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Washington’s ‘The Equalizer’ debuts with $35M

In this image released by Columbia Pictures, Denzel Washington appears in a scene from the film,

NEW YORK — Flexing his star power, Denzel Washington led the thriller “The Equalizer” to a $35 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Sony-Columbia Pictures release dominated the weekend box office, surpassing some expectations for the film. Washington plays a former commando living a quiet life in Boston when the… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Boxtrolls’ is a gorgeous, animated gem

Photo provided by Focus Features -- In the new animated feature 'The Boxtrolls,' a subterranean community of harmless trolls is threatened by the evil, power-hungry Archibald Snatcher.

Giving two animation giants, Pixar and Disney, another run for their box office money, the Oregon-based LAIKA animation studio has a new contender in “The Boxtrolls.” Two previous LAIKA films, 2012’s “ParaNorman” and 2009’s “Coraline,” earned Oscar nominations for best animated feature film. Exceptionally entertaining, “The Boxtrolls” will easily follow suit. “The… Continue reading →

’Maze Runner’ races past ‘Tombstones’ with $32.5 million

In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Dylan O'Brien appears in a scene from the film,

NEW YORK — The young-adult adaptation “The Maze Runner” raced to the top of the box-office with $32.5 million, giving a budding franchise a quick start out of the gate. The 20th Century Fox release easily outpaced the $13.1 million debut of Liam Neeson’s hardboiled private eye thriller “A Walk Among the Tombstones” and the… Continue reading →

‘NCIS: New Orleans’ spices up TV this season

CBS photo by MICHELE K. SHORT -- Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder star in the new NCIS spinoff, 'NCIS: New Orleans,' being shot in and around New Orleans.

A love story tops EatPlayLive’s list of the 10 new television series to check out this fall. When the crew of CBS’ “NCIS” shot a two-episode arc in New Orleans last season, they immediately became infatuated with the incomparable city. Audiences agreed and “NCIS: New Orleans” was born. “When they did screenings, the first reaction was, ‘We love that… Continue reading →

Review: Neeson in action again in ‘Tombstones’

Photo by Atsushi Nishijima -- Writer/director Scott Frank works on the set of 'A Walk Among the Tombstones.'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s not for nothing that the names of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are reverentially referenced in writer-director Scott Frank’s adaptation of the 10th novel in Lawrence Block’s long-running, best-selling series featuring unlicensed private eye Matthew Scudder. Distinctly and proudly old-fashioned in its retro, film noir vibe, “A Walk Among the Tombstones” is notable… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Maze Runner’ doesn’t find its own path

In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Dylan O'Brien, foreground, appears in a scene from

If you see one film about walled-in males this fall, it should be the savage and powerful British prison drama “Starred Up,” a superlatively acted father-son story played out behind bars and starring up-and-coming Jack O’Connell. Not many are likely to make that choice, though, as “The Maze Runner,” based on the James Dashner 2009 fantasy novel,… Continue reading →

Review: A-list cast can’t save sappy ‘Leave You’

Photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures -- From left, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman and Adam Driver are shown in a scene from 'This Is Where I Leave You.'

Somebody dies. Family gathers to mourn. Everybody’s stuck in one house, with all their quirks and foibles and enough emotional baggage to fill an aircraft carrier. What could go wrong? Ha ha. What couldn’t? This scenario could be a drama or a comedy — or, in the case of “This Is Where I Leave You,” both: a… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Zero Theorem’s’ story can’t hang on for the wild ride

Photo provided by Amplify Releasing -- Christoph Waltz and Mélanie Thierry star in Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem.'

Director Terry Gilliam’s madcap visual style vibrates through “The Zero Theorem.” His penchant for outsider characters is there, too. The missing ingredient in Gilliam’s and screenwriter Pat Rushin’s nightmarish vision of the present is a tale that’s strong and coherent enough to keep the spectator on board for this crazy trip. The new project from Gilliam… Continue reading →

Exceptional performances fill ‘The Drop’

Photo by BARRY WETCHER -- Tom Hardy plays Bob and Noomi Rapace is Nadia in 'The Drop.'

