The Last of Us Sequel Confirmed?

Poster for The Last of Us
Nolan North, the actor whose voice seems to be in just about every video game made over the last 10 years, and who also worked on the Naughty Dog game The Last of Us, has apparently confirmed a sequel. North, best known perhaps for his work in the Uncharted franchise, another Naughty Dog game series, which (on a side note) will be back in Uncharted 4 with, Troy Baker (from The Last of Us) and Emily Rose is back as Elena Fisher, as well as Assassin’s Creed, from Ubisoft, as Desmond Miles.

In The Last of Us Troy Baker worked as Joel, along with the wonderful Ashley Johnson (aka @TheVulcanSalute) as Ellie and Nolan voiced crazy bad guy David who sounds completely unlike anyone else North has voiced. So it is a nice touch to see Baker “cross-over” as it were to Uncharted territory.

All fanboy gushing aside, North was at MetroCon where he was “caught” talking about The Last of Us 2. A question was posed about whether Nolan had any further Naughty Dog work lined up and he says, “I know they’ve got The Last of Us 2…” If following the link, and the reader does not want to watch the entire video, Nolan says this around 1:06, feel free to jump forward.

This is pretty exciting but also a bit concerning. In terms of games and almost perfect endings, Joel and Ellie’s journey stops where it should. There was no real place to spot an opportunity for sequel city to come in. For anyone who played the game it goes without saying that their world was not going to be a great place to be in by the end.

Still, the voice work of Johnson and Baker gave this “out-of-the-box” gaming experience a reality and empathy that propelled the gameplay into a different experience from most games on offer. The news that Naughty Dog want to return is a mixed blessing for fans of both the company and their games. With Nolan’s “slip” all that remains is for Neil Druckmann and company to provide a little more information for fans.

Until any official word is released, have a look at the remastering trailer for The Last of Us for the PS4:

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Divorce: Who Will Get Jimmy Kimmel?

Still from Handsome Men's Club video
With many media websites calling the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner marriage a “fairytale” it is a bit shocking that the big news today is that the couple are to divorce. The only question remaining, is who will get Jimmy Kimmel? Garner and Affleck have been married for 10 years, they celebrated their anniversary on Monday, and on Tuesday released a statement that “after much consideration” they are ending one of the most talked about marriages in recent history.

The two met on the set of the 2003 film Daredevil, where they worked together and then married in June 2005. The Gone Girl star has had three children with the Men, Women & Children star; two girls and a boy, Violet, Seraphina and Samuel, and it could be said that they share another “dependent,” 47 year-old Jimmy Kimmel.

Although to be fair Kimmel probably belongs more to Affleck than Jennifer despite her playing along with the gag in the Handsome Men’s Club skit for Jimmy’s ABC show:

After the Handsome Men’s Club, Affleck and Jimmy got together to film a response to old pal Sarah Silverman’s gag video with Matt Damon, Ben’s BFF and brunt of Kimmel’s long running “out of time” schtick. The musical number “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck” response to “I’m F***ing Matt Damon” (with it’s star studded chorus and curious lack of Jennifer Garner) may hold a hint as to why the couple’s 10 year marriage has ended:

The video may also present some clue as to who will get Jimmy. It is pretty clear that the two men are very simpatico and more likely to “hook up” now that Jennifer is out of the picture. The first video though shows that Garner has a sense of humor, unfortunately however, her acumen at picking funny roles is fatally off, witness the Disney flop Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

On the more serious side of the very sad news that Garner and Ben will no longer be a couple, the two have asked for a little distance from the press in regards to their children’s privacy during their mutual decision to divorce.

Last year the Argo star and director reacted angrily to rumors that all was not well in his marriage and it can be understood that this was more for the children than for either Ben or Jennifer. The two are grownup people who entertain for a living and both have a delicious sense of humor, Jennifer surprisingly so, which most likely went a long way to keeping their union solid for the decade long marriage.

One thing is for certain, if things get ugly between Garner and Affleck in the coming months, her lawyer may be singing, “I’m f***ing Ben Affleck.” Jennifer can provide the choral backup. On the flip side, this could be a Kimmel prank…Couldn’t it?

The Whispers: What Lies Beneath (recap/review)

The Whispers Still from What Lies Beneath

Last week’s episode of The Whispers; Meltdown ended with a nuclear disaster being swallowed up by a big blue light and Sean Bennigan reuniting with his little family. In What Lies Beneath Sean, Claire and Henry all test negative for radiation poisoning and the former pilot cannot remember anything about his past.

At the end of the episode intro of this week’s What Lies Beneath, a curly-haired boy is working on something with wires and electrical components; all of which are attached to a couple of sticks of C-4. Looking up at the camera the boy smiles and says, “Don’t worry Drill, it will be done soon.”

Under questioning from Wes, Sean does recall pain and having big rock on his back and knowing that if he does not move it he will die. He also relates later, to Claire, what many of the tattoos on his body mean; some are “disasters” where many people died and others; like the tree house, are more intimate in nature. Claire comes in to question her husband and as they talk she brings out pictures from their married life together. Sean still remembers nothing and does not know who she is.

