Friday, 15 June 2018

First look at Wonder Woman 1984

Hollywood's love affair with eighties nostalgia shows no signs of stopping. As someone who grew up during the decade of Transformers and Michael Jackson's moonwalk, I'm not going to complain.

This week, DC Universe (DCU) fans (myself included) got their first glimpse of Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984, which sees the actor reunited with Chris Pine (Star Trek) and director Patty Jenkins.

Jenkins' Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air amidst the murky and, frankly, dull DCU cinematic adventures in the wake of Chris Nolan's excellent Dark Knight Trilogy. So, whilst the director has evidently drawn inspiration from seminal eighties graphic novel Watchmen, I hope Jenkins doesn't forget a sense of fun, too.

Wonder Woman 1984 is in cinemas November 2019.

Looking forward to new adventures with everyone's favourite Amazonian Princess? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Bumblebee director inspired by Spielbergian tales

Following the first teaser trailer for Transformers spin-off Bumblebee starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena. Paramount Pictures has released a featurette introducing director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings).

“At Laika, we try to find an artful balance of darkness and light and intensity and warmth and humor and heart,” Knight said. “The idea of being able to bring that kind of philosophy to Bumblebee was really exciting.”

The first teaser for Bumblebee seemingly taps into the current nostalgia for the eighties epitomised by Netflix's Stranger Things.

“I was a child of the ‘80s. I grew up loving those classic, Spielbergian coming-of-age tales, and that was something that I wanted to bring to Bumblebee,” Knight added.

With Knight's proven pedigree in animation and storytelling, Bumblebee could be the surprise heartfelt hit of the holiday season and the Transformers film fans (myself included) deserve.

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

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Creating Cold Soldiers

A bit of context. I met Nick Smith at Vintage Video, a club for fans of film and TV sci-fi, whilst we were undergraduates at Bournemouth University in the early nineties. We became instant friends and shared an affinity for Doctor Who and Star Wars. So much so, we worked on several video projects together. For example Ventolin Catharsis and December Duet, which channelled our mutual fascination for all things gothic.

Whilst our lives have taken distinctly different paths, we've remained in touch, through the power of communication technology, since graduation all those years ago. Heck, I still have ambitions to complete our 'gothic trilogy' one day on the streets of Miami.

When I heard about Nick's movie Cold Soldiers, filmed in Charleston, SC, I was instantly reminded of the Cybermen and watching classic Doctor Who serials together. I may have demonstrated my near-faultless impression of David Banks' Cyberleader sans voice modulation.

Here, Nick shares the highs and lows of getting his film Cold Soldiers made and distributed.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Like I always say, George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, has a lot to answer for. He encouraged a generation of filmmakers to tell big-screen stories, wearing their influences on their samurai sleeves, becoming part of the sideshows of movie merchandising, publicity and distribution. George’s experimentation with digital video and effects are a reason why digital filmmaking is so prevalent today. In his youth, he had an obvious passion for movies and made lots of dough following it. He made it look easy.

It ain’t.

Moviemaking isn’t all skywalking. It requires long days, sacrifices of time, money and personal life, heavy lifting and uncertainty. Where do the little guys fit into all this hard labour, the ones with the passion but no dough? If they’re like me, they find a way to keep making movies any which way they can.

There’s a lot of chitter chatter in the indie film industry, but many projects never get made. For the feature film Cold Soldiers, my co-producer Trevor Erickson and I were faced with a choice: spend our time looking for investors and distributors, pitching an idea to doctors, lawyers and business angels or make the movie. We went ahead and made the movie, released this month on Amazon. Not exactly the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, but it’s a start.

The mission, which we chose to accept, was to make an action movie with memorable characters, suspense, knock-down drag-out fights, car chases and an involving, surprising plot. We wanted to work with local actors and crew and we didn’t want interference from some executive producer from on high, taking away our creative freedom. The main obstacle was lack of budget and we knew we had one shot at this – no Special Edition.

Cold Soldiers is set in a max security hospital full of spies and military guys who’ve failed their missions. Psychiatrist John Dance interacts with the patients, reporting to the institute’s review board, which includes his wife Rebecca. Meanwhile, a shadow force busts out of the hospital to bump off board members.

When Rebecca is targeted, John has to find out who’s involved before he becomes a widower. In his world no one can be taken at face value, forcing the psychiatrist to analyze everything.

So far, so thrilling. There’s also a love triangle, a sword fight, car chases and gun battles. More importantly, characters that the audience will (hopefully) care about. I learned how important that was as I was filming – and how many nuances the actors could add to their parts.

While we were filming all our action shenanigans, I learned a few more handy facts:

1. Sound is Hella Important!

I thought I had it down, aware that sound quality can make a film amateurish or Hollywood level. There are still a few moments where the sound could be better. Spending as much time as possible on sound, while we were shooting, would have saved a lot of heartache in the edit suite.

2. Ask and you shall receive (sometimes)

We waited for ages before we approached the military vehicle provider Force Protection. We thought they’d turn us away, especially since their vehicles appeared in Transformers. They immediately told us that Michael Bay hadn’t given them a penny and lent us their vehicles gratis.

3. Finding a distributor is no picnic, Booboo!

One potential distributor wanted to sell DVDs in cardboard sleeves; another wanted me to use a pseudonym. We took a long time to find the right fit and really an indie-friendly company who we could have an informal relationship with. We found them in Miami-based Maverick Entertainment.

