Monday, 23 October 2017

Red Dwarf: Who’s Who in Series 12?

Originally published on Set The Tape

Red Dwarf has just returned for a 12th series, with the crew of the Red Dwarf back to mess up history, fight mutants, and kick some smegheads.

But who are the crew of the Red Dwarf?

Dave Lister (Craig Charles)

Third Technician Dave Lister was the lowest ranking crew member on Red Dwarf before the accident that killed all of the crew, except for Lister, who was in stasis at the time. The last human left alive in the universe, his adventures on Red Dwarf have led him to alternate universes, the distant past, and to become his own father.

Lister is very slobish and lazy, preferring to lounge around on the ship drinking larger and eating vindaloo rather than performing his duties. In recent years he has become focus on finding his lost love Kristine Kochanski, who went missing between seasons.

Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie)

Arnold Judas Rimmer was Lister’s supervisor on Red Dwarf before being killed along with the rest of the crew in a radiation leak. After Lister awakes from stasis, Rimmer is brought back as a hologram to keep him company.

Over the years on Red Dwarf, Rimmer has been resurrected by nanobots, met and become a heroic alternate universe version of himself, and has met the biblical figure he shares his middle name with.

Rimmer is a stickler for the rules, and will often enter arguments with Lister. Seen as a coward and a smeghead by the other members of the crew, he has on occasion performed acts of heroism.

Cat (Danny John-Jules)

Cat is the last known member of his species, felis sapiens, who evolved on Red Dwarf in the 3 million years that Lister was in stasis from Lister’s pet cat Frankenstein. Cat has no name, and is simply referred to as Cat by the rest of the crew.

Focused on his own interests, and maintaining his level of style and coolness at all times, Cat is incredibly vain, always putting himself before his companions. During his adventures on Red Dwarf it has been revealed that Cat’s greatest love is himself, and his biggest fear is becoming geeky loser version of himself, Duane Dibley.

Kryten (Robert Llewellyn)

Kryten 2X4B 532P is a Series 4000 mechanoid, who acts as something of a maid for the crew of Red Dwarf as well as their science officer. Originally the personal servant of the crew of the Nova 5, Kryten was rescued from the crashed ship by the Red Dwarf crew, where he joined them on their adventures.

Kryten is very neurotic for a robot, obsessed with cleaning and tidiness, often seen cleaning up after the crew, even in emergency situations. Through his experiences on Red Dwarf, and with the assistance of Lister, Kryten has managed to break many of his protocols and programming, becoming more of an individual.

Holly (Norman Lovett)

Holly is the artificial intelligence on board the Red Dwarf with an IQ of 6000, the same as 6000 PE teachers.

Unfortunately, after 3 million years alone his IQ degraded to just 68. Able to depict itself as either male or female, Holly has assisted the crew with their adventures over the years, though occasionally causing several of their problems too.

Kristine Kochanski (Chloe Annett)

Kochanski was the navigational officer on the Red Dwarf, but was killed along with the rest of the crew. Years later, the crew of the Red Dwarf interacted with a parallel universe in which Kochanski survived the destruction of the original crew. This Kochanski ended up joining the crew on their adventures.

Despite initially struggling to fit in with the crew, Kochanski eventually became a valued member of the group. Between seasons, Kochanski left the Red Dwarf to travel on her own. Her whereabouts are currently unknown, but Lister is determined to find her again one day.

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Loving Vincent: Other Animated Movies Made For Adults

Originally published on Set The Tape

Cartoons are great, don’t you think? They’re an awesome way to tell stories and to entertain in a way that live action just can’t do. Whilst animation is a medium that is often used in children’s entertainment, it’s easy to forget that there are some animated films that you should definitely not let the kids watch (we’re looking at you, hentai!).

As Loving Vincent goes on general release, taking an animated palette to a serious adult biographical drama, we take a look at ten other animated movies best suited for an adult audience…

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies is a film that tells the story of two young siblings as they try to survive in the final months of World War 2 in Japan.

The film tells an incredibly human story, one that doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war. It hammers home that it’s not just those on the battlefield that suffer, but innocent people, women and children. It tells a story about war that can only be told by people who have suffered at its hands.

Bleak yet beautiful, Grave of the Fireflies will emotionally break you and stay with you long after the credits have finished rolling.

Ninja Scroll (1993)

Ninja Scroll blends beautiful animation with a story of sex, sorcery, and swordplay in a story that follows a wandering Ronin as he battles a team of ninjas with supernatural powers that are trying to overthrow the shogun.

