Feb. 28, 2013 | 4:10 p.m.

The Flixies: Netflix awards aim to honor fan-favorite programming

Just when you thought Hollywood’s awards season had come to a close with the Oscars, Netflix has unveiled a new prize — the Flixies. But this honor is designed to celebrate widely popular entertainment — movies and television series with ardent followings that too often go overlooked by more conventional ceremonies. “The Walking Dead,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” are among the films and TV shows nominated in seven tongue-in-cheek categories including “Best Tantrum Tamer,” “Best Bromance,” “Best Hangover Cure” and “Best Commute Shrtnr.” Among the other genre nominees: “Lost,” “American Horror Story,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Teen Wolf,” “Commando,” “Super 8,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Archer,” “Mythbusters,” “Transformers Prime” and “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” The video streaming services’ new awards are designed to recognize the way audiences now watch TV and films. Services such […]
Feb. 28, 2013 | 3:44 p.m.

‘Buffy’: James Marsters on Spike, Spock and romantic vampires

James Marsters — the actor behind the peroxide-haired punk rock vampire Spike in Joss Whedon’s long-running series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” — found inspiration for his character from an unusual source: Mr. Spock. Marsters said he looked to his favorite character from “Star Trek” — Leonard Nimoy’s starship Enterprise science officer Spock — when he was first cast on “Buffy” for what was initially supposed to be a brief role. Marsters ended up acting in 97 episodes of the series, not to mention another 24 episodes in the spinoff “Angel.” “Spock was that side character that nobody thought would be that much, and he ended up kind of turning the theme on its head,” Marsters told Entertainment Tonight, in the video above. “‘Cause ‘Star Trek’ really was about human beings perfecting a worldview and then sharing it with the galaxy, […]
Jan. 11, 2013 | 12:47 p.m.

Monster love: Filling the post-‘Twilight,’ pre-‘Hunger Games’ void

Angsty teenage love may be as old as Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters, but with the star-crossed lover motif getting a makeover (often introducing elements of the supernatural) in the last few years from novelists Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins, Hollywood has been stalking the young adult book market with the ferocity of a jilted lover. One result is a pileup at the box office this season of female-driven stories with strong-willed protagonists battling zombies, witches and aliens while wrestling with their own overwrought emotions. In the next three months Summit Entertainment, Open Road Films and Warner Bros. will, respectively, release three movies targeting this voracious crowd: “Warm Bodies,” “The Host” and “Beautiful Creatures.” But with so many fighting for attention, will there be enough audience adoration to go around? “What I think we have going for us is I […]
Aug. 17, 2012 | 5:48 p.m.

Before ‘Twilight,’ ‘Lost Boys’ made vampires fun

Twenty-five years ago, a summer release from a costume designer-turned-director was moving the needle on vampire movies, forever altering how both audiences and the industry engaged with a cinematic staple by dressing it up with teen romance, sex appeal and style. Fans of “Twilight,” “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries,” take note: A lot of what you love about your night creatures descends directly from Joel Schumacher’s 1987 movie “The Lost Boys,” which carries the indelible tagline: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.” Long before the sub-genre became over-freighted with our fantasies, phobias and revisionist history (Abe Lincoln? Really?), handsome young bloodsuckers with chiseled cheekbones, cool clothes and attitude to spare were wilding through the Northern California seaside resort of Santa Carla, a fictional town with the ignominious title […]
Aug. 09, 2012 | 3:12 p.m.

Seth Grahame-Smith wants to resurrect ‘Beetlejuice,’ ‘It’

Two months ago, Seth Grahame-Smith looked like he would be the breakout star of a crowded summer movie season. The “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” novelist-turned-Hollywood screenwriter had two films set for release within weeks of each other: Tim Burton’s soap opera send-up “Dark Shadows” and an adaptation of his own bestseller, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” The first starred Johnny Depp as an aristocratic vampire who must navigate the strange social mores of 1970s Maine; the latter cast newcomer Benjamin Walker as an ax-wielding incarnation of the 16th president who, out to avenge his mother’s murder, hunts down the monsters secretly advancing the practice of slavery. Both flopped. Suddenly, the 36-year-old — whom the Wall Street Journal had proclaimed “one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young players” — didn’t seem quite so whiz-bang successful. “I’ve thought a lot about this summer […]
July 14, 2012 | 8:35 p.m.

