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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 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 →

New Movies for the week of Nov. 6, 2014

Photo provided by Disney -- Baymax, a robot, left, hugs his best friend, Hiro, in the new Disney animated comedy-adventure 'Big Hero 6.'

“INTERSTELLAR”: When the Earth can no longer sustain human life, a team of explorers embarks on a space trek beyond the galaxy. They hope to find another home for mankind. “Interstellar,” directed and co-written by “Batman” trilogy filmmaker Christopher Nolan, stars A-listers Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. “BIG HERO 6”: In… Continue reading →

New Orleans film fest broke attendance records, organizers say

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.… Continue reading →

Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy

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 how… 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 →

This story is not currently available

Photo by CHUCK ZLOTNICK -- Jake Gyllenhaal plays photo journalist Lou Bloom ‘Nightcrawler.’

This story is not currently available… Continue reading →

Keaton’s ‘Birdman’ may be the best acting of his life

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 “BirdmanContinue reading →

New movies for the week of Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2014

Photo by GREG GAYNE -- Danny Glover, left, and Ken Leung are featured in a scene from the original 'Saw.' The movie makes its 10th anniversary run in theaters starting Friday.

“BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP”: This thriller based on the best-selling novel by S.J. Watson tells the story of a woman, played by Nicole Kidman, who awakens every day with no memory of her previous life. Mark Strong and Colin Firth co-star. “BIRDMAN ”: Michael Keaton stars as an actor who played… 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 →

Review: Murray amuses and charms in grouchy ‘St. Vincent’ title role

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 of 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… Continue reading →

Review: ‘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, it 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 actors who’ve played… Continue reading →

Fats Domino documentary

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 →

New movies for Oct. 23-29, 2014

Photo by DAVID LEE -- Keanu Reeves stars in action-thriller ‘John Wick.’

“JOHN WICK”: Keanu Reeves is back in action as a retired assassin out for revenge. The body count rises, as Reeves targets the vicious son of a Russian crime lord. “OUIJA”: A group of friends awakens the dark power of an ancient spirit board. Stiles White directs from a script co-written by… 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 →

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 →

New Orleans Film Festival keeps the focus on new talent

Photo provided by New Orlans Film Fesival -- John Desplas, artistic director of the New Orleans Film Festival: 'Now you can always see something, eventually. So our festivals emphasis is on the filmmakers showing their new films and new talent being discovered.'

Twenty-five years ago, the New Orleans Film Festival was all about showing indie films, art films and foreign films that local film fans wouldn’t get to see otherwise. The festival’s focus has changed dramatically in the years since. That’s partly because there are so many more opportunities to see films, including video on demand, an array… 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 New Orleans music… Continue reading →

New Movies for the week of Oct. 16, 2014

Sony Pictures Entertainment photo by GILES KEYTE -- Brad Pitt plays Wardaddy in 'Fury,' which opens in theaters Friday.

“BAYOU MAHARAJAH: THE TRAGIC GENIUS OF JAMES BOOKER”: Local filmmaker Lily Keber interviewed friends and admirers of New Orleans pianist James Booker for the documentary. Dr. John, actor, pianist and singer Hugh Laurie and Booker’s now famous piano student, Harry Connick Jr., discuss Booker’s brilliance. Showing exclusively at Chalmette Movies. “FURY”: In… Continue reading →

Oil & Water Documentary examines impact of BP spill on Cajun culture

AP File Photo, U.S. Coast Guard -- In this April 21, 2010, file image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. British oil company BP said Thursday Nov. 15, 2012 it is in advanced talks with U.S. agencies about settling criminal and other claims from the Gulf of Mexico well blowout two years ago. In a statement, BP said

On April 20, 2010, an explosion ripped through an oil rig hundreds of miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The fiery blast on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and, two days later, caused the rig to collapse, leaving a ragged pipe thousands of feet below the surface gushing oil for five months. It… 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 →

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 →