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A big moment: Actor Jason Bayle talks acting in ‘The Big Short’

Photo provided by JASON BAYLE --- Local actor Jason Bayle appears in a scene with Brad Pitt in the Oscar contender 'The Big Short.'

It was filming day for “The Big Short” at Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans, which was up and running as usual. Local actor Jason Bayle knew he was filming a scene with John Magaro, who plays young investor Charlie Geller in the Oscar-nominated financial comedy-drama. Bayle had checked the call sheet, and didn’t expect any… Continue reading →

Louisiana gets its close-up as locals judge, compete on 'Idol'; Louisiana actress on 'Madoff'

Fox photo by CRAIG BLANKENHORN -- MacKenzie Bourg, of Lafayette, is still in the running to win the last season of  'American Idol.'

They call “American Idol’s” Hollywood Week brutal for a reason. The pressure is high, the sleep is scarce, and, for many, it’s the end of their “Idol” road. The last one is especially true in this 15th season — it’s the Fox singing competition’s swan song. Over the years, many Louisiana singers have shined on… Continue reading →

N.O. actress Kim Baptiste stars in ‘Ultimate Legacy’

New Orleans actress Kim Baptiste stars in “The Ultimate Legacy” at 8 p.m. Sunday on Hallmark Movie Channel (cable Channel 200). Baptiste plays Angelica Hamilton, an attorney and army lieutenant reservist, alongside Bill Cobb, Brian Dennehy, Lee Meriwether, Raquel Welch and Doug Jones. The film concludes a series that also included “The Ultimate Gift”… Continue reading →

Something in the water? Two Louisiana contestants still in running on reality cooking shows

Fox photo by GREG GAYNE -- Contestant Avery Kyle cooks the strawberries for her souffles on 'MasterChef Junior.'

“Go pig or go home!” Avery Kyle exclaimed after tackling pork belly in last week’s semi-finals of Fox’s “MasterChef Junior.” The 9-year-old Baton Rouge cook earned one of two spots in the reality competition series’ finale with her Pork Belly with Sweet Potato Mash, Fried Beet Root Chips and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts. She’ll be going up… Continue reading →

What's on TV: PBS has ‘Mercy’ after ‘Downton Abbey’ ends

Photo provided by PBS/AANTONY PLATT -- Shalita Grant, as Aurelia Johnson, stars alongside McKinley Belcher III, as Samuel Diggs," in the new PBS series, 'Mercy Street.'

Viewers who didn’t change the channel after “Downton Abbey” Sunday night were introduced to PBS’ new Civil War medical drama “Mercy Street.” Helmed by director Ridley Scott (“Gladiator,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Black Hawk Down” and most recently, “The Martian”), the series is based on real events of the spring of 1862. Instead of focusing on the front… Continue reading →

'Revenant' leads Oscar nominations with 12; who got snubbed?

John Krasinski, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations for best achievement in directing at the 88th Academy Awards nomination ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 88th annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The brutal frontier saga "The Revenant" leads the 88th annual Academy Awards with 12 nominations, while the acting categories were again filled entirely by white performers. The strong showing for "The Revenant," including a best actor nod for Leonardo DiCaprio, follows its win at the Golden Globes. It sets director Alejandro Inarritu for a possible back-to-back win… Continue reading →

LSU grad to moderate GOP presidential debate, expects that same 'rush' she got running track for Tigers

Photo provided by Fox Business Network -- Sandra Smith, who ran track at LSU, will moderate the Republican Presidential undercard debate Thursday.

It’s the unknown that keeps presidential debates exciting, says Fox Business Network’s Sandra Smith. And the LSU graduate is sure there will be surprises when she moderates her second Republican Presidential undercard debate on the network Thursday afternoon. With Trish Regan, Smith will pose questions to current lower-polling GOP presidential hopefuls Kentucky Sen.… Continue reading →

’Martian,’ ‘Revenant’ get awards boost with top Globes wins

Matt Damon poses in the press room with the award for best performance by an actor in a motion picture - musical or comedy for The Martian at the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The 73rd annual Golden Globes had a few curveballs up its sleeves, and the biggest ones weren’t even from acerbic host Ricky Gervais, who kept the show alive with his biting quips and takedowns of the business that the awards were celebrating. But, instead of just being another booze-soaked, starry year at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Sunday’s… Continue reading →

Review: Director Iñárritu can’t keep himself out of an otherwise great ‘Revenant’

Photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox -- Leonard DiCaprio stars in a scene from the new drama 'The Revenant.'

