Oct. 16, 2014 | 8:25 a.m.

IndieCade 2014: Five noteworthy games you might have missed

A group plays the game "Elbow Room" during IndieCade 2014 in Culver City on Oct. 11, 2104. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Some of the most creative and innovative work in the video game industry is coming from independent developers working alone or in small teams with limited budgets. Many such games were on display this weekend at IndieCade, the annual expo held in downtown Culver City. The festival attracted video game designers, publishers and fans worldwide who came to showcase and play games that veer from the mainstream. Hero Complex spent a day in the arcade, playing games and talking to creators. Here’s a look at five video games that caught our attention. ‘Gemini’ Playing “Gemini” feels a bit like the scene in Pixar’s “Wall-E” in which two robot lovers dance and twirl in space, trails of light tailing behind them. In this single-player video game, an NYU thesis project from designers Nick Zhang and Atlas Chen, the dance is between […]
Oct. 15, 2014 | 2:07 p.m.

Wonder Woman getting a movie, comics world reacts on Twitter

After decades of Batman and Superman movies, sequels, reboots and spinoffs, Wonder Woman is finally getting a turn in the spotlight. DC Entertainment’s leading lady will star in a standalone film in 2017, Warner Bros. announced Wednesday during Time Warner’s investors conference. (DC also announced films for Shazam, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Suicide Squad, Cyborg and a two-part project for the Justice League.) Gal Gadot, who is playing Wonder Woman in 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” will reprise the role in the standalone movie. GALLERY: Wonder Woman through the years “Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe,” Snyder said last year when Gadot was cast. “Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her […]
Oct. 15, 2014 | 12:46 p.m.

Warner Bros. announces ‘Lego Batman,’ ‘Ninjago,’ ‘Lego Movie 2′

Three more Lego-branded movies are coming to the big screen, following the box-office success of this year’s “The Lego Movie.” “Ninjago,” “The Lego Batman Movie” and “The Lego Movie 2″ will hit theaters in the next four years, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced during Time Warner’s investors conference Wednesday. The “Ninjago” movie, scheduled for 2016, is directed by Charlie Bean and produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. (“Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu” is already a successful Cartoon Network TV series.) The highly anticipated “Lego Batman Movie,” directed by Chris McKay (“Robot Chicken”), is slated for 2017, and “The Lego Movie 2″ will debut in 2018. “By 2020, Lego me will be giving this presentation,” Tsujihara joked. Tsujihara said Warner Bros. would continue to build the Lego brand across mediums, including video games. TT Games, which […]
Oct. 15, 2014 | 10:15 a.m.

Harry Potter spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ will be ‘at least’ a trilogy

The upcoming “Harry Potter” spinoff film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” is going to be the first in a film trilogy, and more movies might be on the way. The movies will be directed by “Potter” veteran David Yates, who directed the latter four films in the eight-part franchise, and will reunite the filmmaking team of David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara said at Time Warner’s investors conference Wednesday. The “Fantastic Beasts” movies are based on an original story by “Potter” author J.K. Rowling and will mark her screenwriting debut. Release dates are slated for 2016, 2018, 2020 and perhaps beyond. “Jo has a vision for this extension of the franchise, and for the first time, she is writing the script for what she believes is at least a trilogy,” […]
Oct. 15, 2014 | 9:28 a.m.

Wonder Woman is getting her own movie; Flash, Aquaman, Shazam on deck

Wonder Woman is getting her own movie. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” actress Gal Gadot will star in the film, slated for release in 2017, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced at Time Warner’s investors conference Wednesday. Gadot, who is playing the lasso-wielding Amazon in 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” will reprise the role in a 2017 standalone film. The Wonder Woman film is one of 10 DC Comics-based film franchises Warner Bros. has in production, including two Justice League films and movies based on the Suicide Squad, Aquaman, The Flash, Shazam, Cyborg and The Green Lantern, Tsujihara said. After “Dawn of Justice,” Zack Snyder’s follow-up to “Man of Steel,” opens in 3-D on March 25, 2016, fans can look forward to “Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (who wrote “The Fast and the Furious” and “Training […]
Oct. 14, 2014 | 4:28 p.m.

