Will Preston

First Look

Gotham: will the TV show live up to the Batman legacy?

by on Jun.14, 2014, under First Look, Movie Pilot

Gotham

If there’s one comic book universe that has been picked apart, scraped, explored, not to mention crossed-over, it’s Batman’s.

More than just a base film and television fodder, the Dark Knight’s home city of Gotham has provided DC fans with more side-stories, team ups, and case files than Stan Lee could ever Marvel up. And no need for alternate dimensions, either. As was proven with Christopher Nolan’s spectacular The Dark Knight Rises Trilogy, you can take the character and his universe and twist it into something new. But just how far can you twist the legend until you’re not even focusing on the hero himself?

(Continued on MoviePilot.com)

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The last bastion of true stealth? – A First Look at Hitman Absolution

by on May.27, 2012, under First Look

Probably something I shouldn’t admit, but I love sneaking up on people. No, wait, come back. It’s not in that way, I just adore the intense concentration required to move up to someone without them noticing. I’ve managed to perfect this dodgy talent to such an extent that, whilst bored at a previous job, I tailed a colleague from one end of a quiet office to the manger’s office without them knowing. I’d like to add that I did this whilst wearing a pair of Cuban heels. Not that I’m trying to impress you…or make you feel uncomfortable.

Let's hope that's the only thing being injected...

Either way, I’m blaming stealth videogames for my behaviour. This genre has produced such subtle sneaking sagas like Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell and, of course, Hitman. I almost included Assassin’s Creed on the list, but running around rooftops in broad daylight whilst wearing a circumcised Ku Klux Klan outfit is almost the opposite of keeping a low key profile. But because of Creeds immense popularity amongst impatient gamers, it looks like stealth games today are less about tactics, strategy and patience, and more about running in, raising a ruckus and bogging off. Sam Fisher already started down the gung-ho garden path, and now Mr 47 is sneaking shortly behind.

After more than half a decade of absence, the next Hitman game is emerging from the shadows with a more mainstream approach. The last title in the series – Blood Money – saw Mr 47 assassinate the corrupt Vice President of the United States before faking his own death and going off the radar. Now the bald anti-hero returns, as he is hunted across the US by the police. Plot details were revealed earlier this year by Hakan Abrak, the games lead producer.

The setting is a bit different and we’re taking the story somewhere else — you start the game by killing Diana, the only truly human connection Agent 47 has ever had. And that changes the stakes immensely. In earlier games, Diana’s contracts set the tone and direction of the story. This time, Agent 47 is on his own. He must choose his next steps on his own.

This isn’t the only shocking change. David Bateson, the voice of Mr 47, has been unofficially dumped by IO Interactive with a new voice yet to be announced. Bateson spoke to Hitmanforum, a fan site for the game, in June last year to reveal the bad news.

The absolute truth is: no one from IO Interactive is answering my calls, e-mails or sms. Feeling very let down at the moment but I haven’t heard personally.

Not only this, but veteran videogame composer, Jesper Kyd, won’t be providing the soundtrack this time round. Instead, music will be provided by Peter Kyed and Peter Peter, whose back catalogue includes both Kane & Lynch games…and not much else. Probably best if they didn’t admit to being involved with that redundant timewaster. Even Vivienne McKee, voice of Diana (47’s boss), has been replaced by Naomi from Lost. They’ll probably give the bald chap himself some hair next.

I recognise Square Enix's lens glare from anywhere

But sacrilegious changes aside, the game is not looking bad at all and a sense of liquidity has been injected into the gameplay. A few gameplay mechanics have been pick pocketed from Splinter Cell Conviction, including the transparent bubble statue of yourself that pops up showing where everyone thinks you are. There also looks to be a lot more focus on using objects in your environment, instead of creeping up behind people with a cord of strangulation wire 50 times in a row. The gore seems to have been increased to a level comparable to Manhunt, but I doubt we’ll see the same censorship backlashthat saw Dixons refusing the stock the title. But then again, when’s the last time anyone shopped at Dixons?

Tickling...?