“The Revenant” probably should have been called “Live Through This.” Reportedly one of the toughest film shoots, director Alejandro González Iñárritu puts actor Leonardo DiCaprio through every circle of hell to tell a simple, yet unrelentingly bleak story of revenge. At its core, the film is about the lengths a man will go to… Continue reading →

LPB looks at state’s top stories of 2015

Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s weekly series “Louisiana: The State We’re In” will look back at some of the biggest Louisiana stories in 2015. The show airs at a later time, 9:30 p.m. Friday (cable Channel 12). Shauna Sanford and Charlie Whinham will recap events including the election of a new governor; how lawmakers dealt with budget issues… Continue reading →

‘Force Awakens’ director on best way to watch his movie

This Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015 photo shows director/producer J.J. Abrams during a promotion for the new film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Los Angeles. The film opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 18. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

J.J. Abrams can’t really settle on a favorite moment from his saga of directing, co-writing and co-producing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but this one isn’t bad. “Being here now means we’re actually finished with the movie, which is a relief,” Abrams said with Jedi calm. Perched in a small living room setup inside the cavernous… Continue reading →

Harrison Ford promises older, wiser Solo in ‘Force Awakens’

Photo provided by Film Frame/Lucasfilm -- Peter Mayhew stars as Chewbacca and Harrison Ford stars as Han Solo in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

When speaking about “Star Wars,” there are few topics that inspire a twinkle in Harrison Ford’s eyes. The 73-year-old actor is matter-of-fact about almost everything involving the sci-fi series’ latest episode — from his reunion with Carrie Fisher (“It was no big deal.”) to the franchise’s unwavering popularity (“For me, it’s old news.”). However, when Ford… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Force Awakens’ is fun fan service

Photo provided by Disney -- Daisey Ridley stars as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the new film, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

J.J. Abrams may not elevate the language of “Star Wars,” but he sure is fluent in it. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is no more and no less than the movie that made us love it in the first place. In fact, it’s basically the same thing. Isn’t that what we all wanted anyway? It’s hard to… Continue reading →

The Force is with them: The new heroes talk ‘Star Wars’ experience

Photo by Jordan Strauss -- Oscar Isaac poses in Los Angeles. Isaac plays the role of Poe Dameron in the new Star Wars.

Actor Harrison Ford and director J.J. Abrams weren’t the only ones with pressure on their shoulders in delivering the goods in “The Force Awakens.” A cast full of a new hope for the future of the series includes relative new-comers like Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as well as some already acclaimed actors such as Oscar Isaac… Continue reading →

'The Passion,' live musical event from the streets of New Orleans, to air on national TV on Palm Sunday

Associated Press file photo -- Tyler Perry attends the premiere of 'Selma' at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York last year.

“The Passion,” a two-hour live musical event from New Orleans, will air on Fox on Palm Sunday, March 20, Dick Clark Productions announced Tuesday. “The Passion” tells the 2,000-year-old story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth. The production will feature a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated… Continue reading →

Southeastern film critics name ‘Spotlight’ best film

This photo provided by Open Road Films shows, Michael Keaton, from left,  Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery and Brian d'Arcy James in a scene from the film, "Spotlight." The film was nominated for a Golden Globe award for best motion picture drama on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. The 73rd Annual Golden Globes will be held on Jan. 10, 2016. (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films via AP)

The Southeastern Film Critics Association has named “Spotlight,” a drama about the Boston Globe’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into child molestation within the Catholic Church, best movie of the year. SEFCA’s members are professional film critics in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Advocate film critic John Wirt is one of… Continue reading →

Review: Ron Howard’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is adrift

Photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures -- Chris Hemsworth, right, as Owen Chase, and Sam Keeley as Ramsdell, left, star in a scene from the film, 'In the Heart of the Sea.'

Ron Howard’s “In the Heart of the Sea” is a curious beast. The ambitions are as big as a whale; the results are an earnest wreck. It could possibly work if you think of the movie as a metaphor for the story it’s trying to tell, but that’s a little too meta for something that should… Continue reading →

‘Trumbo,’ ‘Scream Queens’ among New Orleans-filmed productions earning Golden Globe nominations

Photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle -- Golden Globes nominees Helen Mirren, right, and Bryan Cranston star in the New Orleans-filmed ''Trumbo.'

