for 2018's The Amazing Spider-Man 4: "I'd like to be involved as a consultant. I’ve already talked to these guys about it, but in terms of directing it, that will close out my tenure. I’ve had so much fun doing it, but after the third movie, it’ll be the time to find something else..."

    Kelsey Grammer's Beast rumoured for X-Men: Days of Future Past cameo...Moving on to Fox's Marvel universe and we'll finally get a look at a new trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past this coming Monday, and you can check out a brief teaser featuring much of the cast of the mutant superhero sequel here. Meanwhile, it seems that we might get to see another familiar face, with rumours suggesting that Kelsey Grammer has shot a cameo as the Future Beast, which would reunite him with X-Men: The Last Stand stars Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus), Halle Berry (Storm) and Anna Paquin (Rogue) - assuming the latter two actually end up being in the movie, of course (Singer has previously indicated that Paquin could still feature, while this week he also dismissed a rumour about Halle Berry being cut from the film)...

    ...While Singer has assembled a virtual who's who of the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past, there remains a few notable absentees, but it seems we may get to see a few more familiar faces in the 2016 sequel X-Men: Apocalypse, with the director revealing that, "I'm considering Gambit and Nightcrawler for Apocalypse. [I was] going to have Nightcrawler appear in [Days of Future Past] and even wrote a scene, but I felt that we were forcing to many mutants." Of course, it remains to be seen whether Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) or Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United), although an appearance from Kitsch wouldn't add any further continuity issues, given that Apocalypse will have an 80s setting...

    ...Earlier in the week The Wolverine director James Mangold stated that he plans to shoot Logan's next solo adventure once production is finished on X-Men: Apocalypse, and Fox wasted little time in confirming its future Marvel plans, with the studio announcing that the third Wolverine movie will arrive on March 3rd 2017, with David James Kelly (a screenwriter on Fox's failed Daredevil reboot) tackling the script. The next Wolverine will then be followed by The Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th 2017 (Fox must be confident: filming on The Fantastic Four is yet to have even started) and another as-yet-unrevealed Marvel movie on July 13th 2018. As for this mystery title, potential candidates include Jeff Wadlow's X-Force, the long-gestating Deadpool and the rumoured X-Men vs. Fantastic Four crossover, although another X-Men sequel would seem the likely option...

    ...David S. Goyer - screenwriter behind the likes of Blade, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman and the upcoming Constantine TV series - has been discussing comic book movie fans, stating that he pays little attention to their expectations when it comes to adapting the characters for the screen: "You’re dealing with an incredibly vocal but incredibly tiny sort of [group]. That’s a mistake that I think a lot of sometimes networks and movie studios make is sort of listening too much to [them]. I mean, it’s important to listen to the fan chatter but you’re really talking about a tiny, tiny, tiny portion of your audience that may not be representative of what your mainstream audience actually thinks or feels... I’m paraphrasing Steve Jobs, it’s like you don’t give the audience or the consumer what they want, you give them what they don’t even know they want. I mean, being involved in some of these comic book movies and stuff like that, people say, well, this is what they should do. And trust me, if we had just done exactly that I don’t think the audiences would have been completely happy. I mean that’s not to say that filmmakers can’t misfire, but if you try to just do what you think the fan community wants you’ll drive yourself crazy and you won’t actually write anything..."

    ...While it's been quiet in the DC Cinematic Universe (i.e. Batman vs. Superman) again this week, Fox's Batman prequel series Gotham has offered up a first look at several of its main characters, with official images of Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) as Detective Harvey Bullock and newcomers Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle joined by unofficial set photos of Ben McKenzie (The O.C.) as a mustache-free Detective Jim Gordon and Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth) as Oswald Cobblepot. Meanwhile, if you're interested in a sneak peek at how the Wayne family murder will go down, you can check out a few set photos here featuring David Mazouz (Touch) as Bruce Wayne, Grayson McCrouch (Hollywood Heights) as Thomas Wayne and Brette Taylor (Rescue Me) as Martha Wayne...

    Harley Quinn in Arrow...Fox hasn't been the only network playing with DC's  roster of Batman characters this week, with The CW giving a live-action debut to Harleen Quinzel - a.k.a. Harley Quinn - with Batman: Arkham City voice actor Tara Strong lending her voice to the fan favourite villain for a brief, one-line cameo in Arrow's'Suicide Squad'. You can watch Harley's cameo here, while we've also got a couple of promos [see here] and a batch of images [see here] from the next episode, entitled 'Birds of Prey'. Here's the official episode 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..."

    ...On the DC animated front, Warner Bros. has released a new image of Nightwing from the upcoming DC Universe Animated Original Movies release Son of Batman, which is set to hit shelves on May 6th, with a voice cast that includes Jason O'Mara (Justice League: War) as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Stuart Allan (Rise of the Guardians) as Damian Wayne / Robin, Morena Baccarin (Homeland) as Talia, Giancarlo Esposito (Once Upon a Time) as Ra's Al Ghul, David McCallum (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Alfred Pennyworth, Xander Berkeley (24) as Kirk Langstrom / Man-Bat and Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) as Deathstroke / Slade Wilson...

