Oct. 31, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
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.
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.
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. 28, 2014 | 7:21 p.m.
A line of comic-book movie fans stretched down Hollywood Boulevard late Tuesday morning, each person hoping for a seat inside the historic El Capitan Theatre, where the electronic marquee had been taken over by the Marvel Studios logo. Bringing a touch of Comic-Con International frenzy to Disney’s movie palace, Marvel movie chief Kevin Feige took the wraps off the company’s latest lineup at a launch event that felt like an Apple product unveiling, only for superheroes. Feige, wearing a ball cap and jeans, stood alone at the side of the El Capitan stage while release dates and titles for nine new films were projected onto the screen behind him like a road map to box-office gold. Particularly notable were the introduction of actor Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, the first black character to anchor his own Marvel film, and the […]
Oct. 28, 2014 | 12:10 p.m.
Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and the Inhumans will be starring in their own films as part of Marvel’s Phase Three wave of comic-book blockbusters. The announcements about Marvel’s upcoming movie projects took place Tuesday in Hollywood at the El Capitan Theatre at a special event attended by the company’s brass and key filmmaking partners. Marvel movie chief Kevin Feige identified key dates for new releases that will make up Phrase Three. They included: May 6, 2016 — “Captain America: Civil War” Nov. 4, 2016 — “Doctor Strange” May 5, 2017 — “Guardians of the Galaxy 2″ July 28, 2017 — “Thor: Ragnarok” Nov. 3, 2017 — “Black Panther” May 4, 2018 — “Avengers: Infinity War Part I” July 6, 2018 — “Captain Marvel” Nov. 2, 2018 — “Inhumans” May 3, 2019 — “Avengers: Infinity War Part II” Actor […]
Oct. 24, 2014 | 4:40 a.m.
Matt Ryan had just finished a run of “Henry V” in London’s West End, playing Fluellen to Jude Law’s commanding prince, when he flew to America earlier this year to meet with the producers of NBC’s “Constantine.” Not three weeks later, he found himself wearing John Constantine’s signature trench coat, preparing to battle supernatural forces in the starring role in the new series, adapted from the long-running DC series “Hellblazer,” set to premiere Oct. 24. “It was a bit of a whirlwind actually,” the Welsh actor said during a recent interview, speaking by phone from “Constantine’s” Atlanta set, where he was shooting the sixth episode of the show, created by executive producers Daniel Cerone (“Dexter”) and David S. Goyer. But even in these early days, he seems to have found his footing with the character, last seen on screen in […]
Oct. 23, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Is director Neil Marshall pleased to see John Constantine reborn for the small screen, personal demons and English accent intact? In a word, yes. “I’m very happy that it’s gone back to its roots, having a British guy with the blond hair and a few nasty habits. That’s how it should be,” Marshall said recently over coffee in a downtown Los Angeles eatery. It’s true that the supernatural investigator played by Matt Ryan on NBC’s new series “Constantine” bears a much stronger resemblance to the paranormal detective of the “Hellblazer” comics than did Keanu Reeves in the 2005 big-screen horror adventure of the same name. Perhaps a bit of credit for that transformation goes to Marshall, who directed the pilot for the show, created by executive producers Daniel Cerone (“Dexter”) and David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight” film trilogy). But […]
Oct. 22, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.
When “American Horror Story” creator Ryan Murphy first contacted actor John Carroll Lynch about a possible role on the fourth season of his gleefully deranged hit, he was upfront about his aims for a new character, a silent, grinning killer straight out of a child’s nightmare. “He described it in a way that I understood it to be somebody calling me up and going, ‘We’d like you to play my version of the Phantom of the Opera,’ ” Lynch recalled recently. “He said he wanted to create the most terrifying clown in the history of television.” By all accounts, he succeeded. Lynch’s Twisty the Clown has become the chief talking point of “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” quite an achievement considering Murphy stocked the latest season of his Emmy-winning anthology series with conjoined twins, a bearded Kathy Bates and a […]
Oct. 16, 2014 | 3:25 p.m.
Another “Star Wars” veteran has signed on for a role in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Episode VII.” Actor Warwick Davis, who played Ewok Wicket in “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi,” confirmed Thursday that he had been cast in the new film, currently in production in England. The news came courtesy of a humorous video posted on the official “Star Wars” You Tube channel. Watch it below. “Star Wars: Episode VII” takes place 30 years after the events of “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” with original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker joining Davis as part of the ensemble cast. READ: Warwick Davis talks ‘Harry Potter’ Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and newcomer Daisy Ridley, in addition to Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, performance capture expert Andy Serkis and […]
Oct. 13, 2014 | 7:01 p.m.
Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to reprise his role as Tony Stark for Marvel’s 2016 release, “Captain America 3.” Marvel officially declined to comment, but sources confirmed that Downey would return to the role that catapulted him to superhero celebrity provided that discussions between the actor and the comic book movie powerhouse continued to progress. The news was first reported by Variety Monday night. Downey has made numerous headlines recently while promoting his new drama “The Judge,” dropping various hints about his ongoing relationship with Marvel, mentioning a possible “Iron Man 4,” among other projects. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” directors (and brothers) Joe and Anthony Russo will return to direct the third standalone film to star Chris Evans as patriotic hero Steve Rogers from a script penned by “Winter Soldier” scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Downey and […]