Captain America The Winter Soldier trailer

Let’s not let the new X-Men trailer overshadow the other new Marvel movie trailer, namely the one for Captain America The Winter Soldier.

In case you didn’t guess this is a cleverly hidden sequel to 2011’s Captain America. Although a look at the trailer makes it seem like Avengers 2. Exhibit A follows…

So multiple SHIELD Helicarriers and Quinjets? Check.
Including spectacular helicarrier crash sequence? Check.
Sam Jackson in his trademark black coat? Check.
Cap? Check.
The improbably lovely Scarlett Johansson in support as the Black Widow? Check, check, check! I’m there already!
Oh, and the Winter Soldier, who is actually… Never mind.

It’s nice to see a nod to the Cap of the comics with the line “This isn’t freedom, this is fear,” reflecting how the modern world fails to live up to Steve’s old-fashioned ideals.

So in summary, Scarlett is in it.

X-Men Days of Future Past trailer

The first proper trailer for X-Men Days of Future Past has finally arrived. As predicted future Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) sends future Wolverine back to the past to help 1970s Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) avert a devastating war.

Oh, don’t listen to me, just watch it…

Good, huh? Go ahead, watch it again, I did. Let the epic-ness wash over you.

Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Hugh Jackman. All in the same X-Men movie! (And let’s not forget Ellen Page. I like Ellen.)

Sounds like there’s some Inception music in there too.

Ender’s Game Review – Immensely Entertaining

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This weekend I went to see Ender’s Game in the cinema. But before launching into my review I have to announce an interest as I have read Orson Scott Card’s book that the movie is based on at least a couple of times. On the subject of the book I would say it is one of the most accessible works of science fiction out there. I would strongly recommend you pick up a copy if you have not already.

But back to the movie. I enjoyed it. Very much. In fact immensely. I’m very impressed with what they did. It’s very faithful to the book and they managed to cram in all the important stuff. That’s a definite ‘buy the blu ray on day of release’ for me.

In summary it is the future, around fifty years after an alien species called the Formics invaded earth and were repulsed by the semi-mythical pilot Mazer Rackham, but only after great loss of life. A nice detail is the footage of the battle that is endlessly played on tv and is probably as familiar to the people of this future as the Apollo 11 footage, the Zapruder film or the 9/11 images are to us.

After this close call Humanity has taken a “never again” approach and has cooperated to create the International Fleet to prevent another invasion. In order to get military commanders who can think outside the box and effectively fight in zero gravity they recruit promising young children and send them up to Battle School, a space station in orbit of Earth where teams of children fight zero G battles in a competitive environment.

Harrison’s Ford’s character Hyrum Graff has been looking for the specific individual who will be able to lead the fleet in its upcoming engagements with the Formics and he thinks that Andrew “Ender” Wiggen is the one.

The movie is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book. There are a number of significant details that have been included, for example Ender is a Third, meaning a family’s third child in a world where population controls require a couple to get permission to have more than two children.

In Ender’s case he follows his older brother Peter and sister Valentine. As in the book both siblings were considered for Battle School but Peter was deemed to aggressive and Valentine too compassionate. The hope is that Ender will have the right balance between the extremes.

An important early scene from the book is present in the movie where Ender is bullied and is forced to fight back. He literally kicks his tormentor when he is down, repeatedly. Later Ender is asked why he did his. He says it was because he wanted to win that fight but also all the future fights as well.

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By the way my mind was slightly blown to see Abigail Breslin, the little girl in Little Miss Sunshine, has turned into a lovely young woman. It cant be that many years since that movie was out, can it? She has a small but important part as Ender’s sister Valentine and I’m glad they included that character as she’s very important in the books. In many ways Ender is fighting to specifically save her as she represents that qualities of humanity that he wants to save.

