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, […]
Jan. 16, 2015 | 3:33 p.m.

George Lucas details plans to make, but not release, two new films

George Lucas co-wrote and executive produced the new animated tale “Strange Magic,” which arrives in theaters Jan. 23.  The musical romp, directed by Gary Rydstrom, takes very loose inspiration from Shakespeare, telling the story of a monstrous Bog King (Alan Cumming) who finds unexpected love in a magical realm of elves and fairies. But it isn’t the only new movie Lucas has on the horizon. The 70-year-old “Star Wars” creator currently is writing two new features, both experimental movies that hearken back to his student days at the University of Southern California. However, he has no plans to ever release either project publicly. “The way [the films] are, they’re not really movies that can be released,” Lucas said of his upcoming projects during a recent phone call from New York City, where he was promoting “Strange Magic.” “They’re movies more […]
Jan. 16, 2015 | 11:30 a.m.

‘Insurgent’ video features stunts, new factions, mysterious box

A new featurette for “Insurgent” is out, offering fans of the Shailene Woodley-starring dystopian tale a behind-the-scenes look at new characters, locations and stunts in the sequel to last year’s “Divergent.” “Insurgent,” based on the second novel in Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA trilogy, 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 secret, and there meets love interest Four (Theo James). In “Insurgent,” Tris and her friends are fugitives on the run from ruthless leader of Erudite (the faction based on knowledge) Jeanine Matthews, who is hellbent on hunting down divergent people like Tris. “In […]
Jan. 15, 2015 | 12:35 p.m.

Tom Hardy no longer on David Ayer’s ‘Suicide Squad’ team

Tom Hardy is no longer a member of “Suicide Squad.” The actor has dropped out of Warner Bros.’ upcoming adaptation of the DC Comics title about an all-star roster of villains who act as mercenaries. Hardy, who brought to the screen the Batman villain Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises,” had been set to star as Rick Flagg, but scheduling commitments forced him to leave the film, which is set for release Aug. 5, 2016, sources said Thursday. The story was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter. David Ayer, who most recently helmed the Brad Pitt World War II tank drama “Fury,” will write and direct “Suicide Squad.” The ensemble cast includes Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, Jai Courtney as Boomerang and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress. Oscar winner Leto will be […]
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