Rachel Weisz Explains Why She Doesn’t Like The Idea of a Female JAMES BOND

A few weeks ago, Idris Elba said that the world could handle a female James Bond. Rachel Weisz has a different opinion. She doesn’t necessarily think the world couldn’t handle a female James Bond, rather, she just doesn’t think there should be one according to an interview with The Telegraph. She points to the fact that James Bond has always been a man’s man and that the intention of Ian Fleming when creating the character was to have a person “who is particularly male and relates in a particular way to women.” That’s not her only argument though. She also explains that women should have their own stories:

Why not create your own story rather than jumping on to the shoulders and being compared to all those other male predecessors? Women are really fascinating and interesting and should get their own stories.

While I certainly see where Weisz is coming from, I don’t know that I agree completely. I do agree that women should get their own stories and that women can be really interesting. I don’t know that I agree that it means we shouldn’t have a female James Bond. I think a woman could do a great job in the role after Daniel Craig does Bond 25. I know many people on the Internet disagree and that’s fine, but if it were to happen, who would you want to see be the first James Bond? Would she be Jane Bond?

The Art Director of BLADE RUNNER 2049 Will Be Working on STAR WARS: EPISODE IX

Blade Runner 2049 is easily one of the most beautifully designed and shot films of 2017. The art direction was stunning! If you were a fan of the look of that film, you'll be happy to hear that the art director of the film, Paul Inglis, has been hired as the lead supervising art director on Star Wars: Episode IX. This will be his first time working on a Star Wars movie. 

Some of the other films that he has worked on in his career include Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049, Game of Thrones, Prometheus, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Children of Men. According to Omega Underground:

Paul and his team of Lucasfilm artists, Abrams, and the production designer will come together to craft the overall look of the film. You can imagine after working on a labor-intensive production like Game of Thrones, Paul will bring something special to the table.

Star Wars has always impressed with the visuals, but I'm curious to see if he does anything different that hasn't already been done before. Will this Star Wars movie just be more of the same, or will Inglis actually mix things up? In the end, I imagine it will be more of the same. Star Wars has a certain style that it has to stick with. At least we know it will look good!

Here's a video of Inglis talking about his work on Game of Thrones:

BATMAN NINJA Gets a Wild English Trailer and a Release Date

I'm pretty excited about seeing this upcoming Batman Ninja anime. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just released a new English trailer for it and as you'll see it's wildly action-packed! This looks absolutely crazy and I hope the film as a whole turns out great. One thing I do love about what I'm seeing is the animation style and character designs. It looks like beautiful work.

Batman Ninja takes a journey across the ages as Gorilla Grodd's time displacement machine transports many of Batman's worst enemies to feudal Japan - along with the Dark Knight and a few of his allies. The villains take over the forms of the feudal lords that rule the divided land, with the Joker taking the lead among the warring factions. As his traditional high-tech weaponry is exhausted almost immediately, Batman must rely on his intellect and his allies - including Catwoman and the extended Bat-family - to restore order to the land, and return to present-day Gotham City.

Batman Ninja comes from some of Japan's top animation industry talents, including director Jumpei Mizusaki (opening animation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), writer Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann), and character designer Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai). The movie was written by Leo Chu and Eric Garcia (Supah NinjasAfro Samurai).

As far as the voice cast goes, we've got Roger Craig Smith (Batman: Arkham Origins) as Batman, Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) as the Joker, Grey Griffin (Scooby-Doo) as Catwoman, Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke) as Harley Quinn, Fred Tatasciore (Family Guy) as Gorilla Grodd, Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10: Omniverse) as Robin, Adam Croasdell (Reign) as Nightwing and Alfred, Will Friedle (Boy Meets World) as Red Robin, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Penguin, and Eric Bauza (The Adventures of Puss in Boots) as Two-Face.

Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing had this to say in a statement:

"Batman Ninja is an absolute feast for the senses, a stunning spectacle of anime wrapped around a thrill ride of a Batman story. Our partners at Warner Bros. Japan have conjured an impressive addition to the Dark Knight’s canon of entertainment, taking Batman and his friends and foes in an altogether new direction. We can’t wait for fans to see this film.”

Batman Ninja will be released on digital on April 24th and on Blu-ray on May 8th.

