April 01, 2011 | 5:02 p.m.
On the sliding scale of science fiction believability, with could-happen-tomorrow scenarios like “The Andromeda Strain” on one end and total fantasy like “Star Wars” on the other, two sci-fi films currently in theaters, “Limitless” and “Source Code,” land squarely on the plausible end. But how realistic are they? Scientists say both movies are currently fantasy, but advances in science mean they could be reality sooner than we think. Beware: minor spoilers lie ahead. “Limitless” presents a wish-fulfillment fantasy, starring Bradley Cooper as a failed writer who discovers the incredible joys (and sinister side effects) of an untested pharmaceutical drug called NZT-48 that opens up parts of his brain he’s never utilized before. He can process unlimited streams of data and multitask like a high-end supercomputer. He can earn a fortune playing the stock market in a single afternoon and still […]
March 30, 2011 | 5:12 p.m.
Duncan Jones had entrée into the world of celebrities, movies and pop culture from the moment he was born. As the son of British rock legend David Bowie, his friends were the children of other musicians, actors and artists. He grew up the musical equivalent of a military brat, calling, at times, London, Berlin, Tokyo and New York home. His introduction to professional filmmaking came from observing his father on the sets of films, including the 1986 fantasy “Labyrinth.” But his 2009 low-budget science-fiction drama, “Moon,” and this Friday’s science-fiction thriller “Source Code” reflect a very different Duncan Jones. Whereas his celebu-spawn contemporary Sofia Coppola makes movies like “Somewhere” and “Lost in Translation” — films ensconced in show business culture — Jones crafts mind-bending science-fiction narratives in which isolated men in desperate situations search for answers. To find the roots […]
March 11, 2011 | 9:00 a.m.
Is it a conspiracy? “The X-Files” went off the air in 2002 and the spooky brand name won’t be seeing the light of day anytime soon after that forgettable feature-film revival in 2008. But here in early 2011 it feels like the truth is still out there — and we’re not just talking about the flashlights and lab coats inherited by Fox’s “Fringe.” Hollywood has a half-dozen movies hitting theaters — all within a 42-day release window — that might be filed under X, in one way or another. Consider: “I Am Number Four” (Feb. 18): Sure, “Smallville” and “Twilight” inform the tone and character vibes of this movie, but the subplots of secret alien wars on earth, discredited conspiracy theorists and extraterrestrial abductionwere written with the basic alphabet of the old Fox series. Don’t trust us, just listen to supporting character Sam (played by […]
Nov. 25, 2010 | 7:00 a.m.
With Gore Verbinski saddling up to direct “The Lone Ranger” for Disney, and his “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Johnny Depp already attached as Tonto, the question is, who will play the Masked Man? Hero Complex has some suggestions for Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Vote and let us know whom you’d like to see yelling, “Hi-ho, Silver!“: Hugh Jackman: As Wolverine, Jackman channeled old-school laconic tough guys, and as a cattle driver in “Australia,” he honed his horseman skills. Plus, the world may be finally ready for another singing cowboy. Jon Hamm: Born with a jaw line for period movies, Hamm is due for a franchise role. But can we really trust Don Draper to lasso the bad guys? George Clooney: At nearly 50, Clooney may be too senior for the part, but “The Lone Ranger” is the ultimate […]
May 20, 2010 | 11:52 p.m.
It was a bit soggy Monday night in Hollywood at the premiere of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” but maybe that was appropriate. If you look at the films of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, there’s often carefully lit downpours during the moody scenes — as well as slow-motion gun battles, lovingly documented explosions and some of the most photogenic civic mayhem in movie history. Luckily there were no bombs going off Monday on Hollywood Boulevard — although “Prince of Persia” is getting some underwhelming reviews so far. Disney has high hopes that “Persia,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, (show in the photo below, on the left, with Bruckheimer) might become the adventure franchise that can take the place of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which has netted $2.7 billion in worldwide box office but is expected to go into dry dock after the fourth installment is released next May. […]
April 30, 2010 | 5:03 p.m.
Jake Gyllenhaal as the ‘Prince of Persia': You try on a coat, you wear for it a while and you give it back
This is a longer version of my feature in this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times Calendar section on Jake Gyllenhaal and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” The reporting was all done in San Francisco. With roles in indie or edgy fare like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Jarhead,” “Zodiac” and”Donnie Darko,” Jake Gyllenhaal has not been the sort of actor whose face you see on the side of a Slurpee cup or along the toy aisles of American retail. That is changing this summer, though, with the 29-year-old actor’s title role in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” which is not only based on a video game, it was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, a master blaster in the popcorn-movie sector. On a recent trip to the Bay Area to promote the Disney adventure film, Gyllenhaal seem wide-eyed but also amused by his […]
April 06, 2010 | 4:17 p.m.
This is a longer version of my cover story in today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. I flew up to the Bay Area to moderate some panels at WonderCon and between the time at the microphone I jotted down notes and wrote up this piece. It’s been updated with this intro, another photo and video. If there is anyone in Hollywood who shouldn’t be startled by loud noises, it’s Jerry Bruckheimer. Still, on Saturday, the producer behind thundering movies such as “Armageddon,” “The Rock” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series looked positively startled by the crowd roar that greeted him at the Moscone Center during the event called WonderCon. After struggling to find his properly assigned seat on stage, Bruckheimer surveyed the 4,500 fans and blinked into the flares and flashes of hundreds of snapping cameras. “This […]
Feb. 23, 2010 | 2:43 p.m.
In another universe, Jason Bourne or the Prince of Persia might have been running around the jungles of Pandora. “Avatar” director James Cameron spoke to both Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal about playing the role of Jake Sully in the sci-fi epic that now stands as the biggest moneymaker in the history of Hollywood with $2.5 billion in worldwide box office. Both stars, perhaps leery of a blue-in-the-face gig, declined, and the filmmaker instead went with his first choice — unknown Aussie actor Sam Worthington, who was living in his car before he got the job. Cameron said he offered the role to the big-name stars only to placate the studio chiefs at Fox, who wanted a bankable star to offset some of the risks of the expensive project. “I don’t think they ever had a problem with the CG, “ Cameron said. “Honestly, did I go out and […]