    ...After struggling to get off the ground at FX, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's superhero police procedural Powers is heading to PlayStation Network, with Sony Pictures TV reaching a deal to develop a 10-episode hourlong drama series based upon the comic book series, which will mark PlayStation's first foray into original programming. The series "is set in a world full of people with superhuman abilities and where all of those powers are just another catalyst for mayhem and murder. The series follows Detective Christian Walker, who is in charge of protecting humans like us and investigating cases involving the God-like men and women, referred to as 'powers,' who glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire and who clash above cities in epic battle, oblivious to the mortals below..."

    ...And finally, it looks as if the British superhero Bananaman could be heading to the big screen in 2015, with the website BananamanMovie.com launching earlier in the week. For those outside of the UK, or anyone too young to remember the character, Bananaman is the crime-fighting alter-ego of schoolboy Eric Wimp, who transforms into the fruity superhero after eating a banana. The character made his debut in 1980 in the pages of Nutty, and subsequently featured in The Dandy and The Beano, as well as headlining his own animated BBC children's series.

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

    Gary Collinson





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    Villordsutch reviews Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson...

    Mentats of Dune is the second book in the Schools of Dune Trilogy following on from the events of Sisterhood of Dune (Book 1). For those versed in both Frank Herbert's Duniverse you will be more than aware of the Bene Gesserit, Mentats, Suk Doctors & Navigators; those not versed in the aforementioned - you’re missing so, so much.

    I’ve read a number of Brian & Kevin's Dune books and in the past I haven’t been overly impressed. I’ve found a number of their books suffer with parts of stories being dragged out and clunky writing that's not enjoyable to read. However I was very surprised with Mentats of Dune as this was a very accessible and enjoyable book. Brian and Kevin have placed just the right amount of pieces on the board for you and you’re able to keep track of these, as the various threads weave throughout the story.

    It’s fantastic to see the genesis of such powerful movements flail around in the wind as they struggle to actually gain any power or motion. Take the Bene Gesserit (yet to receive this name) who are already split into two opposing factions since the last book; or the VenHold (Soon to be Spacing Guild) who are constantly being belittled and disrupted by the violent movement of the galaxy spanning Antitechnolgists (The Butlerian Jihadists). Whilst the big players move at the same time the little pieces in the form Vor Atreides seeks to repair the past by surreptitiously helping the Harkonnens, who are days away from being reduced to nothing; at the same time Vor is unaware the Harkonnen sisters are planning to destroy the Atreides bloodline from the Galaxy.

    At the centre of this book however we revolve around the Mentat School and it’s Headmaster Gilbertus Albans, who is the adopted son of the sadistic robot Erasmus. Gilbertus adores his school and his pupils so much so he is willing to allow his principles to be bent for the use and pleasure of the leader of the Butlerian Jihad, Manford Torondo, who is unaware of Gilbertus’ past. To make matters worse in the school, Gilbertus rather dangerously hides and communicates with the core of his robot father Erasmus; the Mentat School is also built on the Planet Lampadas, the home of Manford Torondo and millions of Butlerian Fanatics. We see even in moments where his life is placed upon the line, he (Gilbertus) defends his students and school against thousands of zealots.

    As a Dune fan I very much enjoyed this book. Yes some moments were wrapped up rather quickly and chapters come thick and fast but this is an excellent addition to build upon the foundations of Dune. As well as that, it’s an enjoyable piece of science fiction and I cannot wait to read book three in the Schools of Dune Trilogy.

    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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    To celebrate the release of the “Sensationally gory” (David Edwards, Daily Mirror) Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz - out on DVD 31st March 2014 - we have a copy to giveaway to one lucky horror fanatic!

    The mutated return of the hit Nazi horror franchise, Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz is the most violent and gut-spilling instalment yet! From teeth-shattering scares to relentless blood-spewing combat, this is the terrifying new hybrid of horror warfare and is not to be missed.

    Read on for a synopsis details of how to enter....

    "1944 - Deep behind the German Eastern Front. After a successful raid on a Nazi convoy, Sergeant Dolokhov and his Russian Commandos uncover shocking research that could change the tide of the war, but before they can get to safety, they are captured by the Nazi s. Inside the Nazi facility the Russians discover that the crazed Colonel Strasser is developing an invincible fighting force: an unstoppable army of undead Nazi soldiers. The two Russian warriors must battle their way through a horde of aborted experiments to escape the brutal facility -before the Nazis can perfect their research and unleash their zombie army across Europe.

    Pre-order Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz via Amazon. 

    To be in with a chance of winning, firstly make sure you like us on Facebook (or follow us on Twitter)...


    ...Then complete your details below, using the subject heading "SPETSNAZ". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, March 29th
    . UK entrants only please.

     
     By entering this competition you agree to our terms and conditions, which you can read here.


