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Summer 2016: When franchise overload killed movie originality

At one point in “Suicide Squad,” one of the most commercially successful and culturally worthless movies of 2016, the Joker whispers his idea of a sweet nothing to his deranged moll, Harley Quinn: “Oh, I’m not gonna kill you. I’m just gonna hurt you really, really bad.” Those of us still emerging...

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  • Read or watch? 8 movies based on books are coming in September

    Read or watch? 8 movies based on books are coming in September

    As summer sunsets into fall, the changing of the seasons means would-be blockbusters are beginning to give way to prestige films (or "Oscar bait," if you're not feeling charitable). Some of those movies got their start on bookshelves. Here are eight movies based on books that are coming in September;...

  • AFI Fest to open with Warren Beatty's Howard Hughes picture 'Rules Don't Apply'

    AFI Fest to open with Warren Beatty's Howard Hughes picture 'Rules Don't Apply'

    The 30th edition of AFI Fest will open with the world premiere of “Rules Don’t Apply” on Nov. 10 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Written, directed and produced by and starring Warren Beatty — recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award and an Academy Award winner...

  • Dynamic cast propels tale of two step-siblings across three decades

    Dynamic cast propels tale of two step-siblings across three decades

    As it turns out, “The Two Kids That Blow ... Up” at the Lounge Theatre isn’t nearly as explosive as its expletive-laden title might suggest. Tracing three decades in the complicated relationship between two Asian American urbanites struggling to find their place in the world, Carla Ching’s play...

  • Frida Kahlo meets John Coltrane in electric dance homage

    Frida Kahlo meets John Coltrane in electric dance homage

    Frida Kahlo and John Coltrane are an unlikely pair, but at the Ford amphitheater in Hollywood, they proved an exhilarating match. The Los Angeles-based Latin dance theater troupe Contra-Tiempo opened the Ford show Saturday night with a new homage to Mexican painter Kahlo choreographed by Marjani...

  • 812,000 pay-TV subscribers cut the cord in the second quarter of 2016

    812,000 pay-TV subscribers cut the cord in the second quarter of 2016

    The flight of pay-TV customers continues. In a grim reminder of the challenges facing media companies, an estimated 812,000 subscribers pulled the plug on their pay-television service in the second quarter, according to a study by consulting firm SNL Kagan. The number represents a decline in the...

  • Fox News says Andrea Tantaros' allegations are a 'smokescreen' for a contract breach

    Fox News says Andrea Tantaros' allegations are a 'smokescreen' for a contract breach

    Fox News is denying the sexual harassment allegations of former co-host Andrea Tantaros and has asked that her complaints against the network go to arbitration. In a memorandum filed Monday in New York Supreme Court, Fox News disputes Tantaros’ allegation that she was removed from her on-air role...

  • Getty Museum aims to acquire 16th century Parmigianino painting

    Getty Museum aims to acquire 16th century Parmigianino painting

    A valuable 16th century painting by the Renaissance artist known as Parmigianino could soon find a home in Los Angeles, but the work of art is still subject to an export license from Britain. The J. Paul Getty Museum said that it hopes to acquire the biblically themed painting, titled “Virgin With...

  • 'Becoming the Beach Boys' 2-CD set explores the group's earliest efforts

    'Becoming the Beach Boys' 2-CD set explores the group's earliest efforts

    Putting a fledgling band under the microscope by examining every moment of its earliest work generally falls under the same bit of wisdom often applied to brain surgery, sausage-making and journalism: important activities in the grand scheme of things, but not processes you typically want to zero...

  • Hollywood mourns the loss of comedy legend Gene Wilder

    Hollywood mourns the loss of comedy legend Gene Wilder

    Gene Wilder, best known for his turn as Willy Wonka in the 1971 cult classic, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” as well as his comedic collaborations with the likes of Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks, has died at age 83, his family announced Monday.  The loss of the actor caused an outpouring...

  • Weezer to have rare club appearance at the El Rey for a cause

    Weezer to have rare club appearance at the El Rey for a cause

    Weezer fans will be afforded the rare opportunity to see the arena-playing band in a little club -- and write off the ticket at the end of the year, to boot.  Monday morning, Santa Monica's best rock band announced that on Nov. 3 the band will perform at the El Rey. Tickets went on sale Monday...

