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Movies, TV and Comic Books

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    With a little over a month to go before it hits shelves, Warner Bros. has released a batch of new images and the very first clip from Son of Batman, the latest instalment in the direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, which is based upon Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's celebrated 'Batman and Son' comic book arc; check them out here...







    Hidden atop a secret mountain stronghold lies the League of Shadows and its fearless leader, Ra’s al Ghul. Together with his equally dangerous daughter Talia, he oversees a trained army of assassins with plans for global domination. But an uprising from within the league now threatens to shift the balance of power and sends Talia and her young son, Damian, fleeing to Gotham City. With assassins on their trail, Talia seeks the protection of Batman, who, unbeknownst to him, is the boy’s father. With his son in tow, Batman wages war against the villain Deathstroke and the League of Shadows, all while teaching his headstrong boy that one can’t fight crime by becoming a criminal. With help from Gotham’s finest, including Commissioner Gordon and Nightwing, Batman will soon discover that his son and most trusted ally are one and the same!

    Son of Batman is set for release 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. Watch the first trailer here.


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    Earlier today we brought you a new TV spot for Gareth Edwards' (Monsters) upcoming kaiju reboot Godzilla [see here], and now Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures has debuted a second promo, which teases the massive destruction set to be unleashed upon the globe by the King of the Monsters and his MUTO nemeses...

    Described as an epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, the adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Featuring in the cast of Godzilla are Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy), Ken Watanabe (Inception), David Strathairn (The Bourne Legacy), Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine).


    Godzilla opens May 16th.

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    Having given up his position as DC Animation's supervising producer last year, Batman: The Animated Series co-creator and animation legend Bruce Timm is set to reunite with The Dark Knight this month as Cartoon Network celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Caped Crusader with a new short entitled Batman: Strange Days. Here's some first look stills, courtesy of The World's Finest...

    Batman: Strange Days

    Batman: Strange Days

    Batman: Strange Days

    Batman: Strange Days

    Batman: Strange Days

    Batman: Strange Days

    A brand new short from producer Bruce Timm featuring a lost tale from Batman’s past, the Dark Knight tracks a strange giant to the mysterious layer of Dr. Hugo Strange.

    Batman: Strange Days is set to air after Teen Titans Go! on Wednesday April 9th.



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    With Captain America: The Winter Soldier kicking off the 2014 superhero season, Sony's marketing department has been working overtime to remind us that another costumed crime-fighter will be swinging onto screens as Andrew Garfield's wall-crawler returns for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and thanks to MTV we've got a new featurette which explores the secrets of the new villain Electro, played by Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained); check it out after the official synopsis...

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

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


    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th in the UK and on May 1st in North America, with a cast that also includes returning stars Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Sally Field (Aunt May), Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), Campbell Scott (Richard Parker), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Parker), Martin Sheen (Ben Parker) and Denis Leary (George Stacy) alongside additions 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 and B.J. Novak (The Office) as Alistair Smythe.


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    Having left the long-gestating Masters of the Universe movie in order to focus on G.I. Joe 3, it seems that Jon M. Chu has now decided to vacate the director's chair on the Real American Heroes' third outing in order to focus his attention on another 80s kids property, Jem and the Holograms.

    Chu was announced last month as overseeing a big screen version of Jem, and while it was rumoured earlier in the week that this could lead to delays on the G.I. Joe threequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation star Dwayne Johnson has now revealed that Paramount is currently seeking a new director:

    "The idea is that we would start shooting G.I. Joe in January, in the first quarter of next year," Johnson tells Collider. "That’s the idea. Look, I love Jon, and I think he did a great job. I get it. He had to go on and do something else. By the way, maybe [Chu could be done with Jem by then but] we're still looking."

    Would you like to see Paramount holding on for Chu, or should the studio bring in another director for G.I. Joe 3, and if so who? Let us know your thoughts...



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    Luke Graham chats to the creators of Plot for Peace...

