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Marvel at SDCC 2019: Phase 4 and Beyond



Marvel went above and beyond expectations with their Hall H presentation at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. With announcements of movies and television productions for the next few years, we got a good look at what Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is shaping up to be, so let’s take a look at everything announced and teased. We will start with the film reveals, and follow those with the upcoming array of Marvel shows.

Black Widow

Release Date: May 1st 2020

Directed by Cate Shortland

Written by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson

Starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/ Red Guardian, O.T Fagbenle as Rick Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina

After years of high demand for a Black Widow solo movie, we finally got some concrete details during the Marvel panel, as well as some new cast member confirmations and a release date for the long-awaited title. Rumours suggest that the film will explore Natasha’s previously mentioned excursions in Budapest, an event that both Black Widow and Hawkeye have referenced in The Avengers and Avengers: Endgame. One notable confirmation from the panel was that the film will be set after Captain America: Civil War and before Avengers: Infinity War. Some brief footage shown at SDCC which revealed the film’s main antagonist: the classic Marvel villain Taskmaster.

Black Widow has always been a character shrouded in mystery, with a few glimpses here and there of her backstory. Despite the character first coming to the big screen in Iron Man 2 over ten years ago, we still don’t have a full grasp on her character. After her death in Endgame, it seemed like she would forever remain an enigma due to her sacrifice, but Black Widow is an opportunity to delve into her character one last time before she bows out of the MCU (presumably??). Here’s hoping that her solo movie will not only be the female-driven narrative we have been waiting for, but also a film that gives Natasha the justice she deserves.


Release Date: November 6th 2020

Directed by Chloe Zhao

Written by Matthew K. Firpo and Ryan Firpo

Starring Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh

The Eternals movie was announced back in April 2018, and at SDCC we got confirmation for the cast members and director. The Eternals are a strand of humanity with superhuman resilience and strength (as well as other more individual abilities) created by Celestials after experimentation on archaic humans millions of years ago. They defend the Earth from various threats, including Deviants, who are the evil versions of the Eternals created at the same time by the Celestials. Other than that, little is known about where the story is going to go. Kevin Feige said in 2018 that he wanted the story to focus on the characters Ikaris and Sersei, but details at the moment are pretty limited. More info is likely be released next year, as it is the second film in the Phase 4 lineup.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Release Date: February 12th 2021

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Written by David Callaham

Starring Simu Liu as Shang-Chi and Tony Leung Chiu-wai as The Mandarin. Also starring Awkwafina in an undisclosed role.

Shang-Chi has been in line for his own movie for a fair amount of time now. Stan Lee wanted to make a movie back in the 1980s with Brandon Lee in the title role, but thirty years later, the Marvel martial arts expert is finally get a film of his own. The character is known for his martial arts abilities, earning himself the title of Master of Kung-Fu. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may sound like a mouthful compared to most Marvel movie titles, but this one has some particularly interesting implications. The Ten Rings are a terrorist organisation in both the comics and movies, and they have been directly affecting the main players of the MCU for years — such as Tony Stark, who they kidnapped in Iron Man under direction from Obadiah Stane.

It seems like a direct confrontation with the terrorists has been a long time coming, and the Shang-Chi film will be tackling it head on. Another interesting element of Shang-Chi is that it is introducing the real Mandarin (rather than the phony actor one from Iron Man 3). The Mandarin is a well-known villain from the comic, and whilst the Iron Man 3 version was a unique twist on the character, fans of his comic book iteration are sure to be pleased that he is finally getting a proper introduction in the MCU.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Release Date: May 7th 2021

Directed by Scott Derrickson.

The writer has yet to be confirmed.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch

Although it hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor may well be reprising their roles as Christine Palmer and Baron Mordo.

Another rather monstrous mouthful of a title, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the sequel to the 2016 Doctor Strange, which introduced the Sorcerer Supreme to the MCU, as well as expanded on the concept of magic.  Taking place in a post-Endgame world, the film will see Doctor Strange on a journey through the multiple universes that were hinted at by the various timelines and travel between them in Endgame. The good doctor won’t be alone on his travels either. Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch, has also been confirmed to be a part of the sequel. This could be interesting, as Stephen Strange could easily take up a mentoring role for Maximoff, whose magic appears to be getting stronger in every film that she is in (she almost singlehandedly took down Thanos in Endgame). The two could make for an interesting double act due to their powers.

