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Special looks at challenges facing La. veterans

Photo provided by LPB -- Husband and wife veterans Ken and Stella Gibson will share their story of being guided by Natural Resources Conservation Services to develop their 40 acres in Rayville during the viewing party for 'Louisiana Veterans Coming Home' at LPB on Wednesday.

Louisiana and 11 other states have the second-highest percentage of veterans ages 25 and younger. A Louisiana Public Broadcasting special explores the challenges that these post-9/11 and other veterans face upon their return stateside and the resources available to assist them as they transition back into civilian life. Veterans and the public are invited to the… Continue reading →

Now dat's funny: Comedian mixes Cajun culture with 'ThunderCats' in webseries 'TundaMinous'

Ash Reese

Imagine a beloved 1980s cartoon with a Cajun twist. That was part of Ash Reese’s thought process when he came up with “TundaMinous,” a web-series that hilariously chops up old episodes of “Thundercats” and features Cajun accents and storylines dubbed over the original animated series. In just three weeks and six short… Continue reading →

Review: An app comes to life in ‘The Angry Birds Movie’

Photo provided by Sony Pictures -- Bomb, voiced by Danny McBride, is one of the many characters in the new 'The Angry Birds Movie.'

It’s hard not to have a few biases going into “The Angry Birds Movie.” In the most cynical view of what gets made in Hollywood, an addictive app might just be at the bottom of the pile, languishing there in suspicious squalor with movies adapted from board games and amusement park rides. Comic books get away with… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge native gives teens a make-up hand to get to the prom

Photo provided by MYEKA GREMILLLION -- 'He’s not any different in person than he is on TV. He has a wonderful personality,' Myeka Gremillion, left, said of TLC's Monte Durham.

When Dinair emailed in March, Myeka Gremillion said “yes.” The Hollywood-based airbrush makeup company was seeking volunteers for a project with TLC, “Say Yes to the Prom,” which gives deserving girls a “fairytale transformation” for their big night. Baton Rouge native Gremillion, a hairstylist and makeup artist now living in Killeen, Texas, completed a Dinair… Continue reading →

Hoping for a blockbuster, studios plan Tetris movie

Associated Press file photo by Mark Lennihan -- This May 22, 2009, shows the puzzle video game Tetris at Barcade in the Brooklyn section of New York. The beloved game is set to become a blockbuster with an $80 million budget.

It lacks the building blocks of characters and a plot for now, but a Chinese-American studio hopes to turn the Tetris video game into a blockbuster movie. Threshold Global Studios is budgeting $80 million to strategically rotate, slide and drop the famed 1980s stacking game into a sci-fi thriller. The project is… Continue reading →

Louisiana actor Anthony Mackie reflects on portraying MLK in HBO film ‘All the Way’

Anthony Mackie who plays Falcon, speaks to reporters during a blue carpet arrival at the Marina Bay Sands on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Singapore, for the latest Marvel movie release, "Captain America: Civil War." (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) ORG XMIT: SIN114

New Orleans-born actor Anthony Mackie had earlier opportunities to portray Martin Luther King Jr. on-screen, but the script for “All the Way,” an HBO film adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award-winning play of the same title, was the first time he’d seen the man he believes King to have been on the page in full. Co-starring Bryan… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ revitalizes Marvel movies

Photo provided by Disney-Marvel -- Anthony Mackie, from left, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen and Sebastian Stan star in 'Captain America: Civil War.'

Conventional movie wisdom would suggest that there can only be diminishing returns with long-running franchises. There must be a breaking point, right? Especially at movie four, five, six and beyond. There are exceptions, sure, but even the painstakingly plotted Marvel films have had low points. Yet, in the ashes of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the brain… Continue reading →

Top Five with Jerry Leggio

Photo provided by Jerry Leggio -- Baton Rouge native Jerry Leggio discusses his top five favorite films shot in Louisiana in the latest edition of 'Top Five.'

