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      • Latest Bright trailer shines light on warrior priestesses and Orc love songs
      • We've been following Bright, the upcoming Netflix Original that re-teams Will Smith with his Suicide Squad director David Ayer, for a long time now. Thankfully, the wait is almost over, with the fantasy/cop movie mash-up set to drop on the service on December 22, 2017. 

        Looking like a cross between Ayers' own police drama End of Watch and The Lord of the Rings (with a dash of Shadowrun thrown in for good measure), Bright sees Smith partner with the world's first Orc police officer to retrieve a an incredibly powerful magic wand before it gets into the wrong hands. 

        While the trailer, which you can watch below, features some rehashed material, it does offer a better look at Noomi Rapace's warrior priestess character –though we still don't know which side she's on. 

        We also get an exclusive first listen to 'Crown' – a new song from the Bright soundtrack performed by Camila Cabello & Grey. If that song isn't your cup of tea, Edgerton's character has an Orc love song that you might enjoy...


        Tuesday, December 12, 2017

      • YouTube TV: Everything you need to know about the TV streaming service
      • Update: YouTube TV is expanding. Again. This time the service is coming to a whopping 34 new metropolitan areas, including New Orleans, Green Bay, San Diego and San Antonio. That brings the total number of markets to a record-high 83.

        YouTube TV is hoping to re-shape the cord-cutting movement - and it has good reason to believe that can happen. After all, YouTube was the biggest name in video streaming long before Hulu, Netflix and Amazon ever thought to get into the video-on-demand game. 

        The service is essentially a cable replacement, offering live TV to your phone, tablet and television without a costly cable subscription and contract.

        It's a deal that feels too good to be true for those of us bombarded by cable box rental fees, hidden charges and ever-higher cable bills. And while it has some negatives out there - like being available in just 83 cities across the US - it could one day put cable companies in their place.

        How to watch YouTube TV

        YouTube TV is compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets, meaning you can stream app video content to your television, too.

        That makes both the Chromecast and Apple TV compatible by extension, and Google confirmed in September that it's working on both an Android TV and Roku app for YouTube TV. 

        Now, it's also worth pointing out that to access YouTube TV, not only are you going to need a subscription to the service but also an internet service plan from one of your local ISPs (for most folks, that's AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon).

        This is something most folks pay for already and therefore hasn't been figured into the cost of YouTube TV - but it's worth noting nonetheless. 

        Why YouTube TV is new, but important

        Why is YouTube TV going to be big? Well, while PlayStation Vue and Sling TV had to carve out a new audience for their products, YouTube TV already has one – one billion users that live in 88 countries and speak 76 different languages. 

        Sure, both Sony and DISH are large corporations, but do they have one billion people using their products to stream videos every year? Not likely.

        OK, so YouTube TV is going to be big, you get that. But what exactly is YouTube TV and why should you care? Let’s talk about it. 

        What is YouTube TV? 

        YouTube TV is a US-exclusive live TV streaming service – think Netflix but instead of on-demand TV shows and movies you’ll see cable channels like ABC, NBC, FOX, ESPN and Disney among many, many more. It’s like cable in the sense that everything is divided by channel and, yes, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for it, but the difference here is that you’ll be able to take shows whenever and wherever you go. 

        Well, sort of. Because YouTube TV has mainstream local stations (NBC, ABC, FOX, etc...), it initially launched in a few cities and then expanded out into other regions – similar to how PlayStation Vue started. 

        Loading up the service for the first time, we were recommended shows like Archer, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and many more. We easily found enough content to keep us entertained for the time-being, plus will have plenty to watch next time we log-on thanks to YouTube TV's stellar Cloud DVR. 

        Cloud DVR, if you've never heard that term before, allows you to record your favorite shows as they air and save them, well, to the cloud so that you can watch them later. It’s TiVo, but everything’s online. YouTube TV promises unlimited storage for shows for up to nine months – a serious advantage over the competition which usually only offer 28 days of storage.

        YouTube TV on every device? We hope so.

        Also, unlike Sling TV which wants you to buy a more expensive package to allow more than one user to watch TV at a time, YouTube says that its service will allow up to six people in the family to access the service and will allow up to three of them tune into the service simultaneously on the same account – a big advantage when you’re looking to replace cable and you have a big family.

        The other thing we know about YouTube TV is its price: $35 a month. For comparison, that’s slightly more expensive than Sling TV’s basic $20-per-month package and a few dollars less than PlayStation Vue’s basic $39 package that includes local stations like CBS, NBC, etc…

        But, to sweeten the deal, pay for your first month of service and you'll get a brand-new Chromecast for free.

        Cut to the chase

        • What is YouTube TV? A live TV streaming service like Sling TV
        • When is it coming out? It's available right now!
        • How much will it cost? $35 per month, unless you get an add-on package
        • Where can you watch it? Anywhere in the 83 US markets where it's available

        What channels are included?

        First off, all the mainstream local channels are on-board: NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. That means every NFL game up to and including the Super Bowl, are yours to watch every Sunday. AMC has also signed on, which means you'll still be able to get your Walking Dead fix on Sundays.

        Beyond the local stuff, you’ve got all the channels that fall under the umbrella of those companies – i.e. ESPN, CSN, FOX Sports, USA, FX, Disney, E!, Bravo, SyFy, FXX, National Geographic, MSNBC, FOX News, CNBC and more. 

        Here's the complete picture of every channel so far.

        On top of all those channels shown above, you’ll also get access to YouTube’s own network of shows, YouTube Red Originals. Shows on this ‘network’ (a term we use very lightly here) include Scare PewDiePie and exclusive films that you’ve probably never heard of. This really isn’t a huge draw for most people, but hey, maybe the money that comes in from YouTube TV can be used to crank up the quality of this content to near-Netflix levels.

        Now, like Amazon Video, you can actually tack on additional premium stations for an extra fee. Right now the list of premium offerings include FOX Soccer Plus and Showtime, which cost around $10 extra per month. 

        OK, so who’s missing so far? Well, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, MTV and TNT aren’t there, which is a bit of a bummer, and there aren’t as many channels for kids on YouTube TV as there are on Sling TV – a potential problem for parents. 

        HBO hasn’t signed up for the service yet either, which is strange considering that it peddles its wares on Amazon Video, but then again you can always subscribe to HBO Now if you really need your Game of Thrones on the go. 

        How is it different than YouTube Red?

        This can be sort of confusing, so listen up. YouTube Red is an ad-free version of YouTube that has a few fun features like allowing you to keep a video playing even when your phone is turned off. A subscription to YouTube Red also gives you access to the YouTube Red Originals channel that we talked about earlier. 

        What YouTube Red won't allow you to do is watch live TV or cable TV content. For that you'll need YouTube TV. 

        YouTube TV, like YouTube Red, will start as a US-only service and then might possibly expand out into other territories. YouTube wants to roll its Red service out to the UK sometime in 2017, but it's facing problems doing so. It's more than likely YouTube TV would follow in that path, unfortunately. 

        Is there some crossover potential here between these two services? Absolutely. Maybe a subscription to YouTube TV also nets you a free subscription to Red. But we'll just have to wait to find out more from YouTube if that's the case. 

        Is YouTube TV a better deal than cable? 

        That’s a good question. The answer here is ‘maybe’. Depending on how your cable service provider packages its internet and cable bundles. If you’re already paying for internet service, you can tack on an extra $30 for YouTube TV and maybe a $10-per-month subscription to Netflix and have just as much content as you’d have from a cable TV service that usually run $60-70 per month. 

        That being said, if you’re paying for one of those bundles that allows you to package cable, internet and phone service together for a lower price, YouTube TV might not come out to be any less. 

        You're still going to need cable (or HBO Now) for your Game of Thrones fix

        The benefits of going for a streaming service over a cable service are the ability to watch shows wherever you go, the potential to use Cloud DVR to save shows for later and the no-obligations contract that allows you to cancel your account without a termination fee. On top of everything else, you don’t need to rent a cable box from companies like Comcast, Spectrum or AT&T, because the streaming service comes in through whatever device you’re using. 

        In short, YouTube TV can offer as many channels as basic cable does, without the need for a cable box and 12-month contract, which is why we consider it a win. It does all that and offers Cloud DVR, is available a plethora of apps for devices like Roku, Apple TV and the various game consoles and does video-on-demand, making it one of the best streaming services on the planet. 

        So, when can you watch it? Right now. Just head over to tv.youtube.com to start your free trial.


        Tuesday, December 12, 2017

      • The best movies on Netflix: great films you can watch in Australia right now
      • UPDATED: The Revenant has been added to our list of the best movies on Netflix Australia. For his portrayal os the real life legend, Hugh Glass, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for Best Actor. Find out more about the film on page 5!

        If you're new to Netflix and want to find the best movies to watch, or you're tired of browsing the app for 30 minutes before finding something to watch, you've come to the right place. With thousands of movies at your disposal, it's easy to get stuck in binge-watching mode, but finding the honest-to-goodness best films can be a bit of a hassle.

        In an effort to determine the best of the best, we've put together a list of the greatest possible films you can watch – curated by TechRadar editors and backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes – so that you don't have to sift through the muck. We'll keep this best-of list up to date with the latest movies that are must-watch, so you waste zero screen time searching.

        As tech enthusiasts, it's perhaps unsurprising that we're obsessed with science fiction here at TechRadar. From glorious space operas to mind-bending films that make you think, there's something for everyone on our list of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix Australia.