Kevin Feige also announced that the film would be Marvels first horror movie, which could be an exciting new genre to add to the MCU. With director Scott Derrickson confirming that the villain Nightmare (the creepy Dream Dimension leader who thrives on torturing dreaming humans) will be included in the film, it seems like Multiverse of Madness could be a completely fresh take on Marvel’s superhero formula. It also has an interesting link to one of the upcoming Disney+ Marvel shows, but more on that later.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Release Date: November 5th 2021

Directed and written by Taika Waititi

Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.

The quirky titles just keep coming with the last film announcement officially confirmed for Phase 4. Thor: Love and Thunder will be the fourth Thor film in the MCU, and Taika Waititi will once again be returning to the director’s chair. One of the biggest surprises of the Hall H presentation was Waititi announcing that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will be taking the mantle of Thor at some point in the film, becoming a female Thor similar to the The Mighty Thor storyline from the comics. The introduction of a new Thor makes it likely that Chris Hemsworth will be stepping down from the role, possibly to do some adventuring with the Guardians of the Galaxy, seeing as he left with them at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Portman has some big shoes to fill if this is the case, but it is refreshing to see a female take over a leading superhero role from a male.

Another big reveal from the panel was the Valkyrie will be the first LGBTQ superhero in the MCU. Whilst LGBTQ characters have been suggested in the MCU before, Valkyrie is the first major character to be confirmed as such. It is encouraging to see such a major studio bringing more diversity to their films, both on and off screen (many of the Phase 4 films have brought on female directors as well as directors and writers from different backgrounds and ethnicities). After being crowned as king of New Asgard, Valkyrie will be searching for her queen in Love and Thunder (I have my fingers crossed for Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel taking up the position). It looks like Thor: Love and Thunder could shake up the MCU in a creative and contemporary way, with a good deal of eccentricity thrown into the mix thanks to Taika Waititi’s unique and hilarious style.


Starring Mahershala Ali

The last announcement in Hall H was the confirmation that Marvel is developing a new Blade movie with Mahershala Ali in the title role.  Nothing else is known besides that, but it was a great surprise to top off the vast array of Marvel news that we were given. Ali is a superb actor and a brilliant choice for the part. It’s awesome to see him join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s hoping that we get more news on the new Blade film soon.

Kevin Feige confirmed that we will also see Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in Phase 5 of the MCU, and hinted at new Fantastic Four and Mutants movies.


Whilst this was a big presentation for movies, there was also a good deal announced in regards to a slew of Marvel series set for Disney +. Let’s take a look at what Marvel will be bringing to the small screen in the upcoming years.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

Release Date: Autumn 2020

Directed by Kari Skogland

Written by Malcolm Spellman and Derek Kolstad

Executive Producer: Kevin Feige

Starring Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Solider, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, and Daniel Brühl as Zemo.

The first of several Marvel shows that will be exclusive to Disney’s upcoming streaming service, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is pretty self-explanatory in that it will focus on Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) from the Captain America and Avengers movies. As to what the show could entail, I have no doubt that the role of Captain America will play a significant part. With Steve Rogers choosing to live out his life with Peggy Carter in an alternate timeline at the end of Avengers: Endgame, the helm of Captain America is currently unmanned. It is suggested that Sam will take the role, as a now-old Steve hands over his infamous shield to him at the end of Endgame.

However, both Sam and Bucky have taken up the shield in the comics, so it is possible that the title role could go either way. The characters have had some pretty funny interactions with one another, being brought together by their separate friendships with Steve, and having something of a love/hate (but mostly hate) relationship. A ‘buddy cop’ style of show wouldn’t go amiss for their personalities, but a more serious tone could also work if done well. From what we’ve heard so far, it seems to be more of a political thriller style show, possibly in the same vein as Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The plot will certainly have strong ties to the MCU, which is suggested by the return of Daniel Brühl as Zemo from Captain America: Civil War. With the creator of the John Wick series on board as a writer, we know the show will have some incredible action sequences, and hopefully some interesting character development for its title characters.


Release Date: Spring 2021

Jac Schaeffer as showrunner and writer of the pilot episode.

Executive Producer: Kevin Feige

Starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau.