4. There are many ways to share a film!

DVD, streaming, alternate screening venues… these days there are more ways to show a movie than home video editions of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Being flexible and looking beyond a big theatrical release is the key to getting a film in front of as many eyes as possible. Since there are a lot of martial arts antics in Cold Soldiers, we screened a workprint at East West Health Arts, a dojo in Charleston, South Carolina. Didn’t see that one coming!

However you find it or view it, check out this little movie fan’s epic – it’s handmade, heartfelt and a lot of fun. Enjoy the ride and Honor the Code.

You can buy or rent Cold Soldiers on Amazon (affiliate link).

Have you seen Cold Soldiers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Respawn announces Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Vince Zampella from Respawn, the studio behind the phenomenal Titanfall franchise, has announced a new Star Wars single player (SP) video game during EA Play.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. A dark time as the last of the Jedi are hunted down by Darth Vader.

Could this be the Star Wars video game fans deserve? The title suggests a rebooting of Star Wars Jedi Knight, and Respawn has a pedigree that could wipe the slate clean in the wake of the microtransaction and loot box controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be released during holiday 2019 to coincide with director JJ Abrams' as-yet-untitled Episode IX which completes the sequel trilogy at Disney.

Are you excited at the prospect of a single player Star Wars title that's not Battlefront? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 8 June 2018

A T-Rex does flips in this hilarious Jurassic World skit

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has arrived in cinemas to mixed reviews. However, this officially endorsed skit, filmed in Hawaii by extreme sports videographer Devin Graham (better known as Devinsupertramp on YouTube), should gladden the heart of even the most jaded fan of the dinosaur franchise started by Steven Spielberg 25 years ago.

From building Tamiya model kits, on rainy days, to playing with Transformers' Dinobots, dinosaurs captured my childhood imagination. So much so, I would record myself reading passages from well-worn dinosaur books and play them back, taking inspiration from read-along books for Star Wars and Disney's The Black Hole.

I would actively seek out B-movies to satiate my fascination for the extinct species. And seeing Jurassic Park, for the first time in 1993, is a cinema experience I'll never forget, joining the Hollywood pantheon of Star Wars and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Seeing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Spider-Gwen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The first trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse showcases a spectacular alternate universe where Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is mentored by Peter Parker (Jake Johnson).

Hailee Steinfeld joins the cast as Spider-Gwen. Steinfeld's star is in the ascendancy as she's the lead in the Transformers spin-off, Bumblebee, this holiday season.

Commenting on the announcement, producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie) said, “We are lucky to have such an amazing cast of funny, genuine creative souls to populate the Spider-verse. They have generous minds and great big hearts. And they have very talented throats. Which is where their delightful voices come from.”

Lord and Miller continued: “We can’t wait for the world to see Miles Morales on the big screen. He’s such a fun and exciting new character, and telling his story through a revolutionary visual style makes for a totally fresh cinematic experience that, if we may say so, is freaking amazing.”

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in theatres this December.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Bumblebee reboots Transformers this holiday season!

Paramount Pictures has dropped the first official teaser trailer for the upcoming Transformers live-action spin-off, Bumblebee.

"On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug."

All the feels. My generation grew up with Hasbro's inspired rebranding - with a lot of help from Marvel - of Takara's Japanese puzzle toys Diaclone and Micro Change, and I wasn't expecting something that would resonate so deeply. Bumblebee was one of the very first Transformers I owned and the beloved Autobot stood sentry, alongside his leader Optimus Prime, in my childhood bedroom.

I'm getting a The Love Bug and The Iron Giant vibe. The prequel is seemingly a soft reboot of the Transformers live-action franchise harkening back to the Generation 1 (G1) era from the eighties. And with director Michael Bay no longer at the helm, there's a genuine pathos and sense of wonder that has been sorely absent since the first live-action movie which owed much to executive producer Steven Spielberg.

Bumblebee, directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) and starring Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen), is in cinemas this December. Could this be a new beginning for the Hasbro cinematic universe including G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., Micronauts, ROM: Spaceknight, Visionaries and Power Rangers? Excuse me whilst I rewatch the excellent Transformers instalment of The Toys That Made Us now streaming on Netflix.

Looking forward to Bumblebee? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Did Disney's marketing sink Solo at the box office?

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now and I've yet to see the latest spin-off from director Ron Howard! Personally, I need a break from the franchise and seemingly so do many other fans.

There's a lot of hot takes regarding its perceived failure at the box office. From a backlash against Star Wars: The Last Jedi to the franchise's move away from the holiday season due to Mary Poppins Returns. Then there's the small matter of stablemate Marvel Studios' triumphant run with Black Panther followed by the 10th-anniversary instalment Avengers: Infinity War. Somewhere amidst the superhero saturation, Star Wars has got lost in the marketing mix.

Rob Wainfur, the founder of The Bearded Trio and longtime contributor to this blog, has written a post chronicling his thoughts on the current state of the Star Wars franchise and its fandom. Here's an extract:

"Star Wars at the cinema is a good thing (even if I do have to put up with those popcorn munchers). But more Star Wars, new Star Wars, is a good thing. Like Star Trek, I'm so happy it's back. Do I like Discovery? It's okay, not my favourite but Star Trek is back. Star Wars is back. That's got to be a good thing, right?"

You can read Rob's entire post here.

Have you seen Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Apple put the "i" into Mac twenty years ago

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) starts today and affords an ideal opportunity to reflect on the launch of the original iMac twenty years ago.

