Deborah Netburn

March 28, 2013 | 6:56 p.m.

‘Doctor Who’: BBC’s Eyestalk app gives you a Dalek eye-view

A Dalek through one of the Doctor Who: Eyestalk lenses. Doctor Who: Eyestalk is a new app that turns any mobile iOS device into a Dalek's lens. (BBC)
Angry cyborgs bent on universal domination, the Daleks first appeared on the “Doctor Who” television series in 1963 and were quickly established as one of the Doctor’s deadliest enemies. For half a century, viewers have watched the Time Lord battle these evil beings whose singular goal is to “Exterminate! Exterminate!” Nobody should want to see the world through a Dalek’s point of view. According to the show’s lore, they have had every emotion removed except hate. But on Thursday the BBC  released Doctor Who: Eyestalk, a new app that lets you transform your iPhone, iPad, or iPod into a Dalek’s lens. ‘Doctor Who’ at 50: Meet the 11 faces of the Time Lord Eyestalk is basically a photo-filter app. You take a photo or video and then run it through one of seven filters that correspond to different Daleks that […]
March 27, 2013 | 11:35 a.m.

‘Wolverine’ trailer: Wolverine grapples with his mortality

A screen grab from a new trailer for "The Wolverine"  released Wednesday. (YouTube)
Has Wolverine found his kryptonite? And how will the rage-filled mutant who can heal from virtually any wound deal with the possibility of his own mortality? These are a few of the questions that a new trailer for “The Wolverine” raises. “The Wolverine” trailer, released Wednesday morning, opens with beautiful and deadly Japanese ninja Yukio (Rila Fukushima) confessing to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine that she has been searching for him for more than a year. They get on a plane to Japan, where a very rich and sickly man has a gift for Wolverine. During World War II, Wolverine saved this man’s life by shielding him from a nuclear blast. Now it’s time to repay the debt. “I didn’t send for you only to thank you, Logan,” the man says, reclining on a bed made of thick metal pins. “I want […]
March 22, 2013 | 1:14 p.m.

‘Star Trek’: Watch every episode to celebrate William Shatner’s birth

William Shatner as Captain Kirk, stardate 1960s (Los Angeles Times archives)
Got plans this weekend? You do now. Beginning Friday and running through March 31, the video streaming service Hulu is making every episode of the original “Star Trek” television series and all its offshoots — including “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space 9,” “Voyager” and “Enterprise” — available free for online viewing to celebrate William Shatner’s birthday. The actor who played Captain Kirk in the original series and in several subsequent movies turned 82 Friday. Fans have their work cut out for them: There are 693 episodes in all and just nine days to watch them. TV’s top 50 sci-fi characters: Mr. Spock, Starbuck and…TOBOR? For anyone interested in help navigating the “Star Trek” universe, Hulu has created a mini-playlist of episodes grouped together thematically. Kirk Outsmarts Computers is a six-episode set that shows Shatner’s tough-guy facing off against technology (and […]
March 21, 2013 | 2:14 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ and the art of the opening title sequence

A still from the opening title sequence of "Oz the Great and Powerful." (Disney)
Disney has released the opening title sequence for Sam Raimi’s $200-million fantasy “Oz the Great and Powerful” online, and before you start mumbling, “Who the heck cares?” keep in mind that this is not just your run-of-the-mill title sequence. This is a work of art. Yu + Co, a design firm based in Hollywood that also created opening titles for “The Life of Pi” and “The Walking Dead,” was tasked with crafting the title sequence for “Oz the Great and Powerful,” drawing inspiration from the Theater of Perspective, a pre-cinematic form of 3-D entertainment, according to a post on its website. The credits are especially dazzling when seen in 3-D, but even without the additional perspective, they still capture the early 20th century sideshow magic that permeates the film. The most memorable credit sequences always do reflect the spirit of […]
March 20, 2013 | 6:48 p.m.

Senate asteroid hearing: Impact threat real, can Bruce Willis help?

A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on February 15, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru)
People of Earth, beware: There is a 30% chance that an asteroid the size of the one that exploded over Russia or bigger will hit our planet in the next 100 years, former astronaut Ed Lu, told a U.S. Senate sub-committee Wednesday. “Yes, most of the Earth is unpopulated and we could get lucky,” he said. “But wouldn’t it be a shame if the area of the next impact wasn’t unpopulated?” Lu currently heads the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to “protecting humanity from asteroid impacts.” The foundation plans to build and launch the Sentinel, a space-based telescope the size of a Fed-Ex moving van. It will orbit the sun and from that vantage point catalog 90% of near-Earth objects that are 140 meters or larger. He was speaking at a hearing titled “Assessing the Risks, Impacts, and Solutions for […]
March 20, 2013 | 1:07 p.m.

