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‘Annie’ remake adds modern touches

Columbia Pictures photo by BARRY WETCHER -- Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), Pepper (Amanda Troya), Mia (Nicolette Pierini), Mrs. Kovacevic (Stephanie Kurtzuba), Stacks (Jamie Foxx), Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) and Grace (Rose Byrne) sing 'Tomorrow' in 'Annie.'

“Annie,” the Depression era-set Broadway musical previously adapted into a 1982 film and 1999 TV movie, gets its biggest makeover yet with the 2014 film version of the story. Houma native Quvenzhané Wallis, the 11-year-old actress who received an Oscar nomination for her performance in 2012’s Louisiana-set drama, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” stars… Continue reading →

‘Annie’ star Quvenzhané Wallis talks about acting, school and future dreams

Invision/AP photo by EVAN AGOSTINI -- Actress Quvenzhane Wallis attends the world premiere of  'Annie' at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York Dec. 7.

Quvenzhané Wallis, the 11-year-old actress who received an Oscar nomination for her performance in the Louisiana-set fable “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” wants to make acting a career. An animal lover who travels with her tiny Yorkie poodle, Sammie, she wants to be a veterinarian, too. In Wallis’ latest movie, a new film adaptation of the… Continue reading →

Director guides Witherspoon’s troubled character down rocky road

Fox Searchlight photo by ANNE MARIE FOX -- Reese Witherspoon, left, and director Jean-Marc Vallee film on location for the new film 'Wild.'

As a troubled young woman in “Wild,” Reese Witherspoon has earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations and is a frontrunner for a best actress Oscar nomination. Canada’s Jean-Marc Vallée directed Witherspoon, an Oscar winner for her role in 2005’s “Walk the Line,” in the acclaimed new drama, which opens Friday in Baton Rouge and… Continue reading →

Witherspoon earns best actress nominations with moving ‘Wild’

Fox Searchlight photo by ANNE MARIE FOX -- Reese Witherspoon plays a young woman on an epic journey in 'Wild.'

Redemption movies often aren’t as inspirational as they’d like to be. They are more likely chores to watch. Not so “Wild.” The immersive, moving “Wild” is among the best redemption movies. Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a reckless young woman who’s reached the edge of a psychological cliff. After a troubled life that includes a failed marriage,… Continue reading →

Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Williams

Twentieth Century Fox photo by Kerry Brown -- From left, Atilla the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) react to an unexpected turn of events in 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.'

Take heed: There are at least two acutely sad moments involving Robin Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt in the latest “Night at the Museum.” The movie, subtitled “Secret of the Tomb,” is imbued with the unshakable inevitability that even though we’re still having fun, it’s time to move on—a narrative made only more poignant by Williams’s sudden and shocking… Continue reading →

Battle rejoined in action-packed ‘Hobbit’ finale

Photo by MARK POKORNY -- Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.'

The three-part saga centered upon title character Bilbo Baggins reaches a furious finale in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Following 2012’s “An Unexpected Journey” and 2013’s “The Desolation of Smaug,” “The Battle of the Five Armies” is the most action-saturated of the lot. In addition to the film’s five armies, various… Continue reading →

Louisiana singer competes for ‘Voice’ title; winner to be announced Tuesday night

NBC photo by TYLER GOLDEN -- Damien Lawson, of Monroe, performs on a previous episode of NBC's 'The Voice.'

Damien Lawson, of Monroe, may be the next “Voice.” Lawson will sing up against his fellow three finalists on NBC’s reality musical competition series “The Voice” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. The winner will be announced during Tuesday night’s 8 p.m to 10 p.m. finale. Lawson is part of “The Voice’s” Team Adam… Continue reading →

Chris Rock’s stand-up comes to life in ‘Top Five’

Paramount Pictures photo by ALI PAIGE GOLDSTEIN -- Gabrielle Union, left, and Chris Rock share a scene in 'Top Five.'