Nothing much has been revealed about the locations in the game apart from several rainy scenes in Chicago. So far, it looks like Mr 47 will be restricted to the US – just like in the last game – which is a shame. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there will be a linear feel to the variation of environments, but there’s not enough globetrotting in games today. Will we see sprawling city after sprawling city, or will a few mansions and military bases get tossed into the mix? As long as we don’t have to make another unscheduled stop in a South American jungle again, we’ll be fine.

Seeing Square Enix’s looming logo on the games promotional art does make things unclear as to whether the Hitman games will start pandering towards the more mainstream crowd of gamers, whose sense of patience has been whittled down after masturbating through years of unchallenging affairs. Still, it’s a hard formula to ruin. Will everyone’s favourite bald, emotionally redundant killer upgrade to running around with grenade launcher, or will the shadows remain his best friend?

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Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Sequel! – A First Look at The Dark Knight Rises

by on Aug.06, 2011, under First Look

Now we all know the big list of sequels that outdid the original film. Terminator 2. Aliens. You know the rest. It’s a hard thing to do, and when it happens, said film is given the accolade of superior sequel. Obviously. But who has ever heard of the next step happening? I’m talking about the superior second sequel; the third step in a trilogy that outdoes the other films. The only time we think about the third part of a film trilogy is when we’re giving an example of a shambling wreck that shat all over the image of the previous two films. Godfather Part III seems to be everyone’s favourite trilogy punching bag (in my opinion, it’s a good film in its own right, but that’s just me!).

Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction?

Christopher Nolan already proved in 2008 that a comic book movie can be an academy award winning epic. He could have also proved that a comic book movie sequel can outdo its former, but that was already proven by Bryan Singer with X-Men 2. Now he looks to take the caped crusader into flight a third, and possibly final, time with The Dark knight Rises. When I first heard about the announcement of the film, my first thought, and no doubt everyone else’s, was which villain would be suited for the gritty and real-ish turn the series had taken. If they got the Penguin, things would descend into camp bird puns. If they got Mr Freeze…well…we’ve already been there. There’s no point in The Riddler as Heath Ledger’s stellar Joker combined the anarchic humour with Edward Nigma’s love for elaborate puzzles o’ death.

So who’s left that could possibly fit into this new venture without camping everything up towards (shudder) Batman and Robin territory? Watch the trailer below and guess the villain.

So it’s Bane! Yes, that’s right: Nolan’s doing a brave move and not only moving the series into a more sci-fi area, but bringing a villain that was already used in Batman and Robin. I must admit, it looks like it could work, but in the early stages of planning this movie, he must have been awash with confused looks. It’s almost as bad as trying to work Robin into the new style of Batman. I never saw the point of Robin in the first place. I’m sorry, I just didn’t. OK?! If the caped crusader fight’s alone and focuses on keeping a secret identity, not only would bringing another person into the inner circle be a risk to his normal life, but he would also have another life at risk should he ever get captured. And Robin always got captured. He was like Princess Peach with a cape.

Of course, you're going to have to imagine the mask at this point...

There has also been confirmation that Catwoman is the other villain. Now this is a sensible choice, it’s just all a question on what they do. Will she be the wealthy animal activist Selina Kyle, or the mild mannered secretary who plunged several stories before being licked back to consciousness by a random swarm of cats? Not that I have any problem with that, I would just prefer the former. Either way, you cannot go wrong with her. She’s essentially batman, but with tits and a whip. She doesn’t have a strict code of conduct that Mr Wayne wears like a medal, which makes her an interesting element to add to complicate the narrative. Will she be a villain, or just a morally ambiguous bit of totty on the side? The Dark Knight Rises is set for release next year. Best of luck, Nolan!

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A game of Good Graphics against a game of Good Christ, what the hell is going on!

by on Jul.22, 2011, under First Look

Another year, another edition of Call of Duty. Another year, another extremely similar looking edition of Call of Duty. But they’ve gotten away with doing the same thing over and over again until just about every single conflict in human history has been covered, from World War Two to that fight me and Barry had outside that pub last new year’s eve. Even then, Barry was played by Gary Oldman and it featured a lot more explosions and bullet-time then I seem to remember that night. Naked fighting aside, Call of Duty is in danger of having its Kevlar coated crown shot off by the skilled marksmen of the upcoming Battlefield game. It’s called Battlefield 3, but a more suitable title would be Battlefield: Better Looking Than Reality. Turbo edition. Which brings us to the real issue of the year: what is going to be the best shooter of 2011?