Filled with brutal violence and amazingly choreographed action sequences, Ninja Scroll is a samurai story as good as any other that has been put on screen. The film would go on to have a lasting legacy with a sequel, animated series, and comic series following its success.

Fritz the Cat (1972)

Fritz the Cat has the honour of being the first animated film to receive an X rating in the United States, and follows the title character in his quest for sex, drugs, and social revolution; a bizarre look into the social movement of the 1960’s, examining free-love, the drugs lifestyle, racism, and politics.

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Waltz with Bashir is an animated Israeli war documentary, depicting the director Ari Folman searching for his lost memories of his experience as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War.

Taking a look at some of the atrocities that took place during the war, and people’s desire to try to forget what happened, Waltz with Bashir doesn’t shy away from the true horrors of the world.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Following the success of the South Park television series the first (and to date only) big screen adaptation is a bizarre mix of comedy, social commentary, and musical that takes a typical South Park style look at censorship and freedom of speech.

Whilst the animation is dated, even in comparison to later episodes of the show, it still manages to make relevant points about the world.

Perfect Blue (1997)

Based upon the novel ‘Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis’ by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, the film follows a young pop idol who wants to quit music and pursue acting. What follows is a thriller that explores fame, obsession, and a descent into madness.

Often compared to the works of Dario Argento and David Lynch, Perfect Blue is a film that uses animation to create a film that warps reality and messes with the mind in a cinematic experience that will stick with you long after viewing.

Heavy Metal (1981)

An anthology film of science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from the Heavy Metal magazine.

With a mixture of animation styles and tones the film can at times feel somewhat disjointed, but for fans of rock music there’s an amazing score from various artists such as Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, and Black Sabbath.

A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Based upon the Philip K. Dick novel, A Scanner Darkly was filmed as a live action film before each individual frame was animated over, creating a unique animation style. The film is set in the near future, where an undercover cop develops multiple personalities due to a drug called Substance D when trying to infiltrate the supply chain.

With a story that explores the drug trade and psychological and mental health, A Scanner Darkly is definitely not a film for children.

Persepolis (2007)

Persepolis is a French-Iranian film based upon the autobiographical graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Saltrapi. The film charts the coming of age story of a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

The film may use a simplistic black and white animation style, yet manages to create a moving and emotionally engaging film that manages to be funny, dramatic, and hard hitting.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012)

It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a black comedy-drama animated and produced by individual man, Don Hertzfeldt. The film follows a stick figure character named Bill, who is struggling with a degenerative condition that causes memory loss and strange visions.

Despite the small theatrical release, It’s Such a Beautiful Day received huge critical acclaim for its humour, as well as it’s emotion.

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The Flash: The story so far…

Originally published on Set The Tape

The Flash is racing back to our screens for it’s fourth season to continue the epic saga of the scarlet speedster, so we thought we’d bring you up to speed on what happened in the series so far.

Move fast to avoid spoilers!

Season One (2014-2015)

The first season of The Flash focuses on Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) becoming the titular hero, and his quest to discover the secret identity of the evil Reverse Flash in order to free his father from prison.

When the particle accelerator at Star Labs explodes, Barry is hit by lightning during the resulting energy wave, knocking him into a coma for six months. Upon waking he discovers that he has developed the ability to move at superhuman speed.

Working alongside the staff at Star Labs including Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), and Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), Barry takes on the identity of The Flash in order to fight crime and stop other meta-humans who are using their abilities for evil.

Over the course of the season, Barry discovers that Dr Wells is actually the evil speedster, The Reverse Flash, who comes from the far future and is responsible for the murder of Barry’s mother fifteen years before. When The Reverse Flash tries to return to his own time, Barry stops him, resulting in his death, which tears a breach in reality.

Season Two (2015-2016)

The second season of The Flash deals with the repercussions of the first season, with the breach in reality opening a doorway to an alternate Earth, home to the monstrous speedster Zoom.

After the opening of the breach in reality Caitlin’s husband, the metahuman known as Firestorm (Robbie Amell), closes the singularity at the cost of his own life. Despite having saved Earth from destruction, this results in a number of breaches between Barry’s reality and another Earth, Earth-2.

The evil speedster Zoom begins to send metahumans through to Earth-1 in order to challenge Barry in order to weaken him so that Zoom can steal his speed for himself. Encountering evil versions of people they know, and even themselves, the team manage to defeat Zoom’s minions.

