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New Movies for the week of Oct. 2, 2014

“GONE GIRL”: David Fincher (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Social Network”) directs Ben Affleck in a story about a man whose wife disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. In the glare of a media frenzy and police investigation, Nick Dunne’s portrait of a blissful marriage crumbles. Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris… 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: ‘Skeleton Twins’ a multidimensional, entertaining, affecting story

Photo provided by Roadside Attractions -- Bill Hader, left, and Kristen Wiig 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 a pair of 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… Continue reading →

Review: Gorgeous stop-motion, smart story animates ‘Boxtrolls’

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 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… Continue reading →

New movies for the week of Sept. 25, 2014

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.

“THE EQUALIZER”: Oscar-winner Denzel Washington stars as Robert McCall, a man who believes he has traded his mysterious past for a quiet new life. But when McCall meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young girl who is controlled by brutal Russian gangsters, he can’t help but help her. Antoine Fuqua directs, and Bill Pullman and Melissa… 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 →

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 →

Music films spotlighted at N.O. Film Fest

Legendary musician Fats Domino is named

The New Orleans Film Festival, Oct. 16-Oct. 23, will include a programming sidebar featuring eight films about music and musicians. The festival’s keeping{SCORE} series is inspired by the city’s music history and local audiences’ interest in films about music. This year’s music films include “The Big Beat,” the new documentary about Fats… Continue reading →

New Movies for Sept. 18-24, 2014

Photo provided by Warner Bros. PicturesFrom left, Tina Fey as Wendy Altman, Corey Stoll as Paul Altman, Jane Fonda as Hilary Altman, Jason Bateman as Judd Altman and Adam Driver as Phillip Altman are featured in a scene from Warner Bros. Pictures' dramatic comedy 'This is Where I Leave You,' opening Sept. 19.

“A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES”: Liam Neeson plays Matt Scudder, an ex-NYPD cop who works as an unlicensed private investigator. Scudder agrees, reluctantly, to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) find the men who kidnapped and murdered his wife. Based on the Lawrence Block mystery novels. “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU”: Mixing… Continue reading →

‘Judge Faith’ Hoping to draw a younger audience, new courtroom series taps La. native Faith Jenkins

Photo provided by DKC Public Relations -- Louisiana native Faith Jenkins wil preside over the courtroom on the new syndicated reality courtroom drama, 'Judge Faith. At left is courtroom bailiff Barbra Carlisle.

With a more contemporary spin, Shreveport native Faith Jenkins hopes to attract younger viewers to her new courtroom-set reality series, “Judge Faith.” Debuting Monday, the New York lawyer and legal analyst will hear cases culled from small claims courts across the country. Prior to appearing on the show, each pair of litigants agrees to abide by Jenkins’… Continue reading →

Review: Gandolfini’s last role memorable in ‘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 “The Sopranos,” however, is not the movie’s leading man. Instead, Gandolfini memorably plays supporting character Cousin Marv, the scheming manager of a Brooklyn bar. The darkness in Marv serves as further confirmation of Gandolfini’s range.… 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 →

New movies in New Orleans for week of Sept. 11, 2014

Photo by WILSON WEBB –- Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Harry Connick Jr. co-star in ‘Dolphin Tale 2.’

“THE DROP”: Oscar-nominated Belgian director Michaël R. Roskam (“Bullhead”) helms this crime drama from a screenplay by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”). Tom Hardy plays a nondescript Brooklyn bartender who works with his bitter cousin, Marv, the bar’s former owner. The late James Gandolfini co-stars as Marv, in his final performance. “DOLPHIN TALE”:Continue reading →

’Guardians’ tops box office for fourth weekend

This image released by Disney - Marvel shows Chris Pratt in a scene from

LOS ANGELES — “Guardians of the Galaxy” continues to rule the box office universe. The cosmic Marvel adventure arrived in first place at the box office for a fourth weekend with $10.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The domestic haul for “Guardians,” which features Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana as intergalactic do-gooders,… Continue reading →

‘The Congress’ is chaotic feast of ideas

Photo provided by Drafthouse Films -- Robin Wright playing 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 →

A dead ringer for the year’s worst film

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 →

Autumn brings serious, dramatic films to the big screen

Photo provided by Fox Searchlight -- James Gandolfini, left, plays Cousin Marv and Tom Hardy is Bob in 'The Drop,' opening Sept. 12.

Following summers of superheroes, aliens, action, adventure, special effects and over-the-top comedies, fall is a much quieter time at the movies. After Labor Day, there’s room for drama, thoughtful scripts, more thoroughly realized characters and introspective performances. It’s a time when smaller films, artistically ambitious projects, even challenging subjects can find space at the ineplex. Movies… Continue reading →

Also opening this fall on the silver screen

Photo provided by Roadside Attractions --Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star as twin siblings in 'The Skeleton Twins,' opening in theaters Sept. 12.

Sept. 12 DOLPHIN TALE 2 — This sequel to the 2011 family film “Dolphin Tale” continues the story of Winter, the dolphin whose recovery thanks to a prosthetic tail made her a symbol of hope. The principal cast from the first film, including Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, returns to the sequel. NO GOOD DEED —… Continue reading →

New Movies for Sept. 4-11, 2014

“INNOCENCE”: Haunted by dreams of her beloved mother, who died in a surfing accident, 16-year-old Beckett and her father, a novelist, move to Manhattan with hopes of rebuilding their shattered lives. Meanwhile, the exclusive prep school Beckett enrolls in may actually be a front for a coven of gorgeous witches who perpetuate their youth by drinking… 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: Spare style mesmerizing in ‘Ida’

Photo provided by Music Box Films -- Agata Trzebuchowska stars in 'Ida,' a drama set in Poland during the 1960s.

“Ida,” an intimate drama set in 1960s, Soviet Union-era Poland, is starkly, beautifully written, filmed and acted. Shot in black-and-white with stationary cameras that let characters walk in and out of the frame, “Ida” looks like cinema from another time. The movie’s haunting tone, perfectly tuned performances and its filmmakers’ courage in telling a tragic story… Continue reading →

New movies for Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2014

Photo provided by Legendary Pictures/Universal Pictures -- Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) and George (Ben Feldman) traverse miles of catacombs beneath the streets of Paris in 'As Above/So Below.'

“AS ABOVE/SO BELOW”: Miles of catacombs exist beneath the streets of Paris, a burial place for countless forgotten souls. A team of explorers ventures into the maze of bones and uncovers the secret the city of dead was meant to contain. “IDA”: Pawel Pawlikowski (“Last Resort,” “My Summer of Love”) directs an… Continue reading →