Chris Lee

Aug. 11, 2014 | 3:31 p.m.

‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’: Robert Rodriguez talks Frank Miller

In 2005, Texan filmmaking enfant terrible Robert Rodriguez teamed up with misanthropic comic book master craftsman Frank Miller to co-direct “Sin City,” an adaptation of Miller’s gritty comic book yarns of the same name, rewriting the Hollywood playbook in the process. With an ensemble cast that included Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis, the neo-noir crime thriller  painted a stark world in which corrupt cops and underworld strongmen, hookers with hearts of gold and one grotesquely disfigured serial killer operate in high-definition black and white (with select jolts of gold and arterial-splatter red). Come Aug. 22, nearly a decade after the first “Sin City” pressed reset on digital filmmaking and use of green-screen technology, Miller and Rodriguez are back with a second installment of the gritty anthology: “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (view the trailer above). […]
June 05, 2014 | 3:10 p.m.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’: Tom Cruise on dying for Doug Liman in sci-fi thriller

Less than 15 minutes into the sci-fi action thriller “Edge of Tomorrow,” Tom Cruise does something unusual. It’s an act he’s only committed on-screen a couple of times in his extensive filmography, specifically, in 2008’s Hitler-assassination drama “Valkyrie” and the hit-man pot boiler “Collateral.” He dies. Throughout the first third of “Edge of Tomorrow,” Cruise’s cowardly military officer character — facing off against an overwhelming force of alien invaders and stuck in a time loop a la the Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day” – dies again and again, only to reincarnate over and over,  until he can figure out how to topple an otherworldly armada bearing down on Earth with overwhelming fire power. And these are not peaceful deaths. You see Cruise die in gruesome, violent, painful fashion, in ways involving broken bones, concussive pratfalls, bullets to the head and […]
May 16, 2014 | 11:44 a.m.

‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ animated gifs: Jessica Alba center stage

It’s been nearly a decade, but Jessica Alba is back at the bump ‘n’ grind. Reprising the 2005 role she so memorably inhabited in “Frank Miller’s Sin City” – an exotic dancer with a shadowy past, a pair of butt-less chaps and a rhinestone bustier – the lithesome actress can be seen revealing her assets in one of a newly released series of GIFs for that hard-boiled neo-noir thriller’s sequel, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” which hits theaters Aug. 22. As with the earlier film, “Dame” is co-directed by Robert Rodriguez (behind the 1996 vampire romp “From Dusk Till Dawn” and the hit “Spy Kids” film franchise) and iconic graphic novelist Frank Miller, who first broke through as a filmmaker with a co-director credit on the original “Sin City,” an adaptation of his 1991 serial of the same […]
May 15, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’: Optimus Prime actor talks tough

Auditioning with director Michael Bay for the role of Optimus Prime in 2007’s live-action movie adaptation of the beloved animated series “Transformers,” Canadian-born vocal artist Peter Cullen was aware that his previous accomplishments hardly guaranteed his place in a big-budget Hollywood movie. “It’s kind of surreal to audition for a character that you basically created,” said Cullen, who originated the Autobot’s stentorian voice in TV performances from 1984 to ‘87. “But I didn’t expect Michael to know what I knew about ‘Transformers.’ I was ready for anything.” Bay, of course, appointed him Optimus in that blockbuster film and two other hit “Transformers” sequels that have combined to gross a staggering $2.7 billion worldwide. Come June 27, Cullen will return in his role as fandom’s favorite alien-born Kenworth K100 truck cum sentient battle-bot in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” In this go-round, […]
April 25, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’: Emily Blunt talks Tom Cruise, brutal sci-fi battle

For the cast, crew and a platoon of weary extras shooting the 3-D sci-fi extravaganza “Edge of Tomorrow” at England’s Leavesden Studios in late 2012, the beach set became synonymous with suffering. Built to recall such World War II coastal conflicts as the Invasion of Normandy or the Battle of Dunkirk, the sandy set proved to be as loathsome as the brutal alien marauders known as “mimics” that star Tom Cruise battles while wearing an 85-pound metal exoskeleton in the film (which reportedly cost between $175 million and $200 million and is due in theaters June 6). “That beach became known by everyone working as ‘the Bitch,’” said “Edge of Tomorrow” costar Emily Blunt. “It was England. It was cold. The sand was so cumbersome. There were explosions. And everyone was running around in the metal suits. It became like […]
April 25, 2014 | 6:30 a.m.