Another surprise inclusion from the book is the Mind Game, a game that the battle school recruits have on their tablet devices. On the face of it the game is there for recruits to solve puzzles but is actually being monitored to see what choices they make. When I saw that had been included I knew that these filmmakers were taking the trouble to get this movie right.

One thing the movie could not exclude are the Battle Room zero-G battles. That was probably one of the biggest challenges the filmmakers faced and they came out with something outstanding. My only criticism here was that they could not include all the battles from the book and instead they focus on just two of them, albeit two of the most important ones. I found them exhilarating to watch. The director Gavin Hood should be proud of his achievement here.

Later in the movie we go to Command School where we see space battles recreated in a three-dimensional surround environment. The amount of detail included is incredible and deserves to be watched on the big screen.

I must include a word about young Asa Butterfield as Ender. His performance has to carry the movie and he does very well, particularly in the emotional scenes towards the end of the movie.

In summary Ender’s Game is one of the most enjoyable movies I have seen this year. Strongly recommended.

Star Trek Starships 5 Romulan Warbird photos

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get around to it but finally here are a few photos of the Romulan Warbird from Star Trek The Next Generation that comes with issue 5 of the Star Trek Starships Collection.

Here are a few photos of the model.

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Honestly, if you had asked me to list my most desired ships in this series then the alien ones would come well down the list. But I have to admit that this ship is pretty nice.

My only criticism is that if the model is tapped slightly then it has a tendency to move forward and then fall out of the stand.

Next up is the Voyager.

Revolution 2.4 “Patriot Games” review

The episode opens with Charlie in some crummy run-down shed place where she is eating a meal and slurping some alcoholic beverage. Some creep comes over and offers to buy her a drink. Charlie wisely refuses and makes for the door where she discovers the way has been padlocked. The creepy men have locked her in, the swine!

Still, this is Season Two Charlie so you just know she’s gonna kick some ass. She does indeed commence kicking ass. But then the starts acting woozy. The swine have drugged her!

Just then Monroe smashes in and starts killing the creepy men with very big knives. Talk about the nick of time…

Back in the Stephen Collins town Rachel wakes up after recovering from her non-fatal arrow wound. Outside she sees kids dressed up for Halloween. As she takes a walk through the town she also sees US soldiers and a ginormous US flag. Ken the Butcher says hi and I finally realise that he’s Agent Ellison from Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Rachel is reunited with miles. They embrace!

Rachel is then introduced a US soldier guy played by Stephen Culp who obviously knows more than he’s letting on.

In the Savannah refugee some camp men fight. Tom Neville breaks it up by kicking ass. If he hopes to impress his new boss he is sadly mistaken. New Boss tells him off and says he does not trust him. Neville will clearly start plotting.

In the Stephen Collins town Miles and Rachel discuss the Patriots and the connection to Randall who called himself a Patriot before shooting himself in the head. Rachel decides to snoop in the office used by the soldiers. She gets herself caught but before that she saw a map marked with the town rail yard. Later Stephen Collins does The Acting and shouts a bit at Rachel because she does crazy stuff to try to fix things.

Outside the town some Patriot soldiers find some townsman outside. They kill him and take his body back to town blaming the Titus Andover Clan Bad Men.

Charlie wakes up. Monroe has a camp fire going. Why is he helping her? He says its a show of faith and he needs her to take him to Miles. She’s not impressed with the whole wounded Monroe thing. It’s a mask she says.

At night Miles sneaks out of town to investigate what is going on outside. He goes to the Bad Men Cage place. Remember where he bonded with the Sheriff and got his hand smashed? At the same time Aaron Google has a vision of Miles in the cage place. Like a real Out of body experience sort of deal. We see Miles look right at Aaron’s point of view. Then we realise that Miles is looking at the fireflies. Aaron is connected to the fireflys!

Aaron is upset by the whole out of body experience.

Then Miles meets the leader of the Bad Men, Titus, who is hiding. He says the Patriots took his ‘children’ away in trains. He is upset by the whole turn of events so he produces a gun. He shoots but he has no bullets. Titus and Miles fight! Titus gets stabbed in the stomach.

