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    Paul Risker looks at Hollywood's depiction of HIV/AIDS, from Philadelphia to Dallas Buyers Club...

    In spite of the critical acclaim garnered by last year’s AIDS documentary double-bill Fire in the Blood and How to Survive a Plague, it is Dallas Buyers Club that is poised to become the cinematic face of AIDS/HIV cinema. With nomination nods and in what is yet another acclaimed performance from Matthew McConaughey - becoming a cinematic custom as of late - Dallas Buyers Club finds itself occupying a cosy and secure place at the peak of the mainstream cinematic consciousness.

    Since Tom Hanks’ turn as AIDS patient Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia some twenty years ago, there have been few if no prominent films on the subject of AIDS. But in the last twelve months alone documentary and narrative cinema have both unsheathed their scalpels to confront the subject.

    First Fire in the Blood took aim at “Big Pharma” and their role in the African AIDS epidemic. Then How to Survive a Plague told the story of the activists who campaigned to turn the AIDS/HIV virus into a manageable disease. Now Dallas Buyers Club sees fictional narrative enter the fray with the dramatized story of Ron Woodruff, who when diagnosed in 1985 set up his Dallas Buyers Club, one of many that sprung up across the U.S. as an alternative to the Food and drugs Administration’s (FDA) approved medical treatments .

    With the opportunity to outperform Philadelphia’s 1993 awards performance, Dallas Buyers Club is readying itself to seize the torch from Philadelphia’s grip, becoming the official cinematic face of AIDS/HIV. That said, with the lack of prominent films in the last two decades, and Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington’s acclaimed onscreen roles that have followed since their turns as Andrew Beckett and Joe Miller, the need may rest with Philadelphia to relinquish rather than with Dallas to seize the torch.

    Philadelphia was not the first film to tackle the subject, preceded first by Longtime Companion and The Living End. What both of these films lacked and still lack is the star power that Philadelphia and Dallas Buyers Club can boast, and the mainstream occupancy positions them as the two faces of AIDS/HIV on the screen. If there is a passing of the torch, then Dallas Buyers Club will bury Longtime Companion and The Living End deeper into the shadows of cinema’s past. The most severe fate for art is to fall into the shadows where the sound of conversation is but a whisper. If films are not spoken of then they may as well not exist. The cost of this would be that a part of Dallas Buyers Club’s cinematic context will be lost to the past.

    Between the years 1989 and 1993, Longtime Companion, The Living End and Philadelphia imbued narrative cinema with a link between homosexuality and AIDS/HIV. Each film used the virus as a means to explore the subject of homosexuality. Whilst Longtime Companion moves beyond the disease to explore dealing with this death sentence through the friendship of a group of men and the devastation it wreaks upon the closely knit group dynamic, The Living End explores the subject through a story of two gay protagonists who set out on what can only be described as a journey fuelled by feelings of anger that transforms into an hedonistic rampage. The termination of employment of gay lawyer and AIDS patient Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia who hires a homophobic lawyer to represent him was and remains a stark exploration of the individual outcast to the fringes of society.

    Whilst homosexuality is traditionally a central focus that connects to the virus’s earliest identification as a "Gay-Related-Immune-Disorder”, what does Ron Woodruff’s “straight” anti-hero contribute to the onscreen discussion of AIDS/HIV?

    Ron Woodruff the hustler mirrors The Living End’s own hustler Luke (Mike Dytri). From the focus on homosexual protagonists, Dallas Buyers Club’s “straight” anti-hero witnesses a retreat from the homosexual focus to instead take a broader approach to the story of AIDS/HIV. It retains a focus on homosexuality through Woodruff’s habitual homophobic behaviour, the social xenophobia as well as the misinformed and xenophobic masculine world Woodruff belongs to that perceives AIDS/HIV as a means to deprive a man of his masculinity. If Dallas Buyers Club is a contemplation of homosexuality within America, it is equally in moments a tale of fear from within, a xenophobic tale of a society at war with itself, where even American hero’s such as Rock Hudson are marred by this conflict.