BLACK PANTHER And Jaden Smith Collide In Awesome Rap Parody

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You may not be able to find Jaden Smith on the new Black Panther soundtrack (which is dope) but you can find a parody of his hit song in this awesome new Nerdist video. Whoever reworked the lyrics to "Icon," to fit into the lore of Black Panther did a pretty damn good job, and the dancing in this video is on point with how Smith dances in the video! Check it out below and then check out Will Smith's parody of his son's song below that!

Oscar Isaac Was Shooting THE LAST JEDI and ANNIHILATION at the Same Time, Sometimes on the Same Day!

Oscar Isaac must be one hell of a multitasker! During a recent interview with /Film, the actor revealed that he was shooting Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Alex Garland's Annihilation at the same time. In fact, since both films were shooting on the same lot, he was jumping back and forth between sets on the same day! That sounds like a crazy-ass work schedule! 

Here's how the interview went down and as you'll see it was a wild experience for Isaac. He even amusingly likened it to Pee Wee's Big Adventure

With this and Star Wars, you’re a part of two big recent sci-fi movies that proudly feature women at the forefront of the cast, which is really cool. I know you’re separated from a lot of the ensemble here, but tell me about working with Natalie Portman on this.
Isaac: I was shooting Star Wars at the exact same time, too, so that was a wild thing to –
Wait, you were jumping back and forth between sets?
Isaac: It was literally the same studio.
Oh, cool.
Isaac: So some days I would walk from – I think I still used my trailer from Star Wars
Garland: Yeah, we didn’t have trailers. But there were days where you were, on the same day, shooting both things.
Isaac: Yeah, there were. I would shoot something in the morning and then have a little bit of down time and then switch it up. So that was wild.
Garland: We’d catch him at his lunch break and say, ‘We’ve got to shoot this now!’ (laughs)
Isaac: I think I visited, too, still dressed up as Poe on the set.
Garland: Yeah, totally.
Isaac: It was pretty wild. It reminded me a little of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, when he’s on the lot and you see all the different actors walking around. There was something very classic about it. So there was very little time, and not a lot of rehearsal time, and Natalie and I didn’t know each other. It happens in movies, obviously – you have to suddenly be very intimate with someone very quickly. I think the fact that she was willing to trust me and I was trusting her, and we just went in there and did it and tried to find a real intimacy. Which is always a weird, awkward, strange thing to do suddenly in front of a bunch of people. But we found that, and I really enjoyed those scenes with her. She is very focused, but also in those scenes, very emotionally available as well, so I really enjoyed that.
Garland: It makes me want to name-check Rian [Johnson] and Ram [Bergman], the producer on Star Wars [The Last Jedi]. I think because they come from an indie film background, here they are making like the biggest movie of all time, and they were unbelievably helpful and accommodating to us. And they really didn’t have to be at all. Most big productions would not even dream of doing that. And they went out of their way – whilst making fucking Star Wars, for Christ’s sake – to help this really small movie next door. It was very cool and I’m truly grateful for it, actually.

Sounds like it was an all around good and wild experience for Isaac. 

Retro Corner – Double Dragon Trilogy

It's been a long time since I thought about this game series.  My memories with Double Dragon are entwined with the smoky atmosphere of 80's arcades when I was barely tall enough to see the cabinet's screen.  I also associate these titles with the home computer conversions I used to play and really enjoy.  Recently I found a package released on the PC which has brought the three classic Double Dragon games together, added tighter controls and better presentation.  Before I talk about this collection, however, I want to take a look back on these seminal titles histories.  Journey with me, back to a time of 80's optimism, places of bright lights and booming audio - let's go back to the arcades.

Double Dragon

Double Dragon was not the first of it's kind to bring flying fists and kicking legs to the arcades.  That honor would belong to another classic Kung Fu Master.  In 1984, this was the #1 arcade hit, the 80's obsession with martial arts and action movies (particularly The Karate Kid series) fired imaginations and this became one of the most popular games you could play at the time.  It was a side-scrolling beat-em-up, where you moved upwards through the Devil's temple as you attempted to rescue your girlfriend from the evil Mr. X.  It was like playing through the unfinished Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon and although simplistic by today's standards captivated my generation.

