Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE Episode 006: "The Caretaker" is Up!

"Now, I imagine you have many questions.  Fire away, I won't answer any of them."

Despite some rather annoying audio quality issues, Jesse Jackson and I are back with another episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast.

This time out, we give our thoughts on "The Caretaker," the sixth episode from Doctor Who Series Eight, including things like Clara juggling her life in time and space with the Doctor and her teaching at Coal Hill School on Earth with her boyfriend Danny Pink, the first meeting between the Doctor and Danny, why Alex Kingston needs to return as River Song, why people travel with the Doctor when it's so obviously dangerous, what happened to the house that was next to the barn in "The Day of the Doctor," our popular Reverse the Polarity segment and more!

And for those who still aren't aware of this yet, we're available on iTunes RIGHT HERE as well as Stitcher RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and tell your friends about us. If you're looking for direct MP3 downloads, you can find them RIGHT HERE as well.  Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Have fun watching "Kill the Moon" on BBC America this Saturday, then keep checking iTunes, Stitcher and the Southgate Media Group website for our next Doctor Who review!

Netflix Announces CROUCHING TIGER Sequel as First Original Movie

Hollywood, like most things, you are nothing.

Netflix announced that it has signed a deal with The Weinstein Company to release Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the sequel to the 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon directed by Ang LeeThe film will premiere exclusively on Netflix and in selected global IMAX theaters on August 28, 2015 and could be a significant game-changer for movie theater distribution.

Based on the Crane Iron Pentalogy by wuxia novelist Wang Dulu, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is set in the Qing Dynasty during the 43rd year (1779) of the reign of the Qianlong Emperor and features Chow Yun-fat as an accomplished Wudang swordsman Li Mu Bai whose master was murdered by Jade Fox (Cheng Pei-pei), a woman who sought to learn Wudang skills.  Mu Bai's friend Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) is a female warrior and the two have developed feelings for each other, but have never acknowledged or acted on them.  Intending to give up his warrior life, Mu Bai asks Shu Lien to transport his sword, also referred to as the Green Destiny, to the city of Beijing, as a gift for their friend Sir Te (Sihung Lung).  At Sir Te's estate, Shu Lien meets Jen (Zhang Ziyi), the daughter of a visiting Manchu aristocrat who is destined for an arranged marriage but is far more than she seems.

The film won Best Foreign Language Film at the 73rd Academy Awards, the 58th Golden Globe Awards and the 54th British Academy Film Awards.  In addition, the film won Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score at the Academy Awards, with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will be directed by Yuen Wo-Ping and feature the return of Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu Lien, Donnie Yen as Meng Sizhao/Silent Wolf and Harry Shum, Jr. as Tiefang. 

Oh, look.  There's an official press release...



Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen star under the direction of Yuen Wo-Ping in the Sequel to the Academy Award®-winning 2000 film

Beverly Hills, Ca. and New York, September 29, 2014–Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the stunning next chapter in the saga started by the critically and popularly acclaimed Ang Lee martial arts epic, will premiere exclusively on Netflix and in selected global IMAX® theaters on August 28, 2015.

Produced by The Weinstein Company, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend echoes the themes of the original movie, but tells its own story — one of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption, set against breathtaking action in an epic martial arts battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of the Martial World.

Directed by the renowned martial arts choreographer (The Matrix Trilogy and Kill Bill 1&2) and director (Tai Chi Master) Yuen Wo-Ping, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Lady) reprising her role as Yu Shu-Lien and Donnie Yen (Ip Man 1&2, Monkey King 3D) as Silent Wolf.

The film is to be the first of several major films backed by Netflix to premiere on the same day on the world’s leading Internet TV network and in select IMAX theaters globally, giving consumers and exhibitors around the world unparalleled flexibility in how, when and where they
enjoy a major motion picture.

“Fans will have unprecedented choice in how they enjoy an amazing and memorable film that combines intense action and incredible beauty,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are honored to be working with Harvey Weinstein and a world-class team of creators to bring this epic story to people all over the world and to partner with IMAX, a brand that represents the highest quality of immersive entertainment, in the distribution of this film.”

“The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. “We are tremendously excited to be continuing our great relationship with Netflix and bringing to fans all over the world the latest chapter in this amazing and intriguing story.”

