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    Trevor Hogg learns about the societal impact of Disneyland with author John Frost as his tour guide...

    Known for running The Disney Blog, John Frost has recently published a collection of personal stories and essays celebrating what he believes to be the “Happiest Place on Earth.” “Since its opening in 1955, Disneyland has come to symbolize the best of Americana,” writes John Frost in the essay titled Walt Disney’s Patriotic Flair.  “Through its gates you can relive the nation's past and enjoy a glimpse at what is in store for the future.”  


    The compositions originally appeared in an early Internet discussion forum called USENET and then posted on a website called LaughingPlace.com.  “Dispatch from Disneyland has its roots in 'you are there' style journalism,” explains Frost in the introduction of the publication.  “I started writing short vignettes as a way to let others who loved Disneyland as much as I did, but didn't have my good fortune of visiting the park frequently, experience a little of the magic.”


    Three other sections follow the IntroductionDispatches features stories like Esmeralda where a performer portraying the Disney character shows a great deal of kindness to a blind child and The Fireworks Spot where an elderly widower recalls meeting his wife at the park.  Essays includes Walt Disney’s Patriotic Flair which provides a historical overview of the creation of Disneyland and Quotable Disney examines some famous remarks made by the animation innovator such as, "I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my imagination."   Elements of Magic which documents some facts about some of the park attractions is found in the section titled Addenda.    


    Dispatch from Disneyland: Stories and Essays from the Happiest Place on Earth by John Frost is an easy reading experience filled with nostalgia which commemorates the lasting influence of an American icon on the people whom he devoted his life to entertain.


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

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    Luke Owen reviews Ghostbusters #14


    The embodiment of chaos has taken an interest in earth, and the physical laws of the universe are beginning to come apart at the seams. When Newtonian physics falter in New York City and weirdness is on the rise, you know who's gonna get called...

    Mass Hysteria continues as more seeds are planted for what is sure to be one of the biggest story arcs in Ghostbusters comic history.

    We're now two issues into Mass Hysteria and "slow burn" seems to be the best word to use to describe it so far. The last issue served to bring anyone who was new to the IDW Ghostbusters world up to speed (who the New Ghostbusters are, Winston's wedding etc) while this issue feels like the true first part to the story. Dana contacts Janine about her disturbance and requests the Ghostbusters help - without letting Venkman know - and we also find out more behind Tiamat, the sister of Gozer. Something strange is certainly happening in the neighbourhood as blood starts to rain from the sky, gravity is playing havoc with cars and Winston and his wife find themselves being accosted verbally by a group of pigeons. It's an issue of building blocks, but Eric Burnham's superb script never lets the comic feel pointless.

    Burnham has been the true genius behind IDW's Ghostbusters series and its down to just how much he gets and understands these characters and their traits. He nails all of the idiosyncrasies that makes them unique and its in these moments where Ghostbusters #14 really works. Dialogue between Venkman, Stantz and Egon is wonderful and its truly reminiscent of the first movie and the better episodes of The Real Ghostbusters. Of course there are the usual Burnham-isms of dropping in subtle movie references as a nod to fans, but they never overshadow the story that surrounds them. He gets the balance right.

    There's also a nice visual nod to Back to the Future. Not sure why to be honest, but's pretty funny none the less.

    Where Mass Hysteria will fly or fall is in its villain. Tiamat certainly looks spooky enough and the reason she has targeted Dana ties it back nicely to the movie's origins, but if she pales in comparison to Gozer (who they are clearly comparing her too), then the story won't hold as much weight. Simply being told that she is dangerous is one thing, showing us is another. It's too early to be delving into this idea now, but it is worth bearing in mind.

    The key to the success of Ghostbusters #14 is that it has set up the plot for the series really well. Nothing is forced and it all feels natural. The comic is not in a major rush to get to the action and it's doing enough to whet our appetites while never feeling like a piece of filler. Next issue should see the return of another favourite from the Ghostbusters universe. And he needs to stay fit, keep sharp and make good decisions.

    Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.

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    We're less than two months now from the release of Legendary Picture and Warner Bros. reboot to the classic kaiju Godzilla and today they have released the image to the graphic novel tie in Godzilla: Awakening.

    Here's the press release...

    "In 1954, we awakened something..."

    To pave the way for Godzilla's return to the big screen, Legendary Comics proudly presents the official graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening. Today, we are excited to reveal the King of the Monsters in all his glory, as we unveil the cover featuring exclusive artwork by acclaimed Godzilla artist Arthur Adams.

    This 80-page story, set decades before the film, is co-written by Max Borenstein (screenwriter of the new Godzilla) and Greg Borenstein.


    Have a look at the cover art below:



    Godzilla: Awakening is released on May 7th. You can pre-order your copy here.

    Will you be buying Godzilla: Awakening? What do you think we can expect from the comic?

    Godzilla is directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and features Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Ken Watanabe (Inception) and Akira Takarada (Gojira).

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    As if getting out of bed on a Monday morning wasn't difficult enough, for Game of Thrones fans in the UK it's about to become a whole lot harder. Sky Atlantic have recently announced that they will be airing Season 4 of the hit TV show at 2am, the exact same time it airs across the water in the US.

    For those of you who struggle to stay awake past midnight fear not for each episode will also air at the usual time of 9pm on Monday evenings. The announcement was made at the season opener premiere in London last night which was attended by various members of the cast including Sophie Turner, Charles Dance, Iain Glen and Liam Cunningham to name but a few.

    Episode One, entitled "Two Swords", hits our screens on April 7th.



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    Not content with getting his political thrills by playing corrupt, Machiavellian US congressman Frank Underwood in House of Cards, it seems that two time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey has officially agreed to portray former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a feature film depicting his life. The biopic will be entitled Captain of the Gate and The Hollywood Reporter is stating that it will chronicle Churchill's "rise to power as he stood against the parliament to defend Britain and the world from Adolf Hitler's Third Reich."

    On writing duties is Ben Kaplan whose recent work includes various World War II and Vietnam documentaries and also a Ronald Reagan biopic for the History Channel. No director has been attached as yet but Studio Canal, the production company behind Liam Neeson's recent action flick Non Stop is said to be backing it. The legendary PM has previously been portrayed by Brendan Gleeson and Timothy Spall but only in cameo roles. No other details have been released.



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    Earlier today we brought you three TV spots for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [see here], and now we've got a great new shot of Dane DeHaan's (Chronicle) Harry Osborn in his Green Goblin guise, which you can see right here....

    Dane DeHaan as the Green Goblin

    We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.

    It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

    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.


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    On Monday we got a brand new trailer for Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past (which you can watch here, if for some bizarre reason you haven't already), and now we have a new 'Roll Call' TV spot for the upcoming mutant superhero sequel, which Hugh Jackman presented during Spike TV's Ink Master last night; check it out after the official synopsis...

    The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

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



    X-Men: Days of Future Past is set for release on May 23rd.

     

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    The Wachowskis are set to release their latest sci-fi offering Jupiter Ascending this July, and a pair of new posters has arrived online showing off the two leads, Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) and Mila Kunis (Ted)...


    Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos. 

    Jupiter Ascending is set for release on July 25th, with a cast that also includes Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables), Douglas Booth (Noah), Tuppence Middleton (Trance), Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas) and James D'Arcy (Hitchcock).


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    Anghus Houvouras on the rules of the reboot....

    So many comic books are being brought to the big screen that it feels almost critical that they evolve beyond origin stories and break free from the tyranny of their genre.  The danger of all these comic book films has always been a vicious cycle of release, relapse, and reboot. Allow me to explain.

    RELEASE

    The cycle starts with the release of a comic book film.  In the past, fans had waited 10, 20, 30 years or more for their favorite characters to get the big screen treatment.  There was a ridiculous amount of goodwill stored up and fans were extremely forgiving.  Just seeing the comic book icons of their youth on the big screen was a thrill they never thought they would achieve.