Crime drama “The Drop” has an obvious hook. It features James Gandolfini’s final film performance. The late star of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” however, is not the movie’s leading man. Instead, Gandolfini memorably plays a supporting role as Cousin Marv, the scheming manager of a Brooklyn bar. The dark cynicism in Marv serves as further… Continue reading →

Director’s American debut ‘The Drop’ is a dark crime drama

Photo courtesy Fox Searchlight -- Matthias Schoenaerts as Eric Deeds and Tom Hardy as Bob in 'The Drop.'

“The Drop,” a dark crime drama set in Brooklyn, is Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts’ third film with his Oscar-nominated countryman, director Michaël Roskam. Schoenaerts plays the movie’s primary villain. A psychopath, Eric Deeds stalks Tom Hardy’s easygoing, soft-hearted bartender, Bob, and Noomi Rapace’s ex-addict immigrant, Nadia. Schoenaerts played the lead in Roskam’s… Continue reading →

Interview with ‘The Drop’ actor Matthias Schoenaerts

Photo courtesy Fox Searchlight -- Matthias Schoenaerts as Eric Deeds and Tom Hardy as Bob in 'The Drop.'

“The Drop,” a dark crime drama set in Brooklyn, is Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts’ third film with his Oscar-nominated countryman, director Michaël Roskum. Schoenaerts plays the movie’s primary villain. A psychopath, Eric Deeds stalks Tom Hardy’s easygoing, softhearted bartender, Bob, and Noomi Rapace’s ex-addict immigrant, Nadia. Speaking from the… Continue reading →

So much about ‘The Identical’ is so wrong

Photo by KATHERINE BOMBOY THORNTON -- Blake Rayne stars as Ryan Wade in 'The Identical.'

As silly as it is sincere, “The Identical” offers an alternative history based on the life and career of Elvis Presley. In this laughably ridiculous musical drama, a Presley-style singer named Drexel Hemsley becomes a major star in the 1950s. Hemsley’s fame runs concurrently with Presley’s real-life stardom in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Hemsley,… Continue reading →

Review: ‘As Above, So Below’ so-so

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Perdita Weeks, right, and Ben Feldman in a scene from the film,

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” is the inscription uncovered by a gang of 20-something treasure hunters in the catacomb-hopping horror flick, “As Above, So Below.” But the warning could easily apply to viewers checking out this rather hopeless mash-up of “The Descent” and “(Rec),” not to mention a dozen other… Continue reading →

Review: Ex-007 actor spying again in ‘Nov. Man’

This image released by Relativity Media shows Luke Bracey in a scene from the film,

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Onetime 007 Pierce Brosnan embraces a darker take on spycraft in Roger Donaldson’s “The November Man,” playing a former CIA agent whose autumnal nickname acknowledges his tendency to leave few alive when he passes through a town. A familiar string of dark secrets, shifting allegiances and (wo)man-who-knew-too-much pursuit propels the storyline (adapted from one… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Calvary’ a bleakly amusing, heavy tale

Photo provided by Fox Searchlight -- Kelly Reilly, left, and Brendan Gleeson star in 'Calvary,' the story of a well-meaning priest whose troublesome parishioners lose respect for him.

John Michael McDonagh, a British writer-director of Irish descent, and Irish actor Brendan Gleeson first collaborated on the internationally popular “The Guard.” While 2011’s “The Guard” is a light, culture-clash comedy, the new McDonagh-Gleeson project, “Calvary,” is a bleakly amusing, heavy tale. In “Calvary,” Gleeson plays Father James, a well-meaning priest whose unselfish attempts to serve… Continue reading →

Review: Film tells conjoined twins’ the Hilton Sisters’ story

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Conjoined twins the Hilton Sisters, center, are the subject of the documentary film, 'Bound by Flesh.' The movie will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday at the Manship Theatre.

