Brandon Routh Joins Cast of ANASTASIA

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For those that don’t know, there is a live-action Anastasia film in the works. The story of Anastasia Romanov will be re-imagined and have some time travel involved. Czar Nicholas, Anastasia’s father, will be played by Brandon Routh. Routh is known for his roles in Superman Returns, Chuck, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and Legends of Tomorrow. He’s a good actor and I’m interested to see if he can pull off being Russian.

Routh will be appearing next to Emily Carey who will play Anastasia, Amiah Miller who will play an American who befriends Anastasia, and Aliyah Moulden who will be an ‘80’s popstar. The film will take place in 1917, but when Vladimir Lenin threatens the Romanov family, Anastasia escapes through a portal that takes her to the year 1988. I’m not sure if this sounds amazing or terrible. The 1988 portion was filmed last summer with the 1917 portion being filmed starting in April. I’m interested to see how director Blake Harris’ take on the story of Anastasia plays out.

Trailer For Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy’s Deep Sea Thriller SUBMERGENCE

The first trailer has been released for Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy's upcoming film Submergence. The movie seems like a romance film, but each of the characters are on their own separate thrilling adventures. Here's the synopsis:

Danielle Flinders (Alicia Vikander) and James More (James McAvoy) meet by chance in a remote hotel in Normandy where they both prepare for a dangerous mission. They fall in love almost against their will, but soon recognize in each other the love of their lives. When they have to separate, we find out that James works for the British Secret Service. He's involved in a mission in Somalia to track down a source for suicide bombers infiltrating Europe. Danielle 'Danny' Flinders is a bio-mathematician working on a deep sea diving project to support her theory about the origin of life on our planet. Soon, they are worlds apart. James is taken hostage by Jihadist fighters and has no way of contacting Danny, and she has to go down to the bottom of the ocean in her submersible, not even knowing if James is still alive…

The movie was directed by German filmmaker Wim Wenders and it opens in select US theaters on April 13th. I really like both of these actors, which is the only reason why I'm interested in seeing this movie. I'm just not sure if this is going to be a good movie or not. 

MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD Review: An Approachable Entry To A World Of Monsters

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World has been the initial descriptor of Capcom’s latest entry to the Monster Hunter franchise, which was recently released a few days ago. The game, as its subtitle describes it, contains a pretty massive environment, from the expansive areas to explore, the diverse flora and fauna surrounding it, and most importantly, the giant beasts that roam around it. World pretty much sums up what Capcom is trying to achieve with this new game. 

As someone who hasn’t played any of the previous installments in the franchise, I’d say that Monster Hunter: World offers a kinder approach to novices who are just trying out the game as I did. However, this does not mean that World is simpler than its predecessors, the game still retains the core elements of previous titles, that highlighted a gameplay loop that revolves around management of resources, crafting of items, upgrading of weapons and armor, looting materials, and of course, hunting down monsters. Although a story-driven narrative has not always been part of the franchise’s focus in this game and in the past (excluding Monster Hunter Stories of course), Capcom has attempted to create a balance between story and gameplay. 

Story

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Monster Hunter: World revolves around the mysterious phenomenon known as the Elder Crossing, where elder dragons migrate and navigate the seas in search for the land only known as the New World. In pursuit of further understanding the Elder Crossing, the guild has formed the Research Commission, where they send large fleets of hunters to the New World. 

The player’s character, a member of the elite Fifth Fleet, is in pursuit of the gigantic elder dragon known as Zorah Magdaros. The player will then be transported to Astera, the base of operations of the hunters, that also mimics the villages from previous titles. In Astera, the player will be able to explore several locations such as the departments that make up the Research Commission, a training area to test out the game’s several weapons available, a Canteen for the hunter to refuel, and the Smithy, where the player can bring in items and materials to upgrade weapons and craft equipment. 

Gameplay

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Just as with any RPG games, the first few minutes, or hours, if you’re that person, will be spent in the character customization menu. Monster Hunter: World offers a decent amount of customization with several facial presets, the ability to choose your hunter’s gender, hairstyle, clothing, and voice prompts. The one thing I loved about the character customization in this game is that, if sometime mid-game, you realized that you didn't like how your character's looks turned out, you can still change some features afterwards. Although mid-game alterations are limited, and won’t give you the full options as it did in the beginning, but at least it will lessen the chances of you restarting the game just to change you character’s aesthetics. 