    RELAPSE

    The comic book movie is a hit.  Now the studio rolls a sequel into production.  More often than not, the stakes are raised and everything is amplified to a ridiculous degree.  Multiple story lines and characters are strip mined to cobbled together to try and create something epic.  Most of the time the second film takes the best parts of the original and tries to build on them.  If the second film is still a bankable proposition, the studio doubles down and brings us a third installment.

    More often than not, the third film ends up trying to pack even more in.  Shoehorn in more story lines and characters to the point that the fans are bored and creatively the series has nowhere left to go.  Which leaves studios with only one option:

    REBOOT

    It's amazing that you only have to back less than 20 years to find a time when comic book movies were sparsely released and not dominant on the cinematic landscape.  It really wasn't until X-Men and Spider-Man in the early 2000's that this modern surge began.  I say 'amazing' because within that 20 year period we've already established the rules for rebooting a series, and the window is a remarkably short 10 years.

    You could say the reboot window was already established by the original Batman films which were a pop culture phenomenon in 1989 and was creatively out of steam in 1997.  Spider-Man took the same route with three hugely successful installments launching in 2002 before director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire parted ways with the webslinger.  In 2012 we got The Amazing Spider-Man reboot via Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield.  This 10 year reboot cycle (give or take) seems pretty consistent.

    Batman Begins: 2004 /  Batman vs. Superman: 2015
    X-Men: 2000 / X-Men: First Class: 2011
    Fantastic Four: 2004  / The Fantastic Four (Take 2): 2015
    Superman Returns: 2006  / Man of Steel: 2013

    By this logic, expect new versions of Thor, Captain America and Iron Man right around 2018, whether you want it or not.

    The rules are becoming clearly defined.  You get a ten year window for a comic book character.  After that, the reset button is hit and you start over again.  Whether the property is successful or not.  That's the most troubling part of this new paradigm.  Even if it works, even if all the cylinders are firing, there's still a life cycle. 

    There are exceptions both ways.  The Hulk was rebooted a handful of years after Ang Lee's perplexing take on the character.  On the other end of the cycle,  Fox has been wringing every last drop of sweat out of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine who seems appropriately unkillable.  With the announcement of The Wolverine 2 (which is actually the third solo Wolverine movie), Jackman could manage to outlive the cycle, or wear out his welcome depending in your point of view.

    Maybe the 10 year cycle isn't such a bad thing.   It brings in new perspectives and gives filmmakers opportunities to tell new stories.  We got Burton's take on Batman, then Schumacher's.  The window closes, and Christopher Nolan comes in to reopen it with his own take on the character.  Certainly for fans of all the different and unique stories, the 10 year cycle allows for these stories to be told outside the constraints of prior continuity. 

    It's a little too early to tell if the cycle is a good thing or a bad thing.  We're still in the formative years of these franchises, but im curious to see if this trend continues.  It seems like every 10 years we'll get a new Batman, Spider-Man, and The Avengers

    How do we feel about that?


    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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    We've already seen a few set photos featuring Ben McKenzie (The O.C., Batman: Year One) as a young Detective James Gordon in Gotham, but now we've got an official look courtesy of Fox's latest character image from the Batman prequel series....


    And if you've missed any of them, we've also got the character images for Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) as Detective Harvey Bullock, Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) as Alfred Pennyworth, Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth) as Oswald Cobblepot and newcomer Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle.

    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?

    The pilot for Gotham is currently shooting, with a cast that also includes David Mazouz (Touch) as Bruce Wayne, 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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    We've already seen a few set images of Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye teaming up with Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) on the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron this week [see here] and now another batch of spy photos has arrived online, which sees Barton showing off his new attire for the hotly-anticipated sequel....






    The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release on May 1st 2015, with Joss Whedon directing 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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    Matt Smith reviews the fifteenth of Elementary Season 2...