Director Leslie Zemeckis tells the strange story of Daisy and Violet Hilton in the luridly titled documentary “Bound By Flesh.” Conjoined twins the Hilton Sisters, stars of vaudeville, occasional movies and carnival midways, were a huge attraction in the early 20th century. In “Bound By Flesh,” Zemeckis — the filmmaker wife of director, producer and… Continue reading →

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Chloe Grace Moretz in a scene from

‘Tis clearly the season for exceedingly attractive young adults in mortal peril. Just two months ago, we had the charming Shailene Woodley as a teen cancer patient, fighting for time while learning about life and love in “The Fault in Our Stars.” Last week, we had Aussie heartthrob Brenton Thwaites in “The Giver,” risking his life for… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Sin City’ dives back into a noir abyss

This image released by The Weinstein Company shows Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a scene from,

After being clonked over the head in 1944’s “Murder, My Sweet,” Raymond Chandler’s immortal private eye Philip Marlowe wryly narrated the experience of being knocked out: “A black pool opened up at my feet. I jumped in.” In “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” a belated, 3-D sequel to 2005’s “Sin City,” cultishly-adored graphic novelist Frank… Continue reading →

Review: ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ an underwhelming vision of real-life story

TriStar Pictures photo by TRACY BENNETT -- Jim Caviezel (center-right), Alexander Ludwig (center) and Michael Chiklis (center-left) star in 'When the Game Stands Tall.'

“When the Game Stands Tall” shapes a familiar underdog scenario from the real-life story of Concord, California’s De La Salle High School football team. The team’s super-dedicated, gifted coach, Bob Ladouceur, led De La Salle’s Spartans through a 151 consecutive winning streak and 20 undefeated seasons. The movie, which was shot last year in New Orleans, a… Continue reading →

‘The Giver’ does not deliver

Photo provided by the Weinstein Company -- Jeff Bridges, left, as the Receiver of Memories, and Brenton Thwaites as Jonas star in 'The Giver.'

George Orwell’s “1984,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” — all visions in print and on film of societies more dystopian than utopian. Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel, “The Giver,” is another example. A pet project of Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, “The Giver” on paper looks like it… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ falls flat on humor

Associated Press photo provided by 20th Century Fox/Frank Masi -- Rob Riggle, from left, Jake Johnson, and Damon Wayans, Jr. star in 'Let's Be Cops.'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — At one point during “Let’s Be Cops,” actor Damon Wayans Jr. has a scene in which a huge naked man’s groin is inches from his face. That’s a good approximation of what filmgoers will experience during this witless high-concept comedy featuring him and his co-star on Fox sitcom New Girl, Jake Johnson, who must… Continue reading →

Review: New tricks can’t rescue ‘Expendables 3’

Associated Press photo by Lionsgate/Phil Bray -- Antonio Banderas, left, and Sylvester Stallone star in 'Expendables 3.'

In its third incarnation, “The Expendables” has become, well, expendable. Despite some ruthless new tactics, there’s no saving “The Expendables 3,” the overpopulated third outing of Sylvester Stallone’s all-star action ensemble. Perhaps recognizing its own mortality, “Expendables 3” goes for a kitchen-sink approach. There’s the injection of AARP-eligible action stars like Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson and… Continue reading →

USS KIDD will close for TV shoot next week

CBS’ new show, “NCIS: New Orleans,” will film aboard the USS KIDD next week, KIDD Executive Director Alex Juan said in a news release Wednesday. The KIDD destroyer and adjacent Veterans Museum will be closed to the public from Monday until Friday for the TV shoot and ongoing inventory of all museum and ship artifacts.… Continue reading →

Lauren Bacall, sultry-voiced actress, dead at 89

Associated Press file photoctress Lauren Bacall stands backstage during the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7, 2010, in Los Angeles. Bacall, the sultry-voiced actress and Humphrey Bogarts partner off and on the screen, died Tuesday in New York. She was 89.