For first time players and veterans alike, the first few hours of Monster Hunter: World will introduce you to a wealth of tutorials and information, which can be extremely overwhelming at first. However, instead of just bombarding the player with text-based tutorials, as it did in previous titles, Capcom introduced a Handler, who will be the player’s companion that gives out tons of helpful information and tips, to help you navigate a new area, and reach zones that will be more complex as you progress in the game. The first time I encountered the Handler, I found her a tad bit annoying, however, her vocal cues and the wealth of information she has with her, definitely made my first few quests and expeditions easier than remembering everything from the text tutorials. 

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However, when going on a quest or an expedition, the Handler will not accompany you as you explore the area, instead she will just be staying in the nearest camp grounds, tracking your progress, and giving out vocal instructions when needed. Traversing by yourself in the expansive environment in the game may seem daunting at first, but, Worlds also introduced a helpful new addition, in the form of scout flies. The scout flies are these green floating insect-things that will follow your hunter during exploration. They are extremely helpful as they will point you to any item that you’ll encounter along the way. Whether it be some wild honey, several herbs, or an assortment of monster bones, the scout flies has you covered. Besides taking you to the nearest loot, the scout flies are also helpful in pointing you to your next objective, or even track down monsters you are hunting. The introduction of the Handler and the scout flies is definitely a step from Capcom to make the game more appealing to a wider audience by making tutorials and navigation easier, without compromising the complex features of a gameplay loop that veteran players of the game love about the franchise. 

Among the many changes Capcom has implemented with Monster Hunter: World, the most noticeable one is the absence of the Hunter Arts, previously introduced with Monster Hunter: Generations. Instead, the game aims to focus on the player’s ability to use their respective weapon of choice’s combos, to inflict the greatest damage to a monster. Among the 14 weapon types available in the game, such as giant longswords and the familiar sword and shield among many others, the bowguns are probably the most appealing weapon for players who are more keen to a third person shooter playstyle. However, as powerful as some bowguns appear to be, players will still have to be strategic in using the correct weapon for a certain monster, as these beasts have different strengths and weaknesses. Making use of bombs, traps, and monster dung, will still be essential in effectively taking down a monster, which also makes hunting accessible and effective, no matter what weapon you use. 

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The environment in Monster Hunter: World, is the biggest and most diverse world in the history of the franchise. The transition from day to night is absolutely breathtaking that it distracted me when I saw the sunset in the Ancient Forest for the first time. Once you have been transported to a specific location, there will be no loading screens, unless you transfer to another area, which makes hunting seamless as you no longer have to wait just to explore. 

I also recommend that as you explore your way in several areas, it is best to pick up whatever items you can find, as these materials will be essential with the crafting system. Monster Hunter: World does not impose a traditional leveling system in the game. Instead, you strengthen your character by upgrading your armor and weapons, with items you find in the environment, especially materials that you can loot from monsters. The stronger the monster, the better the material you’ll get to upgrade your equipment. 

Crafting an armor or weapon can seem like a chore at some point since you will have to do quite a bit of research. When you are trying to piece together a certain equipment, the game allows you to put the materials you need that you don’t have on a wishlist. Afterwards, you may dig further by collecting and examining drops from certain monsters, which will tell you the information you’ll need to obtain the exact piece of material on your wishlist. 

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Playing the game alone, can be challenging but very doable. The satisfaction you get from singlehandedly slaying a tough monster, or completing a quest alone, will definitely make for an exciting play through. The multiplayer integration in this game is seamless as Monster Hunter: World blurs the line between single and multiplayer style of play. The game lets you start an online session where you can be alone at first, until other players join you to assist. The most interesting feature when it comes to multiplayer is when you start a quest alone, and you find yourself in need of help, you can send out an SOS signal to friends or nearby online players, where they can make some sort of a rescue party to assist you. 

However, if you want to start an online session with just your friends, it can be a bit tedious as you’ll have to set up a multiplayer session via the console dashboard, or by sharing a 12-digit code to your friends. Although this will only take you a few minutes to do, it can be annoying given the fact that playing with strangers is more easy and seamless than playing with your own friends. It is also important to note that when you’re playing with other players, (a maximum of four in a team), the difficulty will slightly increase compared to playing alone. This is understandable as the game will have to scale up depending on how many players are in the game. Besides, this definitely make hunting with friends more fun and challenging. 

