Episode 3 – Trailers Aplenty!!!

Episode 2

Episode 1

Latest Superman/Batman Castings

So it’s been a fun few months discussing the pros and cons of the upcoming sequel of the “Man of Steel”. The comic-con reveal that Batman will be making an appearance, the fact that Ben Affleck will be donning the cowl and a relative unknown Gal Gadot being chosen to play Wonder-Woman. What else could possibly be thrown our way with regards to what could possibly be the most anticipated comic book movie of all time!!??

Well, today we were the victims of two more bombshells.

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That’s right, we now have Everyone’s favourite Butler Alfred Pennyworth in the shape of British Actor Jeremy Irons, and Supermans arch nemesis Lex Luthor is being played by “The Social Networks” Jesse Eisenberg!

But what do we make of all of this? Is Eisenberg too young to play Luthor? Is Irons able to pull off Bruce Wayne’s trusted man-servant? Let’s look at the evidence…

Jeremy Irons as Alfred was an interesting choice for me. Strong performer, great presence on screen. And that’s my problem, Irons doesn’t really blend into the background. Plus has he kind of played too many villains in the past to play the caring surrogate Father figure to the Caped Crusader? I mean thi about it, “The Beorgias”, “Die Hard 3”, “Dead ringers” (well 1 of him anyway) not to mention SCAR in the “Lion King”. Irons can be a larger than life character with a simple look, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with it, especially as it’ll steer away quite a bit from Michael Caines take on the role each in recent years has kind of become somewhat iconic in some respects.

As far as Eisenberg goes, I’m not 100% convinced at this exact moment. At aged 30 I have to admit I was expecting someone a little older, but then again Michael Rossenbaum was 29 when he first started playing the role on Smallville and he is probably more iconic in the role over a decade than Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns (and he was the only redeemable aspect of the entire film!). I watched “Now you see me” a little while back and the thing that strikes me about Eisenberg is that he plays calm and cocky rather well, but he needs to find a whole new level to that. Lex Luthor is cold, calculating and for the most part subtle. I’m not saying he can’t perform to that extent, I’m just saying I’ve not seen him pull that off yet!

All in all I think this is a strong start, but I’m also finding myself a little dubious about the number of names associated with the project. Not just talent wise but character wise as well. Could Zack Snyder bring DC to finally catching up with the Marvel bandwagon and get Justice League off the ground, or could we be looking at a repeat of Batman & Robin ad Spider-Man 3 by having too many big characters to develop in a very short space of time? Just kidding. Nothing is as bad as Batman & Robin, not even Daredevil. Yeah I said it, NOT EVEN DAREDEVIL!

Movie Review: Lawless

The story is relatively simple to be honest. The film centres in Franklin, Virginia where the three Bondurant brothers Forrest (Bane himself, Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke) and Jack (Former Autobot Cohort, Shia LaBeouf) are some of the lead bootleggers of Moonshine Alcohol in the area during the rise of prohibition. The country life of Bootlegging proves easy pickings even with the local law, however their luck soon changes with the arrival of Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce), which eventually proves chaotic for all those involved. Throw in potential for romantic connections via new in town femme Maggie Beauford (The Helps, Jessica Chastain) and Preachers Daughter Bertha Minnix (Tim Burtons Alice, Mia Wasikowska), plus shady dealings with crime boss Floyd Banner (legendary Police commissioner Gary Oldman) and you have the well thought out, beautifully constructed Drama “Lawless”. Just to refresh your memory, lets take a look at the trailer…

For those of you unaware,  the screenplay was written by Australian Singer/Songwriter Nick Cave, and  is adapted from the true events from the novel entitled “The Wettest County in the World” by Matt Bondurant. Bondurant (Grandson of Jack Bondurant). Nick Cave does a very good job of adapting the screenplay, the writing flows, and works brilliantly with the talent of the cast. The Soundtrack is also structured very well, making very good use of some of the best country stars out there today. Artists such as Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, The Bootleggers, Willie Nelson and even the films writer Nick Caved himself. All these stars mix together to bring you a great collaboration of authentic Bluegrass inspired by the early part of the 20th Century.