    Sherlock Holmes, as a detective, works best when he’s in a vacuum. Bereft of distraction, focusing on the job at hand, social niceties not getting in the way of his cold, hard logic. Personal issues shouldn’t come into it; otherwise they’ll pull him away from being, in his own words, the world’s best detective. This week, he meets another character who is rather like him, in the ways described above and in the way that because they’re both human means they can never really be completely cut off from their own personal lives. A period of transition, often painful, is something they’re both going through.

    This week’s episode features a ballet star, pulled into the murder case of another performer. A star who Holmes has particular admiration for, and one who he can’t see as a murderer. Is his appreciation for her skills clouding his judgment or is it, as before, a case of Holmes being irrefutably right?

    The answer to that is obvious, but that’s not the point. The point is finding out who did it, and in that respect the case works. A solution presents itself towards the end that makes it seem like nothing else would fit, giving the whodunnit nature and aspect of this episode a satisfactory end. Not along for the ride, though, is Watson, who is dealing with the case of a missing homeless person. While the end of the case is played up to be some form of revelation in that Holmes decides to be charitable towards the homeless, the entire episode had a feeling of being light on substance.

    It’s a shame that the contents this week would’ve made a great half hour episode, but when spread out over closer to an hour the ‘main’ case was made less substantial.

    While, yes, we get to see Watson solve a case all by herself, it’s already clear from previous episodes that she’s a good detective in her own right. And any personal revelations with either Holmes or Watson are played as being much more dramatic than they actually are.

    That’s the problem, with both this review and the episode, in that there’s not much to be said within either. Because Sherlock Holmes, as a character, doesn’t work best in a vacuum. Interest on the part of the audience usually comes better when he’s clashing with someone. This week was more about a case barely worth the time put into it, by both the audience and Holmes. A case of Holmes saying the first accusation is wrong and then everyone calmly helping him go about finding the real killer. The killer who makes things incredibly easy, so easy in fact that it’s like everyone’s half asleep as they catch him.

    Hopefully next week sees Holmes brush past this accusation of a lack of substance and finds a case, and an episode, worth everyone’s respective time and effort.

    Matt Smith - follow me on Twitter.




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    Brandon Engel on Veronica Mars' journey from TV to feature...

    Veronica Mars has returned, and this time we can only hope there won’t be another seven year hiatus before we see her again. Granted, while the shift from television to film was more than bit rocky, it did take far too long for Warner Bros. (who holds the rights to Veronica Mars) to recognize just how many people were missing their favorite female detective. But when numbers alone can’t talk, money does, and when they both point to the same conclusion, even studios as large as Warner Bros. stops to listen.

    What I’m speaking of, of course, is the now infamous Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign of 2013. Actress Kristen Bell, star of Veronica Mars, along with writer and creator Rob Thomas, were determined to convince Warner Bros. that Veronica Mars was not worth killing off, even years later. To do so, they convinced the studio to allow them to create a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of $2 million dollars. While the funds couldn’t hurt (after all, couldn’t every project use a couple extra million?) the campaign was ultimately just as important in gaining Warner Bros.’ support, and, as a result, their marketing and additional funding. As many know, the film’s Kickstarter campaign raised well over $2 million, coming in at a whopping $5.7 million thanks to a total of 91,585 individual donations. The project was Kickstarter’s most successful campaign, and news of the film’s successful fundraising spread through news sources and social media, resulting in more promotion than even Warner Bros. could have funded.

    Nonetheless, Warner Bros. did give the final nod of approval for the film’s creation, and just recently the final product was released in selected theaters, and interestingly enough, in digital form. A free digital download was also available immediately for Kickstarter donors who contributed $25 or more to the project, and already, major cable suppliers are offering an at-home version to download as well.

