Oct. 31, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Neil Gaiman, author of the “The Graveyard Book,” didn’t have to think twice before choosing an artist to adapt the sweet and spooky coming-of-age tale into a graphic novel. “It wasn’t like I had a shortlist,” Gaiman said. “I went to [P.] Craig Russell and said, ‘Craig, how would you like to do this?’ And he did. … The reason I love working with Craig is Craig knows what he’s doing and is so brilliant.” Russell, the Ohio-based illustrator and graphic novelist (“The Ring of the Nibelung,” “Night Music,” “Elric”), and bestselling fantasy author Gaiman (“American Gods,” “Stardust”) have collaborated on half a dozen projects, beginning with the 50th issue of Gaiman’s “Sandman” comic (“Ramadan”) more than 20 years ago, and including “Coraline” and several short stories. “The Graveyard Book: Volume 2,” out this month from HarperCollins in time for Halloween, […]
Oct. 31, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
In a barren Georgia warehouse on a cold January day, Jennifer Lawrence was doing something unusual for the young Oscar winner. She was acting very, very badly. Lawrence was filming a scene for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1,” in which her strident archer Katniss Everdeen was attempting to summon righteous indignation for a propaganda piece designed to stoke a nascent uprising. Katniss may be many things — a fierce warrior, a devoted sister, a reluctant symbol of hope — but a talented thespian she is not, and Lawrence was giving it her all. FULL COVERAGE: Movie Sneaks “She was very good at it,” director Francis Lawrence recalled of his star’s ability to turn in an intentionally lousy performance. “We had a bunch of variations, but we didn’t want to go too far. Some were really broad and funny […]
Oct. 31, 2014 | 6:30 a.m.
Judging strictly from the title, it might seem safe to assume that “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the concluding installment in Peter Jackson’s latest trilogy of films based on the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien, would arrive as something of a war film, Middle-earth style. But Jackson insists that the blockbuster fantasy, which opens in theaters Dec. 17, is far more interested in charting the descent of proud dwarf Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) into a crippling madness than it is in conjuring images of battlefield brutality. “It’s very much like a thriller. That’s the tone of it,” Jackson said, speaking by phone from New Zealand, where he was in the final throes of completing the film. “I’m not letting that tone go for a second. It gives me a chance to feel like I’m making a different movie, […]
Oct. 30, 2014 | 6:10 p.m.
In 1990, horror novelist Clive Barker released “Nightbreed,” his second feature film as a writer-director. The follow-up to his provocative 1987 study in sadomasochism, “Hellraiser,” “Nightbreed” arrived as an adaptation of Barker’s novella “Cabal” and posited a world in which monsters had been driven to an underground sanctuary called Midian. The city begins to haunt the dreams of a Canadian man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), who is under the psychiatric care of one Philip Decker (David Cronenberg), a therapist with questionable motives and dark secrets of his own. The movie, which featured artistic contributions from the likes of Ralph McQuarrie and Danny Elfman, opened to middling reviews. Writing for The Times, critic Michael Wilmington observed that there was a “thick, clunky quality” to the film with “remarkable moments scattered throughout — wild nightmare visions and a tingling sound track […]
Oct. 30, 2014 | 12:37 p.m.
In the spirit of Halloween, Hero Complex reached out to select filmmakers to solicit their fondest memories of classic horror. Below, Neil Marshall — who recently directed the pilot episode of NBC’s new series “Constantine,” and who produced the ghost story “Soulmate,” which arrived on DVD this week — discusses his respect and admiration for Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” He also addresses its influence on his features, including the acclaimed thriller “The Descent,” a superlative horror story that sees a strong heroine fighting monsters in a confined setting. Few horror movies have had such a profound effect on me as Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece, “Alien.” Few movies of any kind have had as much of an impact and influence on the movies I make. I was too young to catch it at the cinema when it was first released, but my […]
Oct. 30, 2014 | 4:00 a.m.
THE PLAYER The ridiculousness in “Sunset Overdrive” borders on anarchic. There are rules, like any game, but long before players discover a gun that fires a stuffed kitten — a plushy that’s used to send a robotic dog on a killing spree — “Sunset Overdrive” manages to excitedly toy with many of them. None of it should work. The look is cartoonishly crass (imagine a mash-up of every West Coast city, remade in the blunt architecture style of a rock festival), the music out of date (see the Warped Tour, circa 1995), the plot simple (humans consume too many energy drinks and turn into giant monsters) and the sociopolitical targets obvious (as for those sugary drink peddlers, yes, they’re probably insidious, but we learned that from Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy”). There are also guns. Lots and lots of guns. “Sunset Overdrive,” […]
Oct. 29, 2014 | 6:31 p.m.
In the spirit of Halloween, Hero Complex reached out to select filmmakers to solicit their fondest memories of classic horror. Below, Alexandre Aja, whose new Joe Hill adaptation “Horns” starring Daniel Radcliffe opens Friday, fondly recalls the influence that Stanley Kubrick’s iconic take on Stephen King’s “The Shining” has exerted over his own work. The first time I saw “The Shining” it changed my life. There was a video club right down the street from us, a two- or three-minute walk from our house. As soon as I was old enough, my mother gave me permission to go to the video club and rent films. Even then I loved movies. I knew there was that section at the end of the store where they had all the horror movies. I remember the poster for “Evil Dead II” was the […]
Oct. 29, 2014 | 11:22 a.m.
The final trailer for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ teases an action-packed battle between President Snow’s forces and the rebel resistance fighters, with Katniss on the front lines. The trailer, released Wednesday, features some of the same footage in previously released spots, with Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) telling President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), “No one else can do this but her.” “Her,” of course, refers to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), victor of the Hunger Games — an annual televised battle to the death in the future country of Panem. Katniss twice survived the horrors of the arena (in the box-office blockbusters “The Hunger Games” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of her experiences. The end of the second film saw Katniss whisked from the arena to District 13, […]
Oct. 29, 2014 | 10:48 a.m.
Shailene Woodley’s Tris, Theo James’ Four and the rest of the “Insurgent” cast take on new dimension in a series of character posters released Tuesday. “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” — the second film in the movie franchise based on the bestselling YA novels by Veronica Roth — will be released in 3-D, Summit announced Tuesday, and in keeping that the new posters are interactive and in 3-D. The story is set in a future version of Chicago, where people are tested and sorted into five factions based on personality. Young heroine Tris Prior (Woodley) finds out she is divergent, meaning she has an aptitude for multiple factions and doesn’t fall neatly into one category — a dangerous trait in the rigidly divided society. She hides her divergence and decides to join the faction based on bravery, where she meets a […]
Oct. 29, 2014 | 7:56 a.m.
A new video clip from the upcoming superhero blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron” features Marvel’s mightiest in a fun-spirited faceoff involving an otherworldly weapon. The clip, which debuted during Tuesday’s episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” shows the Avengers gathered at what appears to be Stark Tower, enjoying drinks and takeout. When Thor (Chris Hemsworth) places his hammer, Mjolnir, on the coffee table, a challenge of sorts is issued. “Whosoever, be he worthy, shall have the power — yeah, whatever man, it’s a trick,” Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye says, mocking the inscription on the Asgardian hammer. “No, it is much more than that, my friend,” Thor laughs. “If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard?” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) challenges. “I will be fair but firmly cruel.” What follows is a comedic montage of superheroes attempting to lift the […]