Feb. 14, 2014 | 1:24 p.m.
At this time of year the cinematic conversation usually is centered on Oscar front-runners, or the best titles that screened in Park City, Utah, or looking ahead to how much money “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” stands to rake in when it kicks off the summer blockbuster season. But in TV land, “The Walking Dead” is cable’s highest-rated drama. The astonishing popularity of that series owes to a number of factors — compelling characters under constant threat, grappling with what it means to be human in a world beset by inhuman calamity. And also zombies. In other words, all the hallmarks of what makes for the best horror cinema. With that in mind, it seemed a good time to explore the undying popularity of horror movies. As the two L.A. Times writers who most frequently cover the genre, we’re both serious […]
Feb. 06, 2014 | 4:46 p.m.
Ben Kingsley is back as the Mandarin — or more precisely, actor Trevor Slattery — in Marvel’s new one-shot, “All Hail the King.” The Oscar winner originated the comic book villain for last summer’s blockbuster “Iron Man 3,” turning up as a dangerous terrorist determined to bring down billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Of course, as the story advanced, the Mandarin was revealed to be something other than what he initially seemed, a character far removed from the scientist and martial artist who first appeared in comics in 1964’s “Tales of Suspense” No. 50. In director Shane Black’s film, Kingsley played to great comedic effect a failed English actor who was hired to create the role of a warrior philosopher with a driving hatred for America to help distract Stark from the machinations of Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian. […]
Jan. 31, 2014 | 11:34 a.m.
Early on a recent evening on the edge of Beverly Hills, Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha was breaking into song. Seated in the ballroom of a luxury hotel with Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman, the star of his new $120-million reboot of “RoboCop,” the director was feeling mirthful about the looming release of his first Hollywood production, which arrives in a hail of CG action and automatic weapons fire just before Valentine’s Day. Padilha made a name for himself with his 2002 documentary “Bus 174,” which chronicled a gruesome hijacking in Rio de Janeiro, and a pair of ultra-violent action movies — “Elite Squad,” about a Rio special-forces unit, won the Golden Bear award at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival; its sequel, “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within,” ranks as one of the highest-grossing Brazilian films in history. “RoboCop,” a retelling of the […]
Jan. 31, 2014 | 9:27 a.m.
An action-packed new teaser for the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Super Bowl spot debuted Friday, featuring stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie in full on action movie mode. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” arrives with the promise of bringing to the screen the famous 2005 comic book storyline by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting that inspired the name of the Marvel sequel, and the new film certainly will feel like a departure from Joe Johnston’s 2011 hit “Captain America: The First Avenger,” with its World War II-era focus that chronicled the beginning of Steve Rogers’ transformation into the Marvel icon. The sequel, which is set after the events depicted in 2012′s “The Avengers,” sees Evans’ hero having remained in the employ of S.H.I.E.L.D., occasionally teaming with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, or Black Widow, on key […]
Jan. 30, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” arrives in theaters April 4 with the promise of bringing to the screen the famous 2005 comic book storyline by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting that inspired the name of the Marvel sequel. Star Chris Evans and fraternal directing team Anthony and Joe Russo also looked back to certain cinematic landmarks to help bring a contemporary resonance to the superhero tale. Marvel “told us that they wanted to do a ’70s thriller, and we grew up on ’70s thrillers,” Joe Russo said in an interview with Hero Complex last year. “We’ve seen ‘The French Connection’ 50 times, studied it frame by frame.” Although Anthony and Joe Russo are best known to a certain swath of fans for their groundbreaking work on the subversive cult comedies “Community” and “Arrested Development,” they were able to […]
Jan. 14, 2014 | 2:59 p.m.
“Carrie,” last year’s big-screen retelling of Stephen King’s first published novel, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday with an alternate ending and some featurettes exploring the making of the film, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz as the traumatized telekinetic who becomes the brunt of a cruel prom night prank. The experience of making the film, a remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic starring Sissy Spacek in an Oscar-nominated turn, was profoundly emotional for the young actress, who shot to fame with memorable turns in such films as Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and the “Kick-Ass” movies, not to mention a winning guest stint on the television comedy “30 Rock.” In an interview with Hero Complex prior to the release of the movie, Moretz mentioned that she relied on the support of her family members to help carry her through the production. […]
Jan. 13, 2014 | 1:17 p.m.
“Behind the Candelabra” actor Michael Douglas will star in “Ant-Man,” Edgar Wright’s 2015 comic book adventure for Marvel. Douglas is set to play original Avengers member Hank Pym, Marvel announced on its website Monday. In the comics, Dr. Pym is a scientist who invents a shrinking serum that allows him to sneak around in miniature form and surprise foes. “With Hank Pym’s rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said in the announcement. “We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn’t be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life.” Douglas […]
Jan. 13, 2014 | 12:05 p.m.
The first trailer for the return of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is out, teasing a Season 4 filled with conquest and betrayal. The sprawling political fantasy series, which returns April 6, is based on George R. R. Martin’s bestselling “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series and has become a marquee attraction for HBO and a critical darling. In addition to being nominated for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series at this month’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, with star Peter Dinklage also nominated for his individual dramatic performance, “Thrones” has developed a massive and devoted fan following. “Game of Thrones’” fourth season is expected to chart the events chronicled in the latter half of Martin’s sprawling third book in the series, “A Storm of Swords,” but will also introduce characters and occurrences from other novels. PHOTOS: […]
Jan. 10, 2014 | 11:16 a.m.
HBO is drumming up the hype for the return of “Game of Thrones” with five mini-videos teasing the new season’s first trailer, to be aired Sunday. That’s right — five teasers for a trailer, all posted on the show’s Vine account. The sprawling political fantasy series, which returns April 6 for its fourth season, is based on George R. R. Martin’s bestselling “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series and has become a marquee attraction for HBO and a critical darling. In addition to being nominated for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series at this month’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, with star Peter Dinklage also nominated for his individual dramatic performance, “Thrones” has developed a massive and devoted fan following. PHOTOS: Meet the ‘Thrones’ cast without their costumes The Vine videos (watch them below) feature several scenes, […]
Jan. 10, 2014 | 10:05 a.m.
Among the massive metal containers that lined the scorched asphalt of a Carson shipping yard, directors Joe and Anthony Russo sheltered beneath a portable canopy while Captain America and the Falcon battled one seriously amped-up adversary in the relentless July heat. The trio punched, ducked and dodged blows until the forthright hero, star-spangled shield in hand, took a hit and tumbled over a thin metal rail, falling several stories to the ground. The filmmakers called “Cut,” actor Anthony Mackie called for an umbrella, and stunt man Sam Hargrave stood up from the mats that helped him land safely, mopping sweat from his brow as he prepared to do the scene once more. He was aiming for a slightly different trajectory on the next descent, hoping that when audiences watched the epic fight that concludes “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the […]