Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aladdin - Live Action Movie Cast

And this also happened during the weekend. A few days ago,  Guy Ritchie apparently had trouble finding the leads for his upcoming live action version of Disney's Aladdin but during the weekend, three prominent cast members were announced.


The title tole itself will be played by Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud. A relative newcomer, Mena's previous credits have included a short film named Americanistan and a role in the upcoming Jack Ryan TV series. Mena will now be the infamous street rat turned prince and while I haven't really seen any of his past credits yet, he does look the part.


Meanwhile the role of Princess Jasmine herself will go to British-Indian actress, Naomi Scott, who earlier this year played Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart in the Power Rangers reboot movie. Needless to say, Naomi's casting has generated some comments on the usual places but personally, I'm pretty fine with her playing the headstrong princess.


Elsewhere Will Smith will be taking on the role of the Genie for this live action production. He's been rumoured for the role for a while now, so I wasn't too shocked when his casting was confirmed over the weekend. The casting so far looks pretty solid and it'll be interesting to see who they get for Jafar, Iago and the Sultan. The live action movie is being written by John August.

Press Release: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/aladdin-will-smith-naomi-scott-jasmine-cast-mena-massoud-d23-1202496767/

Filming for Aladdin begins soon with a release date to be confirmed.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Doctor Who - Jodie Whittaker Is The 13th Doctor

I think in the last twenty four hours prior to the announcement, we probably all saw this one coming, huh?


On July 16th at 4.30pm on BBC1, history was made when a minute long trailer aired during the Wimbledon Men’s Final as it showed us the new Doctor walking through a forest, all hooded up, only for the last few seconds to reveal that the thirteenth incarnation of the Time Lord was in fact, Jodie Whittaker as she smiled and headed towards the TARDIS, key in hand.

The 35 year old actress, best known for her roles in both Broadchurch (created by incoming showrunner, Chris Chibnall) and Attack The Block was confirmed as the 13th Doctor and to say the reaction on social media was strong would be an understatement. The reaction primarily being one of near universal support for Whittaker’s casting but like with any actor casting in the role of the Doctor, there was also some opposition and some concerns too.

Now anyone who’s followed my tweets or read my comments on GallifreyBase will be more than aware of the fact that I haven’t been keen on the idea of a female Doctor and while I  would’ve preferred a male for the Doctor too, I am however in complete support of Whittaker’s casting in the role. Did you really think I was going to drop the show because the Doctor’s a woman now? As if!


However I do feel that there are some things from both sides of the female Doctor debate that should be addressed a little here, so here goes ....

1: Labelling people who either didn’t want a female Doctor or have concerns about what the casting means for the show as misogynistic fails to address the fact that there have also been female fans too that have shared similar viewpoints on the matter. Sorry social media, but it’s not just men who may have an issue with a female Doctor.
2: The feminist critics and ‘woke’ social media types who do this are exactly the same people who would’ve reacted in a similarly childish manner had the BBC and Chibnall cast a conventionally attractive white male Doctor.
3: Framing Whittaker’s casting as a feminist victory comes across as pretty extreme response, considering that the show itself has always had fantastic female characters since it’s debut in 1963 and that the revived series has been more inclusive to female fans and generally everyone since it’s return in 2005. The show hadn’t been lacking a strong female presence, so not let’s not act like it was people, okay?
4: There is nothing wrong with having concerns about a female Doctor. Whether people like it or not, the casting is a huge risk, but it’s also one that obviously both the BBC and Chibnall considered but felt they could pull off. Vilifying people for expressing concern on this also reeks of hypocrisy.
5: Casting a female Doctor does change the show’s dynamic. It’s naive to assume otherwise. While I don’t think it’ll help the show if it overemphasises the Doctor now being a woman, it’s still something the show has to address too but I have confidence that Chibnall will not treat it in a gimmicky way.
6: With a female Doctor now at the helm, I do think it’s time for the main companion of the series to be male. By all means, introduce a secondary female companion towards the latter half of Series 11, but for now the main companion should be male.
7: The show has been in something of a rut for a while and it needed a jolt. This might not have been the one I had in mind, but the fact that it got people talking in a way that Peter Capaldi’s era hasn’t certainly indicates that Whittaker’s casting might bring some viewers back and add some newer ones in this mix.
8: Gender swapping characters still doesn’t address the gender imbalance issue in the media either. Spotlighting existing female characters and creating newer ones should be the way to tackle this thorny issue as well as acknowledging the plethora of female led shows we’ve had in the last several decades.

That said and going back to one of my earlier statements – Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor and therefore she has my support and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the role. I still do have some concerns but I will admit the trailer alone did inspire confidence that she’ll bring an interesting new side to one of the best characters of all time and I liked her costume, even though it's not actually her official one.