    Plot for Peace, which came out in the UK a few weeks ago, but was first released in November in France, is the revealing documentary about a little-known piece of history. Jean-Ives Ollivier, a French-Algerian businessman, is presented to the audience as an architect for peace in South Africa, working behind the scenes in the corridors of power to bring down apartheid and even, as the film implies, help bring about the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

    The story of this unassuming Frenchmen, a commodities trader who made his fortune selling grain, was initially discovered by Mandy Jacobson (Calling the Ghosts), the producer and director of Plot for Peace. A veteran documentary-maker, she had already made four documentaries about Nelson Mandela for SABC:

    “I run a project for a foundation which has started a very ambitious heritage project which collects the stories of people that have contributed to South Africa's democracy and we hope to grow it into recording the rest of Africa's story. We collect the testimonies of people who are making a difference on the continent.

    “Through that process we collect a lot of archive, through which we research and put these stories together. Our target audience is young people, and the rest of the world, in order to start a dialogue about our history, so we can learn more than just what we read in textbooks!

    “Through that process, we came across this sliver of archive footage, of a curious, mysterious businessman, who had been referred to in the voice over as “Monsieur Jacques” who'd helped in a prisoner exchange, and that obviously piqued our interest.

    “We had no idea who he was, least of all that he was from Africa (Jean-Ives grew up in Algiers). Thus began our whole story of realizing that we had this incredibly gem in our hands, and what Carlos (Agulló, the film’s editor and other director) has done so well is that we are able to bring the personal and historical together. That was the unique opportunity that we had”

    Agulló, a Spanish film editor who’s worked on over twenty films and directed a number of short films, was quite calm about making the jump to directing a feature length film. He was more bothered about the film’s genre:

    “Length was not much of a new thing. The main difference was going from fiction to documentary, because all the films I’ve worked in were fiction. It was very interesting, especially in the editing process, when you were working with archival material, which was shot for a very different narrative purpose. Using that footage with music that you have had someone compose, within a narrative structure, was very interesting.”

    The sheer amount and quality of the archival footage in Plot for Peace is one of the film’s main drawing points. As Jacobson explained, gathering all that footage is no easy task:

    “It takes a tremendous amount of resources; we worked with a brilliant researcher who specialises in that in South Africa. His mandate was really to ensure that all the different countries that were involved in the conflict, such as Russia, Cuba, Angola, Namibia, were researched and included. And that’s an extraordinary privilege as that’s very expensive; the price is to first unearth it, then to license it.”

    Getting the footage wasn’t really the hard part: it was getting the film’s central figure, Jean-Ives Ollivier, to agree to make the film in the first place:

    “I said no.” Ollivier explains. However, Jacobson is a persistent person and after a year or so, got him to agree: “But Mandy used very good arguments to convince me, so I had said yes.” When asked whether his experience had given him a taste for movie-making, the charming Frenchmen replied: “Ah no, I said ‘it’s the first one and the last one’.”

    With Ollivier finally onboard, Jacobson contacted Agulló about directing the film:

    “When I got first called by Mandy, she had already tracked down Jean-Ives and convinced him to make the documentary. When I was contacted I was shocked, as I hadn't done documentaries before, and I was not an expert on African politics or history. But Mandy explained we had Stephen Smith (a historical consultant who was the writer of Plot for Peace), the historical advisor and script writer to cover that part, and the idea was to make the film feel more like a thriller than a historical documentary, so they did want someone with a fictional background.”

    An aim which Agulló masterfully fulfils in the film, which is shot and edited like an episode of House of Cards; in an opening scene, we see Mr Ollivier sitting alone in a serious setting playing a game of solitaire, which serves as the film’s shorthand for how Ollivier played people and events like a deck of cards.

    However the film faced other challenges, as Jacobson reflects:

    “The main challenge is about balancing the personal, character driven narrative with historical accuracy. And between myself, Carlos, and Stephen Smith, that was the tightrope that we were always treading.”

    Jean-Ives interjects at this point, explaining that the film could not compromise when it came to the real history: “Intransigent. The historical fact was always priming the movie making. You really wanted the history to be right.”

