Archive: 2009

Dec. 31, 2009 | 6:27 p.m.

Patrick Stewart and Peter Jackson, to sirs with love

This engaging story from the AP out of London… There’s an especially starry knight in Britain’s latest round of royal honors. Patrick Stewart — “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Capt. Jean-Luc Picard — becomes Sir Patrick in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year honors list, which also includes a knighthood for theater and film director Nicholas Hytner. “This is an honor that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun,” said 69-year-old Stewart, who recently returned to the British stage following a long career in Hollywood that included playing Professor Charles Xavier in three “X-Men” films. A separate honors list in New Zealand bestowed a knighthood on the king of Middle-earth — “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker Peter Jackson. Jackson, 53, was knighted in New Zealand, […]
Dec. 31, 2009 | 2:44 a.m.

‘District 9′ director Neill Blomkamp says no to Hollywood: ‘I don’t want to do high-budget films’

NEILL BLOMKAMP INTERVIEW: PART 1 The surprise film of 2009 was “District 9,” the $30 million sci-fi tale that was directed by newcomer Neill Blomkamp, the Johannesburg native who celebrated his 30th birthday the month after the movie opened wide. “District 9″  met with strong success both critically and commercially and it’s still being discovered after arriving this month on DVD and Blu-ray. I sat down with Blomkamp at Pete’s Cafe in downtown Los Angeles during the filmmaker’s recent visit to Southern California and we talked about the movie and his surprising plans for the future, which, he says, won’t include any big-budget sci-fi epics. This is Part 1 of the interview: GB: “District 9” arrived at theaters as a rarity among science-fiction and horror films these days for the simple fact that it wasn’t a sequel, a remake of an already-popular film or an […]
Dec. 30, 2009 | 8:56 p.m.

Thinkway chief says John Lasseter is a true toy master [UPDATED]

Dawn C. Chmielewski covers Disney for the Los Angeles Times and she recently wrote about the interesting role Pixar guru John Lasseter plays in the Disney toy line. During the course of her reporting she interviewed  Albert Chan, president and CEO of Thinkway Toys, and since we’re always interested in the toy aisle here at Hero Complex we bring you a Q&A with the toy master whose company was an early part of the Pixar success story.   DC: How did the relationship between Pixar and Thinkway get started? AC: Thinkway and Pixar’s relationship began 15 years ago. When Pixar launched “Toy Story” in 1995 it was the first fully computer-animated movie. As such, it was different than traditional 2-D animation and Disney had difficulty convincing any major toy company to develop toys for the world’s first CGI film. For me, it was no risk […]
Dec. 29, 2009 | 8:31 p.m.

REVIEW: Joe Sacco’s ‘Footnotes in Gaza’: An uneasy balance between history and forgetting

REVIEW Los Angeles Times book editor David L. Ulin has reviewed the new book from Joe Sacco and found that it doesn’t answer the big questions about the Middle East and that may be its biggest strength.   “Footnotes in Gaza” is not a sequel to his 1996 book “Palestine,” although it’s tempting to read it as such. Both are works of comic-book journalism that take place in the occupied territories and offer a ground’s-eye-view of situations that seem too big, too incomprehensible for us to wrap our minds around. But while “Palestine” is a portrait of its moment, an account of Sacco’s visit to the West Bank and Gaza during the early 1990s, “Footnotes in Gaza” is a more expansive effort. Built around two forgotten incidents (the 1956 mass killings of Palestinians in Rafah and Khan Younis), it is […]
Dec. 28, 2009 | 6:35 p.m.

Stunt master Garrett Warren took his lumps on ‘Avatar,’ ‘Iron Man 2′ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Still recovering from “Avatar“? Garrett Warren can relate. The stunt coordinator for the film is now a self-proclaimed expert in the tricky art of banshee riding, and he’s also an in-demand man in Hollywood with credits on some of the biggest upcoming releases, including “Iron Man 2,” “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Our Yvonne Villarreal caught up with the 21st century fall guy to get the lowdown on his rough-and-tumble trade. YV: How did you get involved in “Avatar“? It’s a pretty huge deal, right? GW: You have no idea. Where do I start? I remember I met Jim [Cameron] on “Beowulf” back in 2005, when he was starting this whole idea. After “Beowulf” was finished, I had a chance to pitch some ideas to him. I got a whole bunch of stunt guys together, and I rented a sound […]
Dec. 27, 2009 | 5:24 p.m.