The romance between the Vision and Scarlet Witch was one of the more important plot points of Avengers: Infinity War, and this relationship is sure to be expanded on in WandaVision. The show will be set after Avengers: Endgame, but little else is known. There are a few different ways in which the show could go, however, as the two characters were a couple in the comics for a good long while. In fact, they were even married and had children. Could the show demonstrate their domestic lives? One main obstacle of this theory is the fact that Vision is currently dead, of course, but with his name in the title of the show itself, he is sure to be brought back somehow.

In Infinity War, we see Shuri finish her work on Vision just before Thanos’s army invades and the mind stone is ripped from Vision’s head. Obviously the plan fails when Thanos snaps half the universe into oblivion, but with the world being restored after Endgame, perhaps Shuri will be the one to bring Vision back? No matter how he comes back, what is certain is that the android will be reunited with Wanda. Feige stated in the presentation that WandaVision is unlike anything that Marvel has ever done, which makes it all the more appealing. The show may well be a unique take on classic romance whilst also incorporating some sci-fi or mystical elements due to Vision’s robotic nature and Wanda’s growing powers.

The show will also have some links to other MCU films, with Teyonah Parris playing a grownup version of Monica Rambeau (Carol’s adopted niece) from Captain Marvel. The show will also play a part in the lead-up to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, in which Scarlet Witch will play a role. Perhaps we will see Vision there too, or Doctor Strange making an appearance on the show? Scarlet Witch is a personal favourite character of mine, so I’m looking forward to this one.


Release Date: Spring 2021

No writer or director confirmed yet.

Executive Producer: Kevin Feige

Starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

Arguably the most anticipated Marvel show coming out, Loki will follow the god of mischief, who gained something of a cult following after his introduction in the first Thor film. After Loki had his neck snapped by Thanos in Infinity War, we thought we had seen the last of him; however, when the Avengers in Endgame travel back in time to the 2012 Avengers film, we see Loki escape from custody following his fight with them, Tesseract (the space stone) in tow. Kevin Feige confirmed that this alternate Loki is who the show will focus on, as he jumps around various time eras (and possibly dimensions)

That is all we know so far, but it is an interesting premise considering it could create multiple timelines with various different events, depending on just how much trouble Loki gets himself into. It could also be interesting to see how different this Loki will be from the one who was throttled by Thanos, as he hasn’t gone through the character arcs he had in Thor: The Dark World or Thor: Ragnarok. This is 2012 Loki, who is still very much hellbent on villainy rather than the slightly calmer and more tolerant Loki who was killed. Loki may well be a fantasy-based show or have a more comedic element, but we will have to wait until more details emerge.

What If…?

Release Date: Summer 2021

Executive Producer: Kevin Feige

Starring Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine, Taika Waititi as Korg, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, Djimon Hounsou as Korath he Pursuer, Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, and Chris Sullivan as Taserface.

In the only animated series in the line-up, What If…?  will be similar to the comic book series of the same name in that it will delve into various alternate realities within the Marvel Universe. Like the comics, the show will be narrated by Uata the Watcher (voiced here by Jeffrey Wright). Watchers are extra-terrestrial beings tasked with gaining knowledge of the universe, and Uata has the ability to see multiple realities, making him the perfect narrator for the “What If” stories. The comics touched on several interesting alternate storylines, such as “What If Gwen Stacey Had Lived?” and “What If Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four?” and “What If Iron Man had been a Traitor?”

The show will likely be incorporating more of the MCU into the show rather than the comics due to the cast and the characters who are set to be initially involved, but the possibilities are vast for this series, and it may well end up following some stories from the comics if it is successful. With at least 25 MCU actors reprising their roles for the show (I’ve listed the confirmed cast above), and no doubt more to be announced, What If…? is a project that could be a dream for long-time fans of the comic series — animation and MCU fans alike.


Release Date: Autumn 2021

No writer or director confirmed as of yet.

Executive Producer:  Kevin Feige

Starring Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye

Hawkeye has always been relentlessly mocked for his role in The Avengers. He fought alongside a genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist in a super suit, a super solider who has punched Nazis, a literal God, a giant, green superhuman, and an ex-Russian spy who could kill you with a glance. All the while, he was there with his bow and arrow. Well, who’s laughing now?? Still everyone probably, but at least Hawkeye is getting some rightfully deserved love and attention with the announcement of his very own Disney + show, humbly named Hawkeye.