It’s hard to think of Louisiana films without Jerry Leggio coming to mind. The Baton Rouge native, who has appeared in more than 50 films and has been instrumental in growing the movie industry in the state, received the inaugural Anne Price Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana International Film Festival two years ago. His… Continue reading →

French-language kids programming offered on LPB2

Photo provided by LPB -- Beth Courtney

Young viewers will be able to watch, discover, and learn en français at home via 14 hours a week of French-language kids programming launched last week on LPB2 (cable Channel 122). Louisiana Public Broadcasting, CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) and Groupe Média TFO (Télévision française de l’Ontario), the leader in French educational… Continue reading →

Friends of LPB will honor 6 Legends at annual gala

Photo proviided by LPB -- Charlie Cook

This year’s Louisiana Legends Gala and Auction, a fundraiser for Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, will take place Thursday, May 5, at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Honorees are Hollis Conway, two-time Olympic medalist and National Track and Field Hall Of Fame inductee; Charlie Cook, political analyst and editor and publisher of the Cook… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge dancer to appear on ‘Ellen’ on Thursday

File photo provided by LORI JOHNSON -- Baton Rouge dancer Payton Johnson earned the honor of National Teen Best Dancer at The Dance Awards July 5-12, 2015, in New York City. Shown with her is choreographer Jason Parsons.

University High School junior Payton Johnson of Baton Rouge will dance on the “Ellen” show at 3 p.m. Thursday. “Ellen” airs locally on WVLA, Channel 33 (cable Channel 3). The segment will feature the Top 30 young dancers in the country dancing alongside professionals to promote DancerPalooza, the “ultimate dance festival” set for this summer in… Continue reading →

Louisiana Film Festival organizers pay tribute to ‘bright spirit,' driving force Dan Ireland, who died Thursday

Dan Ireland

Louisiana International Film Festival organizers mourning the loss of festival artistic director Dan Ireland say he “touched and inspired” local artists, audiences and fellow festival enthusiasts. The New York Daily News reported that Ireland, a director whose films included “The Whole Wide World” and “Jolene,” died at his Los Angeles home on Thursday after recently… Continue reading →

Louisiana International Film Festival announces 2016 winners

The winners of the Louisiana International Film Festival & Mentorship Program were announced Sunday night at the closing night gala reception for the five-day film festival. Now in its fourth year, LIFE 2016 premiered more than 70 films from around the world, according to a news release from the festival. The winners are: -- Best Feature: “The Innocents” -- Audience Award: “Presenting Princess Shaw” --… Continue reading →

Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer draws big crowd to Baton Rouge theater for film festival screening

Associated Press file photo -- Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer and his film “Breaking the Bank” were such a draw at the Louisiana International Film Festival Friday night that organizers added a second, later screening of the movie. A few minutes past 7 p.m., Grammer, in a dark suit and white button-down shirt, arrived outside Cinemark Perkins Rowe, stopped for a few quick photos,… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Jungle Book’ is a dazzling visual experience

Photo provided by Disney -- From left, Mowgli, played by Neel Sethi, and Gray, voiced by Brighton Rose, appear in a scene from the new live action adaptation of 'The Jungle Book.'

You can practically feel the beating heart of the jungle in Jon Favreau’s stunning adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” which is easily the most visually dazzling movie to hit theaters this year. Like “Avatar” before it, this CG and live-action interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale of the boy raised by wolves feels like a momentous… Continue reading →

Louisiana actor Wendell Pierce reflects on playing Justice Clarence Thomas

Photo by Frank Masi -- Wendell Pierce is the embattled Clarence Thomas in HBO's 'Confirmation.'

A decade passed between U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument questions from Clarence Thomas. The streak — February 2006 to February 2016 — made him all the more interesting to New Orleans’ Wendell Pierce, who portrays Thomas in the HBO movie “Confirmation,” debuting at 7 p.m. April 16. “He’s a fascinating man,” Pierce said. “We are from… Continue reading →

Lafayette's MacKenzie Bourg reveals his biggest 'American Idol' disappointment, plans for finale had he made it

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- American Idol finalist and Lafayette native, MacKenzie Bourg performs at Parc International on Saturday following a parade in his honor.

MacKenzie Bourg wanted to sing his original song, “Roses,” on “American Idol” just one more time. “The only thing that I really was bummed about was that my coronation song was going to be ‘Roses,’” the Lafayette singer/songwriter said Friday, a day after being eliminated from the final season of the FOX singing competition series. “And… Continue reading →

Louisiana International Film Festival programmers choose their top picks for the event

Photo by Anna Kooris -- From left, Ed Harris and James Franco star in the new drama, 'The Adderall Diaries,' which will be screened at the upcoming Louisiana International Film Festival in Baton Rouge.