Though the Golden Globes spread its nominations around, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association swooned hardest for Todd Haynes’ 1950s romance “Carol,” which landed a leading five nominations including best film drama. New Orleans-shot productions are also among the Golden Globes nominations. Bryan Cranston received a best actor nomination for his performance in “Trumbo,” a biopic… Continue reading →

LPB holding Winterfest with special programming

Winterfest 2015 continues this weekend and next week on Louisiana Public Broadcasting. The special programming, highlighted with music and comedy, is the backdrop for the network’s pledge drive, which helps pay for programs seen throughout the year. “My Music Presents The Carpenters: Close To You,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, traces the career of The Carpenters and… Continue reading →

Steve Gleason film to premiere at Sundance had roots as video journal for former New Orleans Saint’s son

Former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason watches teams warm up before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ORG XMIT: LAMS1

A documentary about Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints defensive back who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. “Gleason” is among 16 films in the Sundance documentary competition. One of the world’s most important film festivals, Sundance is Jan. 21-31 in Park… Continue reading →

’Hunger Games’ beats ‘Good Dinosaur,’ ‘Creed’ at box office

This photo provided by Lionsgate shows, Liam Hemsworth, left, as Gale Hawthorne, Sam Clafin, back left, as Finnick Odair, Evan Ross, back right, as Messalia, and Jennifer Lawrence, right, as Katniss Everdeen, in the film, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2."  The movie opened in U.S. theaters on Nov. 20, 2015. (Murray Close/Lionsgate via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Despite some mighty competition, Katniss and her crew dominated the box office once again. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” held on to its first-place spot in its second weekend in theaters, earning $51.6 million to top “The Good Dinosaur” and “Creed,” which both debuted Wednesday, according to Rentrak estimates on Sunday.… Continue reading →

Review: Awards-worthy ‘Brooklyn’ is an epic of the heart

Photo by KERRY BROWN -- Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish immigrant in ‘Brooklyn.’

In the beautifully staged immigrant drama “Brooklyn,” Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan emerges as one of her generation’s finest actresses. In “Brooklyn,” Ronan (who already has an Oscar nomination under her belt) displays focused, sensitive aplomb in the leading role of Eilis Lacey. An economical actress, she’s skilled at expressing a heady mix of thoughts and emotions… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Good Dinosaur’ isn’t good enough

Photo provided by Pixar-Disney -- Spot, voiced by Jack Bright, and Arlo, voiced by Raymond Ochoa, star in the new cartoon 'The Good Dinosaur.'

“The Good Dinosaur” is a beautiful sight, but its recycled storytelling is stale. Building on the basic ingredients of Pixar and classic hand-drawn Disney animation, a young character loses a parent and struggles to reclaim his place in the world. Comedy and danger follow as the character encounters enemies and allies during a long, dangerous journey… Continue reading →

‘Brooklyn’ a quiet epic of the heart

Photo by KERRY BROWN -- Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish immigrant in ‘Brooklyn.’

In the beautifully staged immigrant drama “Brooklyn,” Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan emerges as one of her generation’s finest actresses. Ronan, 21, received an Oscar nomination at 13 for her work in the British drama, “Atonement.” Her “Brooklyn” performance has made her an early prospect for honors in the 2015-2016 awards season. In “Brooklyn,” Ronan displays… Continue reading →

Review: Yo Rocky! Gritty, soulful ‘Creed’ goes the distance

This photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures shows, Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures', Warner Bros. Pictures' and New Line Cinema's drama "Creed," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Admit it. When you heard another “Rocky” movie was coming out — a seventh — you thought, really? How many “Rocky” movies do we need? Well, it turns out we needed seven. At least. From its very beginning in 1976, the “Rocky” story has been about proving you belong in the ring — not winning, necessarily,… Continue reading →

Weak humor, cloying plot mar ‘The Good Dinosaur’

Photo provided by Walt Disney Studios -- A scene from 'The Good Dinosaur.'

“The Good Dinosaur” too often goes through the storytelling motions. The animated comedy-adventure, set in a mountainous, prehistoric American West, is a beautiful sight, but its recycled storytelling is stale. Building on the basic ingredients of Pixar and classic hand-drawn Disney animation, a young character loses a parent and struggles to reclaim his place… Continue reading →

Shallow script undermines stars, story in ‘Trumbo’

Photo by HILARY BRONWYN GAIL -- Bryan Cranston as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in 'Trumbo.'