Monster Hunter: World is definitely the best looking Monster Hunter game thus far. Although when compared to other games in the market, there are still older titles that will be a little more pretty than World, but only slightly as the vast ecosystems, combined with the rich detail of the monsters makes playing the game a visual treat. 

Verdict

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There is definitely a lot of changes in Monster Hunter: World. However, the game was still able to retain a lot of features that veteran players of the series will still be able to recognize and enjoy. World is still the complex game that is expected from a Monster Hunter title, just as its predecessors were known for. Although, the introduction of the Handler and the scout flies makes the game more approachable to beginners in the franchise. 

Although the continuous gameplay loop and lack of focus on the plot may not be for your cup of tea, World is still able to compensate for this by making the  hunting experience better with the vast open areas and the absence of multiple loading screens that makes exploration a fun experience. At some point the crafting system in the game can be a bit tedious, but fulfilling the items in that wishlist to create that powerful weapon or armor is a good enough incentive to hunt a specific monster or loot the area for the materials needed. Lastly the seamless multiplayer integration adds to the fun experience as the player can cooperate with friends or strangers to make quests and expeditions a little bit easier. 

In the end, Monster Hunter: World will not be for everyone. However, the several changes makes the game more approachable and appealing for beginners, but at the same time, keeping the complexity that its core fans loved in previous titles. You may love it or not, but it’s definitely worth giving it a chance to find out. 

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Action-Packed Super Bowl Spot For John Krasinski’s Amazon Series JACK RYAN

Amazon has released their Super Bowl spot for their upcoming political thriller Jack Ryan and it's loaded with action! The series is based on Tom Clancy's classic character, who is being played by John Krasinski this time around. It looks like he's going to be awesome in the role! I think Krasinski is going to make a great Jack Ryan.

The new series was created by Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel, and The Strain) and it is not an adaptation of the books. The show is a reinvention to give us a "new contemporary take on the character in his prime as a CIA analyst/operative using the novels as source material."

When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies.

Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form (Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) are all executive producers on the project. The series is set to premiere with Amazon Prime on August 31st.

Jamie Lee Curtis Shares a Photo From The Set of The New HALLOWEEN Movie

Like many of you, I'm a long time fan of John Carpenter's Halloween and I'm really excited about this new film coming from Danny McBride and David Gordon Green. I like everything that I've heard about it so far and I'm really curious to what story they've come up with.

Thanks to Jamie Lee Curtis, who is reprising her role of Laurie Strode, we have a new photo from the set of the film to share with you. It's from the first day of production and it gives us a first look at the grandma style look that Curtis will be sporting in the film. The photo came with the following note:

“Halloween 40 years later. Same Laurie. Same slate. David Gordon Green directing from his script. Happy Halloween 2018 everyone. See you all 10/19/18.”

I love that David Gordon Green is holding the original slate from production on the first Halloween film. That's pretty rad. 

The movie is set after the first film and will act as if none of the other sequels had happened. In the story, "Curtis returns to her iconic role of Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago."

Judy Greer plays Laurie's daughter Karen Strode, and Andi Matichak (Orange Is the New Black, Underground) plays Allyson, the granddaughter of Laurie.

John Carpenter is an executive producer on the film and serves as a creative consultant. He will also be providing the score. 

Wesley Snipes’ BLACK PANTHER Project From The 90s Would’ve Featured The Civil Rights Movement

The 90s were a weird time for Marvel, and Wesley Snipes' latest story about a pitch for a Black Panther film back then might be the strongest evidence of that. The actor told THR a bit of what director John Singleton had in mind for a script back when the project was pitched in the 90s, and it was a very different film than what we'll soon see in theaters. Snipes, who was at the peak of his career at this point, wanted the film to be closer to what the comics portrayed, but Singleton didn't think audiences were interested in a technologically advanced Wakanda. Instead, he wanted the civil rights movement front and center, and T'Challa to not grow up in Wakanda:

“John was like, ‘Nah! Hah! Hah! See, he’s got the spirit of the Black Panther, but he is trying to get his son to join the [civil rights activist] organization. And he and his son have a problem, and they have some strife because he is trying to be politically correct and his son wants to be a knucklehead.’ “

I am loosely paraphrasing our conversation. But ultimately, John wanted to take the character and put him in the civil rights movement. And I’m like, ‘Dude! Where’s the toys?! They are highly technically advanced, and it will be fantastic to see Africa in this light opposed to how Africa is typically portrayed.’ I wanted to see the glory and the beautiful Africa. The jewel Africa.”