Hawkeye will focus on Clint Barton training up his protégé from the comic books, Kate Bishop, to take over the mantle of Hawkeye following the events of Avengers: Endgame. This could be a good way to lead into the Young Avengers in some way, either via television or film, as Kate was a prominent member of the team in the comics. The show will also explore Clint’s time as the assassin, Ronin, a persona he took on after losing his family to Thanos’s snap in Infinity War. This is a good way to delve more into a side of Hawkeye that we only got a glimpse of in Endgame — the ruthless and merciless side. It could also explore Clint dealing with the grief of losing Natasha in Endgame, as the two were incredibly close, and her death is sure to have taken a toll on him.

There is no confirmation as to whether the rest of the cast will return to play his family, or who will be taking on the role of Kate Bishop, but we will be keeping an eye out for details as they are announced.

To watch the best bits of the Hall H Marvel Presentation, check out the video below.

Antonia Haynes resides in a small seaside town in England where she has lived her whole life. She's a simple girl with a passion for zombies, writing, film, television, drawing, superheroes, Disney and, of course, video games. Her ideal day would consist of junk food, fluffy pyjamas and video games because quite frankly going outside is overrated. Follow her on Twitter on @RainbowMachete

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‘The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series’ Review: A Bittersweet Swan Song for Telltale’s Defining Game Series



When Telltale Games released The Walking Dead game back in 2012, there was no telling as to how the point and click interactive adventure game was going to be received. But the game became more than just a success. It became a critically acclaimed and commercially successful phenomenon that transformed Telltale Games into an A-list game development studio overnight. Winning countless awards- including a huge amount of Game of The Year awards from various publications– The Walking Dead proved that games that focus on delivering engaging narratives and well-developed characters can be just as good as big and bombastic games. However, the closure of Telltale Games in September 2018 meant that several projects were cancelled and The Walking Dead: The Final Season, which had just released its second episode, was suddenly thrown into a state of uncertainty. With the fans desperately wanting to complete Clementine’s story, Skybound Games stepped in, took on the challenge, and managed to finish the series with the critically acclaimed final episodes. Now, a year later, a compilation of all the games has been released and it’s a huge accomplishment. There is a sense of achievement surrounding this collection and whilst it is not without issues, it is a perfect package for fans of The Walking Dead as well as a poignant ending of an era.

Unused concept art of Clementine’s house doesn’t go to waste as it acts as the setting for the main menu.

The Definitive Series is a collection of all four seasons of Telltale’s The Walking Dead as well as the Michonne miniseries and the 400 Days DLC, plus a ton of new bonus material and additional features. A short documentary on how Skybound Games saved The Final Season is available as are developer commentaries from some of the cast and developers of the games for some various episodes. There is also an art viewer which shows off concept art from all the seasons and a character viewer where you can look through various character models and animations as well as listen to voice lines from across the series. The final bonus feature is a music player, which allows you to listen to Jared Emerson Johnson’s origianl score from each season. The bonus content is definitely a must-have for diehard fans of the series such. The ten-minute film The Return of The Walking Dead is a short but fascinating look into Telltale’s rise and fall and the effect it had on the staff as well as the fans. The developer commentaries also provide an insight into the game that fans would not otherwise have. For instance, the voicemail from Clementine’s mother Diana in the first episode of Season One is revealed in the commentary to have been the audition tape for actress Rebecca Schweitzer. They found her performance so impressive that they did not ask her to record any more dialogue for the role of Diana. Instead, they used the audition in the finished game as well as in the trailer for the game. It is little facts like this that I found really fun to hear when listening to the commentaries. The art viewer provides some brilliant concept pieces from the team behind the artwork of the games. It also gives an insight into some scrapped ideas. There is concept art for an unused gym setting in Ericson Boarding School from The Final Season as well as a dilapidated version of Clementine’s house. The house concept gets some use in the form of the menu for The Definitive Series, but a return to Clementine’s home could have been a fascinating addition to the game. The character viewer is definitely fun to play around with too as you can mix up voice lines and animations to create some weird and wonderful sights. My personal favourite animations are the Rosie model with AJ riding on her back and the updated Lee model with AJ perched on his shoulders, joyously shooting a machine gun. The music player is a great addition as well as Emerson-Johnson’s score hasn’t been readily available since now (except the music from Season One which was previously released as an album). It’s great if you want to let the music play in the background but one problem I did find is that you can’t jump from one song to the next automatically. All the songs have to be selected manually so you cannot let the albums play out. Despite this, the music player is still a good addition to the collection.