Titus is toast.

Neville notices that New Boss has needle marks on his arms. That night Neville goes to some opium den place and finds New Boss. He ties him up. When New Boss wakes up Neville asks where his son is. New Boss does not know. Neville gives him an overdose.

In the town Rachel is hanging out with her old pal Ken the Butcher, aka Agent Ellison from Terminator. She ends up telling Ken/Ellison everything about the nukes. He takes her to his basement. It is at this point Rachel wisely begins to suspect something.

There she sees some paperwork with the all seeing eye symbol that the patriots use. Rachel tries to escape but falls and gets knocked out. When she wakes up she sees she is chained and Ken/Ellison is digging a grave. He says he has been a Patriot for seven years and he can’t have her walking around. Somehow Rachel manages to kill him and escape. Rachel buries the body and cleans up the evidence that she was there.

Still, Ken/Ellison is toast and it’s only episode four. I thought they might have been building that character up.

Outside the town Miles goes to investigate the train yard. He sees lots of Titus Bad Men being taken out of cattle cars and some are shot. Some guards see Miles and chase him. Miles is cornered by two guards. A swarm of fireflies approach. Then in an unexpected development the two guards Burst into Flame. (That really does deserve to be capitalised.)

And Aaron Google is dreaming the whole thing! He wakes up and is understandably upset by this development.

The next day Miles and Rachel discuses how the town is effectively under occupation and this leads inevitably to a resistance movement.

At the refugee camp Neville takes on the bosses duties.

Finally we see Monroe and Charlie riding on the bounty hunter cart. They’re not saying much and just look suspiciously at each other. A sign says they are ten miles from the Stephen Collins town.

Not a bad episode. It’s sadly a bit light on Charlie to be honest so I’m glad that she will be returning to the dysfunctional family dynamic soon.

Revolution 2.3 Love Story review

At the end of the last episode Miles had been taken through the Red Door to have his blood removed by the Bad Men to be put into the sick wife of the leader of the Bad Men.

Meanwhile Rachel and her new gang were riding to the rescue. Luckily Rachel and her gang know of a secret way into the headquarters of the Bad Men. The secret passage conveniently goes right into the room where Miles is having his blood removed and put into the sick lady. From now on I think I am going to define the word ‘convenient’ by referencing Revolution season 2, episode 3. But I suppose it gets the story moving quickly.

So Rachel and her gang fight the Bad Men and Miles remembers to rescue the lady in the cage in the other room. (I’m glad he did or for years I’d be obsessing about ‘whatever happened the lady in the cells who witnessed Miles and the sheriff bonding just before the sheriff was toast?’)

Miles also suggests they take the sick lady with them. They all escape back to the Stephen Collins town.

The leader of the Bad Men is understandably annoyed by this development.

The gang take Miles and the sick lady back to the town, knowing the Bad Men will follow. Indeed they do. The next day many dozens of Mad Max extras turn up and the leader demands his wife be released. Miles negotiates that the leader guy will be given proof of life.

Meanwhile the sick lady reveals to Rachel that she wants to die and be free of her crazy husband, explaining how he has been keeping her alive by killing folk for their blood. Regardless they take her on a cart to the town gates so her husband can see her. Miles then negotiates that the towns folk will be able to leave town unmolested and then the Bad Men will be given the wife and Miles will also surrender to them.

We then discover that one of the main Bad Men, I believe the one who send the letter to the US Government lady last week, actually represents the returned US Government and is bribing the Bad Men leader with diamonds to take the town.

So the town is being evacuated and everything is going well. Until that is Rachel discovers that the sick lady wife has slit her wrists in a messily bloody way. Huh, she wasn’t kidding about not wanting to go back to her husband. Rachel tells Miles and he says hey have to pretend she is still alive for as long as possible until the towns folk can escape.

