Aug. 23, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Hohokum': All the braver for ignoring gaming conventions

The emphasis is on exploration in "Hohokum." (Honeyslug / Sony Santa Monica)
THE PLAYER Deep within dating site OkCupid, there’s a question that treats video games as child’s play. “Would you be willing to date someone who plays video games almost every day, for at least 2 hours?” Two hours may seem excessive for our time-crunched lives, but there’s an underlying implication that the above activity is perhaps a bit weird — a potential red flag about anyone otherwise considered a full-fledged adult. Although the video game industry doesn’t do itself any favors, what with tolerating the boorish behavior of its online communities and relying on games that emphasize gun play, there’s no denying that this is a mainstream medium that still carries a stigma. But the OkCupid question did hit a chord. There are times when even I feel embarrassed about my accruing games knowledge. It’s the moment, for instance, when […]
Aug. 22, 2014 | 3:11 p.m.

‘Fringe: Sins of the Father’ preview: Read excerpt from new novel

Fringe: Sins of the Father
Much in the same way its spiritual predecessor “The X-Files” paired the paranormal with the procedural, “Fringe” — the spectacular sci-fi series created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci that drew to a close last year — imagined a world in which the fantastic lay just beyond the grasp of an unknowing populace. But of the many alien, unnatural threats that intrepid agents Mulder and Scully faced on Chris Carter’s landmark 1990s drama, “Fringe’s” time shifts and visits to parallel dimensions weren’t among them. Indeed, by the time its second season arrived, “Fringe” had established its own unique rhythms and preoccupations as its action centered around Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), an agent for the FBI’s Fringe Division, a covert operation set up to investigate extraordinary events, and her cohorts, the red-licorice-munching, off-kilter scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and […]
Aug. 20, 2014 | 4:00 a.m.

‘Multiversity': Grant Morrison maps other Earths for DC event series

Influential comic book writer Grant Morrison is the mastermind behind DC's new event series "The Multiversity." (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Grant Morrison is at ease with the prospect of other dimensions. As an acclaimed comic book writer and superhero behaviorist, he’s traveled widely amid the disparate worlds of DC Comics, Marvel and characters of his own creation. It gets complicated out there. Nowhere have things been more entangled with cosmic implications than DC (ancestral home to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), evolving into a web of universes that over the decades has expanded and collapsed through various “Crisis” series — and, most recently, in the 2011 revamping called the New 52. Morrison has now been charged with making sense of DC’s Multiverse of 52 Earths, creating stories and a road map with various artists in a monthly series debuting this week with “The Multiversity” No. 1. It will be followed by standalone comics that take a startlingly diverse look at […]
Aug. 19, 2014 | 1:21 p.m.

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.': One-time Wonder Woman Adrianne Palicki cast

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Adrianne Palicki will be joining the cast of Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The actress will play Bobbi Morse, also known as Mockingbird, on the ABC series, which returns for its second season Sept. 23. Palicki’s previous television credits include “Friday Night Lights,” “About a Boy” and “Lone Star”; she was cast as Wonder Woman in David E. Kelley’s television pilot about the iconic heroine, but the show was never picked up to series. Palicki is the latest addition to the growing list of actors slated to appear on the show, which centers on Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his roster of operatives — Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), Skye (Chloe Bennet) Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). Lucy Lawless, Reed Diamond, Nick Blood, Henry Simmons and Kyle MacLachlan will each play a role […]
Aug. 19, 2014 | 12:42 p.m.

‘The Strain': Guillermo del Toro vampire series renewed for Season 2

The apocalyptic horror series “The Strain” will return for a second season, FX announced Tuesday. Based on a trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the show is the latest high-concept thriller to explore the end of modern civilization — here, the threat arrives on board a flight into JFK when an old-world monster steals away on the plane and infects the passengers with a virus that transforms them into blood-thirsty monsters. Corey Stoll’s CDC epidemiologist Eph Goodweather finds himself drawn into the unfolding chaos, and before long, he is forced to partner with an eccentric pawn shop owner, Abraham Setrakian (played by David Bradley), to face down the creatures. PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot on the set of ‘The Strain’ “The thing I wanted to do in ‘The Strain,’ you can actually see this world collapse in a […]
Aug. 19, 2014 | 11:04 a.m.

