science fiction

June 09, 2013 | 8:08 a.m.

Beyond ‘Game of Thrones’: Exploring diversity in speculative fiction

Nalo Hopkinson, novelist and a professor at UC Riverside. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Last August, Weird Tales magazine, long a fixture on the speculative fiction landscape, got hit with a heavy dose of online fury. The publication had made plans to publish an excerpt from an ecologically themed dystopian novel in which whites are the oppressed minority and their oppressors are referred to as “coals.” Those who attacked the work were upset by a number of elements seen as racially problematic, up to and including the title, “Saving the Pearls,’’ “pearls” being the book’s term for white people and a word read as charged with an altogether different tenor than the notion of “coals.” In response to the outcry, the magazine pulled the excerpt. Online protests and allegations of racial weirdness in science fiction and fantasy are hardly new, but they began to seriously come to a head with the still contentious Internet […]
May 07, 2013 | 2:33 p.m.

‘Ender’s Game’ trailer teases outer space spectacle, Mazer Rackham

The new trailer for “Ender’s Game” received a prominent rollout online Tuesday afternoon, with director Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), producer Robert Orci and star Asa Butterfield participating in a Google+ hangout that coincided with the premiere of the promotional spot for the sci-fi adventure adapted from the novel by Orson Scott Card. Set in a near future in which an alien race known as the Formics have attacked Earth, the movie stars Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a bright boy who’s recruited to help humanity face future threats. Guided in his growth by Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford), Ender advances from Battle School to Command School and soon finds himself under the tutelage of the legendary Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley, the Oscar-winning actor who’s getting a lot of screen time in fantastic films these days). “They know our strategies. […]
April 20, 2013 | 4:59 p.m.

‘Oblivion’: Tom Cruise, Joseph Kosinski on partnership, Morgan Freeman

Tom Cruise is expected to win the weekend at the box office with his new sci-fi outing “Oblivion,” which has garnered some notably warm reviews. The Times’ Kenneth Turan, for example, described the movie as a “throwback to the days when on-screen science fiction was about speculative ideas rather than selling toys to tots.” After an early IMAX screening of the Universal film in New York this week, Cruise and “Oblivion” director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) talked about their on-set collaboration as one of the secrets to the movie’s creative success. “I don’t know how you wouldn’t collaborate with your actors,” Kosinski told Hero Complex contributor Rebecca Keegan during an interactive Q&A in which people nationwide were invited to participate via Twitter. “They are telling your story for you. It’s so important that the director and the actors are all […]
April 18, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Oblivion’: Tom Cruise on Iceland filming, character building

In the new film “Oblivion,” Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper, a former astronaut tasked with remaining behind on a future Earth. He collects small items — a Yankee ball cap, Led Zeppelin albums, chewing gum — that offer some telling insights. “This is a guy who’s in love with a time that exists before he was born,” said director Joseph Kosinski. “He’s on the surface and finding these trinkets. There’s certain things he finds that have a special connection but he doesn’t know why he’s attached to them. That’s part of the fun of this story.” Hero Complex hosted an early screening of the Universal film Monday night in New York and afterward, in a special interactive Q&A simulcast to nine IMAX theaters across the country, the star and the director talked about the majesty of the “stunning” Icelandic […]
April 16, 2013 | 10:13 a.m.

‘Oblivion’: Tom Cruise talks return to big-screen spectacle sci-fi

Tom Cruise was on hand Monday night in New York for an early screening of his new Universal film “Oblivion,” hosted by Hero Complex, and afterward, in a special interactive Q&A simulcast to nine IMAX theaters across the country, the star talked at length about his interest in making the film, citing in particular filmmaker Joseph Kosinksi, calling the writer-director seated beside him “a world creator” and a “true visionary.” Based on a 2010 graphic novel Kosinski penned with comic book writer Arvid Nelson, “Oblivion,” which opens Friday, takes place on a future Earth left decimated by an alien invasion. Former Marine Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of a few people left on the planet to mop up after the war. The movie, written by Karl Gajdusek and Michael deBruyn, also stars Morgan Freeman as a 102-year-old insurgency leader, Melissa […]
April 15, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.