        Rogue One: A Star Wars story

        As the first Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One had some pretty lofty expectations to live up to. Rather than try to replicate the formula that made The Force Awakens such a smashing success, director Gareth Edwards delivered a proper war film, one that had more in common with Saving Private Ryan than The Empire Strikes Back. Remember in A New Hope when the Rebellion got its hands on the Death Star plans that would lead to victory at the end of that film? Rogue One is about the group that stole those plans. Yes, it is a Star Wars prequel film, but don't worry – there's no Jar Jar Binks in sight. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

        Edge of Tomorrow

        A terrific science fiction war film starring Tom Cruise, Edge of Tomorrow plays like a cross between Halo and Groundhog Day, where the Cruiser is thrown directly into an alien war only to die almost immediately and then forced to repeat the day over and over, becoming a little more battle-hardened each time. Joining him is Emily Blunt, playing a tough-as-nails soldier who helps Cruise figure out a way to close this never-ending time loop and end the war for good. Backed by a terrific script and some fine chemistry between Cruise and Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic special effect extravaganza that should please both sci-fi and action fans.

        IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

        District 9

        The film that put both director Neill Blomkamp (Elysium) and star Sharlto Copley (Powers) on the international stage, District 9 is an ingenious science fiction Apartheid allegory that puts marooned aliens in South African concentration camps. An anti-alien pencil pusher (Copley) has his whole world turned upside down when he is sprayed with some kind of liquid that is slowly turning him into an alien, and now he has to team up with one of the "prawns" he so despises if he has any hope of turning back to normal. Hilarious, action-packed and filled with flinch-worthy body horror moments, District 9 is an instant classic that rightfully earned a best picture nomination at the Oscars.

        IMDB Rating: 8.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

        Midnight Special

        The kind of smart science fiction film that Steven Spielberg used to make in his 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' heyday, Midnight Special continually offers a sense of wonder as its story unfolds. Without spoiling too much, the film centres on Roy (Michael Shannon), a father who must protect his special son  Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) from both the US government and a cult after it's discovered that the boy has otherworldly powers. Along for the ride are Alton's mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) and Roy's close friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton). With surprises around every corner, you never really know where Midnight Special is going, though what you can expect are some truly terrific performances and a mind-blowing finale. Fans of Stranger Things should check this out. 

        IMDB Rating: 6.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

        Minority Report

        What if you could prevent murders before they've occurred? More importantly, what would you do if you were due to be sentenced over a murder you haven't committed yet? That is the premise of Steven Spielberg's spectacular sci-fi film, Minority Report. Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story of the same name, the film sees Tom Cruise play the head of a futuristic 'Precrime' Division tasked with stopping murderers from carrying out their violent actions. They can do this thanks to the psychic abilities of three siblings known as 'Precogs'. But what happens when this trio of soothsayers predicts a murder carried about by Cruise himself? Spoiler alert, he runs! A visually stunning film that's filled with ingenious and forward-thinking technological ideas that will likely become a reality in years to come, Minority Report is intense and action-packed. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

        The Terminator

        Best movies on Netflix

        While other films from the same time period have struggled to stay relevant, The Terminator remains as interesting and unique as it was 33 years ago. An undisputed classic of intense, unrelenting action, The Terminator kickstarted the career of uber-director James Cameron, who would go on to direct such classic blockbusters as Aliens, Titanic, Avatar and, of course, Terminator 2L Judgment Day. If you're looking for a retro masterpiece that holds up to modern-day cinema standards, you can stop searching – The Terminator is a must-see for any fan of science fiction, action and horror. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

        Star Wars: The Force Awakens

        The Force Awakens

        A triumphant return to the screen for the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens sees the characters we love from the original trilogy, like Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia, set off another adventure with a new generation of wonderful characters. Ironically, for a series set among the stars, Director J.J. Abrams brings the franchise back to Earth by dialling down the CGI that hobbled the prequel trilogy – this is a Star Wars movie that uses real locations and sets, as well as puppets and actors in costume, to recreate the spirit of Episodes IV through VI. Featuring thrilling action, incredible special effects and terrific performances, The Force Awakens is the best Star Wars film in over 30 years.

        IMDB Rating: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

        Gravity

        Gravity

        It took an agonising seven years for director Alfonso Cuarón to follow his masterful last film, Children of Men, but what an incredible follow-up! With Gravity, he sure did stick the landing (ahem) and hit this one right out of orbit (I'll let myself out). This nail-bitingly intense film, in which Sandra Bullock's character must use her wits to survive in space after a catastrophic shuttle accident, is a technical marvel – the kind of film that wows even the likes of James Cameron, who called Gravity "the best space film ever done." A perfect marriage of drama and special effects, Gravity is an absolute classic.

        IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

        We all love a good scare (so long as we're safe and sound at the end of it), so with that in mind, we've taken the liberty of shining a spotlight on some of the best horror movies currently streaming on Netflix Australia. These freaky flicks are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine!

        It Follows

        Considered a modern horror classic by many, It Follows sees a young girl (Maika Monroe) terrorised by a sexually-transmitted demon. This terrifying apparition looks different every time and will chase you relentlessly until you either pass it on by sleeping with someone else, or until it catches up to you and finishes you off for good. To make matters worse, if the person you pass it on to dies, it will turn its attention back to you again. Did we mention that it can only be seen by the people that have been 'infected', so your friends won't be able to help as much as they'd like to? Yeah, it kinda sucks. Stylish, atmospheric and with a terrific John Carpenter-inspired synth score, It Follows in an effective horror movie which may suffer a little from a few odd decisions by its characters, but is still well worth watching.

        IMDB Rating: 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

        The Babysitter

        One for the horror comedy fans, the Netflix Original film The Babysitter, from director McG (Charlie's Angels), is an energetic and fun flick with some killer one-liners and a star-making performance from Aussie actress Samara Weaving (yes, she's related to Hugo), whom horror fans may remember from her role in the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead. The plot is simple: kid develops a crush on his incredibly cool babysitter, only to find out that she's sadistic, devil-worshipping killer with a group of equally psychotic friends, all of whom are planning to kill him. Though he's a total wimp, he must now fight back in order to survive. Gory and funny in equal measure, The Babysitter is a hell of a time.

        IMDB Rating: 6.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

        Evil Dead

        One of the few horror remakes that fans of the original have embraced, The Evil Dead (2013) takes the outrageous series in an even gorier direction than ever before. Director Fede Alvarez (Don't Breathe) drops the slapstick comedy that was introduced in Evil Dead II, dialling up the gory grossness that made the original film an instant classic among horror fans. Sure, it lacks the winning charisma of Bruce Campbell, whose presence is definitely missed and cannot be replaced the mostly bland cast found here, but the film is still a slime-covered blast that puts its actors through hell regardless – just the way it should be. Groovy. 

        IMDB Rating: 6.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 61%

        Documentaries offer unprecedented insight into the lives of real people and the extraordinary events that surround them. Fiction is great, but fact truly has the power to move and inspire people like nothing else. With that said, here are some of the best documentaries currently available to stream on Netflix Australia. 

        Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream

        An epic 4-hour documentary on the classic rock band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Peter Bogdanovich's all-encompassing opus follows Tom Petty and his band from childhood to 2007 and is packed with candid interviews with the band's members, as well as the people that helped them become who they are. Having tragically passed away at age 66, Tom Petty will forever be remembered as one of the best songwriters in rock and roll, and a pioneering artist for everyone who has come since. If you've only just become aware of Tom Petty following his untimely death and want to know more about his impact on rock music, Runnin' Down a Dream has you covered. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

        Amanda Knox

        Following the enormous success of its original docu-series Making a Murderer, Netflix has once again returned to the ever-popular 'true crime' well with Amanda Knox. The Netflix Original documentary tells the harrowing story of an American exchange student who spent four years in an Italian prison after being convicted for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. Forced to endure the prosecution's various character assassination tactics, including public slut-shaming, Knox maintains her innocence at all times, with her appeals eventually reaching Italy's Supreme Court. Amanda Knox is an effective and truly eye-opening documentary that is not to be missed.

        IMDB Rating: 7.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

        Rubble Kings

        Thought the classic '70s film The Warriors was pure make-believe? You'd be surprised how much truth was actually buried under all the crazy costumes. Throughout the decade, the New York City borough known as The Bronx was teeming with gang violence; each gang with its own uniform, its own war-chief and its own piece of turf to fiercely defend against rival gangs – sometimes to the death. Rubble Kings documents this fascinating era, interviewing many of the key players and giving insight into the series of events that would eventually bring peace to The Bronx at the tail end of the tumultuous decade. Fans of The Warriors, The Get Down and Hip-Hop Evolution will adore Rubble Kings.  Okay, boppers. It's time to add Rubble Kings to your Netflix queue...

        IMDB Rating: 7.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

        We love a good thriller, which is why we've narrowed down some of the best ones that are now available to watch on Netflix Australia. These films will have you on the edge of your seat in suspense, so sit back, try to relax, and enjoy.

        Gerald's Game

        2017 has been a great year for Stephen King adaptations (ahem, The Dark Tower aside), and the new Netflix Original film Gerald's Game joins It and 1922 in the upper echelon. In an attempt to rekindle their marriage, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and Jessie (Carla Gugino) retreat to a remote lake house. When a sex game goes awry, Jessie is left alone and handcuffed to the bed and must overcome her mounting paranoia and deep, personal demons. Though the film mostly takes place within the one room, Gerald's Game remains thrilling from start to finish. It also features one of the best performances of Gugino's career. 