One of the most noticeable features of The Definitive Series is the improvement to the graphics. After playing through the first episode of Season One, the graphics update is incredibly noticeable. The world looks crisper and clearer, with more attention paid to background details that were barely noticeable when the game first released in 2012. For instance, when in the drugstore that is owned by Lee’s family, you can clearly see the pictures on the wall in the background and you can read the signs dotted around the drugstore easily. It is a nice touch that makes the world more believable and immersive. There is also more shading included, mirroring the style of the comic books even more than it already did. The improved visuals are very similar to the visuals in The Final Season, with more detail put into the aforementioned comic book style. It greatly enhances the experience of playing the game, adding more depth and elegance.

There is a significant improvement to the graphics in the remastered version of Season One.

The game isn’t without its problems. The release on the PlayStation 4, the platform on which I played it, was marred with a wealth of technical problems. The only working parts of the PS4 version when it first released was the art viewer, director commentaries and music player. The character viewer did not work at all and neither did the actual games (obviously the most important part). To be blunt, the PS4 version was pretty much broken upon release. Skybound Games has since released a patch to fix the issues, but my download of this patch took me an entire day. I wasn’t able to actually play the game until three days after I received it. This was incredibly frustrating but kudos to Skybound Games for acknowledging the problem quite quickly and keeping PS4 players informed of the patch progress.  The actual game also has some technical bugs and glitches and they are the sort that has come to be expected from Telltale titles. Awkward lip-syncing, dead-eyed characters and jarring animations are still present but I also got some new issues such as dialogue suddenly cutting off or characters missing out half of their voice lines. Although these kinds of glitches are known in these games, I am disappointed that these couldn’t be fixed in The Definitive Series. The game may look better, but it still has numerous hiccups that can take you out of the experience.

The player can listen to music from all four seasons as well as the mini-series and DLC. The music player in Clementine’s pool is a also a nice touch!

Despite the technical hitches and the broken PlayStation release, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is a must-have for hard-core fans of the game series. The behind the scenes insights are interesting for those invested in these titles and the various art and music available can make you truly appreciate the hard work that went into creating this world and these characters. Admittedly, The Definitive Series has little to offer to those who aren’t aware of the series or for casual fans who already own the games. That being said, there is a community of fans out there (myself included) who have loved and supported Telltale and The Walking Dead game for years who were genuinely devastated by the studio closure. It is those fans who will get the most out of this collection. The game encapsulates a nine-year journey and it is a bittersweet sendoff to the series and to Clementine, who we have seen grow throughout the series. No matter whether Telltale Games makes a comeback or not, the studio will always be remembered for this defining title which introduced us to Lee, Clementine and A.J and made us care about their struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  The Definitive Series marks the end of The Walking Dead Game– and the end of Telltale Games as it once was- and although the ending is certainly bittersweet, it is wrapped up nicely with this collection.

Somewhere in a much happier alternate reality…

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Edition is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows.

Can’t get enough of The Walking Dead? Season nine of the popular AMC television show is available now on Blu-ray and DVD in the US and will be available on September 30th on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK. The show will be returning for its tenth season on AMC on October 6th, 2019

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Introducing ‘Ring Fit Adventure,’ Nintendo’s Exercise Action Adventure for Switch

Nintendo’s “new experience” for Switch is ‘Ring Fit Adventure’, an unusual, ring-filled, and exercise-focused take on the action adventure genre



Ring Fit Adventure

Last week, Nintendo teased a mysterious “new experience” for Switch. In our first report on it, we jokingly asked, “Why can’t this be an open world, motion-controlled yoga rhythm action game?”

It turns out that we weren’t too far from the truth.

Nintendo has now fully revealed this new experience to be Ring Fit Adventure, an exercise-focused title that “turns a typical adventure game on its head as players squat, press and flex their way through challenges designed for a wide range of body types and levels of fitness experience.” To make this unique exercise gameplay possible, players attach their Joy-con to the new Ring-con accessory, “a flexible electronic device that provides resistance, and uses the Joy-Con to respond to the player’s movements.”

