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2013 Movie Preview: Oz: The Great And Powerful

Release Date: March 8
Director: Sam Raimi
Rating: Not Yet Rated

The intense, quirky, sometimes gruesome talents of director, Sam Raimi get put to a different kind of test in this re-imagined prequel to The Wizard of Oz. We will soon get to see how a struggling, ambitious, but shady circus magician becomes the man behind the curtain in The Emerald City.

What We Know:

Oscar Diggs (James Franco) truly believes that he's destined for great things. Unfortunately, his path towards this grand benevolence might be a bit rocky, seeing as this sleight-of-hand Svengali hasn't always used his skills for genuine purposes. However, his true worth would soon be tested when a whirlwind of fate intervenes, whisking his hot air balloon out of dust-bowl Kansas and into the Land of Oz.

He would find himself in a land of magic, munchkins, and mouthy monkeys. (Either that, or he smoked way too much of his Pineapple Express stash.) The hopeful huckster immediately began to see dollar signs from the potential fortune he stood to make from this amazing discovery. That, however, would soon be halted when its diverse denizens begin to see his arrival as the fulfillment of a prophecy heralding the arrival of a great wizard who will save their sieged state.

Now, his opportunity for true greatness has been set upon him. With the help of some off-the-wall companions and three beautiful witches, Glinda (Michelle Williams,) Theodora (Mila Kunis,) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz,) he'll need to dig deep into his sleazy set of skills to battle a wicked witch and her dark armies.

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2013 Movie Preview: Jack The Giant Slayer

Release Date: March 1
Director: Bryan Singer
Rating: Not Yet Rated

The ancient English folklore gets an updated epic live-action treatment from the maestro of the X-Men films.

What We Know:

Modest farmboy, Jack (Nicholas Hoult, who will also occupy theaters with Warm Bodies,) somehow finds himself entrusted with some magical seeds that, much like a Gremlin, is not supposed to get wet. However, one night, in what seemed to be a slice of serendipity, beautiful Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) wanders to his doorstep lost in the rain and looking for a place to stay. The unlikely couple seemed to be hitting it off, when Jacks's seeds somehow got splashed (heh-heh) and a c-block of gigantic proportions would occur when a voluminous vine vaults through his meager little pad, sending the princess to a land of menacing giants once thought to be cut-off from the human world.

Now, this poor kid's lost opportunity to procure a royal hookup ends up escalating to a major diplomatic disaster between the people of Earth and the kingdom of the giants, who see an opportunity to conquer the land that was once theirs.

The King (Ian McShane,) not so keen on losing his daughter and being attacked, sends an army up the vine lead by elite guard, Elmont (Ewan McGregor) to get the princess back and make those pituitary-challenged pirates pay for their destructive romp. -- They'll be joined by a newly-smitten Jack, of course.

Bill Nighy and John Kassir also lend their voices to the (literal) dual role of Fallon, the two-headed leader of the Giants.

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Razer Reveals Its New Sabretooth Xbox 360 Controller

Razer is back to the Xbox 360 with its latest release, the newly revealed Sabretooth controller. An update of the company's earlier Onza model, the Sabretooth adds some new, more conveniently placed user-mappable buttons and an OLED screen that serves a number of functions.

There are four "bonus" buttons at all, with two placed within reaching distance of the left and right shoulder buttons and the other two positioned on the underside of the gamepad for easy access. The OLED screen can be used to save various button coonfigurations as well as adjust the sensitivity of the two analog sticks (a carryover feature from the Onza).

Also updated is an improved tearaway cable and the D-pad, which amounts to four distinct buttons on the Sabretooth. The new controller carries a premium price tag of $80, though you can knock $10 off of that if you already own an Onza Tournament Edition.

Tags: Xbox 360

Guardians Of The Galaxy Casting Rumors Galore

Marvel's 2014 live-action space epic, The Guardians of the Galaxy is gaining some serious steam in the department of casting rumors. A plethora of names are popping up for the role of leader, Peter Quill, aka, Star-Lord.

Additionally, the first crop of names for another crucial role in the team's emerald-skinned enforcer, Drax The Destroyer has just surfaced with some rather surprising names.

Back at the end of November a short-list of candidates for the film's leading character of Star-Lord was released. However, barring one exception, the previous group have allegedly panned out, taking us to the point where yet another crop of names have been thrown into the mix.

This is certainly looking to be a comic book film that's far different than anything we've ever seen. Check below as we delve deep into the long list of candidates for these two critical characters!

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Microsoft Expects More Regular Xbox 360 Updates Going Forward

Microsoft has a new toy to play with in R2 Studios, a Silicon Valley start-up that the company acquired after beating out competing bids from Apple and Google, as the Wall Street Journal reports (via GI.biz). R2 specializes in mobile tech, with a number of patents geared toward pairing portable devices with home media center hardware.