Well the first guess is usually Call of Duty, so we’ll begin with a look at everyone’s favourite look-down-the-sight-to-win shooter. As you guessed, it doesn’t take place in World War Two again (thank fuck for that). Instead, we continue the campaign of ludicrous display down the Modern Warfare barrel, which has moved from nukes and airport massacre, to just slamming it’s big fist on a table and yelling “It’s going to be World War Three! Deal with it!” Everyone in the meeting was silent after that. So instead of behind the scenes action in Eastern Bloc farm lands and Arab deserts, we’ll be executing combat in some of the biggest cities in the world: Moscow, Berlin, Paris, New York and, of course, foggy London town. It’s all a bit sporadic right now what exactly happens in each city, but the general theme is Russians invade and famous landmarks get exploded at.

Whilst looking completely ridiculous and over the top, I am actually pretty excited about the possibility of war on an urban stage in countries that are otherwise too rich to even think of staging a war on their own turf. Oh, it’s bloody refreshing I tell ya. And there’s also the fact that the story in this canon will continue without being rudely interrupted by a credits screen jumping at the screen like a hungry and particularly needy child. Yet again, I have to wait another two years to find out what the bloody hell is going on. Sigh. But enough about rushed stories, onto multiplayer. Well, to be honest, there isn’t much to say. It will be an improved version, but there’s also the launch of Activision’s new Call of Duty Elite service. This is some new way of getting more money out of…er, I mean providing a…erm…better service to online players. Yup, it’s lost on me, too…

Thank god for Battlefield 3’s superb quota for multiplayer. Whilst the newest edition to the series isn’t really going to give me the biggest single player hard on of all time, I will bet all five of my future wives that it will be the best multiplayer shooter experience to date. This is all judging on how good Bad Company 2 was for online gun wanking, and I can’t really see the new one screwing up the most perfect formula of murdering someone online. Apparently, there have been slight streamlined adjustments to the class layouts, but nothing major. In essence, the game is set to be the direct sequel to the Battlefield 2 edition, rather than the Bad Company series. But Bad Company 2 has been nice enough to leave Battlefield 3 the keys to its ever so delightful destruction physics. Oh, and before you ask; yes, they do look amazing in his new title.

One of the biggest head turners about this new edition is the vastly improved visuals. I say vastly improve, I mean to say monumentally improved. Without a doubt, it is the closest experience to reality gamers will ever have, apart to leaving the room to forage for more snacks and to take a shit. The frame rate is smoother than Justin Beiber’s bottom and the world around you just looks so real, you almost reach out to touch things. Without the aid of 3D glasses. Every other aspect about it looks top notch, but the graphics and multiplayer have pretty much sold it. Oh, and you can fly fighter jets. It’s almost embarrassing that I forgot that one, but that’s clearly a sign of how girlishly excited I am about the whole thing.

My recommendation, you ask? Well. If you’re rich like me, and you can spare a few kilo’s of Charlie for this week’s binge, buy both. If you’re stuck between the two, I’d go out on limb (my foot, in this case) and say buy Battlefield 3, but rent Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. Any other shooters want to step forward? I thought not…

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Another Rockstar game with great hats

by on Apr.13, 2011, under First Look

This year, I only just managed to catch that brilliant film that is L.A. Confidential. Watching films about morally ambiguous cops wearing hats and suspenders kinda makes you wish you could get away with wearing such a style down to the local Co Op and back. Thankfully, I can just resort to pretending to do that behind the safety of my Xbox pad, as Rockstar Games once again avoid releasing another Grand Theft Auto.

Originally announced for the Playstation 3 as an exclusive title (bringing their exclusive title library to almost double figures), L.A. Noire eventually moved over to the cross platform side of the party (that’s a damn good party to be at). The game takes place in the city of Los Angeles (I’ll pause why you calm down from surprise) at the end of the Forties, where men were men and women were more woman-ish than they are nowadays. Lousy women’s liberation grumble grumble. You’ll be on the side of the law this time as you’ll play a detective caught up in corruption and murder to a pleasant jazz soundtrack that fits in nicely. Nothing says corrupt murder like a trumpet solo.

