Taskmaster: UDON Series Review

Our review of the cult-classic 2002 series!

US Box Office: 25th August 2014

Is Sin City 2 the biggest flop of 2014?

Is Dredd Now Over-Rated?

One writer explains how the Dredd sequel movement is making him apathetic towards the cult-hit.

DC Comics The New 52: What Could Be Cancelled Next?

An up-to-date list of what DC titles are the most endangered!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

TEN Comic-Book Awards 2014: The Nominees

It's the end of the year and you know what that means; it's a time to reflect, and after the reflection is over decide to give out some awards! That's exactly what I've been doing these past couple of days and this is the result.

2014 was a phenomenal year for comics. They gained more mainstream attention thanks to the smash-hit Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain America, and X-Men movies, and made headlines with some surprising reveals such as a woman taking on the title of Thor. Meanwhile, DC revived their ailing New 52 universe with such quality titles as Grayson, Gotham Academy, and The Multiversity. I haven't even mentioned the continuing rise of independent titles, most notably those from Image Comics!

With this in mind I thought now is as good a time as any to launch the TEN Comic Book Awards! Here we'll be spotlighting the best writers, artists, and series' to come out of the comic-book world in the last year, with our 2014 nominees listed below! But YOU can get involved as well! Just under this paragraph you'll find the reader's choice award for 'Best Series', where you can choose to vote for any series from the past twelve months! There is a good chance that no one will vote, but I'm optimistic nonetheless. The winners to all these awards will be announced in a video to be uploaded to the TEN YouTube channel in January 2015.

Reader's Choice: Best Series

The readers choice award is now closed! We're sorry if you didn't get a chance to vote, but stay tuned to TEN as they'll be more cool stuff to come! You can also check out the winners on our YouTube channel and on this site (probably, if we haven't procrastinated and not updated them yet). Thanks again!

Best Writer

Ales Kot (Secret Avengers)
Greg Rucka (Lazarus)
Tom King/Tim Seeley (Grayson)
Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Rick Remender (Deadly Class)
Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, Armor Hunters)

Best Artist

Clayton Crain (Rai)
James Stokoe (100th Anniversary: Avengers)
Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers)
Phil Noto (Black Widow)
Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Wes Craig (Deadly Class)

Best Cover Artist

Andrea Sorrentino (Green Arrow)
Darwyn Cooke (Various)
J.H Williams III (Sandman: Overture)
Kevin Wada (She-Hulk)
Marco Rudy (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier)
Mike Del Mundo (Elektra)

Best Colourist

Jeromy Cox (Grayson)
Lee Loughridge (Deadly Class)
Matthew Wilson (Secret Avengers, The Wicked + The Divine)
Muntsa Vicente (She-Hulk)
Rachelle Rosenberg (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Santi Arcas (Lazarus)

Best Break-Out Creator

Benjamin Dewey (The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw)
Brian Ruckley (Rogue Trooper)
Genevieve Valentine (Catwoman)
G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)
Joe Infurnari (The Bunker)
Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy)

Best Series

Deadly Class
Secret Avengers
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
X-O Manowar

Most Anticipated New Series of 2015

Bloodshot: Reborn (Valiant)
Hit: 1957 (Boom Studios)
Howard the Duck (Marvel)
Ivar, Timewalker (Valiant)
The Fix (Image)
Star Wars (Marvel)

Best Publisher

IDW Publishing
ONI Press

Best Comic-Book Website

Bleeding Cool
Comic Book Resources
Comic Book Round-Up
Multiversity Comics

Best Comic-Book Adaptation

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Flash
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Performance in a Comic-Book Property

Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy)
Chloe Bennet (Skye in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak in Arrow/The Flash)
Ming Na-Wen (Melinda May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Most Anticipated Adaptation of 2015:

Agent Carter
A.K.A Jessica Jones
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Fantastic Four

TEN Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Comics

Alan Moore
Jim Shooter
Mark Waid
Stan Lee
Steve Gerber
Terry Moore

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Update: Is This Site Still Active?