The 2016 Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program has more than 40 films on its slate. The festival programmers, Lane Kneedler and Ian Birnie, know there’s a lot to digest. However, they are hopeful that the festival has a little something for anyone interested. “We tried to appeal to different segments of the audience,”… Continue reading →

Review: Worlds collide in ‘Batman v Superman’

Photo by Clay Enos/provided by Warner Bros. Pictures -- From left, Ben Affleck stars as Batman, and Henry Cavill stars as Superman in the new comic book film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.'

Zack Snyder’s thundering and grim “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” offers the kind of blunt, mano-a-mano faceoff usually reserved for Predators, Godzillas and presidential candidates. And just as has often been said of this election year, “Batman v Superman” takes a once almost charming tradition and plunges it into the gutter. Long gone are the telephone… Continue reading →

Louisiana ‘Idol’ contestant MacKenzie Bourg, now in Top 5, says this could be ‘my best week’

FOX photo by RAY MICKSHAW -- Making it into 'American Idol's' top 5, are, from left, Sonika Vaid, La'Porsha Renae, Trent Harmon, MacKenzie Bourg of Lafayette, and Dalton Rapattoni.

“i think this could b my best week, just need u guys 2 vote and keep me around pls,” MacKenzie Bourg told his 128,000 Twitter followers on Sunday. The Lafayette singer-songwriter moved closer to becoming the next and final “American Idol” when he nudged into the top five in the FOX singing competition last week. He joined… Continue reading →

EBR Main Library to show ‘Jackie Robinson’ preview

A special preview of Ken Burns’ new documentary, “Jackie Robinson,” will start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the EBR Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge. In 1947, the color line in baseball was broken when Jackie Robinson was brought up from the minor leagues to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Louisiana Public… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ is dull, lifeless

Photo by Murray Close -- From left, Theo James and Shailene Woodley star in 'The Divergent Series: Allegiant.'

Call me indifferent. In “Allegiant,” the latest installment of “The Divergent Series,” dystopian Chicago might be in disarray, but it’s also become as dull as our heroine Tris’ shapeless, grey Abnegation frocks from the first pic. Unless the filmmakers really try to shake things up for the next and final film, this series might… Continue reading →

Still in the running, Lafayette’s MacKenzie Bourg could be the final ‘American Idol’ winner

FOX photo by MICHAEL BECKER -- MacKenzie Bourg says doing a a duet was a new experience when he took the stage with Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina for a aong Feb. 11.

MacKenzie Bourg could become the last “American Idol.” The 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Lafayette has reached the top six in the 15th and final season of FOX’s singing competition series. Last episode, after a shaky start on a duet of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” with fellow finalist Dalton Rapattoni, Bourg… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Brothers Grimsby’ is truly shameless

Photo by Daniel Smith -- From left, Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong star in the new action-comedy 'The Brothers Grimsby.'

Be suspect of movies that are infamous before they even hit theaters. The “they did WHAT” anticipatory glee is generally bound to be a letdown — especially when the big joke is someone getting a disease. In the off-chance that you’ve managed to stay blissfully unaware of the gag, I won’t go into any more specifics. Needless… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge-area locations bring authenticity to plantation, slave life in WGN drama series

Photo provided by WGN America -- Starring in 'Underground,' which was filmed in Baton Rouge, are, from left, Renwick Scott, Theodus Crane, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller, Johnny Ray Gill and Mykelti Williamson.

As the family in the Macon Plantation’s main house lavishly celebrates their daughter’s sweet 16, in the slave quarters, an infant boy’s lifeless body is placed in a pine box as mourners cluster. “I couldn’t have him growin’ up like this. … He’s free now,” Seraphina cries after drowning her newborn in a tub.… Continue reading →

Extras, 3 child actors sought for upcoming movie scene in Baton Rouge

A feature film project called “Beautifully Broken” is searching for extras and three child actors for an upcoming scene to be shot in Baton Rouge beginning March 16. The Baton Rouge Film Commission posted on social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook Monday morning about the search for actors. The film’s casting team is searching… Continue reading →

Video: LSU film students spoof Oscar-nominated ‘The Revenant’ to spread message about arts funding

Photo by Sam Cosby -- Jason Lockhart, right, as Hugh Glass, defends himself from 'The Bear,' played by Cara Reid, in LSU film students' parody of 'The Revenant.'

It’s funny, sure, but some LSU Film and Media Arts students also hope their parody of the Oscar-nominated “The Revenant” helps spread a message about the importance of funding for the school’s film program. “It was inspired by all the troubles that LSU and higher education in the state may be facing, especially the arts,” Jason Lockhart,… Continue reading →

‘Brain Games’ visit New Orleans for bad behavior

National Geographic Studios photo by DAYMON GARDNER -- Host Jason Silva gives instructions to a participant during the 'pride game' portion of Sunday night's 'Brain Games.'

