April 01, 2015 | 7:17 a.m.

‘Star Wars’: R2-D2 looks for love in fan-made short film

The now-iconic “Star Wars” droid R2-D2 takes a page from Pixar’s lovestruck robot Wall-E in a new fan-made short film. “Artoo in Love,” from director Evan Atherton, depicts the android and the unlikely object of his affections — a blue mailbox. The mailbox, wearing an enormous, pink hairbow, does what mailboxes do while R2-D2 woos her (it?) with picnic lunches, caricatures and even a movie night, projecting a romantic scene between Han Solo and Princess Leia from the “The Empire Strikes Back.” Though we’d like to think that the clever little droid who helped take down the Galactic Empire would be able to tell the difference between a mailbox and true love, the short film is about as cute as an Ewok. Check it out above and let us know what you think in the comments. Meanwhile, the Star Wars Celebration […]
Feb. 27, 2015 | 11:37 a.m.

Leonard Nimoy, ‘Star Trek’ and beyond: A video retrospective

Leonard Nimoy, known more familiarly to fans around the world as half-Vulcan logician Mr. Spock, died at home in Bel-Air at age 83 on Friday. While former cast mates and famous fans shared their memories of the actor, director, writer and artist through social media, many just wanted one more minute with Nimoy through his most famous work on screen. Full coverage: Leonard Nimoy Here are a few of Nimoy’s career highlights, both performing and revealing the back story behind those performances. “Bonanza” episode “The Ape” (1960) This western series’ run on NBC was long, but Nimoy’s time was short. He appeared in the show’s second season as a gambler looking to avenge the murder of his call girl ladyfriend Sherry at the hands of a man described as looking like “an ape.” “The Twilight Zone” episode “A Quality of […]
July 27, 2014 | 7:52 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: ‘The Simpsons’ sets world record with mural

Many amateur artists became part of a world record this weekend — another feather in the cap of “The Simpsons,” or more specifically, a feather on Homer’s Dome at San Diego’s Comic-Con International. The art installation Homer’s Dome included a mural that sat next to the San Diego Convention Center, blank and awaiting thousands of willing painters. The canvas had 5,565 squares in a paint-by-numbers type of format that the organizers were trying to fill out over the course of Comic-Con. The FXX team behind the event hoped to break the Guinness World Record for the most contributions to a painting by the numbers. ———— FOR THE RECORD July 29, 9:12 a.m.: A previous version of this post contained several errors. “Homer’s Dome” is the name of the projection mapping experience and demo of the “Simpsons World” digital and online […]
July 09, 2014 | 6:40 a.m.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ video: No villains allowed

In the new film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” it can be a bit confusing whom to root for. Or, more accurately, there’s no one to clearly root against. Audiences come to sympathize with both the small band of humans struggling to survive in what’s left of San Francisco some 10 years after a worldwide plague plunged civilization into a new dark age, and also with the colony of apes, led by the chimpanzee Caesar, who have built up a society of their own. When the two cultures clash, there are bound to be only losers, no winners. After a recent Hero Complex screening of the film, director Matt Reeves sat down with stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman to discuss the highly anticipated sequel. A longtime fan of the “Apes” series going back to its original incarnation, […]
July 08, 2014 | 4:02 p.m.

‘Marvel Method: Cosplay’ builds toward a Comic-Con reveal

They might have called it “How to Cosplay the Marvel Way.” After all, Stan Lee and John Buscema’s “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way” has proved enduringly popular. But “The Watcher” host Lorraine Cink’s and Marvel cosplay blogger Judy Stephens’ new video series is titled “Marvel Method: Cosplay.” The duo will explore the method to cosplay madness in chapters released every Tuesday and Thursday until Comic-Con, with input from costume designer Carly Bradt, wig specialist Katie Hondrogen and cosplayer Yaya Han. The plan: Choose a character, design and construct the costume, and reveal it at Marvel’s booth at the pop-culture exposition in San Diego later this month. So, which mighty Marvel hero did they choose? “After considering so many powerful women of the Marvel Universe, we continued to be drawn back to the Scarlet Witch,” Cink said in a […]
July 08, 2014 | 6:45 a.m.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ video: Apes riding horses and more

At the recent Hero Complex screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” director Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman were on hand for a conversation after the film. Picking up the story 10 years after the end of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” the new film concerns a small band of human survivors stumbling upon a colony of apes whose civilization has grown more sophisticated. After attempting to peacefully coexist, tensions build between the two groups and escalates to all-out war. Despite being a summer popcorn blockbuster, the film also plays as a strong character drama, with thematic parallels between the humans, including characters played by Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell, and the apes, portrayed by Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer and others using performance-capture technology. Even when the film gets to […]
July 07, 2014 | 1:54 p.m.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ video: Serkis on being ‘in the moment’

With a series of roles that includes Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” series, the title role in “King Kong” and now Caesar the chimpanzee in the two most recent “Planet of the Apes” films,  Andy Serkis has been redefining screen acting. Exploring what is now called performance-capture technology, in which an actor will perform with other actors and then be replaced with digitally created imagery based upon that performance, Serkis has given the process an unexpected legitimacy. Instead of limiting his range, he’s found a way to interface with the technology in an emotionally resonant way. In the new “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Serkis reprises his role as Caesar. As the new film opens some 10 years after the end of the previous film, Caesar has led a colony of apes to new levels of […]
June 14, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Gremlins’ director Joe Dante on puppetry, remake talk [video]

While “Gremlins” still has the power to delight audiences 30 years after its release, director Joe Dante said that the experience of making the film was anything but delightful. Particularly grueling? The days of shooting with just puppets and no human actors. “Nothing but puppets. A month and a half of just shooting puppets. I just don’t know how Jim Henson lived.” Dante spoke with Hero Complex’s Gina McIntyre after a screening of the beloved 1984’s film, during the Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place May 30-June 1 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. Despite the painful memories, he said he still recognizes the importance of what the arduous process brought to the movie. He noted that an advantage of using puppets was that the people manipulating them introduced a human expression into the equation, an increasing […]
June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Joe Dante recalls studio fretted about Gremlin creepiness factor [video]

Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ ” Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
June 13, 2014 | 11:49 a.m.

James Cameron recalls his ‘angry wannabe filmmaker’ phase [video]

While writing his 1984 breakout film “Terminator,” James Cameron lived on McDonald’s, diner coffee and the money he made painting one-sheets for bad direct-to-video movies. The director, who would go on to helm the highest-grossing movie of all time, “Avatar,” expressed a surprising fondness for that early, “zero billion dollar” stage of his career while speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival recently. “It was actually easy to write cause I didn’t have to self-isolate like I do now, from multi-tasking with other businesses, and with a family with five kids,” Cameron said, when he took the stage late last month at the event, which was held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood May 30-June 1. “I was already isolated… basically just a sad, dark, isolated human being.” In an in-depth conversation between screenings of “The Terminator” and its […]
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