Once Upon A Time’s Ginnifer Goodwin Is Heading To Netflix For Next TV Role

Ginnifer Goodwin was a regular presence on the small screen for years thanks to her role as Snow White on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and her departure (combined with many others of the original cast) marked the end of an era for that series. Now, Goodwin has signed on for a new role on a new show, and she won’t be playing a fairy tale princess this time around. She landed a role in Netflix’s upcoming Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings.

Yes, you read that correctly! Netflix has a show in the works with the unlikely title of Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings. The project is slated to be an anthology series with episodes inspired by Dolly Parton’s music. The first season will consist of eight episodes and adapt “stories, memories and inspirations behind Parton’s most beloved songs,” according to TVLine. Ginnifer Goodwin landed a lead role in one chapter of the anthology.

The episode featuring Ginnifer Goodwin is called “These Old Bones,” and she’ll play a Washington D.C. lawyer by the name of Genevieve. She leaves D.C. behind and heads to her hometown in the Smoky Mountains, determined to prove that she has what it takes as a lawyer. Given that the setting is the 1940s, it’s no wonder she has her work cut out for her!

Genevieve will run into trouble when an old woman from the mountains with the reputation for telling fortunes gets mixed up in a lumber company’s business. The woman is named Miss Mary Shaw, although she is known as “Old Bones.” Her arrival will bring about secrets from days gone by that test Genevieve’s faith. Old Bones will be played by Kathleen Turner.

Kyle Bornheimer of Casual will play a character known as Landon, although no details are currently available about his part in “These Old Bones.” Now, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is not an anthology like American Horror Story, which reuses the same actors for new parts on a regular basis. Ginnifer Goodwin is currently slated only to appear in “These Old Bones.”

Interestingly, Dolly Parton herself will introduce each episode by sharing the meaning behind each song, so Dolly Parton fans will definitely want to tune in. Parton will appear in certain of the Heartstrings episodes, but viewers may need to wait until the show premieres to find out the particulars.

Ginnifer Goodwin’s role in Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings shouldn’t be so major that it prevents her from working on other projects, and she had another show in the works as recently as June. She was slated to take part in an ABC comedy that was an English-language remake of a Swedish series. Only time will tell if anything comes of that.

The former Snow White’s Prince Charming is doing quite well for himself on the small screen since the end of Once Upon a Time. Josh Dallas — who is both Ginnifer Goodwin’s real-life husband and played her fairy tale hubby on Once Upon a Time — currently stars on NBC’s smash freshman hit Manifest. Could Goodwin make an appearance someday and delight Once Upon a Time fans?

The only thing we can safely say for now is that Ginnifer Goodwin will make her Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings debut when the show premieres on Netflix at some point in 2019. Dolly Parton-based projects have become huge hits on the small screen, so Heartstrings may prove to be a very sound investment from the streaming giant.

Richard Madden Compares Fan Reactions Between Game Of Thrones And His New Netflix Show

Richard Madden has come a long way since playing Robb Stark on Game of Thrones. The actor is currently the star of the successful series The Bodyguard, and fans worldwide are loving his performance as David Budd. Of course, folks were also quite fond of his portrayal as Robb Stark, but Madden said there’s a difference between how David has been received versus Robb.

Richard Madden may be phenomenal in The Bodyguard, but even the most glowing future television performances will have trouble outshining Robb Stark‘s exit on Game of Thrones. Richard Madden seemed to acknowledge that in his interview with Variety, and notes that a lot of people are still broken up over the Red Wedding. While his portrayal in The Bodyguard may not be as tragic as Robb’s fate, Madden’s getting credit from audiences for his emotional performance as David.

Richard Madden added that he’s been surprised by the response to The Bodyguard, which set records in the UK. The series gained massive viewership in a short amount of time and earned the title as the biggest British show of the decade. The drama has celebrated even greater success on Netflix and has been well received by critics and audiences alike. Madden spoke about the phenomena surrounding the program, and how the response has exceeded his expectations.

The success of The Bodyguard has left Richard Madden hungry for more episodes. Madden mentioned to other outlets like Digital Spy that he’d love to continue David’s story in Season 2, although he’s not sure how it would happen or whether or not it will. Madden noted Season 1 was easy to film due to the show’s lack of notoriety. Should the series return for Season 2, folks will be paying closer attention and attempting to capture secrets during filming.

Curious audiences who have yet to check out Richard Madden’s performance on The Bodyguard can do so right now on Netflix. For a look at other potentially great shows invading the air waves over the next couple of months, visit our fall premiere guide.

