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Your Say: "Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies"

20 December 2014 10:13 AM, PST

Peter Jackson's final adventure in Middle Earth is currently playing in cinemas throughout the United States and a good portion of the rest of the world. The film grossed $16.6 million on Friday and is currently on track to nab around $88 million between Wednesday and Sunday this week.

Reviews for the finale have been arguably the weakest of the trilogy, though not far off 'An Unexpected Journey'. Now's the time to have your say. Did you like the film? Was it a worthy capper to not just the trilogy but the entire Middle Earth saga? Did you see it in a high frame-rate screening and if so, how did it feel to you? Please leave your comments below.

As usual, the discussion will be open to spoilers so if you haven't seen the film or read the books, proceed at your own risk. »

- Garth Franklin

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Free "Halo 3: Odst" Remake Is Coming

20 December 2014 10:07 AM, PST

343 Industries chief Bonnie Ross says they plan to apologise to the "Halo" community for the still ongoing bugs plaguing the "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" a full month after launch.

As a result, they're offering a full 1080p/60fps remake of "Halo 3: Odst". Said remake though will be limited to the single-player campaign so no co-op will be available.

Ross says that players will also get an 1080p/60fps remaster of the map 'Relic' for Halo 2 Anniversary's multiplayer for free, and a free month of Xbox Live Gold

There's a condition though - these will only be available to anyone who played the "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" online before December 19th. 343 may sell "Halo 3: Odst" separately, but haven't announced any plans to do so as yet.

343 is still adding to the 'Master Chief Collection' with the ten missions of the "Spartan Ops" campaign for "Halo 4" set to drop next week. »

- Garth Franklin

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Sony Cancels "The Interview"... Volume Two

19 December 2014 12:57 PM, PST

This week's key story of Sony cancelling the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco's controversial satire "The Interview" keeps changing and throwing up new developments every hour it seems. For the events through until Wednesday night, see here.

Yesterday, a new promo for the film appeared on Sony's YouTube channel which gave rise to some discussion about the movie potentially getting a direct-to-vod release. Since then though, that clip and all the official clips from the film have been pulled. Both USA Today and CNN have also reported this morning that the hacker group, called the Guardians Of Peace, issued a message last night to the studio.

The contents of that message they seem to disagree on - one claims it indicates Sony can release the film once it does some judicious edits, the other claims they want Sony to make sure the movie is never released, distributed »

- Garth Franklin

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Anderson Replaces Pitt In NBC's "Hannibal"

19 December 2014 11:03 AM, PST

In a surprising cast change, Michael Pitt has opted out of returning for the third season of NBC's "Hannibal". Instead, actor Joe Anderson ("The Grey," "Across the Universe") will be taking over the role of Mason Verger in the new season says TV Line.

Pitt played the character, who serves as the antagonist of the Thomas Harris novel "Hannibal," in numerous episodes of the show's second season. When we last saw him, the character was paralysed, confined to a respirator and covered in a facial mask after Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) drugs and orders him to peel off his face and feed it to the dogs of Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

The character plays a part in the third season and so showrunner Bryan Fuller has had to recast. Considering Verger's visage will be either under a mask or shown as a grotesque make-up job, Anderson will only have to nail the voice. »

- Garth Franklin

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News Bits: Transformers, Alvin, Damned, Selma

19 December 2014 10:37 AM, PST

Transformers 5

Mark Wahlberg tells MTV News that he's "committed to doing a couple more" films in the "Transformers" franchise. Asked when he'll get to work on the next one, he says: "I can't speak for Mr. Bay, but something tells me we’ll be on set soon."

Alvin and the Chipmunks 4

Walt Becker ("Van Wilder," "Wild Hogs") has signed on to direct a fourth installment of the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" franchise for Fox 2000 and New Regency. Adam Sztykiel ("Made of Honor," "Due Date") penned the most current draft of the script, taking over from Randi Mayem Singer ("Mrs. Doubtfire").

It is unclear whether Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney will return to voice the furry CG characters or if Jason Lee will saddle up once again as their human caretaker Dave. The film is targeting a release next Christmas. [Source: THR]

The Damned

Legendary Pictures has optioned the film »

- Garth Franklin

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First Look Photos From Many 2015 Blockbusters

19 December 2014 10:17 AM, PST

As many businesses finish up for the year today ahead of the Christmas/New Year break, eyes are turning towards next year's biggest films and the titles that many of us are excited about.