        IMDB Rating: 6.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

        Munich

        Though he's established a rabid fan base due to the success of blockbuster films like Jurassic Park, Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark, director Steven Spielberg is arguably in at his best when tackling more grown up fare – films like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan can attest to that. However, there is one film in particular that is arguably the most complex and adult of his entire career, and that film is Munich. Based on the real-life tragedy that occurred during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, in which the entire Israeli team was taken hostage and then massacred by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, the film sheds light on Israel's secret retaliation missions. Allegedly, these black ops saw undercover Mossad agents (played here by the likes of Eric Bana, Daniel Craig and Ciarán Hinds) track down and assassinate the men believed responsible in a rather public manner. Rather than take sides in the still ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, Spielberg questions the cost of vengeance on the conscience and soul of an entire country, asking whether it ultimately achieves anything other than more bloodshed. A riveting film that does not shy away from the story's more harrowing aspects. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

        Wake in Fright

        Wake in Fright

        One of the most powerful and harrowing films in Australian cinema history, Wake in Fright forces audiences to take a good hard look at Australia's destructively macho drinking culture. Marooned in a small outback town while he waits for a train to Sydney, schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) stops in at a local pub to pass the time. Sounds innocent enough, right? Unfortunately for John, a chance encounter with a pack of local louts sends him on an incredibly dark odyssey into the Australian heart of darkness. As shocking and menacing as any horror movie, Wake in Fright is an extremely confronting masterpiece that requires a strong stomach.

        IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

        Drive

        Drive

        Drive is the film that made it cool to love Ryan Gosling. Based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, this pulpy thriller is one of the most stylish films of the last decade, having almost single-handedly revived the neon '80s synth-pop scene. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives), Drive sees Gosling play a nameless stunt driver who works as a shady wheelman by night. When a job goes horribly wrong, this 'driver' must dispense violent justice to make things right for those he cares for. The film's immense influence can be felt across all forms of media – the video game Hotline Miami, in particular, owes a large debt of gratitude to Drive. A loving ode to the early tough-guy crime movies of Michael Mann, Drive is essential viewing.

        IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

        The Silence of the Lambs

        The Silence of the Lambs

        Simultaneously terrifying and mesmerising, The Silence of the Lambs is the film that catapulted the fictional character of Dr. Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter to mythic proportions. This brilliantly psychotic serial killer, played with great menace by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the role won him an Oscar, has since gone on be the subject of several films, books and even a fantastic television series. But while his impact on The Silence of the Lambs is huge, the story belongs to Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI trainee who is given the task of consulting with the infamous man-eater in an effort to track down a deranged killer that's skinning his victims. Foster's role is less showy but more impressive, played with equal parts determination and vulnerability. We fear for her because we see ourselves in her shoes, but also because we get a real sense of what drives her character, both emotionally and mentally. These characters may have appeared in many other films, but The Silence of the Lambs is still the best by a long stretch. A true masterpiece.

        IMDB Rating: 8.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

        We're serious cinephiles here at at TechRadar. It's not all about Star Wars around here – we enjoy a good tear-jerker, too. There are many sensitive drama films streaming on Netflix Australia right, and these are some of the best ones. So grab a hanky and get ready for a heavy night in. 

        The Revenant

        The film that finally bagged Leonardo DiCaprio a much-deserved Academy Award, The Revenant is at once a stunning technical achievement and a gut-wrenching tale of survival in the harshest wilderness imaginable. Based on the true story of Hugh Glass (though fudged a little for the sake of added drama), a man who was left for dead by his fur-trapping party after a savage bear attack (amazingly realised here in one of the film's many single-take camera shots). Now, Glass must carry himself across 200 miles of snowy hell to track down down the man who killed his son (that part is made up) and left him to die alone, played here by a mumbly Tom Hardy. A powerful film with incredibly cinematography and exceptional performances, The Revenant is a must-see piece of cinema.

        MDB Rating: 8.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

        Full Metal Jacket

        An astonishing work of immense power, Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece Full Metal Jacket examines man's innate desire to kill, memorably told against the backdrop of the controversial Vietnam War. The film is split in two halves – the first, which is set at boot camp, follows a young recruit who is pushed right over the edge by an abusive drill sergeant. The latter half focuses on a military journalist who watches in horror as Vietnamese people are killed indiscriminately by the soldiers he's following for reasons they don't even understand. Will they make a killing machine out of him, too? Essential viewing for war film aficionados. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

        Lawrence of Arabia (Restored Version)

        One of the greatest historical epics of all time, Lawrence of Arabia has arrived on Netflix in its recently restored form. Trust us when we say that the film, which won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, looks even more sublime now than ever before. Desert landscapes are vast and immaculate, skies (and Peter O'Toole's eyes) are the incredibly blue, and close-up detail is off the charts. Still, underneath all the eye candy on display, lies one of the most inspiring war stories of all time, all of which is based on true events in the life of British officer T.E Lawrence, who led the Arab tribes against the Turks in WWI. If you haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia before, we suggest you set aside a weekend (this movie is very, very long) and remedy that as soon as possible. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

        Beasts of No Nation

        Beasts of No Nation

        As Netflix's first original movie, Beasts of No Nation had a lot to prove. The VOD scene had traditionally been associated with low budget indies and D-grade horror films, but with Beasts of No Nation, Netflix managed to convince people that high quality (dare I say, Oscar-calibre) films could be streamed at home and shown in theatres at the same time. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective season 1), Beasts follows the loss of a child soldier's innocence as he's forced to do unspeakable things. The film hits like a sledgehammer, never shying away from the brutality and horror experienced by this young boy (played masterfully by newcomer Abraham Attah). Equally powerful is Idris Elba's portrayal as the boy's remorseless and despicable commander. Though not what you'd call a crowd-pleaser, we hope that Netflix continues to bring us brilliant films like this.

        IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

        Blue is the Warmest Color

        As soulful as it is erotically-charged, it's not hard to see why Blue is the Warmest Color won the highest prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival – its portrayal of two women who fall in love and allow each other to discover their true selves is truly special. Though Emma (Léa Seydoux) is a blue-haired free spirit, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) doesn't feel comfortable in her own skin. While Adèle's friends initially shun Emma due to her sexuality, she soon realises that Emma is the only person with whom she can express herself openly and bare her soul to. Together, the pair experience the ups and downs of a mature relationship, while also exploring social acceptance and their sexuality. A beautiful masterpiece that will take you on an emotional roller-coaster throughout its lengthy 3-hour running time, Blue is the Warmest Color is a film you won't soon forget. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

        Okja

        Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Snowpiercer) is an eclectic filmmaker, and his latest work, Okja, is in a genre all of its own. Is it an adventure film? Is it science fiction? Is it a drama? Is it a fairy tale? Is it satire? The answer is... all of the above. With a style that's somewhere between Spielberg and Miyazaki, the film follows a young Korean girl's quest to rescue her best friend Okja, a super-pig that was created by the multi-national conglomerate Mirando Corporation for the purposes of consumption. Flipping between heartbreaking and joyful at the drop of a hat, Okja is an emotional roller coaster of a film that may well have you reconsidering your dietary choices. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

        Schindler's List

        This is one of the most affecting movies that you will ever see. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a factory owner who begins to help his Jewish workers during World War II after he sees them persecuted by the Nazi Germans, the movie is a study in brevity. Steven Spielberg manages to find the human stories in the atrocity of WWII without shying away from the true horror of what happened during the conflict. Winner of several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, Schindler's List is a film you won't soon forget. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

        Selma

        A heartfelt and considered look at Martin Luther King Jr's struggle to gain equal voting rights, campaigning in racially-charged Alabama, Selma was one of the finest films of 2014 and was rightly nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as a result. It may have missed out on the top gong, or a Best Director nod for director Ava DuVernay, but David Oyelowo's performance as the civil rights leader is a powerful one, with a supporting cast recreating the inspiring story with great respect. With recent real-life events showing that racial tension is still as prevalent in 2017 as it was in the 1960s, Selma is more relevant than ever. Powerful and moving, Selma is a must see film about courage, determination and the fight for equality among all people, regardless of their colour. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

        Need a good laugh? Netflix Australia is home to some terrific comedies, with a number of hilarious movies ready to stream in an instant. Some are light-hearted, while others are pitch black. With that in mind, there's a comedy for everyone below. 

        Coming to America

        Perhaps the most charming and endlessly entertaining comedy of Eddie Murphy's career, Coming to America takes the standard 'fish out of water' concept and weaves pure magic with it. Unhappy with the arranged marriage set up by royal parents, Prince Akeem of the wealthy (and fictitious) African nation of Zamunda sets off for America in search of love with help from his squire, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). Before long, Akeem falls for the smart and independent Lisa (Shari Headley), heir to the McDowell's fast food restaurant empire. Insistent that he win her affections with his personality and not his wealth, Akeem and Semmi pretend to be poor and acquire jobs at McDowell's. Now, the pair must contend with Lisa's over-protective father (John Amos) and her jerk boyfriend (Eriq La Salle). Full of heart and bloody hilarious, Coming to America is a comedy classic.

        IMDB Rating: 7.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 69%

        Fight Club

        fight club

        You know what they say: black comedy is still comedy! While the first rule of Fight Club may be that you shouldn't talk about Fight Club, it's extremely hard to keep quiet about a film as provocative as this. Though its messages are based in extremely dark satire, David Fincher's film is as nihilistic and anarchistic as any major film studio has ever produced. Violent, gross and incendiary, Fight Club sees emasculated males bash each other's faces in to make themselves feel manly once more. While the film's themes are intended in jest (the film is basically Gen X's ultra-dark version of a Marx Brothers comedy), they certainly resonated strongly with certain fans, many of which would go on to start their own fight clubs. Despite being misunderstood by its biggest admirers, Fight Club is one of the must-see films of the late '90s.

