Wednesday 29 October 2014

Marvel's Agent Carter gets first TV Spot

Following the Marvel Event, which heralded the announcement of 8 movies spanning the next five years, the first TV Spot for Agent Carter has been revealed. Can Peggy Carter hold her own in a television schedule boasting Arrow, Constantine, Gotham and The Flash?

ABC presents its second action packed series from the creative minds at Marvel in “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” inspired by the feature films Marvel’s "Captain America: The First Avenger" and Marvel’s "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," along with the short "Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter."

Years before Agent Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team swore to protect those who cannot protect themselves from threats they cannot conceive, there was Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell, Marvel's "Captain America: The First Avenger," Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"), who pledged the same oath but lived in a different time when women weren’t recognized as being as smart or as tough as their male counterparts.

But no one should ever underestimate Peggy.

It's 1946 and peace has dealt Peggy a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy finds herself stuck doing administrative work when she would rather be back out in the field; putting her vast skills into play and taking down the bad guys. But she is also trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life, Steve Rogers – aka Captain America.

When old acquaintance Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper, Marvel's "Captain America: The First Avenger”) finds himself being framed for unleashing his deadliest weapons to anyone willing to pony up the cash, he contacts Peggy - the only person he can trust - to track down those responsible, dispose of the weapons and clear his name. He empowers his butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”), to be at her beck and call when needed to help assist her as she investigates and tracks down those responsible for releasing these weapons of mass destruction. But Jarvis, who is a creature of habit and sticks to a rigid daily routine, is going to have to make some major life changes if he’s going to be able to keep up with Peggy.

If caught going on these secret missions for Stark, Peggy could be targeted as a traitor and spend the rest of her days in prison – or worse. And as she delves deeper into her investigation, she may find that those she works for are not who they seem, and she might even begin to question whether Stark is as innocent as he claims.

Agent Carter's eight-episode mini-series begins this January on ABC. No news regarding UK transmission dates.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Disney re-releases classic LucasArts Star Wars games!

Disney is re-releasing classic LucasArts games, including Star Wars tie-ins, in association with GoG!

"We're proud to announce a new partnership with Disney that allows for the DRM-free release of about 30 classic titles from [LucasArts]," the company blog post reads. "Today, to start with a bang, we are releasing a selection of 6 acclaimed titles from Lucas' most famous gaming franchises, so that the Disney/Lucasfilm catalog on is made impressive from day one."

The following DRM-free titles are available to download now:

  • Star Wars: X-Wing Special Edition
  • Star Wars: TIE Fighter Special Edition
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

X-Wing and TIE Fighter passed me by back in the day; primarily because I'm a Mac User and was enthralled by Dark Forces and Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire.

Which LucasArts games would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 27 October 2014

Constantine premieres on Prime Instant Video

Here's one for Amazon Prime subscribers. DC Comics' Constantine joins live-action stablemates Arrow, Gotham and The Flash on the small screen.

Constantine stars Matt Ryan in the titular role of John Constantive and is co-produced by David S Goyer, one of the screenwriters behind Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy.

The first episode is available on Amazon Prime Instant Video now, with future episodes appearing "hours" after their first airing in the States on NBC.

"It’s the one night of the year when audiences around the world are looking for a fright, so we're delighted to be making the UK exclusive first episode of Constantine available to Prime Instant Video customers this Halloween," said Chris Bird, director of content strategy at Amazon Instant Video.

The opening episode Non Est Asylum impressed me and Constantine was added to my Watchlist without hesitation.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Nikita star Lyndsy Fonseca joins Marvel's Agent Carter

Nikita fans rejoice. Lyndsy Fonseca is joining Marvel's Agent Carter as Angie Martinelli, an aspiring actress who befriends Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) in New York.

Jeph Loeb, Marvel's Head of Television, tells, "Marvel's Agent Carter opens up an exciting world of new characters for us. Lyndsy brings a warmth and humanity to Angie, who'll be the friend Peggy needs if she's to survive the dangers that lie ahead."

