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Review: Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ confusing

Photo provided by Disney -- From left, George Clooney, as Frank Walker, Britt Robertson as Casey, and Raffey Cassidy as Athena, share the screen in a scene from Disney's 'Tomorrowland.'

The inspiration for “Tomorrowland,” a George Clooney-starring sci fi-adventure that never truly takes flight, came in the form of a box of models, blueprints, photos and letters in the Walt Disney archives. The archival material is related to the Disney company’s creations for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Specifically the “It’s a Small World”… Continue reading →

Juno Temple sinks herself into ‘Madding’ role

Photo by ALEX BAILEY -- Juno Temple as Fanny in 'Far From the Madding Crowd.'

In the new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel of Victorian England, “Far From the Madding Crowd,” the fates of two of the story’s major female characters couldn’t be more different. Carey Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene, an ardently independent young woman who inherits her uncle’s estate. Bathsheba is a rare one in her time —… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ is an epic journey of the heart

Photo by ALEX BAILEY -- Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel and Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.

A mostly British cast, a Danish director and a classic novel by Thomas Hardy form the winning ingredients in “Far From the Madding Crowd.” As adaptations of literary classics go, director Thomas Vinterberg’s and screenwriter David Nicholls’ interpretation of Hardy’s Victorian drama is a fine one. It’s beautifully acted, grandly romantic cinema that nevertheless doesn’t lose… Continue reading →

Louisiana singers finish 2nd, 4th on 'The Voice'

NBC photo by TRAE PATTON -- Koryn Hawthorne, left, takes the stage with her coach,  Pharrell Williams, on the live finals of 'The Voice' Monday.

Ponchatoula native Meghan Linsey and Abbeville’s Koryn Hawthorne finished in the second- and fourth-runners-up spots respectively on NBC’s “The Voice” Tuesday night. Sixteen-year-old Sawyer Fredericks, of Fultonville, New York, was named the winner of the reality singing competition series’ Season 8. Joshua Davis, of Travese City, Michigan, finished third. “The competition aside, we… Continue reading →

‘Deepwater Horizon’ film begins production in New Orleans; here's a 'first look' photo from the film

Photo by ENRIQUE CHEDIAK -- Lionsgate released a 'first look' image of Mark Wahlerg in 'Deepwater Horizon.'

“Deepwater Horizon,” the film based on the April 20, 2010, explosions and fire that took place on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, started principal photography Monday in New Orleans. The screenplay is based on the December 2010 New York Times article, “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours,” by David Barstow, David… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ 'an energetic but underachieving follow-up' to the original

Universal Pictures photo by RICHARD CARTWRIGHT -- Fom left, Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose, Shelley Regner as Ashley, Kelley Alice Jakle as Jessica, Hailee Steinfeld as Emily, Anna Kendrick as Beca, Brittany Snow as Chloe, Alexis Knapp as Stacie, Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, and Hana Mae Lee as Lilly Anna Kendrick are the Barden Bellas in a scene from 'Pitch Perfect 2.'

It’s an unwritten law of Hollywood. Hit movies beget sequels. And depending on the storytelling potential in the original films and the talent of the filmmakers, sequels can be even better than the originals. That’s a rarity. “Pitch Perfect 2,” an energetic but underachieving follow-up to 2012’s fun, lively musical… Continue reading →

Review: Dazzling ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’is a can’t miss thrill

Warner Bros. Pictures photo by JASIN BOLAND -- Tom Hardy is lone wolf Max Rockatansky in 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' in theaters Friday.

The silences in “Mad Max: Fury Road” are unsettling. The moments are few and infrequent, but it’s not until the fiery roar of the engines and the thrashing of the guitars are suddenly stripped away that you can fully feel how deeply the film has flooded your being. The theater — and your heart — pulsates… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge's people, the city get to shine in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- A cable cam glides over 3,000 extras while filming a scene for the movie 'Pitch Perfect 2' in Highland Road Park in Baton Rouge.

Everyone was talking about the 13th Gate. They still are. “It was one of the coolest locations we worked at in Baton Rouge,” Daniel Kleinpeter says. “The way it was set up was great.” Kleinpeter grew up in Baton Rouge and now lives in New Orleans, where he’s working as a production assistant… Continue reading →

Review: Wiig captivates in funny, disturbing ‘Welcome to Me’

Alchemy Pictures photo by SUZANNE HANOVER -- Kristen Wiig appears in a scene from 'Welcome To Me.'