Ring Fit Adventure is more than just another motion-controlled exercise game. Instead, it’s a full-fledged adventure, complete with a story, a world to explore, and RPG elements. Nick Chavez, Nintendo’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said that “Ring Fit Adventure combines gaming and physical activity in a way that incentivizes people to keep coming back for more, to further both the story and their own fitness goals.”

Beyond the adventure mode, there’s also plenty of other modes focused primarily on simple exercise. There’s sets of exercises tailored specifically to individual body parts, along with some general practice routines as well. There’s even a “Silent” mode, which emphasizes quieter movements to ensure that apartment-dwellers don’t drive all their downstairs neighbors insane.

Overall, it’s certainly an extremely unique project. Check it out in all of its active, exercise-filled glory in the full reveal trailer below.

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Fantastic Fest 2019 Announces the Third and Final Wave of Programming




Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest 2019 is just around the corner and a week before the doors open, the festival has revealed its third and final wave of programming.

Wave three brings a ton of exciting new titles including I Lost My Body, the award-winning film from director Jérémy Clapin, Jessica Hausner’s English-language debut Little Joe and Sea Fever which is being compared to such films as Alien to The Thing to last year’s Annihilation. In addition, they’ve added the World Premiere of Random Acts of Violence, We Summon the Darkness and the North American Premiere of Keep me Company.

The festival will also be honoring the career of Japanese maestro Takashi Miike with a lifetime achievement award and a special screening of The Happiness of the Katakuris. Check out the press release and full lineup below. You can find wave one here and wave two here.

Fantastic Fest runs September 19-26. Be sure to check back as we will be covering the event once again this year.

AUSTIN, TX — September 11, 2019 — Netflix brings the US Premiere of the much-lauded I LOST MY BODY to Fantastic Fest after an award winning debut at Cannes Critics Week. From director Jérémy Clapin, this singular tale of a severed hand trying to reunite with its owner is told in a striking hand-drawn animation style and won the Cristal award at the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

“This has been a phenomenal year in terms of filmmaking, and we are proud to be hosting so many of the year’s best filmmakers in Austin,” says Evrim Ersoy, Fantastic Fest Creative Director. “Whether first-timers or alumni, we hope to share their work with our unique audience and to help elevate their voices within the festival world and with audiences at large.”

The festival will be honoring the career of Japanese maestro Takashi Miike with a lifetime achievement award and a special screening of THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS. With over 100 films under his belt, Takashi Miike’s work has been regularly featured as part of the festival.

This year, Fantastic Fest alumni are bringing exceptional new projects to the festival. ALLÉLUIA filmmaker Fabrice du Welz returns to Austin with the North American Premiere of ADORATION, telling a story of young love gone wrong. Drafthouse Films alum Katrin Gebbe follows up her striking debut feature NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN with PELICAN BLOOD, where a mother realizes something may be very wrong with her adopted daughter. Finally, shorts filmmaker Ryan Spindell makes the jump to features with the World Premiere of his fast-paced anthology, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION.

One of the thrills of Fantastic Fest is the opportunity to see the beginning of a filmmaker’s career, and this year’s fest will feature a trio of stunning directorial debuts. In SAINT MAUD, a live-in nurse is determined to save the soul of her dying patient at any given cost. In HOMEWRECKER, polite friendship forces a young woman into a battle to the death with the growing insanity of her newly-made friend. Finally, in AMIGO, lifelong friends find their relationship turning toxic following a tragic and crippling accident.

The sea is the inspiration for a trio of films that inspire very different emotions. In SWEETHEART, a shipwrecked young woman discovers she might not be as alone as she thought. In SEA FEVER, the crew of a small shipping boat discovers their craft infected by an unknown organism. Lastly, in RIDE YOUR WAVE, a surf-obsessed young woman discovers that death might not be the final stop in her burgeoning romance with a handsome firefighter.

Fantastic Fest is known for its dedication to the horror genre, and this year’s lineup is especially strong with an array of fantastic premieres. In the World Premiere of RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE, a comic book artist finds himself the inspiration for the grisly work of a serial killer. In the World Premiere of WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS, an after-party becomes deadly grounds for survival for a group of heavy metal fans. And in the North American Premiere of KEEP ME COMPANY, a romantic weekend getaway turns sinister with unusual occurrences at a rented house.