        IMDB Rating: 8.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

        Hot Fuzz

        Hot Fuzz

        Following the success of their classic rom-zom-com, Shaun of the Dead, director Edgar Wright, star and writer Simon Pegg and co-star Nick Frost teamed up once again to bring their hilarious sensibilities to the buddy-cop movie genre with Hot Fuzz. London super-cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is involuntarily transferred to a village in the English countryside for making his superiors look bad by comparison. There, he teams up with dim-witted (but well-meaning) cop Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) and together, the pair uncover a murder conspiracy. If films like Point Break and Bad Boys II are in constant rotation at your place, you absolutely owe it to yourself to grab a Cornetto and watch Hot Fuzz.

        IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

        American Psycho

        American Psycho

        It may look like a thriller, but Just like its main character, American Psycho is something entirely different under the surface. Quite frankly, most people don't expect this film to be as funny and endlessly quotable as it is. Director Mary Harron and co-screenwriter Guinevere Turner did the unthinkable when they took on the job of adapting Bret Easton-Ellis' hugely controversial and largely unfilmable book, American Psycho – they looked beyond the source material's horrendously graphic and seemingly never-ending violence to focus on the scathing satire of the greed-obsessed '80s buried underneath. Christian Bale solidified himself as one of the world's most exciting actors in the role of Patrick Bateman, the Wall Street yuppie with an insatiable lust for blood and dinner reservations. Both shocking and hilarious, American Psycho is a remarkably clever cult classic.

        IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 68%

        Though they live on the other side of the law, we as people tend to be fascinated by criminals. Whether it's the outlaw lifestyles they lead, or the fact that they live those lives on the edge and do things most of us wouldn't dream of, something about their stories makes them cinematic gold. Here are some of the best crime movies now streaming on Netflix Australia.

        Snatch

        A rollicking crime caper movie from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels writer and director Guy Ritchie, Snatch takes everything great about that movie and dials it up to 11. Featuring a large cast of colourful cockney crooks, including Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Dennis Farina, Benicio Del Toro, Vinnie Jones  and Brad Pitt (particularly memorable as an unintelligible Gypsy boxer), Snatch flies thick and fast with hilarious quotable lines and energetic performances. Whether they're chasing after a diamond the size of a fist, or betting on illegal bare-knuckle brawls, you can expect these characters to end up getting into all kinds of mischief. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

        City of God

        The Shawshank Redemption

        If you've blasted your way through both seasons of Narcos and want another South American crime epic to get stuck into, consider City of God as your next destination. Based on true events that took place over three decades in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, the film accurately recreates the lively and energetic vibe of Brazil, but also counters it some truly harrowing scenes of devastating violence. In the 'City of God', children brandish firearms and kill each other indiscriminately over petty drug deals. While that might sound like too much to bear, the terrific filmmaking on display from Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund will keep you on the edge of your seat, as will the film's authentic performers and compelling story. One of the greatest films of all time, City of God is like Goodfellas scored to a samba beat.

        IMDB Rating: 8.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

        Pulp Fiction

        Perhaps the most influential movie of the 90s, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the big prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the hearts and minds of an entire pop culture-obsessed generation. Presented as an ingenious crime anthology with three interlocking parts, Pulp Fiction follows two hitmen as they go on a job and experience what may or may not be an act of God, a dinner date with the crime boss' wife which (almost) spirals out of control, and a boxer who accepts money from the aforementioned boss to take a dive, but opts to skip town instead. Violent, audacious and with little concern to the rules of cinema, Pulp Fiction is the kind of whip-smart classic that can be watched at the drop of a hat. The film may have seen its fair share of imitators over the years, but none of that has diluted Pulp Fiction's immense power. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

        Buckle up for some heart-pounding entertainment with some of the most kick-ass action movies now streaming on Netflix Australia. Adrenaline junkies will get a kick out of every one of the brawny movies listed below. 

        Mad Max: Fury Road

        The world has gone to hell following a cataclysmic event, plunging headfirst into madness and chaos. All that remains is a wasteland governed by tyrannical men, populated by downtrodden hordes, and hopefully, rescued by mythical heroes. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules with an iron fist, doling out meagre amounts of water to the masses, while keeping a stable of wives for himself to breed future warlords. His most trusted Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has betrayed him and freed these women from their lives of sexual slavery. Now, the chase is on, as Immortan Joe and his party of warboys set out to retrieve their "property". If Furiosa and co. are to succeed, they’ll need the help of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a wandering road warrior in search of a cause. Director George Miller has crafted the most dynamic, vibrant and sensational action blockbuster of the decade with Fury Road. it’s an inventive, high-octane kick in the guts to a film industry that has played it safe for far too long. The chases and stunts in this film are unparalleled. Best of all, the film's cut-to-the-chase plot manages to sneak in a powerful and extremely timely rebuttal to patriarchy.

        IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

        Boyka: Undisputed

        Fight fans raised on the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Donnie Yen are no doubt familiar with Scott Adkins, the British martial arts sensation that has made a name for himself as a heavy in big Hollywood blockbusters (Doctor Strange, The Expendables 2, The Bourne Ultimatum) and as a leading man with a number of franchises under his (black) belt (Ninja 1 & 2, Undisputed 2 & 3). Now, Adkins has returned to what is arguably his best character with Boyka: Undisputed, which has been made available to stream on Netflix for the first time. For those who haven't seen the previous two Adkins entries in the Undisputed series, Boyka is a Russian prison fighter who entered the series as a villain in the second instalment, only to become the hero in the third film. In Boyka: Undisputed, we follow the beastly fighter as he tries to find redemption by helping the wife of a man he accidentally killed in the ring. Come for the phenomenally-staged, CGI-free fight sequences, but stay for the sincere story. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

        Marvel's Doctor Strange

        Marvel's first cosmic adventure film, Doctor Strange sees the talented surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) turn to the mystical arts in search of a cure for his mangled hands. More arrogant than the usual Marvel superhero (yes, even more so than Tony Stark), Doctor Strange must learn to get over his own ego before he can rise up and be the hero he was born to be. With trippy visuals and mind-bending twists that make the film Inception look tame by comparison, Doctor Strange is both familiar and incredibly unique among the superhero blockbusters that have been released so far. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

        Rambo

        Living off the grid in Southeast Asia, John Rambo is dragged back on to the battlefield once more when a group of missionaries is taken hostage by despicable war criminals in war-torn Burma. To get them back, he's going to have to blast through an entire army. Kicking the level of gruesome violence up to the extreme, Rambo is not a film for the squeamish. However, if you love the character and enjoy seeing irredeemable baddies get torn apart by 50-caliber machine gun fire and makeshift machetes, this is the movie for you – just don't expect high art (check out the disparity between the IMDB user score and Rotten Tomatoes critic score below).

        IMDB Rating: 7.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 37%

        Con Air

        One of the most entertaining action movies of the '90s, the Nicolas Cage vehicle (in more ways than one) Con Air has been added to Netflix Australia. After spending seven years in jail for accidentally killing a man while protecting his wife, newly paroled ex-con (and former US Ranger) Cameron Poe (Cage) is on a prisoner transport plane heading home to meet his daughter for the first time. Unfortunately for him, this is going to be one bumpy ride, as a group of death row inmates who are also onboard decide to hijack the plane in a last ditch attempt at freedom. Packed with colourful characters and terrific one-liners, Con Air is the kind of brawny action movie they just don't make anymore.

        IMDB Rating: 6.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 56%

        Captain America: Civil War

        Though Marvel Studios films are known for being visually spectacular, action-packed and epic in scope, the real reason audiences around the world have embraced the Marvel Cinematic Universe is because of its characters. While we may have our favourites, we've spent enough time with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America to know what these beloved heroes stand for – they don't always agree with each other, but this dynamic of differing opinions is the key to The Avengers successful. That's all well and good when there's a clear enemy to face, but what happens when these super-powered individuals fall on opposing sides of an issue that strikes at very heart of the team? Answer: friends and teammates will go to war with each other. Easily the Marvel film with the highest emotional stakes to date, Captain America: Civil War is a phenomenal entry in the ongoing Marvel saga, one that provides no easy answers. Neither side is wrong about its stance, yet we know that there will ultimately be only one victor. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

        Django Unchained

        Best movies on Netflix

        Quentin Tarantino is loved and revered for his work in American cinema, and lately his takes on classic '70s movies. Like his take on Inglourious Basterds before it, Django Unchained deals with role reversal in a historically controversial time. The story of revenge and justice, Django (played by Jamie Foxx) and Dr. King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz) set off to hunt down a gang of felons before the ultimate promise of setting Django free. Like other Tarantino films, it doesn't shy away from the grotesque and gory or mind going against the grain, making it easy to recommend and easier to watch time and time again. And, Netflix also provides QT fans with the ability to stream his classic films Inglourious Basterds and Reservoir Dogs.

        IMDB Rating: 8.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

        Need some kid-friendly entertainment that will make the whole family happy? We've selected some of the best family movies that Netflix Australia has to offer. Each one of these films is guaranteed to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. 

        Moana

        Having achieved monumental success with its film Frozen, Disney had a lot to live up to with its next major 'Disney Princess' movie, and it still managed to blow away expectations with Moana – a visually stunning tale of an independent free-spirit (played by newcomer Auli'i Cravalho) who sets off on a journey to save her island from a devastating curse indadvertedly set by the selfish demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson). Though it follows all the familiar Disney beats that we've come to expect over the years, Moana is well written, wonderfully animated and terrifically acted. You may also find its many catchy songs stuck in your head for days after watching it. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

        Fantastic Mr. Fox

        Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom) is a writer/director know for his whimsical and inimitable style, with characters who are fleshed out (regardless of whether they're actually people) and have warmth and heart to spare. With his first foray into family-fare, Fantastic Mr. Fox, the visionary filmmaker succeeded in creating his most accessible film to date. Based on the classic story by Roald Dahl, the film follows a wily fox (played with incredible charm and terrific comedic timing by George Clooney) who bandies together with his family (voiced by Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman) and friends (including voice work from regular Wes Anderson collaborator, Bill Murray) to fight off the mean farmers that plan to destroy their homes. Featuring wonderful stop-motion animation, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a heartfelt and hilarious film that's destined to become a family favourite. 

        IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

        The Iron Giant

        Criminally overlooked by audiences upon initial release, The Iron Giant is an animated film that has steadily grown in appreciation over the years, to the point where many traditional animation purists now consider it an undisputed classic. The feature-length debut of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), and Set during the 1950s at the height of the 'Red Scare' period of America's history, The Iron Giant tells the story of a lonely boy named Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) who makes a new best friend in an enormous amnesiac robot (Vin Diesel). The robot eventually realises that he was actually built as a weapon, and before long, the authorities find out about him and set out on a quest to destroy the gentle giant. Now the boy and his metallic friend have to protect each other at all costs. A touching film in the tradition of E.T. the Extra-terrestrial, The Iron Giant deserves to be considered as not just a terrific animated film, but as one the greatest films of the '90s, period. 

        IMDB Rating: 8.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

        Back to the Future

        Idiocracy

        A time-travelling classic from director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) and producer Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Back to the Future sees 1980s teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) race back to the 1950s to ensure that his parents meet during high school and fall in love – he better succeed, because if he fails, he'll be wiped from existence in his current timeline! To do this, he'll need help from Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) – an eccentric scientist who's built a working time machine in the form of a DeLorean sports car. A fantastic fish-out-of-water tale that leans heavily on 1950s nostalgia, great performances and terrific visual effects, Back to the Future can be considered a high-watermark from everyone involved.

        IMDB Rating: 8.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

        Zootopia

        Best movies on Netflix

        More than just a cute movie about talking animals, Disney's Zootopia cleverly sneaks messages about prejudice, tolerance, and even the war on drugs, into its animated take on cop movie procedurals. Though its characters may be bunnies, foxes and other wild animals, the idea of not judging someone by their race (or in this case, species) is more important than ever right now. Gorgeously animated with loveable characters and a hilarious script full of jokes that only adults will get (there's even a Breaking Bad reference at one point), Zootopia continues Disney's streak of incredible animated films. Now bring on Zootopia 2!

        IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%


        Tuesday, December 12, 2017

      • Star Wars: Episode 8 The Last Jedi release date, trailers and news
      • The wait is over - Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi is here. The Hollywood premiere has come and passed, and lines are starting to form to see the show.

        It's not an overstatement to say that the eighth film in the Star Wars saga is the most highly anticipated film of 2017 - despite the fact that Star Wars films have become an annual fixture in theaters after the release of Rogue One and The Force Awakens.

        With the film arriving in theaters we thought it'd be a good idea to give you a quick refresher on the film - the trailers that are worth a watch, a spoiler-free synopsis of the story unveiled to the public so far and more.

        While we don't expect you to be a librarian of the Jedi Order in order to understand this article, a lot of what we're going to be talking about here comes with one simple assumption: That you've at least seen Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens, you know, the prequel to the film you're about to see.  

        If you haven't yet seen The Force Awakens, a) what is wrong with you? and b) spoilers will lie ahead. Big ones. We're talking massive, planet-destroying spoilers. And we'd hate to ruin that for you. Got it? Good.

        Let's continue.

        Episode VIII title and release date

        Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi will hit cinemas on December 15 2017, after being pushed back from its initial release date of May 26 the same year. It means waiting an extra seven months, but we did think that the original timeframe was a bit ambitious for a film of this scale.

        The title is obviously a cryptic one. The Last Jedi could mean any number of things but chances are good that it's a reference to Luke's new padawan, Rey. 

        Considering that both Luke and Leia are Jedi, there are obviously more than one of the galactic space wizards left in the galaxy but Rey, as we know from Episode VII The Force Awakens, might be the last person to carry the title Jedi. 

        Scary as it might seem, it could also be a reference to the possible deaths of Luke and Leia in the franchise, making the title very literal. 

        Of course, this is all just conjecture at this point as Rey, Luke and Leia are all seen in the latest trailer alive and well - albeit a bit fearful.

        Star Wars: Episode 8 The Last Jedi poster

        Trailers

        The first official trailer for Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi is here and it looks smashing! You can check out the trailer but a warning- it reveals some story plots, some of which may or may not be a red herring.

        The first teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi was unveiled during Star Wars Celebration 2017. Check it out below! 

        Of course, then there was the Disney D23 event held in Anaheim, CA. We got a surprising amount of Star Wars news from of Disney's big fan event and although we didn't get an official story trailer, we did get a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel as has been released prior to previous films. 

        At just under three minutes long, this video shows exciting clips from the film itself as well as from its shooting. There are interviews with cast and crew and an insight into Rey's continuing journey, the many exciting new aliens that are being physically crafted for the film as well as how much work goes into special effects. 

        You can watch the video for yourself below:

        Episode 8 casting

        JJ Abrams will be hopping off the director's chair and handing over the reins to Rian Johnson, best known for writing and directing Brick and Looper (and a few episodes of Breaking Bad). Abrams will stay as executive producer, however.

        It's been confirmed that all of the original cast members (barring Harrison Ford) will be making a return. Joining them this time is Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

        So who, exactly, are these new cast members going to play in Episode 8? 

        Del Toro was recently listed on a site called Wikiwand as Sir Vicrum Fett, a clear homage and perhaps descendent of Jango Fett and perhaps a brother to Boba Fett, the feared and very easily killed bounty hunter from the original trilogy.

        As for Laura Dern, according to our sister site GamesRadar+, she's most likely going to play Admiral Holdo, a stylish New Order commander who's as smart as Leia but with a vicious twist.

        Finally, newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, we actually have some good information on how she'll fit into The Last Jedi. She'll be playing the role of Rose, a member of The Resistance forces a.k.a. what became of the Rebel Alliance after the establishment of the New Republic at the end of Episode VI. 

        SW

        Episode 8: what we know of the story so far

        Rian has been very cautious about plot details, but we do know that it will pick up straight after The Force Awakens, with Rey having discovered Luke Skywalker's whereabouts, as confirmed by the teaser trailer.

        The Force Awakens left many questions unanswered. Who is Rey really? Is Finn Force sensitive? What's with C-3PO's red arm? Why is R2-D2, the bearer of all knowledge who refuses to tell anyone anything, such a dick?

        Colin Trevorrow, who will be directing Episode IX, has already promised us a "profoundly satisfying" answer to the mystery surrounding Rey's parents.

        "Rey is a character that is important in this universe, not just in the context of The Force Awakens, but in the entire galaxy," he said. "She deserves it. We'll make sure that that answer is something that feels like it was something that happened a long time ago, far away, and we're just telling you what happened."

        One theory is that Luke is Rey's father, but… surely it's got to be something more interesting than that, right?

        The Force Awakens ended with a wounded Kylo Ren being taken to Supreme Leader Snoke to complete his training - but what does that mean? And more importantly, who is Snoke? One theory that has been floating about, courtesy of this tweet, is that Snoke is actually Vader, who didn't really die. We don't buy it for a second, but the scar is admittedly convincing. 

        We expect some of the film will show Luke training Rey, harking back to his own training from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. It will also be interesting to see how Kylo Ren's character develops. He just murdered his own father, but he's still conflicted between the dark side and the light - or was Han's death the final part of his transition to Sith? One trailer shows Ren flying his Tie Interceptor variant into a New Republic ship with none other but Leia on-board looking panicked. It could spell the death of Leia should the trailer prove true.

        Either way, it's a script that's been well received by Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver. Speaking to Collider, he's compared the next entry to the hallowed Empire Strikes Back.

        Episode 8 set photos

        On April 28 director Rian Johnson celebrated hitting the halfway point in the Episode 8's filming schedule by releasing a couple of set photos.

        Episode 8 Set Photo

        The photos don't shed much new light on the film, but it's nice to see confirmation that Episode 8 will indeed contain the ships and shiny helmets that the series is known for.

        Episode 8 Set Photo

        A Tribute to Carrie Fisher

        One of the cinema world's most tragic losses last year was that of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia). Her death came as a bitter shock and one that no one could have predicted. While many in the community mourn her loss, we feel there needs to be a heartfelt thank you given to the woman who helped inspire thousands of women to be leaders, actresses and good-hearted people. 

        A fantastic tribute debuted at Star Wars Celebration 2017 which we feel has perfectly summarized the life of the actress and her contributions to the series.

        Want more on Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi? Keep checking back here as we approach the film's December 15, 2017 release date. 

        Episode 9?

        Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi isn't even out yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start talking about the film's sequel – and book-end for the new trilogy – Star Wars Episode 9, which will now open on December 20, 2019. 

        Recently it was announced that the film's first director Colin Trevorrow was ousted from his role, a blow lessened when, less than a day later, it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be returning to co-write and direct the 9th film. 

        Given his experience with the franchise (he directed and co-wrote The Force Awakens), our take is that Abrams is a good choice to tie up new trilogy – even if that means moving the film's release date back a few months to accommodate the switch.

        Joe Osborne and Hugh Langley have also contributed to this report


        Monday, December 11, 2017

      • PS5: what will the Sony PlayStation 5 be like and when will we see it?
      • Update: Sony just announced that, over the last four years, it has sold 70 million PS4 systems. That's a pretty impressive number, all things considered, and might be good indicator that the company is thinking long and hard about the PS5. 

        Article continues below...

        New game consoles are always exciting, especially when the console in question is the PS5, Sony's fifth installment of the PlayStation consoles. And while we'd like to stoke the rumor flames and tell you there's a console coming in the near future – it's hard to say when we'll see the PS5 (or PlayStation 5 if you prefer).