The film overall is very well done. I really enjoyed the pace, it rarely dragged and thankfully didn’t really have any unnecessary waffle. One thing that I must let you know is that there are some things in this movie that are not for the faint of heart. That’s not to say they’re unnecessary or explicit; the content is required to the overall journey of the story and with great effect. But if you’re a little squeamish, this may not be the film for you. “Lawless” is a nice little all-rounder. But what honestly worked for me was the casting. Everything just seemed to fit effortlessly. If I’m honest, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Oldman in the movie but that’s simply a personal preference.

Tom Hardy is brilliant as the strong and silent Forrest. Although slightly monosyllabic during a number of scenes (no digital audio enhancement required!), his timing and delivery were just spot on throughout. I have to admit, I was mainly drawn to this film because of Hardy, after his performance in the Dark Knight Rises, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Its shows tremendous talent to portray as much emotion as he does which as little amount of expression as he uses, this film is worth watching for his pearls of wisdom alone!

Guy Pearce did a masterful job of immersing himself in this role. Making the audiences skin crawl at every point he really pulls out the stops throughout his entire performance! You can tell from the trailer alone that Rakes is not intended, nor ever going to be a likeable character; but the levels that he goes to in order to get his authority across is nothing short of horrifying.

As for Jessica Chastain. I haven’t really seen her much before this, but I can honestly say this will change following the viewing of this film. She has such a presence about her, she really draws you in. The character of Maggie has a past, this you’re aware of, and although it doesn’t really get elaborated on that much, by half way through the film you don’t really focus on the past, simply on the matters at hand and the consequences that follow. From this performance, I’ve definitely become a fan. Quite simply, Jessica Chastain honestly is a work of sheer class in this movie!

A nice little treat for everyone is granted in the shape of Gary Oldman, who plays crime boss Floyd Banner. Despite his small amount of screen time compared to his co-stars, he continues to have the power to grab the audience’s attention by a simple look! Basically proving once again what we all know, if you put Oldman in a movie his performance is what is better known as money in the BANK!

Now then, let’s address the man-boy shaped elephant in the room, Shia LaBeouf. A lot of people lost respect for him after Indian Jones 4, and to be fair you can understand. But to be honest I’ve never really disliked him in anything, in fact a hidden gem for me is his movie “Disturbia”, a 21st century version of Alfred Hitchcocks “Rear Window”. In this movie he portrays the runt of the Bondurant clan, Jack; who looks to become more involved in the family business. I wasn’t actually expecting the film to revolve around him as much as it did, but in spite of the public’s misgivings about him, LaBeouf is actually quite a talented guy and works well in front of the camera given the right roles to work with. I have to admit, I thought he did really well with this, having seen him in some really random stuff over the years, it’s really nice to see him tackle something with a bit of grit.

Bottom line, this film is well written, well performed and doesn’t get dull by losing pace. Truly a piece of work everyone should feel happy with. What I will say is that if you’re not a fan of LaBeouf, this possibly isn’t the film for you. However, if you’re a fan and can look past such trivial issues, this is definitely a film that deserves attention!

Film Review: “Chronicle”

Well, it’s been a while, since I’ve posted anything of not. Classic case of slacking off while immersing in trying to complete every Riddler challenge in Arkham City, read as many of DCs New 52 as I possibly can, whilst also watching as many films as I physically can in order to bring more and more musings to you all in 2012. And a really big point of interest is 20th Century Fox’s offering this year is their recent release “Chronicle”! For those of you who haven’t seen anything about this before, let’s take a look…

The film documents three friends experiences as they develop superpowers in a freak underground encounter. However, the film predominantly revolves around initial Teen Loner Andrew Detmer (played by Dane DeHaan), whose troubled journey in life truly gives the impression that you can’t help but feel sorry for him. As two-dimensional as this film may appear to some sceptics, Script Writer Max Landis and Director Josh Trank do a masterful job of meshing the social politics of High School with the responsibility that come with possession of great power providing a rollercoaster of Teen angst, humour, drama and action in a very modest 80 minutes of screen time.

