April 07, 2014 | 5:31 p.m.
The fourth season of “Game of Thrones” kicked off Sunday night, transporting fans back to the world of Westeros after a 10-month hiatus from the small screen. About 6.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the episode, giving HBO its best numbers since 2007’s series final of “The Sopranos” and crashing HBO Go, the network’s online streaming service. The “Thrones” season premiere, titled “Two Swords,” picked up the story lines of most of the fantasy series’ major characters — no small feat given the show’s sprawling cast. Arya (Maisie Williams) proved herself in battle alongside the Hound; Daario (now played by “Nashville” actor Michiel Huisman) continued his overt flirtation with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) even as the Mother of Dragons faced the fact that her children are lethal and possibly beyond her control; and Pedro Pascal’s Red Viper made his debut […]
April 07, 2014 | 1:12 p.m.
The second installment in Hayao Miyazaki’s memoir is out Tuesday, offering a glimpse into the legendary animation director’s career of more than three decades, and Hero Complex readers get an exclusive sneak peek. “Turning Point: 1997-2008,” from Viz Media, traces the Japanese director’s most successful years, which saw the release of “Princess Mononoke,” the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Ponyo.” During this time, Miyazaki’s work received critical acclaim and began to garner an international audience. The 452-page tome includes Miyazaki’s essays about Japan’s animation culture, the differing perspectives of children and adults, and his memories of youth, among other topics; interviews with various publications and panels, including one with Roger Ebert; illustrations for Studio Ghibli holiday cards and films; and even poetry, written to aid composer Joe Hisaishi. “Turning Point” is the companion second volume to 1996’s “Starting Point: 1979-1996,” which […]
April 04, 2014 | 12:46 p.m.
“Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie is joining the cast of next year’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” the final installment in the blockbuster movie franchise. Christie, whose previous screen credits include Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and the BBC children’s series “Wizards vs. Aliens,” is best known for her “Game of Thrones” role. In the lavish HBO fantasy series,” Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, a warrior woman who is better with a broadsword than most of the male knights who cross her path. Christie is slated to play Commander Lyme, taking over the role from “Mockingjay – Part 1″ actress Lily Rabe (“American Horror Story”) due to a scheduling conflict with Rabe’s previous commitment to a production of “Much Ado About Nothing” at Shakespeare in the Park, according to Lionsgate. QUIZ: Test your ‘Game of […]
April 04, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.
The Aaron Eckhart-starring fantasy action film “I, Frankenstein” is arriving on Blu-ray and DVD next month, and Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at a new trailer for the home video release. The film, based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, follows Frankenstein’s monster (Eckhart) as he becomes embroiled in a battle between celestial gargoyles and infernal demons — two immortal races at war, with the fate of humankind in the balance. In addition to Eckhart, the January release stars Bill Nighy as the demon prince Naberius; Yvonne Strahovski (“Dexter”) as a scientist who experiments with reanimating corpses; Miranda Otto (“The Lord of the Rings”) as queen of the gargoyles; Jai Courtney (“Divergent”) as the leader of the gargoyle army; and Grevioux (“Underworld”) as the demon prince’s right-hand man. Though the film, directed by Stuart Beattie, opened […]
April 03, 2014 | 3:47 p.m.
The Chinese tradition of ghost marriages — weddings performed for deceased bachelors — serves as the inspiration for “The Undertaking of Lily Chen,” the latest graphic novel from author Danica Novgorodoff. The ancient practice sought to partner recently deceased singletons for their journeys into the afterlife, but a modern resurgence of the macabre tradition in contemporary China has led to grave-robbings and even killings — setting the stage for Novgorodoff’s tale. “Lily Chen,” from First Second Books, follows a young man named Deshi whose elder (and more favored) brother dies in an accident. Deshi’s parents hold him responsible and send him on a quest to find a corpse bride so his brother won’t have to enter the afterlife alone. When he meets the eponymous Lily Chen, a sharp-tongued and impulsive young woman trying to escape an arranged marriage, he sees […]
April 02, 2014 | 2:57 p.m.