    Most fans, at least, are thrilled with Veronica’s return. The film was, undeniably, a feature length love letter to fans, which meant that every favorite appeared in some cameo form or another, which meant the show’s biggest fans were left to discover one Easter egg after another of inside jokes and long-forgotten loose ends. Social aggregates like Topsy and Viral Heat showed over 80 percent of Twitter users mentioning the film positively, and many of those users are already begging for a sequel to the film:




    The transition to film from a preexisting television show wasn’t necessarily as smooth as one would have wanted. While the necessity of Thomas’ script re-introducing the characters that were left behind in 2007 is obvious to pull in viewers who aren’t familiar with the show, it was more than a little difficult for non-fans, or even fans who hadn’t caught up with the series in a while, to keep up with the film’s constant reintroductions and updates of old cast members. It didn’t help that many of those characters, Mac, Weevil, and Wallace for example (previously the brains, spirit, and sometimes-brawn of Veronica’s original gang) all ended up predictably placed in the future. Mac now works for Kane Software, Weevil is a slightly reformed, yet still tough, family man, and Wallace is a high school coach and teacher. Though the film acknowledges the time passed in a delightful way (Veronica responds in an expectedly witty way as she stumbles around Neptune reacquainting herself with her old cohorts), more than a few viewers seemed disappointed at the lack of a truly engaging mystery that engaged more than just primarily Veronica.




    Still, previous fans and future hopefuls alike should support the feature film, since talk of a sequel is already in works. If this sequel were to occur (supposedly this is riding on a mysterious box office number the debut film must surpass), Rob Thomas has already promised less focus on “catching up” with the old Neptune gang. Which explains why, exactly, the first film was so geared toward fans and intent on setting the scene: it was always Thomas’s goal to create a groundwork for future Veronica films, books, and more. Thomas even told TVLine that, if able to do a sequel, he “would try to write Chinatown with Veronica Mars at the center of it,” and this time, the mystery would be the center of the film, as opposed to the characters fans have spent years missing. So, while Veronica may not have returned as quite the undeniable mystery-solving force she once was, the film was an excellent trip down memory lane, and at  any rate, future installments have an excellent chance at bringing back Mars Investigations and its team of investigators to the level it once was.

    Brandon Engel


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    Paul Risker on the cinema of Wes Anderson...

    Known for brandishing his pen and camera to create a quirky brand of cinema, with the check-in date upon us for the whimsical delights of his eighth feature film The Grand Budapest Hotel, the imaginative auteur Wes Anderson looks to bring his cinema full circle.

    From Royal Tenenbaums to Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson has compiled a collection of whimsical family dramas. Habitually creating films that are of the opinion that cinematic realism is a fabrication; Anderson’s cinema echoes the infamous words of Jean-Luc Godard: “Film is 24 lies a second.” Affording his films trademark honesty the self-conscious and whimsical language defines him as one of American cinemas leading auteurs.

    Creating his cinematic worlds with an independent logic to those of his contemporaries, Anderson is not following tradition by asking us to suspend our belief. By openly acknowledging the lie of cinema, his films unshackle themselves from the attempt of creating an imitation of reality that feels naturally authentic. Instead his interest lies predominantly in the creation of a whimsical and self-knowing reality.

    Caught between animation and live action, Anderson’s scenes resemble single drawings in a box. Shooting in the style of an animation even his characters are framed and positioned in such a stylistic vein; the colourful palette illuminating the cartoonish comedy.

    The interiors of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Grand Budapest Hotel resemble a Victorian doll house; the camera’s rigid vertical and horizontal movements framing both the Belafonte and the hotel from the point of view that one would perceive the inside of a doll house.

    His use of the space allows a self-conscious imagination to thrive, a childlike whimsy in which even his characters speak with a poetic and unnatural vocabulary. The music picks up the fanciful beats of the dialogue as does the cinematography and the understated and straight performances which are void of natural emotion.