Desperate to achieve his goals, Zoom comes to Earth-1 and murders Barry’s father (played by original TV Flash, John Wesley Shipp), who has since been released from prison. Having to break the rules of time travel to defeat Zoom, Barry works with another version of himself to beat the villain, resulting in Zoom being dragged into the Speedforce to become the zombie like Black Flash.

After losing his father to Zoom, Barry decides to travel back in time to stop the loss of his parents, going back to the night his mother was killed and stopping The Reverse Flash, changing the timeline forever.

Season Three (2016-2017)

Season Three of The Flash sees Barry having to live with the consequences of changing the timeline and having to fight against the speedster Savitar (Tobin Bell) in order to save the woman he loves.

Living in a new timeline where his parents are alive and he’s no longer The Flash, Barry soon learns that things aren’t better in this new world, known as Flashpoint, and tries to put reality back into place.

Barry succeeds in undoing the events of Flashpoint, but doesn’t get things completely back to normal, resulting in the death of Cisco’s brother, Caitlin developing powers, and the appearance of the villain Dr Alchemy.

After learning that Dr Alchemy is in fact working for Savitar, who claims to be the god of speed, Barry finds himself outmatched and has to work alongside his new partner Kid Flash in order to stop him.

When Barry accidentally slips into the future he sees Savitar murder his fiancee Iris (Candice Patton), and makes it his mission to change these events. Succumbing to her new powers, Caitlin become the villain Killer Frost and works with Savitar to defeat The Flash.

Discovering that Savitar is in fact an evil version of Barry from the future, the team manage to change events and are able to save Iris, though at the loss of one of their own; H.R. Wells, who gives his life for the cause.

Getting Caitlin back to her true self, and along with the help from speedster allies from other world, they are able to defeat Savitar once and for all. Due to his manipulations of the timeline and his misuse of the speedforce, however, Barry is drawn into the speedforce, apparently lost forever.

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Supergirl – Who’s Who in Season 3?

Originally published on Set The Tape

Next week sees the return of Supergirl, ABC’s superhero series about the ‘Woman of Steel’ and cousin of Superman, for a third season of world-saving and running around in a big, red cape.

Before she reappears, we thought we’d take a look back at the characters in this DC-TV Extended Universe tie-in, to remind ourselves who’s who…

Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist)

Kara is Superman’s cousin, who grew up on the planet Krypton before its destruction when she was twelve. Fleeing in a pod, she travelled to Earth, though she becomes trapped in the Phantom Zone during her journey and arrives years later once Superman has grown up.

Working with the D.E.O., Kara has embraced her identity as Supergirl, fighting alien threats and protecting the innocent. Working at CatCo Media as a journalist, she fights for justice even in her civilian life.

J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter (David Harewood)

The last of the Green Martians, J’onn fled to earth following the destruction of his people. Having taken on the identity of Hank Henshaw, the evil leader of the D.E.O., J’onn made the organisation a force for good before his true identity was revealed.

J’onn remains the leader of the D.E.O. and will even assist Supergirl in the field thanks to his amazing abilities.

Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh)

Kara’s foster sister, Alex is a bio-engineer and the top agent at the D.E.O., working alongside her sister and J’onn to protect earth. A capable fighter, Alex has gone toe to toe with some of the shows strongest foes, including Kryptonians.

Alex recently came out as gay and is in a relationship with police officer Maggie Sawyer.

James Olsen/Guardian (Mehcad Brooks)

Superman’s best friend, James Olsen moved to National City to work at Catco. Media, where he has since become the acting CEO.

Inspired by Kara’s heroics, he has gone on to adopt the vigilante identity of Guardian, using an armoured suit and gadgets to fight crime.

Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan)

Winn is the son of the villain Toyman. Becoming friends with Kara when working as a programmer at Catco. Media, Winn would go on to help Kara become Supergirl and assisted the D.E.O. on a number of cases before officially joining them.

Mon-El (Chris Wood)

Mon-El is the prince of Daxam, a planet close to Krypton. When Krypton was destroyed Mon-El managed to escape in a Kryptonian pod, crashing on Earth. Initially wanting a normal life he became inspired to become a hero, and even fell in love with Kara.

When Mon-El’s parents attacked Earth with a Daxamite fleet he fought to stop them, before becoming poisoned and forced to leave Earth.

Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima)

Alex’s girlfriend and police officer in the National City Police Department’s Science Police, Maggie is used to working with aliens.