    Jacobson expands on this point about the importance of intransigence:

    “Exactly, the credibility of history [was important], which is why we had Stephen Smith there. Stephen was a journalist who lived those events, he wasn't sitting in an armchair saying ‘oh yes that's right, history is in the eye of the beholder.’ It was really about credible history and then we had the personal story of Jean-Ives, who was our taxi man (our taxi driver was the word that we used in the beginning) who then obviously helped us connect all the dots in a very complex story.

    “So it's really difficult to think who are you trying to reach; you want to engage young people; you want to engage yourself and an older generation, who might not necessarily have a love of African history but do have a love of really interesting, mysterious stories; and how you find that balance between telling the audience about these immensely complex historical issues.”

    It would seem the film-makers managed to find that balance as the documentary has been successful: it has garnered a series of nominations and awards. For Agulló, however, these are not the main signs of success:

    “It's always good to be selected in festivals and win awards, and I think personally for me the main gratification is the Q&As after we show the movie. [When] We have feedback from the audience and discuss [the film] with people, that is where I have the feeling that we’ve done something that is really reaching people and making them think. I think that is the main reward.”

    Even though the story of the film is not centred on Mandela (mainly as he was in prison during the events depicted by the film), he remains a presence throughout the film: members of the ANC feature heavily and his widow, Winnie Mandela, is interviewed. Unfortunately, the film-makers were unable to interview the man himself, even though the documentary was made before his death in December last year. Ollivier explained why they were unable to include him:

    “No, because at the time it was decided he was already very weak and tired. If I have one regret: we could have done the movie two or three years ago if I was not stupid enough to say no, we probably would have had Mr Mandela.”

    Agulló expanded on this point, describing how there was a time-limit to make this documentary:

    “I think that's also one of the very interesting things about making this movie, was the fact that all the people that played a role in the political change are now in their 70s, 80s or 90s. There are already some people who were not available because they had passed away or were too old. Some of our interviewees even now are too old to give interviews, because of health issues, and some of them, in the best case, will probably not be around in 30 or 40 years. So if the story is not told now, because nobody knows about this story, even the most expert African historians. Even our researcher and script writer, who had been to all these places and covered these events, he had heard of jean-Ives Ollivier, but nobody knew the same person was behind the scenes in all these initially unrelated events. It was really something that had to be told.

    “Even if Jean-Ives had told us afterward the story, we didn't want to go and interview a historian or journalist to give us their witness point of view, we wanted the people involved: the actors in the story who really took part in the plot with Jean-Ives, because the movie would never have been the same [without them].

    For a final question, I wanted to know what advice these three had for young, ambitious people who wanted to make movies:

    Mandy Jacobson: “Become a grain trader!”

    Carlos Agulló: “You have to work, work, work, very hard and enjoy your work. Don't work for what will come: you have to enjoy what you are doing at the moment as that's the only way to get good at it.”

    MJ: “Make your own movies. Don't wait around for someone to give you the job! I think in today’s world where technology has democratised the process, it's really about casting characters in documentaries.

    Jean-Ives Ollivier
    : “I saw a report or an article about 12 Years A Slave. I mean, this is a true story. And why it interests so many people is because it is a true story, and why Argo interests so many is because it is a true story. The world is looking for true stories and not fiction...”

    Click here for a review of Plot for Peace.

    Plot for Peace is available for DVD now.

    Plot for Peace
    is written by Stephen Smith, directed by Mandy Jacobson and Carlos Agulló, and produced by the African Oral History Archive. Original Music by Antony Partos. Original Song ‘Waterfall’, produced and performed by Blue May and Nik Yiannikas

    Extras include ‘Making Plot For Peace’ - exclusive interviews with Jean-Yves Ollivier and directors (12mins), the official UK trailer (2mins) and more from the African Oral History Archive: ‘Winnie Mandela: In Her Own Words’ – EXTRACT (6mins) / ‘The Foreign Minister’ – EXTRACT (7mins) / ‘Women Of Style’ – EXTRACT (8mins)

    Cert.12 Running Time: 81mins Subtitles: Eng, Fr, Sp, De, Por


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


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    ABC has released an action-packed new promo for the next episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. entitled 'Turn, Turn, Turn,', which is set to tie in with the events of the Phase Two sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Check it out after the official episode description...