Given the history, tragedy and injustice that the New Orleans-filmed “Trumbo” dramatizes, it could have been more effective than it is. Bryan Cranston portrays Dalton Trumbo, one of Hollywood’s great screenwriters of the 1940s and ’50s. But in the post-World War II U.S., as the Cold War with the Soviet Union reaches a boil, Trumbo’s support of… Continue reading →

Last ‘Hunger Games’ opens to $101 million, a franchise low

This photo provided by Columbia Pictures shows, Seth Rogen, left, as Isaac, and Jillian Bell as Betsy, in Columbia Pictures' "The Night Before." The movie opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 20, 2015. (Sarah Shatz/Columbia Pictures via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mockingjay — Part 2,” the final “Hunger Games” film, soared to a $101 million opening in its first weekend in theaters, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. For most films this would be a coup, but “The Hunger Games” had its own records to beat, and this sets a new low for the four-film franchise.… Continue reading →

New Orleans bartender works fast on TLC’s ‘90 Day Fiancé’

Photo provided by TLC -- Bajaree 'Noon' Boonma and Kyle Huckabee embrace after he proposes marriage on an episode of  TLC's '90 Day Fiance.'

“Sometimes love happens by accident, when you least expect it. You can’t prepare for it, you can’t be ready. It just happens.” — Anonymous Kyle Huckabee was looking for a tour guide. He found a fiancée. The love story of the New Orleans bartender, 28, and Thailand native Bajaree “Noon” Boonma,… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Mockingjay — Part 2’ an overlong victory for Katniss

Photo by MURRAY CLOSE -- From left, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Evan Ross and Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Game: Mockingjay -- Part 2.'

“The Hunger Games,” a trilogy in its original book form but an overstretched quartet in movie form, concludes with some padding but also in-the-line-of-fire action and suspense and big, impressive special effects. Best of all, Jennifer Lawrence continues her passionate work as the series’ brave and principled archer/heroine, Katniss Everdeen.… Continue reading →

Review: One wild ‘Night’

Photo provided by Columbia Pictures -- From left,  Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in 'The NIght Before.'

It takes hundreds of people to make a movie, but just two talents, actor Seth Rogen and writer Evan Goldberg, define the Christmas Eve-set romp “The Night Before.” Rogen and Goldberg’s comic résumé sets “The Night Before” scene. You know the duo’s crass work in such hits as “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express,” “This Is the End,”… Continue reading →

‘Spotlight’ is a major achievement

Photo by Kerry Jayes -- Michael Keaton, left, as Walter 'Robby' Robinson, and Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes in 'Spotlight.'

“Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s superb drama about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse, is a low-key, level-headed movie about a sensational, hot-button subject. The film has already been compared to “All the President’s Men,” Alan J. Pakula’s Oscar-winning 1976 re-creation of The Washington Post’s expose of the Watergate… Continue reading →

Supporting Katniss: Jena Malone talks the final ‘Hunger Games’ chapter

Photo by Gero Breloer --  Jena Malone signs autographs before the world premiere of the movie 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2' in Berlin, Germany.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” the concluding movie of four films adapted from novelist Suzanne Collins’ internationally popular “Hunger Games” trilogy, debuts in theaters Friday. For actress Jena Malone, who plays rebel warrior Johanna Mason alongside Jennifer Lawrence’s archer-heroine Katniss Everdeen, it’s a bittersweet finale. “Saying goodbye to friends,” Malone said. “The… Continue reading →

‘Spectre’ stays on top with $35.4M, ‘Peanuts’ with $24.2M

In this image released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions, Daniel Craig appears in a scene from the James Bond film, "Spectre."  (Susie Allnutt/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The box-office duo of James Bond and Charlie Brown again dominated North American movie theaters over the weekend, while Angelina Jolie Pitt’s “By the Sea” made barely a ripple. Sony’s “Spectre,” the 24th Bond installment and last week’s top film, took in $35.4 million in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge chef Chris Wadsworth get in the ‘Grocery Games’ on Food Network

Photo provided by Food Network -- Host Guy Fieri watches Baton Rouge chef Chris Wadsworth prepare his dish during an episode of 'Guy's Grocery Games.' Wadsworth's upcoming restaurant, Gouter, is set to open in February.

Chris Wadsworth has been waiting for Sunday night’s game all year. No, not the Cardinals-Seahawks NFL matchup on NBC. It’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” on Food Network, and Wadsworth will be playing. The Baton Rouge chef and three other chefs shot their episode of the Guy Fieri-hosted game show about nine months ago. “It’s been a… Continue reading →

Review: ‘My All-American’ is nothing special

Photo by Van Redin -- Aaron Eckhart and Finn Wittrock star in 'My All-American.'

“My All-American” is an earnest, ultimately heart-tugging sports drama. Nothing fancy. Nothing many moviegoers won’t see coming from a football field away. That’s especially true if they’re familiar with the true story the film is based upon. In 1969, University of Texas Longhorns safety Freddie Steinmark helped his team reach the Cotton Bowl, where the… Continue reading →