The “Brain Games” will play out in New Orleans on Sunday’s episode of the NatGeo series. In an episode titled “Brains Behaving Badly,” host Jason Silva visits The Big Easy to explore the brain and bad behavior as related to the Seven Deadly Sins. “A series of games and experiments demonstrate how the brain has… Continue reading →

‘Brain Games’ visits N.O. to explore bad behavior

National Geographic Studios photo by DAYMON GARDNER -- Host Jason Silva gives instructions to a participant during the 'pride game' portion of Sunday night's 'Brain Games.'

The “Brain Games” will play out in New Orleans on Sunday’s episode of the NatGeo series. In an episode titled “Brains Behaving Badly,” host Jason Silva visits The Big Easy to explore the brain and bad behavior as related to the Seven Deadly Sins.… Continue reading →

Review: Crooked cops gone worse in muddled ‘Triple 9’

Photo by Bob Mahoney -- From left, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck star in the new action-thriller 'Triple 9.'

“Triple 9” has everything going for it, and that’s it biggest handicap. This tale of gangsters and crooked cops in Atlanta has got a murderer’s row of acting talent — Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson among them — an alluringly dark premise, and bombastic bursts of greatness. But ultimately, director John Hillcoat… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Witch’ is a haunting prequel to Salem

Photo provided by Rafy/A24 -- From left, Anya Taylor-Joy and Harvey Scrimshaw star in 'The Witch.'

Set under gray Puritan skies in a deathly autumn, “The Witch” is a slow-burning 1600s horror thriller so bone-dry it would only take a match for the whole movie to go up in flames. “A New England folktale” is how the opening titles describe writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressively rigorous feature debut. The film doesn’t just take place… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Witch’ is a haunting prequel to Salem

Photo provided by Rafy/A24 -- From left, Anya Taylor-Joy and Harvey Scrimshaw star in 'The Witch.'

Set under gray Puritan skies in a deathly autumn, “The Witch” is a slow-burning 1600s horror thriller so bone-dry it would only take a match for the whole movie to go up in flames. “A New England folktale” is how the opening titles describe writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressively rigorous feature debut. The film doesn’t just take place… Continue reading →

Spring movies you can’t miss

Photo by Scott Patrick Green -- Patrick Stewart (center) stars in the new thriller 'Green Room.'

January, February, March — those were the dog days, when studios would dump the bad films onto audiences. But this isn’t the case anymore. The rules have changed. Blockbusters, like last weekend’s record-breaking “Deadpool,” can come out anytime. Even those supposed slow months at… Continue reading →

Prairieville mom claims victory, $10,000 on ‘Broken Skull Challenge’

Photo provided by  EMILY RACHAL -- Prairieville mother-of-four Emily Rachal will defend her title on 'Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge' Sunday night.

Prairieville stay-at-home mom Emily Rachal ran, jumped, swam, climbed and clawed her way to a $10,000 victory on “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge” Sunday night on CMT. Rachal bested seven other female competitors in a series of one-on-one obstacle course challenges. She then took on the multi-phased and timed “Skullbuster,” completing the grueling course in nine minutes,… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Deadpool’ suffers from juvenile humor

Photo provided by Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox -- Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) doesnt really see eye-to-eye with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).

“Deadpool” hates its audience, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nothing is sacred to either this film or this character (played with “I’m so naughty” abandon by Ryan Reynolds), which pokes fun at superhero movie culture, Hollywood itself, Reynolds, director Tim Miller, love and human decency — and that’s just in the opening credits. On… Continue reading →

Prairieville mother of four a ‘stone-cold’ competitor on ‘Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge’

Photo provided by CMT -- Emily Rachal, of Prairieville, lugs a weighted bag  on a running course as Steve Austin cheers her on in 'Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge.' 'I’m not a huge wrestling fan,' she says of Austin, 'but once you meet him, he’s kind of larger than life, big personality.'

A gym set with swings and a slide is commonplace in family backyards. An obstacle course, not so much. But when Emily Rachal’s physical training kicked into high gear, her husband, Richard Rachal, saw it as an opportunity for a home project. “He’s the mastermind behind the whole obstacle course,” said Rachal, 33,… Continue reading →