Veronica Mars Revival Just Added One Of Kristen Bell’s The Good Place Co-Stars

Kristen Bell is in the process of bringing Veronica Mars back to television, and it looks as though she’s enlisting folks from her other shows to help the cause. Specifically, Veronica Mars has snagged Bell’s co-star on The Good Place, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, for a recurring role. Be on the lookout for Howell-Baptiste when the revival kicks off, as she plays the owner of a nightclub.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s character Nicole isn’t just the owner of a nightclub, however, she’s head of the most popular club in Neptune in the eyes of Spring Break tourists. Unfortunately, Veronica believes the club plays a factor in a string of deaths that are happening in the area. Deadline reports the investigator thinks the killer is selecting their victims at the club, which might explain the connection between the victims and the business.

The murders have been teased as the central part of Veronica Mars Season 4, which is said to be 8 episodes. According to the synopsis, Veronica’s investigation of the murders will put her between the wealthy residents who would rather tourists leave Neptune and the workers who rely on the revenue that comes to the area. It makes it sound as though Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s Nicole won’t secretly be the killer based on that description, but we don’t know for sure!

The gig will bring the flawless Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste back together, who only spent a brief time together on The Good Place. Bell’s Eleanor was friendly enough to Howell-Baptiste’s Simone, but the two didn’t have a ton of bonding moments outside of a pep talk Simone gave Eleanor outside of Tahani’s engagement party. In all fairness, the distance between them was probably because Eleanor was secretly jealous of Simone and Chidi’s relationship, even if she wouldn’t admit it.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s casting on Veronica Mars is another big get for the actress, who has had a knack for getting roles on acclaimed television. In addition to her role on The Good Place, Howell-Baptiste also plays Sasha Baxter on Barry, and was on BBC America’s Killing Eve. Given her recent work, it’s no wonder she found her way into a series as highly anticipated as Veronica Mars, even if she did have her former co-star to vouch for her.

The casting is just the latest news out of the Veronica Mars revival, which had been in talks for a while. After nearly a year of rumors, word finally became official in September that Hulu had secured the rights to bring the series back for Season 4. The announcement came alongside the fact that the first three seasons of the show plus the film would be available on the streaming service beginning in the summer of 2019.

Veronica Mars Season 4 is in development, with its release happening sometime in 2019. For a look at all the television coming out before the end of 2018, head on over to our fall premiere guide.

Empire’s Latest Flash-Forward May Have Revealed One Major Character’s Survival

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of Empire Season 5, called “What is Done.”

Empire kicked off its fifth season with a shocking twist that revealed an upcoming death. The first flash-forward revealed that somebody was going to die within six months, but the identity of the person who died was not given away. Up until “What is Done,” the only significant characters confirmed to still be among the living in the flash-forwards were Lucious and Thirsty Rawlings. Now, the latest episode may have revealed another survivor: Cookie.

The latest flash-forward picked up shortly after the previous flash-forward set at the funeral. Lucious was being questioned by federal agents about a man by the name of Damon Cross, who Lucious had denied knowing. The Cookie twist came when one of the agents pulled out photos of Cookie with Damon and said this:

The plot has officially thickened! The key word there is “does.” Although this flash-forward didn’t settle the question of Cookie’s survival definitively by showing her alive and well, the agent’s use of “does” to describe Cookie indicates that she is not the one who died. Could this be a slip of the tongue on the part of the fed? Sure. But it seems far more likely that this was Empire‘s way of ruling out one more candidate for the death.

Assuming Cookie isn’t the big death, she’s going to be in hot water with her husband. Lucious clearly had no idea that Cookie knew this Damon Cross person, and he didn’t exactly look surprised in the happiest way when confronted with photographic proof of their acquaintance. Of course, it probably didn’t help that the photos didn’t just show Cookie and Damon hanging out like platonic pals.

No, the images showed Cookie looking quite cozy with Damon, and Lucious was visibly upset to see his wife in such close quarters with him. At this point, we can only speculate about whether he’s more upset about Cookie getting so cozy with another man or that the man is this Damon Cross. Empire hasn’t delivered much in the way of info about the new character.

Luckily, even if the show hasn’t revealed details about Damon Cross, there was news about the character released when it was announced that The Wire veteran Wood Harris would tackle the role. Damon is an international money launderer with a dangerous edge, but he also has a distinctly charming side to offset some of his intimidation.

