Jan. 27, 2015 | 7:57 a.m.

First ‘Fantastic Four’ teaser reveals new origin for super quartet

A screenshot from the trailer for "Fantastic Four." (20th Century Fox)
The first trailer for “Fantastic Four” is out, offering a glimpse of the super-powered quartet’s retooled origin story. The trailer, released Tuesday, opens with four sweeping landscape views — New York City, mountaintops, a house in a neighborhood and cornfields — presumably of the homes of each member of the foursome. “How did we get this far? Human beings have an immeasurable desire to discover, to invent, to build,” the voiceover narrates. “Our future depends on us furthering these ideals — a responsibility that rests on the shoulders of generations to come. But with every new discovery there is risk, there is sacrifice, and there are consequences.” The inventor, of course, is Reed Richards, who is shown as a bespectacled child experimenting in a garage and then as a grown-up scientist (played by “Whiplash” actor Miles Teller) walking through an […]
Jan. 26, 2015 | 11:12 a.m.

‘AKA Jessica Jones': ‘Doctor Who’ star David Tennant cast in Marvel series

British actor David Tennant is photographed in July, 2014. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
“Doctor Who” star David Tennant will play a villain in Marvel’s upcoming Netflix show “A.K.A. Jessica Jones,” a 13-episode series set to premiere next year. The Scottish actor has been cast as Kilgrave, an enigmatic figure from the heroine’s past whose reappearance shakes her world, Marvel announced Monday. Tennant, who has recently appeared on American screens in the mystery series “Gracepoint,” is best known for his turn as the time-traveling protagonist in “Doctor Who.” His five-year tenure as the 10th incarnation of the Time Lord revitalized TV’s longest-running sci-fi series and paved the way for its popularity this side of the pond. “I’m so honored and excited by the prospect of David inhabiting this multifaceted character,” said writer-producer Melissa Rosenberg in a post on Marvel’s blog. “He can deliver the most heart-wrenching moment to the driest of lines, and all […]
Jan. 24, 2015 | 7:30 a.m.

Game designer Tim Schafer’s ‘Grim’ path tracks adventure genre’s growth

Tim Schafer has been a pioneer when it comes to narrative-driven games. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
THE PLAYER Before an interview via video conference even starts, game designer Tim Schafer jots down a message, then holds the note up to the computer screen. “I killed a guy,” it reads. Schafer’s games are laced with humor, and so are his interviews. The independent designer hasn’t of course killed anyone, but he has been accused of killing an entire genre. When Schafer released “Grim Fandango,” a Day of the Dead-style noir, in 1998, its disappointing sales were blamed for dooming the adventure game, a plot-driven field that once had believers thinking games were the new cinema. Yet “Grim Fandango” was so ahead of its time that its time may be now. Today it’s celebrated as one of gaming’s greatest moments, and the title is on the verge of being re-released Tuesday in high-definition for home computers and Sony’s […]
Jan. 24, 2015 | 5:30 a.m.

‘Gravity Ghost': The spirits moved game designer Erin Robinson

The solar system is your playground in "Gravity Ghost." (Ivy Games)
THE PLAYER The hero at the core of the independent game “Gravity Ghost” is in fact an adolescent: 12-year-old Iona. Even more unusual, she’s dead — an apparition who haunts the solar system, looking for lost souls to save. Far from a ghost story, this title created by Erin Robinson takes a fanciful eye to the afterlife, turning the high-flying spirit into something of an outer space superhero. She treats the cosmos as a giant intergalactic plaything, toying with planets as if they were bouncy balls and turning globes into gelatinous, fish-tank-like orbs. Underlying it all is the sadness that comes with knowing a young life was lost. How Iona died and why she’s on an intergalactic quest becomes the title’s central mystery, lending an air of emotional complexity to a game that explores the wonders of a girl in […]
Jan. 23, 2015 | 11:35 a.m.

‘Insurgent’: See interactive character posters for ‘Divergent’ sequel

'Insurgent'
Five new character posters for “Insurgent” offer an interactive look at key figures in the upcoming sequel to “Divergent.” The posters feature heroine Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), her ally and love interest Four (Theo James), the villainous Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) and new characters Johanna Reyes (Octavia Spencer) and Evelyn Johnson (Naomi Watts). Check out the interactive posters below or still versions in the gallery above. “Insurgent,” which follows last year’s “Divergent,” is based on the second novel in Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA trilogy. The tale follows young heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley),  a girl who discovers she doesn’t fit neatly into one of five rigidly divided societal factions in a dystopian future version of Chicago, but rather has aptitude for multiple factions — a dangerous trait known as divergence. She joins Dauntless, the faction based on bravery, to hide her […]
Jan. 22, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ adds Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Tye Sheridan

Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp and Tye Sheridan are joining Bryan Singer’s upcoming "X-Men: Apocalypse." Turner will play Jean Grey, Shipp has been cast as Storm, and Sheridan will portray Cyclops. (HBO / Lifetime / WireImage)
“Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner is leading a trio of new actors joining Bryan Singer’s upcoming “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Turner will play Jean Grey, a role originated on screen by Famke Janssen in Singer’s 2000 “X-Men”; Alexandra Shipp has been cast as Storm, originally played by Halle Berry, while Tye Sheridan will play Cyclops, a role that first went to James Marsden. Shipp’s credits include “Drumline: A New Beat,” and she starred for television in “Aailyah: The Princess of R&B”; she also has a role in the upcoming NWA movie, “Straight Outta Compton.” Sheridan has appeared in such features as “Mud” and “The Tree of Life.” Oscar Isaac will star as the powerful villain in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the next installment in the long-running Fox franchise based on the Marvel Comics series. Singer is set to direct the film, which is […]
Jan. 22, 2015 | 1:10 p.m.

‘Star Trek 3’: Simon Pegg to pull double duty as co-writer, costar

Simon Pegg plays Scotty in "Star Trek." (Paramount Pictures)
Call it an enterprising move: Simon Pegg, the actor who plays Scotty in Paramount Pictures’ revamped “Star Trek” film franchise, will also co-write “Star Trek 3” with Doug Jung, a source has confirmed to Hero Complex. Deadline Hollywood first reported that Pegg would be working on both sides of the camera, with Jung joining him in scripting the sequel to 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness.” The news comes a week after “The Fast and the Furious” veteran Justin Lin beamed aboard to direct “Star Trek 3,” filling a void left by onetime helmer Roberto Orci. (A co-writer on the previous two “Star Trek” movies, Orci had been working on a script for the third installment with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay and was originally to make his directing debut on the film.) As genre fans well know, Pegg is not […]
Jan. 22, 2015 | 11:03 a.m.

‘Supergirl': ‘Glee’ actress Melissa Benoist to star in new CBS series

Actress Melissa Benoist has been cast as the heroine in "Supergirl." (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; DC Entertainment)
Actress Melissa Benoist is set to star in “Supergirl,” CBS’ new one-hour drama, the latest in a flurry of TV shows based on comic book superheroes. The series will be written and executive produced by “No Ordinary Family” team Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash”) and Ali Adler (“Chuck,” “Glee”), with Sarah Schechter (“Pan”) also executive producing. Supergirl, comics fans know, is Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El. Like Kal-El, Kara escaped Krypton before it was destroyed and arrived on Earth after her cousin, with whom she shares an array of superhuman abilities. The show will focus on a 24-year-old Kara who is ready to stop hiding her powers and become a hero. On television, Benoist is best known for her work on “Glee”; she can be seen currently on the big screen in the Oscar-nominated film, “Whiplash.” Later this spring, she will […]
Jan. 21, 2015 | 4:00 p.m.

George Lucas works ‘Strange Magic’ with new animated film

Bog King (Alan Cumming) is fiercely opposed to a powerful potion created by the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth) in "Strange Magic." (Lucasfilm)
Forget Joseph Campbell and “The Power of Myth.” The inspiration for “Strange Magic,” the new animated feature co-written and produced by “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, was Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to make the movie using existing music and find lyrics from the songs to actually tell the story,” Lucas said recently during a phone conversation from New York City. “I was trying to take my archive of music that continues long after I did ‘American Graffiti’ and go through it.” Opening Friday, “Strange Magic” centers on the unpleasant Bog King (Alan Cumming), a tragic figure ruling over his dark forest with a foul temper and a distaste for anything related to love. That is, until he meets Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), a fairy princess who has also soured on love, and many […]
Jan. 17, 2015 | 5:30 a.m.

‘Elegy for a Dead World’ prompts gamers to write life into the story

The deep space worlds of "Elegy for a Dead World" can be used as a cure for writer's bloc.(Dejobaan Games)
THE PLAYER You can battle an Orc king. You can steal a car or maybe a boat. You can even rescue the princess in your plumber overalls. Actions and story arcs are plentiful in most games, but the underlying narrative, malleable it may be, is almost always pre-written. “Elegy for a Dead World” puts forth a different theory. Maybe you, the player, can write the story. Maybe a blank page can be turned into a game. Part writing exercise, part teaching tool and part sci-fi story generator, “Elegy for a Dead World” aims to turn players into budding Arthur C. Clarkes — or at least amateur poets. It’s a high-minded goal, one reflective of the game’s haughty title, and meeting it can be more daunting than facing off against a barrel-throwing ape. Here, the only enemy is a blinking cursor, […]
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