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‘Deepwater Horizon’ film begins production in New Orleans; here's a 'first look' photo from the film

Photo by ENRIQUE CHEDIAK -- Lionsgate released a 'first look' image of Mark Wahlerg in 'Deepwater Horizon.'

“Deepwater Horizon,” the film based on the April 20, 2010, explosions and fire that took place on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, started principal photography Monday in New Orleans. The screenplay is based on the December 2010 New York Times article, “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours,” by David Barstow, David… Continue reading →

Review: 'Far From the Madding Crowd' is masterpiece cinema

Photo by ALEX BAILEY -- Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel and Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.

A mostly British cast, a Danish director and a classic novel by Thomas Hardy form the winning ingredients in “Far From the Madding Crowd.” As adaptations of literary classics go, director Thomas Vinterberg’s and screenwriter David Nicholls’ interpretation of Hardy’s Victorian drama is a fine one. It’s beautifully acted, grandly romantic cinema that nevertheless doesn’t lose… Continue reading →

Review: Dazzling ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ a can’t miss thrill

This photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Tom Hardy, center, as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron, right, as Imperator Furiosa in Warner Bros. Picturesí and Village Roadshow Picturesí action adventure film, ìMad Max:Fury Road," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP) ORG XMIT: CAET483

The silences in “Mad Max: Fury Road” are unsettling. The moments are few and infrequent, but it’s not until the fiery roar of the engines and the thrashing of the guitars are suddenly stripped away that you can fully feel how deeply the film has flooded your being. The theater — and your heart — pulsates with… Continue reading →

New Movies for May 14-20, 2015

Photo by JASIN BOLAND -- Tom Hardy, left, as Mad Max, and Charlize Theron as Furiosa in 'Mad Max: Fury Road.'

“FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD”: A great film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic Victorian-era novel. Carey Mulligan stars as the independent-minded Bathsheba Everdene. Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge and Michael Sheen play the men to ask Bathsheba to marry them. Showing at The Theaters at Canal Place and AMC Elmwood Palace 20. “MAD… Continue reading →

Life, love and circumstance drive ‘Madding Crowd’

Photo by ALEX BAILEY -- Juno Temple as Fanny in 'Far From the Madding Crowd.'

In the new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel of Victorian England, “Far From the Madding Crowd,” the fates of two of the story’s major female characters couldn’t be more different. Carey Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene, an ardently independent young woman who inherits her uncle’s estate. Bathsheba is a rare one in her time… Continue reading →

‘Avengers’ sequel tops charts, crushes ‘Hot Pursuit’

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Reese Witherspoon, right, and Sofia Vergara appear in a scene from "Hot Pursuit." (Sam Emerson/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “Age of Ultron” is not over. The Avengers sequel topped the domestic box office for the second weekend in a row with an estimated $77.2 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The film has earned a staggering $312.9 million in just 10 days in theaters, tying with “The Dark Knight” to become… Continue reading →

Review: Schwarzenegger takes turn in indie zombie-horror drama

Photo by TRACY BENNETT -- Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Maggie.'

“Maggie” gives the familiar zombie apocalypse scenario a new twist. A grim, contemplative film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first indie horror film, “Maggie” personalizes zombies. The New Orleans area-shot film’s intimate storytelling dials down the volume, speed and massive numbers of walking and sometimes running dead usually seen in zombie movies and TV… Continue reading →

Review: ‘D Train’ stops short of destination

IFC Films photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle -- James Marsden, left, and Jack Black respectively co-star as the most popular and most unpopular guys in their high school, class of 1994, in 'The D Train.'

The briefly amusing high-school reunion comedy-drama “The D Train” gets some things right. The right stuff in this New Orleans-shot project exists mostly in the casting. Late 30-somethings James Marsden and Jack Black respectively co-star as the most popular and most unpopular guys in their high school, class of 1994. Black’s Dan Landsman fancies himself chairman… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Merchants’ pulls back curtain on ‘expert’ market

Photo provided by Sony Classics -- Patricia CallahanPulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribute reporter Patricia Callahan launched a series about the science behind toxic-flame retardant chemicals.

Moviegoers who see the documentary “Merchants of Doubt” couldn’t be blamed for leaving the theater in a cynical mood. Directed by Robert Kenner (the Oscar-nominated “Food, Inc.”), “Merchants of Doubt” pulls the curtain back from spin doctors who present themselves as experts in the topic of the day, and even as scientists knowledgeable in specific fields.… Continue reading →

Review: Wiig captivates in funny, disturbing ‘Welcome to Me’

Alchemy Pictures photo by SUZANNE HANOVER -- Kristen Wiig appears in a scene from 'Welcome To Me.'

There’s dark comedy, and then there’s take-no-prisoners, dare-you-to-keep-looking dark comedy. Kristen Wiig’s “Welcome to Me” falls decidedly in the latter category, making us laugh but feel deeply unsettled about doing so. That’s because the film, directed by Shira Piven, is about mental illness, a decidedly unfunny subject. On the other hand, if you’re going to… Continue reading →

Review: Witherspoon and Vergara crash in ‘Hot Pursuit’

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Reese Witherspoon appears in a scene from "Hot Pursuit." (Sam Emerson/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

“Hot Pursuit” has all the trappings of a buddy comedy except that whole comedy part. The pairing of Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, like the recent Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard,” is predicated on the distance between the two in height and culture. But, good lord, where are the jokes? Witherspoon plays an uptight,… Continue reading →

New Movies This Week in New Orleans, May 7-13, 2015

Photo by Sam Emerson -- Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon star in the road-chase comedy 'Hot Pursuit.'