Claire points out a small tattoo on Sean’s midriff, “As 33” and asks about its significance. Sean replies that he does not know that one. Later, it is revealed that this is the element for arsenic. Fearing that this means another disastrous event orchestrated by Drill, the FBI start searching for missing stockpiles of the chemical element and find nothing.

Before Claire talks to her husband the organization are desperate to learn what all this is about. The “containment” of the nuclear meltdown and who is behind it has them worried. Wes says that the only person who knows is Sean and that they must get him to talk. Lawrence gets the rock story out of Sean but he cannot get to the truth and Bennigan points out that it is clear the two men were not friends before and that “this isn’t over.”

Earlier, Wes insists that Lena and Minx have to leave since Drill picked their daughter because of him and his job. His wife refuses and for the first time since the series began it looks like the two may be mending their broken marriage. Claire’s partner shows up to collect the files from her on the case, she can no longer be an active part of the investigation and he turns out to be a bit less of a jerk than he first appeared. In the last episode he actually helped buy Claire some time, although as he says, that information is not in his report.

Lena learns that Minx is still working with Drill, Claire tells Wes that the entity is not a “who” but a “what.” Mrs. Lawrence freaks out when Minx goes missing at another child’s birthday party. Wes gets an idea from his secretary, Renee, that the solution is beneath the structure in the desert and Claire makes a connection about the As 33, it is not a reference to a chemical element, it is about a boy on Henry’s baseball team.

Wes goes to the site of the crash and forces them to dig up what is underneath, the site representative tells the DOD rep that whatever they find belongs to his country. Later, when the thing is discovered, the rep backtracks in a panic telling Lawrence that he can have it, “What ever it is, it’s yours. Just take it.” Oddly, when the digger blade strikes the blue glowing rock, Sean grabs his mid-section in pain and murmurs, “They’ve found it.”

By the end of the episode, Claire has tracked down “As 33,” and it is the boy seen earlier making the bomb. The child is Ethan, who is Renee’s son and he is is talking to Claire when his mother Renee comes in. Like the other children that Drill uses the boy explains that the entity does not like grownups. Back at the crash site, the blue rock causes power surges in the lights around the area and it seems that the whole thing is about energy as surmised earlier in the episode. Wes stands staring, transfixed, at the glowing object.

The Whispers is maintaining its stride and moving on at an excellent pace. Milo Ventimiglia, Barry Sloane and Lily Rabe are into their characters firmly and are carrying the plot forward with depth. Hats off to Kristen Connolly as Lena, she may not have a lot of screen time thus far but her portrayal of a mother torn between being potentially embarrassed by her child becoming “one of those kids” and her fear that Drill is still pulling the strings is a testament to her acting abilities.

Kudos to the writers of the series who continue to deliver a script that is taut, convincing and full of clever “spot on” dialogue for the characters. David Andrews, as Secretary Frommer is rapidly becoming the character you want to hate on general principles alone. Frommer has replaced Derek Webster’s Agent Rollins as resident douche admirably, despite his claims of legitimacy, he does not come across as a man to be trusted. The Whispers airs Monday’s on ABC and can be watched on Hulu as well.

No Tears for the Dead (2014): South Korean Bloody Redemption

Film poster for No Tears for the Dead
Very few filmmakers can do bloody redemption like South Korean cinema, although the Pang Bros do a cracking job, and the 2014 feature No Tears for the Dead is the perfect example of an almost soap opera style thriller/drama where a hitman tries to make amends for an accidental killing at the very start of the film.

Written and directed by Jeong-beom Lee, it is his third film, and starring The Warrior’s Way Gong-Don Jang, Min-Hee Kim (Hellcats, Helpless) and Brian Tee (Jurassic World, The Wolverine) No Tears for the Dead follows the journey of Gon, an American trained Korean hitman who works for a Triad organization.

At the start of the film, a group of gangsters are in the back room of a casino, or club, and a little Korean girls sits on her own with an origami stork on the table in front of her. She is listening to a singer. Back n the room, a man forces his way in and begins killing everyone with a silenced pistol. As he finishes up there is a noise at the room’s exit. The man fires blindly though the closed door and when he opens it, an origami bird is on the floor and the little girl has been shot through the chest.

Later, the Triad boss he works for tells the hitman, Gon, to kill the child’s mother once they retrieve a file her deceased husband sent her via an email. Gon, (Gong-Don Jang) is overcome with guilt and remorse at his inadvertent murder of an innocent. The gang have to break into his house to find him and once there they discover he has drunk himself into a stupor and Gon has passed out covered in vomit.

Gon is sent to Korea, a country he has not been to since he and his mother left years ago. The hitman’s mother tried to desert him in America and later kills herself. The hitman goes to the country of his birth and as he attempts to recover the file; he breaks into Mo-Kyoeng’s (played by Min-Hee Kim) house, he is surrounded by the essence of little Yumi, the girl he killed earlier. The child’s growth chart, art work from her school and, because Gon has cloned the mother’s cell phone, he sees pictures and videos of the dead girl.

