Mark Olsen

April 24, 2015 | 8:30 a.m.

In ‘Fury Road,’ a new ‘Mad Max’ hurtles into familiar mythology

AUSTIN, Texas — The three films in the “Mad Max” trilogy have always felt like primal epics, as if they were fables handed down for generations by word of mouth. Former police patrolman Max Rockatansky, who lost his family at the hands of a marauding motorcycle gang, drives the wasteland on the run from everyone, perhaps most of all himself. The first two films, “Mad Max” and “The Road Warrior,” helped make an international superstar of Mel Gibson and announced Australian filmmaker George Miller, onetime emergency room doctor turned high-impact visionary, as a force to be reckoned with. Thirty years after the third film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Miller is unveiling a new Max and a world he describes as “uniquely familiar” with “Mad Max: Fury Road.” FULL COVERAGE: Summer Movie Sneaks Max is now played by Tom Hardy, best known […]
July 09, 2014 | 6:40 a.m.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ video: No villains allowed

In the new film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” it can be a bit confusing whom to root for. Or, more accurately, there’s no one to clearly root against. Audiences come to sympathize with both the small band of humans struggling to survive in what’s left of San Francisco some 10 years after a worldwide plague plunged civilization into a new dark age, and also with the colony of apes, led by the chimpanzee Caesar, who have built up a society of their own. When the two cultures clash, there are bound to be only losers, no winners. After a recent Hero Complex screening of the film, director Matt Reeves sat down with stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman to discuss the highly anticipated sequel. A longtime fan of the “Apes” series going back to its original incarnation, […]
July 08, 2014 | 6:45 a.m.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ video: Apes riding horses and more

At the recent Hero Complex screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” director Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman were on hand for a conversation after the film. Picking up the story 10 years after the end of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” the new film concerns a small band of human survivors stumbling upon a colony of apes whose civilization has grown more sophisticated. After attempting to peacefully coexist, tensions build between the two groups and escalates to all-out war. Despite being a summer popcorn blockbuster, the film also plays as a strong character drama, with thematic parallels between the humans, including characters played by Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell, and the apes, portrayed by Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer and others using performance-capture technology. Even when the film gets to […]
July 07, 2014 | 1:54 p.m.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ video: Serkis on being ‘in the moment’

With a series of roles that includes Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” series, the title role in “King Kong” and now Caesar the chimpanzee in the two most recent “Planet of the Apes” films,  Andy Serkis has been redefining screen acting. Exploring what is now called performance-capture technology, in which an actor will perform with other actors and then be replaced with digitally created imagery based upon that performance, Serkis has given the process an unexpected legitimacy. Instead of limiting his range, he’s found a way to interface with the technology in an emotionally resonant way. In the new “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Serkis reprises his role as Caesar. As the new film opens some 10 years after the end of the previous film, Caesar has led a colony of apes to new levels of […]
Feb. 14, 2014 | 1:24 p.m.

Horror cinema: A valentine to genre favorites from two admirers

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 […]
July 10, 2013 | 1:16 p.m.

‘Oldboy’: Red-band trailer for Spike Lee redo recalls shocking original

The red-band trailer for Spike Lee’s remake of “Oldboy” is out, and it suggests that the director’s new film might hew closely to Park Chan-wook’s dizzying, disturbing 2003 original. The trailer lays out the basic premise — a man (Josh Brolin) is abducted and held in captivity for 20 years, until one day he’s mysteriously freed and sets out to learn the identity of his captor and the reason for his imprisonment, forging uneasy alliances and wielding a hammer to exact bloody revenge.(Before you watch, take note that the clip contains strong language and graphic images not suitable for work or for younger readers.) For some cinephiles, the remake, which was written by “I Am Legend” and “Thor” screenwriter Mark Protosevich, is one of the most anticipated releases of the fall. Park’s film is revered as an accomplished cult oddity, […]
Feb. 26, 2013 | 2:08 p.m.

Dolph Lundgren talks career revival, old-school action, ‘Avengers’

A former engineering student and recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to MIT, the Swedish-born Dolph Lundgren first burst on the scene as the Russian boxing machine Ivan Drago in 1985’s “Rocky IV.” Since then he has had a journeyman actor’s career, even directing a handful of films himself. But in the last few years Lundgren has turned from a where-are-they-now trivia question to a retro action antihero, with his roles in both “The Expendables” and “The Expendables 2,” the recent “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning” and now “The Package.” “Day of Reckoning” was recently declared “the best film of last year” by no less an august publication than the Paris Review. INTERACTIVE: ’80s action heroes reload For the recent home video release of “The Package,” in which Lundgren plays a ruthless mob boss, Hero Complex was able to talk with […]
Jan. 17, 2013 | 2:00 p.m.

Sundance Film Festival 2013: 8 movies for fans of the fantastic

Thursday evening sees the kickoff to the 2013 edition of the Sundance Film Festival, the annual indie confab that is the site of plenty of industry dealmaking and celeb-spotting as half of Hollywood seems to descend on Park City, Utah, for 10 days of hard-core movie-watching and celebrating. The 2013 lineup features 119 feature-length films culled from more than 4,000 submissions, and a handful of those have a decidedly Hero Complex bent. With that in mind, here are eight films to look out for. Some might be hard to find — Sundance movies don’t always land national theatrical distribution — but with VOD and online viewing options multiplying at a rapid clip, chances are good you’ll have the opportunity to see these titles in some fashion in the months ahead. SUNDANCE: Full coverage “Computer Chess”: It isn’t a comic-book superhero […]
Dec. 30, 2012 | 2:11 p.m.

2012 in review: 10 movies to see — or see again

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. […]
Oct. 27, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.

Composer Claudio Simonetti on Argento, ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Dracula 3D’

For many people the names Claudio Simonetti, Goblin and Dario Argento are forever intertwined. The Italian composer and musician was a part of the band Goblin when it composed deeply influential music for Argento’s horror films “Deep Red” and “Suspiria,” its sense of grandeur and spooky dynamics blending well with Argento’s baroque visual style. After the band broke up, Simonetti continued to collaborate with Argento — he recently composed the score for Argento’s upcoming “Dracula 3D.” Simonetti will appear twice this weekend at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles. On Saturday he will play as part of the Synthpocalypse Halloween Party (streaming live at and on Sunday, he will sit down for an extended Q&A before a screening of Argento’s “Tenebrae” as part of a members-only event. Earlier this week he talked with Hero Complex […]
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