Jony Ive's product would become a cultural phenomenon, appearing in everything from Jennifer Lopez's iconic pop promo for If You Had My Love to television series, foreshadowing the Cupertino-based company's rise, Lazarus-like under the auspices of the then returning co-founder Steve Jobs, from imminent collapse into the consumer electronics giant we know today.

I purchased an iMac DV SE - affectionately dubbed 'the bubble' by my late mum - in the summer of 1999 to replace an ageing Macintosh Performa 5200. And have continued to champion the all-in-one desktop machine to this day.

An amusing anecdote from the start of the new millennium. During an interview at AOL, in the wake of purchasing Warner Bros., I was sarcastically asked by a company director, which colour had I chosen and that Apple should roll over and die! I countered by suggesting a strategic alliance between Apple and AOL. Whatever happened to AOL, again?

Apple is expected to announce an iMac refresh later today. Please add a Space Gray model to match my iPad Pro, Tim Cook.

Without the iMac, there would be no iPod, iPhone or iPad and, quite possibly, no Apple.

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

Friday, 25 May 2018

Logan director to helm Boba Fett Star Wars spin-off

Star Wars was released in US cinemas on this day in 1977. Fast forward 41 years and Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, is now in cinemas around the world and garnering positive reviews despite a troubled production.

Further Star Wars spin-off movies are confirmed (via THR) with James Mangold (Logan) helming a Boba Fett spin-off after Josh Trank departed the rumoured project in the wake of negative reviews for his Fantastic Four reboot at Fox.

The infamous bounty hunter first appeared on the big screen in The Empire Strikes Back and quickly gained a cult following. He's one of my favourite characters from the franchise and the 12-inch action figure a prized possession from childhood.

Seemingly Fett's fate in the belly of the Sarlacc, in Return of the Jedi, did nothing to dent his reputation, as far as my school friends and I were concerned, he escaped with the aid of his jetpack, and it'll be interesting to see what Mangold does with the character who was introduced in George Lucas' Star Wars prequel Attack of the Clones.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Watch classic Doctor Who on Twitch

Doctor Who fans around the world will be able to watch over 500 classic episodes across 26 seasons for free on TwitchPresents from 29th May until 23rd July.

Nick Coulter, Director of Digital Sales and Business Development at BBC Studios says:

"We are constantly looking at ways to reach new audiences and make it easier for fans to engage with our most popular shows. Doctor Who, in particular, has a great tradition of pioneering new technologies, from early VHS all the way through to the new digital services of today. Twitch is another great example of this, as a brilliant service with over 15 million active daily users, we are thrilled to be able to offer them the chance to indulge in the Classic Doctor Who series and celebrate its amazing 54 year legacy of excitement and innovation."

Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch said:

“Doctor Who and its clever take on sci-fi exemplifies the type of adjacent content to gaming that has resonated with the Twitch community. By presenting this iconic BBC show in a new interactive format, it is a fun new way to bridge several generations of Doctor Who fans, while building a new generation of them."

For Doctor Who fans in the US, UK and Canada, Twitch is hosting a giveaway every week during the event, including a grand prize trip to London Comic Con in late 2018.

This is an excellent way to celebrate Doctor Who's past and look forward to the future with Jodie Whittaker.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme parks opening 2019

Disney has announced its first Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme park will open next May with a teaser trailer.

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, will be the first to open its Galaxy’s Edge attraction to the public in summer 2019, while Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will follow several months later, in late fall 2019. The latter ties in neatly with the December release of Star Wars: Episode IX directed by JJ Abrams.

Will you be boarding the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge next year? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

ThunderCats Roar gets a mixed reaction from fans

Thundercats was a staple of childhood teatime television in the mid-eighties and the animated franchise was rebooted to critical acclaim in 2011. Alas, due to poor viewing figures on Cartoon Network, it was cancelled after only one season.

Following the news that Netflix is rebooting She-Ra seemingly sans He-Man (I'm willing to bet he'll make a cameo in the upcoming series). Cartoon Network has announced another Thundercats reboot and it looks a bit... meh! Is that nostalgia talking?

Fans are polarised about the art style and tone. At first blush, it looks like a parody series and I'm not sure how to feel about that. Of course, the series is primarily aimed at children, but many generations (mine included) have grown up watching Japanimation with English overdubs and are socialised into compelling narratives rich in light and shade, which the original Thundercats had in droves.

What do you think about the new Thundercats series? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Netflix teases She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Netflix continues its tradition of animated reboots in partnership with DreamWorks with She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The popular streaming service has released a teaser poster for the upcoming series and announced the cast members.

Aimee Carrero (Elena of Avalor) stars as Princess Adora and her titular alter ego. She’s joined by Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad) as Glimmer, AJ Michalka (The Goldbergs) as Catra, Marcus Scribner (Black-ish) as Bow, Reshma Shetty (Royal Pains) as Angella, Lorraine Toussaint (Orange Is the New Black) as Shadow Weaver, Keston John (The Good Place) as Hordak, Lauren Ash (Superstore) as Sorpia, Christine Woods (Hello Ladies) as Entrapta, Genesis Rodriguez (Time After Time) as Perfuma, Jordan Fisher (Grease Live!) as Seahawk, Vella Lovell (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Mermista, Merit Leighton (Alexa & Katie) as Frosta, Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) as Castaspella, and Krystal Joy Brown (Motown: The Musical) as Netossa.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the story of an orphan named Adora (Aimee Carrero), who leaves behind her former life in the evil Horde when she discovers a magic sword that transforms her into the mythical warrior princess She-Ra. Along the way, she finds a new family in the Rebellion as she unites a group of magical princesses in the ultimate fight against evil.