    Jared Leto's transgender patient serves to keep the film’s attention on those characters on the fringes of society, alongside the homosexual characters Woodruff encounters, whilst charting the struggle of its social evolution to become accepted as something other than a "Gay-Related-Immune-Disorder.”

    Dallas Buyers Club is a dramatization with its roots in actual events, the establishment of the Buyers Club and Woodruff’s inevitable run in with the FDA as he attempts to turn the AIDS/HIV virus into a manageable disease. This confrontation in Dallas Buyers Club mirrors the events in both Fire in the Blood and How to Survive a Plague, specifically the latter, though Woodruff’s confrontation is marred by financial greed and self-preservation. Woodruff transforms AIDS/HIV into a business compounding the negative influence and ideals of ignorant capitalism which the documentaries challenged.

    Whether or not he is a complex character, Woodruff is a character riddled with contradiction that makes him difficult to define as moral or amoral. The status of anti-hero is a more becoming label to tag him with. There are those moments where he shrugs of his capitalist ideals to do selfless acts, and on his journey he does come to temper his homophobic view point. It is difficult to be cynical and say that his fight against the FDA and the health care system was not an important fight, yet it is one marred by his anti-heroic leanings.

    Merging narrative filmmaking with documentary filmmaking, Dallas Buyers Club has one eye on drama and the other on real life and threads together documentary and narrative filmmaking. But Dallas Buyers Club also contributes to the social narrative of AIDS through cinema’s own narrative of the subject. Ron Woodruff is a character that upends the tradition of the protagonists within these stories, and taps into the xenophobia, perceived normalcy and laws that are in themselves a virus that compounds suffering and mirrors the virus itself.

    Fire in the Blood is available on DVD from March 24th and How to Survive a Plague is available on DVD from March 31st.

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

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    Ahead of his full debut next Tuesday, the official Twitter account for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has released a promo poster for the upcoming episode 'End of the Beginning', which features J. August Richards' Mike Peterson in full costume as the cyborg...

    End of the Beginning - Agents Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Triplett are back to help Coulson's team track down S.H.I.E.L.D.'S nefarious enemy - the Clairvoyant. But will Deathlok destroy them all to protect his master's identity?

    Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz and Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons. Guest starring are Bill Paxton as Agent John Garrett, Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand, J. August Richards as Mike/Deathlok, B.J. Britt as Agent Antoine Triplett, Titus Welliver as Agent Felix Blake, Maximiliano Hernandez as Agent Jasper Sitwell and Brad Dourif as Thomas Nash.

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    Big Kahuna Burger

    We've heard it mentioned in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, Death Proof, From Dusk Till Dawn and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, and now the Big Kahuna Burger will open for business tomorrow night as it makes its on screen debut in a commercial during the third episode of the El Rey Network's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. But we don't have to wait that long, as the commercial (written and directed by Robert Rodriguez) has arrived online, and you can watch it right here...

    From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series airs on the El Rey Network on Tuesday nights.

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    This morning we brought you the first images of Dwayne Johnson (Pain & Gain) as Hercules in director Brett Ratner's (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) upcoming adaptation of the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, and with a trailer set to land tomorrow the very first poster has now made its way online...

    Hercules poster

    Everyone knows the legend of Hercules and his twelve labors. Our story begins after the labors, and after the legend… Haunted by a sin from his past, Hercules has become a mercenary. Along with five faithful companions, he travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail… he must again become the hero he once was… he must embrace his own myth… he must be Hercules.

     Hercules is set for release on July 25th in North America and August 8th in the UK, with a cast that also includes Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Rufus Sewell (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Joseph Fiennes (American Horror Story), Peter Mullan (Tyranosaur), John Hurt (Snowpiercer), Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), Aksel Hennie (Headhunters), Reece Ritchie (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) and Tobias Santelmann (Kon-Tiki).