    The whimsical label overshadows the familial theme which Anderson has laced his films with; equal to his fanciful approach to narrative. The Royal Tenenbaums is a natural progression from Bottle Rocket and Rushmore; Anderson making the transition from a story of friendship and of a ménage à trois love story to the tale of family reunion. All of Anderson’s films have a comical edge with an alternative point of view on the familial. In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou the family narrative would be merged with a re-imaging of Moby Dick, whilst The Darjeeling Limited would place the reunion of three brothers within the context of a road movie, and Moonrise Kingdom as a coming of age and escape story.

    There is a certain intimacy within these four films, and bucking the convention of an original screenplay as was and still is his forte, he would adapt Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox as a live action animation and use it as the basis of his communal patriarch story.

    If there is a beginning then there must be an end, and The Grand Budapest Hotel whether coincidental or not finds Anderson breaking his focus on the familial and Bergmanesque scenes of a family. With his latest endeavour he returns to the less familial dramas of Bottle Rocket’s story of friendship and Rushmore’s love story.

    Predominantly a story of friendship, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a potential closing chapter with a tidy bow on his career, leaving Anderson with an opportunity to explore his cinematic language and creativity through new avenues. But these stories of families fractured through divorce and estrangement are potentially filtered through his personal experiences as a child of divorce. The family theme is likely to remain an integral thematic thrust for Anderson regardless of the new avenues, the only question whether he will he lose his way as Tim Burton seemingly as – his work becoming a caricature of itself. Even Fantastic Mr. Fox which on the surface appears to be a dream of the wholesome family is under threat, as dream turns into nightmare.

    Anderson habitually embraces the comic and the tragic; the tragedy swirling like treacherous undercurrents. In The Grand Budapest Hotel this comes in the form of the loss of a wife of whom the hotel is a means of remembrance as Anderson continues to explore the narrative device of the fractured family. A cinema filled with a self-conscious awareness, the thematic concern is offset with an emphasis on it from our side of the screen. Through his cast of regular actors and those newcomers that arrive with each new film, alongside Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon and Robert Rodriguez who are infamous for their cinematic families, Anderson himself is and has been in the process of putting together his own.

    Anderson intertwines his family of characters and actors with the whimsical, and his latest entry in his ouevre is a moment that whether conscious or not sees him bring his career full circle. Of course it is done with his usual playfulness, inventiveness and absurdity that imbues it with a certain theatricality and as David Jenkin’s wrote a “whimsical fabrication of reality".

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


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    Following on from the award winning series, Blood C returns with its movie, The Last Dark, in a film that has monsters, lots of violence, a lust for revenge, great visuals and action to boot!

    Blood C: The Last Dark is out to own on DVD and Blu-ray now and courtesy of Manga Entertainment UK, and we have a copy on DVD to give away!

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

    The next chapter in the story of Blood C! Saya is part human, part monster, and has one thing on her mind revenge. Visions of twisted experiments and creatures slaughtering everyone she loved fuel her thirst for vengeance. With blade in hand and rage boiling in her veins, she tracks her tormentor to Tokyo, where flesh-hungry beasts have begun to feed. There, she joins a group of young hackers hunting for the same man. As Saya slices her way through lies, traps, flesh, and bone, how much blood will she shed to cut down the mastermind behind her madness.

    Order Blood C: The Last Dark 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 "BLOOD C". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, April 12th
    . UK entrants only please.

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



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    With the first (and only?) season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. winding down, TV Guide has revealed that Joss Whedon regular Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing) has joined the cast as Audrey, a.k.a. the cellist and love of Agent Phil Coulson's (Clark Gregg) life before his "death" in The Avengers.

    According to the site, Acker will appear in "at least one episode" of the show, and her character is described as,"a talented musician turning heads in Portland, Audrey believes Coulson to be dead and has no idea that he's guarding her from a distance as a super-powered threat from her past re-emerges."

    Meanwhile, in other Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. news, the official Facebook page has released a clip from next week's episode 'End of the Beginning', which sees the team hunting for J. August Richards' Deathlok....


    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." airs TUESDAY, APRIL 1 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. "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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    Alice Rush reviews the fourth episode of Bates Motel Season 2...