Taito would capitalize on the success of Kung-Fu Master and craft their own version of a martial art's beat -em up, albeit with some differences.  In 1986 Renegade was released to widespread acclaim, it again featured a plot which involved a kidnapped girlfriend.  But in this title, you didn't play as a clean cut Kung Fu Master, instead, you were a streetwise martial arts expert and you journeyed through gritty urban locations such as subways and dark alleys, dishing out punishment to punks who need to be taught a lesson or two.  It was this change in tone that began the production of a slew of beat -em ups, with familiar plot devices and environments.

The gameplay innovations brought to the arcades in Renegade and the fast-paced style of Kung Fu Master would eventually be fused together as Taito developed its next project - Double Dragon.  Double Dragon featured the scrolling screen, the backdrops of alleys and subways, but would add important elements like co-op multiplayer to the genre and the ability to use enemy weapons, such as baseball bats and barrels. 

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The narrative of the game was the tried and tested plot device of rescuing the girlfriend, but although the plot was cliched the opening scene with the garage shutter going up just as the kidnapping took place, has become iconic and often lampooned.  The gameplay featured a variety of moves that you could pull off to inflict punishment on the bad guys.  You weren't just limited to punches and kicks - but could also throw weapons, headbutt, jump kick, elbow an attacker in the face and throw an enemy, if you found yourself in a headlock.

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Double Dragon was then produced for the NES in 1988, this is perhaps the most famous home conversion.  It wasn't really comparable, due to the limitations of the system. It was still a solid title but lost the two-player co-operative mode, keeping enemy weapons until the next stage and some of the various move sets from the arcade. 

A slightly cut down version of the game, this NES title is still an excellent game!

A slightly cut down version of the game, this NES title is still an excellent game!

A Master System version would later be released by Sega, with some improved graphics, which made the game a little closer to the arcade original. 

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Additionally, a whole slew of home computer versions of the original title became available, the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and Amiga had their versions.  Most varying wildly in quality.  Double Dragon was one of the most ported games during the 80's and crossed over to virtually every system available.

The ZX Spectrum version complete with it's famous colour clash - not a bad port to be honest

The ZX Spectrum version complete with it's famous colour clash - not a bad port to be honest

This is the one I played - the Amstrad CPC version, colourful with decent hit detection.

This is the one I played - the Amstrad CPC version, colourful with decent hit detection.

Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

In 1988 Taito released the sequel - Double Dragon 2: The Revenge, this time the developers decided to kill off Marion and have Billy and Jimmy fight to avenge her cruel murder. There were a few changes to the control mechanics, providing new button setups to enable directional attacks, new weapons, and stages.  Double Dragon 2 also provided new moves such as the hurricane kick and improved sprite design.  This was another commercial success for Taito and was again ported across various home systems during the late 80's.

The rather Stylish Arcade art for Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

The rather Stylish Arcade art for Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

Again the NES port of this game is perhaps the best known, it was very similar to the original title but enabled two-player co-operative play.  The game also had an expanded storyline, including cutscenes and additional levels not seen in the arcade machine.  The player could also bring Marion back to life once he had defeated the game - a move not attempted in the arcade.  This became another well-received title and is fondly remembered today for attempting to surpass its arcade parent. 

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Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone

The third in the trilogy was released in 1990 and is generally considered to be the weakest entry in the series.  The plot change significantly and saw Billy and Jimmy, along with new character Sonny, around the world to find the famous stone and defeat a mysterious new enemy in Egypt.  

High expectations for the third chapter of the series led to intense disappointments

High expectations for the third chapter of the series led to intense disappointments

The game was poorly received and having played through it again, although definitely not to the same standard as the initial two games, I think it has been unfairly criticised.  The main issue I have with the title is the choppy framerate and poor character animation and design.  The move set is fairly decent and you can purchase additional characters such as a chubby Kung Fu fighter called Seimei at the shop.  It's still playable, but don't expect the game to enthrall you in the same manner as the first two titles in the series.  

Double Dragon Trilogy

So, how does the Double Dragon Trilogy title stack as a compilation of these three titles?Overall these are great ports and Dot Emu has attempted to present each of the titles in the most attractive method possible. There are two modes of play in the game - Arcade and Story.  The former is the classic way to play through the series, starting at the first level and trying to get as far into the game as possible before your continues run out.  The Story mode allows you to begin the game at whichever stage you want (providing that you had reached that level before) - I was a little disappointed by this.  The name of the mode is a little bit of a misnomer, I was hoping for a new overarching narrative to play out in this mode. So Story Mode is really just a fancy save system.