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    He may have handed writing duties over to Chris Terrio (Argo), but having developed the screenplay to Batman vs. Superman, David S. Goyer has now opened up to Collider about his work on the Man of Steel sequel, specifically how he managed to balance a roster that includes the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

    "I always try my best to honor every character. When you’re dealing with big iconic characters, there’s a lot of fan pressure to get it right, and I respect that and admire that passion enormously. At the same time, you can’t let your creative process be too crowded by that or distracted by it. It’s not always one uniform opinion of how you should portray this character or that character. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of walking that razor’s edge. You just have to do your best and know what’s out there, but at the same time, follow your own muse."

    Of course, considering Goyer's recent comments about comic book movie fans, I doubt he's too concerned with fan pressure or expectations...

    Batman vs. Superman is set for release on May 6th 2016, with Zack Snyder directing a cast that includes Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), and Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth). 

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    It's been a while since we've heard anything about the planned sequel to Prometheus, but with 20th Century Fox setting an 'Untitled Ridley Scott Project' for March 2016, fans' hopes of a follow-up to 2012's divisive sci-fi were renewed.

    Well, it looks as though we now have confirmation that Prometheus 2 is moving forward, with The Wrap reporting that Michael Green (Green Lantern) has signed on to write the script for the movie, which will apparently fill the 2016 release slot.

    Prometheus 2 will mark the second collaboration between Green and Scott with the writer also having worked on the Blade Runner prequel / sequel. However Scott is reportedly keen to press on with the Prometheus sequel first - as is Fox, which isn't surprising given that the original banked over $400 million around the globe.

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    Bullwinkle the Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel return to comics for the first time since the 80s this week with the release of the first issue of a four-part miniseries from writer Mark Evanier and artist Roger Langridge; check out a preview of Rocky & Bullwinkle #1 here...

    "Rocky and Bullwinkle must stop the evil Boris and Natasha from duping a wealthy philanthropist in THE PSYCHIC SIDEKICK. And when Dudley Do-Right tries to woo the beautiful Nell, will Snidely Whiplash get away?"

    Rocky & Bullwinkle #1 is released on Wednesday, priced $3.99.

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    Thanks to Empire Magazine, we've got a new behind-the-scenes image from the upcoming simian sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which sees Toby Kebbell (Wrath of the Titans), mo-capped up and performing as Koba, the alpha ape...

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    "It's an ape civilisation movie," director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) tells the magazine. "It's a world you haven't seen before, which is all about: what would these intelligent apes do if they returned to the wild and tried to create a place for their family... and then grow?"

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set for release on July 11th, with a cast that includes the returning Andy Serkis as Caesar alongside Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Keri Russell (Mission: Impossible III), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), Enrique Murciano (Black Hawk Down), Kirk Acevedo (The Thin Red Line), and Judy Greer (13 Going on 30).

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    Kevin Smith’s 90s classic, Clerks, became the independent movie to inspire thousands when it was first released. If the movie itself wasn’t enough to inspire, the story behind the story sure was. Smith, working as a convenience store clerk, wrote a script and financed the production for around $27,000 when he was just in his early 20s. That money came from credit cards and a comic book collection.

    Smith brought his friends and a few actors together to make a black and white movie about 90s angst, ambition, friendship and the things we do to make it through those minimum wage jobs we’ve all suffered through. Since Clerks was bought by Harvey Weinstein and inspired a series of films starring the characters of Jay and Silent Bob (plus a more conventional sequel), Smith has gone on to write comic books, direct darker material like Red State and podcast with his friends like there’s no tomorrow. He also paid off that $27,000 debt.

    Now, after 20 years, Clerks and the story behind Clerks is still inspiring filmmakers everywhere. Christopher Downie, Brett Murray and Felix Kay have all been hard at work running and promoting an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for a film they have dubbed Shooting Clerks.