“IMAX has a terrific opportunity, via this partnership with Netflix, to release Crouching Tiger – a high-quality, action-packed film that is right in our wheelhouse — at the end of the summer blockbuster season,” said Greg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. “We are particularly hopeful it will play in our highly successful China market. In territories where we simultaneously release with Netflix, we are excited to offer consumers the option of deciding how, when and where they want to view the film, and exhibitors the opportunity to participate in this alternative form of content in a new and innovative way.”

Based on the acclaimed novel, Iron Knight, Silver Vase, by Wang Dulu (book 5 in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy) and written by John Fusco (Marco Polo) the new film is produced by Harvey Weinstein (Academy Award winner – The King’s Speech, The Artist) and Peter Berg (Emmy Award winner – Friday Night Lights; Lone Survivor, Hancock) and Sarah Aubrey (Friday Night Lights; Lone Survivor, Hancock) and executive produced by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, The Imitation Game), Ralph Winter (X-Men franchise), Anthony Wong, and Bey Logan (The Medallion).

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend also stars Harry Shum Jr (Glee, Revenge of the Green Dragons), Jason Scott Lee (Seventh Son, Hawaii Five-O), Roger Yuan (Bulletproof Monk), Eugenia Yuan (Revenge of the Green Dragons) and newcomer Natasha Liu Bordizzo.

Principal photography is now underway in New Zealand. The film’s director of photography is Tom Sigel (Drive, X-Men: Days of Future Past) and design is led by the Academy Award®-winning Lord of the Rings team of costume designer Ngila Dickson, production designer Grant Major and visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson.

Friday, September 26, 2014

HANNIBAL's Bryan Fuller Wants David Tennant to Guest Star

The Doctor meeting Dr. Lecter...How charming.

The Metro has revealed that Bryan Fuller, the creator and showrunner of the NBC series Hannibal, wants former Doctor Who star David Tennant to appear on the series and has been trying to get him for a while now.

"I’m a huge fan of David Tennant, and we’ve been trying to get him on the show for quite some time," said Fuller.  "He’s such a spectacular actor.  He brings such an effervescence to every performance.  I would love to have David on the show.  Or just write for David!  I would kill and eat somebody to work with David!  He’s my favorite Doctor."

The Scottish actor and former Tenth Doctor auditioned for the lead role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter on the drama series, although the role eventually went to Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.  Tennant is currently starring on the Fox series Gracepoint, an American remake of his UK drama series Broadchurch, with the role of Detective Emmett Carver instead of Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.

In addition, Fuller gave Fannibals some more details about what they can expect in Season 3.  "The interesting thing about Season 3 is that we are heading away from the crime procedural aspect of the story-telling," he said, "and it is very much a soap opera for the first half."

"There are some creative deaths," he continued, "but it’s much more about our regular characters as opposed to a killer of the week coming in and creating these fantastic death tableau.  We’re really focusing on the relationships between these characters and the fallout from Season 2 for the survivors who made it through the 'Red Dinner.'"

"There’s a slight evolution of the series in that way," added Fuller.  "The first half of the season I’m really excited about because it’s more like an intense psychological thriller.  I’m excited about the rematch between Hannibal and Jack Crawford."

We'll also get a look at Hannibal's past, giving us a better idea of what motivates the character.  "We are absolutely delving into his history," said Fuller.  "Not as many flashbacks as much as it is finding present day survivors from that era of his life and understanding, with greater detail, about Hannibal and his modes of human interaction."

"I would be very nervous about casting child actors to portray such iconic characters because it’s always a gamble," he added.  "For me, I kind of don’t want to imagine anybody else in this incarnation than Mads Mikkelsen."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE: Episode 005 - "Time Heist" is Up!

"Shut up.  Just shut up.  Shut up, shut up, shuttity up up up."

Yes, we're back on a less timey-wimey track as Jesse Jackson and I return with another episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast.

This time out, we give our thoughts on "Time Heist," the fifth episode from Doctor Who Series Eight, including things like Clara and Danny's interrupted second date, the return of the memory worms (Now, what are those things again?  I forget...), cool slo-mo walks, the Doctor's thoughts on his past and present fashion, Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer, eating Chinese food in the TARDIS, listener comments, our popular Reverse the Polarity segment and more!

And for those who aren't aware yet, we are available on iTunes RIGHT HERE as well as Stitcher RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and tell your friends about us. Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Oh, and be sure to watch "The Caretaker" on BBC America this Saturday, then keep checking iTunes, Stitcher and the Southgate Media Group website for our next review!

