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Affleck Feeling Right at Home in Batsuit

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As Ben Affleck rests on the set of the latest superhero blockbuster while looking over at his ‘batcave’, the movie star finally looks comfortable in his role. The body-tight, heat-resistant, tri-weave, titanium-dripped, muscled fibre suit, now comes equipped with Kevlar plates that Affleck says provided both him and his character with more “flex”. This enabled him to stretch more than when he previously played the Dark Knight.

On the inside, the actor revealed that his character is going back to basics: cynical, witty, and more dependent upon his intelligence that gadgets alone. We can expect to see something more along the lines of a 60’s Adam West Batman, sans the cliches, camp, and ‘ka-pow’. Returning to the role that he previously played in Batman vs Superman, Affleck offered his insights while filming Justice League at Warner Brothers’ studios in London.

The fifth movie in the DC Comics’ latest incarnation includes an all-star cast of Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher. In smaller roles, we will see Amy Adams back as Lois Lane, along with Willem Dafoe and Jeremy Irons as Nuidis Vulko and Alfred Pennyworth respectively. Zach Snyder who began directing the film, after making previous instalments Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, stepped down due to a family tragedy. Snyder was replaced by Marvel filmmaker Joss Whedon, who completed the remainder of the movie.

Justice League, opening in November, sees Bruce Wayne assembling a team of superheroes to take on villain Steppenwolf, along with his Parademons. The bad guys are out to locate the three ‘Mother Boxes’ capable of bestowing upon them tremendous powers to control and destroy Mother Earth.

Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, being encouraged to develop a sense of humour for this latest outing is in direct contrast to the mean and moody persona we saw in Batman vs Superman. To emphasise the new fun approach, Bruce and Alfred uncover a 1960s prototype jet fit for a 21st century battle.

Set designers actually mimicked a real 1960s jet fighter to build a section of the new Batcraft, which appears in numerous action sequences. The Batmobile is also making another appearance, this time with extra missile-firing capability.

On reprising his role as the Dark Knight, as well as playing a part in writing the script and having a say in the character’s direction, Affleck said that it was an enjoyable departure from his serious roles, such as in Live By Night and The Accountant.

Argo (2012 film) premiere in Paris Ben Affleck (8092908452) by Elen Nivrae (CC-BY-2.0)

In fact, in spite of the incessant rumours that he’ll hang up his Batsuit after Justice League, Affleck has said that he’s still invested in playing the Caped Crusader. Murmurings surfaced during the summer that Affleck would no longer be playing the role, largely based on the fact that he opted not to direct the upcoming solo Batman movie, simply titled The Batman.

Added to that, his script was allegedly dropped for The Batman, after Matt Reeves took over the director’s chair. Even Ben’s younger brother Casey put in his two cents, suggesting that there would be no more Batman for Ben.

While Affleck’s casting as the Dark Knight was unpopular and controversial, fans were won over by hisbrooding performance in Batman vs Superman, even considered to be the film’s highlight for many. He convinced as both the suave and sophisticated Bruce Wayne, as well as Batman, Wayne’s physically intimidating alter-ego. That performance got fans excited to see Affleck not only starring, but also writing and directing, his own solo Batman movie. Some, including Zach Snyder, even called him the best Batman so far.

Affleck has spoken on multiple occasions about what the role means to him and that he would be happy to continue donning the Batsuit for as long as Warner Brothers wants him. With fans just getting used to seeing him in the role, and as we are about to see only his second outing, this is hopefully just the beginning.

The film sees Bruce Wayne with a renewed faith in humanity, thanks to Superman’s selfless actions. This leads to Wayne enlisting the help of new friend Diana Prince to face off against a formidable enemy. In spite of the coming together of this group of heroes- Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman. It may not be soon enough to save Earth from the pending assault.

Affleck points out that superhero roles, and the Justice League movie in general, are a huge moment for a lot of people. Affleck is already an Hollywood A-lister and Gal Gadot is quickly making her name for herself as Wonder Woman, but Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa, are all primed to break out as Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman, respectively. The studio is hoping to take DC to new heights, with an army of fans having waited to see a big screen version of Justice League their entire lives.

Justice League by Gage Skidmore by Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The super hero craze has been amped up in recent years, thanks to enormous Marvel and DC success on the big screen. Disney, which own Marvel, are giving fans even more of an opportunity to get excited, with the development of Marvel Land at Disneyland’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim. Super hero tours are also proving to be extremely popular, not just among young audiences, but among adult enthusiasts, too. Comicons, comic stores and other strands of merchandise have boomed in recent years, too.