Writer-director Chris Rock is not Andre Allen, the stand-up comedian turned movie star lead of “Top Five.” But, it’s almost impossible to watch his latest effort, a cutting comedy about showbiz, creativity and ambition, and not wonder what material Rock took from his own life. While that’s a fun and compelling draw, thankfully, it’s only… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Exodus’ plagued by casting, script issues

This image released by 20th Century Fox shows Joel Edgerton in a scene from

To what do we owe the second coming of the biblical epic? A genre that was once as moldy as stale communion wafers has been reborn this year, first with Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” and now with Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods & Kings.” The resurrection is partly to capitalize on the faith-based moviegoing audience and partly because the… Continue reading →

Chef John Folse’s new series “Hooks, Lie & Alibis” previewed in LPB’s Winterfest campaign

Photo provided by Don Perdue/WNET -- Luciano Pavarotti performs at Madison Square Garden.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Winterfest 2014 membership campaign continues through Sunday. Special programming this week includes a preview of chef John Folse’s new “Taste of Louisiana” series titled “Hooks, Lie & Alibis” at 7 p.m. Thursday. The well-known Cajun and Creole chef will be in the LPB studios for the preview. Based… Continue reading →

‘The Congress’ is chaotic feast of ideas

Photo provided by Drafthouse Films -- Robin Wright plays a version of herself in 'The Congress.'

A movie that’s largely hallucination translated into film and animation, “The Congress” presents questions and observations in childlike, otherworldly ways. It’s a drama, it’s a cartoon, playful and sad, satirical and moving. All these things and a chaotic visual feast as well. “The Congress” is about many things. It takes vicious aim at Hollywood and… Continue reading →

Documentary revisits death of Huey P. Long

Associated Press file photo -- Sen. Huey P. Long addresses students at LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 12, 1934.

In “61 Bullets,” Austin filmmakers David Modigliani and Lucy Kreutz revisit the assassination of populist Louisiana politician Huey P. Long. On Sept. 8, 1935, the former governor and then U.S. senator was shot in a marble hallway of the Louisiana State Capitol. Instantly, the senator’s bodyguards fired 60 bullets into Dr. Carl Weiss, the… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ doesn’t work

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Charlie Day, from left,  Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Chris Pine appear in a scene from

The characters of the modern workplace comedy, like the rest of us, don’t know how to make a living anymore. Having haplessly tried to murder their bosses in the first “Horrible Bosses,” Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis return in “Horrible Bosses 2” as hopeful inventors. “Let’s bet on ourselves,” they tell each other, making a… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Madagascar’ spin-off hatches family fun

This image released by DreamWorks Animation shows Private, voiced by Christopher Knights in a scene from,

For a movie that’s more paint by numbers than Picasso, “Penguins of Madagascar” begins with something completely unexpected: a Werner Herzog voiceover. Parodying his own work and documentary films’ obsession with the flightless birds, the German filmmaker gives an auspiciously clever start to a movie targeted toward the under 10 set. It’s a little wink to the… Continue reading →

Review: Jennifer Lawrence shines in ‘Mockingjay’

Photo by MURRAY CLOSE -- Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in 'The Hunger Gamers: Mockingjay -- Part 1.'

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” bides its time. In doing so, the film diminishes the impact of its heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and mutes the urgency in Suzanne Collins’ futuristic “Hunger Games” novels. Breaking book No. 3 of the “Hunger Games” trilogy into two movies, the filmmakers responsible for “Mockingjay — Part 1” deliver… Continue reading →

Red’s best bets for holiday movie season

Photo by MARK POKOMY -- Ian McKellen, left, and Orlando Bloom reprise their roles in the final installment of the Hobbit series, 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.'

The holiday movie season starts Friday with surefire hit “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. Like the book series-based “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” movie franchises that preceded the likewise lucrative “Hunger Games” movies, the “Mockingjay” filmmakers are stretching their box office receipts by dividing one book into two movies. Let’s hope they don’t save all of… Continue reading →

Check out a sneak peek of Baton Rouge-shot movie ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Crews work to film 'Pitch Perfect 2' June 20 in Highland Road Park in Baton Rouge.

Audiences can get their first peek at the Baton Rouge-shot “Pitch Perfect 2” movie on the cover and inside this week’s EW magazine. The film was shot over the summer and is a sequel to 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” also shot in the city, mostly on the LSU campus. According to the movie database IMDb,… Continue reading →

Homecoming Actor Wes Brown returns to his home state for featured role in ‘NCIS: New Orleans’

Photo provided by WES BROWN -- Actor Wes Brown, center, formerly of Baton Rouge, guest-stars on Tuesday's episode of 'NCIS: New Orleans.' With him are show stars Lucas Black, left, and Scott Bakula.

