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  • 'Loserville' is an unsatisfying blend of teen comedy and bullying drama

    'Loserville' is an unsatisfying blend of teen comedy and bullying drama

    The teen comedy “Loserville” from freshman filmmaker Lovell Holder offers its audience a SparkNotes version of high school: It skims over relevant details and lacks deep insight when it comes to plot and character. Though there are a few genuine LOL moments, there’s little specificity in the world...

  • Matthew Rhys provides only real glimmer in WWII drama 'Come What May'

    Matthew Rhys provides only real glimmer in WWII drama 'Come What May'

    In “Come What May,” director Christian Carion dramatizes the other side of the World War II front line — the civilians fleeing invading troops. The images of uprooted, desperate travelers can’t help but remind one of contemporary refugee crises. Yet with its old-fashioned gloss, the incident-packed...

  • 'The Last Film Festival' is not a fitting tribute to Dennis Hopper

    'The Last Film Festival' is not a fitting tribute to Dennis Hopper

    The late Dennis Hopper’s IMDB acting credits are 200-strong, but any qualitative ranking of those titles would put his last completed movie, “The Last Film Festival,” somewhere at the bottom. A thoroughly amateurish un-comedy about show business, it was filmed in 2009, but its notions of Hollywood...

  • Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss lend weight to the drama 'The Free World'

    Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss lend weight to the drama 'The Free World'

    The concept of freedom proves elusive for an ex-convict attempting to rebuild his life on the outside in “The Free World,” an initially compelling but uneven drama elevated by two centered performances. Struggling to bury a violent past in prison, where he was incarcerated for a heinous crime he...

  • Bros grow up in comedy 'Flock of Dudes'

    Bros grow up in comedy 'Flock of Dudes'

    A tribe of man-children has to break up to grow up in the friendship flick “Flock of Dudes,” directed by Bob Castrone, written by Castrone, Brian Levin and Jason Zumwalt. The cast is stocked with some of comedy’s best actors, which elevates the rather pedestrian material — a belated coming-of-age...

  • FCC delays decision on rule that would require pay TV to offer streaming programming

    FCC delays decision on rule that would require pay TV to offer streaming programming

    The FCC delayed a vote scheduled Thursday on Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rule to require pay TV services to offer their programming on streaming apps. “We have made tremendous progress and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for these consumer devices,” said...

  • Frights are scarce in the derivative and plodding horror film 'ClownTown'

    Frights are scarce in the derivative and plodding horror film 'ClownTown'

    If Tobe Hooper had never been born, maybe the cheapie thriller “ClownTown” would seem scarier. A sort of combination of horror-master Hooper’s “The Funhouse” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” this programmatic spook-show may get a promotional boost from recent headlines about unexplained clown-stalkings,...

  • A tale of prejudice, ignorance and injustice unfolds in documentary 'Southwest of Salem'

    A tale of prejudice, ignorance and injustice unfolds in documentary 'Southwest of Salem'

    Deborah S. Esquenazi’s documentary “Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four” tells a miscarriage of justice tale that practically bursts with societal issues to address: homophobia, socioeconomic inequality, child abuse, trial misconduct, tabloid hysteria, junk science and innocence...

  • From plow horse to champion in the documentary 'Harry & Snowman'

    From plow horse to champion in the documentary 'Harry & Snowman'

    Equine fans: Gallop, don’t trot to Ron Davis’ winning documentary “Harry & Snowman,” which recounts the inspiring story of an underdog show horse, his tenacious trainer and their rise to fame in the late 1950s. Dutch-born horseman Harry deLeyer immigrated to the United States after World War II...

  • 'Seed Money' examines the philanthropy of gay porn mogul Chuck Holmes

    'Seed Money' examines the philanthropy of gay porn mogul Chuck Holmes

    The provocative documentary “Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story” spotlights the man who founded a gay porn empire in 1971 and then, in the AIDS-conscious 1980s and ‘90s, used his fortune to back gay rights groups and like-minded politicians. But did he do it out of social awareness or to buy respectability?...

  • Documentary 'Seed: The Untold Story' affirms the hidden beauty of our food

    Documentary 'Seed: The Untold Story' affirms the hidden beauty of our food

    Farming may seem prosaic to the uninitiated, but “Seed: The Untold Story” reveals the poetry present in the practice through its smallest element. Multiple people in the documentary compare seeds to jewels, both for their varied, colorful appearance as well as for their value. The film reveals...