Other industries are also theming a part of their offering around super heroes. Big-selling titles such as The Amazing Spiderman and Ghost Rider have long since been a staple of the console games industry, and the recent boom in interest has seen superheroes re-imagined in on-demand entertainment providers like Netflix. The ever-popular online gambling industry is no different of course, with several online iGaming providers providing a number of superhero games with no deposit free spins. The games allow users to live out their fantasy as their favourite super hero, including Batman. This fascination with Marvel and DC is a wide-reaching cultural phenomenon not to be understated.

The team faced with producing a movie capable of living up to this phenomenon is a crack one. Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay, along with Chris Terri, who co-created the story with Synder. Whedon also directed the sequel’s additional photography. Justice League is produced by Geoff Johns, Jon Berg, Deborah Snyder, and Charles Roven. Executive producers are Ben Affleck, Chris Terri, Wesley Coller, and Jim Rowe.

Whedon stuck largely by his predecessor’s vision, but it does give two sets of eyes from two filmmakers who couldn’t be more different. Affleck has praised Whedon for what he has brought to the table, saying that he brought humanity to a group of previously over-fantastical characters. Snyder recently said that he has let everyone do their thing and that it wouldn’t be fair of him to still be involved. Synder will be given sole director’s credit, while Whedon will receive a writer’s credit.

Snyder, who always delivers visually stunning blockbusters, has been criticised in the past for allowing his characters to get lost in the story, particularly in Batman vs Superman, where we never really to to know Clark Kent, or his alter-ego, Superman.

Whedon, on the other hand, has earned a reputation for creating funny and interesting characters. His Avengers work saw him successfully set up a motley crew of heroes, with all of their quirks, eventually uniting the team for the film’s fantastic finale. If he is able to pull off his magic for the DC heroes, he may give Zach Snyder his first superhero victory.

Whedon didn’t just complete the movie, however. He also reshot some of the scenes to give the movie a lighter tone. Just how much the movie was changed as a result of Whedon’s input remains unknown. If the latest trailer is anything to go by, however, it would appear that his influence is fairly significant.

Apparently, it wasn’t only fans who were unhappy with Snyder’s vision. Vulture recently published a piece on what lies in store for DC Extended Universe DCEU, featuring opinions from Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, and Geoff Johns, President and Chief Creative Officer for DC Comics. Nelson said that Snyder’s vision didn’t necessarily align with DC’s, although she respected his freedom to make the film his way. Johns also expressed concerns, saying that Man of Steel failed to incorporate enough humour or lightness.

Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?

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Venice, Cannes, London, Wherever: Film Festival Tips

A film festival veteran, Rehna Azim gives her tips on how to survive at film festivals wherever you are in the world.

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I suppose I can be called a film festival veteran now. I’ve covered enough of them over the best part of a decade to be able to pass some, hopefully, useful tips on to those who might find themselves at one of the many film festivals that seem to spring up every 15 minutes. There’s a festival for everyone and pretty much everything. A fan of Korean cinema? You’ll find a festival in London. Sci-fi freak? Horror fanboy/girl? Gay, lesbian? Woman over 40? Someone somewhere will be running a festival of films you’ll love. Even towns you weren’t sure had a cinema seem to have a festival going on.

The biggies in Europe of course are Cannes and Berlin with London coming up in recent years. San Sebastien is growing in stature and there’s Ghent, Locarno, Edinburgh and many more. Wherever it is and whatever crowd it’s for, festivals are big business and popular. So here’s how to make the most of them:

Make sure your stomach is full and your bladder empty. The bigger the festival, the longer the queues and the more uncomfortable you’ll feel as you line up with a cast of hundreds to watch the latest gem from that Bulgarian auteur you thought only you loved. A film festival will draw a cine literate crowd that will fight you to the death for the last seat in the house. (At Cannes earlier this year, journalists almost came to fisticuffs in the huge, sprawling line that waited to catch the pearls of wisdom that fell from Christopher Nolan’s lips). A couple of years ago there was an angry stamping of feet as La La Land was, inexplicably, put on a small screen that couldn’t possibly accommodate all those who wanted to see it. At Venice earlier this month the lines stretched out perilously close to the canals. So you see, if you’re serious about festivaling, like a Boy Scout, you always have to be prepared. You simply can’t take the chance of popping away for 10 minutes to grab a quick burger or spend a penny. Go before you come, as it were. Carry a snack with you in your bag (trust me, even that festering flapjack at the bottom will seem enticing when you’re starving during a 3 hour long Ingmaar Bergman retrospective. Keep a small bottle of water with you at all times, not least to avoid the headaches that dehydration can cause.

