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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 →

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Chloe Grace Moretz in a scene from

‘Tis clearly the season for exceedingly attractive young adults in mortal peril. Just two months ago, we had the charming Shailene Woodley as a teen cancer patient, fighting for time while learning about life and love in “The Fault in Our Stars.” Last week, we had Aussie heartthrob Brenton Thwaites in “The Giver,” risking his life for… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Sin City’ dives back into a noir abyss

This image released by The Weinstein Company shows Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a scene from,

After being clonked over the head in 1944’s “Murder, My Sweet,” Raymond Chandler’s immortal private eye Philip Marlowe wryly narrated the experience of being knocked out: “A black pool opened up at my feet. I jumped in.” In “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” a belated, 3-D sequel to 2005’s “Sin City,” cultishly-adored graphic novelist Frank… Continue reading →

‘The Giver’ does not deliver

Photo provided by the Weinstein Company -- Jeff Bridges, left, as the Receiver of Memories, and Brenton Thwaites as Jonas star in 'The Giver.'

George Orwell’s “1984,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” — all visions in print and on film of societies more dystopian than utopian. Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel, “The Giver,” is another example. A pet project of Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, “The Giver” on paper looks like it… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ falls flat on humor

Associated Press photo provided by 20th Century Fox/Frank Masi -- Rob Riggle, from left, Jake Johnson, and Damon Wayans, Jr. star in 'Let's Be Cops.'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — At one point during “Let’s Be Cops,” actor Damon Wayans Jr. has a scene in which a huge naked man’s groin is inches from his face. That’s a good approximation of what filmgoers will experience during this witless high-concept comedy featuring him and his co-star on Fox sitcom New Girl, Jake Johnson, who must… Continue reading →

Review: New tricks can’t rescue ‘Expendables 3’

Associated Press photo by Lionsgate/Phil Bray -- Antonio Banderas, left, and Sylvester Stallone star in 'Expendables 3.'

In its third incarnation, “The Expendables” has become, well, expendable. Despite some ruthless new tactics, there’s no saving “The Expendables 3,” the overpopulated third outing of Sylvester Stallone’s all-star action ensemble. Perhaps recognizing its own mortality, “Expendables 3” goes for a kitchen-sink approach. There’s the injection of AARP-eligible action stars like Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson and… Continue reading →

USS KIDD will close for TV shoot next week

CBS’ new show, “NCIS: New Orleans,” will film aboard the USS KIDD next week, KIDD Executive Director Alex Juan said in a news release Wednesday. The KIDD destroyer and adjacent Veterans Museum will be closed to the public from Monday until Friday for the TV shoot and ongoing inventory of all museum and ship artifacts.… Continue reading →

‘Boyhood’ a cinematic feat not likely to be repeated soon

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Ellar Coltrane plays Mason from elementary school to college in 'Boyhood.'

Writer-director Richard Linklater filmed his coming-of-age drama “Boyhood” over a period of 12 years. He used the same actors throughout the production. It’s a remarkable way to make a movie, requiring a huge commitment from filmmaker and cast. In “Boyhood,” children really do grow up. As time goes by, there are marriages, divorces, moves from… Continue reading →

Depp’s role is fan of artist in ‘For No Good Reason’

Photo by CHARLIE PAUL -- Johnny Depp, left, and British artist Ralph Steadman

Movie star Johnny Depp spends quality time with one of his heroes and friends, Ralph Steadman, in the meticulously assembled documentary “For No Good Reason.” Steadman is the British artist and illustrator who famously collaborated with American gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson for “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.” “For No Good… Continue reading →

Lauren Bacall, sultry-voiced actress, dead at 89

Associated Press file photoctress Lauren Bacall stands backstage during the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7, 2010, in Los Angeles. Bacall, the sultry-voiced actress and Humphrey Bogarts partner off and on the screen, died Tuesday in New York. She was 89.