From Eisner award-winning author and executive producer Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes, Nimona) and executive producer Chuck Austen (Dawn of the Croods, Steven Universe) comes a modern take on the ‘80s girl power icon for a new generation of young fans. She-Ra was originally a spin-off of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in 1985 and is available to stream on Netflix.

If the critically-acclaimed Voltron: Legendary Defender is any indication, fans old and new should be in for a treat from Netflix's latest collaboration with DreamWorks.

Looking forward to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Star Wars Celebration coming to Chicago in 2019

Lucasfilm has announced Star Wars Celebration will be back in 2019 to coincide with the release of JJ Abrams' untitled Star Wars: Episode IX, which rounds off the current sequel trilogy at Disney.

The official fan event, that began in 1999 to promote Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, will run from 11th-15th April in Chicago. The last Star Wars Celebration was held in 2017 and celebrated the 40th anniversary of George Lucas' space opera. In July 2016 I attended Star Wars Celebration Europe, which you can read about here.

Are you attending? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Avengers beat Batman at the UK box office

This will come as no surprise to fans (myself included) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The Russo brothers' Avengers: Infinity War has become the biggest superhero movie in UK cinema history, less than a month after release, taking £60m at the box office, toppling Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, as fans flock to multiplexes to see beloved superheroes, scattered across the galaxy, battle Thanos (Josh Brolin) face-to-face.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is in cinemas next this July with Captain Marvel leading the charge early next year ahead of Avengers 4 in May 2019.

You can read my review of Avengers: Infinity War here. It does contain mild spoilers. So, please don't read unless you've already seen the movie. It's best enjoyed sans spoilers. Honestly.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Star Wars series set after Return of the Jedi

Actor-director Jon Favreau has revealed the upcoming Star Wars live-action series, due to launch on Disney's streaming service, DisneyLife, will be set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Favreau's Star Wars series will utilise motion capture technology as used on the director's live-action adaptation of Disney's The Jungle Book and is expected to explore the rise of the First Order in the wake of the Empire's defeat at the battle of Endor. Dave Filoni's recently announced animated series, Star Wars Resistance, also explores the same timeline.

The new series has no connection with George Lucas' live-action series originally planned to follow the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005. One of those scripts formed the basis for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

To Infinity War and Beyond...

Where to begin? The best cinema screening since Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

A group of undergraduates created a mini comic con atmosphere filled with fellow fans of Star Wars, DC Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). We laughed, cheered and cried as the Russo brothers took us on a galaxy-spanning tour and broke our collective hearts in the process.

With its paranoia and character-driven conflict, the Russo brothers' Captain America: The Winter Soldier quickly claimed the top spot as my favourite MCU instalment. This was followed by Captain America: Civil War, which was a dry run for the first part of their emotionally shattering Avengers opus.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the MCU, the Russo brothers take the Avengers to the nth degree and beyond in Avengers: Infinity War.

Infinity War begins in deep space with a distress call echoing the Kobayashi Maru training exercise depicted in the opening scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and immediately ups the ante by eclipsing both Joss Whedon's The Avengers, known as Avengers Assemble in the UK, and Avengers: Age of Ultron with a richly mythological movie that conjures fond memories of reading Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars in the mid-eighties and collecting Mattel's tie-in action figures. The seminal 12-issue limited series chronicled Marvel's superheroes and villains as they battled each other for the amusement of the Beyonder.

Infinity War takes its inspiration from the acclaimed comic series Infinity Gauntlet. However, this Thanos, played with surprising pathos by Josh Brolin, believes he's on a noble quest to eradicate half of all life, due to dwindling resources, with the snap of his fingers...

Such is Brolin's charisma, you may find yourself unwittingly rooting for the big bad as he crushes beloved heroes with seemingly no way of returning. This is the fantastical universe of Marvel and as such me thinks there'll be timey-wimey shenanigans in the second part, which was filmed back-to-back, due in cinemas next year. It paves the way for the multiverse - a strength of archrival DC Comics - as a means to introduce Captain Marvel, and the X-Men and Fantastic Four once Disney's acquired Twentieth Century Fox's television and film assets. However, none of this detracts from a palpable sense of loss and the haunting cliffhanger.

Longtime fans will reap the infinite (I went there. Sorry not sorry.) rewards of their dedication to the increasingly episodic series built over a decade, whereas more casual cinemagoers may miss many Easter Eggs. But, there's enough blockbuster bombast, merging the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings franchises, to entertain and let's not overlook the interplay between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Alan Silvestri's soundtrack score is one of his best since the first Avengers movie and expands on familiar themes replete with a self-referential nod to Predator during the scenes set in Wakanda.

Over the past ten years, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has deftly stewarded a disruptive shared cinematic universe beginning with Iron Man and culminating in the Russo brothers' epic Infinity War. I rarely bestow arbitrary ratings. However, the 10th anniversary instalment garners 10/10. ‘Nuff Said!

What did you think of Avengers: Infinity War? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Star Wars fan film: Dresca

Star Wars Day has passed for another year. So, here's an awesome award-winning fan film from writer-director Jessica Champneys set in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi.

"When Dresca - an injured Imperial pilot - is rescued by Rebels after the Battle of Endor, she must choose between her loyalty to the Empire and the kindness of strangers she once thought of as monsters."