Technically the film is sound. The special effects are slick enough to maintain a level of believability in the story. At the start you get the impression that it could be a bit flat being shot with hand-held cameras as they go through their experiences together. However, as their power increases the finesse of the cinematography grows with them, by the end of the film through multiple angles of various devices you almost get a sense of watching a major motion picture with many fancy camera angles.

Quite simply put, go and see this film! I figured this would be worth a look but what I wasn’t prepared for was the range of emotion you not only see on-screen but that which you may go through yourself as the audience. With some rather funny moments, gripping action and well-timed suspense this is a film that everyone should watch at least once!

Human Torch Rising From The Ashes!?

Ok, so lets backtrack. In January we witnessed the demise of Johnny Storm in “Fantastic Four” #587. I thought the issue was really well done, going out with a real (pardon the pun) blaze of glory with the Human Torch doing his best to hold off impossible odds which eventually take him sadly away from his family. This in turn led us into The Future Foundation which saw our friendly neighborhood Spiderman join Marvels favorite family in a new series “FF” written by Johnathan Hickman (who also wrote Fantastic Four up to Johnny’s death) and drawn by Steve Epting (also drew Johnny’s final story, as well as the death of Captain America in 2009). On a personal note I really like it when these two continue to work together on “FF” and “Fantastic Four”, it shows really good continuity to the stories. This now that brings us up to the present, where recently there’s been speculation that the worlds favorite hot head would be reappearing in a later edition of “Fantastic Four”. I kind of dismissed this as simple rumour. However, Marvel have decided to lay this little gem on their fan base around the world…

Thought? Personally I would like if when a major comic character gets killed off…HE STAYS DEAD! That in itself would be a totally original idea. It occasionally happens with some of the B-characters but example like Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) presumed dead but then DC and Marvel add more complexity by having them appear to be transported to a different point in Earths history, prove that maybe larger comic companies just don’t have the balls to push the envelope by making breaking changes with their products.

Now as usual, times going to have to tell with what this will pan out like, but I have to admit I’m curious to see if Torch will actually be making a return or if this is simply a promotional shot. Is Johnny coming back? Will it be permanent? Will Spidey continue with the team if Johnny comes back for good? So many possibilities and so much time to speculate! We’re just going to have to wait until November to find out. As always my fellow geeks…Watch this space!

The Dark Knight Rises Into An Official Trailer

Yeah I know bootlegs have been buzzing around since being aired with the release of “Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2”. However, the official release of the Teaser has now been released around the world giving people a much more clear and steady view of what we can expect from Christopher Nolans final Batman installment. So let’s take a look at what’s in store…

I’ll admit, the first time I watched the bootleg, I geeked out. And it goes without saying that when I watched this official release I still geeked out, probably a little more than before!

The trailer itself is rather gripping, however all it does is pose more and more questions (don’t get me wrong, I think that’s a great way of doing it)! Why would Gordon be in the Hospital? Will Bane be affiliated The League of Shadows? Will Bane crack Batmans back over his knee à la Knightfall Saga? I’m rather frustrated that we have to wait another year before we get close to knowing any of these things!

There is of course, a boat load about the movie not addressed in the trailer. Items that we can only speculate on at the moment, biggest of all is whether or not Liam Neeson will be making an appearance as Ra’s al Ghul?! Now we know there is a young Ra’s cast but there are 2 possibilities behind this…Either it’s just a flashback to when he was younger…OR… (my personal favorite) The young Ra’s could be a result of old Ra’s being put in the Lazarus Pit, thereby having Liam Neeson as a cameo to introduce the younger incarnation. Plausible? God I hope so! Let’s not forget the rumors circulating that Marion Cotillard may actually be Talia Al Ghul (Ra’s Daughter), somehow I get the impression that this is going to have more layers than Inception!! This is a factor that is starting to worry me a little bit, throwing all this into the mix along with Anne Hathaway becoming established as Selina Kyle/Catwoman? I get the feeling this may be a rather long movie indeed, BRING IT ON!

But of course let’s not forget the supposed “big bad” of the piece…BANE! Played by Tom Hardy, I wrote a little while back about the release of a promo shot via Twitter of the Nolans latest villain. While awesome as it looked you couldn’t make his face out too well, if you blinked and missed the detail in the trailer, check this out…

Basically, the term awesome just about covers it at the moment. As for final product? Well we’re just going o have to wait for next summer to find out!

