Latest Pictures from Avengers: Age of Ultron

If you’re as excited for the sequel to Marvel’s The Avengers as we are – and that might be medically impossible – then be prepared to go into excitement overload for these latest pictures from the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron!




There’s also this great picture of the entire Avengers: Age of Ultron cast from Comic Con!


Marvel Announces Release Dates Until 2019

Have you ever wanted to predict the future? Here’s your chance – Marvel have announced their release dates way up until 2019 and only some of the projects have been named. Can you tell which film is which? What might be Avengers 3 or a Black Panther movie or even a Black Widow solo film? Have a look through the dates, and let us know what you think. Bear in mind that these are American release dates – Marvel have tended to open their films slightly earlier in Europe.

  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron on 1/5/2015
  • Ant-Man on 17/7/2015
  • Captain America 3 on 6/5/2016
  • Marvel Untitled – 8/7/2016
  • Marvel Untitled – 5/5/2017
  • Marvel Untitled – 28/7/2017
  • Marvel Untitled – 3/11/2017
  • Marvel Untitled – 6/7/2018
  • Marvel Untitled – 2/11/2018
  • Marvel Untitled – 3/5/2019


Dr Who New Comic Review

Dr Who New Comic Review (… Phew)

Even as the Doctor regenerates and replaces massive cheekbones with hawk-like eyebrows, his comic book offerings is rebooted in two new series.  I’m reviewing the first offering of each, so in a strange way I too am a time traveler except instead of a tardis I have a train to my grandparents’ house and instead of a companion I have this bag of  spare clothes and instead of… I’m going to stop.

The two new series are for the 10th and 11th Doctor respectively ( the 12th Doctor’s comic book run will begin in October) and  in both we have just lost touch with companions (Donner and the Ponds). In each case the Doctor meets his new partner in this first issue: 10 meets the smart yet strained Gabriella who is trying to hold down 2 jobs in the family business while studying at night school; while 11 meets Alice a middle aged lady who is struggling after the death of her mother. Dr Who has never been a scientifically rigorous exercise in time travel, so it is characters – particularly companions – who provide the series with its draw. I think that both comics have strong potential here. Alice’s grief and the manner with which 11 must interact with her to both comfort and distract her puts a different edge on the usually exuberant Doctor. Much of 10s comic follows Gabriella; her family drama plays out well, her father’s concepts of family loyalty fighting her desire to live on her own terms. It’s too early to say how this will play out but the writers (Nick Abadzis [10], Al Ewing [11] and Rob Williams [11 - I know these look like their ages...])  have set up these relationships well.

Titan Comics have also done a good job of presenting the Doctor. 10 talks to himself while 11 bickers with Alice in the same way he did with Amy: “Don’t do cryptic… I already bagsied cryptic”. Fans of the television series will see their characters well represented here, if some drawing are slightly odd – Matt Smith’s face was not, last time I checked, actually twice as tall as it is wide. The art as a whole is less inspired. For 11 (Alice X Zhang, Simon Fraser and Gary Caldwell) it is colourful, but takes few risks. The style in 10 (Alice X Zhang, Elena Casagrande and Arianna Florean) is better, with a less cartoony feel, but while I enjoyed the detail in a few panels, the comic would have benefited from the same approach throughout.

While it is probably too early to tell, I felt the story in 11 was poorer than it could have been. There was Dr Who’s usual lazy portrayal of any non-Doctor authority figure as craven and stupid and the ending was too sentimental for my taste. Not a deal-breaker, but juxtaposed to the strong characterisation of Alice, there could have been greater depth. The comic hinted at a longer term story arc which might be more fulfilling on that level. I found 10 more satisfying in this regard, though little actually took place instead setting up the pieces to be resolved in a proceeding comic. I really hope Gabriella’s family get more treatment because I think there is real interest there.

Overall I enjoyed reading both comics though I would assert a preference towards 10 over 11 (I felt the same way about the TV series though, so perhaps it’s an accurate depiction). The comics are fun but both lack edge. I am up for convincing over the coming issues, but I’m not sold yet. That said, if you are a big Dr Who fan or someone looking for adventure, these are sure to be a hit and both have the potential grow into great series.


‘American Gods’ TV Series in Development

Starz has announced a script to series development of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed urban fantasy novel “American Gods.”  The pilot script will be penned by Bryan Fuller (known best for the weird and wonderful shows such as Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, and Wonderfalls) and Michael Green (of, um, Heroes fame. But the first season was excellent!), who will also showrun the series.

Starz, who are notable for their eclectic taste in television shows – producing Torchwood: Miracle Day and Camelot – have taken on the project from HBO. HBO, who have already produced two blockbuster adaptation hits (True Blood and Game of Thrones), mysteriously declined the show. They broadly cited script problems with bringing it to life, but seeing as they’ve made a show where vampires get high on fairy blood and are given godlike powers from the Lilith of Hebrew myth, it would seem they had other problems with the story.

Neil Gaiman had this to say on the Starz news; “When you create something like ‘American Gods,’ which attracts fans and obsessives and people who tattoo quotes from it on themselves or each other, and who all, tattooed or not, just care about it deeply, it’s really important to pick your team carefully: you don’t want to let the fans down, or the people who care and have been casting it online since the dawn of recorded history. What I love most about the team who I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that ’American Gods’ has attracted since the start. I haven’t actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them. The people at Fremantle are the kinds of people who have copies of ‘American Gods in the bottom of their backpacks after going around the world, and who press them on their friends. And the team at Starz have been quite certain that they wanted to give Shadow, Wednesday and Laura a home since they first heard that the book was out there. I can’t wait to see what they do to bring the story to the widest possible audience able to cope with it.”