Cinephiles with a taste for the unusual will be delighted with a trio of titles that bend styles and genres to create something wholly unique. In LITTLE JOE, a scientific discovery threatens the entire future of mankind. WYRM concerns an alternative future where a shy, dinosaur-obsessed high-schooler struggles with a unique and unusual school requirement. And finally in NIGHT DRIVE a driver finds his boring evening becoming anything but when he picks up a young woman through a ride-share app in a glorious comedy of errors.

Alongside the usual vibrant and exciting shorts programming, Fantastic Fest 2019 brings a special focus to up-and-coming genre filmmakers from Mexico in a shorts block supported by Austin’s Consulate of Mexico titled MÉXICO FANTÁSTICO. The program opens with the disquieting thriller 9:40 starring Kristyan Ferrer (SIN NOMBRE), and proceeds with a selection of fantastic shorts that run the gamut in both genre and style, including the eerie folk-horror of THE WANDERING WITCH and disturbing sci-fi drama of THE ORIGINAL by Fantastic Fest alums Sofia Carrillo and Michelle Garza Cervera respectively.

Finally, live podcast recordings are back on The Highball stage at Fantastic Fest this year, with the return of Leonard Maltin’s Maltin on Movies, Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies, and April Wolfe’s Switchblade Sisters. This year brings new additions that include Horror Queers, The Horror and 5BY5 At The Movies.


France, Belgium, 2019North American Premiere, 98 minDirector – Fabrice du Welz

Paul lives with his mother on the grounds of a mental institution and has little contact with the outside world. When Gloria’s admitted, he’s immediately fascinated by her and events take an unexpected turn.

Spain, 2019
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Óscar Martín

After a serious car accident (for which he’s responsible), David decides to care for his best friend Javi at a remote house. It doesn’t take long until the animosity insidiously builds between them.

The Deeper You Dig
USA, 2019
US Premiere, 95 min
Directors – Toby Poser & John Adams (Co-director: Zelda Adams)

The creation of a family production team in upstate New York, this unsettling supernatural tale explores the aftermath of a roadside accident, bringing together a mother, her daughter, and a stranger in increasingly surreal circumstances.

Canada, 2019
International Premiere, 86 min
Director – Zach Gayne

Societal expectations create a pressure cooker in HOMEWRECKER, a darkly hilarious satire that plays like the best bonkers thriller Lifetime wishes they made.

I Lost My Body
France, 2019
US Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jérémy Clapin

A severed hand escapes from a laboratory and sets off on a series of adventures across Paris, determined to find its owner.

India, 2019
US Premiere, 91 min|
Director – Lijo Jose Pellissery

The line between man and beast dissolves when a buffalo escapes slaughter in a sleepy South Indian village, leaving a trail of chaos and explosive machismo in its wake. It’s a landlocked JAWS, a bestial 2001, and a contemporary MAD MAX: FURY ROAD all rolled into one.

Keep Me Company
Portugal, 2019
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director – Gonçalo Almeida

Two lovers meet in a secluded country home to try to heal their relationship without distraction, but the property’s pool has other mysterious intentions.

Little Joe
Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, 2019
Sneak Preview, 105 min
Director – Jessica Hausner

A genetically modified scarlet flower has mood-enhancing antidepressant effects on its owners, which become increasingly alarming as its influence spreads in this body snatchers for the drugged-out millennium.

The Mortuary Collection
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 108 min
Director – Ryan Spindell

A young girl enters a secret room in a mortuary and learns the backstory of the mortician’s favorite deaths in this twisted anthology by Fantastic Fest alum Ryan Spindell.

Night Drive
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Meghan Leon & Bradford Baruh

When Russell picks up an enigmatic young woman through a ride-share app, his boring evening perks up. But all bets are off after they hit a guy with the car in this charming comedy of errors.

The Other Lamb
Ireland, Belgium, USA, 2019
US Premiere, 97 min
Director – Malgorzata Szumowska

Selah lives with her mothers and sisters in a mysterious cult led by Shepherd. When she begins to question his teachings, it threatens to destroy the very nature of their existence.

Pelican Blood
Germany, Bulgaria, 2019
US Premiere, 121 min
Director – Katrin Gebbe

German acting treasure Nina Hoss headlines Katrin Gebbe’s (NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN) sophomore feature about a single mother who adopts — and won’t give up on — a troubled little girl with a horrific past.