There’s dark comedy, and then there’s take-no-prisoners, dare-you-to-keep-looking dark comedy. Kristen Wiig’s “Welcome to Me” falls decidedly in the latter category, making us laugh but feel deeply unsettled about doing so. That’s because the film, directed by Shira Piven, is about mental illness, a decidedly unfunny subject. On the other hand, if you’re going to try… Continue reading →

’Avengers’ sequel tops charts, crushes ‘Hot Pursuit’

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Reese Witherspoon, right, and Sofia Vergara appear in a scene from "Hot Pursuit." (Sam Emerson/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

LOS ANGELES — The “Age of Ultron” is not over. The Avengers sequel topped the domestic box office for the second weekend in a row with an estimated $77.2 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The film has earned a staggering $312.9 million in just 10 days in theaters, tying with “The Dark Knight” to become… Continue reading →

‘Avengers’ sequel tops charts, crushes ‘Hot Pursuit’

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Reese Witherspoon, right, and Sofia Vergara appear in a scene from "Hot Pursuit." (Sam Emerson/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “Age of Ultron” is not over. The Avengers sequel topped the domestic box office for the second weekend in a row with an estimated $77.2 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The film has earned a staggering $312.9 million in just 10 days in theaters, tying with “The Dark Knight” to become… Continue reading →

Vincent D’Onofrio to appear Saturday and Sunday at film festival

Actor Vincent D'Onofrio, star of many films and TV's '`Law & Order: Criminal Intent,' will attend screenings for his new film, 'Broken Horses,' Saturday at Sunday at the Louisiana International Film Festival.

Actor Vincent D’Onofrio, co-star of the new thriller “Broken Horses,” will introduce the film at 9:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during the Louisiana International Film Festival at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. D’Onofrio will conduct question-and-answer sessions following both screenings. D’Onofrio’s upcoming films include one of the summer’s most anticipated films, “Jurassic World.” He’s also… Continue reading →

Review: Witherspoon and Vergara crash in ‘Hot Pursuit’

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Reese Witherspoon appears in a scene from "Hot Pursuit." (Sam Emerson/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

“Hot Pursuit” has all the trappings of a buddy comedy except that whole comedy part. The pairing of Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, like the recent Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard,” is predicated on the distance between the two in height and culture. But, good lord, where are the jokes? Witherspoon plays an uptight,… Continue reading →

Review: ‘D Train’ stops short of destination

IFC Films photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle -- James Marsden, left, and Jack Black respectively co-star as the most popular and most unpopular guys in their high school, class of 1994, in 'The D Train.'

The briefly amusing high-school reunion comedy “The D Train” gets some things right. The right stuff exists mostly in the casting. Late 30-somethings James Marsden and Jack Black respectively co-star as the most popular and most unpopular guys in their high school, class of 1994. Black’s Dan Landsman fancies himself chairman of the alumni committee that’s… Continue reading →

La. International Film Festival’s eclectic program continues through Sunday

Photo provided by Louisiana International Film Festival -- 'Khalil Gibran's The Prophet' will be shown at 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

The third annual Louisiana International Film Festival continues through Sunday at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. In addition to the film screenings, workshops and other activities will take place throughout Perkins Rowe. The festival includes world and Louisiana premieres. The eclectic program features dramas, comedies, animation, documentaries, foreign-language films and shorts. Single tickets… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Age of Ultron’ is an Avengers overdose

Photo provided by Disney/Marvel -- Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Iron Man/Tony Stark in the film, 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron.'

It will surely stand as one of the most peculiar and possibly ironic entries in a director’s filmography that in between Joss Whedon’s two “Avengers” films there reads “Much Ado About Nothing”: a low-budget, black-and-white Shakespeare adaption sandwiched between two of the most gargantuan blockbusters ever made. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” there is definitely aplenty… Continue reading →

TV5Monde programs capture La. culture

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE --Tanya Evanson dances to the music of her band Neyaz on the Scene TV5MONDE Lafayette stage during Festival International de Louisiane last weekend.

Louisiana’s French culture is the theme of the weekend on TV5Monde. The centerpiece for the two days of programming on the U.S.’s only 24/7 French language entertainment channel will be last week’s Festival International de Louisiane. “We have a lineup of documentaries, lifestyle shows, and of course, this special program called ‘Rendez-Vous d’Amérique,’ ” TV5Monde COO… Continue reading →

Paul Bettany has a new vision in ‘Avengers’

/Invision/AP photo by Jordan Strauss -- Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany couldn’t hear anything. When the 43-year-old actor initially donned a noggin-encasing headpiece to portray the mysterious Vision in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” in theaters Friday, Bettany could barely make out what anyone was saying around him. That isolation ended up fueling his imposing performance in the follow-up to the 2012… Continue reading →

Louisiana International Film Festival: Travel the world right here at home

Photo provided by Louisiana International Film Festival -- 'Khalil Gibran's The Prophet' will be shown at 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

The third annual Louisiana International Film Festival opens Thursday, May 7, with a gala premiere screening of “Spy,” a comedy directed by Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids” fame and starring Melissa McCarthy. This year’s festival runs Thursday-Sunday, May 10, at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. Workshops and other activities will take place throughout Perkins Rowe. The festival includes world and… Continue reading →

Blending culinary delights and personality, local Food blogger, chef Jay Ducote intends to serve up an 'authentic Louisiana guy' for the ‘Food Network Star,’; see the trailer here

Food Network photo by JEREMIAH ALLEY -- Chef Jay Ducote prepares soup using his sabotage element, a coffee pot, during an episode of  Food Network's 'Cutthroat Kitchen' in July 2014.