    Coulson and his team find themselves without anyone they can trust, only to discover that they are trapped with a traitor in their midst. 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 Garrett, Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand, Christine Adams as Agent Weaver, B.J. Britt as Agent Triplett, Charles Halford as Agent Shaw, James Macdonald as Agent Jacobson, Dayo Ade as Agent Barbour, Kylie Furneaux as Agent Shade, Alex Daniels as Agent Chaimson, Braden Moran as Agent Jones, Cameron Diskin as Agent Baylin.


    And looking further ahead, courtesy of ComicBook, we've also got a batch of promo images from episode 18, entitled 'Providence', which features guest appearances from Adrian Pasdar and Patton Oswalt....

    "With Colonel Glenn Talbot now on their trail, Coulson and his team seek refuge in the last place anyone would look, where they begin to uncover S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most dangerous secrets--secrets that could destroy them all. 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, David Conrad as Ian Quinn, Adrian Pasdar as US Air Force Colonel Glenn Talbot, Ruth Negga as Raina, B.J. Britt as Agent Antoine Triplett, Patton Oswalt as Agent Eric Koenig, Patrick Brennan as Marcus Daniels, Rich Paul as Agent #1, Bayardo De Murguia as Agent #2, Kylie Furneaux as Agent, Jeffrey Muller as Agent, Pia Shah as female scientist, Alex Goode as hacker, Alysha Del Valle as ABC reporter, Ramon Hilario as barber and Patrick Quinlan as guard."














    Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on ABC on Tuesday evenings.


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    Controversial Chinese artist Ai WeiWei is to continue diversifying his body of work by starring as a leading actor in a new 10 minute short science fiction film titled The Sand Storm. Funded through crowd-sharing website Kickstarter, it is set in the not too distant future with Ai WeiWei starring as a smuggler in a world without water.

    Intriguingly, the film was shot secretly in Beijing and director Jason Wishnow needs a further $33,000 to finish the film with the money going to visual effects, sound design, subtitles, music and miscellaneous production costs. You can visit the Kickstarter page here (at the time of writing they had made an impressive $19,846 in less than 12 hours).



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    With just over a month to go before Kiefer Sutherland is back on screen as Jack Bauer in the upcoming event miniseries 24: Live Another Day, the former CTU agent and terrorist killing machine has adorned the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, while the site has also offered up a new featurette, which you can check out below...

    Four years after the events in the series finale, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is now an exile and is being hunted by a CIA agent. Nevertheless, he is willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster. He attempts to thwart an unthinkable terrorist attack in London that could change the world forever.

    Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is now working underground, and William Devane reprises his role as James Heller who is now President of the United States. Benjamin Bratt stars as CIA head Steve Harries, Yvonne Strahovski plays CIA agent Kate Morgan, Giles Matthey is CIA computer tech Jordan Reed, and Gbenga Akinnagbe is cast as a strong and arrogant field operative named Erik Ritter. The cast also includes Michelle Fairley, Stephen Fry, Michael Wincott, Tate Donovan, Branko Tomovic, Duncan Pow and Kim Raver.



    24: Live Another Day is set to get underway on FOX on May 5th. 

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    The official X-Men Movies Twitter page has released a new promotional image from X-Men: Days of Future Past giving us a new look at Michael Fassbender's Magneto from the upcoming superhero sequel...


    Meanwhile, the French edition of Premiere has offered up a couple of new images featuring Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult), which we've got for you right here via Les Toiles Heroiques...



    X-Men: Days of Future Past is directed by Bryan Singer and features a cast that includes Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), James McAvoy (Professor X), 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 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. Watch the latest trailer here.


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    Yesterday we brought you four character posters from Showtime's upcoming Victorian era psychosexual thriller Penny Dreadful featuring  Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night) as Ethan Chandler, Eva Green (300: Rise of an Empire) as Vanessa Ives, Billie Piper (Doctor Who) as Brona Croft and Reeve Carney (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) as Dorian Gray [see here], and now it's the turn of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, played by Harry Treadaway (The Lone Ranger); take a look courtesy of Hitfix....

