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Blip-blipping across the news section of the magazine this month like a big piece of ticker tape comes a first look at Roland Emmerich’s long-planned Independence Day sequel. Yes, those nasty aliens are back, they’ve upgraded their anti-virus software and they mean us a whole lot of harm. Judging by our exclusive concept art, you’d need to be in a Tube station to avoid the carnage Emmerich has in store, although there you’d only run into Gerard Butler’s secret service man and the terrorists of London Has Fallen. We’ve got a debut still from that actioner, as well as a Pint Of Milk with David Morrissey and a chat with Scott ’son of Clint’ Eastwood. Look out too for an early Oscar tip in Todd Haynes’ Carol.

Forget the Demon Barber Of Fleet Street because the Murderous Hairdresser Of Glasgow is in town. Robert Carlyle, nice man that he is, invited Empire onto the set of his feature debut, The Legend Of Barney Thomson, where we were given the run of his black comedy. “It’s a stupid thing to attempt,” he tells us with a laugh. In Other Stupid Things To Attempt this month, a legend of nasties unleash themselves upon one V. Diesel esq. in The Last Witch Hunter, a misjudgment witnessed at first hand by our man on the supernatural action film’s Pittsburgh set. Yes, we’re Diesel-powered this month.

Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage’s superhero-flick-that-wasn’t remains more than just a movie curio. Seventeen years after it went the way of General Zod, Superman Lives still captivates as a story of what might have been. It’s the subject of a new crowd-funded documentary, The Death Of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?, charting its birth, life and death in a pre-production that yielded more lore than many entire movie shoots. We asked its makers to take us through the story.

Featuring not one but FOUR five-star gems, this month’s reviews section is a treasure trove of cinematic joy. One of the first names in the cinematic joy business, Pixar, get us underway with their latest. Inside Out is one of the most dazzling, original movies you’ll see this or any other year. Find out why right here, before flicking the page to Empire’s verdict on Jake Gyllenhaal’s boxing flick Southpaw, Amy Winehouse doc Amy, house music odyssey Eden, Gaelic animation Song Of The Sea and apocalyptic Arnie drama Maggie. Outside of Kim Newman’s house party, this is the only place you’ll find zombies, selkies, boxers and clubbers sharing space.

He’s Donnie Darko, Louis Bloom and, for Gyllen-completists, Prince Of Persia’s roystering scamp Dastan. Possessed of an acute eye for interesting material, Jake Gyllenhaal is leaving a legacy of unforgettable characters (okay, and Dastan) in his wake. Next up is the bulked-up slugfest that is Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw. The film features a souped-up Gyllenhaal but when Empire sat down with him, the actor was in typically thoughtful form. On the agenda was the art of taking punches, working with David Fincher on Zodiac, Prince Of Persia (“it’s not my film”) and his big-screen future.

Two little cherished movies have left Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Johnny and Sue Storm as among the most uncherished members of Hollywood’s superhero family. That may be set to change with Josh ‘Chronicle’ Trank’s dark-edged take on Fantastic Four, a movie that’s shaping up to fill in the gaps in their arcs and add a patina of grime and realism to the previously cartoony interpretations. But then, word from the set – rumoured to be an angst-ridden and divided camp – told a slightly different tale. Empire digs further to get to the bottom of a summer tentpole that’s already a big story.

Jar Jar Binks, Howard the Duck, Mickey Rooney in Breakfast In Tiffany’s… just three of the characters not appearing anywhere near our countdown of the finest and most legendary characters in celluloid’s recent history. This is because you, the Empire reader, voted for it, and you know know what’s what. Instead Han Solo, Sarah Connor, George Bailey, Rocky, Indy, Ron Burgundy, Walter Sobchak, Ferris Bueller and James Bond duke it out for your affections. But who comes out on top? Find out here.

With cameos in Fast 7, Poltergeist, Good Kill and Tomorrowland, you can’t move for drones on the big screen at the moment. These small, whirring contraptions have hit big in Hollywood – on both sides of the camera. Forget IMAX, digital versus film and CG versus in-camera effects, the real evolution in filmmaking is happening in the air above film shoots. Empire’s hastily-appointed Head of Drones tracked down to find the key players and find out what’s afoot. Okay, asky.

This month Empire reaches into the bumper bag of at-home based delights and pulls out the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending, the Rogue Cut of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, the already-cult horror It Follows, the still-lunatic SpongeBob sequel and TV sci-fi humans. JFK is our Masterpiece and Simon Crook again ventures to the darker recesses of the streaming sites so you don’t have to. Unless you want to, of course. We can’t guarantee you’ll make it back.

She may love Zoolander and have a prodigiously successful catwalk career, but the idea of a real-life model-turned-actress Slashies is not something Cara Delevingne is likely to embrace. She’s model, sure, but as she tells Empire, acting is her first love and she’s consummating it with an eye-grabbing turn in John ’The Fault In Their Stars’ Green adaptation Paper Towns. Next up, she’s Enchantress in Suicide Squad. This woman in going places. Empire hitched a ride.

He’s clung to the side of a mountain and scaled the Burj Khalifa using only Benji Dunn’s half-adhesive oven gloves. For his next impossible trick, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt will be clinging to the side of a large transport plane, hoping desperately a pigeon hasn’t picked that day for a quick flap over the runway. Empire was there to watch the craziness come together on the set of Christopher McQuarrie’s aviation-fuelled Rogue Nation. Look out for Mission: Impossible 6 in which Cruise clings to a space shuttle wearing only his pants.

Imagine a world without Industrial Light And Magic. Star Wars’ opening shot would just be the blank expanse of space, the T-1000 would still be stuck in that lift, Roger Rabbit would remain framed and Jurassic Park would have just been a rubbish park with a shortage of benches. In a celebration of the California-based effects house’s pioneering work, Empire asked its multi-Oscar winning legend Dennis Muren to talk through some of those great leaps forward in visual effects.


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