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.