Lucious actually met Damon in “What is Done,” so his claims to the feds about their history are not entirely accurate. Damon was in the mix with Lucious in the episode, joining forces with the Lyon patriarch after he joined a high-stakes poker game in pursuit of a new artist to sign. Given that the Lyons aren’t rolling in cash the way they once were, Lucious sold a valuable painting he’d given Cookie for their wedding so that he’d have the necessary buy-in for the game.

The idea was that he would buy the painting back from his friend, who made the purchase, with the winnings from the poker game. Lucious did win the poker game and made off with a lot of cash, but he learned some bad news: the painting had been sold to a buyer who made an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Lucious is going to be in trouble with Cookie if she finds out. The big painting twist came with the reveal that the painting had been purchased by none other than Damon Cross. Does the painting have something to do with Cookie’s future intimacy with Damon? If she finds out that Lucious sold the painting, it would set the stage for her to perhaps seek companionship with somebody else, and she could meet Damon in pursuit of the painting.

All we know about Damon Cross and Cookie at this point is that he “will tempt” Cookie, and Lucious comes to want to kill him. It’s not clear whether Lucious wants to kill him before or after he sees the pics of Damon with Cookie, so we’ll have to wait and find out. We do know that Lucious is probably going to get his handy dirty (and wind up very bloody) in the not-too-distant future.

Elsewhere in the episode, Hakeem attempted to exorcise his demons and work out his rage via recording. He was so intense about his work that he was forgoing food and hygiene, which alarmed both his mom and Andre. Hakeem’s relationship with Andre was tense due to the little fact that Andre killed the mother of Hakeem’s child. Andre finally got through to his brother when he mentioned Rhonda and her unborn child, both of whom died due to Anika. Loss was something the brothers both understood.

Hakeem ended the episode showered and eating, so perhaps he is on the road to recovery. Jamal was actually knocked off the road to recovery when he accidentally ate a bunch of Becky’s edibles, believing they were just snacks. He wasn’t thrilled that he was accidentally high, but the incident actually provided most of the laughs of the episode as Becky and Kai snacked on some edibles to keep Jamal company. Hilarity ensued when they tried and failed to play a game of Truth Or Dare.

To find out what happens next for the Lyons and whoever winds up dead by the time the present action catches up with the flash-forwards, tune in to Fox on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Empire. As of now, my money is still on one of the Lyons to be the one to bite the dust. Just because Cookie was almost certainly ruled out doesn’t mean the Lyon boys are all safe!

Black Mask: Everything You Need To Know About The Birds Of Prey Villain

Birds Of Prey has supposedly nailed down its villain, and rumor has it that the DC adventure will put Ewan McGregor in the shoes of iconic Batman rogue Black Mask. We don’t blame anyone scratching their heads. After all, it’s hard to keep tabs on every Batman villain with so many re-imaginings of the Joker happening. For those that are a bit out of the loop on what this villain is all about, here are some important details.

He’s Been One Of Gotham’s Most Powerful Crime Lords

While there are some inconsistencies between different iterations of Black Mask in the comics, his role as a powerful crime lord is often the same. We wouldn’t say he’s a level above guys like The Joker or Penguin, but he’s definitely one typically considered a colleague when those rogues get together. He’s a bit less for theatrics compared to the typical Batman villain, and more in line with mob boss types.

Black Mask is so good at the mob game that he once found himself in control of all the gangs in Gotham City. Suffice it to say that takes a special kind of person, and shows Black Mask is a guy who’s not only well connected, but someone capable of big things. If Black Mask is featured in Birds of Prey, it will be surprising if it’s in a role that doesn’t place him as one of Gotham’s big crime figures.

Sometimes His Mask Is Symbolic

In the original introduction of Black Mask, Roman Sionis’ mask was symbolic. Sionis was born to parents who were incredibly wealthy, but self-absorbed and generally shitty people. For example, the couple covered up an incident where he was dropped on his head after birth, as well as an incident where he was attacked by a rabid raccoon in his yard. Their reason? They didn’t want the incidents embarrassing them and making them look bad.

Roman Sionis grew to hate his parents and especially disliked how they were so concerned over their social standing that they put it above many things in life. In short, they wore “masks” to hide their true selves in public, which is why he wears a mask. By the way, Sionis murdered his parents and ended up using his father’s shattered casket (which he destroyed) to create the mask he wears.

Sometimes The Mask Has Abilities

Other incarnations of Black Mask have made his headgear a bit more useful and grant him a unique ability. The mask has hypnotic properties and allows the villain to assume direct control over henchmen that are also wearing a special mask. That’s a particularly useful trait to have when trying to organize a plan, as one wouldn’t have to worry about getting everyone on the same page if he’s already in their heads.