Hello everyone, it's me David - the founder and sole writer of The Entertainment Network. I wanted to write this post so that the few people who follow this site will know exactly what's going on, particularly why it's been a while since it was last updated. Recently I was accepted onto the writing team of the fast-growing site Comic Bastards. I'm enjoying writing stuff for them, but it makes my already limited time, even more limited. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write for two sites - I barely have time to write for one - and so until such times as I leave the Comic Bastards team, updates on this site are going to be minimal.

It makes me sad because I love this site a lot, and I'm very proud of how far it's come. You may be reading this and thinking, "Does he know he only has 34 likes on Facebook and most of those are his friends who don't actually read the stuff he posts?" Yes I do. But still, cosmetically the site has come a long way (it now looks super snazzy), and while I still don't have a huge audience, the number of people reading the site has grown a lot in the last few years and considering I've never advertised this site anywhere I think that's quite cool.

Anyway, I'm going to try and update this site whenever I can but sadly I probably won't be writing for it as much as I should be. In the meantime, follow me on Comic Bastards. Click here to see all the posts I've written for that website.

In the meantime, stay frosty everyone.

David Craig
Twitter: @_david_craig

Monday, 8 September 2014

US Box Office Top 10: 8th September 2014

It was quiet at the US box office this week - the quietest it has been for two years in fact - as the only new release was an utter flop, and even Marvel's smash-hit Guardians of the Galaxy only pulled in $10 million. The fact that this relatively small number was enough for the movie to hold the top spot yet again, should tell you just how few people went to the cinema over the weekend. While there's little more to say about Guardians of the Galaxy aside from that it's a huge success, I did find it funny to see that the Marvel Studios flick has now surpassed Man of Steel's box office numbers! I'm no DC hater, but I do find it amusing that an iconic character that has been the face of the comic book industry for around 75 years, can be bested so easily by an obscure gang of misfits. It's a strange world.

The aforementioned new release this week was The Identical, a movie aimed primarily at Christian audiences, following two twins who are separated at birth. One goes on to become a rock 'n' roll superstar, one struggles with a father he worries about disappointing. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the movie received some scathing reviews and this may be part of why it flopped quite so hard. The movie managed to pull in just $1.91 million over the weekend landing it at number eleven, and while it's unlikely to have had a huge budget, that still isn't great. The movie continues what has been a very bad year for actor Ray Liotta in terms of box office numbers. Liotta, who starred in Martin Scorsese's much-acclaimed 'Goodfellas' has also had roles in some of 2014's other flops including Muppets Most Wanted and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. There's always next year, I suppose.

Much of this week's top ten is the same as last week, with many movies holding their spots on the chart. Meanwhile last week's disappointing new entries continue to disappoint this week, as The November Man and As Above/So Below perform poorly once again.

Here's this week's top ten in full:

1. (1) Guardians of the Galaxy - $10.1 million
2. (2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $6.5 million
3. (3) If I Stay - $5.7 million
4. (5) Let's Be Cops - $5.4 million
5. (6) The November Man - $4.2 million
6. (4) As Above/So Below - $3.72 million
7. (7) When the Game Stands Tall - $3.7 million
8. (8) The Giver - $3.5 million
9. (9) The Hundred-Foot Journey - $3.2 million
10. (11) Lucy - $1.95 million

Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter or in the comments section below what you think of this week's box office numbers, and come back next Monday for more!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Cast As Black Adam, But Will Shazam Fail?

After years of teasing and hinting, today it was finally announced what role Dwayne Johnson is to have in the developing DC cinematic universe. The actor has talked openly many times about his interest in a Shazam movie, recently telling fans he was struggling to decide which role he would rather play: Shazam or Black Adam. However it seems a decision was made as today Johnson announced from his Twitter account the news that he will be portraying Black Adam in the upcoming Shazam movie, one of many DC projects in the works at the moment.

