Oct. 21, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.

‘Hobbit': See Benedict Cumberbatch writhe and snarl as Smaug

Benedict Cumberbatch on the set of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." (Screenshot from bonus feature footage)
The extended edition of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is available for digital download today and out on Blu-ray Nov. 4, but Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at a clip from the bonus features. The clip showcases actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as the deadly dragon Smaug, a miserly lizard who guards his hoarded, stolen gold in a mountain lair that was once home to the dwarf king of Erebor. Like Gollum actor Andy Serkis, Cumberbatch employed performance-capture technology to play the enormous dragon in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel “The Hobbit.” “You kind of have to … imagine yourself into a vast creature in a huge space when you’re really crawling about on a gray bit of carpet,” Cumberbatch says in the video. Serkis — who has pioneered performance-capture acting with his […]
Oct. 14, 2014 | 2:15 p.m.

‘Maleficent’: Angelina Jolie had ‘wicked fun’ with Disney role [video]

Angelina Jolie says that when thinking about playing a live-action incarnation of Maleficent, the wicked sorceress from Disney’s animated classic, “Sleeping Beauty,” it was chiefly important to preserve at least one facet of the grand villain. “I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose her sense of wicked fun,” the actress says in a new behind-the-scenes featurette included in the Blu-ray and DVD editions of “Maleficent,” due for release Nov. 4. Hero Complex readers can check out an exclusive clip from the special features in the video below. Disney’s lavish retelling of the “Sleeping Beauty” story from the point of view of the dark sorceress became one of the breakout hits of the summer — earning upwards of $69 million in its opening weekend and going on to bring in more than $240 domestically. (Its worldwide total stands at $757 […]
March 04, 2014 | 1:58 p.m.

‘Doctor Who’ clip: Steven Moffat on Matt Smith’s final alien battle

“The Time of the Doctor” is out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, bringing Matt Smith’s farewell performance in the “Doctor Who” Christmas special to home video. Hero Complex readers get a peek at a clip from the bonus features, which provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Wooden Cyberman — a more organic variation of the classic “Doctor Who” metal-man — and the stuntwoman who debuted the alien in the special. In the clip, lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat also talks about the plethora of aliens, including Daleks, Weeping Angels and the Silence, that battle the Doctor in the special. “We’ve had a lot of returning monsters in this one,” Moffat says in the video (watch it below). “I want it to be a grand-standing battle for the Eleventh Doctor’s final moments. It doesn’t take just one monster […]
Feb. 11, 2014 | 12:43 p.m.

‘Ender’s Game’ director talks film’s morality in exclusive clip

The sci-fi spectacle “Ender’s Game” is available on home video Tuesday, and Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at a video clip from the bonus features. The film, based on Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel, follows Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a young, extremely intelligent boy who is recruited to attend Battle School and groomed to become a commander in a war against aliens. Card’s book won the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novel, and has become extremely popular, especially among children who read it in school. The movie brought in more than $112 million at the worldwide box office, and the Blue-Ray and DVD releases, out Tuesday, include deleted and extended scenes, audio commentary with director Gavin Hood and producers Gigi Pritzker and Bob Orci, a 45-minute featurette about the making of the film and a featurette […]
May 20, 2013 | 5:52 p.m.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII': Patton Oswalt’s dream plot gets animated

YouTube screen capture (Izac Less)
Remember Patton Oswalt’s eight-minute “Parks and Recreation” monologue about his proposed plot for “Star Wars: Episode VII”? It took YouTube only one month to animate the comedian’s suggestions, spider-Wookiee and all. During a guest spot on the NBC comedy last month, Oswalt played a Pawnee citizen aiming to filibuster a City Council vote. He launched into a lengthy, improvised speech about his ideal story line for the upcoming “Star Wars” sequel. The outlandish plot includes a resurrected Boba Fett, Marvel’s villain Thanos (teased at the end of “The Avengers”), Tony Stark, the gods from “Clash of the Titans” and “Wrath of the Titans” and a beheaded and mechanized Chewbacca, among other awesome but unrelated characters from the realm of genre entertainment. The full speech was released on YouTube, drawing more than 2.7 million views and attracting the notice of J.J. […]
April 16, 2013 | 2:51 p.m.