Video: ‘Oblivion’ Q&A with Tom Cruise and Joseph Kosinski

Get those questions ready — tonight the Hero Complex screening series will offer fans an early look at the new film “Oblivion” followed by a unique opportunity to pose queries directly to star Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”). Following screenings of “Oblivion” in 10 cities across the country, Cruise and Kosinski will join Hero Complex contributor Rebecca Keegan at 7 p.m. Pacific time on Monday at New York City’s AMC Loews 34th Street to discuss the movie and respond to fan questions. The film opens in theaters Friday. The post-screening interview will be simulcast via satellite to IMAX theaters in Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego and Virginia Beach, Va. Audiences in all 10 cities as well as online viewers can submit potential questions real time via Twitter by tweeting queries for Cruise […]
April 09, 2013 | 4:11 p.m.

‘Elysium’: New trailer invites you to Bloomkamp’s space paradise

Matt Damon in "Elysium." Credit: Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.
The new trailer is out for “Elysium,” Neill Blomkamp’s highly anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-nominated feature debut “District 9,” and it promises to return the filmmaker to the realm of cerebral sci-fi that won him such an ardent following. In the year 2154, the wealthy residents of Earth have relocated to the paradise of Elysium, a beautiful space station where there is no poverty, no war and no sickness — and where strict anti-immigration measures ensure that only those rich enough to pay for admittance are admitted to its pristine confines. It’s the job of Jodie Foster’s Secretary Delacourt to keep out the hoi polloi. After an unexpected turn of events leaves Matt Damon’s Earth-bound tough guy Max in a fight for his life, he agrees to attempt a risky scheme to save himself, but he finds himself targeted by […]
April 05, 2013 | 11:50 a.m.

‘Trance’: Danny Boyle won’t return to sci-fi, blames Kubrick

Movie directors often tell their actors to act small — you’re not in a theater, and the last row in the balcony doesn’t need to hear you. British director Danny Boyle doesn’t follow that script. Only with slightly larger-than-life performances as a foundation, he says, can you start adding strange stuff on top. “Actors will often do nothing,” Boyle said last Saturday at an early screening of his art heist thriller “Trance,” hosted by Hero Complex at WonderCon in Anaheim. “It’s safer to do very, very little. You know that kind of muttering acting.” Boyle said he encourages his cast to ramp it up a bit, because that allows the filmmaker to add bizarre elements to what otherwise would be a realistic story. “You can get the surreal in — because the bed that you’re on is not absolutely bedded […]
April 02, 2013 | 6:50 a.m.

‘Oblivion’: Cruise, Kosinski set for Hero Complex Imax screening

Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper in the movie "Oblivion," set on a future Earth. (David James/Universal Pictures)
Excited to see Tom Cruise return to spectacle science fiction cinema in “Oblivion”? So are we. The Hero Complex screening series is going bicoastal with our latest event, a sneak preview of the star’s new film “Oblivion,” which will take place at New York City’s AMC Loews 34th Street on April 15. An interactive, live Q&A with Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) will follow the screening at 8 p.m. The post-screening Q&A, moderated by Hero Complex contributor Rebecca Keegan, will be simulcast via satellite to nine IMAX theaters in Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego and Virginia Beach, Va. The discussion will also stream live on Hero Complex and at Audiences in all 10 cities as well as online viewers will be able to submit potential questions real time via Twitter by tweeting […]
March 20, 2013 | 8:10 a.m.

‘The Host’ premieres; Stephenie Meyer has the sequel in the works

In “The Host,” the piercing blue eyes are a sign that the body snatchers have arrived.
“The Host” premiered Tuesday night at Hollywood’s Arclight theater, with novelist Stephenie Meyer on hand along with the film’s costars Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Diane Kruger. “The Host” is Meyer’s follow to her “Twilight” blockbuster, and it will be tough for her new series of sci-fi books-turned-films to top the success of that vampire phenomenon. The “Twilight” films have a domestic box office total of nearly $1.4 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. Meyer’s latest is a sci-fi love tale. The novel, published in 2008, is aimed at more of an adult audience than the “Twilight” books and tells of a frightening future in which aliens take over the world — and our bodies. You can tell the body snatchers by their piercing blue eyes. Over at Goodreads, reviews were mostly positive for the book, although some slammed it […]
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