The Fire Rises Before The Dark Knight!

Two days ago (May 20th) the website for the third bat-installment “The Dark Knight Rises” (TheDarkKnightRises.com) went live. However, with no logos, pictures, release dates you begin to wonder what they could possibly be showing. Well it’s quite simple, all Nolan and the rest of the brains behind “The Dark Knight Rises” is this simple piece of audio:

If played through a sound program (I’m reliably informed Audacity doesn’t work) you can reveal an encryption which shows #thefirerises! Now most of you will realize that this is a Twitter reference, if you follow Twitter.com/TheFireRises, or use the hashtag “#thefirerises” you will be replied to with a link http://www.thedarkknightrises.com/image.html, it shows a mosaic picture of following Twitterer’s which THEN focuses into DCs very own super-steroid driven BANE! That’s right, we have now received the very first shot from the new movie and it’s the one I’m personally interested to see how he is portrayed by England’s own Tom Hardy! For those who don’t fancy going through so many steps to view what the movie is teasing. Take a look at THIS!!!

HOLY SHIT YEAH! Now now all we have are questions until either next year or the next time they decide to viral something else from the film! Is Bane to be the soldier for the League of Shadows Bruce Wayne refused to be? Judging by this picture Banes Venom supply could be respiratory (judging by the pipes on the front of his mask), how big will it make him realistically? What the hell is that chanting about on the sound-byte!? Maybe something to do with the league, maybe it’s leading to something else in the future. I’ve replayed it slowed, reversed and used various tones…I’m totally out of ideas, so for the time being I’m simply just going to wait and see. Until then, look how bad ass Hardy looks in this picture!

Being Human – UK vs US

A Vampire, a Werewolf and a Ghost share a house together…Nope it’s not the beginning of a rather mediocre joke, it’s actually the premise of possibly one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen from the UK! “Being Human” has been highly favorable on both sides of the pond and grows strength to strength right through to its current third season. And after Comic Con in San Diego in 2010, fans of the UK show became slightly dubious as it was announced an American ‘Spin Off’ was on the horizon, it then came to air in America in mid January 2011. But how do the two shows compare with each other? Is one more superior to the other? Ah hell, Shakespeare said it best: “Let me count the ways”!

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

So lets talk about the English version for a minute, originally set and filmed down the road from me, we see Werewolf George Sands (Russel Tovey) and Vampire John Mitchell (Aidan Turner) moving into a quiet house in the Bristol where they meet resident Ghost Annie Sawyer (Lenora Crichlow). We see a very different spin on the supernatural genre with this show, for example: We discover Vampires can walk in sunlight, they image cannot be captured by ANYTHING not only mirrors, Ghosts can be seen by ANY supernatural beings and with practice by other human beings as well. At the start of the series we learn that Mitchells Sire Herrick is planning to raise the species into public eye and eventually take over the world, this then becomes the underlying story for the remainder of the first series; through this we also see new relationships bloom between George and Nurse Nina, Mitchell chooses sides of right and wrong, not to mention Annie discovers her death was not an accident! Series 2 sees further complications including a new supernatural addition in the form of Georges girlfriend Nina Pickering (played by Sinead Keenan), The trio are also subject to the growing attentions of a mysterious organisation looking to cure Werewolf symptoms, destroy the Vampires and exorcise Annie! Vampires going through group therapy led by Mitchell and his old friend Ivan, and not to mention seeing an absolutely unstable outburst from Mitchell which has lasting repercussions which echoes all the way into series 3! BBCs third installment sees the gang move to Barry Island while Mitchell secretly seeks penance for his sins of the Box Tunnel 20 by finding a way to get Annie back from Purgatory! Nina & George are faced with pregnancy and discovering more werewolves! we see old enemies, meet new and much older threats and tragically lose old friends!