However a Bad infiltrator Man manages to gets into the town by climbing over an undefended wall. He then finds where the dead wife was kept. He then walks into the house and sees that she is dead. He then gets back out. And no one sees him! Anyway, he tells the Bad Men leader.

Once more he is understandably annoyed by this development.

Let’s momentarily step away from the Stephen Collins town to visit some of our other characters.

Last week Charlie had been captured by some bounty hunters who were after Monroe, only to let the said Monroe escape. Charlie is forced to team up with the surviving bounty hunter who is clearly a budget Ryan Reynolds. I didn’t catch his name so I shall call him Ryan for now.

Charlie and Ryan track down Monroe. Ryan says he needs to get Monroe back alive or the US Government will kill his dad who they have kidnapped.

Eventually they find the stolen bounty hunter cart thing and Monroe ambushes and captures them. Charlie discovers that Ryan’s dad has not been actually kidnapped by anyone. So trusting Ryan might be this weeks Stupid Thing.

Monroe shows Charlie a wanted poster for Charlie’s mother Rachel. It turns out that the US Government want Rachel alive also. Monroe also points out the little all seeing eye logo on the wanted poster that matches one on a ring that Randall Flynn had last season.

Charlie resolves to go back to Texas to help her mother and doesn’t want Monroe’s help. Charlie starts walking away (one hopes in the direction of Texas). That’s got to be a long walk. You know, I think walking to Texas might count as a Stupid Thing to do…

Elsewhere we visit the refugee camp where Tom Neville has been plotting the downfall of, well, anyone he doesn’t like today. He and his son put on US flag patches and serve some food to refugees. Then his true identity is found out by the US Government people and he is asked what he is up to. He gives a big speech about how he wants revenge on Monroe to pay for the death of his wife. They don’t believe him but are holding his son as a hostage to ensure his cooperation.

Back at the Stephen Collins town the bad men finally start killing the townsfolk who are trying to escape. They invade the town and shoot extras with arrows. Said extras fall dead instantly. This is important to note for what happens shortly.

I should say that while the invasion is happening the Bad Men Leader goes to visit his dead wife. He is understandibly upset by this development. Then the Bad Man Who is Actually Working for the US Government puts a bag over the head of the Bad Men Leader, I assume to kill him.

Outside Rachel is shot with arrow, very near the heart. Now, given that all those other extras are dropping dead from arrow-related injuries surely this means Rachel is toast and we will no longer have the wonderful Elizabeth Mitchell in the show! Actually no. Rachel kind of staggers backwards in slow motion without the arrow actually killing her. Huh, it must have been a blank arrow, or one of those ones with rubber suckers on the end.

Meanwhile Miles is literally fighting single-handedly with his sword. But the odds are hopeless. It looks like Miles will be toast.

And the next thing you know there is the sound of gunfire. US Government soldiers suddenly appear with machine guns and shoot all the Bad Men. They also give timely medical attention to Rachel who still lives. Yay, Elizabeth Mitchell will be in the show next week!

Doctor Who The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear Found

Well, it’s official. After months of rumours and speculation we finally know that nine missing episodes of Doctor Who have come back. This gives us a complete run of the Patrick Troughton story The Enemy of the World and an almost complete run of another Troughton story The Web of Fear. And that is pretty amazing.

In total eleven episodes were discovered in a storeroom in Nigeria. We are told that two of the found episodes were already in the BBC archives so I assume that they are the not-actually-missing installments of the above stories as we already had one episode of each.

The news was announced last night at midnight and the episodes were immediately made available on iTunes (for those who can work out how to use such a thing). In a surprise move (well, I was surprised anyway) the DVDs appeared for pre-order on Amazon UK and the BBC Shop. And the DVDs have lovely new artwork.

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I note that the covers have great big “To Be Confirmed” watermarks stamped on them but I hope the final product does not deviate too much from what we can see here.