  • FYF 2016: Grace Jones plays a set for the ages

    FYF 2016: Grace Jones plays a set for the ages

    James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem was the headliner at FYF Fest on Sunday. But he knew his place in music history.  “If you missed Grace Jones, you [screwed up],” the LCD Soundsystem frontman said, minutes into his band’s set at Exposition Park. “We used to get booked as the cleanup act, where the...

  • The Echo Society celebrates local music by local composers through one-of-a-kind live experiences

    The Echo Society celebrates local music by local composers through one-of-a-kind live experiences

    A cadre of young and rising Hollywood talent responsible for scoring such films and TV series as “Foxcatcher,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Looper” and “Billions” has had its work heard by millions around the globe. Yet here at home these composers felt like they weren’t being heard. “We had gone...

  • 'CBS Sunday Morning' anchor Charles Osgood is saying goodbye

    'CBS Sunday Morning' anchor Charles Osgood is saying goodbye

    Charles Osgood, long-time anchor of “CBS Sunday Morning,” announced today that he plans to retire after 22 years leading the broadcast. His career spanning 45 years at CBS News will be celebrated during his final show on Sept. 25. “For years now, people — even friends and family — have been asking...

  • 'Don't Breathe' breathes life into slow end to summer box office

    'Don't Breathe' breathes life into slow end to summer box office

    Breathing life into what was expected to be a slow end to the summer box office season, Sony Pictures’ “Don’t Breathe” over-performed, leaving three-time box office champ, Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad,” in the dust. The low-budget horror movie raked in a surprising estimated $26.1 million in the...

  • 'Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir,' a French turn on teenage superheroes

    'Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir,' a French turn on teenage superheroes

    Here is – "voici," I should say — the Parisian high school superhero cartoon series you have been looking for. "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir" premiered domestically on Nickelodeon last December, just two months after its French premiere. A second American DVD collection, "Spots On,"...

  • Aaaah: 'Don't Breathe' takes top spot at the box office

    Aaaah: 'Don't Breathe' takes top spot at the box office

    That airy, wooshing sound? It’s a deep sigh of relief from Sony’s Screen Gems and Steve Bersch’s Stage 6 Films. Their low-budget horror movie, “Don't Breathe,” surpassed “Suicide Squad” and pulled into the top spot at the box office on Saturday. It grossed about $10 million on Friday, and is expected...

  • The indie summer provided a cure for the blockbuster blues

    The indie summer provided a cure for the blockbuster blues

    Ask most filmgoers about the summer movie season and the consensus would be that it was a disappointment. Films made from the seemingly surefire formula of sequels and reboots with built-in audiences nevertheless seemed to let down critics and audiences alike week after week. From “X-Men: Apocalypse”...

  • What time are the VMAs? Everything you need to know about MTV's biggest night

    What time are the VMAs? Everything you need to know about MTV's biggest night

    The MTV Video Music Awards have provided some of pop culture's most-discussed moments in recent years, from Kanye West crashing the stage during Taylor Swift’s speech to Nicki Minaj calling out Miley Cyrus for talking trash. It’s too early to know who will make headlines at this year’s VMAs, but...

  • For photographer Gil Mares, the Port of L.A. is his supermodel

    For photographer Gil Mares, the Port of L.A. is his supermodel

    Gil Mares’ striking photographs may appear at first glance as abstract expressionist paintings of the 1940s and ’50s, but upon closer inspection, the saturated hues and sleek, minimalist lines are the steel sides of cargo ships and freighters. His compositions of hulls, anchors and bows form the...

  • At Sandy Hook Elementary, a new campus and a new start at site of horror

    At Sandy Hook Elementary, a new campus and a new start at site of horror

    The Bataclan in Paris. The Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, Colo. The Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. The campus of Garissa University College in eastern Kenya. A summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya. And maybe most harrowing of all, given the ages of the victims, Sandy Hook Elementary...

  • Telemundo refuses to air ad from SAG-AFTRA calling for pay uniformity

    Telemundo refuses to air ad from SAG-AFTRA calling for pay uniformity

    The months-long campaign by SAG-AFTRA against NBCUniversal to unionize Spanish-language performers on Telemundo is heating up on the TV screen.  In its latest push, the labor union aired a 30-second commercial on Thursday that called for parity in pay between English-language and Spanish-language...

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