When the Korean mob boss, who works for the Triads, learns that Mo-Kyeong has accessed the file, Gon is ordered to kill the grieving mother. Entering her house, he finds the woman unconscious on her couch having taken several bottles of pills. He fires his gun at the arm of the settee, over her head, and calls 911.

When Mo-Kyeong is in the hospital, a group of assassins, colleagues of Gon, are hired to kill them both. His old friend and mentor Chaoz (Lee) heads up the deadly gang and it becomes a battle of wits, bullets, blood and betrayal as Gon tries to make up for murdering the woman’s daughter by saving her life. My-Yeong must also fight and she almost loses to the killers more than once.

While this could be seen as a sort of “pot boiler” drama set around a hitman, the film is not too dissimilar from the 1998 Chinese film The Replacement Killers with Yun-Fat Chow and Mira Sorvino or even the Pang Bros 2000 film Bangkok Dangerous.

*On a sidenote, the latter film was remade with Nicolas Cage in 2008; avoid this shabby and abysmal film at all costs.*

There are prolonged shootouts with a variety of weapons, some brilliantly choreographed fights between Gon and the bad guys and a fair few good twists and turns to the plot. Add in some great little ironic events and a few touching moments of backstory and No Tears for the Dead becomes a 5 out of 5 star film.

Partially subtitled; with the Chinese gangsters and Gon conversing in English throughout the film, this South Korean film cracks on at a rapid pace and makes the run time of just under two hours feel much shorter. As this is just Jeong-beom Lee’s third film keep an eye on this filmmaker and expect to see much more of his work. Do not miss this one.

The Last Ship: It’s Not a Rumor (recap/review)

Poster for The Last Ship
On The Last Ship season premiere, a lot of things were sorted out, not least being the self imposed dictator of Baltimore, and mother of Alisha Granderson, getting taken down along with her “utopian” organization. In this week’s episode of The Last Ship, It’s Not a Rumor at the start of the show, Amy Granderson’s daughter Alisha is recuperating from her injuries and putting off facing her fellow crew members on the Nathan James.

Chandler and his crew cannibalize everything they can from the Baltimore compound and then head to the White House to search for survivors and they pick up an encrypted hard drive with information about other facilities across the world. They find a bunker but can get no answer and are not able to get in to continue their search. Dr. Scott gets in touch with her mentor Dr. Hunter for an over the phone tearful reunion.

Niels Sorenson aka Patient Zero; the one who weaponized the genome and made himself immune and a carrier, first met in Two Sailor Walk Into a Bar from season one, shows up on a beach full of survivors. Two of them mention the man, “his accent is different but he’s not Russian,” and shortly after all of the people on the beach are dead, infected by Sorenson (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). He shows up later in another “safe zone” which is being run by a “preacher.”

He is questioned by a man, Curtis, in the park, “Why aren’t you sick?” Apparently, the sleeping bag that Niels is in had a dead person in it hours before he used it. Later Curtis takes Sorenson to a sort of “camp meeting.” In a large tent, an amused Sorenson watches as the “minister” claims that those in the tent are “the chosen.”

The crew of the Nathan James head to Norfolk where the first person they spot from the bridge is a Navy SEAL signaling the ship. When they disembark Chandler and his crew learn that quite a number of armed forces personnel are at the base. With the hard drive and the extra troops, they head out to the various facilities set up to help the general populace.

Members of the crew search for loved ones around the area. Lt. Foster finds her mother who left their house and joined a safe area set up in the local bowling alley. XO Slattery heads to another safe zone at Deer Park only to find it deserted and that his family were there but are not now. Andrea Garnett is another one who finds that her family are not home, however there is a missing car in the garage of her home and someone had been packing.

Chandler tells his kids that he will not leave them again and that he is staying home. The children tell their father that is not what he should do and that their mother would not approve. Ashley and Sam convince their dad that his place in on the Nathan James with his crew and helping the world to get better.

Alisha Granderson is promoted by Chandler for her heroism and her loyalty, he hands her the full lieutenant bars he wore in Iraq. By the end of the show Niels has aligned himself with the religious zealot in the park and when Curtis says that the news of a ship distributing a cure is a rumor, Sorenson says that it is not.

The Last Ship has sailed into season two almost effortlessly and the story follows a logical course. Not having read the book is not an issue here as the series, despite the pretty tame state of the apocalypse, in American at least, is interesting and there are many obstacles to face before an all clear can be sounded.

Chandler is a compelling leader and Scott may yet become a fixture in either Tom’s or Tex’s life. Rachel and Tex have a verbal sparing match in the gym, where Tex is coaching Bacon who is trying to get down to his regulation weight. The two end up getting a little closer and Rachel thanks Tex for telling her about his 14 year-old daughter.

All the actors are now firmly in their roles and fans of Adam Baldwin will be thoroughly impressed when his character breaks down in tears at one point in the show. It is interesting to see Niels Sorenson back and on what appears to be a nefarious journey motivated by madness. The Last Ship airs Sundays on TNT.