Joe Sacco’s ‘Footnotes in Gaza’ is a bookshelf lightning rod

Marcus Brogdan, in London and writing for the Associated Press, delves into the comics and controversy of the great Joe Sacco, who has a gift for cartooning-as-journalism but a subject matter and subjectivity that add up to a talent for trouble. Sacco’s latest release, “Footnotes in Gaza,” has already become a bookshelf lightning rod.   Fans say graphic novelist Joe Sacco has set new standards for the use of the comic book as a documentary medium. Detractors say his portrayals of the Palestinian conflict are filled with distortion, bias and hyperbole. One thing is certain — the award-winning author of “Palestine” leaves few readers indifferent. Sacco’s work has more in common with gonzo journalism than your Sunday comic strip: He travels to the world’s hot spots, from Iraq to Gaza to Sarajevo, immerses himself in the lives of ordinary people and sets out to depict their harsh […]
Dec. 25, 2009 | 7:53 p.m.

Which ‘Avatar’ to see? A look at IMAX, Dolby 3-D, RealD (and, yeah, boring old 2-D)

Our intrepid correspondent Mark Milian digs into the issue that has lots of moviegoers scratching their heads — with the different format options, which version of “Avatar” should they go see? You might have opened the newspaper to find a two-page spread advertising “Avatar” in its many theater formats and wondered what the heck the difference is. There’s the standard non-3-D version (pass!), RealD, Dolby Digital and IMAX. The final three are the leading competitors in the battle to add depth dimension to movie theater screens. If you’re not lucky enough to live in a major city, like our fair Los Angeles, the (ahem) entertainment capital of the world, you may not have a choice. Some areas are limited to one — if so it will likely be RealD, which some say is a cheaper investment for theater owners, all things […]
Dec. 24, 2009 | 9:37 p.m.

Sherlock Spock? Why, yes. It’s elementary, my dear Vulcan.

Robert Downey Jr.’s new version of the wicked-smart, pipe-smoking sleuth Sherlock Holmes comes to screens on Christmas Day, but long before Tony Stark wore the deerstalker cap, there was another Hero Complex fave lurking in the alleys of London. Here’s a flashback photo of Leonard Nimoy as Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous hero. It’s from the “Star Trek” icon’s 1970s stint of playing the role during a national stage tour.  Many other actors have played Holmes – Charlton Heston, Michael Caine, Roger Moore among them – but with Nimoy’s enduring aura of brainy calm from his years as Spock he was an especially, um, logical choice as a detective. – Jevon Phillips RECENT AND RELATED The story behind this 1952 newspaper photo of Nimoy ‘Star Trek’ and ‘District 9′ may find Oscar night is still alien terrority Leonard Nimoy’s camera, in search of human life forms Leonard Nimoy says his ‘Fringe’ […]
Dec. 24, 2009 | 6:17 p.m.

Johnny Depp explains how he picked his poison with the Mad Hatter

We have big plans here at the Hero Complex for covering “Alice in Wonderland” and today we have an early exclusive as Rachel Abramowitz talks with star Johnny Depp about the very specific madness of the Mad Hatter.   When he takes on a role, Johnny Depp often paints a watercolor portrait of the still-forming character to help find his face and personality. After putting the finishing touches on his painting for “Alice in Wonderland,” Depp looked down at the Mad Hatter staring back at him from the canvas and giggled. “I was thinking,” the actor said, “‘Oh my God, this one will get me fired!’” It’s hard to imagine any pink slips in the future for Depp, who arguably reigns as the biggest movie star in the world at the moment. But his version of the Mad Hatter for […]
Dec. 24, 2009 | 12:16 a.m.

‘Avatar’ is a turning point in filmmaking

James Cameron
“This is the science-fiction part of the movie,” Sigourney Weaver said of “Avatar,” and she wasn’t talking about the spaceships, the blue-skinned giants or even the lab-created genetic hybrids of Pandora. Weaver was talking about the filmmaking devices and technique used on the set of the film and today, in this fourth and final video snippet from our “Avatar” opening-night event, you can hear Weaver, director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau discussing the innovations that will be affecting Hollywood for years to come. If you missed the previous posts, you can follow them backward starting here. – Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Beyond Pandora? Jim Cameron talks about an ‘Avatar’ sequel COMPANY TOWN: Could ‘Avatar’ hit $1 billion? James Cameron on ‘Avatar’: Like ‘Matrix,’ it opens doorways Don’t tell Stephen Lang he’s the villain in ‘Avatar’ LAT REVIEW: ‘Avatar’ restores a sense of […]
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