The word is that the patents are what drove Microsoft's decision to buy R2, with the company's employees reportedly being relocated to work with the Xbox team at their Redmond, Washington campus. It's possible that R2 will contribute to the continued development of Xbox SmartGlass, an initiative that will undoubtedly grow in scale when Microsoft enters the eighth generation of gaming hardware.

R2's patents have already been used to give smartphones wireless control over at-home heating and lighting systems. The company was founded in 2011 by Blake Krikorian, a former Amazon board member who also founded Sling Media, the company behind Slingbox.

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2013 Games Preview: Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White WitchRelease Date: January 22, 2013

Developer: Level-5 / Studio Ghibli

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Platform(s): PlayStation 3

The phrase "ni no kuni" translates directly from Japanese to "two countries," which is fitting given the marriage of gaming and film at work in Level-5's Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. The RPG is the product of a collaboration between the veteran developer and Studio Ghibli, the anime production studio behind the likes of Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Early reports from the 2011 Japanese version of the game suggest that this is a perfect pairing.

What We Know:

We actually know a whole lot about Ni no Kuni, given the fact that the game has been available in Japan since November 2011. The story follows a 13-year-old boy named Oliver whose mother dies when she attempts to save him from drowning. Oliver's tears of grief give life to a doll named Drippy, a gift from his departed mother. It turns out that Drippy is actually a fairy who, with the help of a magical book, is able to transport Oliver into a parallel reality where his mother may still be found.

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Angry Birds Made 30 Million People Happy Over Christmas

If there's one thing that can make those Angry Birds happy, it's 30 million downloads. That's the number of times mobile device owners snatched up Rovio's avian-flinging hit over the holiday week at the tail end of 2012, as you can see in the nifty little infographic up top.

It's the final triumph in what amounted to a banner year for the company. Angry Birds hit the 1 billion download milestone way back in May, only a short time after the release of Angry Birds Space. Spin-off title Bad Piggies and franchise tie-in Angry Birds Star Wars followed, with positive receptions for both.

Given how flexible Angry Birds has proven to be, it'll be interesting to see how things further evolve in 2013. For now though, give it up for Rovio. Nice work.

007 Legends

Something seems to be up with Activision's 007 games, as Blood Stone, Quantum of Solace, and the recently released 007 Legends all seem to have been removed from various online stores. The removal was first spotted on Steam by neogamr.net (via Joystiq), though a deeper look reveals that even Activision's own online store no longer sells the three games.

This only seems to apply for digitally distributed PC downloads, as you can still find physical copies of the games at your retailer of choice. As others have suggested, it's possible that Activision's rights to the 007 license lapsed, though that would be surprising given that 007 Legends was a fall 2012 release. We've reached out to Activision PR and will update this post when we have an official response.

 

'BioShock 2' First Impressions

BioShock Infinite hits stores on March 26, 2012, but fans can revisit the previous entries once again well before that with the newly announced BioShock: Ultimate Rapture Edition. The January 14, 2013-releasing collection packs in BioShock and BioShock 2 along with an assortment of extras.

For starters, you get all DLC from the two games, including the Plasmids Pack (BioShock), the formerly PlayStation 3-exclusive Challenge Rooms Pack (BioShock), Sinclair Solutions Tester (BioShock 2), The Protector Trials (BioShock 2), and, of course, the excellent, story-expanding Minerva's Den (BioShock 2).

The package also includes the Museum of Orphaned Concepts, which amounts to "a tour of a never-before-seen BioShock museum and view early concept art, character models and more set within the halls of Rapture," and a BioShock Infinite sticker pack. All for $40. Not bad, right?

 

2013 Movie Preview: A Good Day To Die Hard

Release Date: February 14
Director: John Moore
Rating: Not Yet Rated

It looks like John McClane's tradition of haplessly stumbling into the evil elaborate plots of international terrorists will not be stopping anytime soon. This time, his signature brand of wise-cracking carnage finds its way to Moscow, Russia, where teamed with his son, Jack, a lot of baddies are in for some serious death-dealing.

What We Know:

We are introduced to John's adult son, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney of Spartacus: Vengeance), a CIA operative who's in Moscow investigating the case of some heisted nuclear weapons. However, Jack soon gets himself stuck in a proverbial vodka bottle of trouble, which prompts the elder McClane to hop on a plane and see if he needs help with killing anyone or blowing stuff up. -- Apparently he does.

