Movies


May 21, 2015 | 2:02 p.m.

‘Batkid Begins’ documentary trailer revisits little hero’s super adventure, influence

Miles Scott, 5, the Batkid, waits in the Batmobile as he gets ready to stop a bank robbery in San Francisco on Nov. 15, 2013. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group/MCT)
The trailer for “Batkid Begins” is out, offering a first look at the emotional documentary about a young leukemia survivor whose superheroic wish is granted. The film, from director and co-producer Dana Nachman, follows then 5-year-old Miles Scott, a cancer patient who told Make-A-Wish Foundation he wanted to be “the real Batman.” “When we’re going about doing a wish, it is whimsical in thinking about what would wow that child,” Patricia Wilson, executive director of Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, says in the trailer. “And it gives them a little bit of their childhood back that’s been robbed.” With the help of more than 12,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish transformed San Francisco into Gotham, helped Miles become Batkid and orchestrated a comic-book-worthy adventure that unfolded in front of a national television audience and internationally via social media. “Batkid Begins” isn’t Hollywood’s only take […]
May 21, 2015 | 1:20 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: Original ‘Poltergeist’ conjured controversy over ratings creative control

Heather O'Rourke is grabbed by an unseen force in 1982's "Poltergeist." (Handout)
It’s an image ingrained in the memory of horror film fans: A little girl in front of a static-filled television set, holding out her hands to touch the whispering screen. As director Gil Kenan’s remake of “Poltergeist” opens in theaters Friday, this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday revisits the seminal original, about a suburban family whose young daughter Carol Anne communicates with spirits who can throw objects, move furniture and manipulate weather. “Poltergeist,” co-produced and co-written by Steven Spielberg, stepped into the light on June 4, 1982. The film, which contained no graphic sex, no slasher gore and no deaths, was frightening enough to spark a ratings controversy. The MPAA initially gave it an R rating because “cumulative effect” was “too intense,” co-producer Frank Marshall told The Times before the film’s release. Spielberg was so upset about the R rating, […]
May 20, 2015 | 3:06 p.m.

‘Star Wars Epic Yarns’: Jack and Holman Wang reconstruct the classics

'Star Wars Epic Yarns'
The original “Star Wars” film trilogy is given a new spin in the word book series “Star Wars Epic Yarns.” Created by twin brothers Jack and Holman Wang, “Star Wars Epic Yarns” breaks down each of the first three “Star Wars” films into 12 words, depicted by 12 scenes crafted in needle felt. The all-ages board book series features images of handmade needle felt versions of Luke, Leia, Han and other familiar characters staged on custom-built sets and in on-location photo shoots to reenact some iconic scenes. The brothers, who are the team behind the “Cozy Classics” series of board books, answered a few questions over email to discuss their process, the most difficult elements in creating “Star Wars Epic Yarns,” and their favorite “Star Wars” film. Obviously, the felt figures and scenes were not easy to craft. But how […]
May 19, 2015 | 11:44 a.m.

The game changes in ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ trailer

'The Scorch Trials' (20th Century Fox)
Everything is going to change. Again. After barely surviving the Maze Trials in last year’s “The Maze Runner,” Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers now come face-to-face with a grim, post-apocalyptic reality in the first trailer for the sequel, “The Scorch Trials.” The second chapter of the YA trilogy based on the book series by James Dashner, “Scorch” finds Thomas, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and the other survivors being introduced to a larger world of political intrigue and rebellion, where the truth may not be what it seems. And who is there to guide them in this harsh new world? Why, it’s Littlefinger himself — Aiden Gillen, familiar to fans as the duplicitous Lord Petyr Baelish on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” He tells them, “The Maze was one thing, but you kids wouldn’t last one day out in the Scorch.” Oh, […]
May 15, 2015 | 5:40 p.m.

Paycheck Friday: Add some ‘Mad Max’ flair to your workspace

A scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Warner Bros.)
For this week’s installment of Paycheck Friday, Hero Complex’s roundup of some of our favorite toys, books and other geek merchandise, we turn to the post-apocalyptic world depicted in “Mad Max.” Now in theaters, “Mad Max: Fury Road” follows Mad Max Rockatansky’s (Tom Hardy) quest for survival in a desert wasteland after civilization has collapsed. It is a world where, as director George Miller described to The Times in a previous interview, “all the bad things we see in the news come to pass: all the economic collapse, oil wars and water wars, even stuff we never see coming.” With that in mind, this week’s paycheck goes to re-creating a scaled-down version of this post-apocalyptic world to liven up your workspace. First, to set the appropriate mood, we recommend picking up the “Mad Max: Fury Road” soundtrack. While the standard […]
May 15, 2015 | 12:07 p.m.

