Trailer Time: Batman Arkham Origins Launch Trailer (2013)

Behold the launch trailer for Batman Arkham Origns which is out on Friday.  I loved Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but I went against pre-ordering this one.  With Xbox One so close, funds need to be conserved and I’m just not certain with anyone but Rocksteady handling the franchise.  I hope it’s fantastic, but no pre-order.

Developed by WB Games Montréal, Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline set several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.

Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous criminals, the game showcases a young and unrefined Batman as he faces a defining moment in his early career as a crime fighter that sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight. As the story unfolds, players will meet many important characters for the first time and forge key relationships.

Black Mask is the game’s key villain.  He’s hired eight assassins to kill Batman, a younger Batman than we’ve seen in the other games, during the holiday season in Gotham.  Deathstroke, The Mad Hatter, Copperhead, Penguin, Firefly (who gets some nice time in this trailer), Bane and the Joker are all confirmed.  I’m more impressed everytime I see something new from this installment and I’m rethinking a pre-order.  Batman Arkham Origins will release for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii U on October 25, 2013.
Batman Arkham Origins

Michael Arndt OUT as Star Wars Episode VII Screenwriter! JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan Now Listed as the Sequel’s Screenwriters

Fan Made Poster by Clint Onkun
Fan Made Poster by Clint Onkun

In what may go a long way toward explaining why there has been a dearth of official Star Wars Episode VII announcements, Lucasfilm today announced that the screenwriters of the film are now JJ Abrams and Empire Strikes Back director Lawrence Kasdan.  I’ll paste the entire press release from Lucasfilm below and it makes it sound like the two have just assumed this duty.  Michael Arndt had a script he’d been working on for over a year.  If it wasn’t done; it was close.  This is the guy who wrote Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3.  He’s a good writer.  To have an out-of-the-blue announcement that he’s no longer involved is, to me, an extraordinary development at this point in pre-production.

Script is everything for a successful franchise rebirth for Star Wars.  It’s the foundation.  As talented and as experienced as Abrams and Kasdan are, Arndt is quite honestly a better writer than they are.  I can only deduce that this wasn’t a stylistic disagreement but a major plot shift.  It certainly explains why there’s been no official casting of any role for the film just months away from the start of shooting.

I’m almost more bothered by the tone of this release; like this is a nothing development.  This may be the biggest official announcement since the films were rolled out.  A lot of my confidence in this just got shaken and shaken hard.  I hope Abrams and Kasdan knew beyond a doubt where to take the film enough to scrap Arndt’s script, but it begs the question…how far along are they?  ARE they scrapping all of Arndt’s work?  The fact that his name has been removed from the project suggests they are.  Keeping the film in summer 2015 come hell or high water is not worth compromising on quality, because Episode VII HAS to be good if Disney wants this to work.  There are a huge portion of jaded and angry fans and if they can’t heal that rift with this film, they’re not going to get them back.  This is all just speculation because the release is so vague, but what it DOES say, makes me very very nervous.

As “Episode VII” continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and serving as co-screenwriter for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams’ credits include “Super 8,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Fringe,” and “Lost.”

“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a “Star Wars” story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”

Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway on “Episode VII.” A team of gifted artists are working to bring the latest installment of the “Star Wars” saga, including director of photography Dan Mindel (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek”), production designers Rick Carter (“Lincoln,” “Avatar”) and Darren Gilford (“Oblivion,” “TRON: Legacy”), costume designer Michael Kaplan (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“), special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (“Skyfall,” “The Dark Knight Rises“), sound designer Ben Burtt (“Lincoln,” “Star Wars: Episodes I-VI”), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (“Jurassic Park,” “Saving Private Ryan”), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Master”) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”) of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”) and Jason McGatlin (“Tintin,” “War of the Worlds”) serving as executive producers.

John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.

Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release


Trailer Time: Captain America The Winter Soldier (2014)

Here it is!  Your first look at Captain America the Winter Soldier!  Official synopsis below.  Cap 2 opens 4/4/14.
Cap 2, Captain America, Captain America The Winter Soldier, Chris Evans, Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy.

Trailer Time: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Launch Trailer (2013)

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag takes the series to the high seas as you control pirate Edward Kennaway and generally do scurvy things while knifing Templars.   I am waiting for the Xbox One version, but I’m hoping this is a step up from ACIII, which I found to be a grind (EIGHT HOURS OF TUTORIALS????)

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag releases October 29th for this generation consoles and at launch with both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

Assassin's Creed IV: Blag Flag, Assassin's Creed, Blag Flag, Assassin's Creed IV, Ubisoft

Henry Selick to Direct Grimm Brothers Movie


Most people think Tim Burton directed Nightmare Before Christmas, but it was stop-motion genius Henry Selick, who gets no credit for his part in one of my favorite movies of all-time.  Selick also directed Coraline and now is set to direct a new, live-action film called A Tale Dark and Grimm.  Based on a book by Adam Gidwitz, the film follows two children who escape from the fairy tale in which they live only to find themselves journeying through eight other frightening tales.

Live action Selick is something that’s extremely intriguing.  This is material that is right in his wheelhouse though and I will be watching this one with extreme interest.  Which is code for “you’ll hear a lot about it too”.

Here’s what Selick had to say: “I remain completely enraptured by Adam Gidwitz’ marvelous book ‘A Tale Dark & Grimm,’ It’s a hilarious, deeply inventive tale about survival in the world of fairytales and what it takes to forgive one’s parents. So it’s a huge thrill to be joining the team of Kamala Films and FilmNation as the director of the film based on it.”

This is the synopsis of the book to be adapted:

Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm (and Grimm-inspired) fairy tales. An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after. Because once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.