Oct. 31, 2014 | 4:29 p.m.

Channing Tatum ‘X-Men’ spinoff ‘Gambit’ lands ‘RoboCop’ screenwriter

Josh Zetumer has been hired to write the script for Fox’s “X-Men” spinoff, “Gambit.” Zetumer’s script will be based on a treatment written by Chris Claremont, who created the comic book character, a fast-talking former thief whose given name is Remy LeBeau, with artist Jim Lee. Fox confirmed the news Friday afternoon. A Cajun charmer from Louisiana, Gambit has the ability to control kinetic energy, often charging items he touches, turning them into explosives and throwing them as weapons (playing cards are a favorite). The character made his comic book debut in 1990 and has been featured in several “X-Men” animated series and video games; Taylor Kitsch played the rogue in Gavin Hood’s spinoff film, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The project is the latest in a series of films for the busy actor. Tatum was recently seen opposite Jonah Hill in […]
Oct. 31, 2014 | 12:46 p.m.

Comikaze lures ‘Thrones’ cast, Batman, cosplayers to downtown L.A.

Daniel DesVoigne, from Paso Robles, Calif., cosplays as Jack Skellington from Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" during Comikaze 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
More than 60,000 sci-fi, fantasy and comics fans are gathering at the Los Angeles Convention Center downtown this Halloween weekend for Stan Lee’s Comikaze. The home-grown pop culture expo, now in its fourth year, features panels, screenings, game tournaments, merchants and guest speakers from the genre entertainment world, not to mention costume contests and trick-or-treating — a dry option in case rainy weather predictions are correct. The convention kicks off this afternoon and runs through Sunday. Among Comikaze‘s featured guests this year are Gwendoline Christie, who plays lady knight Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones” and who will star in “Star Wars: Episode VII” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2″; “Game of Thrones” actor Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy); classic “Batman” stars Adam West and Julie Newmar; John Barrowman, of “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood” and […]
Oct. 31, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Halloween read: P. Craig Russell takes on Gaiman’s ‘Graveyard Book’

GRAVEYARDBOOK-CP4
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.

‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ director warns Katniss is ‘very alone’

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part1." (Lionsgate)
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.

‘Hobbit': Peter Jackson promises thrilling finale with ‘Five Armies’

Director Peter Jackson, center, and Martin Freeman on the set of the fantasy adventure movie "The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies." (Mark Pokorny/Warner Bros.)
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.

Clive Barker on ‘Nightbreed’: ‘Where there are monsters, I feel home’

Clive Barker, famous for his horror stories and movies, spends much of his time now in his Beverly Hills gallery painting the demonic and fantastic. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
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.

‘Alien': Neil Marshall praises Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic [guest essay]

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.

‘Sunset Overdrive’ delivers madness with an apocalyptic message

The apocalypse is a party in "Sunset Overdrive." (Insomniac Games / Microsoft Studios)
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.

The high art of ‘The Shining’: A guest essay by ‘Horns’ director Alexandre Aja

"Horns" director Alexandre Aja and star Daniel Radcliffe; "The Shining." (Radius-TWC; Warner Bros.)
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.

‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay': Katniss threatens Snow in final trailer

A screenshot from the trailer for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1." (Lionsgate)
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, […]
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