July 23, 2014 | 4:54 p.m.
If you’re planning to spend any time in downtown San Diego this weekend, keep an eye out for Homer Simpson’s head. That iconic bald pate is expected to take up a noticeable portion of the city’s shoreline in a clever bit of promotion for “The Simpsons,” one of thousands of movies, TV shows, comic books and video game titles vying for attention at the annual pop culture expo that kicks off Thursday. Comic-Con International long ago evolved from its modest origins — it began as an intimate gathering in the basement of San Diego’s U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970 — into an important marketing platform for Hollywood, an opportunity for studios and networks to bring an increasingly broad range of movies and series directly to an enthusiastic audience of roughly 130,000 fans amid a frenzied, carnival-like atmosphere. But with life-size […]
July 15, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.
Animation pioneer Jerry Rees will lead the creative team developing the Marvel Experience, a theme-park attraction expected to tour the U.S. and Canada later this year. A film director and producer known for his animation work in “Tron” and his 1987 milestone short film “The Brave Little Toaster,” Rees has directed 16 Disney theme park attractions around the world in California, Hong Kong, Florida and Paris. Rick Licht, the CEO of Hero Ventures, the live entertainment company that partnered with Marvel to create the touring attraction, said in a news release issued Tuesday that “Jerry Rees brought a lifetime of creativity to the table and took the Marvel Experience to places well beyond our imagination.” The touring dome complex, which will span two acres and reach more than six stories high, will offer superhero fans a 4D motion-based ride featuring an […]
July 07, 2014 | 2:17 p.m.
“Bayonetta” is well known among gamers and those who attended this past weekend’s Anime Expo, but the Japanese franchise doesn’t enjoy much mainstream popularity in the U.S. The action game-cum-movie could get a boost with the stateside release of the animated adaptation “Bayonetta: Bloody Fate,” due in October on Blu-ray/DVD. A mix of magic and gunplay, the feature-length film is based on the video game’s original story about a witch who awakens after a centuries-long sleep. Outfitted with magical hair and gun-boots, she tries to piece together her history while battling creatures of light and dark. The film originally debuted in Japan theaters in November 2013 and a few months later on Blu-ray/DVD. Fuminori Kizaki, director of “Bayonetta”and other anime favorites like “Afro Samurai: Resurrection” starring Samuel L. Jackson, was happy to lend his vision to the film. “Originally, I was […]
July 06, 2014 | 1:37 p.m.
“My name is Kimura U, and I am the most pink creator of the world.” Walking the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday during Anime Expo, Kimura U — wearing chunky pink platform heels, a pink leather jacket, pink tights, a pink frilly dress and ombre hair that faded from light purple to light pink — surprisingly fit in among a group of 200,000 attendees often eager to stand out through their apparel. But unlike the thousands of cosplayers dressed as characters, it’s Kimura U’s job to dress this way: She’s the Japanese ambassador of kawaii, a.k.a. the ambassador of cute. Appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the position in 2009, U travels the world to promote Japanese culture abroad, specifically Harajuku fashion, a type of fashion based on trends in the Harajuku district […]
July 02, 2014 | 3:59 p.m.
The 23rd Anime Expo, the largest anime and manga convention in North America, is opening Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center for four days of exhibits, panel discussions, concerts, commerce and, yes, cosplay (take a peek at the gallery above for duds from 2014). After feedback from last year’s attendants, the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, which organizes the expo, has expanded the role of costume play in the event, creating more sets where cosplayers dressed as their favorite anime (animation) and manga (comics) characters can take photographs. “Anime Expo draws a lot of people who get into costume, and we wanted to provide an area for them to be able to take some really good pictures. We have a lot of really cool sets,” said Meg Amo, the society’s brand manager, citing a Japanese garden and a […]
June 30, 2014 | 6:13 p.m.
“Gotham” has been teasing fans with casting and posters and trailers, but now some will finally get to see a world premiere of how all of that dark imagery jells — at the one place that could possibly make or break the show: Comic-Con International. The chronicle of Det. James Gordon and a young Bruce Wayne set to air on Fox isn’t the only DC Comics-based show that will invade San Diego. A complete pilot for the CW’s “The Flash,” a glimpse at Season 3 of its network ally “Arrow” and footage from NBC’s “Constantine” will all be presented by Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment on Saturday, July 26, during the pop-culture exposition. Cast members and producers from all four shows will make appearances throughout the night following the screenings. The three-hour event will bring together the shows for […]
June 24, 2014 | 5:18 p.m.
In a galaxy far, far away in the Midwest, one known as Chicago, a grand institution will be built… George Lucas has chosen the Illinois metropolis as the location for his museum, according to a Lucas spokesman as well as a spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The city beat out San Francisco, New York, and of course, Los Angeles. Rest assured that Los Angeles made overtures, and not shy ones either, to claim the filmmaker’s museum, which will officially be called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. According to our sister blog, Culture Monster, none other than Mayor Garcetti himself reached out to the “Star Wars” creator. In a letter that he posted on his website, Garcetti tentatively proposed the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, located near USC, which is where Lucas studied film in the 1960s. From Culture Monster’s David Ng: “The plan would be […]
June 23, 2014 | 1:57 p.m.
For 20 years, robots have never had to be in disguise at Botcon – the annual celebration of all things Transformers that took place at the Pasadena Convention Center last weekend. Botcon isn’t necessarily a hype machine for the June 27 release of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” — the convention began in 1994, long before Michael Bay took the helm of the film franchise – but it does transform nicely into one. Overall, though, it is geared more toward the group of stalwart fans that have the same sensibilities that helped rocket the mechanical aliens to popularity some 30 years ago when it began as a Hasbro toy line in 1984. ———— For the record: In an earlier version of this post, it was stated that Pirate Clone Pounce and Pirate Clone Wingspan were Autobots. They are, of course, Decepticons. […]
June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.
Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ “ Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
May 23, 2014 | 5:21 p.m.
Joey Ansah might best be known as Desh, the bad guy who went toe-to-toe with Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in “The Bourne Ultimatum,” but his love of martial arts and his desire to create memorable fight scenes extends to one of fandom’s holy grails when it comes to fisticuffs: “Street Fighter.” “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist” launched today on Youtube’s Machinima channel and Ansah co-wrote and directed the epic, 12-episode series with an eye toward retelling and consolidating the story of how Ken and Ryu became names synonymous with video game action. Ansah, who also stars in the series (Akuma), wrote the script with Christian Howard, who reprises his role as Ken Masters from the original fan film. The series also stars Mike Moh as Ryu, Togo Igawa (“47 Ronin,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “The Last Samurai”) as Gotetsu, Akira Koieyama […]