DAMN Good Television -- GOTHAM: "Pilot"

At long last, the world of Batman finally returns to live-action television for the first time in about...oh, only fifty years.  Since the campy 1960s TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, Batman fans have had plenty of feature films and animated series to enjoy between weekly trips to the comic store, but certainly not a weekly Batman drama series.  Well, that's all changed with the arrival of the new Fox crime drama Gotham, but with the twist that Batman isn't actually Batman.  Not yet, anyway.

When this series was announced last September, fans were understandably skeptical.  A Batman show without Batman?  Not entirely unheard of though, considering Smallville was essentially a Superman show without Superman and that lasted ten seasons.  But instead of making just another cop drama with Gotham City as the setting and Jim Gordon as the lead, Gotham creator and executive producer Bruno Heller decided to make the series more interesting by using it to tell origins of some of Batman's biggest enemies as well as what happened with young Bruce Wayne in the days after his parents were murdered in Crime Alley.  That missing piece of Batman's life story is ripe with story potential, so we'll have to see if Heller and his staff of writers make the most of it.

This first episode, written by Heller and directed by co-executive producer Danny Cannon, opens with a young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) prowling the gothic rooftops of Gotham City at night.  She slides down a storefront awning, showing us that she's been at this for a little while, and proceeds to skillfully nick a half pint of milk and a man's wallet before being chased down an alley all too familiar to Batman fans.

From the shadows, Selina watches as her future love/enemy Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) walks down Crime Alley with his millionaire parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, straight into a masked robber.  Once again, pieces of a pearl necklace fall to the pavement, two shots are fired, and the 12-year-old Bruce is suddenly an orphan shrieking in rage and horror.

Mazouz does an effective job selling such an important scene, which leads to the introduction of lead characters Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) as they arrive to the crime scene.  We immediately see the contrast between the two, as Bullock hopes to dump the important case on the GCPD's major crimes unit, while Gordon quickly reaches out to the grieving Bruce and vows to bring his parents' killer to justice.  It's an important moment that establishes the strong bond between Bruce and Gordon that will eventually carry into Bruce's adulthood as Batman.

The Crime Alley setting also introduces Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, who comes to take Bruce home and serve as the boy's legal guardian.  Pertwee's Alfred is much closer in tone to Michael Caine's than Michael Gough's, a seemingly regular English bloke that uses words like "mate" instead of a droll, posh-sounding traditional butler.  Alfred doesn't get to do too much in this pilot episode, but his concern for Bruce's well-being is heartfelt and genuine, quickly proving himself as the mentor we know and love.

As the episode progresses, we're introduced to a number of other characters including the somewhat bland Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen from major crimes, the future Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) as a member of the GCPD, Gordon's fiancĂ©e Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) who is surprisingly bisexual, the young Poison Ivy (Clare Foley) who currently has the name of Ivy Pepper, and mob boss Carmine Falcone (John Doman) who is in danger of losing control of his criminal empire.

The major threat to Falcone is Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), a major player in Gotham's underworld with influence over Bullock and a fondness for music from The Dead Weather.  Smith tries hard to be intimidating as Fish, but is easily overshadowed by her underling Oswald Cobblepot, played rather brilliantly by Robin Lord Taylor.  The young Penguin is conniving and a bit psychotic, snitching to Montoya and Allen in the hopes of throwing Fish under the bus, until the move goes horribly wrong and leads to his exile.  The metaphor of a Penguin and a Fish seems to hint at Fish's quick exit, but for now, it's going to be interesting to see what Oswald does next.

All in all, Gotham seems like a very promising series, with the pilot setting the tone of a proper crime drama...as much as this series can being on Fox at 8 p.m. EST instead of on the more adult channel FX at 10 p.m.  Yes, there are some things that feel a bit Smallville (Bruce's gray sweaters with black pants that foreshadow his Batman costume, for example), but Gotham has far more going for it than Bruce pining for Selina from inside his father's study. 

The corruption running rampant through the GCPD along with an inevitable mob war should keep Gordon busy and constantly in danger, and the slow rise of Batman's worst enemies will definitely keep the series from becoming yet another cop show.  Gotham needs to keep stepping on the gas though, because The Flash and Constantine are coming up next.

Friday, September 19, 2014

SUPERGIRL Gets Series Commitment from CBS

You just know Marvel has to be feeling some pressure on the TV front right about now.