On the American side of things it’s a little different but it’s pretty much the same. Is the American show not as subtle as the English? Perhaps, but it’s a different audience all together, seasons run for 13 episodes as opposed to Englands 6-8 episodes, so there is a need to spread things out and fill in the gaps to style it how they require.  This actually works pretty well so far as the USA and from what I can see it’s only getting stronger. The prime aspect for me is the universality, I think America will love it and the UK won’t resent it. This time around we have Vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer), Werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington) and Ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath). The pilot episode is taken straight out of the original UK pilot, it delves further into the journey they take before they move into the house Sally died in/haunts, as well as the conflicts each of the character encounter, not to mention the usual vampire threat via Bishop (the US version of Herrick, played by Mark Pellegrino) The Vampyric aspect to this incarnation is slightly altered, a Vampires image can be captured but they can still walk in the sunlight (naturally they still wear sunglasses!). We also learn more about Joshs past and his family through his sister Emily (a recurring character), again a pretty American aspect to have a certain emotional attachment to a protagonist, especially as it took three series in the UK to see any of Georges family; this isn’t a dig in any way, it’s simply another device to allow the audience to connect, a device that consistently works. The major differences for the first season are staggering though, we see the Werewolf pregnancy story has just shot into play (albeit sadly not for long) when it took England 3 years to get to this point (certainly looks like America is going hell for leather in the drama department), Aidan executing Bishop, the Vampire Council from Boston, there is literally a whole new canon emerging from the States which looks to be growing even more so for the next season.

Character wise there have been some very subtle differences but overall the premise remains the same. I find this is was a good direction to go as it would keep things on an even keel for both sides of the Atlantic. Aidan and Mitchell comparisons are a rather interesting one, personally the Vampire in either series could be my favorites equally, there’s always so much more conflict they seem to deal with. US version appears to keep his personal conflicts away from his friends. Mitchell just relapses every so often, but when he falls off the wagon he does so in spectacular fashion; and yes I’m talking about the Box Tunnel 20 massacre which Mitchell and Daisy are responsible for in series 2. In spite of how good Sam Witwer is in the US version I honestly believe there’s more of a diversity from Aidan Turner. Could this be because I’ve watched him as Mitchell for longer? Perhaps, but it doesn’t make it any less accurate!

Josh and George, now this is tricky, both Russel Tovey and Sam Huntington do excellently at their respective roles. As I mentioned before, we learn a lot more about Josh past a lot quicker than we do about George, I was a little surprised at how much of a difference Syfy instigated for their US version of George. Having said that, there is a distinct darkness in both of them, the conflict they face in any instance is brilliant. It does seem sometimes though that Huntingdon can be less whinny than Englands own Tovey in some respects but that tends to bring out the weakness and conflictions more than Huntingdons slightly more angry equivalent. Mind you, it could have been a lot different if the original UK pilot had anything to do with it. Here’s a little snippet from possibly the only decent thing about an average first attempt at the series…

Now we come to the neighborhood Ghosts, UKs Annie and USAs Sally! Again, decent performances between the two versions; however, the only thing I don’t really like is that Sally is a more of a weaker character in comparison to Annie. I think Lenora Crichlow is very talented and has had some brilliant moments in the show, but Meaghan Rath doesn’t really seem to have the spirit (I’m really sorry if you saw a pun in there) that Crichlow has blessed the UK with. Once again I can see why they would string out the progression of the story, makes for a longer season run, but in UKs first season Annie kicked ass taking down the Vamps in the Funeral Home, so far Sally has only just been able to step outside the house, the potential hasn’t quite been reached as of yet. Yes I’m probably being a little premature with my outlook, but with season 1 having just aired, I have to be rather curious as to what the powers that be have in store for a resident poltergeist.

In conclusion, I have to say I find it tricky to decide which has been my favourite version. Gun to my head, I’m going to have to side with the BBC on this one though. primarily because it’s the original, it’s where it all started! Creative characters portrayed by an ever impressive cast. Syfy have done a commendable job at keeping everything they needed to and expanded very well on their own ideas to expand the canon and I’ve been nothing but entertained by everything and everyone involved. With a second season officially sanctioned in March this year, what could we possibly see in future? will we see lab experiments via Kemp and/or Lucy in the US version? How about the Box Tunnel 20? Will Aidan make the same sacrifices Mitchell has had to? Who is the Vampyric ‘She’? I’m not going to lie, I cannot wait to find out!