Entertainment Weekly is going that today by releasing a large batch of photos from some of the biggest films to hit screens next year including first look stills from the comedy sequel "Ted 2," Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama with Tom Hanks, the Jake Gyllenhaal-led climbing drama "Everest," the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy "Sisters," and Robert Zemeckis' twin towers high wire drama "The Walk".

There's also new shots from George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road," the seventh entry in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, Neill Blomkamp's new sci-fi film "Chappie," Pixar's "Inside Out," Ron Howard's "In the Heart of the Sea," the "Divergent" sequel "Insurgent," the family fantasy drama "Tomorrowland, »

- Garth Franklin

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TV News: Gotham, Broadchurch, Fortitude, Clips

19 December 2014 10:03 AM, PST


The first photos are out from the mid-season premiere of Fox's Batman prequel series "Gotham," with the new shots including the teaming of the characters who will become Catwoman and Poison Ivy. The episode, entitled "Rogue's Gallery," premieres on January 5th. [Source: Spoiler TV]


BBC America has pushed back the second season premiere of "Broadchurch" in the United States by a month. The cable channel confirmed that the new season will now kick off on March 4th, two months after the British premiere on January 5th. [Source: Variety]


Pivot has announced a January 29th U.S. premiere date for its high-profile, Iceland-shot, Arctic-set, mystery drama series "Fortitude". Stanley Tucci, Michael GambonChristopher Eccleston, Sofie Grabol, Luke Treadaway, and Richard Dormer star.

The story explores what happens when a town in the Arctic circle, dubbed one of the safest places on the planet to live, copes with a brutal murder and the suspicions that generates. »

- Garth Franklin

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Thanos Was The Trickiest Part Of "Guardians"

19 December 2014 9:01 AM, PST

One of the complaints levelled against the first phase films of Marvel's Cinematic Universe was the sometimes awkward squeezing in of elements and setup for "The Avengers" in those standalone films, a process which caused some disruption and issues with the stories which impacted the films - especially the second "Iron Man".

There has been no such issues with the second phase films, the wider universe elements are now in fact a big part of the appeal. This year's "Guardians of the Galaxy" for example incorporated elements setting up Marvel's two-part "Avengers: Infinity War" film which is still a while off.

Speaking with Vulture in the wake of the film's home video release, James Gunn revealed that the hardest scenes to write in the film were the character introductions. In fact the brief appearance by the main antagonist of the 'Infinity War' saga, Thanos (Josh Brolin), was the most difficult »

- Garth Franklin

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Sutherland Thinks "24" Is Done and Dusted

19 December 2014 8:58 AM, PST

Following eight seasons and this year's equally successful event series revival, it looks like the sun has finally set on Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer character from Fox's "24".

Talking with The Telegraph, Sutherland thinks the character has been retired from the screen and doesn't see himself coming back for either a film or another event series:

"Me, I don't see going back to it. We had set out to do 12 episodes [of Live Another Day] to end the show and deal with some of the past history of the show. It was also an irresistible opportunity to go shoot in England. So for all of those reasons it made sense to do that last season."

Shortly after "24: Live Another Day" ended its run in July, the show's executive producer Jon Cassar claimed that the previously talked about movie spin-off of the show was still being planned. Nothing further has been heard about it since. »

- Garth Franklin

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First Photo From HBO's "Westworld" Series

19 December 2014 8:57 AM, PST

HBO has unveiled the first photo from its all-star TV series remake/reimagining of Michael Crichton's classic 1973 sci-fi feature "Westworld" in the latest issue of EW (via Film Divider). The original is set in an amusement park where visitors can live out their wildest fantasies with the help of androids, but things go awry when the creations malfunction.

Series creator Jonathan Nolan tell the magazine: "It's a place where you can be whoever you want, and there are no consequences - no rules, no limitations. What happens in Westworld, stays in Westworld. What we can tell you is that we intend to make the most ambitious, subversive, f---ed up television series. The things that keep you up at night, any of those things that trouble you, that is exactly what the show is about."