Jay Ducote is in the running to be the next “Food Network Star.” The Baton Rouge food blogger and cook is one of 12 finalists on the show, featuring Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay. The season premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 7. Even though he previously appeared on… Continue reading →

Review: A visionary sci-fi thriller is born in ‘Ex Machina’

Photo provided by A24 Films -- Domhnall Gleeson plays the sharp programmer in the new sci-fi thriller, 'Ex Machina.'

Cinema has always been fascinated by androids. From “Metropolis” to “Blade Runner,” the juxtaposition of humans next to their artificial form has provided endless hours of stories that can be as exhilarating as they are poignant. Tough moral questions about consciousness and humanity go down easier when hidden under the glossy sheen of genre, after all. With… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Adaline’ is both ludicrous and deeply moving

This image released by Lionsgate shows Blake Lively in a scene from "The Age of Adaline." (Diyah Pera/Lionsgate via AP)

Is it possible for a movie to be at once ludicrously silly and genuinely moving? That’s the strange question you might find yourself asking while watching “The Age of Adaline,” a romantic fantasy with surprising heft that will likely have you scoffing at one moment, then furtively wiping away a tear the next. It’ll also have you… Continue reading →

Review: Russell Crowe’s ‘Diviner’ a robust, assured war tale

Warner Bros. Pictures photo by MARK ROGERS -- Russell Crowe stars in and directs the new film 'The Water Diviner,' which opens Friday at AMC Baton Rouge 16.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Making his directorial debut with the brawny and big-hearted Australian war drama “The Water Diviner,” Russell Crowe taps a deep well of symbolism, cultural empathy and good old-fashioned storytelling. Crowe, who also stars as a grieving father stoically bulldozing through Turkey in search of three sons missing in action after the World War I… Continue reading →

Open casting call for two feature films set for Saturday

Central Casting Louisiana will conduct an open casting call for the feature films “The Magnificent 7” and “Hush” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Celtic Media Centre (Studios), 10000 Celtic Drive, Baton Rouge. For the classic western “The Magnificent 7,” all ethnicities of men with facial hair and “good western looks” are being sought, as well as women… Continue reading →

Review: A visionary sci-fi thriller is born in ‘Ex Machina’

Photo provided by A24 Films -- Domhnall Gleeson plays the sharp programmer in the new sci-fi thriller, 'Ex Machina.'

Cinema has always been fascinated by androids. From “Metropolis” to “Blade Runner,” the juxtaposition of humans next to their artificial form has provided endless hours of stories that can be as exhilarating as they are poignant. Tough moral questions about consciousness and humanity go down easier when hidden under the glossy sheen of genre, after all. With… Continue reading →

’Furious 7’ outpaces ‘Paul Blart’

Photo courtesy Sony Pictures -- Kevin James returns as Paul Blart in ‘Paul Blart: Mall  Cop 2.’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even in its debut weekend, Kevin James’s “Paul Blart” sequel couldn’t outpace “Furious 7.” The reigning box office champion might have slowed from its blockbuster debut, but “Furious 7” maintained first place for the third weekend in a row with an estimated $29.1 million, according to box office tracker Rentrak on Sunday.… Continue reading →

British director Rupert Goold tells ‘True Story’

Photo by MARY CYBULSKI -- Director Rupert Goold assesses a scene on the set of 'True Story.'

In “True Story,” Michael Finkel, a star reporter at The New York Times, loses his job after he fictionalizes a story about modern-day slavery in Africa. Reeling from his swift dismissal, Finkel learns that an accused murderer, Christian Longo, assumed the reporter’s identity prior to being apprehended. Later, the ex-reporter and imprisoned alleged murderer agree to… Continue reading →

Review: Disneynature explores ‘Monkey Kingdom’

Photo by JEFF WILSON -- Kip's a character in Disneynature's 'Monkey Kingdom.'

In the ruins of an ancient city in the Sri Lankan jungle, a community of macaque monkeys goes about its organized, even ritualistic monkey business. And monkeys, like the most powerful humans on Earth, play politics. “Monkey Kingdom,” an immersive new Disneynature documentary, quickly establishes the troupe’s rules and pecking order. As in human society, there… Continue reading →

Review: Tom Hardy excels, but ‘Child 44’ feels like 40 movies

Lionsgate photo by LARRY HORRICKS -- Tom Hardy appears in a scene from the film, 'Child 44.'