Beyond the mask he wears, Black Mask has also been known to utilize masks to kill his enemies. He does this by placing masks filled with toxins over their faces, which cause the victim’s face to shrivel and turn black. Killing is one thing, but the added desecration is the type of calling card of a villain who truly has a screw loose.

He’s A Sadistic Psychopath

All Batman villains can be pretty cruel, but Black Mask is a pretty brutal individual. One doesn’t gain control of the Gotham City crime families by being gentle, of course, but we’re sure some of his methods of torture have even made some lesser Batman rogues cringe in private. No one knows that better than Catwoman, who had her life turned upside down by Black Mask when she interfered in his drug-trafficking operation.

Roman Sionis soon made a point to find out Catwoman’s real identity, and when he did, he kidnapped her sister and brother-in-law. Black Mask then tortured her brother-in-law to death with power tools and forced her sister to eat bits of his remains. That’s pretty insane, although par for the course for a villain who’s set to headline the R-rated Birds of Prey. Just knowing a scene like that could happen in an upcoming superhero film gives us chills.

He Was Referenced In Justice League

Justice League had a couple Batman references sprinkled throughout, and one of them indirectly mentioned Black Mask. For those that missed it, a sign with the name “Janus” on it was seen when Batman was battling one of Steppenwolf’s Parademons. The sign now appears to be a reference to Janus Cosmetics, which was the company the Sionis family owned and gained their wealth from.

If this is indeed the case, it will confirm that at least part of Roman Sionis’ origin story will be intact. In the comics, Roman eventually took control of Janus, but drove the company under after a bad bet on a line of face paint. Desperate to turn things around, Roman ordered a bunch of untested products were rushed to market. The decision led hundreds of disfigured women, and his childhood friend Bruce Wayne offering to buy him out of the disaster.

The False Face Society

The False Face Society is the defacto group that surrounds Black Mask and his operations. They’re not unlike the minions of most major Batman villains, except their uniforms consist of the multitude of different masks Roman Sionis owned. Sionis banded these low-level thugs together, and they soon began to sweep through Gotham with increasingly high-profile crimes as they went.

The most interesting part about The False Face Society is that each member wore a distinctive mask. We’re obviously not sure if Birds of Prey will incorporate the same thing for its possible numerous henchman extras, but doing so would be a bit of flair that livens up the typical henchman look most superhero films have. Plus, different elaborate masks always open the door for pop culture references and easter eggs, so it would be cool if this was incorporated.

He’s More Than A Guy With A Mask

Some Batman villains are pretty deadly, but once they’re separated from their legions of goons, they’re relatively harmless. This isn’t the case with Black Mask, as breaking through his crew only leads to a fight that could give heroes a run for their money. Black Mask has an impressively high tolerance for pain and is skilled enough in hand-to-hand combat to hold his own against even the likes of Batman.

Black Mask’s also pretty good with guns and is known to carry two automatic pistols, but he is proficient with many types of weapons. When the going gets tough, he’s more than capable of escaping, and is a noted escape artist and impersonator when the situation calls for it. Basically, Black Mask’s going to be a tough customer, and it’s probably going to take all of the Birds of Prey to bring him down.

DC’s presently named Birds of Prey movie is set to premiere on February 7, 2020. While we wait to see if confirmation comes from this latest casting, check out who the film found to portray its Renee Montoya.

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Nintendo Switch: A Newbie’s Guide

The Nintendo Switch is a runaway success thanks to its inventive design and impressive roster of diverse games. If you’re looking to pick one up, we’ve got some tips to help get you started.

When the Nintendo Switch launched, critics and fans alike were impressed by its versatility. The console is cleverly designed, allowing players to enjoy games on the go in handheld mode or drop it into the dock to keep playing on the big screen. Backed by an ever-growing collection of games from every genre imaginable, it’s no wonder the console became an instant success.

If you’re looking to pick one up, this handy guide should have you ready to roll in no time!

What Are The Cost And Accessories For The Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch itself will set you back $299.99, but there are a few accessories we’d recommend you at least consider picking up alongside the console.

Whether you plan on buying physical games or going strictly digital, something you’ll want to have handy from day one is a microSD card. One of the Switch’s only major design flaws is that it doesn’t have much on-board hard drive space. The roughly 30GB of space available will fill up quickly, even if you aren’t buying a bunch of digital games. Thankfully, Switch games are nowhere near as massive as on other platforms, so you won’t need to go overboard here. You can pick up a 128GB microSD card for about 40 bucks, and we recommend you get one that’s at least that big and have it ready to go right when you purchase the console. You can go bigger, obviously, but only if you expect to download a bunch of games.