The photo features actress Ingrid Bolso Berdal who stars in the sci-fi western alongside Anthony Hopkins, »

- Garth Franklin

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Cast Open For "Futurama" Second Revival

19 December 2014 8:27 AM, PST

Matt Groening's cartoon "Futurama" has had more of a life than many expected. Following 72 episodes on Fox, the series was cancelled, revived for four direct-to-disc TV movies, and subsequently resurrected by Comedy Central for a further 52 episodes which came to a close in September last year.

With the characters popping up on "The Simpsons" this year, talk of the show getting further episodes has begun to pick up steam, though the question would be who would be interested in continuing the show. If someone does pick it up, expect the creative team to be onboard for it.

Katey Sagal, who plays Leela on the show, tells Zap2It that the show's fanbase will likely never let the series die and she's fine with that:

"I find that show is so fan-driven that it makes sense that somebody should pick it up…[The cast] would totally be on board and I wouldn’t be surprised, »

- Garth Franklin

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Casting: Mackie, Thompson, Stuhlbarg, Sinclair

19 December 2014 8:16 AM, PST

Make a Wish

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" star Anthony Mackie and "Dear White People" director Justin Simien are attached to direct "Make A Wish," a comedy based on the Black List script by Zach Frenkel.

Mackie will play Butchie Jones, a football star who wants to grant the final wish of a dying fourteen-year-old who adores the gridironer. It’s not an easy wish, though; the kid wants the football star to help him score with a girl before he dies. [Source: Deadline]


Tessa Thompson ("Dear White People," "Selma") has scored the female lead role in MGM's "Rocky" spinoff "Creed". Details of her role in the Ryan Coogler-directed project are unknown.

Thompson will star alongside Michael B. Jordan as the grandson of Apollo Creed, a kid raised in the lap of luxury, who has a natural instinct for boxing and pursues a career in the sweet science, against his family's wishes. »

- Garth Franklin

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Peter Jackson Won't Do A Marvel Movie

19 December 2014 8:06 AM, PST

Now that his schedule has been freed up a bit thanks to "The Hobbit" trilogy being done and dusted, filmmaker Peter Jackson is the kind of director that both studios and fans would love for their tentpole features. These days, blockbusters don't come bigger than comic book adaptations, so the inevitable question has to be asked - would Jackson ever direct one?

The man himself tells Moviefone that although he's made his name on blockbusters, now that "The Hobbit" is over he intends to move away from that style of filmmaking for a while:

"I don't really like the Hollywood blockbuster bandwagon that exists right now. The industry and the advent of all the technology, has kind of lost its way. It's become very franchise driven and superhero driven.

I've never read a comic book in my life so I'm immediately at a disadvantage and I have no interest in that. »

- Garth Franklin

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Casting: Winslet, Wu, Carrey, Bennett, McMahon

19 December 2014 7:57 AM, PST


Kate Winslet is in negotiations for the female lead in Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs biopic at Universal Pictures. If she signs on, she'll join a cast that includes Michael Fassbender as the late Apple co-founder, along with Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg and potentially Jeff Daniels. [Source: Variety]


Hong Kong film star Daniel Wu has scored the lead role in AMC's upcoming martial arts series "Badlands," a six-episode straight to series adaptation of the classic Chinese tale "Journey to the West".

Wu plays a ruthless warrior who takes a young boy on a dangerous journey together to find enlightenment. Emily Beecham, Sarah Bolger and Oliver Stark also star in the show which is aiming for a late 2015 or early 2016 release. [Source: Variety]

Deep Cover

Jim Carrey is reportedly set to star in a new comedy called "Deep Cover" which Carrey, Michael Aguilar, Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland will produce. Plot details are unknown, »

- Garth Franklin

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2014 Foreign Language Oscar Noms Shortlist

19 December 2014 7:41 AM, PST

AMPAS has announced the nine features on the shortlist for the Foreign Language Film Academy Award.  The list of nine has been whittled down from a record 83 submissions. The list, in alphabetical order by country, is:

Argentina, “Wild Tales,” Damian Szifron

Estonia, “Tangerines,” Zaza Urushadze

Georgia, “Corn Island,” George Ovashvili

Mauritania, “Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako

Netherlands, “Accused,” Paula van der Oest

Poland, “Ida,” Paweł Pawlikowski

Russia, “Leviathan,” Andrey Zvyagintsev

Sweden, “Force Majeure,” Ruben Ostlund

Venezuela, “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo

Pawlikowski's "Ida" is apparently the front runner at the moment, but don't count out "Force Majeure," "Leviathan" and "Timbuktu" which are popping up on a lot of this year's critical Top 10 lists.