Snipes said he still loves John Singleton to this day and has a great respect for him, but he's relieved that film was never made. I agree with Snipes, although I'm sure even if it had, Marvel still would've been able to recover with a more faithful property down the line. After all, they recovered from the Daredevil film and Dolph Lundgren's Punisher...so I think they can recover from just about anything. 

Emily Blunt Joins Dwayne Johnson in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE Film

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The beloved Disneyland ride Jungle Cruise is going to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson and today we learned that Emily Blunt is joining the cast. Blunt will co-star in Jungle Cruise, but unfortunately, we don’t know anything about the plot yet.

What we do know is that it will be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) from a script written by Michael Green (Logan). The film is based on the classic theme park attraction, which operates in several Disney Parks across the globe and takes guests on a guided tour through the rivers of the world. According to the report:

Johnson and the team see the film inspired by “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and hope to see the similar kind of chemistry with this pairing. Sources say Disney has been over the moon with early footage of Blunt in “Mary Poppins” returns and was looking for a way to keep her in the family with another potential franchise.

I still think it’s crazy how Disney is able to take one of their theme park rides and turn it into a movie. They’ve done it at least twice before with Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. I feel like Jungle Cruise will either be really good, or it’ll be a dud. I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out though. The film project goes into production in May.

How would you write the story for this theme park movie?

Source: Variety

Japan’s Secret – Dark History

Dark Pixel Gaming released a new episode of Dark History on their YouTube channel. The video showcases the harsh work conditions that many workers in the video game industry have to endure on a daily basis. 

The entire concept of the video is centered around a word known as 'Karoshi' which basically means that (Japanese) people work so hard and so long that they fall ill and eventually die. It's a common practice in Japanese culture. The video also brings to light the super shady business practices of Konami, and they monitoring, and public humiliation the employees face on a day to day basis. 

If your interested in learning about the crazy working conditions at some of the worlds most popular gaming companies then this is definitely a video you want to check out! From being forced to work ridiculously long hours, to essentially being held captive until a certain aspect of the game has been completed. It's crazy the sacrifices that many people have made to create the games we all cherish and love. 

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There’s a New Superman Prequel TV Series in Development Called METROPOLIS

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Krypton isn't the only live-action Superman prequel series being developed for TV. DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television have announced that they are producing a new Superman series called Metropolis, which is set before Superman becomes a hero.

According to the press release, the new series will center around "Lois Lane and Lex Luthor as they investigate the world of fringe science and expose the city’s dark and bizarre secrets." The series is basically taking a cue from Gotham as it will explore the city of Metropolis before Superman flies in to protect it. 

Gotham executive producers John Stephens and Danny Cannon have once again teamed up for this series and they will develop it. Stephens will write the screenplay for the actual pilot and Cannon is set to direct it.

Metropolis has already received a 13-episode order, and it's set to debut on DC's exclusive streaming service. Production is set to begin later this year, and they are looking to release it in 2019.

This will be the second live-action series being developed for DC's upcoming streaming service. The other one is the highly-anticipated series Titans. There's also an animated Harley Quinn series being produced along with the long-awaited third installment of Young JusticeOutsiders.

Below you will find a piece of teaser art for Metropolis. What do you all think about the concept of this new DC series?

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Fox Appears to Have Pulled GAMBIT from Production Schedule

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Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Gambit lost its director. This loss moved the release of the film from February 2019 to June 2019. Unfortunately, it appears the movie has suffered a larger blow as Fox seems to have removed it from their production schedule. It’s been reported that the film was going to try to start production as early as March 2018, but it looks like they may be struggling to find a new director. It’s also reported that this summer is when the film will be filmed but in Montreal instead of New Orleans. Montreal is where X-Men: Apocalypse was filmed, and I think it would be a huge waste to not film in New Orleans. It just seems wrong to film a movie about the “Ragin’ Cajun” anywhere outside of New Orleans. Channing Tatum is still set to star as Gambit in the film and rumor still has it that it will be a heist film and I’m sure it will have plenty of comedy. If it doesn’t, it’s doing something wrong.

I’m beginning to wonder if this film will actually happen or not. Then again, maybe with Disney buying out Fox, that’s for the best? Perhaps Gambit will make his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we’ll get to see him team up with Ant-Man for the ultimate heist.

Source: CBM