After all these years of seeing Johnson flirt with the idea of playing this character on-screen, I was sceptical when I first saw Johnson's tweet thinking it may be yet another playful tease and nothing else. But after the news was confirmed by the respectable entertainment news site Variety, I allowed myself to believe that this period of mystery was now finally over. The script to the Shazam movie is being written by screenwriter Darren Lemke, whose resume isn't exactly flawless with his most recent films - Turbo, Jack the Giant Slayer, and Shrek Forever After - all receiving a relatively mixed response. However, the films mentioned do have their fans and are far from terrible so I don't intend on dismissing Lemke just yet.

Black Adam was a DC comics villain who essentially displayed the complete opposite traits of the hero Shazam. Although recently in the comics the character has taken on more of an anti-hero stance, as those kinds of characters continue to be fashionable. No release date has been set for the movie, probably as Warner Bros. try to figure out how Johnson is going to have the time to film Shazam. What with the Fast and Furious and G.I Joe franchises, as well as upcoming disaster flick San Andreas, and HBO TV series Ballers, Johnson is a very busy man. But at least Warner don't have to worry about Hercules becoming a franchise for the star, as the movie disappointed financially this Summer.

This raises the question, is casting the Rock a good decision? While he certainly has a few hits, some of his recent movies including Pain & Gain, Snitch and the aforementioned Hercules have struggled to pull in audiences at the box office. The actor seems more at home in roles where he's surrounded by a group of other actors a la the G.I. Joe and Fast and Furious franchises. If San Andreas, Johnson's next starring vehicle, is another bomb then Warner might just regret their decision to put him in their fragile new universe.

Let us know how you feel about this casting news in the comments section below, on our Facebook page or on Twitter! Also, do you think screenwriter Darren Lemke will be able to turn out a good script for this movie? Or will a rewrite be necessary?

To get a look at how cool Black Adam is in action, check out the cinematic trailer for the videogame DC Universe Online below. It is badass.

For more movie news be sure to keep visiting The Entertainment Network.

Monday, 1 September 2014

US Box Office Top 10: 1st September 2014

It was another quiet week at the box office, where movie-goers once again decided a second (or third) viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy would be more enjoyable than any of the week's new releases. Because of this, Guardians of the Galaxy was able to hold onto the top spot for the second week, with a tiny drop of just 5.2%. It appears that movie theatres have a lot of faith in the movie too, as Guardians of the Galaxy is one of just two movies in the top ten to add screenings to their theatre count. The Marvel movie adds 91 screens to its overall count this week, bringing it to a total of 3,462 theatres despite being five weeks into its run. The film brings in another $16 million this week, securing its place as the most successful film of the year in the USA. The fear experienced by many in the run up to the release of Guardians - that the movie may not strike a chord with mainstream audiences - now seems a distant memory.

The top three remains unchanged this week, with Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles holding the number two spot, and Kick-Ass' Chloe Moretz close behind at number three with If I Stay. Both films are shaping up to be modest success stories for their respective studios, as the Ninja Turtles move forward with a second movie and If I Stay easily makes back its $11 million budget.

The highest new entry this week is the found-footage horror movie As Above/So Below which debuts at number four. The lukewarm box office reception this movie has had - with just $8.3 million made on its opening weekend - may reflect movie-goers increasing resentment towards the found-footage genre which has garnered so many hits in the last decade due to their low-budget nature.
The other top ten new entry this week is Pierce Brosnan's, The November Man, which also kicks off its run quietly entering the top ten at number six with just $7.6 million pulled in over the weekend. Arguably, Pierce Brosnan's ability to draw in audiences left him a long time ago and so this small debut is not particularly surprising.