Elsewhere there’s still one more episode left from departing Doctor Peter Capaldi and this week (July 23rd), the 12th Doctor actor along with Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Michelle Gomez (Missy), Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss will be attending San Diego Comic Con for a special panel, complete with a preview clip of the Christmas special, rumoured to be titled The Doctors that will also include David Bradley as the First Doctor and a glimpse of Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteen Doctor as well. Further casting for the special has yet to be confirmed but both Bill and Nardole will appear in some capacity along with rumoured appearances from some other past faces as well. Either way, we’re moving into a bold new era for the series.


The Doctors will air on Christmas Day on BBC1 and BBCAmerica respectively. Series 11 of Doctor Who is rumoured to begin filming around November.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Riot, Riot

A bit of a Netflix special here with three shows I've been catching up on.



Iron Fist: The most divisive of the Marvel/Netflix shows and aside from the moaning about Finn Jones's casting, which I've long since decided to drown out, the biggest crime this show has committed has been how ridiculously slow paced it is. I'm all for build up as much as the next person but even I have to admit that the first two episodes were something of a slog to get though. As for Jones himself, he's okay as Danny Rand but I'll admit the fight scenes are a little underwhelming so far while the flashbacks are only okay. Other characters like brother/sister duo, Ward and Joy Meachum are pretty decent and I already like Colleen Wing. Harold Meachum on the other hand is a little hokey on the baddie front but at least we're getting more on the Hand threat though.


Luke Cage: Like the other Marvel/Netflix show mentioned, I've only just started this one and while there are some pacing problems with this show too, I didn't find the first two episodes to be quite as slow moving though. The Harlem setting and the use of musical acts like Faith Hill in nightclub Paradise are a high point of the series along with the deft handling of Luke's backstory and characters such as Misty Knight, Cornelius and Mariah herself. The gang and political related storylines are also strong enough so far too. In some respects, the series feels like something from a different era and that's one of it's strengths so far. I plan to have both this and Iron Fist completed before moving onto The Defenders.


Orange Is The New Black: The fifth season of the popular prison drama came back last month and I've so far managed to watch about seven episodes. Setting the seasons entirely around a prison riot in the aftermath of Poussey's death seemed like a risky venture but so far, it's actually working pretty well. While the prisoners themselves are going overboard in getting their revenge on the guards, I've liked the various group dynamics and the flashbacks have helped break up the riot scenes a little so things haven't felt too bogged down. Now onto the remaining six episodes of the season.


- Colton Haynes, Charlie Carver and Tyler Hoechlin will be appearing in the second half of Teen Wolf's final season, starting later this month.
- Jared Gilmore will appear in Once Upon A Time's seventh season in a guest role. Dania Ramirez has also joined as a regular this season.
- The 13th Doctor will be revealed tomorrow on BBC1 after the Wimbledon's Mens Final.
- Brit Morgan will recur in Riverdale's second season.
- Manu Bennett will be returning for Arrow's sixth season as will a rumoured character from the show's first season.
- Lady Gaga will not be appearing in the seventh season of American Horror Story but Allison Pill will be while Twisty the Clown will also be returning. Adina Porter and Cheyenne Jackson are also returning.
- FOX are planning a crossover event with both Empire and Star this season.
- Erica Durance will be playing Alura in Supergirl's third season, replacing Laura Benanti in the role.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The L Word - Sequel Series In Development For Showtime

Well, this was a little unexpected, huh? I mean I know we're living in sequel/reboot culture for TV shows but I was surprised to read this one.


A quick brush up though - The L Word was a series that focused on the lives of lesbian and bisexual women in LA, starring Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Mia Kirshner and Katherine Moennig and ran for six seasons on Showtime between 2004-2009. The show was extremely popular at the time and even generated a reality TV spin-off called The Real L Word, which managed to last three seasons between 2010-2012 before it was axed.

Now it seems that the original series itself will be coming back for another season. However there's some twists - the first one being that the show will be brought back with a different showrunner as creator Ilene Chaiken is currently working on FOX's Empire and it will be a new set of women that the show will focus on.

However Chaiken will be an executive producer the rebooted series as will former stars of the show, Jennifer Beals (Bette), Kate Moennig (Shane) and Leisha Hailey (Alice). There is also speculation that along with a new cast for the show, some of the characters from the original series may also have some involvement if Showtime push ahead with the series.

The L Word joins Will & Grace as a prominent LGBT centred series that is currently being revived while US audiences will soon also get their own version of Russell T. Davies's Cucumber/Banana series with ABC's upcoming, Adult Behavior. Considering how massive the show was for Showtime back in the day, I can see this being a hit all over again, provided it goes ahead.

Press Release: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/l-word-sequel-works-at-showtime-1019916

The complete series of The L Word is available on DVD. I'll post more about this revival as the information comes along.

Monday, July 03, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x12: "The Doctor Falls"


Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay

The Doctor (to Missy/the Master): "It's not because it's fun and God knows it's not because it's easy. It's not because it even works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do, because it's right. Because it's decent. And above all, it's kind."

