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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 the best… 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

Paramount Pictures photo by MELINDA SUE GORDON -- From left,  Timothée Chalamet, Matthew McConaughey and Mackenzie Foy share a scene in 'Interstellar.'

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 →

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


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 →