Still, I would say the week's biggest loser is once again, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The Robert Rodriguez sequel has the biggest drop this week - a nasty 65.6% - bringing it down to a weekend haul of just $2.2 million. What this means is the that the film's total domestic gross is a pitiful $10.7 million, which is less than the first Sin City made on its first day. While I never expected this movie to be a smash hit, I do continue to be puzzled as to why it bombed quite so badly. What's your thoughts on the movie, or any that we've covered this week? Let us know in the comments section below, on our Facebook page or by tweeting us!

Here's the top ten in full:

1. (1) Guardians of the Galaxy - $16.3 million
2. (2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $11.7 million
3. (3) If I Stay - $9.2 million
4. (-) As Above/So Below - $8.3 million
5. (4) Let's Be Cops - $8.2 million
6. (-) The November Man - $7.6 million
7. (5) When the Game Stands Tall - $5.6 million
8. (7) The Giver - $5.2 million
9. (9) The Hundred-Foot Journey - $4.6 million
10. (6) The Expendables 3 - $3.5 million

Be sure to come back next week for more box office news!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Bojack Horseman: Episode One Review

Bojack Horseman starring Will Arnett and Aaron Paul is the latest Netflix original series, and it's the first foray into the genre of adult animation for the streaming service. Therefore it isn't wholly surprising that the show's first episode is far from flawless. But while it has a way to go before it can even think of becoming the next Archer or Family Guy, Bojack Horseman does have some potential which I hope can grow and flourish during the shows twelve episode run.

The premise of Bojack Horseman is quite ingenious. The titular character (Arnett) is a washed up sitcom star who - after the cancellation of his high rated, but critically panned TV show - finds himself sitting around his expensive home all day doing nothing except complain to his stoner house-guest, Todd (Paul). However, this wonderful premise isn't pulled off as well as one would hope. While there are some funny moments in the first episode, it doesn't deliver on laughs in the same way that other, more established series' do. That isn't for lack of trying however, there were many moments in the season premiere where I felt like I should be laughing, but the laughs just weren't coming. I put this down to the show not knowing what it wants to be.

Bojack Horseman has all the elements in place to adopt the kind of absurd comedy typically used in shows created by Seth MacFarlane, however it never makes the most of them. That would be fine if the show adopted the other route for an adult animated series - more mature humour as seen in the FX hit series Archer - but this isn't something Bojack does either. Instead, it decides to linger in between the two comedic styles, ultimately not pulling off either of them to any great effect. This means that the show just isn't as funny as it could or should be, and it's a great shame to see two very talented actors go to waste in this first episode.

Horns by Joe Hill | Book Review

This review is spoiler-free.

Horns was the second novel that Joe "the son of Stephen King" Hill wrote, and is the first of his books to get a big-screen adaptation. After a long wait since its festival premiere last Summer, Horns will finally be getting a cinema release in October. The film interested me with the casting of Daniel Radcliffe - an actor who has been picking his roles carefully since the end of his Harry Potter franchise - and so I picked up the book to get a glimpse of what was heading towards our screens. What I read surprised me. Horns is not a book for the faint hearted, with sexual content throughout, a few murders sprinkled in, and even some satanic preaching to an audience of snakes. Luckily, I have an open mind to weird stories such as this one and so I actually really enjoyed this journey.

Following Ig - the less successful younger brother to late-night TV star Terry Perrish - in the wake of his girlfriend Merrin's brutal murder, Horns is a dark journey into the mind of someone suffering with not just grief, but feelings of loneliness and injustice. Indeed to add more salt in the wound it is Ig who was accused of Merrin's murder, and even a year after he was found not guilty he is shunned in the small town he's lived in all his life. This is where the book begins, with the opening pages seeing Ig waking up to horns growing out of his head - horns that provoke people into telling their deepest, darkest secrets and desires.