    The film is a proposed effort that dramatizes the story behind Clerks as it follows a young Kevin Smith from his decision to make a movie based in the convenience store that paid his bills at the time to the moment when Harvey Weinstein bought the movie at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994.

    The campaign page is actually quite thorough and impressive as there is already a cast in place (Kevin Smith even has a part) and the trio break down the financials on the movie almost dollar for dollar. They are asking for 27,575 GBP to make their movie (a nod to Smith’s original budget) and thus far have collected £2,390.

    However, the slow fundraising is not hurting the young filmmakers’ ambitions any. They have updated the page to say they are beginning filming soon and they recently released a sample scene from the movie through Kevin Smith’s YouTube channel, SeeSMod.

    The trio also have some pretty relevant experience as their previous movies include two shorts: Get Greedo and Babble-On Begins. The first is a short that was released through SeeSMod and chronicled a chapter in the relationship between Kevin Smith and his formerly heroin addicted partner in crime Jason Mewes. It’s a great little movie that people should definitely check out on YouTube if they have any doubts about the talent behind Shooting Clerks.

    Babble-On Begins is also a Kevin Smith inspired movie as it’s a fan film based on Kevin Smith’s and Ralph Garman’s podcast, Hollywood Babble-On.

    In a world where crowd-funding exists, the internet has exploded and audiences go wild for streaming, it’s a perfect time for independent filmmakers to take a shot at becoming influential and professional artists like Kevin Smith once did back in 1994.

    Shooting Clerks is a perfect example of young, independent artists today working, hustling and using today’s advantages to do what Kevin Smith did with so much less back in 1994. The fact that they are doing it with a film about the making of an independent 90s classic that inspired many is just all the better.

    Visit the Shooting Clerks Indiegogo page here.

    Zachary Leeman

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    Yo Joe! This week, Larry Hama's long-running series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero celebrates its landmark 200th instalment with a special extra-sized, 48 page issue packed with bonus content. Check out a preview for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #200 here...

    "G.I. JOE returns to the Pit, but things are not as they expected at their homebase. HAWK and DUKE prepare to take the team into a new era, as COBRA’s plans and new threats require a fresh approach. Join the adventure in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #200 and prepare for the next 200!"

    G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #200 is out on Wednesday, priced $5.99.

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    Thomas Harris with some first impressions on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 following a special thirty-minute sneak peek....

    For those concerned they had seen everything in the seemingly endless number of trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, don't be. Although witnessing thirty minutes of footage, it quickly became evident much was to be seen; in fact, the footage already revealed to the public only whet the appetite.

    Hans Zimmer Goes Dubstep

    In recent years, Zimmer's scores have been defined by sprawling strings and dramatic horns-take any Christopher Nolan film as an example. Spider-Man finds him in up chartered territories. Variants of his previous work are still evident but there's an overwhelming sense of the electronic (pun certainly intended) throughout. Watching Andrew Garfield's Spidey battle Electro with a thudding bass drum and a constant murmur of Marilyn Manson-esque vocals in the background is almost exhilarating.

    It Balances the Dramatic and the Comedic

    Marc Webb's comedic background lead to an underwhelming and dissatisfying sense of the dramatic in The Amazing Spider-Man. It wasn't that he relied on comedy, it was that he failed to balance it in an even manner. He seems to have learnt from his mistakes with a quite shockingly dramatic opening-involving a plane crash and hand on hand combat-and a series of sharp and witty lines during Spidey's opening battle. Whether this will translate over the 132 minute running time is yet to be seen.  

    Electro is a Villain with a Heart

    What makes a great villain? Is it an overarching sense if anarchy and chaos or is it an uncomfortable sense of  understanding? Jamie Foxx seems to have gone down the route if understanding, portraying Electro as lost, a compassionate villain if you so will. When first introduced, we find Max Dillon as a bumbling scientist with a truly terrible comb over who is rescued by Spider-Man. It is here whereby his personality develops. Once transformed, he fails to understand his powers, looking to Spidey for help. Electro isn't simply a villain with awkward, clunky motives, he's a villain with a "heart." Be it with a pacemaker.

