Independence Day 2 – Release Date Confirmed

It has been almost 20 years since Independence Day shocked the world when aliens destroyed The White House and mankind’s only hope was Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, well the sequel has now been given a release date and some of the details have now been revealed. Unfortunately Will Smith turned down the opportunity to return as Captain Steven Hiller, supposedly due to demanding too much money to reprise his role and Fox not bowing to his wishes. What is known is that Goldblum will return as David Levinson, and Chris Hemsworth’s brother Liam will be replacing Smith’s role. Hemsworth, who started out on Australian television with Neighbours, found fame with the Hunger Games as Gale Hawthorne, friend of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.

INDEPENDENCE DAY Sequel is comingJeff Goldblum, whose film career started in the 1970s and found huge box office success in The Fly (1978) and as Dr Ian Malcolm in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993), is set to return in Independence Day 2 as David Levinson. Reprising his role as the ex-scientist turned cable technician, who is the first to discover the alien’s plans to destroy key landmarks across Earth. Independence Day 2 will be Goldblum’s first film role since 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, where he played Deputy Kovacs.

Principal photography has begun on Independence Day 2 but no word of plot or synopsis has yet to be revealed, but will no doubt involve aliens coming back to Earth to avenge the repelled invasion from last time. Roland Emmerich will be returning as director, who since he last took the reigns 19 years ago, has gone on to make a name for himself in the disaster movie genre. Godzilla, Day After Tomorrow and 2012 all followed the success of Independence Day. Carter Blanchard has been bought onboard to write the script, taking over from Dean Devlin who has now taken the role up of producer for Independence Day 2 and the subsequent planned sequel.

Independence Day 2 is scheduled for release on June 26 2016, surely missing a trick of not releasing it on fourth of July. But it will come almost exactly 20 years since the original was released on June 25 1996. The original went on to smash box office records, making over $50,000,000 on opening weekend, going on to gross over $800,000,000 worldwide. With such a huge success, it has come as a surprise to many why a sequel has taken this long to materialise.

According to producer Dean Devlin, the US military had agreed to support the film, allowing the use of military bases and consultations to any actors who played military roles. But after learning about the references to Area 51 in the script, all help was pulled. Independence Day also still holds the record for most miniature model work to appear in a film. Michael Joyce, who was a supervisor for all models on set claimed that the film featured more miniatures than any other two films combined. Due to the advancement of special effects, the need for practical affects lessens, so this record will more than likely stand forever.

Independence Day 2 is due for release next year on June 26 2016, with another sequel has been confirmed but with no date as of yet.

DC Comics Universe Set to Rival Marvel’s Dominance

With Marvel Studios running rampant in the box office with every film released being a sure-fire hit, it seems that comic book movies are hot property at the moment, a far cry from how Hollywood thought of them a couple of decades ago. DC Comics are responsible for some of the most classic comic book characters in history. With superheroes such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman and Green Lantern in DC’s vast back catalogue, the film crossover possibilities are endless. With the Suicide Squad film now in production, the future looks bright for DC as they attempt to overthrow Marvel as film’s biggest comic book studio.

DC Comic Villain The Joker Marvel Studios has been churning out box office smashing films for a while now, starting with Blade back in 1998. Starring Wesley Snipes as the vampire hunter, the film was a huge success and showed that comic book films can be a success without the need for a well known character. X-Men was the next film to be released from Marvel, starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and directed by Bryan Singer. The film made almost $300,000,000 worldwide and subsequently paved the way for sequels and the eventual prequel origin stories.

With the release and success of Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios decided on linking all further films within the same universe, resulting in the phenomenally successful Avengers in 2012, which combined a number of main characters all teaming up in one film. Captain America (2011) and Thor (2011) were both films released to set up the story for The Avengers, joining Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) as a team of superheroes bought together by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).