The book sees Ig struggling to cope with this latest unfortunate development, as he pieces together last night's events and finds out at last who Merrin's true killer was. However while this is the main storyline of the book, Hill also spends time fleshing out events of years before. This involves flashing back to the first time Ig met Merrin, as well as other supporting characters Lee Tourneau, and Glenna Nicholson. At first this seems like an odd decision when the events of the main story are so thrilling - however, the further into the book you get, the more you discover how crucial these flashbacks are. Some make character motivations clearer, others clarify why some characters are the way they are, inducing a "so THAT'S why that happened" effect.
Another great technique Hill uses is repeating scenes more than once, but from the perspective of other characters. This is an inventive way of revealing some of the book's secrets and mysteries, which proves far more effective than if all the answers were laid out in just one version of a scene.

In Horns, Hill demonstrates that he is a master at developing characters, a skill that's carried through to his latest novel NOS4R2 and his comic book series Locke and Key. Hill really makes you feel for the characters in this story, sympathising for most, and loathing the rest. It's because of this great character development that it's somewhat disappointing the book ends a little ambiguously. This is a spoiler-free review so I won't go into any further details, but the ending did leave some questions unanswered. That's not to say it was an awful ending however, just flawed, and it shouldn't put you off giving this book a read.

Monday, 25 August 2014

US Box Office Top 10: 25th August 2014

It's a bad week to be Robert Rodriguez, as the writer-director continues his series of movies performing poorly at the box office. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the latest in this run debuting at number eight this week, pulling in just $6.5 million despite showings in nearly 3,000 theatres. This will almost definitely kill any hope for a third Sin City movie, and may make studio executives reluctant to hire Rodriguez in the future after previous films Machete Kills and Spy Kids 4 also underperformed. What could have caused this failure? Unlike last week's bomb, The Expendables 3, Sin City can't use piracy as an excuse.

Perhaps it's something to do with the nine year break between movies - maybe people have moved on from Sin City. If not, maybe it's the poor word of mouth. While the first Sin City movie was treated to generally positive reviews, the second instalment has had a much more mixed reaction. Finally, it may be that the R-rating has struck another victim. With comic-book movies being so universally loved these days, it may be that there's no place for adult ones anymore - see Dredd for further proof of that.

On the whole it was a small week at the box office, with people choosing to watch Guardians of the Galaxy again rather than take a chance on a new movie. Because of this, Guardians was able to jump back to the top of the charts after two weeks of letting TMNT hog the limelight. In the process, it has become the most successful film of the year so far in the USA, beating former title-holder Transformers: Age of Extinction.

The highest new entry this week was Chloe Grace Moretz' If I Stay. The young actress needed this film to be a success after her previous movies Carrie, and Kick-Ass 2 failed to find an audience. Fortunately this debut is solid, if not outstanding. The movie entered the charts at number three, making $16 million over the weekend. With a small budget of just $11 million this should be enough for the movie to turn a profit by the end of its run. However, Warner Bros. may be disappointed that they don't have a hit the size of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars on their hands.

The final new entry this week was When the Game Stands Tall which - like Draft Day and Million Dollar Arm before it - proved that people just aren't interested in sports movies this Summer. It made only $9 million over the weekend, settling for the number five spot.

Of last week's new releases it was Let's Be Cops that showed the most staying power, with a small drop of just 38.2% on last week. The film is now up to $45 million in the USA alone, meaning its affordable $17 million budget should be more than made up by now.
The story is not so bright for last week's losers The Giver and The Expendables 3 which fall to number six and number seven respectively, and look unlikely to turn much of a profit for their studios.