‘Ant-Man': First look at Paul Rudd as Scott Lang in Marvel film

Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang in Marvel's "Ant-Man," scheduled for release in the U.S. on July 17, 2015. (Zade Rosenthal/Marvel)
Paul Rudd is looking pensive in the first photo from “Ant-Man,” Marvel’s upcoming superhero adventure due for release next year. Production on “Ant-Man” kicked off this week in San Francisco, with Rudd starring as reformed thief Scott Lang, the second superhero to take the name Ant-Man. In the film, Lang must help his mentor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) protect the secret behind his Ant-Man suit, which enables its wearer to shrink in size while enjoying increased strength. The movie, which will also shoot in Georgia, features Evangeline Lilly as Pym’s daughter Hope Van Dyne, while actor Corey Stoll will play Darren Cross, a former ally of Pym’s who becomes the villain known as the Yellowjacket. A shadow of uncertainty fell over the film earlier this year when original “Ant-Man” director Edgar Wright abruptly departed the project he’d steered toward the […]
Aug. 19, 2014 | 8:59 a.m.

‘Star Wars Rebels’ premiere ‘Spark of Rebellion’ set for Oct. 3

“Star Wars Rebels” has its premiere date. The new show set in the galaxy far, far away will arrive via a one-hour animated movie on Oct. 3. “Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion” will premiere that day on Disney Channel, with the “Rebels” series launching 10 days later on Oct. 13 on Disney XD, the studio announced Tuesday. Set about five years before the beginning of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” the new animated series follows the adventures of a group of heroes desperately trying to combat the all-consuming might of the Empire, the fascistic government risen from the ashes of the Old Republic in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Although the story will recount the formation of the Rebel Alliance, the group that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo would eventually lead to […]
Aug. 19, 2014 | 4:00 a.m.

‘Sin City': Rodriguez, Miller talk noir yarns, not social commentary

“Robert and Frank couldn’t be more different, but I feel like they bring out the best in each other,” returning "Sin City" actress Jessica Alba said of the directing duo. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
When director Robert Rodriguez and legendary comic-book author Frank Miller released their movie “Sin City” in 2005, they had few expectations they’d ever make the sequel opening this Friday. In fact, they weren’t sure audiences would turn up for the first film at all. A panel-for-panel re-creation of stories from Miller’s popular graphic-novel series, “Sin City” was unlike any comic-book movie anyone had seen. This wasn’t another rousing story of a superhero saving the planet. It was something darker and stranger: a hyper-stylized, ultra-violent noir thriller set in a corrupt urban nether world of hard-edged men and underclothed women, with no cape, cowl or stitch of spandex to be seen. “I thought people just might not get it,” said Rodriguez, who co-directed the film with Miller, perhaps best known for his 1986 Batman comic-book miniseries “The Dark Knight Returns.” “I […]
Aug. 17, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘The Strain': Vampire hunter David Bradley revels in action hero role

English actor David Bradley in Beverly Hills.  (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
It’s in the vein of old-style vampire hunters that David Bradley operates on “The Strain,” FX’s hit series that sees the world on the precipice of apocalypse thanks to the bloodthirsty undead. But the English actor, well known to genre audiences from his work in the “Harry Potter” movie franchise and on the wildly popular “Game of Thrones,” says he doesn’t directly draw inspiration from any famous forerunners in the unusual science. “I didn’t try to look for references or comparisons with other characters, otherwise there’s always a danger of playing that rather than what Guillermo and Chuck have got written down,” Bradley said in an interview on the Toronto set of the show, when asked about any similarities between his determined Abraham Setrakian and Bram Stoker’s Abraham Van Helsing, the man who famously tracked Dracula and brought the powerful […]
Aug. 16, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Road Not Taken': Ranger’s life is hard, but you’ll connect on journey

Rescue lost children by throwing and combining items in "Road Not Taken." (Spry Fox)
THE PLAYER “You’re not too old for those?” she asked. The question came from a date who arched her head and squinted at an assortment of Batman-branded pillowcases in my bedroom. Those six words hovered on the forefront of my mind, forcing me to suddenly call into question every aspect of my life and how it reflected my level of maturity (or immaturity). Adulthood, and how it weighs on us, has been an obsession of late. It’s at the core of Spry Fox’s “Road Not Taken,” a vexing puzzle game with magical overtones released this month for home computers and the PlayStation 4.The questions it raises linger long after a play session. The game has a message: You’re not getting any younger. Or maybe it’s saying you’re running out of time. This is the emotional head space occupied by “Road […]
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