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Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Williams

Twentieth Century Fox photo by Kerry Brown -- From left, Atilla the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) react to an unexpected turn of events in 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.'

Take heed: There are at least two acutely sad moments involving Robin Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt in the latest “Night at the Museum.” The movie, subtitled “Secret of the Tomb,” is imbued with the unshakable inevitability that even though we’re still having fun, it’s time to move on—a narrative made only more poignant by Williams’s sudden and shocking… Continue reading →

Review: Louisiana actress Quvenzhané Wallis shines in ‘Annie’ remake

Columbia Pictures photo by BARRY WETCHER -- Quvenzhané Wallis, an 11-year-old actress from Houma, received a Golden Globe nomination for her starring role in the musical 'Annie.'

“Annie,” the Depression era-set Broadway musical previously adapted into a 1982 film and 1999 TV movie, gets its biggest makeover yet with the 2014 film version of the story. Houma native Quvenzhané Wallis, the 11-year-old actress who received an Oscar nomination for her debut performance in 2012’s Louisiana-set drama “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” stars… Continue reading →

Review: Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Wild’ among the best redemption movies

Fox Searchlight photo by ANNE MARIE FOX -- Reese Witherspoon plays a young woman on an epic journey in 'Wild.'

Redemption movies often aren’t as inspirational as they’d like to be. They are more likely chores to watch. Not so “Wild.” The immersive, moving “Wild” is among the best redemption movies. Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a reckless young woman who’s reached the edge of a psychological cliff. After a troubled life that… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Babadook’ a brilliant, creepy film

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Essie Davis, left, and Noah Wiseman in a scene from the horror film ‘The Badadook.’

Six-year-old Samuel’s disruptive, dangerous behavior convinces his school that he’s a child out of control. The school’s administration wants to separate the boy from the other children. His single-parent mother, Amelia, will have none of it. She pulls her child out of school instead. Increasingly, though, in Amelia’s own interactions with Samuel, he’s becoming a problem… Continue reading →

Battle is rejoined in action-packed ‘Hobbit’ finale

Photo by MARK POKORNY -- Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.'

The three-part saga centered upon title character Bilbo Baggins reaches a furious finale in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Following 2012’s “An Unexpected Journey” and 2013’s “The Desolation of Smaug,” “The Battle of the Five Armies” is the most action-saturated of the lot. In addition to the film’s five armies, various… Continue reading →

Jackson leaves Middle Earth with ‘The Hobbit’

Invision/AP photo by JOEL RYAN -- British actor Martin Freeman and director Peter Jackson, from New Zealand, pose for photographs Dec. 1 in promotion for the film 'The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies' in the Claridges suite in west London.

After a long and eventful journey, “The Hobbit” trilogy has reached its bloody climax. Not a minute too soon for director Peter Jackson, who has been longing to unleash mayhem on Middle-Earth. “It’s the first time we’ve got to kill dwarves,” said the director, his enthusiasm for death and destruction at… Continue reading →

Reese Witherspoon’s troubled character finds redemption on a rocky road

Fox Searchlight photo by ANNE MARIE FOX -- Reese Witherspoon, left, and director Jean-Marc Vallee film on location for the new film 'Wild.'

As a troubled young woman in “Wild,” Reese Witherspoon has earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations and is a front-runner for a best actress Oscar nomination. Canada’s Jean-Marc Vallée directed Witherspoon, an Oscar winner for her role in 2005’s “Walk the Line,” in the acclaimed new drama, which opens Friday in New Orleans.… Continue reading →

New Movies for the week of Dec. 18, 2014

Photo by KERRY BROWN -- From left, Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Atilla the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and Nick Daley (Skyler  Gisondo) in 'Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.'

“ANNIE”: The hit Broadway musical “Annie” gets a new film adaptation. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are among the producers of this “Annie” update starring 11-year-old Houma actress Quvenzhané Wallis. Jamie Foxx co-stars as the rich Will Stacks, the New York City mayoral candidate who takes orphan Annie. Cameron Diaz plays the… Continue reading →

Louisiana singer competes for ‘Voice’ title; winner to be announced Tuesday night

NBC photo by TYLER GOLDEN -- Damien Lawson, of Monroe, performs on a previous episode of NBC's 'The Voice.'

