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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

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 →

Review: ‘Alexander’ a snappy, benign comedy

Disney photo by DALE ROBINETTE -- Steve Carell, center, stars in 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,' which opens in theaters Friday.

Given its premise, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” could have been a lot more horrible and no good than it is. In fact, at a quick 82 minutes, this straight-arrow family comedy about a day when misfortune comes to visit and stays awhile goes down relatively painlessly if one considers the repetitive nature… Continue reading →

New Orleans Film Festival returns for 25th year

Photo provided by the New Orleans Film Festival -- Octavia Spencer, left, and Kevin Costner star in 'Black and White,' the opening night film for this year's New Orleans Film Festival. The festival runs Oct. 16-23.

The 25th annual New Orleans Film Festival, featuring 237 films, runs Thursday through Oct. 23. “Black and White,” a New Orleans-filmed drama starring Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer and Anthony Mackie, is the festival’s opening night film. The festival will close with the world premiere of “The Big Beat,” Joe Lauro’s documentary about… Continue reading →

BBC mobile bureau arrives in BR

The BBC’s first mobile bureau will spend the rest of October in Baton Rouge. The six-month experimental project launched in Boulder, Colorado, in September. BBC Pop Up is made up of a small team of BBC video journalists who are taking up residence in a different U.S. city each month to produce locally sourced short and long… Continue reading →

‘Swamp Pawn’ star Rick Phillips ready for series’ third season

Photo by Johnny Gembitsky -- Rick Phillips started out as a fisherman before going into the seafood distribution business.

As “Swamp Pawn” begins its third season, Rick Phillips is still just doing his thing. Phillips stars in the CMT reality series centered on his Bayou Pigeon seafood distribution business, Phillips Seafood. “I like doing it because I really don’t have to do anything else, just be myself,” Phillips said at the end of a day’s… Continue reading →

Baker man to appear on ‘Steve Harvey’ show

Brubaker

Christian Brubaker, 18, of Baker, will appear on “Steve Harvey” at 10 a.m. Wednesday on WAFB, Channel 9 (cable Channel 7). Brubaker is a graduate of talk show host Harvey’s Mentoring Program for Young Men. Each year, 100 boys growing up without fathers are invited to Harvey’s Dallas ranch to teach them the… Continue reading →

Review: Boldly perverse ‘Gone Girl’ an exceptional drama destined for awards consideration

20th Century Fox photo by MERRICK MORTON -- Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, whose wife disappears, in 'Gone Girl.'

As mysteries and thrillers go, the David Fincher-directed “Gone Girl” is premium chocolate — with a treacherous aftertaste. Fincher, working from Gillian Flynn’s screenplay of her hit novel, handles this tale of manipulation and deceit with a master’s stylish touch. “Gone Girl” runs 2 hours and 35 minutes, but there are no wasted words… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Skeleton Twins’ a multidimensional, entertaining, affecting story

Photo provided by Roadside Attractions -- Kristen Wiig, left, and Bill Hader co-star as troubled siblings in 'The Skeleton Twins.'

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, two especially talented ex-“Saturday Night Live” cast members, reunite in the funny and sad “The Skeleton Twins.” Wiig and Hader play troubled adult twins who haven’t seen each other in a decade. Their “SNL” chemistry reignites, snapping like clockwork. Co-writer and director Craig Johnson, in just his second feature… Continue reading →

Former morning anchor Whitney Vann shifts gears to weekend feature show

Advocate staff photo by PAM BORDELON --- No more getting up at 3:30 a.m. for Whitney Vann. She can now work in her PJs from the comfort of home.

For 17 years, Whitney Vann woke up residents in the WBRZ viewing area with her cheery smile and bubbly personality as co-host of “2une-In.” Now, for the first time, she’s waking her and husband Robert Schneckenberger’s kids up for school … even fixing breakfast for 16-year-old son Reid and 11-year-old daughter Sidney Joy… Continue reading →

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 →

Short films screening at Manship Theatre on Friday

Photo by Kartik Vijay -- Actress Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris, right, is featured in a scene from 'The Bravest, The Boldest.'

Filmgoers in Baton Rouge, along with audiences in more than 250 cities spanning six continents, will view and judge the work of the 10 finalists in the 17th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival. The screenings start at 7 p.m. Friday at the Manship Theatre, 100 Lafayette St. This year, the festival received 589… Continue reading →

‘MasterChef’ brings casting call to La.

Fox photo by GREG GAYNE -- New Orleans contestant Christian Green prepares a meal on last season's 'MasterChef.'

Whether you want to cook, date or get your hotel back on track, there’s a casting call for you. FOX’s “MasterChef” is getting ready for its sixth season and brings its open casting call to New Orleans on Saturday. The show looks for home cooks who want to compete for a big cash prize… Continue reading →

Manship Theatre hosting ‘Seinfeld Anniversary’ event

NBC file photo -- Newman (Wayne Knight), left, and Kramer (Michael Richards), center, explain their new idea of bringing a rickshaw business to New York City to Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) in a scene from a 1998 episode of the NBC sitcom 'Seinfeld.'

The Manship Theatre will host the “Seinfeld Anniversary Happy Hour About Nothing” at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Hartley/Vey Studio Theatre in the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St. Are you the Master of Your Seinfeld Domain? Is Festivas your favorite holiday? Can you out-dance Elaine? Assemble your crew… 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 →

At 20, endearing ‘Forrest Gump’ makes another run

Photo provided by Paramount and the Library of Congress -- Tom Hanks stars in the classic film 'Forrest Gump,' making a 20th anniversary round in the theaters starting Friday.

Editor’s note: This review first appeared in The Advocate on July 15, 1994. In celebration of the film’s 20th anniversary, “Forrest Gump” is returning to theaters for a limited time starting Friday. “Forrest Gump” is a modern fable. Though the film’s hero has an IQ of 75, the good-natured, strangely gifted, extremely lucky Forrest… 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 →