        Here's some good news: while we're not sure when the PS5 is coming, Sony President and CEO Shawn Layden confirmed in an interview with Golem.de that the PlayStation 5 would be coming eventually ... just not anytime soon. 

        It makes sense Sony isn't jumping on the next-gen bandwagon just yet. The company practically just released the PS4 Pro, a mid-generation console upgrade that's expanded the hardware's functionality sufficiently, and probably still sees a lot of life in the fourth-generation PlayStation. 

        There's also the question of what, exactly, the PS5 could do better. 

        Sony now has a system that's capable of both HDR and 4K upscaled gameplay which, for most gamers, is more than enough for the time-being.

        Unless Sony has a treasure trove of 8K TVs ready to ship out exclusively with PS5 consoles, there might not be a point in launching a new system right now.

        But, perhaps even more importantly, the console's existence and recent success has called into question whether a proper follow-up to the PS4 will ever be needed. We might be moving towards a more iterative hardware cycle. 

        When Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios, was asked about the PS5, he responded that he thought the PS5 was a question of 'if' rather than 'when'

        Though Sony currently has the most powerful console on the market with its PS4 Pro, Microsoft is about to throw a spanner into the works with its Xbox One X (due in November 2017), and that might spell trouble for Sony. 

        But just because Microsoft launches a system doesn't mean that Sony will counter immediately – there are good reasons to believe that Sony is less comfortable with the idea of taking a mobile phone-style “upgrade every year” approach to consoles in the future, including comments from Yoshida himself. 

        Also, it boils down to simple economics: it’s well documented that the longer a console can persist on the high-street shelves, the more profitable it becomes, as economies of scale reduce manufacturing costs, while a large installed base means publishers can sell more copies of their latest games.

        What does that mean for the PS5? Will Sony's fifth console come to fruition? What would it do differently? What can it do differently? 

        For right now, at least, we don't have all the answers. 

        But instead of twiddling our thumbs and waiting for Sony to plop the next system on our laps, we've done some digging to try and get to the bottom of the mystery that's kept us up at night: What is the PS5 and when is it coming out?

        PS5 Release date

        With no official word from Sony, it's difficult to know exactly when we might get to see a PS5, so all we have for the moment is the guesswork of industry analysts to go on. 

        Analysts are predicting we could see the PlayStation 5 anywhere between 2018 and 2019. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, analyst Damian Thong (who previously predicted the PS4 Pro and Slim) suggested that the console would arrive in the latter half of 2018.

        Another analyst, however, believes we'll have to wait a little longer. Speaking to GamingBolt, Michael Pachter said that though he thinks the PS5 will be a half step and will be backwards compatible with the PS4 Pro he doesn't think we'll see it until "2019 or 2020 but probably 2019." 

        This slightly later release, he says, would make more sense as it would fall in line with predictions for when the 4K TV market in the US will reach 50%. "I think Sony has probably got the next console cycle lined up already", he says, "I think they already know what they've got to do."

        More recently Pachter reiterated this claim, saying that Sony would most likely release the new console in 2020. He added that at this time he thinks the PS4 Pro will become the base model PlayStation and will see a reduction in price. 

        We’ve got the TVs: can we have proper 4K gaming?

        The PS4 Pro offers a tantalising hint of what 4K gaming could be like. But the stark fact remains: it still doesn’t have the grunt to do 4K properly. 

        Its “checkerboard” technique of taking single pixels and using each to render four pixels in 4K resolution is clever, but now 4K TV sales are gaining traction, it’s reasonable to expect console technology to advance to a level at which it can display 4K output natively. 

        Chris Kingsley, CTO and co-founder of developer Rebellion, dangles an even more ambitious technological carrot in front of a putative PS5: “Obviously new hardware should be able to support 4K TVs and possibly even 8K TVs at a push!” 

        Native 4K support, surely, will be a basic requirement of the PlayStation 5? And if Sony cracks that particular problem with alacrity, it could even mean that a PlayStation 5 will arrive sooner than anticipated.

        ps5 games

        The VR effect

        Sony recently became the first console manufacturer to embrace virtual reality, thanks to the PlayStation VR, but if you examine PlayStation VR closely – and observe how it operates on the PS4 Pro – it invites speculation about how a PS5 might take VR to a new level. 

        Currently, PlayStation VR operates at lower resolution than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – but, as it stands, even its current incarnation almost pushes the base PlayStation 4 beyond its limits. Running a PlayStation VR on a PS4 Pro brings improved frame-rates, which are very handy indeed in terms of the overall VR experience, but even the PS4 Pro can’t overcome the resolution constraints set by the PlayStation VR headset.

        Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration of PlayStation VR

         So it’s a good bet that, presuming PlayStation VR is successful (and it already appears to be catching on) Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration: which would provide an obvious selling point for the PlayStation 5. 

        And if a PlayStation VR 2 headset could be sold without an external black box, it should be markedly cheaper, further accelerating VR’s march into the mainstream.

         Rebellion’s Kingsley makes another good point about second-generation VR. “Anything that reduces the leads has to be a good thing,” he says. 

        The umbilical cord which currently attaches VR headset-wearers to their consoles or PCs obviously goes against VR’s entire immersive nature, and we’re already beginning to see, for example, a third-party implementation for the HTC Vive that renders it wireless. It’s a safe bet that the capacity for running a wireless PlayStation VR 2 will be built into the PS5. 

        But Kingsley’s PlayStation VR 2 wish-list goes further: “Wide vertical and horizontal field-of-view would be top of my list, and of course, that would require 4K resolution per eye, and high dynamic range would be great too.” 

        HDR and wider fields of view should be achievable but sadly, we don’t reckon full 4K VR is likely to be a possibility even for the PS5. As Kingsley points out, that would require 4K rendering per eye, which equates to 8K rendering overall, which we expect to be beyond the PS5’s capabilities. 

        That said, perhaps Sony will find some clever technological bodge to get around that before it releases its fifth PlayStation console.

        ratchet and clank

        What form will the PS5 take?

        It has been suggested that future consoles could take radically different forms to current ones, thanks to advances in cloud computing bringing about the ability to stream games, thereby doing away with the components that make consoles so bulky. But we don’t reckon Sony will take a more Nintendo-like approach and put the PS5 in a tiny box. 

        One reason for that is that with the PS4, Sony has only just committed to using what are basically the innards of a PC – the first three PlayStation variants used proprietary components which, in the PS3, were so esoteric that the console flopped. Developers, certainly, are massively relieved that the PS4 took the PC route. 

        "We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data.”

        Chris Kingsley

        “Developers want the ability to make the best games using the minimum amount of effort. We want to focus on being creative and getting things to just work,” Kingsley says. “So the hardware should be based around current console hardware, which is in turn based on PC hardware. We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data.” 

        All the above are achievable, but will the PS5 still have a hard disk? 

        Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House spoke at the PS4’s launch about how deciding to put hard disks and 8Gb of RAM in the PS4 were both “Billion-dollar decisions”. Yet any PS4 owner will tell you that the aspect of the console they hate most is its wilful inability (unlike the Xbox One variants) to accommodate external USB hard disks. 

        Given that 4K games by definition contain much more data than 1080p ones, that issue will become exacerbated if a native 4K PS5 arrives. Any PS4 owner would put support for external USB hard disks top of their wish-list for the PS5, but given that Sony (inexplicably) declined to let the PS4 Pro support them, we aren’t hopeful of that.

        Streaming games

        Of course, if games were just streamed to the PS5 that problem would disappear entirely, and Sony already has a game-streaming service in the form of PlayStation Now

        So why isn’t this more of a definite feature rather than something on our wishlist? Well, Sony is remaining tight-lipped about PlayStation Now uptake figures, but we suspect they are pretty unimpressive. It has certainly had issues with setting the right subscription charges, given that PlayStation Now effectively gives backwards compatibility – a “luxury” that was previously free for owners of PlayStation 2s and 3s. 

        There would be nothing to stop Sony launching a small form-factor cloud-based version of the console for those with mega-fast broadband

        But the biggest issue is broadband speeds. Even 4K TV requires a minimum of 25Mbps broadband in order to provide satisfactory streaming, and it’s doubtful whether 4K game streaming – with extra information on top of the visual side – would even work reliably at such speeds. There would be nothing to stop Sony launching a small form-factor cloud-based version of the console for those with mega-fast broadband, perhaps with a mobile phone-style subscription model that has an upfront hardware costs. 

        But for the PS5 to sell anything like its predecessors, there would have to be a conventional version with similar innards to the PS4

        In his recent autumn statement, chancellor Philip Hammond announced an infrastructure investment aimed at bringing fast broadband and 5G mobile data to the UK. But the earliest that would have an impact would be 2021, and the PS5 will almost certainly arrive before then. Perhaps its first mid-cycle update, though, will be a streaming version which takes advantage of burgeoning 5G networks?

        Optical discs or not?

        The rise of download games, which continue to eat into the physical disc market, means that pundits have been predicting that consoles will go discless for about a decade now. However, our guess is that the PS5 won’t be the first system to risk venturing down that road, at least not until it catches wind of Microsoft doing the same thing. 

        Sony has taken a lot of (justifiable) flak for not putting a 4K Blu-ray drive in the PS4 Pro – making it a less attractive purchase for film and TV buffs than the Xbox One S

        Surveys continue to show that gamers are still attached to the possibility of buying games on physical discs – not least because they can then sell them (a practice that the games industry hates), and due to their persistent hard disk space issues, although it’s only the current generation of consoles which has insisted on installing entire contents of Blu-ray discs onto hard disks. 

        If Sony were to axe the Blu-ray drive from the PS5, gamers would expect several terabytes of storage in compensation. 