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More importantly, this compilation has some new features, such as excellent support for modern controllers, a more consistent scrolling speed with none of the arcade slowdown.  There's also an excellent remixed soundtrack on offer, the ability for players to change video options, such as being able to see scanlines and change the aspect ratio.  It's also obvious that the visuals have been polished for this compilation release.

The enhanced visuals and gameplay mechanics make this a worthy collection to your game library.  It's out at the moment on the Utomik platform is you don't wish to buy it.  But you can purchase it on the Good Old Games site, the PlayStation Network, and Steam

Hopefully, you enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of one of the most important game series ever made, did it evoke memories or maybe the inclination to play it again - or for the first time?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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The Release Dates of ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL and THE PREDATOR Have Been Pushed Back

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20th Century Fox has announced new release dates for two of their most highly anticipated films, Alita: Battle Angel and The Predator. We're going to have to wait a little longer for these films, but hopefully, it will be worth the wait.

The Robert Rodriguez-directed Alita: Battle Angel was originally supposed to be released on July 20, 2018, but it will now hit theaters on December 21, 2018. It will open up against Aquaman, Bumblebee, and Holmes & Watson. That's going to be a big movie weekend! 

Visionary filmmakers James Cameron (Avatar) and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) create a groundbreaking new heroine in Alita: Battle Angel, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment. Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she’s grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.

As for director Shane Black's The Predator, it's release date is being moved from August 3, 2018 to September 14, 2018.

The movie stars Boyd Holbrook (Narcos, Logan), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu, Key & Peele), Thomas Jane (The Punisher), Jacob Tremblay (Room), Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Sterling K. Brown (The People vs. O.J. Simpson, This is Us) and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner).

The film will follow a group of crazy shellshocked war veterans who end up hearing that a Predator ship has landed and they set out on a mission to take them down. You can read the full details of the story here

Sean Bean And Ryan Kwanten Are Gangster Cops In First Trailer For Crackle Original Series THE OATH

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Crackle has a new original series arriving March 8, and it sounds like it's worth a watch! The Oath, which features Sean Bean Ryan Kwanten, Katrina Law, and Cory Hardrict just to name a few goes into the world of cops who organize their own gangs in order to make some extra money, and watch each other's backs. The casting alone has me excited to check this one out, although the trailer looked a bit low-budget. Check it out below, and let me know what you think!

Lucasfilm Will Reportedly Start Shooting Their OBI-WAN KENOBI Movie in 2019 in Belfast

It looks like Lucasfilm might be farther along on the development of their Obi-Wan Kenobi movie than previously thought. It seems they are looking to shoot the film in Belfast at Paint Hall studios in the Titanic Quarter. This is where HBO's Game of Thrones series is shot. According to the Belfast Telegraph, once production on Game of Thrones comes to an end, Lucasfilm will be moving in to start work on the Obi-Wan solo film. Apparently, they'll start shooting in 2019. Oh, and George Lucas even visited Belfast to check out the shooting locations for the new film.

Movie mogul Lucas was pictured eating out in swanky Holywood restaurant Noble during his short Belfast visit. The snap led to frenzied speculation as to why he was visiting the city.
It's understood that it was to give his seal of approval to the latest Star Wars spin-off being shot in Northern Ireland - a move that will pump millions of pounds into the local economy.
Lucas spent part of his time here last November being given a guided tour of the Paint Hall studios. Paint Hall sources said Lucas was hugely impressed by the Belfast studio.

I'm not sure why the location would need his seal of approval. Lucasfilm is making all kinds of Star Wars decisions without his approval. Not sure why he would have to visit the filming locations. Wouldn't it be crazy, though, if the reason he is their scoping things out is because he might be directing the film!? That's just speculation on my part, but... what if? That would certainly be unexpected because it's such a long shot. According to an insider:

"It was all very low key, only a few people knew that the old guy walking round the set was George Lucas. It was only when we were told about Star Wars coming here next year that it dawned on us that was why he was here before Christmas."

