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  • The mad puzzle of Gore Verbinski's 'A Cure for Wellness'

    The mad puzzle of Gore Verbinski's 'A Cure for Wellness'

    At some point during “A Cure for Wellness,” a lavish and interminable new thriller from writer-director Gore Verbinski, I found myself wondering which movie it would pair best with on a double bill. Maybe “Crimson Peak” or “Shutter Island,” two similarly gorgeous-looking auteur forays into the...

  • Matt Damon's 'The Great Wall' crumbles in epic fashion

    Matt Damon's 'The Great Wall' crumbles in epic fashion

    "The Great Wall" is poised to take a great fall, creating the kind of mess not seen since Humpty Dumpty sat on a similar structure. All the king's horses and all the king's men (and there are a lot of them here) won't be able to put this snore of a movie together again. Starring Matt Damon, the...

  • In 'Fabricated City,' it's not clear where the game ends and the movie begins

    In 'Fabricated City,' it's not clear where the game ends and the movie begins

    True to its English-language title, the South Korean action film “Fabricated City” is an amped-up video game vision of a revenge fantasy that’s so preoccupied with switching gears that it neglects to provide viewers with any place to park their battered attention spans. Unemployed and unmotivated,...

  • James Franco takes a page from Steinbeck in the laborious drama 'In Dubious Battle'

    James Franco takes a page from Steinbeck in the laborious drama 'In Dubious Battle'

    John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” chronicles a brief, intense labor strike by migrant apple pickers in Depression-era California, at a time when agricultural workers across the state were getting hit hard by wage cuts. Published in 1936 under a title inspired by “Paradise Lost,” it was the first...

  • Charlie Day and Ice Cube tangle in overzealous comedy 'Fist Fight'

    Charlie Day and Ice Cube tangle in overzealous comedy 'Fist Fight'

    The high school-set comedy “Fist Fight” really revs up those three Rs: rowdy, raunchy and ridiculous. For much of its fast-paced running time, the film, which involves an after-school fight between two polar-opposite teachers, is just amusing enough to make up for its sheer preposterousness; it...

  • Filmmaker Anne Hamilton delivers an unsettling, if uneven, 'American Fable'

    Filmmaker Anne Hamilton delivers an unsettling, if uneven, 'American Fable'

    The images of a rural field that open “American Fable” could, for a brief instant, be something out of Andrew Wyeth, woozy with wonder. Soon, though, it’s clear that a nightmarish dread pulses beneath the dreamlike beauty. For her first feature, set during the Midwestern farm crisis of the 1980s,...

  • Horror anthology 'XX' features feminist perspective on genre

    Horror anthology 'XX' features feminist perspective on genre

    Women directors are largely underrepresented in the horror genre, despite the amount of women who appear in horror films. This is a wrong that the anthology “XX” takes a stab at correcting, featuring four short horror films written and directed by women. Despite the variations among the project,...

  • How will the SAG Awards influence the Oscars?

    How will the SAG Awards influence the Oscars?

    The Screen Actors Guild Awards has become such a strong indicator of the Oscars that it has created its own cottage industry of reasoning that publicists use to explain why their clients, the ones who lost at the SAGs, could still prevail with the film academy. The most common explanation offered:...

  • Some tips for getting that Oscar speech just right — first, start writing it now

    Some tips for getting that Oscar speech just right — first, start writing it now

    Barring something spectacular happening at the Oscars on Feb. 26, we know who’s a shoo-in to win the imaginary best Speech of the Season statuette this year: Meryl Streep. The Oscar-winning actress’ use of her lifetime achievement award acceptance at the Golden Globes in January to focus on political...

  • Some Oscar speeches truly stand out — for better or worse

    Some Oscar speeches truly stand out — for better or worse

    Some award acceptance speeches are models of grace and class. Others are … well, a little out there. Here’s a look at some of each. Tom Hanks, “Philadelphia” (1994) Here's a measure of how popular Hanks was and is: He won his first lead actor Academy Award (of two in a row) for a groundbreaking...

  • Oscars select nine unique films as contenders — or are they?

    Oscars select nine unique films as contenders — or are they?

    With the Academy Award nominations now out, the race is finally on to guess wildly about which of the nine nominated films will win the big enchilada, best picture. Of course you could read our Buzzmeter panelists (latimes.com/buzzmeter) or The Gold Standard column (latimes.com/theenvelope) for...