Additionally the BBC Shop is offering The Enemy of the World with an exclusive slipcover. Again, art to be confirmed.

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The Enemy of the World is complete and the DVD will be released on 25 November 2013, in other words the Monday after the 23 November 50th anniversary special.

We have to wait a bit longer for the DVD of The Web of Fear. Its not out until 24 Feburary 2014. I assume the longer wait is due to whatever work is needed to present the missing episode 3 of that serial, perhaps as a reconstruction.

It’s great that the DVDs will be out so soon after the discovery was announced. In 2011 two missing episodes were found. The episode from William Hartnell story Galaxy 4 was only released on DVD this year and the other one, an episode from the Patrick Troughton story The Underwater Menace, still hasn’t been released.

It is slightly annoying that Web is incomplete. but then I remind myself that we have gone from one episode in existance and five missing to five in existance and one missing! That’s a pretty good trade. I’m a big Troughton fan, in fact he’s my favourite Doctor, so this is wonderful news.

These finds bring the total epsiodes missing down from 106 to 97.

An it is worth noting that there may well be more finds to come. Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully.

Here’s a link to the BBC news article with some video clips:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24467337

Update: the BBC Shop is now listing an exclusive slipcase for The Web of Fear as well.

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Doctor Who Missing Episodes Found

This story has been bubbling away on Doctor Who forums for months.

But a bit of background first. Back in the 1970s the BBC made the farsighted decision to junk copies of many Doctor Who episodes, mainly the black and white episodes from the 1960s featuring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.

Since the early 1980s there has been a lot of effort to locate some of these “lost” episodes. In many cases the only copies were those made for overseas broadcasters to use. The last “big” recovery was the discovery of all four episodes of Tomb of the Cybermen in Hong Kong in the early 1990s.

A handful of other episodes have returned since then, most recently two episodes found in 2011 and that brought the total missing down to 106.

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The Web of Fear

For some time there has been a rumour circulating that many episodes had been located but an official announcement, for whatever reason, was not forthcoming.

It looks like that will change this week. A number of news outlets (such as the Radio Times website) have reported that the BBC will make an announcement and even the BBC News website is now reporting the probably announcement:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24448063

There is no word yet on what stories are part of the find, but the expectation is that they will include episodes from two Patrick Troughton stories, namely The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. I keep reading that nine episodes in total will be announced.

And beyond that? Well, the rumours have been saying that considerably more episodes were recovered than just those nine…

Star Trek Starships #4 Enterprise NX-01

It’s been a long wait between issues 3 and 4. It’s around 13 months actually. Finally issues 4 and 5 of the Star Trek Starships Collection have arrived.

(As predicted I had trouble with my subscription. I was promised my original subscription would automatically pick up again with issue 4. I finally had to phone the helpline and I discovered they had no record of my subscription and I had to subscribe again. Never mind…)

So here are a few photos of issue 4, the Enterprise NX-01 from the TV series Enterprise (which was eventually renamed Star Trek Enterprise in case viewers got confused).

My first reaction is to say that this is really a pretty nice model. It’s a decent size at roughly 13 x 8 cms and there is some very impressive detailing on the saucer section with lots of Aztec patterning visible.

It’s a damn sight more impressive than the tiny blue USS Enterprise from the original movies which had very little in the way of detail.

Here are a few photos of the model. Hopefully some of the detail comes through.

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Honestly, from the first four models this is easily my favourite. I hope they can replicate some of the attention to detail on future models such as the USS Reliant and the USS Excelsior.

Also in the box today was the Romulan ship from The Next Generation. I’m off to have a look at it next.

Revolution season 2 episode 2 There Will be Blood review

Last week the first episode of the season ended with Aaron Google coming back to life. I had assumed that Rachel had given him the CGI Healing Device but this week she seems surprised by the coming-back-to-life plot development. They both decide that the nanobots in the air must have done it for some unknown reason.