Now, a new brand of sophisticated, cosmopolitan megalomaniacs with accents and fancy trench-coats have found themselves in the crosshairs of the legendary hero of Nakatomi Plaza, Dulles International Airport, the New York City Federal Reserve Heist, and the Deadwood guy's massive cyber-attack. (The last of which John utilized the help of "A Mac.") This time, however, it's twice the McClane, double the pain.

Besides serving as important US exposure for the Russian cast, Mary Elizabeth Winstead reprises her role as John's daughter, Lucy. Plus, Cole Hauser and Sebastian Koch also round out the cast.

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UPDATE: It turns out that there's a bit more to this footage than we originally thought. While the above footage is indeed from The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, it's not edited together as an officially released trailer. What you're seeing above is a fan edit of footage that premiered on IGN's Up At Noon last week, as a PR rep explained to Giant Bomb. So don't judge this early look too harshly.

ORIGINAL POST: Later this year, Activision will publish The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, based on the hit AMC TV series, and developer Terminal Reality is kicking off the new year with an early look at some gameplay. The context-free clip montage focuses on highlighting the stealthier side of the game, leaving any nods in the direction of the Dixon brothers-focused story for future previews.

The idea of The Walking Dead as a first-person SHOOTER is alarming if you're a fan of either the comic or the TV series (or both), so showing off this less action-focused material in the debut gameplay trailer is a smart move on Activision's part. Does this footage sell you though? What's your excitement level for Survival Instinct after seeing this footage for the first time?

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What if DNA analysis technology advances far enough that you could predict your entire future, from when you fall ill, have kids or even die? That's what the indie film, Life Tracker, is all about. Written and directed by Joe McClean and starring Barry Finnegan, Matt Dallas and Rebecca Marshall, the indie film follows an aspiring documentarian and his friends as they learn more about the invention of such a device and how it wrecks havoc on the world.

I don't know about you, but the farthest point in my future that I can see is what I'm going to eat for lunch every day. And I'm okay with that. So if someone does build a DNA tracking device that can predict when I'm going to exit this world, I'm running far away from it. What would you do?

Life Tracker will be released sometime in 2013.

Tags: Movies, Videos

2013 Movie Preview: Warm Bodies

Baxter

Posted January 3, 2013 - By Joseph Baxter

2013 Movie Preview: Warm Bodies

Release Date: February 1
Director: Jonathan Levine
Rating: PG-13

The post-Twilight era of "girl meets monster" romance may have left the movie-going public divided, but this horror/comedy takes the framework of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and gives it some undead flair.

What We Know:

X-Men: First Class star, Nicholas Hoult is a young man simply known as "R" who is aimlessly drifting through life...literally since he's a zombie who spends his days roaming, looking for human brains to devour.

However, in a twist of irony, this zombie would soon become "infected" by an ailment that completely changes him: Love. After feasting on the brain of a lovesick teen, the sight of his victim's beautiful girlfriend, Julie Grigio (Teresa Palmer,) activates loving memories which become nature's defibrillator, bringing R's dead heart pumping back to life. (Somewhat.)

At that point, what is clearly the natural course of events plays out: The girl falls in love with the zombie who ate her boyfriend's brains. Her father (John Malkovich,) a General in charge of eradicating the undead demographic is not exactly doing cartwheels over the coupling, and R's zombie buddies are also starting to become infected with the love pathogen, making the interaction between these proverbial "Zombagues" and "Cap-Youlets" all the more complex.

Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton, and Rob Corddry fill out the cast of this meta monster mashup.

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If you're still ecstatic over the (not terribly surprising) news that Earth Defense Force 2025 will be coming PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles in North America, then this trailer is for you. It's a few days old, sure, but you may have missed it because of the holidays. Five full minutes of space alien-exploding action with a focus on the coming game's new set of toys.

This is a Japanese trailer, so you probably won't understand a word of what's being said. That doesn't matter. The language of splattering alien bug guts all over a crumbling city is universal, and EDF speaks it so very, very well. There's no release date yet, but Sandlot plans to release EDF 2025 sometime this year.

Canabalt continues to be one of gaming's more influential titles, which means that you should definitely sit up and take note when its creator, Adam Saltsman, delivers something new, as he does today. Hundreds, available now for iOS devices, is the work of Saltsman and his fellow team members at Semi Secret Software.

The tutorial-free puzzle game tasks players with making all of the circled numbers in each stage add up to 100, a feat accomplished by tapping and/or holding each circle. A variety of obstacles spring up to complicate your number-crunching, including circles with negative numbers and spinning saw blades. Wrapping it all together is a sleek, minimalist look that immediately catches the eye.

You can hear more from Saltsman and some of his Semi Secret team members -- folks who worked on the likes of Solipskier and Wurdle -- in an interview on The Verge. In the meantime, check out the neat launch trailer.

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