    It Revels in the Comic Book

    However brilliant Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy was, it signalled a change in tide. Gone were the days of the garish, over-the-top comic book film and in with the days of angst and really, really dark grey. There is something joyous about The Amazing Spider-Man 2's dismissal of the darkness. Electro tinges with a fluorescent blue and as the trailers show, almost everything else is lit by Photoshop.

    I could write more but then I would delve into territories that would result in spoilers. However, the brief moments we were shown reflects a Spider-Man with more confidence and a bright, well deserved sense of swagger.

    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) joined by 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, Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) as Felicia Hardy, Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) as Dr. Kafka, B.J. Novak (The Office) as Alistair Smythe.

    Thomas Harris

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    After being rumoured as in talks last month, The Wrap has now confirmed that Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) has joined the cast of Marvel's Ant-Man, while the site is also reporting that Corey Stoll (House of Cards, Non-Stop) is also in early negotiations with the studio.

    Ant-Man is set for release on July 17th 2015, with Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, The World's End) directing a cast that includes Paul Rudd (This Is Forty, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra, Last Vegas) as Hank Pym. Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, The Conjuring) is also set to appear in an as-yet-unspecified role, while Michael Pena (End of Watch, American Hustle) is believed to be in line to play the film's villain.

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    Created by comic book legend Walter Simonson during his college days and alter resurrected as a Marvel Graphic Novel and miniseries, Star Slammers is getting a completely remastered and recoloured rerelease from IDW Publishing, starting this week with the arrival of Star Slammers #1; check out a preview below...

    "Once upon a time, there was a race of men who could out-shoot, out-fight, and out-kill anybody. They were paid fabulous sums to act as mercenaries. The practice became so lucrative, they decided to go into business. They became the most successful businessmen in history, and they called themselves…The Star Slammers!"

    Star Slammers #1 is out on Wednesday, priced $3.99.

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    Universal's Scarface update has taken a step close to becoming a reality, with The Wrap reporting that Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain (No, Tony Manero) has signed on to direct the studio's planned remake of the gangster classics from Howard Hawks and Brian De Palma.

    According to the site, the new version "will reimagine the core immigrant story told in both the 1932 and 1983 films [and] will be an original story set in modern day Los Angeles that follows a Mexican immigrant's rise in the criminal underworld as he strives for the American Dream."

    Scarface has been written by Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco), with Mark Shmuger (We Steal Secrets) producing alongside Marty Bregman, producer of the 1983 version.

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    When online streaming first took off, the various powers that be in the world of film, music and TV foretold a dark and gloomy future. With everyone downloading their entertainment for free, how could these industries survive? But fast forward a few years and it’s a much rosier picture. As providers have stepped up their game and realised that streaming content online makes for a lot of very happy people, more and more of us get our daily fix of media through streaming websites. So what’s in store for them in the future?

    Bigger, better, faster
    Streaming providers like Netflix and Spotify are some of the biggest winners, giving people access everything from the latest film blockbusters, box sets of hit TV series, music videos and more. Having high speed internet and download speeds is essential. That’s where Virgin Media’s superfast broadband comes in really handy. With great broadband deals available, and a range of packages to suit your lifestyle, you can look forward to a better streaming experience. No more sitting around waiting to get your next fix of your favourite TV show!

    Live from the stage to your home
    Streaming live events like concerts and sporting shows is not exactly new, but with improved broadband speeds and a better understanding of what home audiences will be seeing, events providers will be polishing up the live experience. Whether it’s catching the sell-out performance of the latest pop star at home, or never missing a game involving your favourite team even when you’re on the other side of the planet, you can expect live streaming to get much more enjoyable.