NEW YORK — Lauren Bacall, the slinky, sultry-voiced actress who created on-screen magic with Humphrey Bogart in “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep” and off-screen magic in one of Hollywood’s most storied marriages, died Tuesday at age 89. Bacall, whose long career brought two Tonys and a special Oscar, died in New York.… Continue reading →

LPB Summerfest brings variety of entertainment

From Chubby Checker to Pavarotti, musical programming fills Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Summerfest membership campaign, which runs through Aug. 24. All of the money raised during the campaign is used to purchase and create the programming which airs throughout the year on the six-channel LPB network. Thirteen-year-old musical prodigy Ethan Bortnick takes the stage at 7… Continue reading →

Preview screening set for Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Ellar Coltrane plays Mason from elementary school to college in 'Boyhood.'

The Louisiana International Film Festival is presenting a free advance screening of Richard Linklater’s acclaimed new film, “Boyhood,” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cinemark Perkins Rowe, 10000 Perkins Rowe. “Boyhood” was shot over a period of 12 years with the same principal cast, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane. The first 50 guests… Continue reading →

Marvel’s ‘Guardians’ rockets to top of box office

This image released by Disney - Marvel shows, from left, Zoe Saldana, the character Rocket Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, the character Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista in a scene from

LOS ANGELES — “Guardians of the Galaxy” blasted past expectations at the weekend box office. Marvel Studios’ cosmic romp starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana as members of an intergalactic band of rebels earned $94 million in its debut weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Ahead of its Friday debut, box office analysts… Continue reading →

Louisiana’s Katherine LaNasa happy again in the South with latest USA Network drama

Photo provided by USA Network -- Katherine LaNasa plays high-end madam Adrianna on USA Network's 'Satisfaction.'

A bit controlling, a bit anarchist and a whole lot intriguing, Louisiana actress Katherine LaNasa has settled into her latest role as high-end madam Adrianna on USA Network’s new drama, “Satisfaction.” The edgy series is helmed by producer Sean Jablonski (“Nip/Tuck,” “Suits”) and zeroes in on modern marriage through one couple: Neil… Continue reading →

Review: Braff’s fan-funded film doesn’t pay off

Associated Press photo provided by Focus Features/Merie Weismiller Wallace -- Kate Hudson stars in 'Wish I Was Here.'

When Zach Braff took to Kickstarter to fund his new movie, “Wish I Was Here,” he explained to fans where their money would go: It would ensure his creative control, allow him to cast the actors he wanted, and enable him to shoot in Los Angeles, rather than someplace cheaper. We can argue about whether these were… Continue reading →

‘Purge’ kills hope of decent sequel

Photo by JUSTIN LUBIN -- From left, Leo (Frank Grillo), Cali (Zoe Soul), Eva (Carmen Ejogo), Liz (Kiele Sanchez) and Shane (Zach Gilford) endure a night of terror in 'The Purge: Anarchy.'

Released last summer and set in the year 2022, “The Purge” imagined a United States in which all hell breaks loose once a year for a 12-hour period. Purging, officially sanctioned by an elected government that calls itself the New Founders of America, has come to be accepted by many as a right. Critics largely panned… Continue reading →

‘Separate But Unequal’ on St. George re-airs today

Photo provided by Frontline -- 'Separate and Unequal,' an installment of PBS' 'Frontline,'  examined the efforts to create the city of St. George, and in the process a separate school system for Baton Rouge.

The PBS “Frontline” documentary “Separate But Unequal” and Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s follow-up program “Breaking Away” will re-air at 9 p.m. Friday on LPB2 (cable Channel 122). The programs are also available online at The “Frontline” documentary looks at the efforts to create the new city of St. George from the unincorporated areas… Continue reading →

’Planet of the Apes’ thumps chest with $73M debut

This photo released by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation shows Andy Serkis as Caesar in a scene from the film,

NEW YORK — The monkey business is a good business to be in at the box office. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” roared to $73 million on its opening weekend, one of the summer’s best debuts, according to studio estimates Sunday. The 20th Century Fox sequel easily surpassed the $54.8 million opening to 2011’s… Continue reading →