‘Transformers’: Mark Wahlberg on ‘Age of Extinction’ acting commitment

Before Mark Wahlberg ever attempted to test his mettle vis-a-vis giant metamorphosing robots from outer space, and before he befriended a heroic battle-bot named Optimus Prime on-screen, the actor prepared for his latest part with an unlikely foil: a talking teddy bear with an outsize taste for prostitutes and cocaine. Which is to say that before Wahlberg signed on to appear in Paramount Pictures’ mega-budget sci-fi thriller “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” he got a first taste of acting opposite computer-generated imagery in a certain raunch-comedy that became 2012’s surprise breakout hit. “‘Ted’ was definitely a good warmup,” Wahlberg said of the movie in which he plays a Boston bro who co-habitates with his hard-swearing, magically alive plush toy. “With ‘Ted,’ it was a more intimate setting. But this movie is much bigger and more intense. You’ve got eight Autobots talking […]
March 07, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘300: Rise of an Empire’ director Noam Murro talks operatic approach

Noam Murro had one question when he was asked to direct the follow-up to 2007’s bloody swords-and-sandals action film “300”: How do you make a sequel to a movie in which everyone died? The answer, in short: You don’t. Zack Snyder’s “300” concluded with [spoiler alert!] Sparta’s King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his few, proud soldiers being gloriously slain while making a heroic stand against the overwhelming forces of Persian god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). The new “300: Rise of an Empire” uses that Leonidas-vs.-Xerxes narrative as a crucial plot point. In essence, the new film wraps its story around the earlier movie’s action to function as something more like a companion piece than a reboot. “What do you call it? A prequel? A sequel?” says Murro, 52. “It’s an equal, hopefully. It’s a different perspective of the same time. Thematically, […]
March 03, 2014 | 4:57 p.m.

Zack Snyder: ‘Man of Steel’ sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

The untitled “Man of Steel” sequel hasn’t yet gone into production, and it’s already the most controversial movie in fandom. Chalk that up to director Zack Snyder’s somewhat unconventional casting choices. First, comics stalwarts expressed surprise and skepticism in August with the revelation that Ben Affleck would inherit the cape and cowl from actor Christian Bale, taking on the role of Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in Snyder’s much-anticipated superhero sequel, the follow-up to his 2013 blockbuster that grossed more than $668 million at the worldwide box office. Then came the announcement that Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for her work in the “Fast & Furious” films, would play Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the movie, and the uproar started anew. Just last month, fresh fandemonium was heaped upon the movie with the announcement that boyish “Social Network” star Jesse […]
June 13, 2013 | 4:55 p.m.

‘Man of Steel’: Zack Snyder tries reconstruction for Superman

“Man of Steel” began its ascent toward pop-culture immortality during fall 2010 inside a pressurized cabin in the skies between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. A fitting start for the relaunch of a comic book property inextricably linked with the exclamations “It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” Christopher Nolan, the force behind the multibillion-dollar “Dark Knight” movie franchise, and his producing partner wife, Emma Thomas, were sharing a corporate jet with Zack Snyder, the action stylist behind the 2009 sci-fi superhero drama “Watchmen,” and his producer wife, Deborah Snyder. Both couples were on the way back to L.A. from Las Vegas’ CinemaCon, where they had previewed new films. [FOR THE RECORD,  10:06 a.m. PDT June 19: An article in the June 16 Calendar section about Zack Snyder, director of the movie “Man of Steel,” said a conversation between Snyder and […]
June 12, 2013 | 10:38 p.m.

‘300: Rise of Empire’ trailer: Swords, sandals, the sea and Xerxes

A new trailer for “300: Rise of an Empire” offers the same sort of swords-and-sandals splendor that made filmmaker Zack Snyder’s visually arresting 2006 adaptation of the landmark Frank Miller graphic novel such a hit. “Rise of an Empire” is not a sequel or a prequel but its own free-standing thing, taking place before, during and after the events of “300.” Directed by TV commercial ace Noam Murro and produced by Snyder, the film sees Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro reprise his role as Xerxes, the nefarious 9-foot-tall antagonist. “The movie looks cool. It’s beautiful,” Santoro told Hero Complex in an interview this year. “It’s like ‘300’ but there are fresh things in there. It’s a smart way to do a sequel. The fans are going to be pleased.” More of the Persian “God King’s” back story will be revealed in […]
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