The best-selling novel “Child 44” by Tom Rob Smith runs well over 400 pages, and that’s perhaps the first hint as to why the movie based on it seems to veer in 40 different directions. It’s a political movie. It’s a war film. It’s a crime thriller. And suddenly, late in the proceedings, it becomes an… Continue reading →

Coming from a 'galaxy far, far away: All ‘Star Wars' fans sneak a peek at the 'Force Awakens’ trailer

Star Wars fans wait in line to enter Star Wars Celebration: The Ultimate Fan Experience held at the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday, April 16, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Variety reported today that Disney and Lucasfilm have released the second trailer for the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim, Calif. “The new footage gives fans their first glimpse of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca from ‘Episode VII,’ as well as a voiceover from Mark… Continue reading →

’Furious 7’ keeps speed, tops box office with $60.6 million

This photo provided by Universal Pictures shows, from left, Tyrese Gibson as Roman, Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, Paul Walker as Brian, and Chris Ludacris as Tej, in a scene from "Furious 7."  (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Scott Garfield)

NEW YORK — The high-octane thriller “Furious 7” maintained speed in its second week, racing away with $60.6 million at North American theaters and bringing its box-office total to a robust $252.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Universal’s “Furious 7” more than lapped the competition. The only new wide release of the weekend, the rodeo… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Longest Ride’ tells 2 love stories, old and new

Twentieth Century Fox photo by Michael Tackett -- Oona Chaplin as Ruth and Jack Huston as Ira star in 'The Longest Ride.'

Ever since “The Notebook” made moviegoers swoon in 2004, Nicholas Sparks’ name has been synonymous with teary-eyed romance. The author’s latest novel adapted for the big screen, “The Longest Ride,” is no exception, offering two love stories at once. But the most heartfelt affair here isn’t between its impossibly good-looking stars; it’s shared by a couple… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Woman in Gold’ a remarkable story lifelessly told

Photo provided by The Weinstein Company -- From left, Ryan Reynolds, Helen Mirren and Daniel Bruhl share a scene in the film, 'Woman in Gold,' opening Friday.

“Woman in Gold” has a rich story to tell. The true account of Maria Altmann’s fight to reclaim a famed Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” first stolen by the Nazis and then appropriated by Austria after the war, is laced with riveting history, deep and complex emotion, and fascinating bureaucracy. Yet… Continue reading →

Pixar gets emotional with film 5½ years in the making

This photo provided by Disney-Pixar shows a progression image from the animated film, "Inside Out." For animation and simulation - when layout is complete, the primary and secondary characters are animated and brought to life by the Animation department.  Animators create the personality and "acting" of the characters.  The secondary motion of the hair and garments is added by the Simulation department and this simulation allows the hair and garments to move naturally to complement the acting.  (AP Photo/Copyright Disney-Pixar)

Fear, anger, disgust, sadness and joy have taken over Pixar headquarters, and things are going great. The Oscar-winning animation studio is celebrating the completion of “Inside Out,” a film that features each of those emotions as personified characters controlling operations inside a little girl’s head. Sculptures,… Continue reading →

Box office: ’Furious 7’ races to $143.6 million

This photo provided by Universal Pictures shows, from left, Tyrese Gibson as Roman, Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, Paul Walker as Brian, and Chris Ludacris as Tej, in a scene from "Furious 7."  (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Scott Garfield)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The high-octane “Furious 7” peeled out of the gates in its opening weekend, picking up a stunning $143.6 million from 4,004 locations to easily top the domestic box office, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The expectation-shattering sum is a studio and franchise best for the homegrown car-obsessed series, which has continued to grow… Continue reading →

Vin Diesel says Oscars weighted against action films

Invision/AP photo by CHRIS PIZZELLO -- Vin Diesel speaks on stage at the 45th NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. in February.

Vin Diesel said last week that the latest “Fast & Furious” film deserves a best picture Oscar but has two strikes against it when it comes to the Academy — it’s an action flick and it’s a sequel. “Do I shy away from aiming high? No, I don’t,” said the 47-year-old actor,… Continue reading →

Session players behind music history take spotlight in new documentary

Photo provided by Magnolia Pictures -- Drummer and New Orleans native Earl Palmer moved to Los Angeles and became an in-demand session musician there.

The behind-the-scenes studio musicians who helped shape the sound of Motown finally got their due in the 2002 documentary “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.” Backup singers to the stars received their long-time-coming acknowledgement in 2013’s Oscar-winning “20 Feet from Stardom.” “The Wrecking Crew,” a music documentary, turns the spotlight on West Coast session musicians… Continue reading →