Actor Wes Brown always likes coming home. In October, work brought the Baton Rouge native back to Louisiana for five days of shooting over a two-week span for his guest-starring role on Tuesday’s episode of the CBS crime drama “NCIS: New Orleans.” It’s the eighth episode for the freshman series, another spin-off of “NCIS.”… Continue reading →

La.-based A&E reality show ‘Country Buck$’ makes room for a new dynasty

Photo provided by A&E -- Matt Busbice, Ryan Busbice, Joe Buck Busbice,Hard Luck Busbice, Mona Busbice, Big Bill Busbice, Beth Busbiceand Terry Carr star in A&E's

It’s a north Louisiana-set reality show about a quirky family who works and plays together, and their last name isn’t Robertson. Meet the Busbices, stars of A&E’s new series “Country Buck$,” debuting Wednesday. And, as son Matt Busbice, 32, was quick to point out, this is no “Duck Dynasty.” “We know there are going… Continue reading →

Actor Wes Brown returns to his home state for featured role in ‘NCIS: New Orleans’

Photo provided by WES BROWN -- Actor Wes Brown, center, formerly of Baton Rouge, guest-stars on Tuesday's episode of 'NCIS: New Orleans.' With him are show stars Lucas Black, left, and Scott Bakula.

Actor Wes Brown always likes coming home. In October, work brought the Baton Rouge native back to Louisiana for five days of shooting over a two-week span for his guest-starring role on Tuesday’s episode of the CBS crime drama “NCIS: New Orleans.” It’s the eighth episode for the freshman series, another spin-off of “NCIS.”… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ lives up to its title

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jim Carrey, left, and Jeff Daniels in a scene from

Comedy is all about timing. The dimwitted Lloyd (Jim Carrey) reminds the audience of that simple fact minutes into “Dumb and Dumber To” and the sentiment echoes throughout the disappointing return. Twenty years have passed since audiences first met and improbably fell for Lloyd and Harry (Jeff Daniels), and the boys are up to their same old stunts,… Continue reading →

Review: Stewart displays sure hand in ‘Rosewater’

This image released by Open Road Films shows Gael Garcia Bernal in a scene from the film,

You can take the man away from the humor. But you clearly can’t always take the humor from the man. This gratifying principle proves true both for the Iranian-born Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned for 118 days in Tehran and accused of being a spy, and of Jon Stewart, who captures Bahari’s harrowing tale in… Continue reading →

‘Requiems’ wraps up six-part thriller series

Photo provided by Hedges Pictures -- Hurricane victim Melanie (Brittany Kriger) warns Nurse Angela (Jenny Ballard) of the dangerous dolls left behind by the voodoo queen Marie Laveau in an upcoming episode of Hedges Pictures' web series 'Requiems.'

Call it the “Requiems” premiere part two, when audiences will be able to see how the Hedges Pictures psychological thriller series wraps up in one fell swoop Friday in Theatre Baton Rouge’s Studio Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.… Continue reading →

‘Big Hero’ doesn’t quite save the day

Photo provided by Walt Disney Pictures --  Left, Hiro, and Baymax are featured in a scene from  'Big Hero 6.'

After lagging behind other studios in computer-animation for years, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ winners in recent times include 2008’s “Bolt,” 2010’s “Tangled,” 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph” and last year’s megahit musical, “Frozen.” But “Big Hero 6,” the new computer-animated project from Disney, is a misstep. For all of its technical marvels — including impressive… Continue reading →

Matthew McConaughey is down to earth about space role in ‘Interstellar’

Paramount Pictures photo by MELINDA SUE GORDON -- Matthew McConaughey stars as a farmer and single father turned hero spaceship pilot in the film, '

LOS ANGELES Matthew McConaughey wasn’t lured to working on “Interstellar” by its cosmic story of space exploration to save all humankind. It wasn’t even that he would work with highly touted director Christopher Nolan or Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway. He was drawn to the mega movie by the grounded nature of the… Continue reading →

‘Interstellar’ a sublime cosmic knockout


Since his breakthrough with the backward-running “Memento,” Christopher Nolan has made a plaything of time. In “Interstellar,” he slips into its very fabric, shaping its flows and exploding its particles. It’s an absurd endeavor. And it’s one of the most sublime movies of the decade. As our chief large-canvas illusionist, Nolan’s kaleidoscope puzzles have often… Continue reading →

LSU grad helps craft Disney animation

Photo provided by Disney -- Baymax, a robot, left, hugs his best friend, Hiro, in the new Disney animated comedy-adventure 'Big Hero 6.'