With Marvel Studios running away with such success, DC Comics have now entered the game with their own connecting film universe, with an equally impressive roll call of superheroes. Man of Steel (2013) is the first film in the shared universe, directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead) and starring Henry Cavill as Superman, a reboot of the Superman films. Cavill will reprise his role as the man of steel in the second shared universe film, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the introduction of Ben Affleck taking up the role of Batman after Christian Bale’s hugely successful Dark Knight trilogy from Christopher Nolan. There are plans for 11 more films to fit in with the shared universe, including a stand alone film starring Affleck’s Batman.

The DC Comics universeThe films to be released for the DC shared universe by Warner Bros. scheduled for release over the next five years include Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League and part two in 2019, The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg and a reboot of the critically panned Green Lantern will all follow. In addition, a sequel to Man of Steel is also in the pipeline. The shared universe idea started back in 1998 when Kevin Smith and Tim Burton were to team up and reboot Superman with Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel. Michael Keaton was also set to reprise his role of Batman from Burton’s earlier Batman films but the project was cancelled before production began.

With Suicide Squad being the first major film to incorporate multiple characters from the DC shared universe, it was announced that David Ayer (Fury and The Fast and the Furious) will both direct and write. An all-star cast was revealed with Will Smith leading as Deadshot, Jared Leto as the Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jesse Eisenberg rumoured to be playing Lex Luthor. The film follows the anti-hero organisation that first appeared in DC Comics back in 1959, where a secret government organisation recruits dangerous criminals and super villains in order to carry out black ops missions in exchange for reduced sentences. Jared Leto released a picture of himself in the Joker makeup, following on from Jack Nicholson’s 1989 iteration and Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning portrayal in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

The Suicide Squad seems to be DC’s answer to the hugely successful Avengers series, but only time will tell if DC can stand toe to toe against the might of Marvel in the world of cinema.  But with two of the most iconic superheroes of all time in Superman and Batman in their corner, the next five years looks promising for DC Comics.

Ant-Man – What Could Have Been

Marvel are preparing for another massive year in the box office with the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the sequel to 2012’s box office hit The Avengers, which raked in over $600,000,000 worldwide. But another Marvel film is being primed for release, one that may not be as a big a franchise as The Avengers but one that has taken quite some time in development. Ant-Man, the alter-ego of scientist Hank Pym who invented a substance that enabled him to change his size, first debuted in 1962 in a Marvel comic. Two further characters have adopted the superhero persona of Ant-Man, the first being Scott Lang after Pym pursued other superhero identities.

Marvel Ant-man posterThe film began development in early 2006, even before Iron Man, when Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright was bought onto the project as director and co-writer, alongside comedian Joe Cornish. The English born comedian directed his first feature film Attack the Block, a sci-fi comedy horror in 2011, starring John Boyega, which led him to land a leading role in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

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The Digital World VS The Real World – Are we forgetting to live our lives outside?

It’s true that technology was meant to help man to make work efficient. In fact, I strongly believe that it was prophetic ever since primitive man started making stone tools hundreds of thousands of years ago, technology would eventually catch up to him and probably even overtake him. According to physicist, Michio Kaku, man will soon advance his own evolution and would build synthetic hardened metallic-carbon physical bodies and become immortal – along with it are tons of advanced refinements that will make people superhuman on every level possible.

Is technology making us lazy?Today there is talk of biological and mecha type of fusion that will boost our learning abilities to unparalleled levels and enable us to connect to the internet and communicate worldwide without ever picking up our phones from our pockets. But at what price?

If you were to look for evidence on how technology has seemingly changed our society, then you need not look so far. Simply go to public places and observe how people behave with all their laptops, smartphones, tablets and other hand-held gadgets. They are physically present in the place where they loiter but are completely oblivious to their surroundings. Where once there existed hundreds of opportunities for small talk and making friends now are just empty space filled with something like biological creatures that acts like lifeless zombies. Is it really a big deal to be connected to the internet at all times while you suffer friendships and wonderful conversations without the smileys and emoticons, but people expressing real emotions and showing real smiles? Perhaps we need to take a second look at things and ourselves most especially and rethink about out social behaviors and interactions.