Damien Lawson, of Monroe, may be the next “Voice.” Lawson will sing up against his fellow three finalists on NBC’s reality musical competition series “The Voice” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. The winner will be announced during Tuesday night’s 8 p.m to 10 p.m. finale. Lawson is part of “The Voice’s” Team Adam… Continue reading →

Documentary revisits death of Huey P. Long

Associated Press file photo -- Sen. Huey P. Long addresses students at LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 12, 1934.

In “61 Bullets,” Austin filmmakers David Modigliani and Lucy Kreutz revisit the assassination of populist Louisiana politician Huey P. Long. On Sept. 8, 1935, the former governor and then U.S. senator was shot in a marble hallway of the Louisiana State Capitol. Instantly, the senator’s bodyguards fired 60 bullets into Dr. Carl Weiss, the… Continue reading →

Review: Rock’s stand-up comes to life in ‘Top Five’

Paramount Pictures photo by ALI PAIGE GOLDSTEIN -- Gabrielle Union, left, and Chris Rock share a scene in 'Top Five.'

Writer-director Chris Rock is not Andre Allen, the stand-up comedian turned movie star lead of “Top Five.” But, it’s almost impossible to watch his latest effort, a cutting comedy about showbiz, creativity and ambition, and not wonder what material Rock took from his own life. While that’s a fun and compelling draw, thankfully, it’s only part… Continue reading →

Scott, Bale defend choice on ‘Exodus’ casting

Christian Bale, left, and Sibi Blazic, right, attend the premiere of

The biblical film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” has come under fire for casting white actors in the film’s main roles as Egyptians. Some have even called for a boycott of the film through a variety of Internet campaigns. But director Ridley Scott has a message for those trying… Continue reading →

New Movies for the week of Dec. 11, 2014

Photo by ALI PAIGE GOLDSTEIN -- Rosario Dawson and Chris Rock star in 'Top 5.'

“EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS”: Ridley Scott (“Gladiator,” “Prometheus”) interprets the Biblical account of Moses, Ramses and the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and 21st-century special effects that Cecil B. DeMille, director of the 1956 classic “The Ten Commandments,” may have wished he’d had. “TOP FIVE”:Continue reading →

Review: Expanded ‘Curfew’ becomes downbeat version of ‘After Hours’

Photo provided by IFC -- Shawn Christensen, right, and Fatima Ptacek in a scene from 'Before I Disappear.'

Shawn Christensen, writer-director of “Before I Disappear,” also stars in this dreary New York City-set redemption drama. “Before I Disappear” is based on Christensen’s short film, “Curfew,” which won an Oscar last year for best short film. “Curfew’s” expansion into the feature-length “Before I Disappear,” however, comes up short. Christensen plays Richie, a vaguely angry, sad… Continue reading →

Prytania Theatre showing ‘Big Charity’ documentary

'Big Charity' is a documentary about Charity Hospital, from its beginning to its controversial closing after Hurricane Katrina. It's showing at the Prytania Theatre.

The Prytania Theatre is showing the documentary “Big Charity” daily at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, through Thursday, Dec. 11. The filmmakers will conduct a question-and-answer session each day. “Big Charity” will also screen daily at the Prytania Dec. 12 through Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The documentary tells the story of New… Continue reading →

New movies for the week of Dec. 4, 2014

Photo by ED ARAQUEL –- Simon Pegg stars in 'Hector and the Search for Happiness.'