Marvel's Agent Carter mini-series airs during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s midseason break on ABC.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer is amazing

"Dammit, Hydra" Marvel tweeted following the leak of Age of Ultron's teaser trailer ahead of its world premiere during Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. next Tuesday. So, it's unleashed the trailer online.

It's the Marvel Cinematic Universe amped to the nth degree. James Spader's Ultron is channeling Pinocchio and breaking free of creator Tony Stark with devastating consequences. Phase II will culminate in a bombastic finale to eclipse events witnessed at the end of Phase I.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Age of Ultron trailer debuts in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon, premieres during Marvel's Agents on S.H.I.E.L.D. next Tuesday and presumably online thereafter.

Marvel Studios presents Avengers: Age of Ultron, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015.

Monday 20 October 2014

The Flash premieres on Sky1 this October

If Arrow, Gotham and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aren't enough to satiate your fervor for live-action crime-fighting on the small screen. Arrow's spectacular spin-off The Flash enters the fray on Sky1 on Tuesday October 28th.

After a particle accelerator causes a freak storm, CSI Investigator Barry Allen is struck by lightning and falls into a coma. Months later he awakens with the power of super speed, granting him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Though initially excited by his newfound powers, Barry is shocked to discover he is not the only "meta-human" who was created in the wake of the accelerator explosion -- and not everyone is using their new powers for good. Barry partners with S.T.A.R. Labs and dedicates his life to protect the innocent. For now, only a few close friends and associates know that Barry is literally the fastest man alive, but it won't be long before the world learns what Barry Allen has become... The Flash.

Arrow Series 3 premieres the same week as The Flash on Thursday, October 30th.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Warner Bros. announces 10 DC Comics movies

Warner Bros. delivered a statement of intent during the company's investor conference today.

In the wake of The Dark Knight Trilogy the studio is playing catch up with the groundbreaking Marvel Cinematic Universe. A massive expansion of the DC Comics movie slate has been announced:

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
“Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (2016)
“Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot (2017)
“Justice League Part One,” directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
“The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller (2018)
“Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa (2018)
“Shazam” (2019)
“Justice League Part Two,” directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
“Cyborg,” starring Ray Fisher (2020)
“Green Lantern” (2020)

DC Comics' animated series have bested Marvel's since Batman: The Animated Series. It'll be interesting to see whether or not that success translates to the big screen on a scale to rival Marvel's Phase I, II and III.

Are you excited about today's announcement? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Iron Man joins Captain America in Civil War

According to industry paper Variety, who got the exclusive, Robert Downey Jr. will be joining Chris Evans' Captain America as Marvel's Civil War storyline shatters the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America 3.

If The Winter Soldier is anything to go by; the Civil War will send shockwaves throughout the Marvel Universe including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was bolstered by events in The Winter Soldier after a stuttering start. Hail Hydra!

The thought of Iron Man vs Captain America is much more compelling than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and we've yet to see Avengers: Age of Ultron.

It's worth noting Spider-Man had a pivotal role in the original Civil War comic book series, Marvel's rebooting the comic book series in 2015 and Disney is purportedly in negotiations with Sony on closer tie-ins. My spider-sense is tingling.

Do you think Tony Stark will be the main villain? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Darth Vader returns in Star Wars Rebels on ABC

James Earl Jones reprises his iconic role as the voice of Darth Vader in an alternate version of Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion on ABC this October! Impressive. Most impressive.

Here's the press release:

The critically-acclaimed epic adventure Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion will air on ABC on Sunday, October 26 (7:00 p.m. ET/PT). Executive Producer Dave Filoni states, "We wanted to do something special for the ABC broadcast. We've added a scene which gives audiences insight into the Inquisitor and includes a cameo by Darth Vader voiced by the distinguished actor James Earl Jones."

