I’ve not had the chance to watch Battle: Los Angeles yet, but if you were hoping for a well-written science fiction masterpiece, it appears you may be out of luck. A series of early reviews of the film have been resoundingly bad, making it sound almost as unwatchable as last year’s Skyline (although I can’t imagine it could actually reach that level).
 
Who would have thought that a movie like Dungeons & Dragons (2000) could still hold a surprise after all this time? As a former player of D&D, I handed over my gold pieces to see the movie back in the day and was, well, overwhelmingly underwhelmed. That would have been the first and last time I watched the movie if not for the review copy of the  Blu-ray double feature of Dungeons & Dragons and its sequel (oh yes, it had a sequel) Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) which crossed my desk recently. And I’m glad it did, because I learned something surprising about the movie: the name of the studio behind its production.
 
The iconic science fiction film Blade Runner, based on a book by Philip K. Dick and directed by Ridley Scott, will be followed up with sequels and prequels soon. Variety reports that Alcon Entertainment is in final discussions to secure film, TV and franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels based on Scott's 1982 science fiction masterpiece. Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, the film producers from Alcon negotiating for the rights, told Variety they're in the early stages of sorting out how to proceed and were not sure if Ridley Scott would be involved.
 
My enthusiasm for Marvel’s Thor took a bit of a battering after the first full length trailer was leaked online (following its premiere at Comic-Con) back in August last year. Like most, I was surprised by the choice of noted Shakespearean actor and director Kenneth Branagh to helm this project, but I’ve always believed that he has what it takes to bring this epic tale of gods and men and ancient conflicts to the big screen. My only concern was that Branagh might be tempted to camp it up a bit too much (given the comic book approach to the material, some degree of camp is probably unavoidable). The first trailer with its glitzy vision of Asgard, city of the gods, did nothing to diminish that concern, but I’m pleased to say that this second trailer has gone a long way to restoring my faith in Branagh as the ideal (if controversial) choice to helm this project.
 
Pittacus Lore’s novel I Am Number Four was published in 2010, the first in a planned series of six books that will chronicle the adventures of an extraordinary young man with the very ordinary  name of John Smith. Even before the ink had a chance to dry, the novel was snapped up by a film industry eager to find the next big franchise now that the Harry Potter saga is drawing to a close. With only one of the six novels published and that one yet to make a significant impression on the reading public, DreamWorks Pictures might seem to be taking a risk with this property, but the studio clearly believes the series ticks all the boxes on the checklist of Next Big Movie Franchise.
 
Things are not looking good for the two Independence Day sequels we reported on in March last year. At the same time that director Roland Emmerich gave Empire Magazine more positive news about the upcoming Isaac Asimov Foundation films, he revealed that "Independence Day 2 is nowhere".
 
Sucker Punch is a new fantasy action movie from director Zack Snyder, who made a considerable splash with the special effects driven film 300 and the classic comic book fantasy Watchmen not so long ago. Featuring a glamorous all star female cast, the movie is set in the 1950s. Baby Doll (played by Emily Browning) has been committed to a mental institution by her evil stepfather and is scheduled to be lobotomised in five days. While in the institution, she mentally escapes into an alternative reality to hide from the pain. In this alternate reality she begins to hatch a plan to escape.
 
You may not have heard that a new Spider-Man film is heading our way (relaunched, revamped, regenerated, resurrected and regurgitated). Prepare to be amazed! Columbia Pictures has announced that the title of the new film will be The Amazing Spider-Man. Rather than continuing with director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, Marc Webb directs with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as the female lead Gwen Stacy.
 
Director Roland Emmerich recently discussed the Foundation film project with Empire Magazine, his epic adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series that was announced so long ago that I can't even remember the year.
 
20th Century Fox's relaunch of the X-Men franchise with X-Men: First Class sounded a bit dubious to me when I first heard about it, but the first trailer puts any doubts I had to rest. The trailer looks extremely well produced, with a style and gravity missing from the last pure X-Men film, X-Men: The Last Stand (not that you should judge a film by its special effects, but there are some great effects in the trailer too!).