    Harry Treadaway as Victor Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful

    Penny Dreadful will premiere on Showtime on May 11th, with a cast that also includes Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Helen McCrory (Skyfall), Danny Sapani (Doctor Who), Simon Russell Beale (My Week with Marilyn), and Anna Chancellor (The Hour).



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    Moviegoers could have enjoyed a small passing cameo from a certain superhero in last year's Gravity but the fat-cats at Warner Bros. chose to turn it down. However, said footage has leaked. About 20 minutes into the film, as Sandra Bullock is thrown into the never-ending void of space, the Man of Steel himself Superman leaps to save the day, thus the film comes to a rather abrupt conclusion in which no protagonists die. Take a look...





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    The CW has released two promos for the April 16th episode of Arrow entitled 'The Man Under the Hood', which sees Slade Wilson continuing his quest for revenge against Oliver Queen. Check them out after the official episode description....

    "DEATHSTROKE HITS OLIVER AT HOME — Oliver (Stephen Amell), Canary (Caity Lotz), Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) return to the lair and find Slade (Manu Bennett) waiting for them. An epic battle breaks out and one member of Team Arrow is sent to the hospital. Thea (Willa Holland) hits her breaking point, but just as Oliver is about to reach her, Slade intervenes and Oliver is faced with a choice – his battle with Slade or his family. Meanwhile, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) struggles with a new secret."



    Arrow airs on The CW on Wednesday evenings.



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    Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014.

    Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
    Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Robert Redford, Cobie Smulders, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell and George St-Pierre.


    SYNOPSIS:

    Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.


    Simply put, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is quite easily the best comic book movie since 2008’s The Dark Knight. The reason why this film is such a roaring success to me, a harsh critic on the filmic quality of Marvel movies in general, is because it is focused on being a movie first and a comic book movie second.

    I’ve seen every Marvel film but always felt they’ve tried far too hard to service comic book fans’ thirst to see their heroes on screen and neglected those of us who are just looking for a good time at the movies. The Iron Man series is too tonally uneven, always relying on Robert Downey Jr’s charm to paper over the massive cracks left from a wanting screenplay; the Thor films are just too idiotic to be tolerated; The Avengers was a nice idea without any real thrills or anything believable at stake; but with The Winter Soldier Marvel have finally given me a film to really enjoy. Maybe I’m 6 years later than the rest of you, but here I am nonetheless.

    Despite naming and shaming the Marvel films above, I really did like Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 for its genuine earnestness, lack of ‘city in peril’ finale, and the 1940s setting which gave it a charm so sorely missing from the other films. I was concerned the sequel, set in present day and after the world changing events of The Avengers, would lose that charm and become just another carbon copy CGI-laden mess like all the rest. How needless my worries turned out to be for this film is essentially a good old fashioned, big budget action movie whose sole aim is to thrill its audience and not have one eye winking at them. It’s the sort of movie I thought only now existed when a lead character named James Bond or Ethan Hunt was involved. I can now add Steve Rogers to that list.

    I mentioned above this is the highest level a comic book movie has reached since The Dark Knight and I appreciate that is a very high standard indeed but I feel it’s entirely warranted and is in no way a kneejerk reaction. The film undeniably owes a debt of gratitude to the screenplay of Christopher Nolan’s film, for the pacing, action beats, ‘real world’ scenario, minimalist humour and character arcs are very familiar, especially in the case of Nick Fury participation.

    The action is made up of car chases, gun fights, hand to hand combat, RPGs, and lots and lots of explosions. At times I was reminded of the outstanding bridge battle or elevator fight in J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III which only helped me to realise another reason why the film was impressing me so much; the complete lack of CGI vs CGI action sequences. At no point are we forced to watch robots or aliens involved in the conflict, and instead we’re treated to ‘action movie action’ where people die, people bleed, and the stakes are always high. That’s not to say the film is breaking any new ground here or that it’s showing us things we’ve never seen before, but what it does it does very well.