Rob Zombie: Watch the Hero Complex interview [video]

“The Lords of Salem,” the latest feature from writer-director Rob Zombie, just might surprise fans of the musician-filmmaker’s grittier, gorier outings, “House of 1000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects,” his two “Halloween” movies. For his fifth live-action film, Zombie adopted a strange, subtle approach to horror, replacing the extreme bloodletting of his earlier projects with a nightmarish weirdness that’s hard to shake off. Opening Friday, “The Lords of Salem” tells the story of a radio DJ (his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie) who finds herself the victim of an ancient curse, unleashed after she plays a screeching, droning song by a mysterious band known as the Lords on her show. Soon she begins to experience headaches and night-terrors that bleed into the daylight hours. Her increasingly erratic behavior causes her friends to worry that the recovering addict might have succumbed once more […]
March 11, 2013 | 2:17 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful': Zach Braff recalls on-set experience

Zach Braff (featured image)
“Oz the Great and Powerful” handily won the weekend box office with an impressive $80.3 million take in the U.S. and Canada, making it the biggest hit of the year so far. The film, Sam Raimi’s quasi-prequel to the 1939 Oscar-winning musical “The Wizard of Oz,” benefited from its broad appeal (not to mention higher 3-D ticket prices). For the actors starring in the lavish fantasy inspired by the books of L. Frank Baum, though, the emphasis was on performance, not eventual box-office returns. Attempting to find the right approach to Finley, the sweet-natured talking monkey who becomes a boon companion to James Franco’s magician con man in the magical realm, proved an interesting assignment for Zach Braff, the actor explained last week at an early Hero Complex screening of “Oz the Great and Powerful” at the AMC Century City […]
March 08, 2013 | 12:46 p.m.

International Women’s Day: Superheroines with some kick

Emma Watson in the "Harry Potter" films and Carrie Fisher in "Star Wars." (Warner Bros., Lucasfilm)
International Women’s Day is being honored today with that singular cultural touchstone: a Google Doodle. The doodle drawing of faces of women around the world artistically honors the advancement of women’s rights — one of the chief goals of International Women’s Day — and the fact that a woman’s work, it seems, is never done. Hero Complex is celebrating International Women’s Day in the best way it knows how: with a photo gallery of women from film, TV, games and comic books who embody female empowerment and, let’s face it, kick booty. (Yes, we said “booty,” but only because the L.A. Times censors made us.) Beyoncé as Wonder Woman? Now we know there’s a long list of complaints about women in genre. Chiefly, that they are hyper-sexualized sidekicks who do little more than bust out of their curve-hugging costumes. And, […]
March 04, 2013 | 11:28 a.m.

Zombie fans divided as ‘SNL’ spoofs ‘Walking Dead’

Zombie-lovers and “Walking Dead” fans were divided over a “Saturday Night Live” send-up of the cult hit AMC series. Some felt the skit was absolutely hilarious and others slamming it as absolutely horrible. The zombie parody dove into some dicey racial politics as the skit depicted “Walking Dead” characters crossing paths with Lyle, played by this week’s host, Kevin Hart. MORE: The plight of the black zombie The group fears allowing Lyle to join their ranks — he’s acting like a zombie, after all — but Lyle uses those fears to prey on white guilt. What did you think? Did the skit go too far? Were you thrilled to see the comedy sketch show tackle “The Walking Dead” and zombies? Or did you find it to be one of this week’s less-than-funny sketches. (That Z-shirt thing? Would have been much […]
Feb. 21, 2013 | 4:56 p.m.

Incredible NASA video of hot plasma raining down on the sun

A screen grab from a video from NASA showing a solar phenomena known as "coronal rain."
Talk about real-world special effects: NASA has just released stunning video of a “coronal rain,”  a solar phenomenon in which hot plasma appears to rain down in great arches onto the surface of the sun. What you see in the video is actually three types of eruptive events: A solar flare — a sudden eruption that causes a flash of electromagnetic radiation and light; a coronal mass ejection (CME), which is when the sun sends some of its matter shooting out into space; and finally, the dazzling coronal rain that occurs when the super hot plasma that rose  into the sun’s atmosphere begins to cool and trace strong magnetic fields back to the surface of the sun. Solar flares, CMEs and even coronal rains are not so unusual, said Alex Young, a solar astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  But it […]
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