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    There's just days to go before the UK release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier [read our spoiler-free review here], and Marvel Studios has now released a new poster from artist Paulo Rivera, which was produced for the cast and crew of the Phase Two sequel....


    And here's a new TV spot...


    "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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    Written and directed by Peter Landesman, Parkland recounts the chaotic events that occurred in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. To celebrate its UK DVD and Blu-ray release on Monday, March 31st, we've got three copies of the film on Blu-eray to give away; read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter...

    Based on the chilling and acclaimed book 'Four Days In November' by Vincent Bugliosi, PARKLAND is fast-paced, original and features superb performances from some of Hollywood’s finest actors. A gripping true story, PARKLAND is sure to lend an absorbing and candid new perspective into that tragic day, that changed the course of history.

    The outstanding ensemble cast includes: Zac Efron (Paperboy), Marcia Gay Harden (50 Shades of Grey), Billy Bob Thornton (The Man Who Wasn’t There), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) Colin Hanks (Dexter), Ron Livingston (Boardwalk Empire), James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3) and Paul Giamatti (12 Years a Slave, Sideways)
    .

    To be in with a chance of winning, firstly make sure you like us on Facebook (or follow us on Twitter)...



    ...Then complete your details below, using the subject heading "PARKLAND". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, April 5th
    . UK entrants only please.

     
     By entering this competition you agree to our terms and conditions, which you can read here.



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    Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb...

    James Garcia, for We Got This Covered, writes with reference to Brian Tyler, the recently announced composer for Avengers: Age of Ultron:

    "Tyler’s resume also includes The Expendables films, Now You See Me, and a handful of the Fast and Furious movies. He did an alright job with the music in his previous Marvel efforts, but as I said before, none of them were exactly memorable. The studio must like him though if they want to bring him back for Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Let’s just hope that he does as good a job with the superhero team-up as Silvestri did the first time around."

    Read the full article here.

    I think Garcia is well aware of flawed ‘alright’ critique of Tyler’s previous efforts. Considering the success of Marvel’s Universe of films, this is a core element that is consistently below par. From Iron Man through to the latest Captain America: The Winter Soldier the soundtracks have always felt unclear, confused and inconsistent.

    Taken on their own, they are indeed “alright” but it’s a huge dent in the credibility of the scores considering the success of the series. As a comparison, John Williams has led the way on some of the most iconic scores of all-time. Even the blockbusters in the decade pre-Marvel, Harry Potter and the Star Wars prequels, all enlisted Williams to create memorable themes that remain in the public consciousness to this day. James Horner and Lord of the Rings (and now The Hobbit) equally hold stature and longevity (while his Titanic soundtrack is amongst the best-selling of all-time). Though not composing the bold, defiant themes that Williams and Horner is celebrated for, Hans Zimmer has created scores that have captured the mood so remarkably that the sales have consistently exceeded expectations – which film score enthusiast doesn’t own a copy of The Dark Knight, Gladiator and The Lion King? Clearly Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan know how important music is to utilise these composers time and time again – while Marvel don’t see it in the same light.

    Not only have the Marvel producers mixed-and-matched composers throughout the series but the opportunity to use the themes and music to carve out a consistent harmonic atmosphere is lost. Have a look at the composers of each film so far:

    Iron Man– Ramin Djawadi
    The Incredible Hulk– Craig Armstrong
    Iron Man 2 – John Debney
    Thor– Patrick Doyle
    Captain America: The First Avenger– Alan Silvestri
    The Avengers – Alan Silvestri
    Iron Man 3– Brian Tyler
    Thor: The Dark World– Brian Tyler
    Captain America: The Winter Soldier– Henry Jackman
    Guardians of the Galaxy– Tyler Bates
    The Avengers: Age of Ultron– Brian Tyler

    On the release of The Avengers, for the /Filmcast, Devindra Hardawar noted a lost opportunity. What if the themes from each film were used for the character-introduction, with a separate theme for the Avengers team too? Perhaps, a single composer is assigned each hero – Alan Silvestri, with his heroic Back to the Future patriotic-edge can continue to score the Captain America films? Or the Scottish-born Patrick Doyle, with his grand, historic musical knowledge that led to an unforgettable soundtrack to Brave, continues to score the grand and historic Thor films? These composers, over time, will develop and build on their previous efforts. John Barry composed (almost, but not every) score for the James Bond series from the 1963 From Russia with Love through to The Living Daylights in 1987. The soundtracks remain incredibly strong and stand up even today.

    The list of composers for the series has some incredibly talented people and it truly is a shame that when I think of the ‘theme’ to Iron Man or Captain America, I struggle. Those that argue how the Marvel films are the modern day Star Wars forget how important the score, by John Williams is – even now, many are still within the top selling scores (opposed to pop soundtracks like Saturday Night Fever and Purple Rain) of all-time. I know that I downloaded each score after re-watching the six films after their Blu-ray release. Longevity requires more than a good film – it requires the full package. So far, the Marvel films don’t have the scores that will last.

    Simon Columb



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