Tiffany Shlain who is an avid smartphone and gadget user once noted that during a minor surgery she had just a few months ago, she was more concerned about her phone than her surgery and that the phone’s screen was far more important to her than her well-being. Former NBA superstar turned basketball analyst, Shaquille O’Neal, said that not seven minutes would go by without him checking his phone. Recently a not-so-well-known news about a research on gadget addiction was published in a peer review journal, and it was stated that using smartphones and gadgets all the time can be equated to certain mental disorder and that taking selfies a lot is classified as a narcissistic behavior with the extremes of which are deemed similar to psychotic behavior. These findings has yet to be proven though as no one was ever killed over a selfie or a smartphone or a gadget. “You feel like the world ends when you don’t have connectivity,” according tRemember to relax and not drown in the digital worldo “SKEE Live” show host on AXS TV.

Consequently there are vast numbers of people who are suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) since smartphones and gadgets got more advanced and these findings can be cross referenced to the years between 2005 – 2014. It is such a tragedy that as our technology advances our moral values and ethics diminish, but the technology itself isn’t the problem here; rather it is how people are taught to be attached to their smartphones, computers and gadgets is. We can fix this problem and all we need are people who are willing to start the “old fashion” trend again, and when I say “old fashion,” I don’t mean trading the new technology for the old one. I’m talking about people talking directly to each other and making eye contact, I’m saying that we need to enjoy the outdoors without taking tons of selfies. I’m saying that we take time for our gadgets, for our rest and relaxation, for self-reflection and quiet time for family bonding time and not focus on technology all of the time. I hope this article will be meaningful to you today. Thanks for reading and enjoy life minus the long hours on your phone or computer.

Stephen King’s Dark Tower Set for Film and TV

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower film has been floating around development hell for quite some time, but it seems there might actually be light at the end of the tunnel. It has been announced that Sony and MRC are teaming up to bring the much loved fantasy series to not just film, but television as well. The plans include bringing the books to the silver screen in a film series as well as a complimentary TV show to accompany the movies.

The dark tower - From Stephen KingThe Dark Tower series is a series of book by famous horror writer Stephen King, the book blends multiple genres in what King himself describes as his finest work. It combines fantasy, science fiction, horror and Western in a series that follows a ‘gunslinger’ on his quest towards a tower. The series comprises of eight novels focussing on the protagonist Roland Deschain, a character King has revealed to be majorly influenced by Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” from Sergio Leone’s acclaimed Western ‘Dollar’ trilogy. Other inspirations for the series have come from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings’ vast fictional world, as well as Arthurian legend.

Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Erica Huggins and Akiva Goldsman are set to produce, who have collectively tried to get the project up and running for almost 10 years. The first film will be based on the very first novel, The Gunslinger, which was written back in 1982. Akiva Goldsman has been joined by Jeff Pinkner to co-write the script, and will be a completely different version to what has previously been written. Now all that is left is for a director to be bought onboard and production can begin.

The Dark Tower adaptations have been in the works for quite some time, but due to the sheer scope and size of the world in which the Gunslinger exists, potential budgets have been far too big for studios to take a risk on. Even though the books themselves have received critical acclaim, studios are reluctant in taking on a project of this scale without assurances that it will succeed. The project went through two major studios before landing with MRC and Sony. Universal Studios picked up the property back in 2007 and initially announced JJ Abrams was connected to direct a trilogy but soon removed himself from the project. Universal eventually pulled the plug after budget issues and a contract breakdown with director Ron Howard. Dark Tower then jumped ship over to Warner Bros. but again due to financial concerns, they also passed.

Stephen King himself is excited that his series has finally been given the greenlight as he recently stated that having Akiva Goldsman Jeff Pinkner onboard to write the adaptations is a brilliant and creative approach to his books. The Dark Tower will be the latest Stephen King novel to receive the silver screen treatment, which comes after countless critically acclaimed and successful film versions of his books have been released over the years. Such films include The Shawshank Redemption, It, The Green Mile, The Shining, Stand By Me and Carrie have all been hugely successful.