Otherwise, if you’re planning on playing the console with friends, you might want to consider grabbing an extra controller at some point. Another set of Joy-Cons will set you back $80, but we’d recommend you get a Switch Pro controller for $70 instead. The Pro controller is more like a standard game console controller and, combined with the Joy-Cons that you already get with the Switch, the Pro will give you yet another way to enjoy your games.

Finally, we’d recommend picking up a carrying case as soon as possible. The Switch can be played as a portable game console, after all, so you’ll want to keep it safe while traveling. The good news is that a sturdy case will only set you back about $20.

Nintendo Switch Online

If you don’t plan on ever playing Nintendo Switch games online, then you can probably skip a subscription to the Nintendo Switch’s online service. Then again, it offers a handful of other perks that you might consider worth the additional investment. On top of online gaming, a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online allows you to back up your saves to cloud storage, grants access to the Switch’s mobile app and subscribers will occasionally gain access to exclusive offers and discounts. Another great perk is access to NES-Nintendo Switch Online, a collection of classic NES games (Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Dr. Mario, etc.) that you can play as much as you want so long as you’re a subscriber.

You can purchase a subscription through the Switch’s online store, accessed directly from the console or online. A one-month subscription will set you back $3.99, while three months costs $7.99. You could also just buy an annual subscription for $19.99. Finally, there’s a family plan, which cost $34.99 and supports up to eight consoles in a household.

Getting Started On The Nintendo Switch

Once you’ve got your Switch out of the box and charged, it’s time to dive into its various features. The good news is that setting up the console is super easy, since a series of menus will guide you through the process. This includes everything from creating a Nintendo account to connecting to the internet and activating parental controls. Everything can be tweaked in the options menu after setup, so don’t fret if you decide you want to change something after the initial setup.

Another plus for the Switch is that the console is very streamlined. Rather than plug in a bunch of extra bells and whistles, the Switch’s menu is a pretty elegant collection of just a few icons. Your games will take center stage and, just under that, you’ll find access to things like the Nintendo eShop, a place to check out your captured images and videos, power options and, of course, settings.

Getting Friendly With The Nintendo Switch

It can be easy to miss, but you’ll access your own profile simply by clicking the icon at the top left of the screen. From here, you’ll be able to see how long you’ve been playing your individual games and manage your friends list. The Switch offers some help in filling out that friends list with the ability to search your known contacts. If you link your Switch to your Facebook account, the console can automatically suggest friends from your existing list of pals through the social network. Similarly, if your account is also tied to a Nintendo 3DS, or perhaps a Nintendo mobile game, you can search to find out if any of your friends from those platforms also own a Switch. Send them an invite and, as soon as they accept it, you’ll be friends.

Sharing The Fun

While the Switch features a bunch of buttons and inputs you’re likely familiar with at this point, there’s a button on the left Joy-con that’s new to the console. It’s a square button with a circle on it, which just so happens to be how you access the console’s Capture features. The Nintendo Switch allows players to more easily save and share their special moments in-game, which is where this feature comes in handy. While you’re playing, you can simply press the Capture button to take a picture of whatever is being displayed on the screen at that moment. If you hold the button for a bit, it will instead save a recording of the past 30 seconds of gameplay.

From the main menu, if you click on the Gallery icon at the bottom of the screen, you can check out your captured images and videos, edit them and, if you’ve linked your console to Facebook or Twitter, share them to social media.

Play Games With Your Nintendo Switch

Now that you’ve got your Switch set up, it’s time to actually play some games. The good news is that the console already has an impressive library of titles, with games coming from every genre imaginable. If you like epic adventures, you might want to check out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Prefer jumping around bright and colorful worlds as a mustachioed plumber? Then maybe you’ll want to give Super Mario Odyssey a spin.

The Switch is also home to a veritable ocean of smaller games that are much easier on the wallet. We’d recommend diving into the eShop and starting to poke around to see what catches your attention. The Switch’s virtual storefront includes easy access to a list of the latest game releases, featured titles and top-selling games. There’s also an option to simply view games on sale, in case you’re looking to save a few bucks. Finally, the search feature lets you locate games based on a wide array of criteria, so be sure to give it a gander if you’re looking for something in particular. The search tab is also where you’ll be able to peruse games that have demos available, which you can download and take for a spin before committing to a purchase.