The television movie Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion delivered 6.5-million viewers in its premieres on Disney Channel and Disney XD around the world including the U.S. and 16 markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa and Canada. The Star Wars Rebels weekly series on Disney XD (Mondays 9:00 p.m. ET/PT), has been renewed for a second season.

Set between the events of Star Wars Episodes III and IV, the Star Wars Rebels story unfolds during a dark time when the evil Galactic Empire is tightening its grip of power on the galaxy. Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet and are ruining the lives of its people. The motley but clever crew of the starship Ghost – cowboy Jedi Kanan, ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the "muscle" Zeb, warrior firebrand Sabine, and grumpy old astromech droid Chopper – will face threatening new villains, embark on thrilling adventures and become heroes with the power to ignite a rebellion.

The voice cast includes Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall as Hera, Steve Blum as Zeb, Tiya Sircar as Sabine, Taylor Gray as Ezra, David Oyelowo as Agent Kallus and Jason Isaacs as the Inquisitor.

Star Wars Rebels is created by Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Sherlock Holmes), and Carrie Beck. The Lucasfilm Animation production is also executive-produced by Filoni and Kinberg as well as Greg Weisman (Gargoyles).

Tuesday 7 October 2014

The Walking Dead renewed for sixth season

The Walking Dead has been renewed for a sixth season ahead of the fifth season premiere this Sunday on Fox. The episode will be shown the following day in the UK. There's no news on whether or not there'll be a simulcast as with 24: Live Another Day and Game of Thrones, which is a missed opportunity.

“We could not be more excited for October 12th as we share new episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ with fans around the globe,” said AMC President Charlie Collier. “In advance of Sunday’s season five premiere, AMC proudly confirms a sixth season order of this extraordinary series. Thank you to Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, the terrific executive producers, and the entire team who brings this compelling world and these rich characters to life. There’s plenty more Dead ahead thanks to their impressive, collective effort.”

A spin-off to The Walking Dead is currently in production and will be set in another part of the world. The pilot is penned by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson.

The Walking Dead S1-4 box sets are available to binge-view on NOW TV as part of the Entertainment Month Pass for just £4.99 a month until 16th October, £6.99 a month thereafter. No contract.

Monday 6 October 2014

Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion

Spark of Rebellion ignites Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD and John Rivers discovers if the force is still strong...

Guest post by John Rivers

Pay attention, rebel scum, this review contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens in the pilot episode of Lucasfilm and Disney’s new joint venture ‘Star Wars Rebels’ then I suggest you close your blast shield and move along. If, however you've seen the episode then this is the review you’re looking for.

The Disney alliance with Lucasfilm has spawned its first franchise. ‘Star Wars Rebels’ is a new animated series from the creative team behind ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’. Set between ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ and ‘A New Hope’, the show concentrates on a fledgling Rebel cell, half acting as a resistance to the Empire, half as mercenaries.

It begins on a backwater planet called Lothal when a young street rat named Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray, looks borrowed from Disney’s ‘Aladdin’) interrupts an attempt by Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) to hijack a shipment of Imperial blasters. Kanan’s backed up by his team: Zeb, the group’s tank, a lumbering Lasat warrior; Sabine, a lithe Mandalorian with a penchant for explosives (looking like a Knight Sabre from ‘Bubblegum Crisis’); Hera, the group’s Twi’lek pilot and Chopper, an Astromech droid who basically acts like R2D2’s grumpier younger brother.

The action picks up quickly, the hijack attempt turns into a speeder bike chase that naturally echoes ‘Return Of The Jedi’, except this time taking place on the busy streets of Lothal’s capital city. Ezra manages to escape the Imperial troops and is rescued by Kanan who is startled to see him perform a super-human jump. It is clear the Force is strong with him.

As Ezra is introduced to the group, we also meet one of the Empire’s chief Rebel hunters, Inspector Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau. Voiced with authoritative menace by ‘[Spooks]‘ actor David Oyelowo, Kallus has been charged with finding Rebels and eradicating them. Using false information, he lures Kanan’s team and their ship, the Ghost, into a trap and Ezra is forced to work alongside the rest of the team.