When children and families invade movie theaters this weekend to see “Big Hero 6,” they’ll be seeing the work of hundreds of filmmakers, including former Baton Rougean Ronald Johnson. He worked as technology manager for “Big Hero 6,” the new film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. In the computer-animated, action-adventure-comedy, robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada and his… Continue reading →

Film festival breaks records, brings out stars

Photo provided by DAVID JULIAN LEONARD -- Fats Domino, left, made a rare public appearance Oct. 23. Domino was joined Dr. John, right, as well as Dave Bartholomew, his longtime producer, at the premiere of  'The Big Beat,' a documentary about Domino and Bartholomew.

The 25th anniversary New Orleans Film Festival broke attendance records, festival officials announced Tuesday. More than 25,000 festival-goers participated in the festival, which screened 237 films in 12 venues. New Orleans music stars Fats Domino, Dr. John and Dave Bartholomew attended the weeklong festival’s closing night film, “The Big Beat,” on Oct. 23. The documentary… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Sleep’ a decidedly average psych thriller

Clarius Entertainment photo by LAURIE SPARHAM -- Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth play wife and husband in 'Before I Go To Sleep.'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reteamed once again with Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman stars as an amnesia victim whose brain resets back to 13 years ago after each night’s slumber in the decidedly average psychological thriller “Before I Go to Sleep.” Writer-director Rowan Joffe’s adaptation of S.J. Watson’s bestseller honors the lurid spirit of the page-turner enough to… Continue reading →

Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy in ‘Nightcrawler’

Open Road Films photo by CHUCK ZLOTNICK -- Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the creepy Lou Bloom in 'Nightcrawler.'

The most frightening thing about Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler” — even more than those sallow, sunken cheeks, those googly eyes, and that unkempt hair tied into a greasy bun — is his smile. They invented the word “creepy” for that smile, a goofy, confident grin that reaches its full breadth just when you’re starting to realize… Continue reading →

Top 13 Horror Movies: Big screams from the big screen

File photo -- A mechanized Linda Blair from the movie 'The Exorcist' is on display at the American Museum of the Moving Image.

Every holiday has its traditions. Christmas has mistletoe, Easter’s got painted eggs, and Halloween is an excuse to scare yourself silly with horror and gore galore. Here are some of the scariest movies of all time, a “lucky” 13 in fact, guaranteed to make you spill your popcorn and leave the lights on at bedtime.… Continue reading →

Keaton’s ‘Birdman’ may be his best performance

Photo provided by Fox Searchlight Pictures -- Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson in 'Birdman.'

The public loved Birdman. But Riggan Thomson, the actor who starred as the superhero in three hit movies, abandoned the character decades ago. Turning his back on the franchise didn’t work out well for Thomson. Without the winged hero, the actor’s career plunged. In the zealous comedy and drama “Continue reading →

Review: ‘White People’ is edgy; has memorable cast

In this image released by Roadside Attractions, Kyle Gallner, left, and Tessa Thompson appear in a scene from

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cheeky provocation wrapped in a zingy punchline, Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” recalls other memorably promising debuts — by filmmakers named Spike, for instance, whether Lee or Jonze. An ambitious satire that questions just how “post-racial” America has become, the film is never at a loss for words, but sometimes confuses galvanizing rhetoric… Continue reading →

‘John Wick’ both slick and stupid

Photo by DAVID LEE -- Keanu Reeves stars as a former hit man out for revenge in 'John Wick.'

“John Wick,” an action-thriller starring Keanu Reeves, doesn’t leave a single cliché unturned. Showing not an ounce of invention, the movie recycles the same old scenarios, shootouts, man-to-man combat, car chases and fiery explosions. The “John Wick” script occasionally aspires to dry wit of the kind spoken through the past 50 years by the of actors… Continue reading →

Bill Murray shines in ‘St. Vincent’

Photo provided by the Weinstein Company -- From left, Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher star in 'St. Vincent.'

Bill Murray finds the perfect Bill Murray role in “St. Vincent.” The veteran comic and sometimes dramatic actor nails the movie’s title role, grouchy Brooklyn retiree Vincent McKenna. Murray’s Vincent amuses and charms, despite the character’s apparent lack of interest in pleasing anyone other than himself. At 64, Murray is ripe for the part, comfortable and… Continue reading →

‘Love’ plods along, not all strangely

Photo by JEONG PARK -- Alfred Molina, left, plays George and John Lithgow is Ben in 'Love Is Strange.'