Random Acts of Violence
Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 80 min
Director – Jay Baruchel

A comic book writer visits the town where a serial killer previously wreaked havoc, only to encounter a new series of murders that strangely mirror the deaths he created in his comics.

Ride Your Wave
Japan, 2019
US Premiere, 96 min
Director – Masaaki Yuasa

Surf-loving college student Hinako crosses paths with Minato, a handsome firefighter, but a tragedy will change all they know to be true.

Saint Maude
United Kingdom, 2019
US Premiere, 83 min
Director – Rose Glass

While caring for an attractive woman dying of cancer, devoutly religious nurse Maud develops an all-encompassing case of holy possession mixed with real-life obsession.

Sea Fever
Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, 2019
US Premiere, 91 min
Director – Neasa Hardiman

The crew aboard a West of Ireland fishing trawler marooned at sea fall victim to a gradually spreading parasite in their water supply.

USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 82 min
Director – J.D. Dillard

After a storm at sea leaves her stranded on a deserted island, Jenn gathers all her strength to find ways to survive. But when night falls, Jenn discovers that the island isn’t as deserted as she might have thought… or hoped.

We Summon the Darkness
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Marc Meyers

When Val, Beverly, and Alexis meet a group of fun-loving dudes in the parking lot of a heavy metal concert, they all decide to have an after-party, but it isn’t long before the group finds themselves fighting for their lives.

USA, 2019
World Premiere, 106 min
Director – Christopher Winterbauer

In a strangely futuristic yet analog alternate universe, a lonely, dinosaur-obsessed youth struggles to complete a unique school requirement or risk being held back and enduring a lifetime of embarrassment.

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Prepare to Be Even More Creeped Out by Hideo Kojima’s ‘P.T.’



A recently uncovered secret from Hideo Kojima’s P.T. (standing for playable teaser) revealed that the player is constantly being closely followed by the ghost known as Lisa, who is looming in the background of the game. Creepy right?

P.T. –– a collaboration between video game legend Hideo Kojima and film wizard Guillermo del Toro — was released back in 2014 and was intended to act as an interactive teaser for the game Silent Hills. Silent Hills was going to be the next installment in the Silent Hill horror game series, but unfortunately this never came to pass. A falling out between Kojima and publisher Konami led to the cancellation of Silent Hills. Fans of P.T. and the Silent Hill series were left disheartened by this decision due to the strong performance of P.T. and how promising it looked in terms of visuals, scares and story. The cancellation also led to P.T. being removed from the PlayStation Store, with any opportunity to download the game being lost. Only those who had already downloaded the teaser were able to play it and this led to even more intrigue on the hidden secrets concealed within the game. Indie developer Lance McDonald decided to delve further into the game and by using a camera hack, revealed the creepy ghost stalker.

The game itself focuses on a man attempting to escape from a freakish house with seemingly never-ending corridors. The player does have an encounter with Lisa in the game towards the end but they are also plagued by eerie noises and spooky shadows that approach from behind. McDonald’s discovery shows that Lisa is the culprit of all the hardships throughout, attaching herself to the player’s back as soon as they pick up the flashlight in the bathroom.

Check out Lance’s Twitter for more details on his creepy find as well as video clips if you really want to ramp up the nightmare fuel.

I wasn’t planning on sleeping tonight anyway.

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Check Out the Real Moves Behind the Tricks in ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’



Tony Hawk

When it first launched back in 1999, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater inspired a generation of wannabe skaters with its sense of cool action and its iconic soundtrack. We even ranked it as one of the absolute best game of the 1990s, calling it “a remnant of an era when the millennium was young, life was rad, the future was irrelevant, and goofing off was life.”

To celebrate the game’s 20th anniversary, Tony Hawk himself has recently revisited it and shared some details about its creation. Perhaps the most surprising tidbit he shared was the revelation that the development team actually used motion capture to attempt to recreate his signature skating tricks.

As can be seen in the Twitter video, Hawk was geared up in a full motion capture suit while performing some of his showiest moves. Unfortunately, he says that none of this actually made it into the final product, due to time constrictions near the end of development.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater released twenty years ago for the original PlayStation, where it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. To understand just how big of a deal it was (and still is), check out our retrospective piece.

[via Kotaku]

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