‘Star Wars Rebels’ is certainly closer in tone and look to the original trilogy rather than the prequels. With Disney maintaining a weather-eye over production away from the ever-tinkering perfectionist George Lucas, the animation style seems to have been a little simplified, but not overly so. The angular look of ‘The Clone Wars’ series, chosen to reflect the puppet series of Gerry Anderson, has been retained, if softened. Stormtroopers, TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers are all present. The Ghost, Kanan’s ship, looks rather snub by comparison and its capabilities are only really hinted at. Only a young-looking hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi once again voiced by ‘The Clone Wars’ James Arnold Taylor links the new series to the prequel trilogy and TV series. The music borrows heavily from the Original Trilogy, too.

Once again, David Filoni and his team have successfully found a balance between appealing to children and providing an action-packed show. Kanan’s introduction, sliding from a speeder bike and shooting a Stormtrooper in the face demonstrates that the show isn’t willing to pull its punches for the Disney XD audience. The appearance of the Inquisitor, at the show’s conclusion, gives chills. It’s clear that he is not simply interested in Rebels but is instead looking for Jedi that may have escaped Order 66. He is voiced by Lucius Malfoy himself voiced by Jason Isaacs.

‘Spark Of Rebellion’ is therefore a highly enjoyable new entry into the ‘Star Wars’ universe. It introduces new characters well and, if the promises are to be believed, should deliver on a few unexplored areas of the saga. For example, what happened to the Clone Troopers, the missing Jedi and how did the Rebel Alliance begin? I’ll freely admit, when Kanan and Ezra are pinned down by Stormtrooper fire and Kanan reaches for his lightsabre and says, ‘Kid, I’m about to let everyone in on the secret’, the hairs on the back of the neck of this old ‘Star Wars’ fan stood up. While ‘The Clone Wars’ was a non-linear show consisting of three or four part stories, utilising a vast array of characters, it will be interesting to see how ‘Rebels’ focuses on a much smaller cast, but retains the depth of storytelling. I’m making sure I access the Holonet for episode 2, the week after next.

‘Star Wars Rebels’ is currently airing in the UK on Disney XD.

© John Rivers 2014

This review originally appeared on SF crowsnest.

Friday 3 October 2014

Prop Store Star Wars live auction at Vue Westfield

Prop Store is proud to announce its first live auction event produced in partnership with Vue Entertainment. In the most exciting sale of its kind, over 375 original film and television props and costumes will go under the hammer on October 16th Vue’s flagship cinema in Westfield, London. The public will be able to get up close and personal with some of the most valuable and iconic pieces on offer throughout a free two week exhibition at Vue Westfield from 1st October.

Here's an example of what Star Wars fans can expect to see and bid for.

330. Biker Scout Helmet - STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)
£8000 - 10000
For further information click here.

In the summer of 2013 I won a Pyramid Chamber Ampule (Prometheus) prop prize from NOW TV and can attest to the quality of Prop Store movie collectibles.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Star Wars Rebels renewed

Disney has, unsurprisingly, announced its renewing Star Wars Rebels ahead of the new series' premiere tomorrow on Disney Channel.

“The global expectations for this series could not have been any higher,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. “And I am proud to say that the team at Lucasfilm has delivered something that has surpassed even that incredibly high bar – artistically and thematically.”

Early reviews are encouraging for the follow up to The Clone Wars. Much has been made of its alleged 'childish' art style. However, the creative team have alluded to a darker direction.

“Our fantastic creative team is dreaming up new stories for the crew of the Ghost that will expand their experience of the galaxy and deepen their heroes’ journeys,” said Kiri Hart, vice president of creative development for Lucasfilm. “The fan response to the show has been amazing, humbling and inspiring. We’re looking forward to the adventure ahead.”

Will you be watching the premiere? Let me know in the comments below.