Marshmallows! Kristen Bell to talk ‘Veronica Mars’ film on Twitter

2004: "Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell. (Warner Bros)
“Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell, and the show’s creator Rob Thomas know you probably have some questions about how their groundbreaking, crowd-funded “Veronica Mars” movie is going to work. And they would like to answer those questions on Thursday by way of a live chat on Twitter, beginning at 11 A.M. PDT. Predictably, they announced the chat on Twitter too: “Attn marshmallows! @RobThomas & I r doin a Live Twitter Chat tmrw @ 11AM PT- use #veronicamarsmovie & we’ll answer ur questions! RT!” Bell wrote, using her pet name for “Veronica Mars” fans. ‘Veronica Mars’ film a go, thanks to a kick from Kickstarter “Abandoned my personal pledge to never join Twitter, just so I can follow your #veronicamarsmovie chat tomorrow,” wrote @LRPeacock, in what did indeed appear to be the user’s first tweet ever. “Guess we better throw a great […]
March 20, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Game of Thrones’ quiz: How well do you know the world of Westeros?

HBO’s lavish fantasy “Game of Thrones” returns March 31 to once again transport audiences to the land of Westeros, where the fight for control of the Iron Throne continues and death lurks around every corner. To help test your Westeros know-how, we’ve put together a “Game of Thrones” quiz — what better way to help you brush up on your High Valyrian? The series’ third season will be loosely drawn from the first half of “A Storm of Swords,” the massive third book in George R.R. Martin’s long-running “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, which takes the sprawling narrative in some surprising, unexpected directions. For their part, show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are keeping plot details close to the boiled leather vest, but in a recent interview with Hero Complex, they did drop a few hints about […]
March 19, 2013 | 4:00 a.m.

Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin vs. the 10 best comic-book movie villains

Will Ben Kingsley's turn as the Mandarin live up to other great supervillain performances? (Marvel Comics; Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios)
When Oscar winner Ben Kingsley signed on to play the Mandarin in “Iron Man 3,” he joined a legion of super actors who have brought serious chops to villainous roles in comic-book movies throughout the years. In the “Iron Man 3” trailers, Kingsley’s Mandarin is calm and possessed, like a Zen master of evil, as he orchestrates the destruction of Tony Stark’s world. “Ladies, children, sheep,” he says in the first “Iron Man 3″ trailer in a menacing intonation all his own. “Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson No. 1: Heroes. There is no such thing.” Iron Man Quiz: How well do you know Tony Stark? But, whether Kingsley’s performance will live up to the best supervillain turns in cinema history remains to be seen. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in “Batman Returns,” for example, might […]
March 18, 2013 | 5:52 p.m.

‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’ sequel in the works

Gemma Arterton plays Gretel and Jeremy Renner plays Hansel in "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters."
(David Appleby /  Paramount Pictures)
Look out witches. Hunting season is starting all over again. Paramount Pictures and MGM announced plans on Monday to move forward with a sequel to January’s fractured fairy tale “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” which paired Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the slaying siblings all grown up looking for vengeance. Although the R-rated movie earned just $55 million domestically, it grossed about $206 million worldwide on a budget of roughly $50 million to make, according to our sister blog Company Town. Written and directed by Norway’s Tommy Wirkola, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” picks up 15 years after the events in the Grimms’ famous fable. Having escaped their childhood captivity in the confectionery cottage, Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) have turned pro, coping with the trauma of their youth by slaying spellcasters for hire. The seemingly unstoppable bounty hunters appear […]
March 18, 2013 | 2:04 p.m.

‘Doctor Who’: New episode posters and a trailer too

New poster for "Doctor Who"
“Doctor Who” returns to U.S. airwaves on March 30, and this weekend the BBC released new images from  four upcoming episodes, as well as information on what we can expect from the second half of Season 7. Here are a few hints: a dangerous cruise on a Russian submarine, a haunted mansion on the moor, and Dame Diana Rigg.  Oh, and something about how the Doctor’s greatest secret will be revealed. Intrigued? Doctor Who quiz: Test your smarts as the Doctor turns 50 “It’s the 50th year of ‘Doctor Who’ and look what’s going on!” “Doctor Who” lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat said in a BBC release. “If this wasn’t already our most exciting year it would be anyway!” “Doctor Who” fans will also, hopefully, get some answers about the Doctor’s next companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman). We first […]
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