Charlie follows the mysterious dudes who took Monroe in the last episode and arrives at their camp. They have Monroe tied to a ladder at the bottom of an empty outdoor swimming pool. Charlie sneaks in, I assume to finish assassinating Monroe, but she manages to get captured herself. This probably counts as a stupid thing to do so it is nice to see her characterisation intact.

Meanwhile Miles is held in cage after being captured by the Gang of Really Bad Men last week. The sheriff is in the next door cage and they bond. Sort of. Some lady is also being held prisoner and says people are taken through a red door and never come back. We are shown the Red Door.

Some of the Really Bad Men come in and take blood samples from Miles and the sheriff. Miles passes the test but the sheriff fails somehow. A Bad Man immediately assassinates the sheriff.

Later on after an escape attempt Miles is taken to meet the leader of the Bad Men. The leader guy was some sort of headmaster and is clearly a creep. Miles gets his hand smashed with a hammer. Ew!

Back at the town where Stephen Collins lives Aaron Google is recovering from being dead for a couple of hours. He sees a vision of Rachel’s dead husband Ben Mathison lying bleeding on the floor. This upsets Aaron.

Back in the swimming pool Charlie has been tied up alongside Monroe. She doesn’t say much but just glares sweetly. We discover that Monroe has been captured by bounty hunters and the US Government want him alive for supposedly launching the nukes. The main bounty hunter guy seems decent enough and is nice to Charlie. Therefore I predict he’s being set up as a new recurring character and love interest for Charlie.

Back in the Stephen Collins town the dead sheriff appears on horseback. Rachel decides she wants to go after Miles and is looking for some good fighting men to go with her. Stephen Collins refuses but eventually agrees. He produces two men and also goes himself.

In the refugee camp Tom Neville is introduced to a former rebel fighter. They plot to kill the USA politician lady that Tom Neville does not like. They both go out armed with concealed weapons as US politician lady approaches. Neville gives the nod to the rebel guy who pulls out his gun, at which point Neville shouts “gun!” (like they do in those movies where someone is about to assassinate the president). Neville shoots the rebel guy who understandably dies thinking “I should never have trusted him, damn it.”

Yes, Tom Neville is a sly one. There’s no point in killing the US politician lady when he can use her to get on the inside and find some bigger fish to metaphorically fry.

In the Really Bad Men’s base one of the Bad Men writes a letter and seals it with actual wax like in ye olden days. Later we see the US politician lady open and read such a letter so I assume it’s the same one. I expect he has told her that they have captured Miles Matheson

We eventually get another flashback to the Tower at the moment where the nukes were about to hit their targets and Aaron Google was trying to shut things off. Just at the moment where he was about to do it the computers crash and the nukes go off. So it would seem that the Tower is out of action and that the power is back off for good unless they can figure out a way of getting rid of the nanobots.

It’s night and at the swimming pool the bounty hunters take Monroe and leave Charlie behind. Monroe quickly escapes and assassinates the bounty hunter who isn’t the future love interest of Charlie. Charlie turns up and fights Monroe but he gets away with the horse and cart, leaving Charlie and future love interest behind.

Rachel and her new gang are out riding their horses towards the Really Bad Men’s base of operations. Rachel stops her horse and asks for a torch to be lit. They all shine torches and we can see hundreds, if not thousands of dead rats on the road. Ew! Seriously, Ew! So are the nanobots programmed to kill rats?

In the cells some Bad Men come for Miles and he is taken through the Red Door. “That’ll be the cliffhanger,” I thought, “we won’t see what is on the other side tonight.”

But we do! On the other side is some sick lady who apparently needs blood transfusions. Hence the blood tests. There’s the cliffhanger.

Another decent episode that continues to set up the game-changed season 2. But there are still lots of questions to be answered. It’s a pity that the main gang is so scattered as I would enjoy seeing some of the dysfunctional family dynamic.