NEW YORK — Lauren Bacall, the slinky, sultry-voiced actress who created on-screen magic with Humphrey Bogart in “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep” and off-screen magic in one of Hollywood’s most storied marriages, died Tuesday at age 89. Bacall, whose long career brought two Tonys and a special Oscar, died in New York.… Continue reading →

LPB Summerfest brings variety of entertainment

From Chubby Checker to Pavarotti, musical programming fills Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Summerfest membership campaign, which runs through Aug. 24. All of the money raised during the campaign is used to purchase and create the programming which airs throughout the year on the six-channel LPB network. Thirteen-year-old musical prodigy Ethan Bortnick takes the stage at 7… Continue reading →

Preview screening set for Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Ellar Coltrane plays Mason from elementary school to college in 'Boyhood.'

The Louisiana International Film Festival is presenting a free advance screening of Richard Linklater’s acclaimed new film, “Boyhood,” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cinemark Perkins Rowe, 10000 Perkins Rowe. “Boyhood” was shot over a period of 12 years with the same principal cast, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane. The first 50 guests… Continue reading →

Marvel’s ‘Guardians’ rockets to top of box office

This image released by Disney - Marvel shows, from left, Zoe Saldana, the character Rocket Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, the character Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista in a scene from

LOS ANGELES — “Guardians of the Galaxy” blasted past expectations at the weekend box office. Marvel Studios’ cosmic romp starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana as members of an intergalactic band of rebels earned $94 million in its debut weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Ahead of its Friday debut, box office analysts… Continue reading →

‘Guardians’ is ‘a Marvelous time at the movies’

Photo by JAY MAIDMENT -- Zoe Saldana, left, as Gamora, and Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, are featured in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’

With “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the Disney-owned Marvel Studios introduces a new film franchise that’s off to a great start. Lighthearted of spirit and quick on its feet, the movie’s two hours fly by in a whoosh of colorful characters and nimble action. Five unexpected heroes join together in a mission to save their imperiled galaxy.… Continue reading →

Heroine ‘Lucy’ starts running and doesn’t stop

Photo by JESSICA FORDE -- Scarlett Johansson plays the title character in the sci-fi action thriller 'Lucy.'

“Lucy,” a sci-fi action thriller arriving in the heat of mid-summer, is a high-velocity sprint to the finish line. Title character Lucy, an American student living in Taiwan, is a normal young woman one day; a superwoman the next. The wild ride Lucy takes in an approximately 48-hour period is nothing she anticipated. Scarlett… Continue reading →

Review: Braff’s fan-funded film doesn’t pay off

Associated Press photo provided by Focus Features/Merie Weismiller Wallace -- Kate Hudson stars in 'Wish I Was Here.'

When Zach Braff took to Kickstarter to fund his new movie, “Wish I Was Here,” he explained to fans where their money would go: It would ensure his creative control, allow him to cast the actors he wanted, and enable him to shoot in Los Angeles, rather than someplace cheaper. We can argue about whether these were… Continue reading →

‘Purge’ kills hope of decent sequel

Photo by JUSTIN LUBIN -- From left, Leo (Frank Grillo), Cali (Zoe Soul), Eva (Carmen Ejogo), Liz (Kiele Sanchez) and Shane (Zach Gilford) endure a night of terror in 'The Purge: Anarchy.'

Released last summer and set in the year 2022, “The Purge” imagined a United States in which all hell breaks loose once a year for a 12-hour period. Purging, officially sanctioned by an elected government that calls itself the New Founders of America, has come to be accepted by many as a right. Critics largely panned… Continue reading →

‘Separate But Unequal’ on St. George re-airs today

Photo provided by Frontline -- 'Separate and Unequal,' an installment of PBS' 'Frontline,'  examined the efforts to create the city of St. George, and in the process a separate school system for Baton Rouge.