It’s tempting to guess that if the principal characters in “Love Is Strange” had not been so naïve, they wouldn’t be wrestling with the difficult situation they find themselves in. A self-conscious, tentative drama, “Love Is Strange” concerns George and Ben, two New York City men who have been together for 39 years. When the state… Continue reading →

Puppet painter from BR works on ‘The Boxtrolls’

Photo provided --Brett Carville

Former Baton Rougean Brett Carville, a 2012 Ringling College of Art and Design graduate, worked behind the scenes on the recently-released animated film “The Boxtrolls.” The film is based on the children’s novel, “Here Be Monsters,” by Alan Snow. Carville’s job with the film was as a puppet fabrication assistant. It included… Continue reading →

‘House Hunters’ to feature Baton Rouge Realtor, Gonzales family on Wednesday

A Baton Rouge Realtor and a Gonzales family will be featured on Wednesday’s episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters.” Theresa Luckett, who works for Keller Williams Realty, will help Jace and Josh Strahan and their son Sawyer find a home in Gonzales. The family has been staying with relatives since they sold their home. They’re in… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Book of Life’ celebrates death

This image released by Twentieth Century Fox  shows the character Manolo, voiced by Diego Luna, left, and the character Maria, voiced by Zoe Saldana in a scene from

LOS ANGELES — It’s not surprising that a companion art book to the new animated film directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro has already been released. Steeped in Mexican folk art and inspired by that country’s holiday the Day of the Dead, “The Book of Life” is a visually stunning effort… Continue reading →

‘Fury’ a barrage of heavy-handedness

Sony Pictures Entertainment photo by GILES KEYTE -- Brad Pitt , left, as Wardaddy, and Logan Lerman, right, as Norman, star in Columbia Pictures' 'Fury.'

The relentless barrage of heavy-handedness in David Ayer’s World War II tank drama “Fury” begins immediately. A lone horseman approaches on the grim horizon of a foggy, corpse-strewn battlefield. Out of the muck leaps a man who pulls the rider down and savagely bludgeons him in the eye. Ayer, a veteran of the Navy and… Continue reading →

Local indie film company premieres latest ‘Requiems’ project

Photo provided by Hedges Pictures -- From left, Natalie Sibille, Haley Schroeck and Melissa Seidule lead their fellow vampires in a mysterious ritual in an upcoming episode of Hedges Pictures' web series 'Requiems.'

Audiences have a choice: wait for the weekly broadcast premieres of “Requiems” on YouTube, or attend the big screen premiere of the first three episodes Friday at Theatre Baton Rouge. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. That’s when they’ll learn about the girl who’s been committed to a designated psychiatric hospital for people who have had… Continue reading →

Fats Domino documentary is ‘the real thing’

Photo provided by Joe Lauro -- Fats Domino, far left, performed with the Billy Diamond Band before he became a recording star.

From 1950 through 1962, New Orleans’ Fats Domino sold 60 million records. During most of that time, trumpeter, producer and band leader Dave Bartholomew played the essential role of creative partner to the piano-playing star. “The Big Beat,” including extraordinary concert footage from the French National Archives, chronicles Domino’s and Bartholomew’s… Continue reading →

‘Stalker’ to feature BR native Herthum


Baton Rouge native and actor Louis Herthum will guest-star on CBS’ “Stalker” at 9 p.m. Wednesday. In the episode titled “Manhunt,” a bride is shot by a sniper during her wedding ceremony. Detective Jack Larsen and Lt. Beth Davis are called in to determine if the bride’s stalker has come back to haunt her. Herthum… Continue reading →

‘Gone Girl’ tops box office for second weekend

In this image released by Universal Pictures, Luke Evans appears in a scene from

LOS ANGELES — Four new films couldn’t catch “Gone Girl” at theaters this weekend. The Fox thriller starring Ben Affleck as a man whose wife goes missing is poised to top the box office for a second week with $26.8 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. Also starring Rosamund… Continue reading →

‘Duck Dynasty’ star,Tommy Chong have this in common: They’re still in ‘DWTS’ competition

ABC photo by ADAM TAYLOR -- Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas dance to the Pharrell song 'Hunter' on Monday's 'Dancing with the Stars.'

You wouldn’t expect “Duck Dynasty’s” Sadie Robertson and Cheech & Chong’s Tommy Chong to have anything in common. You’d be wrong. They’re both spending hours a day at dance practice, fielding feedback from “Dancing with the Stars” fans, and getting high ­— Robertson, ascending via balloons to close a performance two weeks ago, and Chong,… Continue reading →