Comic-Con: ‘True Blood’ panel flows with emotion

“True Blood” creator Alan Ball received a warm send-off in his final Comic-Con International appearance as the showrunner of the HBO vampire series, with fans and many members of the show’s cast rising to applaud the man who brought Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels to graphic life for five seasons and is now stepping down from his top post. Aside from that emotional moment, though, the tenor of the panel was high-spirited and even silly with many, many references to romance, nudity, sex and stripping, the latter courtesy of Joe Manganiello’s recent cinematic turn as a male dancer named Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s film “Magic Mike.” The panel kicked off with a preview of the latter half of Season 5 that revealed Manganiello’s Alcide will step up to become pack master and Russell Edgington will create all kinds […]
July 12, 2012 | 8:05 p.m.

Comic-Con: ‘Twilight’ cast returns to Hall H for the final time

For fans of “Twilight,” it was the end of an era. “Breaking Dawn Pt. 2,” the final installment in the blockbuster movie saga opened Comic-Con International’s Hall H presentations Thursday, with new footage, a few funny quips and the official debut of 11-year-old Mackenzie Foy, who plays Renesmee, the “half-vamp kid” of protagonists Edward Cullen and his human-cum-vampire wife Bella Swan. Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner still enjoyed the bulk of the spotlight — the only principal missing from the festivities was director Bill Condon, who is currently in London scoring the movie with his longtime collaborator, Carter Burwell; even series author Stephenie Meyer, who returned to Comic-Con for the first time since “Twilight” was released in 2008, joined in on the fun, participating with her long-time collaborators. (She also brought footage from the “The Host,” Andrew […]
June 25, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ delivers ‘violent ballet’

Benjamin Walker was halfway through the production of his first feature as a leading man, but standing on the Louisiana set of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” last year, the star of the monster mash-up movie wasn’t ready to make any assumptions about his career’s future prospects. “Who knows?” the Georgia native said between takes of the Timur Bekmambetov-directed action thriller. “I’ll probably go back to waiting tables and begging the government for health insurance here shortly, but for now I’m in high cotton.” Walker’s pragmatism surely will serve him well, though it’s unlikely he’ll be waiting tables anytime soon. Critics haven’t been especially kind to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” — reviews for the unusual slice of R-rated revisionist history have been largely tepid at best — and the film grossed only an estimated $16.5 million in its opening weekend. Yet the […]
April 19, 2012 | 4:23 p.m.

Johnny Depp: ‘Shadows’ star Jonathan Frid was ‘elegant, magical’

Johnny Depp said the world has lost “a true original” with the passing of Jonathan Frid, the darkly debonair Canadian actor who played vampire Barnabas Collins in the melodramatic and macabre soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Depp grew up as an ardent fan of “Dark Shadows” and that passion led to the film version remake, which reaches theaters May 11 with Depp as a key producer and also starring in the role made famous by Frid. Director Tim Burton also brought Frid and other original series cast members in for cameos in the movie, giving Depp a chance to share the screen with an idol of his youth. So as news spread Thursday that Frid had died late last week — on Friday the 13th, no less  —  Depp was balancing the bittersweet subplots of a life that could last 87 long years but […]
April 16, 2012 | 12:30 p.m.

‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’: Fake history, but an honest Abe

The sun was just about to set over Lake Pontchartrain on a humid Louisiana day last May when Abraham Lincoln was summoned into action in a grassy field to wrestle to the hard, unforgiving ground the murderous nemesis who took the life of his mother years earlier. Lincoln bellowed with sorrow and rage, pinning an enemy beneath his considerable weight. This was not the weathered president struggling to bear up under the agonizing grief of a bloody and brutal Civil War. This was a young man primed for a fight to the death. Funny thing, though — no one in the assembled crowd of onlookers seemed to bat an eye that Honest Abe was facing off against a vampire. Such is the straight-faced approach to the somewhat ridiculous-sounding “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Fox’s 3-D adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel due […]
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