The Dark Tower has no release date for now, but after a decade of sitting in development hell, there finally seems to be some hope for the Gunslinger to make his way to television and the big screen.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The 25th Anniversary

Back in the late 1980s, comic book films were film studio’s kryptonite, nobody wanted to go near them after the disaster that was Howard the Duck’s live-action feature film in 1986. Its hard to imagine how such sure-fire successes comic book films have today that back then it was simply a no go. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a premise straight out of a child’s imagination; four teenage, giant turtles who have been trained in the art of Ninjutsu, who also live in the sewers under New York City and eat nothing but pizza. Long before Michael Bay produced the critically panned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot in 2014, the heroes in a half shell started life as a comic book in 1984.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird first published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 1984 as a parody to popular comic book heroes at the time. Appearing first as a black and white comic that had a limited print run in New Hampshire, USA, popularity soon grew thanks to clever marketing and advertisements in comic book circles. The incredible rise to stardom started when a licensing agent contacted Eastman and Laird about merchandising options of manufacturing a line of lead figurines based on the comic. Through the success of the initial toys, Laird and Eastman approached Playmates, a small upstart toy company in California, to produce action figures to accompany the comic book.

After the rising popularity of the comic books and action figures, Laird and Eastman thought an idea of a mini-series to help promote the action figures. The animated show lead to being picked up by American cable network CBS which helped catapult the Turtles into the mainstream. The TV show, which ran from 1986 for an incredible 10 years until 1996, became a huge international success throughout this time. The popularity went through the roof in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Turtles’ lunch boxes, on cereal packets and even food tie-ins.

It was at this time that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wave of success caught the attention of producer Gary Propper, who subsequently persuaded Laird and Eastman to option the film rights. Steve Barron was bought onboard to direct, who had previously worked on successful music videos, including Billie Jean, as well as Bobby Herbeck to write the script. With all the pieces in place, all that was left to do was to find a studio to fund it. At the height of Turtle mania, that shouldn’t be such a hard task. But unfortunately due to past failures and box office flops of Howard the Duck and Masters of the Universe, practically every studio in Hollywood wouldn’t even go near the film. Nobody in the film industry thought a comic book could be turned into a live-action feature film.Dancing Ninja Turtles

Having exhausted all possibilities, Propper thought maybe he could try his luck in Hong Kong with Golden Harvest, a production company that specialised in kung-fu films, noticeably Enter the Dragon and other Bruce Lee films. But the first meeting didn’t go as planned. Yet again, the proposed Turtles film fell on deaf ears until they realised they could make the film for very little money in Hong Kong. It was agreed that Golden Harvest would greenlight the production for a relatively small budget of $3million.

Then came one of the most important moves of the entire film production, the hiring of Jim Henson and his Creature Shop to design the costumes as well as manage all the required animatronics. Luckily, Steve Barron had worked with Jim Henson before so he approached the legendary man responsible for Sesame Street and the Muppet Show, to join the project. Barron managed to convince Henson to offer his services after doubts crept in due to the violent nature of the original comic books. But even after all of these hurdles, the main problem of distribution still hung over the film’s production. Without the funding behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the project could collapse at any moment. In stepped New Line Cinema, who saved the production and at last secured distribution rights and a release.

As with any film, the hassles and trials of funding, casting and preparation, nothing ever compares to the actual production of the film. Problems with the costumes, which weighed in at 70 pounds and soon became unbearably hot inside for the actors, and at times even caused meltdowns from the actors who desperately wanted to escape the turtle costumes after every scene.

The film finally opened on 30th March 1990 to an incredible success, with kids going wild all over the country for it. Barron claimed that if the film opened to $7million then it would be considered a great success. Little did they know that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles went on to smash all records and become the highest grossing indie film of all time, taking in more than $135million in just the first week.