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FOX Releases “Rise of the Villains” Teasers for ‘Gotham’ Season 2

FOX ran promos for the upcoming second season of the hit series “Gotham,” which returns to television on September 21. “The Cave” is a promo focusing on young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) as they venture down to what will become the Batcave. It’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t offer much in the way of extra details. There’s likely to be a lot of anticipation about Bruce’s development into the Dark Knight, given his introduction to Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) in the previous season.

The second commercial is entitled “Hungry,” drawing attention to the antagonism between Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Commissioner Loeb (Peter Scolari). Jim looks pensive and serious as he deals with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and later gazes into a mirror. Perhaps the new season will explore a sort of falling away from his principles as a new struggle for power ensues? If that’s the case, I see a bigger role for his partner Bullock (Donal Logue) in steering him back to a better path.

It’s nice to see that Penguin is at the center of events in Gotham City. With things going his way, how will the criminal world of Gotham change? There’s a brief glimpse of the Joker (Cameron Monaghan), who has long held a reputation in other versions of Batman as a wild card. We can probably be sure of one thing: “Rise of the Villains” is a secondary title that doesn’t bode well for the good citizens of Gotham.

Tune into FOX on Monday, September 21st, to find out what happens next.

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Season 2 of ‘Broadchurch’ Makes DVD Release: Is it Worth a Go?

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

In case you missed the news, the second season of “Broadchurch” is now available on DVD. Is it worth adding to your collection of UK television shows? Season one set the bar rather high in terms of viewer expectations. The success of the program spawned the American version, “Gracepoint,” with David Tennant in the lead role again: a venture that sank miserably to a dead last on the nights that episodes aired. Everyone hoped that at least season 2 of “Broadchurch” would set things right. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Walking Dead” Star Emily Kinney Exhibits Whimsy and Flair on her “This is War” Tour

Her upcoming album is entitled “This is War,” but Emily Kinney radiates a lovely aura of excitement and geniality in her constant smiles. The actress and singer, most known for her role as Beth Greene on “The Walking Dead,” performed this past weekend on her guitar at Jammin Java in Vienna, Va. It wouldn’t have been a complete night without a couple of tunes from the hit AMC show. She even brought her glockenspiel, to the delight of the crowd.

Emily Kinney sings at a sold out concert at Jammin Java. Photo: Tony Cuadros

Emily Kinney sings at a sold out concert at Jammin Java. Photo: Tony Cuadros

Emily’s tunes run through a roller coaster of tones in a folk-pop style: from lighthearted and whimsical all the way to sad and haunting. They share a frankness about life that doesn’t fail to draw you in; that is, if you haven’t already been won over by her personality and spirit!

Emily Kinney plays the delightful glockenspiel. Photo: Pat Cuadros

Emily Kinney plays the glockenspiel. Photo: Pat Cuadros

“Expired Lover” fits well in the first category with playful and creative lines on describing a wish to break up, such as “You’re a top back shelf, out of date, too late, expired lover.” Moving on is long overdue. Or take “Married” as another example of pure whimsy on the topic of eloping: tired of the party? “Let’s get married tonight” and don’t worry, the parents will get the news the next day! “Dad Says” fits the bill on mournful songs with an exploration of having to give up your dreams. The messages echoes through a packed and silent music hall powerfully as Emily delivers it a capella.

She’s honed in on the little nuances of relationships, hooking up, and the dreams of young people hoping to score big (“Rockstar”). All the lyrics really seem to draw on her own musings and experiences, which is perhaps one reason the Vienna audience was very welcoming with their applause and cheers. Emily had no shortage of anecdotes to tell as she prepared to launch into each successive track during the evening.

What’s Next?

Emily Kinney prepares her acoustic guitar for another song. Photo: Tony Cuadros

Emily Kinney prepares her acoustic guitar for another song. Photo: Tony Cuadros

As I mentioned earlier, the talented singer-songwriter has a debut album coming out, from which she already released the titular single, “This is War.” The new track still carries the same freshness as her older music, which may come as a relief to longtime fans. Speaking of fans, Emily treats them quite well, inviting everyone to snap their fingers and sing along at certain parts. “You’re part of my band now!” she exclaims.

She probably could have sold out at a much larger venue, but it’s clear that she relishes the experience of the intimate concert. She stayed after the show to greet a long line of attendees, signing autographs and posing for photos for each group. You’d do well to keep an eye out for Emily Kinney, because she’ll continue to make an impact in the entertainment world, whether it’s music, film, or television.