The PBS “Frontline” documentary “Separate But Unequal” and Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s follow-up program “Breaking Away” will re-air at 9 p.m. Friday on LPB2 (cable Channel 122). The programs are also available online at The “Frontline” documentary looks at the efforts to create the new city of St. George from the unincorporated areas… Continue reading →

’Planet of the Apes’ thumps chest with $73M debut

This photo released by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation shows Andy Serkis as Caesar in a scene from the film,

NEW YORK — The monkey business is a good business to be in at the box office. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” roared to $73 million on its opening weekend, one of the summer’s best debuts, according to studio estimates Sunday. The 20th Century Fox sequel easily surpassed the $54.8 million opening to 2011’s… Continue reading →

In ‘Begin Again,’ musical second chances ring true

The Weinstein Company photo by ANDREW SCHWARTZ -- Kiera Knightley is a singer-songwrtier in New York in 'Begin Again.'

Writer and director John Carney is a master at depicting musicians on the cusp of something special. “Once,” his 2007 music-centered indie film, became a Tony Award-winning musical. He’s done it again with “Begin Again,” a charming story about second chances. Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo star as the story’s likeable leads. A trio of… Continue reading →

Goodwood couple hosts annual Coen Brothers Film Festival

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK - Just like at the theater, Chris Frink and Emily Taylor serve up popcorn for those attending their Coen Brothers Film Festival.

No one will mistake the annual Coen Brothers Film Festivals for better-known events like Cannes and Sundance. This event is limited to movies written or directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and the venue lacks views of the French Riviera or Wasatch Mountains. But, for some local fans of the Coens’ handiwork, the living room of Chris… Continue reading →

‘Earth to Echo’ channels 1982 classic ‘E.T.’

Photo by PATRICK WYMORE -- From left, Brian Bradley, Ella Linnea Wahlstedt, Reese Hartwig and Teo Halm star in the sci-fi kids' adventure 'Earth to Echo.'

If the children of today haven’t seen “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” they won’t notice how much “Earth to Echo” echoes the Steven Spielberg classic from 1982. “E.T.” features Henry Thomas’ lonely boy character, Elliott. “Earth to Echo” features three boys, Tuck, Alex and Munch. Exiled from larger peer groups, the guys form a trio of friends, bonded by… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Transformers’ — way, WAY more of the same

Associated Press photo provided byParamount Pictures/ILM -- Optimus Prime appears in a scene from the film, 'Transformers: Age of Extinction.'

Crash. Shatter. Boom. Crash. Shatter. Boom. Smattering of silly dialogue. Pretty girl screams: “Dad!” Crash. Shatter. Boom. Silly dialogue. “DAD!!!” Crash. Shatter. Boom. What? Oh, sorry. We were falling into a trance there. Which is, dear moviegoer, what may happen to you during Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the fourth Transformers film and, at 165… Continue reading →

Review: Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’ catchy but uneven

Associated Press photo provided by Warner Bros./Keith Bernstein -- John Lloyd Young, left, stars as Frankie Valli and Renee Marino as Mary in Warner Bros. Pictures' musical 'Jersey Boys.'

You don’t have to be middle-aged, or even an adult, to know songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man.” Sure, they’re ‘60s-era hits by The Four Seasons, but they’ve become such pop culture fixtures that even youngsters who’ve never heard the name Frankie Valli could surely croon a few bars in his signature… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Rover’ an intense look into near future

A24 Films photo by MATT NETTHEIM -- Guy Pearce, left, and Robert Pattinson are featured in a scene from 'The Rover.'

LOS ANGELES — Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson star in this Australian dystopian crime drama from director David Michod. Fusing a number of quasi-apocalyptic influences into a hybrid work with a pungent character of its own, “The Rover” suggests something like a Cormac McCarthy vision of Australia halfway between today and “The Road Warrior” era. David… Continue reading →

Review: Hill, Tatum make a funny return to New Orleans for ‘Jump Street’ sequel

Sony Pictures photo by GLEN WILSON -- Jonah Hill, left, and Channing Tatum star in the New Orleans-filmed '22 Jump Street.'

