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  • 'Batman: The Killing Joke' stuns with $3.8 million in two-day-only theater run

    'Batman: The Killing Joke' stuns with $3.8 million in two-day-only theater run

    “Batman: The Killing Joke,” the animated picture from Warner Bros. and Fathom Events, was produced to be a home-video production. But after the decision to release the picture in a little more than 1,300 theaters for two days only, it made an impressive estimated $3.8 million. “We’re thrilled and...

  • Danish horror film 'Shelley' unleashes the terrors of pregnancy

    Danish horror film 'Shelley' unleashes the terrors of pregnancy

    It’s no “Rosemary’s Baby” — or even “It’s Alive” — but the Danish supernatural thriller “Shelley” is a fair addition to the “natal horror” genre. Writer-director Ali Abbasi’s debut feature takes too long to intensify, but down the stretch it’s as disturbing as the scariest chapters of “What to...

  • Crime drama depicts Cleveland as 'The Land' without hope

    Crime drama depicts Cleveland as 'The Land' without hope

    Some sports fans call Cleveland “Believeland” because of the city’s devotion to teams that never win (the recent Cavaliers championship aside). Writer-director Steven Caple Jr.’s indie crime drama “The Land” drops the “believe,” which fits his take on inner-city Cleveland as a community without...

  • 'Childhood of a Leader' spins wintry tale around the formation of a fascist mind

    'Childhood of a Leader' spins wintry tale around the formation of a fascist mind

    “The Childhood of a Leader” is a chilly — and chilling — political thriller by way of a provocative domestic chamber piece. Strikingly mounted, lighted, shot and scored, this tense, decidedly arty film marks a bravura feature directing debut for young American actor Brady Corbet (“Melancholia,”...

  • Comedians ask 'Can We Take a Joke?' in a documentary on political correctness

    Comedians ask 'Can We Take a Joke?' in a documentary on political correctness

    Considering all that’s been going on in the world lately, it’s probably not the most opportune moment for the arrival of a documentary about stand-up comedians struggling against the constraints of political correctness. Taking aim against that seemingly growing faction of society it calls “the...

  • Sisters face the end of the world in 'Into the Forest'

    Sisters face the end of the world in 'Into the Forest'

    Patricia Rozema’s “Into the Forest” walks a blade’s edge between terrifying and uplifting, taking place during an apocalypse that’s all too plausible. Adapted from Jean Hegland’s 1996 novel, the film stars Ellen Page, who shepherded the book to the screen, alongside Evan Rachel Wood, as sisters...

  • Documentary tells story of Chinese women's rights activist 'Hooligan Sparrow' by any means necessary

    Documentary tells story of Chinese women's rights activist 'Hooligan Sparrow' by any means necessary

    Budding filmmakers can take away a valuable lesson from the documentary “Hooligan Sparrow”: You don’t need fancy camera equipment (or in some instances, even a camera) if you’re passionate enough about the story you want to tell. Nanfu Wang’s urgent, compelling portrait of a group of Chinese women’s...

  • Mike Birbiglia and friends tackle ups and downs of the improv life in 'Don't Think Twice'

    Mike Birbiglia and friends tackle ups and downs of the improv life in 'Don't Think Twice'

    “Don’t Think Twice” is actor-comedian Mike Birbiglia’s funny and endearing love letter to the world of improvisational comedy and the spontaneous performers who keep it bubbling. It’s an ensemble film in the truest sense, one that gives each of its well-drawn, interdependent characters their due....

  • First look at Supergirl and Superman together

    First look at Supergirl and Superman together

    The second season of “Supergirl” is doubling down on the number of superheroes. And with the addition of Superman we now have twice the capes. Together, the CW show’s stars, Melissa Benoist and Tyler Hoechlin, revealed a first look at the Superman suit.  Superman, played by Hoechlin (“Road to Perdition,”...

  • Stirring 'Gleason' documents an unsentimental embrace of life, but you'll still cry

    Stirring 'Gleason' documents an unsentimental embrace of life, but you'll still cry

    Get out your handkerchiefs. Odds are high that you’ll be verklempt through much of the running time of “Gleason,” but those tears and the lump in your throat won’t merely be expressions of sorrow. As Steve Gleason, the extraordinary man at the center of the documentary, acknowledges at one point,...

  • Venice Film Festival lineup includes Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington and Amy Adams

    Venice Film Festival lineup includes Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington and Amy Adams

    The fall festival season came into sharper focus on Thursday with the announcement of the lineup for the 73rd Venice Film Festival, opening with a new musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.   Running from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10, the festival lands during a dense crush on the calendar, along...

  • L.A. theater openings, July 31-Aug. 7: 'The Tempest' and more

    L.A. theater openings, July 31-Aug. 7: 'The Tempest' and more

    This week: A new drama about the financial industry, a bloody twist on a Gilbert & Sullivan favorite, and a Shakespeare classic in a sylvan setting. Shakespeare by the Sea Locally touring productions of the Bard’s “Cymbeline” and “Othello.” Various locations; details at www.shakespearebythesea.org....

  • You will soon be able to relive the glory of the '90s with MTV Classic

    You will soon be able to relive the glory of the '90s with MTV Classic

    Do you long for the good old days of MTV, that halcyon era when reruns of “The Real World” or “Beavis & Butthead” were just a remote-click away and we all grumbled about how the network never played music videos anymore? Well, here’s the good news: MTV announced Thursday it is rebranding VH1 Classic...

  • Memorable movie moms

    Memorable movie moms

    Who doesn't love a good matriarch? From over-protective, loving and caring, to downright psychotic, here are some of the most memorable moms in movies. 

  • As Kirk Douglas turns 100, a major UCLA retrospective looks at his amazing body of work

    As Kirk Douglas turns 100, a major UCLA retrospective looks at his amazing body of work

    I recently spent a day with Kirk Douglas, and the experience was exhilarating, energizing and surprising. This was not time spent with the vital actor himself, who turns 100 on Dec. 9, but rather with a generous sampling of the films still to be shown in the UCLA Film & Television Archive's continuing...

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