“THE PYRAMID”: American archaeologists experience horrific surprises after they discover a lost pyramid in the Egyptian desert. As they unlock the horrific secrets within, the archaeologists realize they’re not only trapped inside the ancient burial structure, they’re being hunted. The cast includes Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare, Christa-Marie Nicola and Amir Kamyab. Continue reading →

‘Bad Girls’ casting in New Orleans on Wednesday

The company that produced “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” “Project Runway” and “Real World,” is casting for a show called “Bad Girls Club” in New Orleans. A casting call for local women will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at Howlin Wolf, 901 S. Peters St. The concept of the show is to… Continue reading →

Quiet, stark work makes for beautiful film

Felix Mendelssohn, the 19th-century German Romantic composer, published volumes of solo piano pieces titled “Songs Without Words.” Writer-director A.J. Edwards’ “The Better Angels,” a biopic about Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood in the Indiana wilderness, is a film with few words. But not a silent film. In addition to occasional dialogue and narration, the movie’s sounds comprise rushing… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ doesn’t work

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Charlie Day, from left,  Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Chris Pine appear in a scene from

The characters of the modern workplace comedy, like the rest of us, don’t know how to make a living anymore. Having haplessly tried to murder their bosses in the first “Horrible Bosses,” Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis return in “Horrible Bosses 2” as hopeful inventors. “Let’s bet on ourselves,” they tell each other, making a… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Madagascar’ spin-off hatches family fun

This image released by DreamWorks Animation shows Private, voiced by Christopher Knights in a scene from,

For a movie that’s more paint by numbers than Picasso, “Penguins of Madagascar” begins with something completely unexpected: a Werner Herzog voiceover. Parodying his own work and documentary films’ obsession with the flightless birds, the German filmmaker gives an auspiciously clever start to a movie targeted toward the under 10 set. It’s a little wink to the… Continue reading →

New Movies for the week of Nov. 27, 2014

Photo provided by DreamWorks Animation -- From left: Kowalski (voiced by Chris Miller) , Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), Rico (voiced by Conrad Vernon) and Private (voiced by Christopher Knights), are featured in a scene from 'The Penguins of Madagascar.

“HORRIBLE BOSSES 2”: In the sequel to the 2011 comedy “Horrible Bosses,” the boss-persecuted characters played by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis decide to be their own bosses. They’re dreams are dashed, however, and they turn to drastic measures. Co-starring newcomers Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz and returning cast members Jennifer Aniston and Jamie… Continue reading →

Review: Latest ‘Hunger Games’ installment needs next one to work

Photo by MURRAY CLOSE -- From left, Commander Paylor (Patina Miller), Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), and Pollux (Elden Henson) are featured in a scene from  'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1. The film earned $121.9 million at the box office last weekend.

“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 →

WYES examines Fair Grounds’ long history in New Orleans

In this photo provided by Roberts Photography, Marchman, right, with Jamie Theriot lead the pack into the stretch before pulling away to win the $75,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Roberts Photography) ORG XMIT: NY150

Here’s a trivia trifecta to test your knowledge of New Orleans: It’s Thanksgiving Day and you’re eating corned beef and cabbage, not turkey. Where are you? What stellar steed made the Little Sisters of the Poor a little richer? Who owned a beloved New Orleans thoroughbred named Cangirod? Bonus question: Who was the… Continue reading →

Beaucoup picks the best bets for the holiday movie season

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures -- Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.’ The film opens on Wednesday.

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… Continue reading →

WYES to take reservations for ‘Season of Good Tastes’

WYES will begin taking reservations for its wine and coffee pairing dinners, “WYES Season of Good Tastes,” at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Those interested can call (504) 840-4886. Callers will be prompted to leave their name, phone number(s), the restaurant(s) of interest and number of guests in party. Dinners are $95 unless noted and are inclusive of tax… 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 →

Movies opening in New Orleans, Nov. 13-20, 2014

Universal Pictures photo by HOPPER STONE -- Jim Carrey, left, and Jeff Daniels, star in 'Dumb and Dumber To.'

“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”: The pressures of fame push Noni, the world’s biggest music star, to the edge. At this vulnerable time in her life, she meets and falls for Kaz, a young cop and aspiring politician who’s been assigned to her security detail. “DUMB AND DUMBER TO”: Twenty years after their original… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Big Hero 6’ missing emotional punch

Photo provided by Disney -- Baymax, a robot, left, hugs his best friend, Hiro, in the new Disney animated comedy-adventure '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 detail in… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Interstellar’ a sublime cosmic knockout

Photo provided by MELINDA SUE GORDON -- From left, Mackenzie Foy and Matthew McConaughey 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 dazzled more… Continue reading →