    Don’t just watch
    One of the best things about live streaming is that it offers audiences to get in on the act, and as broadband deals enable more people to participate in online activities, you can expect more interactive streaming events. This might mean you can talk and share your excitement with other fans – and the stars themselves – during a big gig, or even take part in interactive events that let you determine how things happen. Think of it as a high tech version of those ‘Choose your own adventure’ novels.

    And lastly…
    Streaming events isn’t just for film makers and concert promoters. The technology is also being embraced by more offbeat services, to help connect people who’d like to experience something together, but are separated by other factors. A new service has just been launched to help Irish families stream and share funerals online, letting loved ones who couldn’t attend because of distance, ill health or any other reason, pay their respects alongside other mourners. Who knows what other special occasions you could be sharing online soon!

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    Now that all major March releases are available to purchase, from the quite outstanding South Park: The Stick of Truth, to the demo of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes that Hideo Kojima has disgustingly charged people for, it is time to look ahead to April’s big releases...

    LEGO The Hobbit
    Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
    Child of Light
    The Elder Scrolls Online

    That’s not an awful lot to look forward to, but the quirky looking Child of Light shows some promise. Hopefully the PlayStation Plus will deliver a great title as we all suffer through this barren patch of quality releases. What are you looking forward to most?

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    Los ultimos dias, 2013.

    Directed by Àlex Pastor and David Pastor.
    Starring Quim Gutiérrez, José Coronado, Marta Etura and Leticia Dolera.


    A mysterious epidemic spreads across the globe, causing an irrational fear of wide open spaces that has lethal symptoms. In Barcelona, one man searches the chas to find his missing girlfriend.

    Spanish cinema aficionados among you will no doubt already be aware of how popular both the sci-fi and horror genres are in the Hispanic film industry. Individually they have produced some huge successes that have even become familiar to foreign cinema novices; international hits such as REC (2007) and The Skin I Live In (2011). However, hybrids of the two genres have often struggled to get off the ground, with Spanish filmmakers lacking the wealth of resources of their English-speaking counterparts. That being said, Los ultimos dias (The Last Days) is certainly a step in the right direction.

    The films premise is a familiar one: unknown disease causes everyone on the planet to go bananas, our heroes must survive the ensuing madness in a well-known city. It may sound like an unoriginal idea, but it has a couple of aces up its sleeve in the form of the writing/direction duo of the Pastor brothers. The Catalonian siblings are clearly technically gifted, but it’s their writing here is which salvages the premise, adding the genius caveat of the disease causing everyone to fear the outside. It’s a twist that keeps the familiar idea of the plot fresh, as well as creating an unnerving claustrophobia within the audience.

    As you’d hope for from a sci-fi/horror film, Los ultimos dias delivers some stunning visuals. The Pastor’s use special effects sparingly, but when they do utilise them they easily match the Hollywood standard. There’s also some really astute use of location; being a disaster film, you’d expect plenty of destructive images of Barcelona’s most famous buildings, but this convention is refreshingly subverted as the film exploits some of the cities ‘hidden gems’. For those disappointed by this news though, fear not, as one particular landmark does come off badly at one point.

    Los ultimos dias delivers all the thrills of a sci-fi/horror hybrid, neatly packaged in a familiar-yet-fresh ‘disaster movie’ format. The performances are strong, but the real stars here are filmmakers themselves, who provide surprisingly sharp writing with some breath-taking visuals.

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

    Jackson Ball - follow me on Twitter.

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    The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) and The Canary (Caity Lotz) are set to join forces as the Birds of Prey in this week's episode of Arrow, and we've got the first clip which you can check out after 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.

    Birds of Prey will air tomorrow evening March 26th.

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    Matt Smith reviews the fifth episode of True Detective....

    True Detective, in an ironic turn considering the nature of its two protagonists’ jobs, is the first series where I’ve had to avoid spoilers. What really did tear the two detectives apart? What is the truth, and what are the lies amongst the testimony from each of them.