    The tension behind the scenes of White Pine Bay has always been quietly but surely bubbling away in the background but this week on Bates Motel sees some dramatic shifts in the status quo as well as seeing the Bates trying to come to terms with Norma’s confession of Dylan being Caleb’s son.

    Obviously shaken up by this, Dylan turns to the bottle and drinks his way into unconsciousness for most of the beginning of the episode, rising only to warn Norman that Norma might be keeping secrets from him as well. Whilst the subject matter of this particular storyline is pretty heavy, the writers and actors do a good job of not letting it become ridiculous or a mockery. Vera Farmiga and Max Theriot, Norma and Dylan respectively, do a fantastic job of conveying the intense pain they both feel without it feeling too forced. This whole revelation certainly explains a lot about why the characters act like they do, with Norma initially so hesitant to let Dylan back into her life and Dylan feeling like he never belonged within the family, so much so that he decides to move out of the house at the end of the episode, unable to take any more lies or secrets. I feel he won’t stray too far from the Bates’, however, as this storyline is far from over, and for all the animosity he may feel towards Norma it is clear he still deeply cares about his mother.

    Not as much as Norman though it seems, as he is extremely shaken up and angry throughout this whole episode, hinting at a further mental degeneration and more possible blackouts. Though Norma takes most of the centre stage this week, Norman’s experiences serve to shape him further into the violent character we know he turns out to be. The episode is fraught with the typical creepy-come-tender moments of mother/son bonding we’ve come to expect from Bates Motel, with an especially unnerving scene of Norman watching his mother get dressed for her date with Christine’s brother. His jealously at this date combined with his anger at both Caleb and Dylan, the latter for leaving, leads him into having another of his violent episodes in which he goes to confront Caleb. It is here we see the next stage of Norman’s psychotic journey as he begins to talk from the point of view of Norma, assuming her identity for a short time. After Caleb punches him and leaves Norman waits silently in a coffee shop till a worried Cody picks him up. It’s definitely a turning point in Norman’s story as we are reminded of the things he is truly capable of, however by providing the reasoning behind his attacks we are still able to connect and sympathise with him in spite of all the violence he has executed. Once again Bates Motel is proving its televisual worth as it is at once respectful of its source material and also vastly innovative and creative when it comes to giving a believable and dramatic backstory. As much as we like to think we may know the characters of the Bates’ this show turns our presumptions on their heads, instead serving us up flawed but empathetic characters of whom we can’t help but care for.

    It’s not just the family who are suffering from high tension; Sheriff Romero also seems to have a lot on his hands this week. After meeting with Zayn and warning him to calm his actions, Zayn responds by burning Romero’s house down. It seems the temperamental peace of the town is well and truly at threat with Zayn refusing to play by Romero’s rules, instead favouring a direct and seemingly violent approach to dealing with problems. Whilst he does not echo the quiet and threatening nature of Abernathy from season one, Zayn will no doubt prove to be a thorn in Romero’s side for the foreseeable future, a future that hopefully deals with and addresses the consequences of having such a corrupt way of running a town. Hopefully this action steps up the heat within this storyline, as once again it feels a little dull compared to the family drama.

    Whilst not as dramatic as the previous episode, this week saw some real character development as well as moving the plot of the town ahead a few paces. I’m looking forward to some drama outside of the centre family, as whilst this is the backbone of the story the scenes between the trio can often feel repetitive. It will be interesting to see how their nuclear troubles link in with the larger picture of the fragile town.

    Alice Rush





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    With Christopher Nolan bringing the curtain down on his Dark Knight Trilogy in 2012 with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. wasted little time in rebooting its Batman franchise, announcing last year that Ben Affleck will suit up alongside Henry Cavill's Superman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman for the 2016 Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman.

    So, while it seems there's absolutely no chance of this ever happening, TDKR star Anne Hathaway has admitted that she's still open reprising the role of Catwoman should the opportunity present itself, telling MTV that, "I would love it if that happened, no one's talked to me about it and I think that its probably not going to happen, but that would be pretty cool."