In that speech is everything that has ever and will ever capture the Doctor's motives for helping people and I have to admit, like a certain speech in the Zygon two parter, it's moments like this where the Twelfth Doctor well and truly shines. In this penultimate episode/finale, did he truly shine though.

Opening up with getting smacked about by both the Master and Missy, it didn't take long for the Doctor to get his old frenemies to get on side when he made the Cybermen go after Time Lords for conversion and having the Master and Missy helping certainly livened proceedings a bit as everyone went up another level of the ship from last time.

Having a bit of a mood whiplash here, we've got from a city polluted by fog and Mondasian Cybermen on the rise, to a nice countryside with a bunch of kids and an overprotective woman named Hazran (Samantha Spiro), who seemed to have a thing for the not equally receptive Nardole. Despite some of the popular rumours that floated around and that even I believed, Hazran was just a new character. A good one, but not the one we were expecting though.

Speaking of Nardole, he had his moments in this episode. I liked his pragmatic stance with both the Doctor and Cyber-Bill and I certainly enjoyed his scenes with both Masters but his exit was a little on the rushed with him being volunteered as protector for Hazran and the kids though against the evading and evolving Cybermen though.

This episode was all about the exits though. The Master and Missy in particular had one of the best with the pair of them stabbing and shooting each other in the back. Despite all their flirting, their conflict over whether or not to help the Doctor was the thing that turned them on each other. Missy was edging towards some form of redemption while the Master himself still revelled in being evil as his mocking of both the Doctor and Bill more than demonstrated. As exits go, it was a dramatic one for both of them, excellently played by Michelle Gomez and John Simm but while the character will be undoubtedly rested for a bit, we will see the Master again in some form though.

Then there's Bill herself. She spent most of this episode pulling an Oswin by perceiving herself as still human while outwardly looking like a Cyberman but she did forgive the Doctor for endangering her and she did stick around during the final battle itself to actually help him. However for those of us who feared that Moffat contributed to the 'bury your gays' trope with Bill, well he did manage to subvert it at the very last minute.

Despite there being no continuation since The Pilot, Heather came back and yanked Bill out of her Cyberman suit and the pair of them shared a kiss before putting the Doctor back in his TARDIS and exploring the universe. It's hard to deny that it's an exit that mirrors the Clara/Ashildr thing from last series but it works decently enough as a way to write Bill out of the series though.

As for the Doctor himself, he spent most of the episode holding back his regeneration, wanting to take out the Cybermen while also trying to save his friends and redeem both Masters too. He might have mostly failed with the latter and even Bill to a point, but he did succeed elsewhere and the near regeneration sequence was pretty stunning.

Of course with Christmas on the way, it was still held off but this time around we saw the Twelfth Doctor actually meet the First Doctor. It was rumoured for months and while I do have some reservations about a multi Doctor story for an outgoing Doctor's last episode, I did like the bit of David Bradley as the original you might say that this particular episode ended with.

- David Bradley previously played William Hartnell playing the First Doctor in An Adventure In Space And Time. He was also Solomon in Dinosaurs On A Spaceship.
- We saw both the 2006 and 2013 Cybermen in this episode. I think Moffat missed an opportunity by not including some 70's or 80's Cybermen while he was at it.
- Companions we saw in Twelve's head were Rose, Martha, Donna, Jack, Sarah Jane, Amy, River, Clara, Bill, Nardole, Vastra and Jenny along with Missy. Odd there was no Mickey or Rory though.
- Nice references to past regenerations and encounters with the Cybermen in this episode too.
- Rachel Talalay has now directed three finales in a row. That's got to be a record for the series, right?
- Chronology: Two weeks after the events of World Enough And Time.

The Doctor Falls could've let the side down after such a brilliant set up with it's previous episode but I genuinely think it didn't. Yes, Bill's exit was too similar to Clara's and the Cybermen were relegated to being blown up but with all the emotional beats and the hook for Christmas, it really does look like Peter Capaldi will go out on a high note.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Sense8 - Netflix Commissions A Two Hour Special



June was the month for Pride and while we had some great stuff last month, one of the misfires was Netflix announcing that Sense8 would come to an end after two seasons. Fans were upset and angry, especially as the second season had ended on a cliffhanger that was looking unlikely to be resolved.

Then we head towards the end of June and it seemed that fan outcry actually worked for once. Netflix announced on Thursday that the show would be coming back as a two hour special next year. Netflix shared the letter on its official account, along with a video tribute to the sci-fi series. "After seeing that the cancellation was a total cluster, we decided to give Sense8 fans the ending they totally deserve," said a Netflix spokesperson.

This is fantastic news and while this doesn't guarantee anything more than this upcoming special, at least it means we'll get a resolution to the overall series arc and have one more episodes of our favourite Cluster members. I cannot wait to see it and I'm imagining that it'll possibly be another Christmas special as well.

Press Release: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/sense8-two-hour-finale-set-at-netflix-1017948

Sense8's second season is currently streaming on Netflix if you haven't caught up. The special will be released in 2018.