She has worked alongside Alex and the D.E.O. on a number of occassions.

Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath)

Adopted sister to Lex Luthor, Lena is the head of L-Corp since Lex was sent to prison.

She is a good friend to Kara, and has helped Supergirl on more than one occasion, though she is unaware that they are the same person.

Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers (Helen Slater & Dean Cain)

Kara’s foster parents, and Alex’s biological parents, the Danvers’ took Kara in when asked to by Superman; the two of them having helped the hero in the past. Jeremiah worked for the D.E.O. under the real Hank Henshaw, and helped to save J’onn J’onzz’s life.

Since then he was kidnapped by Project Cadmus, who want to destroy all aliens, and has been forced to help them.

Cat Grant (Calista Flockheart)

The former C.E.O. of CatCo. Media, Cat worked alongside Clark Kent and Lois Lane at the Daily Planet before moving to National City to launch her own company.

Cat gave Kara her first job, and would go on to coin the name Supergirl in the media before deciding that she needed to leave National City for a while to reconnect with her son.

Clark Kent/Superman (Tyler Hoechlin)

Kara’s cousin, Superman is the son of a Kryptonian scientist who sent his infant son to Earth before the destruction of his home planet. Superman put Kara in the care of the Danvers, and has kept a close eye on her progress as a hero ever since.

He fought alongside Kara during the Daxamite invasion, praising her heroics after the event.

Lillian Luthor/The Doctor (Brenda Strong)

Lillian Luthor, the mother of Lex Luthor, is the head of the anti-alien group Project Cadmus.

Lillian has worked to destroy Supergirl and other aliens, having released a deadly virus, the villain Metallo, and turned Hank Henshaw into Cyborg Superman.

Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman (David Harewood)

The original Hank Henshaw was taken in by Project Cadmus and enhanced with cybernetics to become Cyborg Superman.

Working alongside Lillian Luthor, he has made it his mission to destroy all aliens.

President Olivia Marsdin (Lynda Carter)

President of the United States, Marsdin pardoned J’onn for assuming Henshaws identity and appointed him head of the D.E.O., as well as extending an official amnesty to all aliens on Earth.

It was later revealed that Marsdin is secretly an alien shapeshifter, a Durlan, with a plan of its own for the planet and Supergirl, though none of our heroes know this.

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Back To The Future #23 Review

Originally published on Set The Tape

Issue #23 of the ongoing Back To The Future comic continues the story started in the previous issue, with Marty and Marcus having travelled back to 1972 to find out just why Marty’s uncle Joey ended up in prison all those years ago.

With the DeLorean missing, Marcus has teamed up with a group of hippies to try and find the missing vehicle, whilst Marty has tracked down his uncle Joey, who is trying to impress Biff Tannen. Telling Biff that he’s the son of Calvin Klein, the identity he used in 1955, Marty is allowed to join Joey, who is about to break into the home of Doc Brown’s mother to steal a secret stash of money.

The mystery of Marty’s uncle Joey was always something that was left unanswered in the Back To The Future films, one of those small background elements that helped to flesh out the universe, but didn’t need much explanation. The fact that it’s a mystery that’s never been explained to fans, and is so closely connected with Marty, it’s a situation that’s ripe for the comics to explore.

It also means that we also get to encounter yet another version of Doc Brown, one between the two we got to know in the films. This leads to a number of hijinks during the attempted robbery, especially as Marty can’t allow the Doc Brown from the 1970’s to see his face, knowing that he’d instantly be recognised.

Over the course of this issue we learn more about Joey, and just why he ended up falling in with Biff and his gang, why he turned to a life of crime. We learn that it’s a desire to live in what he sees as a more romantic time, a time when criminals looked out for each other and had a sense of brotherhood.

As such, it’s kind of sad when Joey is betrayed by Biff, and then willingly lets himself be caught by police in order for Marty to get away. He makes the noble sacrifice, knowing that he’s doomed, because for him, there is honour amongst thieves; even if Biff and his gang have none.

The realisation that Joey gets arrested, and then spends over a decade in prison, because he was giving Marty enough time to get away is a welcome surprise, and is something that will sure to have ongoing ramifications for Marty in the next issue.

Will Marty allow history to continue on it’s path, knowing that he was meant to be there and be the cause of Joey’s incarceration? Or will he alter the future and save his uncle from years behind bars? I can’t wait to the next issue to find out.

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