Nov. 22, 2013 | 6:12 p.m.
The “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special is out in theaters Saturday, and Whovians across the globe are celebrating the BBC series’ milestone. In addition to receiving a limited theatrical release, the feature-length special “The Day of the Doctor” will be simulcast worldwide on TV in more than 75 countries, including the U.S. The special is set to premiere on BBC America at 11:50 a.m. PST. The event is the culmination of a year-long celebration of the long-running science-fiction show’s anniversary, with a special panel at Comic-Con International this summer; the release of “An Adventure in Space and Time,” a film about the show’s inception and the first actor to play the Doctor, William Hartnell; a slate of commemorative TV specials about the show and the various actors who have played the time-traveling alien; and a series of live events in the U.S. […]
Nov. 21, 2013 | 12:50 p.m.
It’s difficult to separate “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith from the larger-than-life role he’s inhabited for the past 3-1/2 years. Even out of costume, the 30-year-old actor radiates the exuberance and twinkly eyed curiosity that are the hallmarks of his character, the ever-regenerating, time traveling alien protagonist in the world’s longest-running sci-fi TV series. But his time in the role is about to run out – Smith will leave the series this year to follow a new career path that will take him to Hollywood; he recently acted opposite Christina Hendricks in the Ryan Gosling-directed thriller “How to Catch a Monster,” due out in 2014. The 55-year-old Scottish actor Peter Capaldi will take his place as the BBC show’s leading man. “I’d have very happily done another year,” Smith said, propping his boots up on the coffee table in a […]
Nov. 21, 2013 | 9:44 a.m.
The Xbox One hits stores on Friday, and the reviews are pouring in. Game critics are weighing the pros and cons of Microsoft’s next-generation video game console, and, much like last week’s reaction to Sony’s PlayStation 4, the reviews are overall positive, with a few notable shortcomings. Critics praised the Xbox One’s ambition, its relatively seamless integration into existing media centers, its launch game lineup and its potential as an all-encompassing media hub, while complaining about its seemingly uncreative console design and several flaws with the Kinect’s voice-recognition capabilities. Reviews were divided on the elegance and functionality of its new user interface. The Times’ own Todd Martens notes that the PS4 and the Xbox One focus on different aspects of a video game console’s potential. “Their presentation — the arguments they put forth about how games can and should be […]
Nov. 19, 2013 | 4:52 p.m.
For those of us who don’t receive our letters via owls, the United States Postal Service is releasing “Harry Potter”-themed postage stamps. Beginning Tuesday, Muggles can choose from stamps featuring Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) as well as other heroes and villains from the wizarding world. Hogwarts hopefuls might be rejoicing that the boy wizard has been immortalized on a “forever” stamp (stamps that aren’t assigned a specific cent value and can still be used if postage prices increase), but not everyone is happy about the Harry Potter stamps. Some members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, which for 56 years has researched and recommended subjects for new stamps, are upset after the Postal Service bypassed that panel in its decision to run 100 million Potter stamps, the Washington Post reports. “Harry Potter […]
Nov. 19, 2013 | 12:22 p.m.
A new trailer for “The Wind Rises” is out, offering a glimpse at the film legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki has said will be his last. The Studio Ghibli release tells the story of real-life Japanese engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Zero fighter plane. The film, based on a short story by Japanese poet Hori Tatsuo, follows Jiro through pre-World War II Japan, the country’s devastating 1923 earthquake, a tuberculosis epidemic and economic troubles that preceded the war. It’s a departure from Miyazaki’s previous work, which often relied on myth, magical realism and a strong focus on nature. “The Wind Rises,” which marks Miyazaki’s first time directing since “Ponyo” five years ago, was released briefly earlier this month for an Oscar-qualifying run. Originally in Japanese with English subtitles, “The Wind Rises” will be released for North American audiences under […]
Nov. 18, 2013 | 1:00 p.m.
Cookie Monster enters the arena in a new “Sesame Street” parody of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” “The Hungry Games: Catching Fur,” released Monday, is replete with “Hunger Games” references, kicking off with an announcement by a Muppety version of Effie Trinket. “The time has come to choose who will play in the Hungry Games,” the pink puppet says. “And may the cookies be ever in your flavor.” Cookieness Evereat – Cookie Monster with a Katniss Everdeen braid — is lured in by the promise of cookies. “Me volunteer!” Cookieness yells. “Me volunteer to play!” Puppet versions of Finnick Odair (who is a finicky eater), Peeta Mellark (a piece of pita bread) and Wiress (who carries a clock with her) also make appearances. QUIZ: Test your ‘Hunger Games’ knowledge Cookieness and company must solve food-related puzzles to fend off the horrors of the Hungry Games arena, which are, […]
Nov. 16, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
After thousands of gamers waited in line for the midnight release of PlayStation 4, Sony’s next-generation video game console is finally out. Reviews for the highly anticipated machine are pouring in and for the most part, they’re positive. Game critics tout the PS4′s sleek console design, intuitive controller and improved user interface while lamenting the relatively slim lineup of original launch games to show off the powerful new hardware. The Times’ own Todd Martens notes that the new console is evidence of Sony’s laser-focus on its hard-core gamer audience. “The highly sociable PS4 sidesteps attempts by competitors to capture a more casual player and subsume all home media options with a machine that offers no-nonsense gaming professionalism,” Martens writes. “If it the PS4 weren’t $400, it could be seen as a love letter to Sony’s core audience.” Console design The […]
Nov. 14, 2013 | 11:26 a.m.
Katniss Everdeen is back in action in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” The movie sequel, based on the second installment in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian young-adult book trilogy, is due in theaters Nov. 22 and stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. Though the pair were the victors of the 74th Hunger Games in the first film, their troubles are far from over when an unexpected twist lands them back in the battle arena, once more fighting for their lives. “She’s struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder after the games while living in Victor’s Village, where she never wants for food, and feels useless,” Lawrence said of her character’s evolution during Comic-Con International in San Diego this summer. “She’s adapting to a new life.” Directed by Francis Lawrence (“Water for Elephants,” “I Am Legend”), the film also stars […]
Nov. 13, 2013 | 10:14 a.m.
“Divergent” fans got a glimpse of Tris Prior’s world in a new trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation and a live chat with the director Wednesday morning. The film, based on the popular young adult book trilogy by Veronica Roth, is set in a dystopian future in which teenagers are sorted into five factions based on their virtues. The trailer introduces heroine Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, who is born into the faction Abnegation, which esteems selflessness above all other characteristics. Like all teenagers, Tris takes an aptitude test to determine which faction she ultimately belongs to — Abnegation, Amity (kindness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery) or Erudite (intelligence). “The only way our society can survive is for each of you to claim your rightful place,” Kate Winslet’s Jeanine Matthews tells the young people in the trailer. “The future belongs to those […]
Nov. 12, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.
WonderCon is returning to Anaheim for a third year in 2014. The pop culture expo is slated for April 18-20. WonderCon is run by the organizers of San Diego’s Comic-Con International, which announced the WonderCon dates on its blog Tuesday morning, and is in many ways a smaller version of that mega-convention. More than 56,000 sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comics fans and professionals descended on Anaheim for this year’s event, which offered panel discussions for blockbuster films, popular television shows and comics creators, not to mention portfolio reviews for aspiring professionals, book signings, a cosplay masquerade, video game demonstrations and geek-friendly shopping on the convention floor. Next year’s expo, to be held over Easter weekend, marks WonderCon’s third engagement at the Anaheim Convention Center after renovations and scheduling conflicts at San Francisco’s Moscone Center forced the convention from its Bay […]