The fourth season premiere of HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones” arrives Sunday after a 10-month hiatus, bringing the world of Westeros back to the small screen. The third season ended with quite a few shake-ups in the Seven Kingdoms, not least of which was the so-called Red Wedding, a massacre that left the Stark clan decimated. Season 4 is expected to bring more of the events included in the latter half of “A Storm of Swords” — the third book in George R. R. Martin’s bestselling “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, on which the sprawling show is based. As the action opens, Jon Snow prepares to defend the Wall against a Wildling invasion, maimed Jaime Lannister struggles to find his place back in King’s Landing, cruel King Joffrey plans to wed Margaery Tyrell despite Cersei’s objections, and […]
March 31, 2014 | 11:02 a.m.
A new TV spot for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” offers a first look at the menacing ape army. The trailer, which premiered during Sunday night’s season finale of “The Walking Dead,” begins with an ominous human voice-over. “You know the scary thing about ‘em?” the narration begins. “They don’t need power, lights, heat. Nothing. That’s their advantage, that’s what makes them stronger.” The teaser, which runs 43 seconds, shows the apes on horseback and, presumably, preparing for battle. Watch it in the video below. “Dawn” is set a decade after the events of 2011’s blockbuster “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” in which Caesar, a genetically evolved chimpanzee portrayed by Andy Serkis through performance capture technology, leads a host of simians to freedom. “Dawn” picks up in a post-apocalyptic future where humankind has been all but […]
March 28, 2014 | 5:07 p.m.
Lorenzo Semple Jr., creator of the classic Adam West-starring “Batman” television series, has died. The prolific screenwriter served as scribe for scores of films and TV series, including Dino De Laurentiis’ 1976 “King Kong,” the Warren Beatty-starring thriller “The Parallax View,” Sydney Pollack’s “Three Days of the Condor,” the 1980 cult darling “Flash Gordon” and the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again,” among other projects. Semple died Friday at his home in Brentwood of natural causes. Born March 27, 1923, Semple celebrated his 91st birthday Thursday. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Joyce; daughters Maria and Johanna; son Lorenzo; and six grandchildren. In a 2010 interview with Hero Complex contributor Susan King, Semple recalled being approached by producer William Dozier to develop an ABC television series based on the “Batman” comic book. “I got a cable […]
March 28, 2014 | 7:30 a.m.
Tuesday’s episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” finds Agent Phil Coulson’s team on the hunt for the Clairvoyant, their nefarious enemy of several episodes now, and Hero Complex readers get an exclusive sneak peek at the episode. Titled “End of the Beginning,” the episode reunites Clark Gregg’s Coulson and his team with Agents John Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Antoine Triplett (B.J. Britt) as they attempt to track down and discover the identity of the mysterious Clairvoyant. But Deathlok (J. August Richards) threatens to stand in their way. In the clip (watch it below), Garrett and Triplett are settling into what’s supposed to be a safe house when Deathlok bursts in. The episode, which airs Tuesday, was written by Paul Zbyszewski and directed by Bobby Roth. In addition to series regulars Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth […]
March 27, 2014 | 4:34 p.m.
George R. R. Martin, whose “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy book series is the basis for the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones,” has released a chapter of his forthcoming book, “The Winds of Winter.” The book, with a release date yet to be determined, will be the sixth installment in the series and is a long time coming after 2011’s “A Dance With Dragons.” Martin has said the series will contain a total of seven books, with the final installment — “A Dream of Spring” — also forthcoming with no definite release date in sight. Martin released the chapter, titled “Mercy,” on his website, replacing a previously released excerpt titled “Arianne.” The new chapter, Martin wrote on his blog, “is actually an old chapter” that was written “a long time ago,” before previously released samples of the […]