  • From 'Arrival' to 'Moonlight' to 'Silence,' a look at the first frame of 9 films meant to pull you in

    From 'Arrival' to 'Moonlight' to 'Silence,' a look at the first frame of 9 films meant to pull you in

    The first scene of a movie is often its defining moment: In subtle and large ways it lets the audience know where they are, where they’re going — and often, what to expect along the way. But deciding on that first major statement can be a challenge; sometimes, a main character dancing to “Thriller”...

  • Looking for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's 'La La Land'? Find James Dean's crowbar, for starters

    Looking for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's 'La La Land'? Find James Dean's crowbar, for starters

    Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling first worked together auditioning for the 2011 romantic-comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Asked to improvise a scene, Gosling remembers, “We just couldn’t shut up. It was just lots to talk about and very easy.” That instant rapport was evident in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Gangster...

  • Two Oscar-nominated foreign-language films examine cruel times in young lives

    Two Oscar-nominated foreign-language films examine cruel times in young lives

    Cruel stories of youth tie together a pair of movies nominated for the foreign language Academy Award. The Australian “Tanna,” directed by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler, re-creates the legend of two star-crossed lovers who run afoul of tribal custom on a remote South Pacific island. Denmark’s...

  • Oscar nominee Ruth Negga's red carpet style blends demure and bold

    Oscar nominee Ruth Negga's red carpet style blends demure and bold

    Ruth Negga’s starring role as Mildred Loving in “Loving” earned the film its only Oscar nomination, launching the Ethiopian-Irish actress on an intercontinental jet stream of red carpet appearances. At each, Negga has arrived fully in character — as Ruth Negga, force of nature. Though she’s a petite...

  • The bonds of friendship are tight between 'Moonlight' director and cinematographer

    The bonds of friendship are tight between 'Moonlight' director and cinematographer

    The movie business can often be cutthroat. But this Oscar season may be most distinct for the number of loyal friendships that have imprinted on the nominated works. Whether it’s the longstanding collaboration between “La La Land’s” director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz or Denzel...

  • Motion capture and visual effects bring back Tarkin for 'Rogue One'

    Motion capture and visual effects bring back Tarkin for 'Rogue One'

    One of the best-kept secrets of 2016 was the fact that a major character in Gareth Edwards’ “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” would be appearing on screen for the first time since the actor who portrayed him passed away over 20 years ago. Through visual effects wizardry and a live-action performance...

  • Octavia Spencer proud to show that everyone has something to contribute with 'Hidden Figures'

    Octavia Spencer proud to show that everyone has something to contribute with 'Hidden Figures'

    Octavia Spencer’s penchant for playing strong, charismatic women has blessed her with numerous awards — and her second Oscar nomination for supporting actress for her role as mathematician and spunky NASA supervisor Dorothy Vaughan in the feel-good historical drama “Hidden Figures.” (She won the...

  • 'Moonlight,' 'The Night Manager' and 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' earn USC Scripter Awards

    'Moonlight,' 'The Night Manager' and 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' earn USC Scripter Awards

    The writers behind “Moonlight,” “The Night Manager” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” earned top honors at the 29th USC Libraries Scripter Awards.  The Scripter Award, established in 1988, recognizes adapted screenplays and their original source material. The award is given...

  • Paramount, Amazon productions qualify for California tax incentive

    Paramount, Amazon productions qualify for California tax incentive

    Movies from Paramount Pictures and Amazon Studios are among the 22 feature film projects that have qualified for $100 million in state-funded incentives that will shoot primarily in California. The unnamed Paramount project is expected to receive $22.4 million in tax credits, the largest award...

  • 'In the Heat of the Night' and Sidney Poitier to open TCM Film Festival

    'In the Heat of the Night' and Sidney Poitier to open TCM Film Festival

    Once again finding timely subject matter in the celluloid past, the TCM Classic Film Festival opens April 6 with the 1967 crime drama “In the Heat of the Night.” Directed by Norman Jewison, the film won Oscars for best picture, Stirling Silliphant’s screenplay, Hal Ashby’s film editing, sound and...

  • To Adele or Bruno, is the awards-show question

    To Adele or Bruno, is the awards-show question

    There are, broadly speaking, two ways to posthumously honor legends at an award show (and without award shows, as Tina Fey reminded us, how would we know which dead people to care about?) There’s a way to evoke the late star themselves. Or there’s a way to honor the personality by giving them the...

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