Here's the top ten in full:

1. (2) Guardians of the Galaxy - $17.6 million
2. (1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $16.8 million
3. (-) If I Stay - $16.3 million
4. (3) Let's Be Cops - $11 million
5. (-) When the Game Stands Tall - $9 million
6. (5) The Giver - $6.7 million
7. (4) The Expendables 3 - $6.6 million
8. (-) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - $6.4 million
9. (7) The Hundred-Foot Journey - $5.5 million
10. (6) Into the Storm - $3.8 million

Friday, 22 August 2014

Agents of SHIELD Gets Absorbing Man, Mockingbird

Yesterday Marvel Studios announced that the classic comic-book villain, the Absorbing Man would be making his Marvel cinematic universe debut in the premiere of Agents of Shield Season Two. The character has the ability to adopt - or "absorb" - the properties of any material he touches. For example, if he touches a metal pole, his skin can turn into metal thus making him quite a difficult target to beat up. The character will be played by Brian Patrick Wade (Teen Wolf).
A version of the character has appeared in live-action once before in Ang Lee's ill-fated 2003 movie Hulk. Here's hoping that this version of the character is a better portrayal, although one has to wonder if the ABC show will have the effects budget to portray the Absorbing Man's powers convincingly.

The news comes after the reveal earlier this week that one-time Wonder Woman, Adrianne Palicki, would be appearing as the classic Marvel character Mockingbird in the show's second season. This announcement is more worrying to me. While I'm willing to see Palicki in the role and interested to see what she can do with the character, I fear that this may prevent Mockingbird from joining The Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comic books Mockingbird had a serious relationship with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and was a long-time member of The Avengers. However, her appearance in Agents of SHIELD may prevent this plot thread from being adapted onto the big screen.

This is because the TV show is still very much on dodgy ground. Cast your mind back to mid-way through the show's first season and you may remember some people raising questions about whether the show would be renewed for a second run at all. While it's true that in the wake of the game-changing Captain America: The Winter Soldier things did begin looking up for the show - in terms of ratings and reviews - it is still far from a sure bet that the second season will be a success. Therefore, if the show does fall short in the new TV season, it seems unlikely that Marvel Studios would let Palicki reprise her role in any future Marvel films.

So I suppose what I'm saying is if you're a Mockingbird fan, make sure you and all your friends and family are tuned in to the season premiere of Agents of SHIELD. If not, Mockingbird may well end up doomed to obscurity in the general public's eyes, with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow pulling double-time to fill the Mockingbird-shaped hole in the Marvel Universe.

Mockingbird and the Absorbing Man join the Marvel characters introduced in Season One of the show: Deathlok and Graviton.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wahlberg For BP Oil Spill Movie: A Bad Idea?

I don't know what's stranger, that Summit is making a movie out of the disastrous BP oil spill of 2010, or that they're eyeing Mark Wahlberg for the lead. The movie, currently titled Deepwater Horizon is in early stages of development with a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z) and with J.C. Chandor attached to direct.

What immediately strikes me about this feature is what a strange creative mix is on display. While Chandor's latest release All is Lost starring veteran actor Robert Redford received much acclaim upon release, I worry that he might struggle with a script from the writer of World War Z - a movie that was better than many thought it would be, but that isn't saying very much when everyone's expectations were at rock bottom.

(Left) Wildlife caught in the BP Oil disaster of 2010, (Right) Actor Mark Wahlberg
When you add producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura into the mix, whose most recent movie is the explosive abomination Transformers: Age of Extinction, you can't help but wonder what tone this movie is going to have. While Chandor's sophisticated style could be brought over in a film that serves as a respectful memorial for the workers who died on the rig, while perhaps even commenting on the environmental cost of the leak, Bonaventura's Transformers history may turn it into something far less remarkable. There's a definite risk of this movie being just another generic feature wherein a muscly hero (Wahlberg in this case) does everything he can to stop an impending disaster.

And that brings me to the potential casting of Mark Wahlberg. While the former "musician" - if that's the right term to describe what Marky Mark was - has proven he can act in the outstanding David O. Russell movie, The Fighter, he has also proven himself less capable in such movies as M. Night Shyamalan's abysmal The Happening.

At this point, the movie could really go either way. It is, after all, still in the very early stages of development. But right now, my expectations for the movie are unfortunately low. Let us know how you feel about the movie in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.