    Yes, there are comic book elements infused but they never taking centre stage; we know Steve Rogers is a comic book hero but compared to the other Avengers he’s more like Bond, Hunt, or Jason Bourne for they are just as indestructible but still grounded in some sort of internal reality within their respective worlds. When Rogers puts on the iconic costume it’s more like a cop putting on his badge than a superhero transformation; and moreover, Rogers doesn’t have stupid romantic strangleholds to weigh him down unlike Iron Man and Thor and the film doesn’t end with a pretty woman in peril. In the film, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is every bit Rogers’ equal and they make an effective team, sharing responsibility for both plot development and delivering the truly kick-ass action scenes. Also, the running gag of finding Rogers a date is consistently amusing when the film calls for its brief lighter moments.

    Of course, the film is not perfect but it more than does enough to be forgiven for some small missteps. The character of Sam Wilson aka The Falcon has too little screen time before he springs into action in the final third with mechanical wings, flying about like, well, some kind of comic book hero. He is needed because the finale’s set up calls for a third character, yet the screenplay is forced into introducing, using, then dumping him whilst Cap A takes centre stage. Having said that, the flying sequences and his final escape are thrilling, so I cannot hold the film too accountable. Also the exposition-heavy sequence in the middle which ties together this film with previous films drags slightly and the storyline is somewhat pandering to fan service where it could have been totally separate from the other storylines and still worked perfectly well.

    To find fault with The Winter Soldier is to do it a disservice because, although this is not a ‘leave your brain at the door’ piece of trash which moves at 100 miles an hour without any trace of logic, it is still a $170 million blockbuster and it is more than delivering on the basic expectations you should have when you pay your money and take your seat. 

    Do I care how this links into The Avengers: Age Of Ultron? Not really, because that would be ignoring the film’s own merits and already looking ahead to something else which all the other films are, and have been, so hell-bent on doing. No, all I care about is how good this film was; sequels, tie-ins, rumours, and cameos be damned. Let’s just enjoy the sheer entertainment this film provides and let it be the benchmark from here on.

    This is the Marvel movie made for all of us, not just the few.  

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

    Rohan Morbey - follow me on Twitter.




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


    There comes a point in every TV show where they reach the tipping point. After three very strong episodes of good direction, great acting and brilliant character development, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is showing no signs of reaching that point. Episode four, Let's Get Ramblin', is another example of why this show should be 'must see TV'. It might be the weakest episode thus far, but it's by no means weak.

    After Ritchie's disgusting murder of Monica, the Gecko Brothers need to get out of the motel and find a safer way to cross the border. To do so, the pair take the travelling Fuller Family hostage and force them to take them in their RV to escape the authorities into El Ray. However, ranger Frederico is closing in on their tails and the gap between them is getting shorter.

    If there is one thing that From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series should be praised for, it's the show's ability to take a five minute scene of a feature length movie and stretch it out over 45 without ever feeling contrived. Let's Get Ramblin' is never dull, the drama never slows down and the climactic end sequence is an excellent payoff. It's a testament to how good the writing of the episode is by Robert Rodrieguez's brother Marcel. At no point does it ever cross your mind that this has previously been accomplished in a fraction of time.

    This is mostly down to the quite intriguing character expansion of Ritchie. For the past few episodes they've been hinting at his powers and where they might have come from, but Let's Get Ramblin' is the first time where were seeing them in their full state. Frederico, now in possession of Ritchie's knife, is also starting to see delusions of his past cop busts which are haunting his visions while it is revealed that Ritchie is an almost clairvoyant who can see into people's pasts as well as his own future. One does have to fear that this could get a little silly (which is a weird thing to say given the show) as Ritchie transforms from a slightly unhinged bank robber into Professor Xavier.


    Which is to say that the episode isn't perfect and at times it can be down right clunky. There is a portion of the episode where Kate (who is getting less annoying as each episode progresses) is laying by the pool reading the deposition of her mother's death which is shot with a voice over from Madison Davenport as if she was reading it aloud. It's incredibly jarring and it feels contextually out of place in the show's style, particularly when she repeats her end line as spoken word. What's funny is that mere moments later, Ritchie talks about what she read, which could have been sold much better had we not heard Kate's narration. The use of 'flashbacks/flashfowards' also gets a bit confusing at one point coming off a break and it took a few moments to realise that it was a flashback for Frederico and not set in the present day. A lot of the show works brilliantly, but this is the first time where Rodriguez has put to much thought into style rather than focusing on the good story.