Less than a month after the project was announced in development, TV Line reports that the Supergirl television series has received a series commitment from CBS.  According to the article, Supergirl will focus on DC Comics character Kara Zor-El, the cousin of Superman, "who escaped the planet Krypton amid its destruction.  Having hid all this time on Earth the powers she shares with 'her famous cousin' (as the official logline cheekily puts it), 24-year-old Kara decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and 'be the hero she was meant to be.'"

Arrow and The Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler, who worked on Berlanti's ABC series No Ordinary Family, will executive produce the series along with Sarah Schechter of Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television.  The series will indeed be called Supergirl, despite previous reports that the name might not have been available due to legal reasons.

Supergirl is the latest of an ever-growing number of DC Comics properties airing on television or being developed, including Arrow, The Flash and iZombie on The CW, Gotham on Fox, Constantine on NBC, Preacher on AMC, Titans on TNT, Ronin on Syfy and Scalped on WGN America.  More notably, it's also the first television series about a female superhero since Birds of Prey aired on The WB for 13 episodes in 2002.

Created in 1959 by Otto Binder, Al Plastino and Curt Swan, Supergirl first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #252 as Kara Zor-El, the daughter of Jor-El's brother Zor-El and cousin to Superman. She was the last survivor of Argo City, which had survived the destruction of the planet Krypton until meteorites of Green Kryptonite penetrated Argo City's protective barrier. Sent to Earth by Zor-El to be raised by her cousin, Kara acquired powers similar to Superman and adopted the secret identity of Linda Lee, a young girl at Midvale Orphanage.

In the current New 52 continuity, Kara's ship lands as part of a meteor shower in Smallville, Kansas, but burrows through the Earth and emerges in Siberia. Kara has no memory of the destruction of Krypton and believes herself to be dreaming. The military tracks her arrival, and a group of American soldiers in mechanized suits immediately attack her. Her powers start emerging as the fight goes on and terrify the surprised Kara. Superman arrives after she defeats the soldiers and tries to convince Kara that he is her cousin, but Kara, still believing that only three days have passed since she last saw baby Kal, accuses him of being an imposter and attacks him. Eventually, Kara accepts that Krypton has been destroyed and that Superman is indeed her grown-up cousin.

This will be the second time Supergirl has been depicted in live-action television, after Laura Vandervoort on the WB/CW series SmallvillePreviously, Helen Slater portrayed the character in the 1984 film Supergirl that was a spinoff from the Superman films starring Christopher Reeve.  The character has also appeared a number of times in animation, including Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited (voiced by Nicholle Tom), and the Super Best Friends Forever DC Nation animated shorts (voiced by Nicole Sullivan).

Presumably, Supergirl will air on CBS sometime in Fall 2015.

DOCTOR WHO 2014 Christmas Special Casts Nick Frost & Patrick Troughton's Son

To quote Ed from Shaun of the Dead, "Yeah, boyyyyyeee..."

Three guest stars have been confirmed for the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special starring Peter Capaldi and (maybe) Jenna Coleman, which include actors Nick Frost, Nathan McMullen and Michael Troughton.  The official Doctor Who Twitter account posted the following picture of set chairs (Ooo, chairs!) that revealed the news...
Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, says: "Frost at Christmas -- It just makes sense!  I worked with Nick on the Tintin movie many years ago and it's a real pleasure to lure him back to television for a ride on the TARDIS."

Fan-favorite Nick Frost is best known for co-starring with Simon Pegg in the television series Spaced and Edgar Wright's "Cornetto trilogy" of films that included Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End.  Pegg previously appeared in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Long Game" from the Christoper Eccleston era.

"I'm so thrilled to have been asked to guest in the Doctor Who Christmas Special," said Frost.  "I'm such a fan of the show.  The read-through was very difficult for me -- I wanted to keep stuffing my fingers into my ears and scream 'No spoilers!'  Every day on set I’ve had to silence my internal fanboy squeals!"

Michael Troughton is the son of the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and brother to David Troughton, who appeared in the 1972 episode "The Curse of Peladon" from the Jon Pertwee era and the 2008 episode "Midnight" from the David Tennant era.

Nathan McMullen is probably familiar to genre fans as Finn from the science fiction dramedy MisfitsOther guest stars include Natalie Gumede from Coronation Street and Faye Marsay from The White Queen.

The 2014 Christmas Special will be written by series showrunner Steven Moffat and directed by Paul Wilmshurst, who directed the Series Eight episodes "Kill the Moon" and "Mummy on the Orient Express."