Emily Kinney’s “This is War” tour kicked off on May 1st in Pittsburgh and concludes at the end of June in Los Angeles. For more information and updates, check out her website and follow her Twitter feed.

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Neil Gaiman Discusses his Writing, ‘Doctor Who,’ and More in DC

Neil Gaiman stopped in Washington, D.C., this past weekend at DAR Constitution Hall. When he stepped up to the podium and said a quiet “Hello,” I was rather struck by his soft-spoken demeanor. Yet the author from the U.K. has quite an arresting and endearing stage presence: captivating the audience as he filled the ensuing ninety minutes with jokes, poignant personal anecdotes, and a small selection of excerpts from his books. I wager that you’ll be utterly mesmerized within the first five minutes of one of Neil Gaiman’s speaking engagements.

Neil Gaiman at DAR Constitution Hall. Photo: Pat Cuadros

Neil Gaiman answers questions from the crowd at DAR Constitution Hall. Photo: Pat Cuadros

Let’s run through some highlights from this fascinating Q&A:

Writing

It’s very easy to like Neil Gaiman because he answers questions with such a refreshing spirit of frankness that is punctuated with a wonderful sense of humor. Does he prefer working on novels or comics? “What I prefer,” Gaiman teases out with his English drawl, “is doing whatever the hell I want to.” Aside from generating a lot of cheers and laughs, the remark speaks to an honesty and confidence that’s backed by the award-winning writer’s own personal experiences. He recounted his early days as a journalist, interviewing best-selling authors that were stuck in a particular genre, when they’d really like to try other areas. It’s a trap that he’s always sought to avoid, which is one reason why his popular novel “American Gods” is set in the States instead of in London.

Gaiman read out a small part of “Good Omens,” the novel he co-authored with the late Terry Pratchett largely through long telephone conversations. He also read the “October Tale” and the “Adventure Story” from his own short story collections. There’s certainly something to be said of being present when a novelist reads his own work aloud. That evening came complete with the inflections of the voice, furrowed brow, and dramatic pauses to conjure up a genie, a delivery man, and other characters with ease.

Gaiman doesn’t believe in writer’s block, as if relegating it to the realm of excuses. It’s easier to win sympathy when you say that you have writer’s block, as opposed to just being “stuck.” You can backtrack and fix your writing if you’re stuck, he explains, because the project is still in your control. When he gets stuck, he moves to another project until he’s ready to return to a previous one.

Television Projects

“American Gods” is being pitched to the Starz Network. Gaiman informed the crowd that “Sandman” is owned by Warner Brothers, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Dark Knight Rises”) has been working on it.

Neil Gaiman flips through the question cards. Photo: Pat Cuadros

Neil Gaiman flips through the question cards at the podium. Photo: Pat Cuadros

Writing episodes for “Doctor Who” is not the same as writing a novel. As a way of demonstrating, he voiced the assessment of a production crew member: “It’s very good, but … we only have 100 hours of CGI. Your script has [more like] 700 hours of CGI!” Regrettably, some of the brilliant content gets cut.

Of Superheroes and Superpowers

One of the funniest questions was the following: “Batman or Superman boxers?” Gaiman is rather clever with wordplay and he responded instead that he’d put his “money on Batman if it’s Batman [versus] a pair of Superman boxers.”

When asked about superpowers, Gaiman said he would “love to make time stretchy.” It would be very useful for a writer because you could hold onto those spurts of inspiration. What would be better than being able to “lean against a Tuesday” and have “another three hours?” he posed, holding his hand up as if resting the tips of his long, thin fingers on an imaginary wall.

Adventures

The audience rolled with laughter upon hearing the tale of how Gaiman’s wife, Amanda Palmer, removed her clothes in one of the rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; I believe it was for a sketching session (but it was hard to hear what he said). It resulted in some museum workers covering the security cameras with cups so as not to distract the security guards who watch the feed. Radio personality Ira Glass, as the story was told, had simply asked what the author had done that morning. “You don’t have adventures?!” an incredulous Glass exclaimed over the phone.

“I don’t,” insists Gaiman. “My wife has adventures. Sometimes I get swept up in her wake!”

I would count that as a real adventure. While it’s a pity that “An Evening with Neil Gaiman” lasts no more than ninety minutes, it turns out to be quite the evening! You shouldn’t expect less from this master storyteller, whose range of fans encompasses people of all ages.