Sacrifice glamour for comfort. Unless you’re going to a red carpet premiere, wear sensible shoes you can run between venues in. Layer your clothing. It doesn’t matter which city or country you’re in, you will either be too hot or too cold in whatever you wear. Taking something off or putting it on will be the best way to deal with whatever weather comes your way. I speak as someone who has been caught in sudden, monsoon level thunderstorms in both Venice and Cannes on brilliantly hot days when I was swanning around in skimpy summer dresses.

Film Festival Movie Marker

Plan your festival days. Screening times often overlap or just outright clash. Check the programme in advance, decide what you absolutely must see and what is a ‘if I have the time’ choice. Once you’ve made your choices, schedule your days accordingly. Those covering the festival for media outlets have to factor in interviews, talks and red carpet coverage as well as time to do the write-ups. It may seem like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs (did anyone’s grandmother actually ever do that) but sometimes the simplest, most obvious tips are the most helpful. I’ve known the super organised to create elaborate flow charts for their daily schedule but a simple list in a notebook will suffice.

Always keep a note pad and camera with you. Whether both are on your latest model phone or you have the old fashioned type, you will need them. Film festivals are exciting. Celebrities are swanning around everywhere, funny, interesting, record-able things are happening all the time and you will invariably meet people you want to stay in touch with. Writing a number or email address on the back of a receipt may seem a good idea at the time but you’ll never copy it out ‘properly’ into an address book. Most likely you’ll throw the receipt away when you’re next cleaning out your bag then spend hours rummaging through it later looking for the number of that nice agent/producer/actor/attractive person you met over drinks and really want to meet again. Network, make contacts, make friends. Festivals are fun!

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New entertainment platform CHILI launches in the UK

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Are you scrolling through the TV guide, trying to decide what to watch on your first night in for weeks, only to change your mind for the fourth time? Sounds tragically familiar, which is why I am very pleased to announce that European entertainment company CHILI have big plans for film and TV fans in the UK.

CHILI is a subscription-free entertainment platform that has launched in the UK after it’s recent success in Italy, racking up 1.6 million registered users since launching in 2012. Backed by the studios we all know and love, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox, the on-demand service offers an array of content available at the click of the button.

What makes this different from say, Netflix or Amazon? The website offers a huge range of films and TV shows, from foreign art house to big screen blockbusters – as well as being a one-stop show for cinema; there is a newshub to give you the low-down on all film and TV news, you can purchase physical movies, merchandise and tickets to the cinema all in one place. Founder and chief executive Giorgio Tacchia describes CHILI as an entertainment hub; with customers discovering a new movie or TV show that they love and then browsing the merchandise to see what’s in store. From Star Wars Lego sets to beautiful concept art books, there really is something for everyone.

The platform is also filled with new premieres, including Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, Marvel Studios’ Avengers Infinity War and Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon. Customers can choose the quality they want their digital purchase, or choose to order a Blu-Ray or DVD instead.

My favourite section is the ‘highlights’ page which tailors content around your preferences and also offers flash sales and offers of the week. And with your first film on them? That’s an offer I can’t refuse.

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Our weekly updated UK streaming listings for September 2018

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Between the increasing number of streaming platforms in our lives, there’s far too much great entertainment being released day after day for any sane person to keep track of. 

There’s streaming giant Netflix, the curated offerings of MUBI, all the latest releases on NOW TV, and online video emporium Amazon Prime. There’s something for everyone, on demand, just waiting to be selected. What a time to be alive!

But that doesn’t help when you’re looking for something to wile away the evening with, so let us lighten the load and make your viewing choice that little bit easier with our weekly updated round-up of everything being added to your favourite platform.

Saturday, September 1st

  • After the Sunset
  • Appaloosa
  • Birth
  • Cellular
  • Final Destination 3
  • Harold & Kumar Escape
  • Highwaymen
  • The Last Mimzy
  • Lost in Translation
  • The Man
  • Mr. Woodstock
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Pride and Glory
  • Rendition
  • Semi-Pro
  • Shoot Em Up
  • Silk

Sunday, September 2nd

  • The Green Inferno
  • The Way Back

Monday, September 3rd

  • Molly’s Game
  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)

Thursday, September 6th

  • Pistorius

Monday, September 10th

  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)

Friday, September 14th

  • Forever: Season 1

Monday, September 17th

  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Post
  • Suicide Squad

Wednesday, September 19th

  • The Commuter

Saturday, September 22nd

  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Get Smart
  • The Lake House
  • Lolita
  • Mortal Kombat
  • North by Northwest
  • Payback
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Soylent Green
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • The Towering Inferno

Sunday, September 23rd

  • Early Man

 

Wednesday, September 5th

  • Boro in the Box

Thursday, September 6th

  • Living Still Life

Friday, September 7th

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Saturday, September 8th

  • The Pleasure of Being Robbed

Sunday, September 9th

  • Tiny Furniture

Monday, September 10th

  • Went the Day Well?