One of the main features of the game is the new motion scan technology that makes the faces move more face-like. Now for the first time in a videogame, people will actually have more than five expressions. It’s only a matter of time before someone takes that technology and bastardises it into a game where you run around making bizarre faces at people. Mind you, as long as it has a decent multiplayer, I’d still buy it.

The game is set to have the same gameplay layout to Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, but will probably allow you less bazooka rampages than you would get from Niko Bellic. If it’s anything like the first Mafia game, the cars will look nice, but handle like a bath on wheels, whilst the guns will shoot people…providing you aim them correctly. Not much to say on that really, is there. Ok, we’ll probably see a saturation of Tommy guns, leading to gamers everywhere to shout out endless James Cagney lines at an annoying volume.

So far, L.A. Noire is looking to fill that Trilby shaped hole for now that Mafia 2 failed miserably at doing. After taking nearly seven years and around $50 million to make it will be released next month on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

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The Return Of The King, Baby – A First Look at Duke Nukem Forever

by on Jan.26, 2011, under First Look

Look familiar?

Ever get the feeling when something’s too good to be true? The horrible part of this sensation is the paranoid sense that the carpet will be swept up and you’ll fall back into a more boring reality. Even worse than this is bouncing from expecting something you’re willing to pay with your soul and working kidney, to casting it aside as a mere pipe dream. Now imagine this sensation bouncing back and forth for around 12 years. It sounds like a crap marriage doesn’t it? Ok, well not so much a marriage as waiting for the winning lottery numbers to materialise on your ticket. A hopeless wait.

The 1996 PC shooter Duke Nukem 3D is an all time favourite of mine. Not just for the guns and tits, but for the fantastic level design and interactivity. The news of the sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, came soon after. But with that came constant rehashing, rethinking and refusing to give anyone a clear date on when this highly anticipated guns-and-tits-em-up would explode onto the shelves. At one point it seemed to be all over. This was on game series that I couldn’t bear to see go. But in the last few months, news about Duke Nukem Forever has started to increase until just the other day when this trailer was released. I’ll give you a moment so you can watch it.

Well I’m spent! The excitement at seeing the preview shots of the game in production around ten years ago is about the same as the excitement of seeing the official trailer with a release date today. From the trailer, it’s easy to see that the controversial jiggling women and uber-gore won’t be left out. Not only that, but an obligatory vehicle section or two has been screwed on. So far, the graphics look as up to date as they can be, the level design shows promise and Duke is still the same smart mouthed, crew cutted macho shitter who knows no irony or subtlety.

He's all out of gum...

A few of the weapons look to make a welcome return including the shrink gun. Have they ever tried to do the shrink gun in games after Duke? Never mind. It’s ok. There’s a new Duke Nukem game to provide the urge to squish shrunken enemies in glorious high definition graphics. As far as we can see from the trailer, a highly explosive campaign mode will feature, but nothing has been said so far about the multiplayer possibilities. Not that it matters so much at this point. Now that a clear release date has finally been announced, I’m now crossing all appendages for the game to be worth the wait, rather than for the game to just exist. May 8th seems very far away.

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North Korea invades! A First Look at Homefront

by on Nov.30, 2010, under First Look

Just when I doubted that I would ever find another game worth getting excited about in the next six months, I find something that could fill my craving. This could have something to do that this new game has a lot in common with Freedom Fighters, an old favourite of mine. Freedom Fighters takes place in an alternate history where the Soviets won World War Two and slowly gain world domination until one day they invade America and it’s up to you to attach the stars and stripes to the end of your erect penis and fuck the enemies to death with salty patriotism. Somehow, the highly nationalist overtones didn’t get in the way of a great game with great story and setting.