For more information about Neil Gaiman, I highly recommend that you visit his website and his Twitter feed.

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News: ‘Veep’ Creator’s Surprising Departure, an Advance Screening of ‘Mr. Holmes,’ and More

If you’re wondering what on Earth happened to my blog, rest assured that I will return to the full swing of things by the end of next week. I’m working on my debut interview project on film with a planned release date of April 15th.

Anyway, let’s touch on a couple news stories that are circulating today. Firstly, there is the surprise announcement that Armando Iannucci will be leaving “Veep” after 4 seasons, as reported in an exclusive release by The Hollywood Reporter. The creator of the HBO series is returning to the U.K. where his family still lives. David Mandel has been put forward as Iannucci’s replacement.

While “Veep” fans may be shocked, if anyone pays attention to the U.K. press, the development is perhaps not so astonishing. It’s potentially an occasion for “Doctor Who” fans to celebrate. Nearly 3 weeks ago, The Guardian reported that Iannucci wants to write an episode of “Doctor Who” for Peter Capaldi, the 12th Doctor. Such a venture would likely bode well for the BBC series because it’s a reunion of the creative masters that brought us both “The Thick of It” and “In the Loop.”

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Is “Doctor Who” getting the “Malcolm Tucker Experience” anytime soon? (Personal Photo)

Will the Doctor channel more of Malcolm Tucker, spin doctor and “dark lord of 10 Downing Street,” if Iannucci gets his chance to pen an installment? In the eighth season premiere, the Doctor knew he’d seen a face similar to his regeneration; is it an opportunity for Steven Moffat and others revisit the question with Armando Iannucci? Fans of those shows might relish it, but these aren’t angles that need particular embellishment, as both Malcolm and the Doctor are imposing enough figures on their own terms.

Lest I delve too much into the realm of speculation, let’s move on to the second piece of interesting news: Sir Ian McKellen has been cast as Cogsworth in the live-action film, “Beauty and the Beast.” Again, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed the details for a film that already boasts a star-studded cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and more. Now in his 75th year, McKellen displays no signs of slowing down. If you’re in the San Francisco area, you’ll want to book tickets to the advance screening of “Mr. Holmes” later this month. McKellen plays a 90 year-old version of the famous detective, based on Mitch Cullin’s novel, “A Slight Trick of the Mind.” He comes off as a very aged but still impressive Holmes in the promotional tweet below:

The news about both Iannucci and McKellen could make for some very riveting releases in the near future. Stay tuned for updates and more discussions!

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Film News: Emma Watson Will Star in Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

This morning, TheWrap.com reported that Emma Watson will be taking the role of Belle in Disney’s live-action adaption of “Beauty and the Beast.” Watson shared her excitement about her role on her Facebook page today:

Facebook announcement today, January 26th. Screen shot by author.

Facebook announcement today, January 26th. Screen shot by author.

Disney is really lining up the adaptations of its classics, making this venture the fourth one in a recent string. Thus far, we’ve had “Maleficent” and this year we’re getting “Cinderella” and “Jungle Book.” You might also include “Frozen” in that list, if you count the appearance of the beloved Disney characters in the fourth season of “Once Upon a Time.” The fairy tale trend can be expanded further with the popularity of “Into the Woods,” another Disney project.

Live-action adaptations of stories (whether from fairy tale or general storybooks) have been around for a long time, but newer and better special effects do much to raise the hype for these productions, something that is not singular to Disney. Just look at the recent success of “Paddington” from StudioCanal, with a very convincing but computer generated bear.

The question now is whether the new “Beauty and the Beast” can match or even surpass the flair and magic of the original animated film. For a time, Guillermo del Toro was going to make his own version, which would have starred Emma Watson. While it’s interesting to consider how his might have turned out, it’s probably a relief to know that Disney will be at the helm this time and that so far casting is in good hands.

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TV News: ‘Full Sherlock’ Teasers for Upcoming Special on BBC

Weeks ago, I highlighted the buzz surrounding the photo of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman dressed in what appeared to be Victorian garb. It was certainly reminiscent of the days of the Granada television series, which starred the late Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke.

Now Twitter is alive with hashtags for #Sherlock and even #setlock, a combination of Sherlock and set by fans who want to share their adventures from filming on the streets. The recent excitement concerns the appearance of Cumberbatch and Freeman in Victorian clothes in Gloucestershire Cathedral, as tweeted by sites like Entertainment Weekly:

Read the rest of this entry »

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