Tuesday 31 January 2017

Peter Capaldi to leave Doctor Who this Christmas

Peter Capaldi announced he's leaving Doctor Who, after taking over from Matt Smith in 2013, during the Jo Whiley show on BBC Radio 2 last evening. He said:

"One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic."

Whilst Capaldi's incarnation has been divisive amongst fans, I've enjoyed his portrayal. You can read my series 8 and series 9 discussions with fellow Whovian Andrew Lewin.

Series 10 starts 15th April and Capaldi will exit during the Christmas special, which also sees showrunner Steven Moffat passing the baton to, the creator of Broadchurch, Chris Chibnall.

Are you sad Peter Capaldi is leaving and who would be a good replacement? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 26 January 2017

Director teases Star Wars: The Last Jedi opening crawl

Director Rian Johnson took to Instagram, on Tuesday, to tease the opening crawl for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The first sequel to The Force Awakens was officially given a title earlier this week and I, like many other fans, love it.

The photo was accompanied by the following caption:

“Felt so good to drop this into the cut this morning."

Delighted to see everyone's favourite Astromech, R2-D2, is assisting with post production chores.

Monday 23 January 2017

Star Wars: Episode VIII is titled The Last Jedi

It's my birthday and Lucasfilm has announced the title of director Rian Johnson's first sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Last Jedi.

The movie will continue from the, literal, cliffhanger ending of Abrams' lauded reboot and follows Rey's (Daisy Ridley) journey to become a Jedi under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Well, unless Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) have something to say about it...

The red font is ominous isn't it? And was used in Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. I'm wondering whether or not Kylo Ren will turn back to the good side and Rey joins the dark side by the movie's climax. After all Rey's fighting style echoed Anakin Skywalker's in the Star Wars prequels and she appears to draw strength from her anger. This is only a bit of fun speculation.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in cinemas 15th December.

What do you think the title means? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Rogue One reaches milestone at the box office

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story reached a box office milestone 39 days after release. Director Gareth Edwards' Star Wars prequel has now passed $1 billion dollars worldwide.

This means the Lucasfilm franchise joins Disney stablemates Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory and Zootopia to form a billion dollar or more box office quartet from 2016.

The Mouse House tried to curtail expectations in the wake of JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens' 2 billion dollar box office tally from 2015.

Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones, is utterly deserving of its success both critically and commercially. The prequel to A New Hope enhances the first Star Wars movie; raising expectations for the spin-off movies going forward.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Kevin Smith directs Supergirl Lives

Director Kevin Smith (Clerks) helms another installment in the DC Universe (DCU). This time it's Supergirl.

On the evidence of Smith's stellar episode of The Flash, fans should be in for a televisual treat shot with filmic flair. This is on the back of The CW renewing Greg Berlanti's quartet: Arrow, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and The Flash.

Supergirl goes off-world in her latest adventure. The midseason premiere sees Kara (Melissa Benoist) moved by the story of a missing woman named Izzy (Harley Quinn Smith) and decides to investigate despite Snapper Carr’s (Ian Gomez) order to leave it alone.

Supergirl returns 23rd January, which is my birthday. Thank you, The CW.

Monday 16 January 2017

Can Nintendo Switch transform gaming?

Nintendo's announced the release date of its upcoming hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, as 3rd March.

Nintendo's newest portable and desktop machine could be a zany Transformer in disguise! The Joy-Cons, a cool name for Decepticon combiners, can be detached from the tablet and used individually, much like a classic NES controller or Wiimote, or combined with a Joy-Con grip to form an Xbox-inspired controller.

Nintendo Switch is the company's attempt at bridging the divide between handheld and home consoles. Gamers will be able to play on the go and then connect the machine to a HDTV using the dock. This will have the benefit of enhancing games from 720p up to 1080p. Although this varies from title to title and some critics were left nonplussed with initial comparisons. However, most agree the device is a formidable, and well-built, handheld.

Whilst the new console is a compelling concept and I applaud the Kyoto-based company's modular approach. Ultimately, the hidden costs of the Nintendo Switch lead me to cancel my pre-order at Amazon. This would have been my first new Nintendo console since the Wii (I sidestepped the Wii U and the 3DS gave me migraines).

Nintendo's taking the accessories market to a whole new level with this generation. There's no pack-in game, the included Joy-Con grip doesn't recharge attached Joy-Cons (these can be recharged from the tablet screen or a Joy-Con charging grip sold separately), and the Pro Controller, a must-have for avid gamers, costs £65. Further to this. An extra pair of Joy-Cons will set consumers back £75 and there's many more first and third-party accessories available at launch. Items such as an additional Nintendo Switch dock are a luxury. That said, they're a necessity for connecting the machine to TVs, located in different rooms, if you don't want to lug the included dock around.

The machine's internal storage is a paltry 32GB. This is expandable, using microSD, up to 2TB, and should be more than sufficient for most owners.

It's all too easy to spend north of £500 on what will be a Zelda machine for at least the next few months. As a Zelda fan since A Link to the Past, on the SNES, I don't begrudge that in principle, but the current price point is too high. Why didn't Nintendo include Breath of the Wild, a port of the delayed Wii U title? Better to wait for a holiday bundle, and inevitable price drop, later in the year. Plus there's Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Xenoblade 2 and Super Mario Odyssey to bolster the lineup.

Incidentally, I (like many other early adopters) got burned when the N64 was released in the UK and the price dropped within weeks. Nintendo sent a free copy of Mario Kart 64 and a controller, as an act of goodwill, in the wake of negative media coverage and only after I'd written to the company.

For now the PS4 and Xbox One will more than suffice. The latter's backwards compatibility is a winner and assures a Scorpio purchase this holiday season.