  • 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy' documentary pursues the Koch brothers

    'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy' documentary pursues the Koch brothers

    Buried somewhere amid the old-school journalist shtick, aggressive animation and overbearing jazz score in “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” there’s a solid documentary connecting the billionaire Koch brothers’ cash to efforts to disenfranchise voters of color. But many viewers will find it challenging...

  • 'Generation Startup' doc checks in on young entrepreneurs

    'Generation Startup' doc checks in on young entrepreneurs

    Directed by Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser, the documentary “Generation Startup” puts a human face on millennial startup culture. The film depicts the program Venture for America, which supports entrepreneurship in recent college graduates in cities around the United States by placing fellows...

  • 'Wonder Woman' writer Greg Rucka confirms superhero is queer

    'Wonder Woman' writer Greg Rucka confirms superhero is queer

    No more wondering about subtext or worrying if you’ve been reading between the lines: “Wonder Woman” writer Greg Rucka has confirmed that Diana of Themyscira is officially, canonically, queer.  The news probably does not come as a surprise to most Wonder Woman fans, especially those who have been...

  • New-agey drama 'Milton's Secret' can't transcend earthly despair

    New-agey drama 'Milton's Secret' can't transcend earthly despair

    The theme of enlightenment has seldom come across as leaden as it is in “Milton’s Secret,” a dull drama based on the children’s novel of the same name by spiritual author Eckhart Tolle. Set in some sort of parallel universe where virtually all of the characters speak in politely hushed tones usually...

  • Connor Jessup seals the deal in fantastical gay drama 'Closet Monster'

    Connor Jessup seals the deal in fantastical gay drama 'Closet Monster'

    There have been no shortage of gay coming-of-age films, but few have been as singular and dazzling as “Closet Monster,” Canadian writer-director Stephen Dunn’s semi-autobiographical fever dream of a feature debut. It’s nothing less than an emotional exorcism. The movie opens as 9-year-old Oscar...

  • 'Pop should be weird': Shura channels a gentle outsider spirit on 'Nothing's Real'

    'Pop should be weird': Shura channels a gentle outsider spirit on 'Nothing's Real'

    At first, Shura figured, the spilled drink didn’t seem like cause for alarm. “I saw a bit of residue on the keyboard, but I thought it’d be fine,” the English pop singer said of a moment not long into her show Monday night at West Hollywood’s Roxy when Prosecco came splashing down on her instrument....

  • 'NCIS' executive producer Gary Glasberg has died

    'NCIS' executive producer Gary Glasberg has died

    Gary Glasberg, executive producer and show runner of  CBS’ hit “NCIS” and the creator and executive producer of its spinoff, “NCIS: New Orleans,” has died. He was 50. A statement from the network said that Glasberg, who was born in New York City, had died in his sleep. No other information was...

  • Chabrol's seductive 'Swindle' delivers right on the mark

    Chabrol's seductive 'Swindle' delivers right on the mark

    Note: Five of French director Claude Chabrol’s later films — “Betty” (1992), “Color of Lies” (1999), “Night Cap” (2000), “The Swindle” (1997) and “Torment” (1994), all featuring some of France’s biggest stars of the era — screen as part of the “Chabrol 5 X 5” series. Below is The Times’ April 23,...

  • Chabrol's 'Betty' serves up a slice of dark, obsessive life

    Chabrol's 'Betty' serves up a slice of dark, obsessive life

    Note: Five of French director Claude Chabrol’s later films — “Betty” (1992), “Color of Lies” (1999), “Night Cap” (2000), “The Swindle” (1997) and “Torment” (1994), all featuring some of France’s biggest stars of the era — screen as part of the “Chabrol 5 X 5” series. Below is The Times’ Aug. 27,...

  • French film noir series screens in Santa Monica

    French film noir series screens in Santa Monica

    The French not only named film noir but it turns out they also had a gift for working in this dark and twisty genre. The American Cinematheque offers a chance to experience eight of these bleak gems in “The French Had a Name for It 2,” the sequel to last year’s groundbreaking series. Opening things...

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