If you have a Star Wars fan film you'd like to share, please contact me.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Celebrate Star Wars Day with Disney and Snapchat

May the Fourth be with you!

Disney has teamed up with youthful social media platform Snapchat for Star Wars Day!

Fans can use the popular mobile app (available for Android and iOS) to learn Shyriiwook from Chewie, which will come in useful for Solo: A Star Wars Story in cinemas 25th May, wield a lightsaber and decorate their posts with a new selfie lens, filters and 3D Bitmoji stickers.

How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Lucasfilm congratulates Marvel Studios

Lucasfilm congratulated Disney stablemate Marvel Studios on Avengers: Infinity War's record-breaking opening weekend at the box office.

In the image, a lightsaber is handed over to Iron Man with the accompanying handwritten message from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy:

“From a galaxy far, far away… to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes… CONGRATULATIONS on the biggest opening weekend in history! From Kathy and everyone at Lucasfilm!”

The message of congratulations continues a classy time-honoured tradition. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would send creative congratulatory notes whenever one passed the other at the box office.

Iron Man was released a decade ago and ushered in the disruptive Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) culminating in Avengers: Infinity War.

I didn't see the opening chapter of Phase 1 until subscribing to LOVEFiLM (now part of Amazon Prime). I sat down with my dad and we really didn't expect much, as I pressed play on the PS3 remote, given the state (for the most part) of superhero movies of the time. Robert Downey Jr. instantly impressed as Tony Stark and we've seen (almost) every MCU movie since.

Make Mine Marvel!

What are your MCU memories on the 10th anniversary? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Genesis of the Daleks invades US cinemas this June

In celebration of the upcoming Blu-ray release of Tom Baker’s first season in Doctor Who, Genesis of the Daleks, regarded as one of the best stories from the classic era, will be shown as a 90-minute omnibus edition in cinemas in the US.

Genesis of the Daleks sees the Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) diverted by the Time Lords to Skaro, home planet of the Daleks. The mission, to avert the creation of the Daleks forever, but not before coming face-to-face with their creator, Davros (Michael Wisher).

Fathom Events said in a statement: "We are excited to work with our long-standing partners at BBC Studios to bring our 17th joint cinema event, Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks, to movie theatres across the US and for fans to see Tom Baker on the big screen.

"Our Doctor Who events are always a great opportunity for Whovians to gather at the cinema and experience their favorite content together," it added.

Genesis of the Daleks will be in cinemas 11th June. Visit Fathom Events for further information and to book tickets.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story featurette Becoming Solo

Lucasfilm has released a featurette for Solo: A Star Wars Story ahead of the upcoming Star Wars spin-off's world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

Becoming Solo features interviews with the cast and crew including director Ron Howard, Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo) and Emilia Clarke (Qi'ra).

The more I see, the more I'm looking forward to this. How about you? Let me know in the comments below.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas 25th May.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Chris Hemsworth returns in Star Trek 4

Chris Hemsworth, currently starring as Thor in Avengers: Infinity War, is expected to reprise the role of Kirk's father in Star Trek 4.

Hemsworth brought a poignant nobility to the role of George Kirk who sacrificed himself to save his crew, wife and son in JJ Abrams' reboot. Fans can expect time travel shenanigans with the current cast reportedly set to return.

The untitled movie has no release date, but director S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones), the first female to direct a Star Trek movie, is at the helm.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Dave Filoni follows Rebels with Star Wars Resistance

Fresh from finishing Star Wars Rebels, Lucasfilm veteran Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) has announced an all-new animated series set in the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars Resistance is set prior to The Force Awakens and features appearances from beloved characters including Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma. Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie will reprise their iconic roles in the anime-inspired series.

“The idea for Star Wars Resistance came out of my interest in World War II aircraft and fighter pilots,” said Filoni. “My grandfather was a pilot and my uncle flew and restored planes, so that’s been a big influence on me. There’s a long history of high-speed racing in Star Wars, and I think we’ve captured that sense of excitement in an anime-inspired style, which is something the entire team has been wanting to do for a long time.”

Marc Buhaj, senior vice president for programming and general manager of Disney XD, added: “Our colleagues at Lucasfilm have created a compelling narrative for an untold moment in the Star Wars galaxy, and we are excited to partner with them again on this new original series. ‘Star Wars Resistance’ will bring viewers across generations an engaging story with heart, humor and both new and familiar characters.”

Star Wars Resistance will premiere on Disney XD in the Fall.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Tom Hardy goes full-on Venom

Sony Pictures has released a full trailer for Spider-Man spin-off Venom, which features the titular alien symbiote played by Tom Hardy.

“Being part of this movie is a dream come true,” Hardy said. “He’s one of my favorite characters as well.”

Tom Holland, who currently plays Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is rumoured to make a cameo in Venom. Holland can be seen next in Avengers: Infinity War.

Venom, starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, is in cinemas this October.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Dinosaurs run amok in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The days are getting longer in the northern hemisphere and the summer blockbuster season, ushered in by director Steven Spielberg's Jaws in 1975, is upon us.

Spielberg's Jurassic Park was released 25 years ago and the fifth sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is in cinemas this June.

The final trailer has been unleashed as merchandise appears in stores. Mattel has launched an exciting range of toys and the Super Colossal Tyrannosaurus Rex is a worthy successor to Kenner's classic electronic T-Rex for the original movie in 1993.