Will you be getting a Nintendo Switch at launch? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 12 January 2017

Playmobil and Funko join forces for Doctor Who

Before I played with LEGO. There was Playmobil. Now the beloved brand has joined forces with Funko for Doctor Who and a host of classic characters, from film and television, coming this March.

Funko's collaboration brings you Playmobil figures that are bigger than ever! They're twice the size of the classic Playmobil figures you've loved since 1974. Each figure features articulation at the shoulders and wrists.

You can pre-order the Fourth Doctor and many more from Entertainment Earth today!

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Woody Harrelson cast in Han Solo Star Wars spin-off

Following rumours that Woody Harrelson was in talks to play a role in the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, the directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, officially confirmed the veteran actor is joining the cast of the untitled movie.

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody,” directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said in a statement on StarWars.com. “His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”

Harrelson joins Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), and Emilia Clarke in an adventure set before A New Hope.

The Han Solo spin-off was originally slated for a May 2018 release. However, the success of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story points to December 2018. This is more in keeping with holiday releases since The Force Awakens.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Twin Peaks reboot premieres this May

The grandfather of watercooler television is back. Twin Peaks returns to US TV screens on 21st May with original showrunners, David Lynch and Mark Frost, at the helm.

Lynch directs the entire 18-hour series, which picks up 25 years after the people of a quaint northwestern town were stunned when their homecoming queen, Laura Palmer, was shockingly murdered and her body was recovered, wrapped in plastic, on the shore.

Kyle MacLachlan reprises his iconic role as Agent Dale Cooper alongside a host of returning cast favourites including David Duchovny (The X-Files).

The original series ran for only two seasons in 1990 and 1991. However, its cultural impact can be felt to this day.

Sky Atlantic has exclusive first-run rights to the upcoming Twin Peaks reboot in the UK. However, no transmission date is known.

Monday 9 January 2017

Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 10 years ago

Ten years ago today, the late Steve Jobs announced the iPhone during his keynote speech at MacWorld 2007. The device had been mooted for sometime and the then Apple co-founder and CEO confirmed such.

"This is the day I've been waiting for the last 2 years", he said.

At the time, competitors like Motorola, Nokia, Microsoft, and BlackBerry dismissed Apple's ambition to change the phone industry forever.

Apple's fortunes would be transformed in the wake of the iPhone's launch. Propelling the Cupertino-based company to become one of the world's wealthiest corporations.

"iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come."

The iPhone hasn't been without its controversies. From "bendgate" to "antennagate". Laterly, the competition has caught up and the touchscreen user experience (UX), as depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is now commonplace in many people's lives.

However, Apple, under the stewardship of CEO Steve Jobs, once again popularised the way consumers interact with technology. Jobs' second act will be an enduring legacy. He may have been regarded as a controversial figure, with his so-called 'reality distortion field', but I sure miss his keynote speeches.

What are your iPhone memories? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 6 January 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda's release announced at CES

BioWare brought Mass Effect: Andromeda, the long-awaited sequel to the original Mass Effect trilogy, to CES. Showcasing new gameplay footage and announcing a release date. To the surprise of most fans (myself included), the new game will be released this March.

The upcoming sequel is set 600 years after the events depicted in Mass Effect 3, and the player's character (male or female) began their intergalactic journey during the timeline of Mass Effect 2.

Personally, I arrived very late to Mass Effect, after winning an Xbox 360 S from LOVEFiLM, and it quickly established itself as one of my favourite franchises. So, this will be gaming's equivalent of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Am looking forward to an early first play on EA Access.

Mass Effect: Andromeda will be available on PC, PS4, PS4 Pro and Xbox One. However, BioWare hasn't announced support for Microsoft's Scorpio or Nintendo's Switch. Microsoft's next gen console will be backwards compatible with Xbox One and Xbox 360. So, I'm opting for the Xbox One release in the hope of improved fidelity on Scorpio this holiday season.

Looking forward to Mass Effect: Andromeda? What platform will you choose to play? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 5 January 2017

Rogue One's Saw Gerrera returns in Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels returns 7th January on Disney XD and this mid-season trailer features Forest Whitaker reprising his role as Saw Gerrera from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Saw Gerrera first appeared in The Clone Wars alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Gerrera is a militant representing a more extreme side of the rising Rebellion.

Star Wars Rebels gets ever closer to A New Hope and Obi-Wan Kenobi returns to the fray.

Enjoying Star Wars Rebels S3? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Woody Harrelson in talks to play Han Solo's mentor

According to Variety, Woody Harrelson may play Han Solo's mentor in the next Star Wars spin-off.

The acclaimed actor would join Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller directing.

In the wake of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's stellar success at the box office. The Han Solo adventure, again set before A New Hope, might be pushed back from a scheduled release date of 25th May, 2018. Most likely hitting theatres in December of that year.

This is only speculation on my part, but would make commercial sense with Episode VIII bowing this December. Disney would want to capitalise on the success of Star Wars releases during the holiday season and avoid clashing with its Marvel Cinematic Universe slate.

Harrelson is no stranger to blockbuster franchises and mentored Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Sunday 1 January 2017

Star Wars starts 40th anniversary top at the box office

Happy New Year to folks who celebrate and may the Force be with us all in 2017!

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars' release in the US and director Rian Johnson's untitled Episode VIII will be lent even greater poignancy in the wake of actress Carrie Fisher's death, last December, when the first sequel to JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens opens in theatres later this year.

Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continues to dominate multiplexes over the festive season, becoming the 2nd highest grossing movie of 2016. Doubtlessly, fans (including myself) will have returned to theatres in tribute to the late actress and her iconic role as Princess Leia. Of course Carrie Fisher was so much more. But, for now...

Aside from Episode VIII, which movies are you looking forward to most in 2017? Let me know in the comments below.