And if you’re looking for some of our top recommendations, you’ll find them below.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

If you’re looking for classic Nintendo adventuring on the go or from the comfort of your couch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild should be the first game you pick up for the Switch. It’s absolutely massive and evolves the series in fun and unexpected ways. It also won about a million Game of the Year awards in 2017, so you know you’re in for a treat.

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario’s biggest and most diverse adventure to date, Super Mario Odyssey is packed with fun and lively worlds to explore and secrets hidden around every corner. There’s plenty here to enjoy if you just want to run and jump around, with even more adventures waiting for dedicated gamers who want to keep on digging. The core objectives are light and family friendly, with plenty of extra challenges bolted on for those who want to put their platforming skills to the test.

Splatoon 2

It turns out that Nintendo can make any genre PG, including third-person shooters. Like everything else Nintendo does, Splatoon 2 is all about having fun in lively worlds full of vivid colors. Whether you like to play competitively, join friends in cooperative missions or tackle a bunch of single player challenges, Splatoon 2 will put your trigger finger to the test in an adventure that trades bullets for splashes of paint.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The best Mario Kart game is made even better on the Switch with beautiful graphics, a huge number of tracks to race on and additional game modes that let you challenge your friends or online opponents. With plenty of unlockables and fun competitive modes to explore, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will have everyone begging for “just one more race.”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

If you’re looking for a game to put on your wish list, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is due out in December and promises to up the ante by a sound degree. The roster of characters in this fast and frantic brawler totals nearly 80, with levels, music and assist characters pulled from throughout Nintendo’s history. Developed to be the ultimate Smash Bros. fighting experience, this game will likely be a party favorite for years to come.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake Could Bring Companion Games Back As Well

The release of Final Fantasy VII Remake is still a ways off, but director and producer Tetsuya Nomura is already talking about the potential of bringing back the companion games that launched as spin-offs of the main Final Fantasy VII story.

Gematsu is reporting that, during the The World Ends With You: Final Remix closed event that took place back on October 30th, Nomura took a couple of fan questions, one of which was centered around Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. Nomura didn’t just address that particular game, but talked about the entire anthology of companion properties based on Final Fantasy VII, saying…

To put this into context, Nomura is also directing Kingdom Hearts III for Square Enix, in addition to working on Final Fantasy VII. The current development schedule sees Nomura putting Kingdom Hearts III at the top of the priority list, with the game scheduled to release at the end of January in 2019 for the Xbox One and PS4. Once the game is up and out then Nomura will return to work on Final Fantasy VII Remake.

The remake was announced back in 2015, and has been moving very slowly through development since then. It likely won’t be complete until 2020 or 2021. However, it’s interesting that he’s actually considering something that could be done surrounding the compilation properties for Final Fantasy VII.

As explained by Getmasu, these are the projects that released after the initial game came out for PC and the PSX, such as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the very popular but story-opaque Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which was actually a CGI companion story that followed up on the events that took place after the initial story in VII concluded. It was Square’s big return to CGI movies after The Spirits Within failed to gather an audience at the box office when it released during the turn of the century.

Given that Square has become a lot more comfortable with companion properties releasing alongside games, I can definitely see a UHD remaster of Advent Children making its way onto the market as a companion release alongside Final Fantasy VII Remake.

As for the PSP release of Crisis Core, or the PS2 outing of Dirge of Cerberus, those remain up in the air, but we’ll see if Nomura will tackle them depending on if the remake sells well. Given that Final Fantasy is still extremely popular, it’s completely possible that maybe Square Enix will tackle the other games.

For now we have to look forward to Kingdom Hearts III coming out in January, and then it’s back to the waiting game for Final Fantasy VII Remake to make its way to home consoles.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Update Removes The 9-Bang Grenade Everybody Hates

Maintaining a fine balance of operation for highly popular first-person shooters, or heck, any competitive multiplayer game, is a task that many probably would never want to take on. However, Treyarch made Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and so the company must maintain that content equilibrium, and part of that includes removing the 9-Bang grenade that everybody hates.

Over on the Black Ops 4 sub-reddit, Treyarch unloaded the changelog for the latest update to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. One of the most significant changes that arrived in the update was the removal of the 9-Bang grenade from the Battle Royale mode known as Blackout.

According to the changelog, the change came as the developers decided to reevaluate the grenade’s place within the mode, and where it fits within Black Ops 4′s gameplay loop.

The grenade was not missed by various members of the Call of Duty community.

As you can see, there was no love lost on social media for the 9-Bang grenade being temporarily removed from the gameplay loop of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Popular streamer Tim Havlock waved it off in a tweet.