‘Downer from Down Under’: Read the original ‘Mad Max’ review in L.A. Times

Mel Gibson in 1979's "Mad Max." (MGM)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is revving into theaters this weekend, accompanied by rave reviews and high box office predictions. But when the original “Mad Max” film arrived in the U.S. in 1980, film critic Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it “a textbook example of how not to make a film.” Champlin criticized nearly everything about the movie, including young lead Mel Gibson (“boyishly bland”), the villains (“indistinguishable vrooming beings”), the set, the supporting characters and the “inappropriate” soundtrack. “You are left with a lot of burnt rubber and bent metal and little evidence of creative imagination,” Champlin wrote. Champlin certainly wasn’t the only critic who wasn’t impressed by George Miller’s low-budget, post-apocalyptic action flick. The New York Times’ Tom Buckley criticized its “flimsy” plot and said the film was “ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at […]
May 14, 2015 | 1:33 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: Original ‘Mad Max’ kickstarted a cult classic franchise

Mel Gibson in 1979's "Mad Max." (MGM)
With “Mad Max: Fury Road” crashing into theaters Thursday evening, this week’s Throwback Thursday column recalls the first installment in the “Mad Max” series. Australian director George Miller’s dystopian tale starred Aussie actor Mel Gibson as protagonist Max Rockatansky, a widower on a quest for vengeance, and introduced the young actor to an international audience. “Mad Max” made its debut Down Under on April 12, 1979; American audiences had to wait until May 2, 1980. Though critics were split, public reception was positive and the film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide and earned a nomination for best original screenplay (by Miller and James McCausland) from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The film was also nominated for best film and direction and won for editing, original music score and sound. Not everyone was impressed. Los Angeles Times movie […]
May 14, 2015 | 11:22 a.m.

Sony to remake ‘The Craft’ with director Leigh Janiak

Fairuza Balk as Nancy in "The Craft." (Peter Iovino)
Ready for another round of light as a feather, stiff as a board? Sony Pictures is currently working on a remake of “The Craft,” Hero Complex has confirmed. Leigh Janiak will direct and co-write the film with Phil Graziadei. The 1996 teen supernatural thriller starred Robin Tunney as a transfer student who arrives at a Los Angeles Catholic school and befriends a group of misfit amateur witches played by Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True, completing their coven. Tunney’s character, Sarah, is a natural witch, whose power comes from somewhere more pure than those of her self-taught friends. This eventually leads to conflict as the other witches strive to increase their magical powers. The original film was directed by Andrew Fleming, who co-wrote the film with Peter Filardi. Janiak made her directorial debut with the 2014 horror film “Honeymoon,” […]
May 13, 2015 | 7:06 p.m.

‘New Mutants’: Josh Boone tapped for stand-alone ‘X-Men’ spinoff film

'New Mutants' No 1 cover
Move over “X-Men,” it’s time for some “New Mutants.” 20th Century Fox is expanding its “X-Men” franchise with a new stand-alone spinoff film to be written and directed by Josh Boone. “We’re so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe, and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters,” confirmed Simon Kinberg in a statement. The “X-Men” veteran producer is slated to produce the film with Lauren Shuler Donner. Most recently, Boone directed “The Fault in Our Stars,” the 2014 adaptation of the John Green young adult novel of the same name starring “Divergent” series costars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as teens who meet in a cancer patients’ support group and fall in love. The film grossed $307.2 million worldwide during its theatrical run. Boone’s first […]
May 13, 2015 | 4:01 p.m.

‘Crimson Peak’ trailer: New love meets an old house in Del Toro horror film

Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in "Crimson Peak." (Legendary / Universal)
The new trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” has been released and it comes with its own warning: Beware of Crimson Peak. Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam star in the gothic horror romance, along with a very old house located atop a mountain of blood-red clay. “Ghosts are real,” says Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) as the trailer opens. “That much I know. I’ve seen them all my life.” As the trailer unfolds, we see Edith courted by a handsome stranger, Thomas Sharpe. Edith marries Thomas and moves into the large mansion he shares with his not-so-approving sister (played by Chastain). Unfortunately, it seems there is more to the house than the siblings have shared with Edith prior to her joining the family. “A house as old as this one becomes, in time, a living thing” says […]
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