    With characters all different shades of grey, with moral boundaries crossed while still perhaps in some form of right instead of wrong, it’s very easy to classify True Detective as a neo-noir played out on our TV screens. Characters stuck in situations of their own making, all on a headlong course for their inevitable fate. While many genres have that (the romcom being the most obvious opposite), True Detective is so bleak you can’t help but feel sorry for the characters at the same time you consider how loathsome they truly are. It’s the mark of a morally complex narrative, in this case along with its slow burning style, which makes it perfect for television.

    Indeed, some of the visuals had the same quality and feel as other examples of similar works. Sin City springs to mind as Cohle and Hart keep on the tail of their suspect. That slight feeling out being out of place, a literal shakiness giving the sequence a strange, fast-paced haze that truly makes you feel like you are just along for the ride.

    The tension of this week’s episode is so palpable; it deserves its own special mention. Sequences leading up to the drug house and the cross cutting finale to the old school are full of creepy visuals. Music in the background never pushes itself too far forward to distract, instead helping the fingers and fists clench. Congratulations to the props department are essential also. Something about those wooden, telltale objects is incredibly unsettling, along with the knowledge that Rust Cohle may somehow have even more to hide.

    Nic Pizzolatto and Cary Fukunaga, the writing and directing arms of the show, are obviously a good team and the way information is given to the audience is impeccable. With a perhaps deceptively simple premise, they’ve managed to squeeze every ounce of tension and excitement for this show out by letting the audience know the right amount of information (and be given the right lies) every step of the way. Care for the characters wouldn’t happen on the part of the viewer if there were a misstep, so it’s remarkable that a TV series (even one as comparatively short as True Detective) has perfectly managed the plotting in such an exciting fashion.

    It’s telling that in my review notes for this episode, half the points are not comments on the show but merely my own questions and theories about what’s going to happen. With the true antagonism behind Cohle and Hart’s relationship slowly revealing itself, as everything else in the background quietly works away, it’d be easy for a show to lose focus and become merely plot. With the episode ending with an ironic commendation of the two characters’ bravery, the show is falling deeper into despair as we see the sad truth hidden amongst all the lies. And if it carries on like it does, I couldn’t be happier about it.

    Matt Smith - follow me on Twitter.

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    Following on from yesterday's sneak peek teaser, Warner Bros. has released the second theatrical trailer for Tom Cruise's (Jack Reacher, Oblivion) latest sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow, which you can watch right here after the official synopsis....

    The story unfolds in a near future in which a hive-like alien race, called Mimics, have hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, shredding great cities to rubble and leaving millions of human casualties in their wake. No army in the world can match the speed, brutality or seeming prescience of the weaponized Mimic fighters or their telepathic commanders. But now the world’s armies have joined forces for a last stand offensive against the alien horde, with no second chances.

    Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously demoted and then dropped—untrained and ill-equipped—into what amounts to little more than a suicide mission. Cage is killed within minutes, managing to take an Alpha down with him. But, impossibly, he awakens back at the beginning of the same hellish day, and is forced to fight and die again…and again. Direct physical contact with the alien has thrown him into a time loop—dooming him to live out the same brutal combat over and over.

    But with each pass, Cage becomes tougher, smarter, and able to engage the Mimics with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who has lain waste to more Mimics than anyone on Earth. As Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated battle becomes an opportunity to find the key to annihilating the alien invaders and saving the Earth. 

    Edge of Tomorrow is set for release on May 30th in the UK and June 6th in the States, with Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) directing a cast that also includes Emily Blunt (Looper), Bill Paxton (Aliens), Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood), Tony Way (Game of Thrones), Kick Gurry (Tangle), Franz Drameh (Attack the Block), Dragomir Mrsic (Snabba Cash II) and Charlotte Riley (World Without End).

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