    Would you like to see more of Hathaway's Catwoman, perhaps in a standalone solo movie? Let us know your thoughts...



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    Luke Owen looks at the latest episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series....


    Last week's episode, Blood Runs Thick, was the first step towards making this show feel like it was heading somewhere. It wasn't just a remake of what had come before it (like the first episode) and instead added new layers to the From Dusk Till Dawn mythos. The third episode, The Mistress, does more or less the same thing. It still feels familiar, but it features some new additions to the cast, new ideas on existing characters and a foreboding sense of terror that will descend upon our protagonists.

    Before they head to the border to meet Carlos, the Gecko Brothers first need to deal with the hostage that Ritchie took during the bank robbery. While they shack up in a motel, Seth heads to the Big Kahuna Burger to grab some food - and meet an old flame. Meanwhile, the RV carrying the Fuller Family across Texas breaks down, leading to some startling revelations about why Jacob left the church and Federico continues his search for the Gecko Brothers by talking to an expert on all things Mayan.

    One of the most interesting developments from last week's episode was the expansion of Carlos played by Wilmer Valderrama. In the original movie he was just a "point of contact" that was played as more of a gag by Cheech Marin by having him also play two other characters during their trip in El Ray, but here he looks to be a pivotal role. It was revealed that he is a snake creature of some kind who has deep ties to Santanico Pandemonium and this is briefly explored further here by showing that not only is he not alone, but his trafficking empire appears to be more of an sacrifice offering than anything else. Furthermore, it is subtly hinted that he has used the Gecko Brothers to rob the bank, most likely for the same reasons - something that is bound to come into play once they reach the Twitty Twister.

    Once again the stand out of the episode is Zane Holtz as the disturbed Ritchie, a part that is getting more and more interesting as the series progresses. There is a scene in the 1996 original that is a haunting example of how disgusting a monster he is and fans of the movie will be pleased to know that it's present here. However, rather than just being a case of brutal rape and murder, his relationship with Monica the bank teller is given more time to make his depraved act all the worse. Granted rape isn't quite so implied this time round, but the scene plays out more or less the same. But even without that disgusting addition, it has even more impact than it did back in 1996 as it ties into the rest of the story.

    Also introduced in this episode is Seth's wife who is also given her own character and back story. She tells Seth during their rendezvous about how she's been trying to help Ritchie during his 5-year prison stretch and it paints an interesting visual that will hopefully be explored a little further down the line. Ritchie is really the catalyst of this whole series, but this is given more gravitas by a really great performance from D.J. Cotrona. His calm and suave exterior is being broken down piece by piece as his concerns for his brother grow and it's a really interesting development. He sells every moment perfectly and you can see just how much he cares for his sibling and - more importantly - why he can't just let him go.


    While the episode wasn't so heavily focused on the Fuller family this time around, there is an interesting progression in Jacob and Kate's relationship which could lead to some decent conflict further down the line. Concerns are still there about Madison Davenport who, while a competent actress, is given a pretty lacklustre character that pales in comparison to the Kate of 1996. It's a shame really as this character could have been given the same great overhaul that Seth, Ritchie and Jacob have had, but there is still time to make her worthwhile.

    What started out as a fairly pointless experiment is slowly growing into a piece of captivating television. We're 7 episodes away from its conclusion and one would imagine that the next episode will be focused on the Geckos hijacking the Fuller's "vacation" to help them get across the border. And if that is the case, that means we're only a couple of weeks away from the Titty Twister, where things are going to get really interesting.

    Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.

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    To celebrate the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (out now in UK cinemas - read our review here), we've got three fantastic merchandise packs to give away featuring a T-shirt, baseball cap, stickers and coasters; read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter...


    "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 out now in the UK and opens on 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. 

    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 "WINTER SOLDIER". The competition closes at midnight on Saturday, April 12th
    . UK entrants only please.

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



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