Personally, I loved Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World in 2015 and am excited to return to Isla Nublar. Are you? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

DisneyLife streams Star Wars Rebels on Star Wars Day

Star Wars fans can watch all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels when it streams on DisneyLife, in the UK and Ireland, from May the 4th.

It's a fitting way to celebrate Star Wars Day and for fans (myself included) to see the series finale for the first time as we look ahead to Solo: A Star Wars Story in cinemas from 25th May.

I've championed Dave Filoni's follow-up to The Clone Wars since the series premiere on Disney XD in 2014 and will miss the crew of the Ghost.

DisneyLife is available on various devices including Apple TV and Samsung Smart TVs for £4.99 per month with no contract. The upcoming Star Wars live-action series will be exclusive to the streaming service.

How will you celebrate Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Steven Spielberg joins DC Universe after Indiana Jones

Director Steven Spielberg, whose Ready Player One is currently in multiplexes around the world, will be joining the DC Universe (DCU) to produce, and possibly direct, WWII-era superhero Blackhawk.

In announcing the film, Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich said, “We are so proud to be the studio behind Steven Spielberg’s latest hit, and are thrilled to be working with him again on this new action adventure. We can’t wait to see what new ground he will break in introducing Blackhawk to movie audiences worldwide.”

The screenplay for Blackhawk is being written by frequent Spielberg collaborator David Koepp, who was the screenwriter on Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Spielberg will produce the film together with Kristie Macosko Krieger, under the Amblin Entertainment banner, while Sue Kroll will executive produce, under her Kroll & Co. Entertainment shingle.

In the world of comics, Blackhawk is a wartime adventure series focusing on the titular Blackhawk, who commanded a squadron of ace pilots also known as the Blackhawks or the Blackhawk Squadron. The squadron would battle the Axis powers, as well as more fantastic super-villains and war machines, such as the memorable shark planes, which could operate in water as well as in the air. While the team debuted in 1941 in the heart of comics' Golden Age, they’ve also been adapted to the modern era as a part of The New 52 and have spawned a well-known DC heroine, Lady Blackhawk, who joined the series in the late 1950s.

“It was wonderful working with the team at Warner Bros. to bring ‘Ready Player One’ to the screen,” Spielberg said. “They bring a blend of passion and professionalism to everything they do and have a tremendous history in this genre. I am excited to reunite with them on ‘Blackhawk.'”

Spielberg's next movie is Indiana Jones 5, starring Harrison Ford, for Disney's Lucasfilm.

Do you think the DC Universe could use some Spielberg movie magic? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Yoda's rumoured return in Star Wars: Episode IX

Master Yoda's surprise cameo as a Force ghost in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a theory I postulated during Star Wars Celebration Europe, was a highlight of director Rian Johnson's sequel to The Force Awakens.

Once again the mischievous and beloved Jedi Master was played by Frank Oz.

The popularity of Yoda's cameo in The Last Jedi has spurred suggestions he'll return to aid Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the climactic conclusion of the sequel trilogy, Episode IX, directed by JJ Abrams.

New York Daily News broke the exclusive story:

“The success of the scenes featuring Yoda in ‘The Last Jedi’ were huge,” says our insider. If all goes according to plan, the sci-fi space sage will rejoin the series in spirit to mentor a young warrior played by British actress Daisy Ridley, we’re told.

“Yoda will again appear as a ghost as he acknowledges Rey's success and growth as a Jedi,” we hear. “The scenes are due to be put together later this year.”

Star Wars: Episode IX will be in cinemas December 2019.

Friday, 13 April 2018

See the Parr family reunite in Incredibles 2

The first sequel to Disney Pixar's Incredibles, ostensibly a fun riff on Marvel's Fantastic Four directed by Brad Bird, is released later this year and you can now watch the latest trailer.

Here's the official synopsis to Bird's long-awaited sequel:

"Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible."

Incredibles 2 is in cinemas 15th June.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tig Notaro is chief engineer in Star Trek: Discovery

Hot on the heels of Anson Mount's casting as Captain Christopher Pike in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Comedian and actress Tig Notaro joins the crew of the franchise's second prequel series. She'll be playing Chief Engineer Denise Reno of the USS Hiawatha.

Series showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts were at an official panel during the recent WonderCon, and Harberts confirmed the series is integral to the Prime Universe.

“The idea was to always be in the Prime Timeline. Obviously, there are questions and concerns and things that are different. Our technology is a little different. We have a ship that runs very differently. We are our own show in a lot of ways. Season two is really exciting for us. This is our opportunity to really show how Discovery fits into this Prime Timeline. We are firmly committed to that.”

He also teased that fans may see a uniform change for the crew of the Discovery. "Well, we bump up against the Enterprise at the end of our [season one] finale, and we know what kind of uniforms they wear. So, we will leave it at that."

Star Trek: Discovery's second season begins filming this month and is expected to air on CBS All Access and Netflix outside the US later this year.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Classic LucasArts Star Wars games coming to Xbox One

The latest edition of Inside Xbox was streamed live last evening (BST) and a major announcement for original Xbox backwards compatibility titles will excite Star Wars video game fans (myself included):

Star Wars Battlefront
Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Star Wars: Republic Commando

With the exception of Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, I've never played any of the above Star Wars games despite owning every popular console. So, I'll be downloading them ASAP.

These classic LucasArts titles will be available to play from 26th April. Xbox One owners need only download a game from the Microsoft Store or insert their original disc. For further information on this, Jade Empire, Red Dead Redemption enhanced for Xbox One X and the Xbox One Spring Update, watch Inside Xbox: Episode 2.