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Champagne Charlie

Wednesday, September 12th

  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Thursday, September 13th

  • Disorder

Friday, September 14th

  • The Wild Boys

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Eros Plus Massacre

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Street Life

Thursday, September 20th

  • Tonsler Park

Sunday, September 23rd

  • The Things of Life

 

 

Saturday, September 1st

  • The Bletchley Circle: Season 1 
  • The Bletchley Circle: Season 2
  • Born to Be Blue
  • Gangs of New York
  • Gone
  • Killing Gunther
  • La Catedral del Mar
  • Legally Blondes
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
  • Marvel’s Iron Man
  • Marvel’s Iron Man 2
  • Marvel’s Iron Man 3
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Monkey Twins
  • Moonstruck
  • The Mummy
  • The Mummy Returns
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • RoboCop 2
  • Saw VI
  • Sisters

Sunday, September 2nd

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, September 3rd

  • The Debt Collector
  • Power: Season 5 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 4th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)

Wednesday, September 5th

  • The Hundred-Foot Journey

Thursday, September 6th

  • I Kill Giants
  • Inferno
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Atypical: Season 2
  • Cable Girls: Season 3
  • City of Joy
  • Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 2
  • The Most Assassinated Woman in the World
  • Next Gen
  • Shooter: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Sierra Burgess is a Loser
  • Stretch Armstrong & The Flex Fighters: Season 2

Saturday, September 8th

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)

Sunday, September 9th

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Wynonna Earp: Season 2

Monday, September 10th

  • Power: Season 5 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Daniel Sloss: Live Shows
  • Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
  • The Resistance Banker
  • The Square

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Burn After Reading
  • Call the Midwife: Season 6
  • Jane
  • On My Skin
  • Rex

Thursday, September 13th

  • Life Happens
  • Nowhere Boys: Two Moons Rising
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Friday, September 14th

  • American Vandal: Season 2
  • The Angel
  • Bleach
  • Boca Juniors Confidential
  • BoJack Horseman: Season 5
  • Car Masters: Rust to Riches
  • The Dragon Prince
  • Ingobernable: Season 2
  • The Land of Steady Habits
  • Last Hope
  • Shooter: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Super Monsters Monster Party: Songs

Saturday, September 15th

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)
  • Cabins in the Wild, with Dick Strawbridge: Season 1
  • The Hangover
  • How to Live Mortgage Free, with Sarah Beeny: Season 1
  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Queens vs. Kings: Season 1
  • Three Wives, One Husband: Season 1

Sunday, September 16th

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, September 17th

  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • D.L. Hughley: Contrarian

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Julieta

Thursday, September 20th

  • American Honey
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Friday, September 21st

  • Battlefish
  • Dragon Pilot: Hisone & Masotan
  • The Good Cop: Season 1
  • Hilda
  • Maniac
  • Nappily Ever After
  • Norsemen: Season 2
  • Quincy
  • Rafinha Bastos: Ultimate

Saturday, September 22nd

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)
  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Sunday, September 23rd

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

 

 

Saturday, September 1st

  • Braven

Sunday, September 2nd

  • The Little Hours

Monday, September 3rd

  • Guardians of the Tomb

Tuesday, September 4th

  • Chronically Metropolitan

Wednesday, September 5th

  • The Mimic

Thursday, September 6th

  • Singularity

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Final Score

Saturday, September 8th

  • The Disaster Artist

Sunday, September 9th

  • The Ballad of Lefty Brown

Monday, September 10th

  • Psych: The Movie

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Never Steady, Never Still

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Hatred

Thursday, September 13th

  • My Friend Dahmer

Friday, September 14th

  • Murder on the Orient Express

Saturday, September 15th

  • Oddsockeaters

Sunday, September 16th

  • The Forgiven

Monday, September 17th

  • Devil’s Gate

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Affairs of State

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Wings of Eagles

Friday, September 21st

  • All the Money in the World

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to check back each week for a fresh round of new releases for the UK on streaming platforms Amazon Prime, MUBI, NOW TV, and Netflix.

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