“HOT PURSUIT”: In this New Orleans-shot chase comedy, an upright, by-the-book cop (Reese Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy, outgoing widow (Sofia Vergara) of a drug boss as they race across Texas, pursued by crooked criminals and cops. “MAGGIE”: In the New Orleans-filmed “Maggie,” a zombielike pandemic is sweeping through the Midwest. Arnold… Continue reading →

End of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie in New Orleans? Couple's mansion on market for $6.5 million

Advocate photo by Matthew Hinton -- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are selling their New Orleans mansion.The home, located in the 500 block of Governor Nicholls Street, is listed for $6.4 million on

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who started the Make It Right Foundation after Hurricane Katrina, are hoping to sell the French Quarter mansion they bought in 2007. The home, dating to the 1830s and located in the 500 block of Governor Nicholls Street, is listed for $6.4 million on The couple's… Continue reading →

New Orleans Film Society, Prytania Theatre release 2015 ‘filmOrama’ schedule

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Kristen Stewart, left, and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria.'

The New Orleans Film Society and the Prytania Theatre announced their lineup for the 2015 edition of filmOrama. The film society’s spring showcase of contemporary cinema will take place at the Prytania, May 29-June 4. The festival features 19 feature films, 10 of them Louisiana premieres. Selections include such festival favorites as “The Wolfpack” and “Kumiko the… Continue reading →

TV5Monde programs capture La. culture

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE --Tanya Evanson dances to the music of her band Neyaz on the Scene TV5MONDE Lafayette stage during Festival International de Louisiane last weekend.

Louisiana’s French culture is the theme of the weekend on TV5Monde. The centerpiece for the two days of programming on the U.S.’s only 24/7 French language entertainment channel will be last week’s Festival International de Louisiane. “We have a lineup of documentaries, lifestyle shows, and of course, this special program called ‘Rendez-Vous d’Amérique,’ ” TV5Monde COO… Continue reading →

New movies for the week of April 30-May 6, 2015

Photo provided by Walt Disney Pictures -- Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in 'Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron.'

“AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON”: Marvel superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye fight to save Earth from the dedicated to destruction Ultron. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. “HYENA”: In modern-day London, the police don’t necessarily play… Continue reading →

Review: A visionary sci-fi thriller is born in ‘Ex Machina’

Photo provided by A24 Films -- Domhnall Gleeson plays the sharp programmer in the new sci-fi thriller, 'Ex Machina.'

Cinema has always been fascinated by androids. From “Metropolis” to “Blade Runner,” the juxtaposition of humans next to their artificial form has provided endless hours of stories that can be as exhilarating as they are poignant. Tough moral questions about consciousness and humanity go down easier when hidden under the glossy sheen of genre, after all. With… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Adaline’ is both ludicrous and deeply moving

This image released by Lionsgate shows Blake Lively in a scene from "The Age of Adaline." (Diyah Pera/Lionsgate via AP)

Is it possible for a movie to be at once ludicrously silly and genuinely moving? That’s the strange question you might find yourself asking while watching “The Age of Adaline,” a romantic fantasy with surprising heft that will likely have you scoffing at one moment, then furtively wiping away a tear the next. It’ll also have you… Continue reading →

Review: Russell Crowe’s ‘Diviner’ a robust, assured war tale

Warner Bros. Pictures photo by MARK ROGERS -- Russell Crowe stars in and directs the new film 'The Water Diviner,' which opens Friday at AMC Baton Rouge 16.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Making his directorial debut with the brawny and big-hearted Australian war drama “The Water Diviner,” Russell Crowe taps a deep well of symbolism, cultural empathy and good old-fashioned storytelling. Crowe, who also stars as a grieving father stoically bulldozing through Turkey in search of three sons missing in action after the World War I… Continue reading →

Filmmakers conference set during Jazzfest

Sync Up Cinema 2015, a film industry conference during Jazz Fest, will feature three days of screenings, panels and events focusing on the state’s industry, culture and music Monday through Wednesday. The free confab is a joint venture of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation and the New Orleans Film Society. All events will be in the George… Continue reading →

New Movies in New Orleans for April 23-29, 2015

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures -- Dylan Georgiades and Russell Crowe in a scene from 'The Water Diviner.'

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”: Miraculously remaining 29 years old for almost eight decades, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has lived a solitary existence. She’s never allowed herself to become close to anyone who might reveal her secret. But then a chance encounter with charismatic philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) reignites her passion for life and romance. Harrison… Continue reading →

’Furious 7’ outpaces ‘Paul Blart’

Photo courtesy Sony Pictures -- Kevin James returns as Paul Blart in ‘Paul Blart: Mall  Cop 2.’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even in its debut weekend, Kevin James’s “Paul Blart” sequel couldn’t outpace “Furious 7.” The reigning box office champion might have slowed from its blockbuster debut, but “Furious 7” maintained first place for the third weekend in a row with an estimated $29.1 million, according to box office tracker Rentrak on Sunday.… Continue reading →

Review: Disneynature documentary gives fascinating view of monkeys' behavior

Photo by MARTYN COLBECK -- A monkey is groomed amongst the ruins in 'Monkey Kingdom.'

In the ruins of an ancient city in the Sri Lankan jungle, a community of macaque monkeys goes about its organized, even ritualistic monkey business. And monkeys, like the most powerful humans on Earth, play politics. “Monkey Kingdom,” an immersive new Disneynature documentary, quickly establishes the troupe’s rules and pecking order. As in human society, there… Continue reading →