What are you looking forward to playing? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Anson Mount is Captain Pike in Star Trek: Discovery

Inhumans' Anson Mount has been cast as the legendary Captain Pike in Star Trek: Discovery season two, which begins filming in Toronto this month with Alex Kurtzman directing the season premiere. I can't speak to Mount's performance in Inhumans as I bailed minutes into the first episode (DC Comics' superheroes have me covered on television).

Mount will follow in the hallowed footsteps of Jeffrey Hunter in the unaired original series pilot, Sean Kenney as a scarred and mutilated shell of a man and most recently Bruce Greenwood as Kirk's father figure in JJ Abrams' cinematic reboot.

Season one of Star Trek: Discovery ended with the crew answering a distress call from the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain Pike. Season two is expected to explore Starfleet's infamous black ops division, Section 31, in the wake of the Klingon war ending. Is Pike the architect of Section 31?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story channels Firefly in new trailer

Lucasfilm has released the official trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story ahead of the forthcoming film's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

Director Ron Howard's standalone Star Wars movie evokes Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly sci-fi series, which spawned a movie spin-off, and that's a good thing, a very good thing.

The Star Wars spin-off stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo and Paul Bettany.

I've got a (really) good feeling about this and its appeal maybe broader than Rian Johnson's divisive The Last Jedi now available for the home market. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas 25th May.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Wakanda reunion in Avengers: Infinity War TV Spot

Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas this April and marks the tenth anniversary of the release of Iron Man, which kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2008.

The latest 60-second TV Spot takes Black Panther, fresh from topping Titanic at the US box office in his own movie, back to Wakanda.

Disney is planning a marketing blitzkrieg to dwarf last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming. Purportedly the budget is $150 million dollars in advertising for the Russo brothers latest instalment that sees the Avengers team-up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight Thanos.

Avengers: Infinity War is released in UK cinemas on 26th April and US cinemas on 27th April.

Friday, 6 April 2018

BBC begins filming The War of the Worlds

Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds introduced a generation (myself included) to H.G. Wells' classic alien invasion story-cum-essay on cultural imperialism 40 years ago.

I devoured further adaptations including Hollywood's anti-communist allegory produced during the McCarthy era, Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast from 1938 and latterly Steven Spielberg's post 9/11 take on an alien invasion. However, I've always lamented never seeing Wells' apocalyptic vision set in the Edwardian era. Until now.

The BBC has begun filming a 3-part miniseries in Liverpool, starring Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Loving Vincent) and Rafe Spell (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Big Short), for broadcast later this year on BBC One.

Eleanor Tomlinson says: “I’m delighted to be taking on the Martians with Rafe Spall in Mammoth Screen’s adaptation of The War Of The Worlds. I’ve been a fan of Craig Viveiros’ work for a while, so creating this world with him at the helm is very exciting.”

Rafe Spall says: “I am thrilled to be a part of bringing this much-loved story to the small screen. I couldn’t be in better company with Craig Viveiros, Peter Harness, all at Mammoth Screen and of course, the very talented Eleanor Tomlinson.”

Damien Timmer, Executive Producer of Mammoth Screen, says: "Here we are, making the original and best alien invasion story for the BBC One audience - it doesn't get much better than this! With a stellar cast and some very scary Martians up our sleeve we look forward to terrifying large sections of the audience soon!"

Tommy Bulfin, BBC Commissioning Editor, says: "It’s fantastic to have Rafe and Eleanor leading such a brilliant cast of British acting talent in the BBC's faithful adaptation of H.G. Wells' legendary story."

Craig Viveiros, Director, says: “H.G. Wells' seminal novel has been adapted for the screen many times but it's always had a contemporary (and American) setting, this is the first version to be set in London and the Home Counties during the Edwardian period. Peter's scripts manage to honour the source material with great skill, but we aim to provide a thoroughly modern thrill ride for the audience, delivering an alien invasion story that will shock and awe audiences across the globe.”

Peter Harness says: "The version of The War of the Worlds that I wanted to make is one that's faithful to the tone and the spirit of the book, but which also feels contemporary, surprising and full of shocks: a collision of sci-fi, period drama and horror. There is nothing cosy or predictable about Wells’ novel, and that’s what I want to capture in the show. We have an incredible cast, a brilliant director and a wonderful crew - and I can’t wait for them to explode the terrifying story of the first alien invasion on to our screens.”

If The War of the Worlds evokes the BBC's nightmarish adaptation of The Day of the Triffids (1981), sci-fi fans of all ages are in for a terrifying treat.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Rogue One screenwriter teases Last Starfighter reboot

Hollywood's obsession with eighties nostalgia reaches its zenith in director Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. Now, Gary Whitta, Rogue One screenwriter, has teased his The Last Starfighter reboot on Twitter.

The screenwriter spoke to io9 to explain why:

"It’s always been one of my all-time favourites. It is a deeply special movie for me. In terms of movies that stirred my imagination as a kid, it’s right up there with Star Wars. Maybe because I was a video game junkie back then, but the idea that playing a game could be a magic ticket to a real space adventure, I just always thought that concept was utterly brilliant. The film is sorely underrated in my view, although it’s endured as a cult classic and every time I bring it up in conversation people seem to just light up. There’s a tremendous undercurrent of fondness out there for it."