    Let's Get Ramblin'should have been the stopgap episode before we get them crossing the border, and in some ways it was, but it is just another example of how great From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is. The script and story are juggling a lot of balls and ideas but it never feels like it's going to drop them. Time will tell on Ritchie's X-Men like turn, but one has the faith that they won't ruin what has been easily the most interesting aspect of the show.

    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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    The guys over at Aardman have debuted the teaser trailer for Wallace and Gromit spin-off Shaun the Sheep. A huge hit on television, the film will find Shaun entering “an epic adventure” when his behaviour results in the Farmer leaving the film. He will join his pals and Bitzer the sheepdog in order the find the Farmer.


    The teaser shows little about the plot but it’s certainly charming-there’s something about a plasticine sheep pretending to drive a car while his younger brother hangs from a rope with a clapper board...


    Shaun the Sheep opens Spring 2015.



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    We all know head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige has been planning the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe vigorously over the past few years and while visiting Feige, Bloomberg Businessweek got a sneak peak at the future of superhero cinema.

    During an article on Marvel Studios, it was revealed that Feige has an extensive map of Marvel films on his office wall, with the producer stating that: "It’s like looking through the Hubble telescope. You go, ‘What’s happening back there? I can sort of see it. They printed out a new one recently that went to 2028"

    One can presume that this is only a rough blueprint but this certainly shows the confidence in the brand. Over the next few years we've got Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America 3, Thor 3 and The Avengers 3 on the horizon, with Doctor Strange expected to feature in Phase Three and countless other properties rumoured as possibilities. What films do you hope to see in the next 14 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments below....



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    We’ve waited along time for any new Monty Python material - in fact it’s a good thirty years since we’ve been given anything bran spanking new - but today we have our first tease as to what can be expected from their live shows this summer.

    Titled “The Silly Walks Song,” the music video features the absurdist humour that made Monty Python maybe the most important comedy troupe of all time. As we can learn from the song, “money is the root of evil”...


    The o2 will host Monty Python Live (mostly) this July.

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    As it gears up to go into production, Warner Bros. Pictures has announced that it has added three more names to the cast of Batman vs. Superman, with Holly Hunter (The Piano), Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire) and Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine) all joining the cast of the Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel sequel as characters newly created for the film.

    "Holly has always been one of my favorite actresses; she has immense talent and is always captivating on screen," states Snyder. "I had an opportunity to meet her a while back and knew instantly that I had to work with her, so as we began writing the script I made sure to create a role specifically for her. I just had the good fortune to work with Callan on 300: Rise of an Empire and was very impressed with his incredible talent. He’s a fantastic actor and I’m looking forward to having the chance to work with him again. And, quite simply, Tao is a striking presence whose beauty is aptly rivaled by her amazing abilities as an actress. I’m really excited to have her joining us on this adventure."

    Batman vs. Superman is set for release on May 6th 2016 with a cast that also 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 may have arguably the greatest cast ever assembled for a superhero movie, but you'd be forgiven for thinking the two new posters for X-Men: Days of Future Past were advertising a new Wolverine movie - even with the adamantium-clawed mutant absent from one of the posters, it's Hugh Jackman getting top (and only) billing. Here's Jackman's Logan alongside Mystique (Jennifer Lawerence), and Magento Past and Present (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen)...


    "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 is set for release on May 23rd with a cast that also includes James McAvoy (Professor X), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Lucas Till (Havok), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) alongside franchise newcomers Evan Peters (American Horror Story) as Quicksilver, Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) as Warpath, Fan Binbing (Iron Man 3) as Blink, Adan Canto (The Following) as Sunspot, Josh Helman (Mad Max: Fury Road) as William Stryker, Evan Jonigkeit (Girls) as Toad and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Bolivar Trask.


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