        Kingsley gives a developer’s view on the topic: “I think the days of delivering films and games via disc are on the decline, as most people are going digital; however, some people like physical discs, so who knows  whether that decline will level out and remain present but at a lower level than now?”

        Upgradable or not?

        Microsoft has revealed its biggest weapon in its crusade to consign the console cycle to oblivion. Project Scorpio, due at the end of 2017, will include some form of upgradability. Which, bearing in mind how little we know about the console at this juncture, may be required in order for Project Scorpio to run games in full native 4K, or could perhaps pave the way for it to run HD or 4K VR games in future. 

        It would be easy for Sony to take such a route with the PS5, since it will share PC architecture with Microsoft’s consoles. But even for Microsoft, with its PC legacy, an upgradable console is quite a punt: the components which would be the most likely candidates for upgrades, the CPU and GPU, would themselves come in at roughly the cost of an entire new console, and telling gamers that can only run certain games in all their finery if they upgrade their consoles is a very alienating ploy. 

        Sony is much more comfortable with the concept of console cycles, which means it is less likely to add upgradability to the list of the PS5’s attributes. But, that said, it will closely watch what Microsoft does with Project Scorpio.

        So when can we expect the PS5?

        Given that the PlayStation 4 was launched in 2013 and Sony’s previous consoles arrived in six-year intervals, it would be easy to project that it will launch the PlayStation 5 in 2019. The sort of technology available then should easily allow full native 4K games without saddling the PS5 with a massive price-tag and, by 2019, 4K TVs will be the norm, rather than the exception, in the average household.

        2020 might be the year in which Sony unleashes the PS5 on the world, as the first native 4K console with wireless VR ... as long as Microsoft doesn’t get there first

         So it would be a surprise if Sony doesn’t want to capitalise on that at the earliest possible juncture. However, Kingsley points at the PS4 Pro, and reckons that could have an effect on the length of the current console cycle: “It’s a difficult one to judge, but overall I think it’s fair to say that the overall cycle will lengthen slightly.” 

        Especially if the PS4 Pro wildly outsells the base PS4, which admittedly isn’t something we anticipate happening once it has reached a critical mass of households with 4K TVs. 

        So perhaps 2020 might be the year in which Sony unleashes the PS5 on the world, as the first native 4K console with wireless VR ... as long as Microsoft doesn’t get there first.


        Thursday, December 07, 2017

      • Foxtel Now gets Apple TV support via AirPlay and a HD update on iOS devices
      • It's a good day for owners of the Apple TV, with the news that Amazon Prime Video has finally landed on the Cupertino company's media player being followed by another equally tantalising announcement: it's now possible to stream Foxtel Now to the Apple TV via AirPlay. 

        Though tvOS does not yet offer a native Foxtel app, subscribers can now AirPlay the service directly to their Apple TV boxes from the Foxtel Now iOS app – a pretty good alternative, if you ask us.

         

        On top of this, Foxtel has also announced that the iPhone and iPad versions of its streaming app have now received an HD update, allowing users to stream their favourite Foxtel live and On Demand content at resolutions of up to 1080p.

        If you're still waiting for the Foxtel Now app to arrive on PS3 and Xbox One, don't worry – Foxtel insists that additional devices will be supported in the near future, though you'll have to stick with Foxtel Play in SD for the time being.

        Alternatively, you could pick up the affordable Foxtel Now Box, which we described in our in depth review as being "a terrific streaming product" that "doesn't sacrifice on quality."


        Wednesday, December 06, 2017

      • The best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players you can buy right now
      • Best 4K Blu-ray Player Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Players you can buy in 2017.

        The fact that you're here, looking for the best 4K Blu-ray player right now says something about you: you're ahead of the curve. You like owning the latest and greatest technology or, if not owning, at least knowing about the best-of-the-best upcoming tech. 

        And why shouldn't you? A day will come soon when everyone will want to watch their favorite TV shows and movies in an ultra crisp 3840 × 2160 resolution.

        While looking at 4K Blu-ray players this early in the game makes you an early adopter, manufacturers don't have the same sort of passionate drive to have the latest and greatest that you do.

        While most manufacturers have one or two models on the market at the moment, the list of available Ultra-HD Blu-ray players is still a fairly short list.

        The good news is that while there aren't many 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players at the moment, content for these players is growing at an exponential rate.

        Netflix has started to film many of its shows in 4K high dynamic range, and Amazon and Google Play TV & Movies have recently followed suit. Ultra HD films have started to make their way to store shelves, too, in greater number and include huge hits like The Martian, Wonder Woman and The Revenant. 

        But these are just the tip of the very high-resolution iceberg. Expect to see  dozens more of these high-capacity discs make their way to an electronics retailer near you in the coming weeks and months.

        What else do I need to watch a UHD Blu-ray?

        In order to get a true 4K experience, remember that you'll need a 4K Blu-ray player, a 4K Blu-ray disc and, of course, a 4K TV in order to watch it. Don't have that last one? Check out our guide to the best 4K TV.

        If you don't have a 4K TV, your 4K Blu-ray player will still work, but it will only display images in 1080p. Buy a regular Blu-ray instead of a 4K version and it will still play in 3840 × 2160 resolution, but it won't be a native 4K image and will be noticeably different than had you used an Ultra HD Blu-ray.

        Enough with the caveats. Here are the the best 4K Blu-ray players in the world:

        1. Panasonic DMP-UB700 
        2. Oppo UDP-203 
        3. Sony UBP-X800
        4. Panasonic DMP-UB900 
        5. Samsung UBD-M9500 
        6. Panasonic DMP-UB300 
        7. Xbox One X
        8. Xbox One S 
        9. Samsung UBD-K8500

        When it comes to 4K UHD image quality, the DMP-UB700 effectively sets a new benchmark for price and performance. 

        Streaming service support, with HDR-enabled 4K Netflix, is well worth trumpeting and the player does a swell job with 24-bit audio, be it with FLAC or DSD files. 

        If you're prepared to spend slightly more then you'll be rewarded with support for Dolby Vision and more universal disc support, but as it stands the UB700 offers the most balanced mix of price, audio visual performance, and features. 

        Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB700

        The Oppo UDP-203 is the most expensive Blu-ray player on this list, but depending on your needs it might just be exactly what you're looking for. 

        The player supports a full suite of both video and audio formats, including the niche SACD, and features a total of three HDMI ports (one for video and audio, one for audio, and another to act as an HDMI passthrough).

        It even supports the premium Dolby Vision HDR standard, which is still a rarity in players.

        Unfortunately the Oppo doesn't include support for streaming services such as Netflix, but if you want a premium disc player (at a premium price), this is the one for you. 

        Read the full review: Oppo UDP-203

        Sony might have been a little late to the Ultra HD Blu-ray party, but its first player is a great machine. It's solidly made, and its overall image quality is superb. 

        As an added bonus, the player also supports a wide range of audio formats, can play SACDs, and even DVD-As. 

        So why does the player sit the number three slot in our list? Well, unfortunately it lacks support for Dolby Vision, the high-end HDR format that discs are increasingly offering support for, and which the Oppo UDP-203 does now support thanks to a firmware update. Its also more expensive than our top pick, the Panasonic DMP-UB700. 

        If you want a UHD player that also doubles as a very capable music player, then the Sony UBP-X800 is a great choice, but if you're after something focussed solely on playing movies, then there are better or cheaper options out there. 

        Read the full review: Sony UBP-X800

        Best 4K Blu-ray player

        The DMP-UB900 will restore you faith in physical media. In full 4K HDR guise it offers a level of performance that will have new 4K TV owners gasping. Ultra-HD Blu-ray brings the experience of 4K digital cinema to the home, and rewards with brilliant colour fidelity, deep contrast and almost three-dimensional clarity.

        Factor in solid file playback support, plus 4K iterations of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and you have a machine that'll make your new 4K HDR TV look sensational.

        Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB900

        Looking back at it now, Samsung’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the Samsung UBD-K8500 (found further down the list) seems like a bit of a trial run.

        Its build quality was rudimental as Samsung tried to undercut rival debut units on price. It didn’t carry any sort of built-in display. Its picture quality was OK as a starting point for a new format, but was soon overwhelmed by more heavy duty rivals. And while the deck did what it needed to, its feature count was soon exposed as pretty limited. 

        The new $399 (£450, about AU$500) UBD-M9500 feels like such a specific response to its predecessor’s limitations that you can almost imagine Samsung sitting down and ticking the old problems off one by one. 

        The result is a far more accomplished player that deserves a seat at the serious mid-range 4K Blu-ray player table - even though a couple of deliberate omissions might frustrate some quarters of the AV enthusiast market.

        Read the full review: Samsung UBD-M9500

        You'll make a couple of compromises if you want to take advantage of the DMP UB300's budget price-tag – there's no built-in Wi-Fi for example, and rear ports are incredibly limited – but thankfully the machine doesn't scrimp where it matters. 

        Picture quality is excellent, it supports a wide range of audio codecs and formats, and there's also streaming services built in if you're willing to go down the wired ethernet route. 

        Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB300

        The Xbox One X is a beast of a gaming console. It offers 6 teraflops of performance, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and an eight-core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz. By far and away, it's the most powerful device listed on this page. But despite all that power under the hood, it's not the best 4K Blu-ray player. Sure, it can play 4K UHD discs - and it even supports Dolby Atmos audio - but the images that it produces aren't likely to blow you away. That's probably because the Xbox One X doesn't have the same level of picture-upscaling that some of the other dedicated media players on this list have. While the Xbox One X might not be as good of a 4K Blu-ray player as the Oppo or the Sony, we'd like to see either one of those players handle an Xbox One X game.

        Read the full review: Xbox One X

        Not holding the title of a "proper Blu-ray player" doesn't stop the Xbox One S from being a great, cheap way to play 4K Blu-ray discs. 

