May 21, 2013 | 11:47 p.m.
The latest trailer for “Man of Steel,” the new Superman film that sees Henry Cavill don the red cape of the famous hero, begins with a cryptic transmission from Michael Shannon’s General Zod, warning citizens of Earth, “You are not alone.” Zod’s chilling speech, in which he demands that the last son of Krypton surrender or bring about the destruction of his adopted planet, serves as the backdrop for a number of scenic shots from the film, set for a June 14 release. “Man of Steel” is directed by Zack Snyder from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, the writing team behind the “Dark Knight” trilogy, which modernized Batman and broke box-office records. But reviving the world’s first comic-book superhero on the big screen — Superman turns 75 this year — is no small task. “In the comic-book […]
Jan. 15, 2013 | 1:51 p.m.
Another day, another mystery about a director possibly signing on to be a part of the “Star Wars” universe. New York Magazine’s Vulture blog first reported that Zack Snyder had plans to make a “Seven Samurai”-inspired story set in a galaxy far, far away, but hours later, Snyder’s rep contradicted the story in The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the “Man of Steel” filmmaker had no such plans to develop a stand-alone Jedi epic for Lucasfilm loosely inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic. “While he is super-flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new ‘Star Wars,’” his rep told The Hollywood Reporter. “He is currently in post on his two films, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘300: Battle of Artemisia.’” Vulture, however, has posted an update to its original story, stating that despite […]
Jan. 05, 2013 | 11:30 a.m.
David S. Goyer has made a living inventing outsized mythologies for some of pop culture’s most beloved figures — Batman, Superman, he’s even working on a new Godzilla movie due out in 2014. Now, he’s giving Leonardo da Vinci the superhero treatment. Starz’s “Da Vinci’s Demons” presents the gifted Renaissance artist as a born-out-of-wedlock tortured genius with a penchant for opium who is branded as a heretic by the all-powerful church. All of which, Goyer points out, is true. The eight-episode series, which is set to premiere April 12, concentrates on Da Vinci (played by English actor Tom Riley) as a young man beginning at 25 and imagines his development as a free thinker in a rigid, often-secretive society. There is surprisingly little known about the Italian artist, often regarded as one of the greatest geniuses of Western civilization, during […]
Dec. 30, 2012 | 2:11 p.m.
For fans of fantastic entertainment, it was a bountiful year at the box office. The highest-grossing movies of 2012 starred a collection of superheroes, two strong young woman with mean archery skills (Katniss Everdeen and Merida from “Brave”), a suit-sporting super spy and a mild-mannered hobbit who embarks on an unexpected adventure — not to mention a coven of sparkly vampires and a talking stoner teddy bear. With so many movies to choose from, it’s easy to see how audiences might have overlooked a few gems. So as the year draws to a close, we’ve assembled our top picks for films to belatedly check out — as well as a few that no doubt warrant repeat viewings. “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” Yeah, yeah, so it didn’t take the box office by storm, and critics griped that the movie wasn’t funny. […]
Dec. 20, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
San Diego’s Comic-Con International is always full of hype and bombast for movies and TV projects designed to appeal to lovers of genre entertainment. But even in the extensive annals of Hall H lore, the 2010 Marvel panel in which the cast of “The Avengers” assembled on a public stage for the first time still holds a special place in the history of the 6,500-seat auditorium. As the wild crowd cheered stars Robert Downey Jr., Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo, writer-director Joss Whedon departed from the usual script — one in which filmmakers vow that their upcoming movie will be nothing short of awesome — with typical self-deprecating wit. “I am going to blow it,” he said amid the cheers. “I’m not up to it.” No surprise, really. He […]
Dec. 19, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.
This month sees the DVD releases of Christopher Nolan’s first and most recent movies. “Following” from 1998, out last week from the Criterion Collection, was made on a shoestring budget of 3,000 pounds (about $5,000 at the time). Shot on weekends over a year by a 28-year-old with a day job making corporate videos and a cast and crew that consisted largely of friends, it’s calling-card filmmaking at its most efficient, a savvy neo-noir from a young Turk with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. This year’s “The Dark Knight Rises” from Warner Home Video is, in the current Hollywood context, about as far as a calling card can take you: a superhero blockbuster that inspires cultish obsession and cost 50,000 times as much as “Following.” More than franchise movies, Nolan’s Batman films have become, for better or worse, cultural […]
Dec. 11, 2012 | 11:08 a.m.
Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” is set to take flight June 14, and a new trailer released Tuesday offers some tantalizing hints about the anticipated superhero epic — epic being the operative word, judging from the scale of the images in the clip and its grand musical score. In terms of visuals, Snyder seems to be painting with a beautiful, muted steel brush as he tells Kal-El’s story, the striking yet subdued hues possibly speaking to the elegant influence of producer Christopher Nolan. We see young Clark Kent saving a school bus, revealing his extraordinary abilities, and his adopted father (played by Kevin Costner) cautioning him to be more secretive. But we also see Henry Cavill’s adult hero soaring into the sky — not with the same gentle lift employed when Christopher Reeve wore the iconic red cape but with […]
Dec. 05, 2012 | 8:00 a.m.
Michael Caine distinctly remembers the morning Christopher Nolan turned up at his English country home with a screenplay for the two-time Oscar-winning actor to read. “My instant thought was, I’m going to be in one of these wonderful little dramas, murder thrillers. I’d love that,” Caine recalled during an interview late last week. The screenplay, of course, wasn’t for a film like Nolan’s time-bending indie “Memento” or his crime drama “Insomnia.” It was for 2005′s “Batman Begins,” which ultimately would include some of the same hallmarks as those moody, evocative thrillers — precision, tension, mystery — the signature qualities that would carry forward into “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” the last of which comes to DVD and Blu-ray this week. “I thought to myself, I’m a bit old for Batman,” Caine said. “So, I said, ‘Who am […]
Dec. 04, 2012 | 12:17 p.m.
Bruce Wayne must be deaf. Seconds into a ride in the hulking Batmobile from Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City trilogy – holy earplugs, Batman! – this thing is loud, even at 30 mph. It gets a lot louder. “It’s geared for 110, and we took them there,” says Andy Smith, the man who built the Tumbler, during a recent ridealong. “You couldn’t do it without earplugs and a full-face helmet.” One of several Batmobiles used in “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Tumbler’s late November trip with a journalist through the streets of Sylmar was among its last runs before the beast was boxed up and shipped to L.A. Live. There, it joined another Tumbler and other Batmobiles from previous films, along with the original modified Lincoln Futura from the Adam West TV series, as part of a […]
Aug. 01, 2012 | 7:32 p.m.
The most famous supervillain in comic book history — the Joker – returns to the pages of “Batman” in a big way later this year, DC Comics has announced on its website. The new story, “Death of the Family,” which begins in October with issue No. 13 of “Batman,” was planned long before the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. The timing of the Joker’s return to the pages of the bestselling DC comic may discomfit some in the wake of the shooting during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Suspect James E. Holmes reportedly referred to himself as the Joker during questioning by police. Representatives of DC Comics did not respond to questions about the timing of the Joker’s return to the Batman story line. DC Comics has more or less kept the Joker on a shelf in recent […]