I never really did understand the fourth of July

Which brings me to Homefront, the latest shooter in a long line of shooters that look at Call Of Duty the same way pick pockets look at Fagin. OK, that’s a bit harsh, but with the endless churning of COD clones steaming up my glasses from other games that last more than 4 hours it’s hard not to be an FPS sceptic. But I love FPSs and nothing going to change that. At a glance this looks like an amalgamation of Modern Warfare 2 and any Tom Clancy game concerning itself with North Korea, but the story in the game isn’t actually that bad. The year is 2027. America’s economic crisis puts the nation in a state of emergency resulting in overweight riots and redneck bigotry.

Meanwhile, North Korea has been gaining power (secretly, of course) and one day decides to invade America. So far, it’s pretty close to the Red Dawn territory of combining Hollywood entertainment with overt propaganda. But this time the propaganda-tainment (it’s a mouthful but I’m coining that phrase!) is pretty close to reality. If anything, this game is giving us a massive what-if filled pie with a crust made out of fear. And they’ve gone deep into giving the future an in depth back story too. But I’m not going to simply copy and paste it. You have google in front of you now, yeah?

"Any chance of me sitting on someone's lap?"

Onto the gameplay, or rather, what I can make out of it so far. It’s an FPS. You walk around and fire a gun. The only thing that makes this game stand out would be the setting and the fact that ‘guerilla tactics’ have been mentioned. That would be a nice antidote for the air strike and high-tec kit friendly Modern Warfare series. In terms of visuals so far it doesn’t look bad at all. The environments look detailed in a similar way Fallout 3 kept itself looking interesting and only needs a quick polish to keep itself ahead of COD.

It’s hard to tell whether the game will be worth getting at this stage as the release date is set for March next year and four months is long enough for an upcoming FPS to fall foul of the COD clone claymore mine. Given the game’s setting and the way the world situation with North Korea is going right now, the game will get lots of free publicity, or we’ll be reduced to cinders from the impending nuclear war. In either case, I hope it’s not going to be a COD clone…

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One step closer to Flute Hero. A First Look at Rock Band 3

by on Oct.19, 2010, under First Look

Widescreen TV only!!!

There were two major opinions to the whole Rock Band/Guitar Hero gaming series; The ‘Gamer’ and the ‘Musician’. The ‘Gamer’ plays the plastic guitar, gets into the songs and spends time improving on his five-fret technique. However, the ‘Musician’ plays the plastic guitar, wonders why he is wasting his time on a cheap imitation of the real thing and goes back to learning Freebird in it’s entirety.

There is a middle ground to this, but you really have to question a musician who takes time out to play on a video game version. I’m a rather big fan of plank spanking a five-freter, but at the same time I learn to play the bass guitar. Those aren’t fence marks on my trousers, they’re Levi’s new Ripped Indecisive™ range.

What shocks me about Rock Band 3 isn’t the long release time since the last one, it’s the new guitar featured. Rather than keeping it at just a plastic imitation, the new model features 6 strings and plenty of frets, with the option for the game to teach you to play guitar. For real. What a fantastic idea, if buying a real guitar and learning to play that wasn’t already the logical option. Not only this, but a brand new instrument offers the exact same function.

This is looking to set you back £100

Now you can play keyboard if you fancy some tinkling over some widdling. The new keyboard is completely functional as a MIDI instrument, as well as having the option to play on a stand or strap to yourself as a ‘keytar’. Now you can be Jan Hammer and bash out some eighties ivory madness. So that’s five people playing the game together. Can your room hold that many people? Well we’re not done here yet. The backing vocals from The Beatles Rock Band is being featured as well.

That’s about seven people playing a game on one Xbox. That’s almost enough for a Slipknot tribute act.

So it could be the ultimate party game, or the ultimate waste of time. Already with a good set list and not much change to the game’s core set up, is this more than just an add on pack? I mean, the reason for the long time waiting is there is no real need to update the core game. Rock Band 2 got it perfect. And now they are attaching bells and whistles the size of Humvees at the risk of overloading the formula. Mind you, I had the same reaction when I saw them add a drum kit and microphone to the mix.

It’s out next week and I’m only buying it once I have the room the size of an amphitheatre and I need something to distract me from playing a real instrument.

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Where can I place bets on ‘Best RPG’?

by on Sep.29, 2010, under First Look

'Fallout: New Venis' is possibly in the works...