There was a report that Lucasfilm was looking to hire Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Crown) to direct, but there's been no official confirmation that he's been hired, so at this point, anything could happen. 

Ewan McGregor is expected to reprise his role in the film. This is definitely one of the most exciting projects that Lucasfilm has brewing and it will be great to see how it all comes together and how it eventually turns out.

I seriously doubt that George Lucas is going to helm the movie, but would you want to see him direct it?

ECO Review: A Minecraft-Like Sandbox With A Purpose

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Creative games always have the aspect of letting you do whatever you want in order to be as creative as possible in the game. Minecraft is one of the most popular sandbox titles out there that give players the option to be fully creative and build giant masterpieces with freedom of movement and plenty of supplies while also giving the option to test players skill in the more realistic survival mode.

Eco by Strange Loop Games is a sandbox game with more of a purpose than just surviving and create. Adding an endgame objective to sandbox style gameplay and creative freedom makes Eco stand out from the rest of the genre. There's a reason this game was a top choice for me when I was looking at what indie games are launching in February.

Gameplay

Starting the game off you will be guided with a series of tutorials. These have to be followed in order to get your starter tools so that you can start cutting down trees, collecting stone, and working on the beginning of your civilization. The first thing you will be forced to notice is the meteor which is orbiting the world. Literally being told to find the meteor that is circling your planet, you will find that there is a countdown on it of 30 real-life days. This is how long you have to build your civilization up to the point that you are able to fend off the impending doom.

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As you continue to build, you will gain skill points that can be used to build your stats. You will need to build these attributes up in order to build better items that will help you destroy the meteor. Step by step, this is a process that will get you from only being able to build a wood home to building an entire factory and downtown styled area.

One of the aspects I enjoyed was that when you cut down trees, they actually fell over and then you had to break them up. This is the same process for digging dirt, collecting stone, and finding iron where the resources fall and react due to the gravity.

The game is more entertaining with a group of friends or a small community of players. Not only the group be able to work together to build up your collective civilization and destroy the meteor, but there are also various laws that can be put into place.  Basically, someone suggests a law be enacted and then the community gets to vote on whether they want that law to be enforced or not. This is a nice touch to the game that gives off the civilization experience that Eco is based on.

Now for the obvious feature of the game: the ecosystem. Everything that you do actually affects what is going on in the ecosystem of your world. You can destroy the ecosystem a lot easier than maintaining a thriving one. Even from the start, simply foraging too much food and you could end up finding the occasional dead plant. The ecosystem becomes harder to maintain, even with the graph system that shows your worlds stats, once you reach the point that you have factories and are pumping out a constant stream of smoke. This may prove to be the more difficult than it sounds but is a great challenge when it comes to keeping a balanced world while reaching a fully functioning civilization.

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Graphics and Sounds

While Eco still maintains the classic blocky, grid-like look, the game has a cartoon-style design that gives the world a cleaner and more natural look. The meteor itself has a crazy awesome design which looks threatening even from the start of the game when it is at its furthest point from you.

The music is very subtle, staying in the background while you focus on the world around you without distraction match well with all the different actions that you will go through while trying to build up your civilization. The mixture of the graphics and subtle sounds really let you feel like you are really building up in your own little world.

Replayability

You can always restart or join other servers online, continue to build solo and with people. There are thousands of different pieces to use, buildings to create, laws to make, and different styled civilizations to build from the ground up; literally. Plenty of reasons to play this game time and time again.

Your first home!

Your first home!

What Could Be Better

Until you create wheel barrels and other devices to help you out, it feels like a chore to collect supplies. Only being able to care twenty logs or stones at a time made the trips needed to build up your first home takes quite some time. You also can't begin to farm food from the beginning unless you set up the skill for it, which means you are stuck foraging all over the place. Sure, finding food is easy, but there should be an option to create at least a small garden of tomatoes or berries so that I have some kind of food nearby at all times.

Final Verdict

Eco is an interesting take on the sandbox styled gaming that includes creativity and depth. I enjoyed playing it once you got a good set up going. I enjoyed playing Eco and think it is easily a competitor against games like Minecraft. Any fan of the creative sandbox survival gaming will find themselves enjoying the time spent building and maintaining their own civilization.

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