I wholeheartedly agree with Whitta and will follow developments with interest.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Epic Games demos future of gaming with Star Wars

Star Wars has a storied history with gaming technology. From an Atari arcade tie-in for the original trilogy to the founding of Lucasfilm Games, which would become the defunct LucasArts.

For the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC), Epic Games teamed up with Nvidia and Lucasfilm's ILMxLAB for a fun Star Wars cinematic demo featuring Captain Phasma and First Order Stormtroopers created using an experimental code for Unreal Engine 4.

Tim Sweeney of Epic Games explains:

“Ray tracing is a rendering process typically only associated with high-end offline renderers and hours and hours of computer processing time, film-quality ray tracing in real-time is an Unreal Engine first. This is an exciting new development for the media and entertainment linear content worlds—and any markets that require photo-realistic visualization.”

Friday, 23 March 2018

Build Light Cycles with LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy

LEGO Ideas has unveiled an official Disney TRON: Legacy Light Cycle set including 3 minifigs featuring Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), Rinzler (Anis Cheurfa) and Quorra (Olivia Wilde), complete with identity discs. It's as awesome as fans would hope.

The playset began life as a LEGO Ideas submission from the fine folks at BrickBros UK and the finished set captures the look and feel of the original movie in brick form. The Quorra minifig is especially cool. Deservedly, Drew and Tom got to review their upcoming set early courtesy of LEGO.

The last LEGO Ideas set I bought was Doctor Who featuring the Eleventh (Matt Smith) and Twelfth (Peter Capaldi) Doctors and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) in 2015. So, this will be an excellent addition to my desktop.

LEGO Ideas 21314 TRON: Legacy will be sold exclusively at LEGO stores and online (affiliate link) for £29.99 from 31st March.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Annihilation to be shown in UK cinemas

Director Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller Annihilation, currently streaming on Netflix in the UK, will be shown in selected cinemas later this month.

The director's follow-up to the acclaimed Ex Machina stars Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac. You can read my spoiler-free review here.

To find out more and to book tickets visit Everyman.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Kratos returns in God of War for PS4 this April

Sony has another PlayStation exclusive hit on its hands with the upcoming God of War for PS4 this April. Previews suggest first-party studio Santa Monica has outdone itself. So, in anticipation of the latest instalment in the franchise, here's my God of War 3 review for PS3, which I never got around to publishing on this blog, in all its gory glory...

God of War 3 is more Return of the Jedi than Return of the King. For gamers (myself included) who remember playing Greek myths on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, this is a wonderfully upscaled version of those ambitious 8-bit titles from the eighties.

Bayonetta, a darling of critics everywhere, left me cold [I've since become a huge fan in the intervening years and now own the original and Wii U sequel on Nintendo Switch]. Therefore, I was pinning my hopes on God of War 3 to reignite my thirst for the visceral hack and slash genre popularised by Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), Golden Axe and Devil May Cry.

It may be worth pointing out that I've never played PlayStation exclusive God of War or its first sequel - something I plan to redress once the remastered God of War: Collection is released [Never did get around to it. Because Mass Effect trilogy.]. To use a filmic analogy: I was about to watch Return of the Jedi without ever seeing Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back. However, I had it on good authority that God of War 3 could be played without any prior knowledge.

Olympian video games have enthralled me since Gift from the Gods graced the Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1984. Despite the generation gap, both Gift from the Gods and God of War 3 are epic revenge fantasies wrapped in the trappings of Greek mythology.

The player is plunged into the action as Kratos battles the undead to defend a female titan scaling Mount Olympus - much to the chagrin of the Gods. The frenetic pace, sweeping camera angles, aping Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and surround sound, induced a migraine and I was forced to put down the controller after only a few minutes of gameplay! This isn't a negative. It's symptomatic of an overwhelming opening sequence that the Clash of the Titans reboot would be envious of.

Death-dealing has never looked more picturesque than it does in God of War 3. The game's aesthetic is most reminiscent of BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic. To be honest, I'd, incorrectly, assumed that it was a BioWare release. It doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to see Kratos, himself, as a Sith Lord!

Much has been made of the visceral violence in God of War 3: from decapitating limbs to beheadings, in all of which you play a pivotal part. But, it's mostly operatic in nature and didn't disturb me as much as Resident Evil Code: Veronica - that game was the stuff of nightmares.

However, it's not exactly 'family-friendly' and I'd politely suggest thinking twice about playing this alongside a family game of Wii Sport Resorts! It's worth pointing out that amongst this melee, there's sexual content, too. The camera doesn't pan away, and you could find yourself fielding awkward questions from younger gamers.

This is the third act and has a satisfying conclusion, unlike most trilogies. For those of us who haven't played the previous instalments, there's now a compelling motivation to do so. But, I can't imagine that the franchise will end here. It's too lucrative and the PlayStation needs exclusives. However, I hope that the developers will allow Kratos to retire with dignity and serve up something fresh, exciting and worthy of the mantle.

By turns breathtaking and awe-inspiring, I was still left wondering if there could have been more imagination and less regurgitation applied to the development of such an auspicious title.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Constantine joins DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Constantine was a fun, if short-lived, series on NBC. Matt Ryan made the role his own and DCTV fans (myself included) were delighted when Constantine cameoed in Arrow season 4.

The character most recently returned in the midseason premiere of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, cementing the series' status as my favourite Arrow spin-off after its startling season 2 soft reboot into an unmissable time-travelling caper.

Matt Ryan is expected to become a cast regular for season 4. The CW has not announced a renewal, but there's every reason to assume it's a done deal. Good times!