        Sporting a Blu-ray disc drive and the capacity to run Netflix in 4K Ultra-HD, Microsoft's latest iteration of the Xbox is a great 'jack-of-all-trades' machine that's capable of satisfying your UHD disc needs as well as playing the latest console game released for the system. 

        The downside of it being able to do everything is that you'll be working with an interface designed primarily for gaming. The controller that comes with the console isn't the most efficient way to control movie playback, and the machine lacks support for Dolby Vision. 

        Regardless, if you want a machine that can handle both your gaming and your home cinema needs, the Xbox One S is the console for the job. 

        Read the full review: Xbox One S

        Best 4K Blu-ray player

        The K8500 is currently the cheapest route into 4K Blu-ray. It's also a useful hub for 4K OTT services from Netflix and Amazon, and while the design is a bit Marmite, you'll be consistently impressed by its loading speed and colourful UI.

        You can get better image quality, support for more formats and better build quality by spending more money, but if you want a cheap machine that covers the basics, then the Samsung UBD-K8500 is yet to be beaten on price. 

        Read the full review: Samsung UBD-K8500


        Wednesday, December 06, 2017

      • Your next Netflix obsession, Altered Carbon, gets its first teaser trailer
      • Based on the beloved science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon tells of a future where human consciousness can be transferred between bodies, effectively rendering death obsolete. 

        The Netflix series, from writer/producer Laeta Kalogridis (Terminator Genisys, Shutter Island) and director Miguel Sapochnik (best known for directing the 'Battle of the Bastards' episode of Game of Thrones) stars Joel Kinnaman (Netflix's own House of Cards, The Killing). 

        He plays Takeshi Kovacs, the last remaining member of an elite squad of soldiers who is killed only to wake up centuries later in the body of a disgraced cop. Now, he must find out who did this to him and why. 

        One look at the trailer below and it's clear that Altered Carbon is an expensive undertaking for Netflix. With its Blade Runner-esque visuals and immense scope, we can't wait to binge the entire series when it arrives on the service on February 2, 2018. 


        Tuesday, December 05, 2017

      • The best Apple TV deals in December 2017
      • The Apple TV is a neat device that turns any TV into a Smart TV and you've come to the right place if you're looking for Apple TV deals, including all the latest information on how to buy the new Apple TV 4K.

        You'll be able to stream online content from major apps like Netflix and iPlayer, and there's a huge wealth of App store and iTunes content to enjoy on the big screen too. For the older Apple TV units, there is no native app for Amazon Instant Video though. Thankfully, Apple and Amazon have called a truce for the upcoming Apple TV 4K, which will finally see the Netflix rival join Apple TV.

        The new Apple TV 4K is available now from $179/£179. The fourth generation Apple TV (aka the 2015 model) usually costs around $149/£139 for the 32GB version, so you shouldn't pay any more. We'll run through the best deals for the 3rd and 4th generation models too. The outdated older-gen models have been discontinued, so we haven't included them in the roundup. 

        Apple is remarkably slow to the 4K streaming race and hasn't done itself any favours by coming in with the most expensive price compared to the Amazon Fire TV, or the best Roku deals and Chromecast Ultra deals.

        Apple TV 4K deals

        Talk about being late to the party! Fans of all things Apple have been waiting for a Ultra HD Apple TV 4K for a few years now while the likes of Amazon, Roku and Google have all beaten the Cupertino firm to the punch. Apple TV 4K is finally available to buy though.

        The Apple TV 4K has some catching up to do, but will come with 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range) support. The inclusion of Amazon Instant Video support means this could become your new all-in-one device if you're already settled into the Apple ecosystem. It can go one better than the competition too thanks to Dolby Vision support, not that there's a huge amount of DV content yet. Apple TV 4K prices start at $179, £179, AU$249 for the 32GB version, then $199, £199, AU$279 for the 64GB  model.

        Cheap Apple TV deals

        Apple TV 4th gen (2015) deals

        The 2015 version of Apple TV is on sale now and was seen as the best yet in the series before the Apple TV 4K came along. An updated remote control with a touchpad and a Siri-friendly microphone will make iPhone users feel right at home. There are 32GB and 64GB models available. The 32GB Apple TV should be enough for most users, especially if you're mainly going to stream media.

        Cheap Apple TV deals

        Apple TV 3rd gen deals

        You can save a lot of money if you're willing to opt for the older third generation Apple TV. This was the first Apple TV to feature 1080p, so you're still set for full HD loveliness. The remote control is a bit dated compared to the new Siri-friendly one on the 4th gen machine, but you still have the option of using the AirPlay app on an iPad/iPhone instead. There's no on-board storage, so this model is strictly for streaming only. This version has an optional optical out audio connection - a feature cut from the 2015 model for some reason.

        • Check out the popular Roku deals for even more streaming boxes.

        Thursday, November 30, 2017

      • The best Roku deals in December 2017
      • In a video streaming world dominated by Netflix, Amazon, Google and Apple among others, Roku is the plucky underdog that continues to hold its own. Now is a great time to get a discounted Roku deal too.

        The Roku is a media streaming box that plus into your TV via an HDMI port. It turns any old TV into a super smart one, adding Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Now TV streaming, screen mirroring, game playing and on the latest versions, 4K and HDR playback.

        The Roku family is your one-stop shop for all your streaming needs without tying you in to any particular service or app store.

        The Roku Premiere+ and Roku Express in particular are two of our absolute favourite living room devices. If you're thinking of picking one of these up, we couldn't recommend them more highly. By comparison, you could check out our Chromecast deals  or Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV stick prices.

        Here are the best Roku deals currently available...

        Roku Streaming Stick Plus deals

        A tiny yet superb 4K streaming device

        Roku continues to give rival streaming devices something to worry about as the new Roku Streaming Stick Plus is super modern, super small and, most importantly, super cheap. Not to mention, unlike many of the older models on this page it's been released in the UK too. Now Brits can finally join the 4K Roku party like the US has been enjoying for years! You're even getting HDR content from supported apps too.

        Roku Premiere+ deals

        The best value 4K HDR streaming device

        The Roku Premiere+ is the best intersection of value and performance for a 4K streaming player available right now. It's a capable piece of hardware and the Plus version includes HDR (High Dynamic Range) playback over the older Premiere model. An optional ethernet connection enables smooth 4K HDR streaming if your Wi-Fi isn't quite up to the task. We're loving the option for private listening via the headphones plugged into the remote too. Note: This Roku was not released in the UK. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.

        Roku Premiere deals

        An excellent 4K streaming device

        This standard Roku Premiere lacks a few key features compared to the Roku Premiere+ above. Say goodbye to HDR and ports for an ethernet connection and MicroSD card. You can't plug headphones into the remote either. As a 4K streamer, this is a bargain, but we'd advise opting for the Plus model as the aforementioned features are a steal for a few dollars more. You might find 4K streaming a smoother experience when cabled in instead of Wi-Fi too. This Roku was not released in the UK either. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below. 

        Roku Ultra deals

        The one with all the features

        The Roku Ultra is the most feature-packed of all the Roku media streamers. It has all the quality 4K and HDR streaming and ports of the Roku Premiere+. So what do you get for the extra cash? The remote control gets the most attention on the Ultra as it can be used for voice search, it has extra buttons to make it a handy game controller and there's even a little speaker to help you find it via a button on the console. There's also a USB storage slot and an optical out audio port. So, handy extras, but the Premiere+ is arguably better value for money. This Roku was not released in the UK either. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.

        roku 4 deals

        Roku 4 deals

        Once the Roku champion, now usurped by the Roku Ultra

        The 4K-capable Roku 4 is slowly being phased out by the newer Roku Ultra. The two streaming devices are largely similar in terms of features, but the Roku Ultra is arguably the one to go for as it features enhanced sound and allows for HDR (High Dynamic Range) streaming too. With the Ultra generally costing the same, or maybe $15 more at most, we'd go for that one first for a bit of future-proofing. Note: This Roku was not released in the UK. So don't expect many (if any) UK prices below.

        roku 3 deals

        Roku 3 deals

        The Roku 3 is the best Roku model available in the UK

        Where the Roku 3 really scores is in its wonderful usability, be it the blazing processor speed or the improved functionality the hardware tweaks have bestowed upon it. It's responsive, simple and not beholden to a proprietary content library. Whether you're looking for a streaming box to help you cut the cord, or augment your cable subscription, the Roku 3 has the features, build quality and simplicity you're looking for. US buyers may want to pay a little bit more for the Roku Premiere instead and get 4K streaming.

        Roku Express deals

        The best entry-level streamer

        For US buyers, this is the cheapest Roku family member. The Roku Express is newer and cheaper than the Roku Streaming Stick and does all the same jobs. If you want tot turn any HDMI TV into a Smart TV for as little as possible - this is for you. Although, the Quad-Core enabled Roku Streaming Stick does fun a bit faster. It's not for you if you live in the UK though, but you can still buy the similar Roku Streaming Stick below.

        Roku streaming stick deals

        Roku Streaming Stick deals

        It's a Roku streamer in HDMI-stick form like a Chromecast

        It's not quite as affordable as the Chromecast, but it has more of the apps that people want right now, including Amazon Instant Video. That's significant because Amazon often has cheaper HD movie rentals than other services. There are a number of new streaming devices out right now, but the the Roku Streaming Stick stands as the most efficient way to make a normal HDTV into a smart TV without springing for a pricier set-top box. Newer models have surpassed this one though and it's increasingly hard to get hold of in the UK. In all honesty, we'd opt for the Roku Streaming Stick Plus (near the top of this list) as it's not that much more expensive at all and can show 4K HDR content.


        Thursday, November 30, 2017


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