It’s a franchise that keeps promising the world on a plate but by the time this perfect cuisine reaches the table, we’re forking the life out of it. Bugs here. Glitch here. Empty promises on some aspects. But there’s still a good meal at the table, so there’s no point in noising around. The first Fable felt like a massive upgrade to Zelda. There were the usual Lionhead elements of good and evil choices being made woven into the typical RPG elements.

At first it felt only slightly out of the ordinary for this sort of affair, but it would soon turn out to be the tip of the tortoise head of what is leading to be an amazing concept; Working your way up from the lowest to the highest. From pauper to king. It’s basically what Grand Theft Auto have been replicating over again, but this time, Fable strike the lightening spell just right. I’ve only just completed the second Fable game and there is already mentions of what happens in the next instalment; a bit late for me at this stage as the news is already out. The news is that you can be a king! And not the floating around in the sky pointing at people in a Civilization way. Oh no! We’re on the lines of rolling up your sleeves if need be.

Fable 2 dabbled with this idea with letting you buy and own all the property in certain towns, but it was a hollow idea. I mean, once you’ve bought all the property that’s it. No ceremony. No recognition. Just a lot of income and property. It’s a bit like becoming the manager of a McDonalds store and finding yourself still wearing the crappy cap and serving grease to chavs. However, I imagine Burger King to uphold a respectable and strict hierarchy system. It’s in their name, for beefs sake! But coming back to the King concept, Peter Molyneux has given the good/evil system great potential of how much of a gods chosen monarch or right royal bastard you can be. After all, we’ve had our fair share in real life, eh? A major point of the story has already been revealed with the king feature in the form of another country by the name of Aurora. It would come as no surprise that your home country of Albion will wage a massive war against this country whilst you’re at the throne. It’s an exciting prospect for this series.

The furniture options are improving as well...

thing worth dribbling a bit at is the progression of setting. The first Fable was set in a typical medieval setting, the second based around the late 18th century with highwaymen and flintlocks, and now the third progresses that little bit more to bring us into the steam age. Think about it: Magic, swords and steam powered justice. That fapping noise you’re hearing is the physical delight of a group of steam punk enthusiasts. I don’t blame the fapping; early looks at Bowerstone give it a suitably more industrial feel with massive factories and steamboats. Whilst it’s a bit early to be labelling this as a possible perfect game, it’s sure is heading in the right direction.

We’ll have to wait til next month to see whether it will be crowned greatest RPG ever. With John Cleese and Simon Pegg already confirmed as voice actors, I know who’s side I’m on!

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Can Ferrell brush down Anchorman with some Hot Fuzz? A First Look at The Other Guys.

by on Sep.16, 2010, under First Look

“I'm being physically threatened by an ex fuzz!” - Alan Partridge

Alight, Will Ferrell hasn’t come close to raising the previous bar set by his own Anchorman Accomplishment, but let’s give the man a chance to topple over that towering spire of comic silliness that we all love. After a barrage of slightly funny affairs, I’m a bit reluctant to spend my salt at the cinema. Not even 3D Ferrell could draw me in. For once, I might have to venture out my cave.

The Other Guys  looks like the B-Side to a kick arse single; the A-Side being the Samuel L Jackson/Dwayne Johnson combination. This first duo play the typical Lethal Weapon cop duo; a pair of New York City cops who have as much respect for public property as they do for their modesty. They might as well have 15 inch long hand guns shaped like dongs that shoot man lasers. You get the image, jah? But the film isn’t about them. It’s about the other guys, the ones back at the office who do the paperwork. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are two (wait for it) mismatched detectives who would be more likely to misfile an arrest warrant then beat a confession out of a bastard.

Cue the typical fish out of water comedy. But it does look funny. I laughed more than once during the trailer. That’s a rare thing, keep in mind. Ferrell looks on form, but he’s not usually good playing fairly straight characters. One part of the trailer see’s them shaking up a typically nervous Steve Coogan. When is the Alan Partridge movie coming out? Hopefully this will be the next good Ferrell film and not the US trying to do Hot Fuzz.  It’s out tomorrow, so let me know if I need to lower my anchorman DVD from it’s high pedestal.

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