Bryan Fuller, who is a dab hand at blending whimsy with reality said; “Neil Gaiman has created the holiest of holy toy boxes with ‘American Gods’ and filled it with all manner of magical thing, born of new gods and old. Michael Green and I are thrilled to crack this toy box wide open and unleash the fantastical titans of heaven and earth and Neil’s vividly prolific imagination.”

All in all, American Gods looks to be the next binge-worthy boxset.


Want More Giant Robots? Pacific Rim 2 is Coming!

In this video, director Guillermo del Totoro has a very special message for all fans of giant robots everywhere.

“From now until April 2017, we’re gonna develop a new animated series for Pacific Rim, continue the comic book series we started with [Tales from] Year Zero, and most importantly, creating a sequel for the film. I’m working on this with Zak Penn and Travis Beacham, and we are all very happy to be bringing you more Kaiju, more Jaegers, kicking each others butts.”

So expect to see Pacific Rim in theatres in April 2017! Are you excited to be getting a sequel? Are you excited for the prequel comics?

Hungerford Film Still 6

Hungerford Review

‘Hungerford’ is a sci-fi horror film that has recent been debuted as part of this year’s Sci-Fi London film festival at the British Film Institute. The film’s director, Drew Casson (who also stars in the film), is the youngest director on record to have a feature screened at the BFI.

Hungerford details a small English town that becomes victim to the first onslaught of an alien invasion. Cowen – played by Casson – and friends are those who eventually rise to the task of trying to face off the alien hordes. There are a lot of elements from classic sci-fi in this film; there are definitely echoes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Village of the Damned, Night of the Living Dead, but you’ll probably instantly be reminded of Shaun of the Dead from the film’s realistic dialogue and suburban setting. I found that to be one of the film’s core strengths.  The idea of a supernatural force taking over a sleepy English town is one that has been done to death and it can present problems in preventing the idea from feeling like a repeat of old material. Hungerford, while inspired by the greats of the genre, never feels like a rehash of old ideas.

The film is incredibly impressive on a technical level. The direction is solid throughout, preventing the film from ever feeling fantastical, and the editing is well-done. The sound editing is absolutely superb. I have never heard such crisp sound editing before – and if you want to argue about how that’s not important, I will point you in the direction of the latest BBC adaptations. The special effects have clearly been done on a budget but are extremely effective. Most have been done practically, which is something I like to see, and they are visceral and bloody, adding to the film’s atmosphere.  There is a sinister, ethereal sense of terror that settles upon you as you watch Hungerford, and my hat goes off to Casson for pulling off what many more well-known directors can’t.

If the review has sounded a little dry before now, well… I just didn’t care for Hungerford very much. There are parts of the film that are excellent but to me they were sadly overwhelmed by what I didn’t like. Namely, my two most hated sci-fi or horror film tropes: found footage and characters who are both idiots and unpleasant.

Film with an alien invasion, found footage, and asshole characters? I’ve already seen that film. It was called Cloverfield. I didn’t like that film either.

My dislike for found footage is a fairly personal thing – I just find it a bit overdone these days, seeing as every other horror film released in the last five years has been one. It’s explained by Casson filming a week in his life for a college project, which means that he merrily films everything – annoying his friends, murdering aliens, and whatever dramatic happens to him that would make any normal person drop their camera straight away. I find found footage films to present a lot of logical problems that prevents me from ever getting really into a story. It breaks my suspension of disbelief, I’m sorry to say.

And that brings me to what is my major problem with the film. I really do not like the characters. For some reason, it’s become a popular trend for characters in horror films to be really unpleasant. I don’t understand this trend because it’s not a good thing for me to actively want your characters to be killed by aliens. The characters watch a man collapse on the street, seriously injured, and laugh and refuse to help. They watch a girl vomiting up blood and do nothing. They watch a man being violently attacked by two men (who we realise later are aliens) and do nothing. These characters are horrible! They have a drinking party because the town hall explodes! Why am I supposed to like these characters, exactly? What reason are you giving me to want to know the story of these characters? Why am I supposed to root for these characters to survive? You are not giving me a reason to be interested in their arc throughout the narrative.

There is also an unpleasant undercurrent in the character’s dialogue, namely a recurrent joke about how Adam jokes Cowen is ‘gay’ (ha, ha, it is to laugh) and how Phil, Adam’s sister, cannot do anything. In fact, there are two female characters in this film – Phil and Janine – and both of them are presented as being entirely useless. They are treated as being useless and are spoken of as being useless. I had no idea that fending off an alien invasion was something that could only be achieved by men.

The film has a Shaun of the Dead-esque attitude to the invasion – our characters notice a weird series of events but as they are background events until things come to a head. The problem is that Shaun of the Dead takes place over two days. It’s a small amount of time which explains why the arrival of zombies takes society by surprise. Hungerford takes place over three or four days. Weird things keep happening and absolutely no one thinks to contact any authorities or to do anything.

That said, the scripting problems result from inexperience and there are many commendable qualities about the script. The characters feel real and fleshed out.  They pass the realness test – they feel like they have a life before the events of the film. The script is tight and there are no wasted scenes. This is a marvel in any film released nowadays and while it may have arisen from budgetary constraints, it makes Hungerford feel like a breath of fresh air.

The whole film feels like a blessed relief from the unrelenting churn of modern Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters. There is limited CGI, using great practical effects that I always like to see more of, and the film focuses on a core cast of a few, rather than filling the screen with thousands of poorly rendered space ships and a cast of thousands. There are no attempts to hammer in a poorly disguised message that has been designed for the masses. While I was left a little cold by it, there’s a lot to enjoy in this film and I would highly recommend checking out this film. It’s a fantastic achievement for home grown British talent, and I cannot praise the director enough. His talent is shamefully obvious, especially to this wannabe screenwriter, and I look forward to enjoying his next project more whole-heartedly.