Others casually noted that the grenade was simply way too over-powered for what it was intended to do. They did not lament nor shed any tears for Treyarch deciding to temporarily disable the grenade from being used in the very popular Battle Royale mode.

One user stated that it was simply too overpowered and deserved to get the axe.

You don’t have to look far to see how the 9-Bang can be used in ways that some felt were exploitative. There are plenty of videos up on YouTube right now showcasing the 9-Bang being tossed down and basically blinding the opponent long enough for them to get put down.

The issue, however, isn’t just that the 9-Bang blinds opponents due to its concussive force, it’s that the range is rather significant, so much so that even if you toss the grenade a few meters out from where the opponent is standing, they’ll still get affected by it in a significant way.

It’s interesting because, in the changelog, Treyarch actually increased the grenade count for the concussion grenade and increased the throwing distance as well. So, while the 9-Bang may have been removed for the time being, the concussion grenades got a little bit of a buff.

The developers made a bunch of other changes to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as well, including a number of new additions to the playlist updates, and several tweaks to the gameplay balance across the PvP and the Zombies modes, this includes squashing a UI bug, fixing a few crashes in the Zombies maps, and adding a bunch of new storyline characters to the character missions. The update is available right now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One gamers. There’s no ETA on if or when the 9-Bang grenade will make a return to the Blackout mode.

Bryan Cranston Responds To Breaking Bad Movie News

Breaking Bad came to an end back in 2013 with a finale that closed the door on Walter White’s journey from unassuming chemistry teacher to meth kingpin. For a long time, it seemed that the only way the show would continue in any way, shape, or form would be via the Better Call Saul spinoff. News recently broke that Breaking Bad is getting a movie, and original series star Bryan Cranston has responded to the announcement of the movie, saying this:

Somehow, the Breaking Bad movie feels all the more real for having been confirmed by Bryan Cranston. He didn’t give away a whole lot in the way of details regarding the project, and the fact that he hasn’t read a script for the movie indicates that he couldn’t give away tons of plot details even if he felt so inclined. His comments even give reason to doubt that the Breaking Bad movie will feature Walter White at all.

Once upon a time, a Breaking Bad project without Bryan Cranston would have seemed inconceivable. The drama probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did or earned the pop culture legacy it did without Cranston as leading man. The success of Better Call Saul, however, proves that there is an audience for projects set in the Breaking Bad universe, with or without Walter.

Whether or not the movie includes Walter likely depends on the timeframe and the main characters. If the project is set after the conclusion of Breaking Bad, Walter could really only show up via flashbacks, hallucination, or dream sequences considering his ending on the show. If set during Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston could simply play a Walter White still in his rise and fall as Heisenberg.

Bryan Cranston may not look exactly as he did in the original run of the series, but who’s to say that he couldn’t pull it off if he shaves his head and maybe adds the Heisenberg hat? Of course, the presence of Walter White also depends on whether or not Cranston would be open to reprising his most iconic role. Cranston shared whether he would play Walt again in his chat with The Dan Patrick Show:

It’s not altogether surprising that Bryan Cranston would be on board with reprising his role as Walter White. He (and Aaron Paul) have said before that they’d appear on Better Call Saul if Vince Gilligan called them up and said he’d found the right story. If Vince Gilligan calls Cranston up for the Breaking Bad movie, Cranston would apparently be game!

That said, if the movie does indeed focus on characters with incomplete journeys from Breaking Bad, that likely means that Walter White won’t be the star. Perhaps Jesse Pinkman could be the leading man. There’s no word at this point if Aaron Paul is attached to the movie, but his character’s journey is arguably incomplete. Although he technically did escape his captivity by neo-Nazis, he was last seen driving hysterically in the opposite direction from the dying Walter. What happened next?

Aaron Paul did just land a role on Westworld, so he might be busy with another small screen project for the foreseeable future. Only time will tell. Breaking Bad isn’t the only successful AMC show to score an order for a movie, so it should be interesting to see if this is the beginning of a trend. If you’re now in the mood to relive the glory days of Breaking Bad and/or the first few seasons of Better Call Saul, check out Netflix!

The Grinch Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

Whether you’re a fan of original book, the 1966 animated TV special or the 2000 live action movie, the How The Grinch Stole Christmas! story has been a Christmas staple for decades. The latest adaptation, titled Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, puts Dr. Seuss’ creation through a computer animated lens from the folks at Illumination Entertainment. With The Grinch finally arriving in theaters this weekend (it was originally supposed to come last year), reviews for the movie are now pouring in, and while it doesn’t sound like it will become the most cherished of Christmas movies, there’s still a fair amount from it to enjoy.

Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Dirk Libbey awarded The Grinch 3.5 out of 5 stars in his review, noting that while it won’t become the definitive version of the story,” it’s a much better cinematic out than the Jim Carrey-led Grinch movie from nearly two decades ago. Dirk also mentioned that although seeing the familiar Grinch elements in this movie will just remind you that they’ve been handled better before in a much shorter run time, the new material, such as the side plot of Cindy Lou Who trying to capture Santa Claus for her mother and the Grinch’s (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) new backstory, actually elevates The Grinch.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch may not be the best version of this story ever told, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a warm and fun story that has enough warmth and charm to be exactly what many families will be looking for during the holiday season.

Empire Magazine‘s Amy West had similar feelings about The Grinch in her review, giving it 3 out of 5 stars. In Amy’s opinion, in its efforts to be a child-friendly movie, The Grinch ends up being a “a safe and often sickeningly sweet film” that’s more concerned with the ‘Christmas is about being with loved ones, not presents’ message than adding anything new to the story. That said, it does help that The Grinch boasts some clever visual gags.

Despite its story-telling ambition being two sizes too small (much like its hairy protagonist’s heart), The Grinch is impossibly cute, visually rich and boasts enough festive fun to satisfy young viewers.

Collider‘s Matt Goldberg wasn’t quite as kind to The Grinch in his review. Giving it a C grade, Goldberg states that the movie, like Illumination’s previous movies, doesn’t rise above mediocrity, preferring to highlight antics and gags over an emotional story, resulting in something that’s “safe and disposable.”

It’s not that The Grinch is an awful movie as much as it’s simply straining to fill time, and while there’s some creativity in the production design and Benedict Cumberbatch does some really good voice work, ultimately you can’t help but feel like this is a bauble designed to distract children for an hour and a half.

Michael Rechtshaffen from The Hollywood Reporter felt that The Grinch did a good job of resembling the original book and TV special than the live action movie did, and with the new elements (like making the eponymous character more complex and adding the reindeer Fred to accompany Grinch and his dog Max) and “visual energy,” particularly with the design of Whoville, there’s plenty to appreciate from this latest adaptation.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch is a vibrant, amusing CG animated feature that gives the big mean, green guy a kinder, gentler makeover.

Jesse Hassenger from The AV Club, on the other hand, gave The Grinch a C grade, calling it a “a more meager, timid iteration of Seuss’ story.” In Jesse’s opinion, the movie doesn’t do a good enough job registering Grinch as an outcast, instead coming across as “a sitcom’s cranky upstairs neighbor,” despite his new backstory.

Illumination’s focus on cartoon villainy should set it apart. But by this point, the filmmakers have softened the very concept of ‘bad’ into just another bowl of brightly colored sugary mush.

Birth.Movies.Death.‘s Michael Gingold also felt that The Grinch was an improvement over the live action movie, but ultimately the new attempt to rationalize the green-furred grump’s meanness still falls short. The visuals of The Grinch are top-notch, but the rest doesn’t compare to what we saw in the Boris Karloff-led animated special over 50 years ago.

The Grinch will no doubt provide a satisfying holiday diversion for family audiences, and little kids will probably dig it, but we older grinches who grew up on that TV version can only hope that someone doesn’t try yet another unnecessary movie 18 years from now.

Finally, The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde stated in his review that The Grinch is “bright, both in its color palette and in the wit and liveliness of the storytelling.” There are some missteps, to be sure, but it manages to expand the tale without taking away the charm of the original, and it shines best when its focus is on Whoville.

Purists may balk about revisiting this tale, but The Grinch earns its laughter and its sentiment, both of which are plentiful. It’s a full-throated Fah-Who-Foraze.

Christmas movies are often be hit or miss, and judging by these reviews for The Grinch (just some of many), it falls right in the middle. It won’t exceed the popularity of the original book or the TV program, and the efforts to stretch out the story to an 86-minute runtime may not necessarily be to your liking. But The Grinch also doesn’t sound remotely like a train wreck, and if you’re looking for a little holiday cheer on the big screen, this could be worth checking out. At the very least, The Grinch should entertain the young moviegoers like most of Illumination’s previous movies have.

You can judge The Grinch for yourself when it arrives this Friday, November 9, and be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. If you’re interested in learning what other movies are coming out before the year is over, head to our 2018 release schedule. Or you can get a head start on next year’s theatrical offerings with our 2019 release schedule.

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