“22 Jump Street” fits the definition of “summer movie comedy.” It’s wild, fast and fun, a blend of comedy, action, chaos and requisite raunchiness. There’s some romance, too, but more bromance, in this New Orleans-filmed romp. A sequel to the 2012 hit, “21 Jump Street,” “22 Jump Street” reteams Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Schmidt… Continue reading →

‘Fault in our Stars’ delivers touching story of young love

Photo by JAMES BRIDGES -- Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on an unforgettable journey in 'The Fault in Our Stars.'

“The Fault in Our Stars,” John Green’s No. 1 bestselling novel about a pair of cancer-afflicted but thoroughly alive teens, reaches the movie screen just 2½ years after its publication. An inspired-by-reality story about young cancer patients who fall in love, the book has been adapted into an affecting, beautifully staged film. A theme quickly emerges:… Continue reading →

Angelina Jolie anchors ‘Maleficent’

Disney Enterprises, Inc. photo by GREG WILLIAMS -- Angelina Jolie plays the title role in 'Maleficent,' the story of the villian from the 1959 classic 'Sleeping Beauty.'

“Maleficent,” a revised take on “Sleeping Beauty,” follows a ’90s and thereafter Hollywood habit of recasting a familiar story from a new perspective. Be they based on fairytales or history, these projects make a point of illustrating that the standard versions of events aren’t necessarily the real story. Last year this subgenre produced the awful “Hansel… Continue reading →

‘Million Ways to Die’ slays with laughter

Photo by LOREY SEBASTIAN -- Amanda Seyfried, from left, Neil Patrick Harris, Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron share screen time in the Western comedy 'A Million Ways to Die in the West.'

Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy, irreverent “A Million Ways to Die in the West” proves there are a million ways to laugh in the West. MacFarlane, the creator of TV’s “Family Guy” and director and co-writer of “Ted,” and his gung-ho “Million Ways to Die” cast collectively kick the mythologizing conventions of classic Hollywood westerns in… Continue reading →

Favreau’s charming ‘Chef’ stirs appetite

Open Road Films photo by Merrick Morton -- Jon Favreau directs and stars in the new indie film, 'Chef..'

From the mouth-watering carne asada to the molten chocolate cake, Jon Favreau’s “Chef” is a delectable take on an out-of-work cook who experiences career rejuvenation when traveling cross-country serving Cuban entrees on a food truck. Marking Favreau’s return to indie filmmaking — he emerged in 1996 with heartbreak cult-classic “Swingers” — “Chef” is a refreshing passion project… Continue reading →

‘Belle’ falls flat, despite fascinating inspiration

Fox Searchlight Pictures photo by DAVID APPLEBY -- Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left, and Sarah Gadon are shown in a scene from 'Belle.'

Set in 18th-century England, “Belle” tells a little known story of a fascinating figure who may have influenced Britain’s highest judge in his decisions regarding slavery. Dido Elizabeth Belle was the illegitimate mixed-raced daughter of a Royal Navy officer. Details of her life exist, but they amount to little more than sketches. “Belle,” a British… Continue reading →

Jolie talks Maleficent, mastectomy, kidnap victims

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 6, 2014 file photo, actress Angelina Jolie poses during a photocall for the film

LOS ANGELES — Angelina Jolie may be Hollywood royalty. But she’s no princess, and has never been a fan of the Disney variety. “I found them quite dull,” the actress says. Evil Maleficent, whom Jolie portrays in Disney’s new live-action spin on its animated classic “Sleeping Beauty,” conversely “seemed to be having a great time,” Jolie… Continue reading →

‘Window in the Waves’ profiles reefs off La. coast

“Window in the Waves,” the story of the Flower Garden Banks, will re-air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on WLPB, channel 27 (cable Channel 12). The half-hour documentary by Director of Photography Todd Richard, of Synergy Productions, in association with LPB, profiles the Flower Gardens, a group of coral reefs 110 miles off the Louisiana/Texas coast.… Continue reading →