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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 →

N.O. actor Wendell Pierce in Showtime drama, three other projects

Showtime photo by SUZANNE TENNER -- New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, right, as Ronald Keith, shares a scene with Liev Schreiber, who has the title role in Showtime's 'Ray Donovan.'

Thanks to his recurring role on “Ray Donovan,” New Orleans actor Wendell Pierce spent a lot of his summer working alongside veteran actor Jon Voight.
“It has been a real delight,” Pierce said of sharing screen time with the Oscar and Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Voight.
Pierce plays Mickey Donovan’s (Voight’s) parole officer, Ronald Keith, on all… 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 →

Review: ‘Game’ doesn’t stand quite as tall as it needs to

TriStar Pictures photo by TRACY BENNETT -- Jim Caviezel (center-right) and Michael Chiklis (center-left) coach Concord, California’s De La Salle High School football 'When the Game Stands Tall.'

“When the Game Stands Tall” shapes a familiar underdog scenario from the real-life story of Concord, California’s De La Salle High School football team. The team’s super-dedicated, gifted coach, Bob Ladouceur, led De La Salle’s Spartans through a 151 consecutive winning streak and 20 undefeated seasons. The movie, which was shot last year in New Orleans, a… Continue reading →

A tiny indy film theater works to bring back the corner movie show

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Will Sampson and Hayley Sampson, of the Indywood Movie Theater, on Friday, Aug. 9, 2014.

In 1896, when VitaScope Hall opened on Canal Street, it was the first movie house in the United States. Nearly 200 neighborhood movie theaters have come and gone in the New Orleans area since then. Only one of the old neighborhood theaters still remains open: the Prytania on its namesake Uptown street. They’ve all been replaced by… Continue reading →

New movies for the week of Aug. 21-27, 2014

Photo provided by the Weinstain Company -- Jessica Alba in 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.'

“IF I STAY”: Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) thought the toughest choice she’d ever have to make would be deciding between the love of her life and following her musical dreams at Juilliard. But then what she expected to be a carefree family drive leaves her trapped between life and death. “SIN… Continue reading →

Kevin Costner’s N.O.-filmed ‘Black and White’ to open festival

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 through Oct. 23.

The New Orleans Film Festival will open its 25th anniversary year with Kevin Costner’s New Orleans-filmed drama, “Black and White.” The screening will take place Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Civic Theatre. This year’s closing film, showing Thursday, Oct. 23, is “The Big Beat,” a documentary directed by Joe Lauro about classic New Orleans rhythm-and-blues musicians Fats… Continue reading →

Review: Magic in the Moonlight

Photo by JACK ENGLISH -- Emma Stone, left, and Colin Firth in star in Woody Allen's new film, 'Magic in the Moonlight,' which opens in New Orleans Friday.

Woody Allen’s wanly whimsical latest is a very minor entry in the prolific director’s string of Europe-set films. A minute after it’s over, you don’t care. At one point in the American Masters biography Woody Allen: A Documentary that aired on PBS in 2011, the endlessly prolific writer-director empties a box of paper scraps on which he’s… Continue reading →

Literary adaptation done on the cheap

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 would… Continue reading →

‘Calvary’ pairs Gleeson, McDonagh again

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: ‘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 →