June 12, 2012 | 8:00 a.m.
The topic has been making the rounds in cinéaste circles, and on Thursday it reached the cafeteria at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. Three of the studio’s directors — Oscar winners Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “Wall-E”) and Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3″) and Oscar nominee Bob Peterson (“Up”) — sat down for lunch and began chewing on a Hollywood mystery: the Ridley Scott Exception. “We started talking about it because Lee mentioned how he had just shown both ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Alien’ to his teenage daughter and that she loved both of them,” Stanton recalled later that day. “Certainly story and character must be king for a movie to stand the test of time, but typically every [science fiction] movie, no matter how good it looks, is ultimately betrayed in the end by the limitations of whatever current technology […]
June 04, 2011 | 7:26 a.m.
The mighty mutants of the Marvel Universe are back on the screen with “X-Men: First Class,” which hit theaters this weekend. The retro adventure begins in World War II and tracks through to the Cuban Missile Crisis to tell the secret history of mutants and set the stage for adventures shown in previously released films. There are a lot of new faces – good and evil mutants such as Azazel (played by Jason Flemyng), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Riptide (Álex González) and Darwin (Edi Gathegi) — but we’ve put together a photo gallery that explains some of the connections (and disconnects) between this throw-back adventure and the four previous Fox films. Just click “CAPTIONS ON” to read it but be warned there are some mild spoilers in there. – Jevon Phillips and Noelene Clark RECENT AND RELATED January Jones stressed by sexy suits Why is Kevin Bacon […]
June 02, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.
“X-Men: First Class” star James McAvoy was back at his home in London on Wednesday and waiting for the film’s opening weekend with the mix of anxiety and excitement you might expect. The film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, has been enjoying some stellar early reviews, and the actor who now plays Charles Xavier can’t help wondering if that means he will be losing his hair and his on-screen sense of humor in the months and years to come. The Fox film that opens Friday is a prequel to previous “X-Men” films — this one is set in the 1940s and 1960s — and Vaughn and producer Bryan Singer have talked about two more films that would follow this new story and add chapters that would fall, chronologically, in the decades leading up to the earlier movies. In those, Patrick Stewart portrayed Xavier as a serious man with big thoughts […]
April 26, 2011 | 2:23 p.m.
Here’s an early look at my “X-Men: First Class” preview in the Summer Sneaks issue in the upcoming Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar issue. How’s this for unexpected territory in a superhero film: “X-Men: First Class” not only uses the Kennedy years, the Civil Rights movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis as a backdrop for its retro tale, the movie’s story of two massively powerful mutants who struggle against bitter prejudice was directly informed by the complicated lives of Malcolm X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “It came up early on in the rehearsal period and that was the path we took,” says Michael Fassbender, who stars as the emotionally scarred Erik Lehnsherr, who will become the militant mutant known as Magneto. “These two brilliant minds coming together and their views aren’t that different on some key things. As you […]
April 08, 2011 | 6:46 p.m.
Michael Fassbender is just three weeks into the filming of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” but the star says the experience is a dazzling one already. “I walk on the set and I feel like I’m walking on a spaceship,” Fassbender said. “It’s breathtaking. All the various panels and screens…it’s just dealing with a top-notch art department and carpenters and the riggers and everything that goes into putting that together. It’s just, well, breathtaking, all of it.” The June 2012 release, which also stars Charlize Theron, was originally conceived as a prequel to Scott’s 1979 classic “Alien” but it veered off in other directions and is now planned as a stand-alone project (or, perhaps, a prequel being disguised to preserve some mystery). Fassbender wasn’t at liberty to say too much about the film but I asked him if the character he’s portrays has been especially elusive. […]