There are some notable absentees though who didn't make this round including Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Winter’s Sleep," the Dardenne brothers' "Two Days One Night," and Bertrand Bonello "Saint Laurent".

This short list will be »

- Garth Franklin

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Pedro Pascal Joins Legendary's Great Wall Film

19 December 2014 7:28 AM, PST

Following his breakout performance in “Game of Thrones” last season, Pedro Pascal is in negotiations to join Matt Damon in Chinese director Zhang Yimou's untitled Great Wall historical epic at Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures.

The supernatural-tinged, English-language feature is expected to be the largest film ever shot entirely in China and follows an elite force making a last stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure back in a time when it was freshly built.

Damon is currently in negotiations to star in the lead role in the film which begins production in the Spring ahead of a November 2016 release. Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will produce.

Bryan Cranston was in talks to join at one point but is no longer involved. Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker were set to star in a previous Ed Zwick-directed incarnation of the project.

Pascal will »

- Garth Franklin

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USA Orders Hacker Drama "Mr. Robot" To Series

19 December 2014 7:19 AM, PST

As reports of hacking dominate the headlines, USA Network has announced a series pickup for next season with the hacking drama "Mr. Robot".

The ten-episode drama stars Christian Slater and Rami Malek, and follows a mysterious anarchist who recruits a young computer programmer (Malek) who suffers from an anti-social disorder and connects to people by hacking them.

Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin and Martin Wallstrom also star. The program joins several new dramas on the network including "Dig" starring Jason Isaacs and Anne Heche, and the medical drama "Complications" with Jason O’Mara and Jessica Szohr.

Source: Variety »

- Garth Franklin

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Rodriguez To Direct Sony's "Fire and Ice"

19 December 2014 7:11 AM, PST

"Sin City" helmer Robert Rodriguez is set to direct a live-action remake of Ralph Bakshi’s  animated 1983 feature "Fire And Ice" for Sony Pictures.

Based on characters created by Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, the original Fox film used rotoscoping with scenes shot in live action and traced on to animation cells.

The story is set in a village destroyed by a surging glacier, the domain for an Ice Lord, and the only survivor vows to avenge this act of destruction.

Rodriguez has been developing drafts for some time which Gary Michael Walters, Matthew Rhodes and Michel Litvak have been funding.

Source: Variety »

- Garth Franklin

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Fincher, Ellroy, HBO Confirm "Shakedown" Series

19 December 2014 6:08 AM, PST

HBO has closed deals for a noir drama series project entitled "Shakedown" from "Gone Girl" director David Fincher and "L.A. Confidential" writer James Ellroy.

Inspired by the story of vice cop turned P.I. Fred Otash, the series will be set in the tabloid world and the underbelly of Los Angeles in the 1950s. The project was originally developed at FX.

Ellroy penned a 2012 novella of the same name about a fictionalized version of Otash, but this will be an original drama project and not an adaptation. Fincher and Ellroy are executive producing alongside Joshua Donen, Clark Peterson, and Steven Hoban.

This marks Fincher's second project for HBO, the other being an adaptation of cult British series "Utopia" which is still in development.

Source: Deadline »

- Garth Franklin

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Trevorrow Talks "Jurassic World" Hybrid Dino

18 December 2014 12:04 PM, PST

Following that Chris Pratt photo earlier, "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow has spoken with EW about the film and brought up the topic of the dinosaur talked about in the trailer - the genetically modified hybrid said to be a far more lethal variation on the Tyrannosaurus Rex:

"There are dinosaurs and there’s the other—there’s this thing that is not one of them, that is not of them. There’s a lot of bold new ideas in the movie and I’m pushing it as far forward as I can. I know Steven didn’t want me to make a carbon copy of the earlier films. So we’re going for it.”

The article also includes a photo of Chris Pratt in the film in a scene that was glimpsed at the end of the trailer. Click here to check that out. »

- Garth Franklin

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