Cory Doctorow talks up ‘In Real Life’ and Wang, feels down over gamergate

(First Second)
Cory Doctorow’s short story, “Anda’s Game,” was released in 2004, but it’s only become more relevant in the past decade. Exploring the concept of “gold farming” in video games — the practice of amassing virtual wealth that is then sold to less patient players for real-world currency — Doctorow’s tale offers a fascinating look at video game economies through the lens of a young female gamer. “Anda’s Game” has gained greater gravity as economic and gender dynamics shift in the video game community, making now the ideal time for First Second to release “In Real Life,” a graphic novel adaptation of the story. “I think science fiction’s signature move is predicting the present,” says Doctorow. “If you take stuff that’s already latent and clearly important in the world around us and write about it as though it were something that […]
Oct. 14, 2014 | 2:15 p.m.

‘Maleficent’: Angelina Jolie had ‘wicked fun’ with Disney role [video]

Angelina Jolie says that when thinking about playing a live-action incarnation of Maleficent, the wicked sorceress from Disney’s animated classic, “Sleeping Beauty,” it was chiefly important to preserve at least one facet of the grand villain. “I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose her sense of wicked fun,” the actress says in a new behind-the-scenes featurette included in the Blu-ray and DVD editions of “Maleficent,” due for release Nov. 4. Hero Complex readers can check out an exclusive clip from the special features in the video below. Disney’s lavish retelling of the “Sleeping Beauty” story from the point of view of the dark sorceress became one of the breakout hits of the summer — earning upwards of $69 million in its opening weekend and going on to bring in more than $240 domestically. (Its worldwide total stands at $757 […]
Oct. 13, 2014 | 8:23 p.m.

IndieCade wrap-up: Amid ‘gamergate’ storm, a bold new game world rises

Game designer Daphny Drucilla plays "How Do You Do It?" from Nina Freeman, Emmett Butler, Jonathan Kittaka and Deckman Coss at IndieCade. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
THE PLAYER Imagine, perhaps, you’re a die-hard football fan. Now imagine someone comes along and says, “Hey, football isn’t so smart. It can be played better, team names don’t have to offend an entire community, and what’s with all the abuse scandals?” Maybe you don’t react too kindly to the suggestion that your Redskins should change names. Maybe you’re offended that the game you’ve held dear since childhood is facing criticism. A similar theory was recently applied to video games at IndieCade, the gaming conference and festival that concluded its seventh year over the weekend in downtown Culver City. It went something like this: While big-budget games with guns still rule, independent developers are opening up new avenues with games that tackle police brutality, explore the perils of dementia and address the difficult conversations parents have — or don’t have […]
Oct. 13, 2014 | 7:01 p.m.

Robert Downey Jr. in talks to reprise Iron Man role for ‘Cap 3′

Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to reprise his role as Tony Stark for Marvel’s 2016 release, “Captain America 3.” Marvel officially declined to comment, but sources confirmed that Downey would return to the role that catapulted him to superhero celebrity provided that discussions between the actor and the comic book movie powerhouse continued to progress. The news was first reported by Variety Monday night. Downey has made numerous headlines recently while promoting his new drama “The Judge,” dropping various hints about his ongoing relationship with Marvel, mentioning a possible “Iron Man 4,” among other projects. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” directors (and brothers) Joe and Anthony Russo will return to direct the third standalone film to star Chris Evans as patriotic hero Steve Rogers from a script penned by “Winter Soldier” scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Downey and […]
Oct. 13, 2014 | 4:05 p.m.

‘SNL': Bill Hader spoofs ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Divergent,’ ‘Maze Runner’

A screenshot of Bill Hader in a "Saturday Night Live's" fake trailer for "The Group Hopper." (NBC)
“Saturday Night Live” put its own spin on the dystopian young-adult mega-franchise in a fake movie trailer poking fun at the likes of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent.” The trailer for “The Group Hopper” begins with Pete Davidson’s protagonist Thehero (spoiler — he’s The Hero) entering a walled-off community via underground elevator. “What is this place?” he says. “It looks post-apocalyptic or something.” “The meadowfields,” responds Beck Bennett’s character. “This is where the samies stay until the groupers pass them along to the sorters for sorting.” What follows is an elaborate parody of the box-office dominating, though oft-maligned, young adult franchise, with even more made-up lore, including death-fires, lurkies and zoomerangs. The trailer also features the talents of “SNL” alumnus Bill Hader as a horned sendup of Elizabeth Banks’ ostentatious “Hunger Games” character Effie Trinket. “You are all the same,” says Hader, […]
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