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Cinema verite filmmaker Robert Drew dies at 90

Filmmaker Robert Drew, whose documentary work helped capture the lives of subjects who included John F. Kennedy and Jane Fonda, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Drew died shortly after midnight at his Sharon, Conn., residence, his daughter-in-law, Jill Drew, told the Los Angeles Times. 

He died of natural causes, she said, adding that her father "was a fighter."

The veteran filmmaker was one of the leaders of the cinema verite, or observational camera, movement in the United States. His film "Primary" gave viewers an intimate look at Kennedy's pursuit of the presidency and was lauded around the world.

Drew spoke to the Los Angeles Times in 1993 about following Kennedy: "It was an election year, I wanted to do an election story and Kennedy simply appealed to me," he said.

Drew produced more than 100 films, two of which are in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. One of his films, "The Chair," garnered a Special Jury Prize at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival, the family said in a...

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'Interstellar' trailer: Christopher Nolan voyages across the universe

Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi epic "Interstellar" has launched a new trailer that takes star Matthew McConaughey deeper into the far reaches of space and sheds a tiny bit of light on the mysterious movie.

Unveiled on a new website for the film (enter access code "7201969" to watch), the trailer opens on a dry, despairing Earth. Cooper (McConaughey), an engineer and pilot, sets up humanity's grim situation.

"We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars," he says. "Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt."

To save mankind, Cooper joins a space-faring mission (with crew mates including Anne Hathaway and Wes Bentley) to travel through a wormhole and explore potentially habitable worlds. Some of those worlds (or at least one) are glimpsed in the new trailer, as vistas of barren tundra and gleaming seas contrast with dusty images of Earth.

The trailer doesn't shy away from emotion either, playing up the family drama as Cooper is forced to leave...

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From the booth to the big screen: Vin Scully's movie appearances

Dodgers announcer Vin Scully made many baseball fans' day Tuesday when he announced he'll return for an unprecedented 66th year in the broadcast booth. It's a wonder that the prolific play-by-play man, now 86, has ever found time to do anything other than call games — but being in Hollywood's backyard, he has managed to make his way into more than a few films over the years. Here are some highlights.

"For Love of the Game" (1999): Scully's biggest movie role came in this Sam Raimi-directed drama starring Kevin Costner as Billy Chapel, a veteran pitcher reflecting on his career and personal life while throwing what could be a perfect game — as well as his MLB swan song.

Though the story is fictional (and Costner's character is a Tiger, not a Dodger), Scully calls the game with all the poetry and drama baseball fans have come to expect over his decades-long career. Of course, Scully is no stranger to perfect games, having called three — by Don Larsen, Sandy Koufax and Dennis Martinez —...

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'Fast & Furious 7' to get fancy with Iggy Azalea cameo

"Fast & Furious 7" is getting all fancy on us.

The next installment of Universal's automotive action franchise will feature an appearance by Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, whose electro-dusted single "Fancy" has been an inescapable earworm this summer and currently holds the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

The news comes courtesy of "Fast & Furious" star Vin Diesel, who is currently on the campaign trail promoting Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Azalea's name came up during an interview with France's Skyrock FM, prompting Diesel to reply, "I just worked with her two weeks ago. I guess you'll be the first person that knows this: We cast her in 'Fast & Furious 7.'"

Diesel didn't offer any specifics of Azalea's role, though he did describe it as a cameo. The actor also posted a photo of him (clad in a black tank top) and Azalea (in a pink satin racing jacket) on set via his Facebook page.

Along with Diesel and Azalea, "Fast 7" also stars the late Paul Walker, Dwayne "The Rock"...

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Daniel Radcliffe 'a normal guy' in 'What If,' a superhero at Comic-Con

Daniel Radcliffe appeared for a Q&A on Monday night following a screening of his upcoming film “What If” as part of the Los Angeles Times’ ongoing Indie Focus Screening Series. He discussed, among other subjects, Comic-Con, rom-coms and unhealthy foods, making for a lively conversation.

The film marks the first screen role for Radcliffe playing a contemporary character. In the Toronto-set rom-com directed by Michael Dowse from a screenplay by Elan Mastai based on a play by T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi, Radcliffe plays a brokenhearted young man who meets a young woman (Zoe Kazan) who already has a boyfriend. The two struggle to be just friends, nothing more, with complications coming from both sides. The cast also includes Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Megan Park and Rafe Spall.

Radcliffe wrapped up his run on Broadway in a revival of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” barely a week before, but had in the meantime been traveling to promote “What If” while also making an...

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'Forrest Gump' to get Imax theatrical re-release for 20th anniversary

"Forrest Gump" is headed back to the big screen for its 20th anniversary — or, rather, the bigger screen. The weeklong September re-release will screen exclusively in Imax, with digitally remastered images and sound.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film, of course, stars Tom Hanks as the dimwitted but full-lived everyman Forrest Gump, a Southerner who somehow keeps ending up in a front-row seat for many of the most significant events in U.S. history from the 1950s through the 1980s: the civil rights movement, the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the moon landing, the Vietnam War, etc.

Originally released July 6, 1994, "Gump" was a huge hit, winning six Academy Awards — including best picture, actor and director — and grossing more than $675 million at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing film ever at the time.

For all its success and pop-culture endurance — we all know why life is like a box of chocolates, after all — "Gump" remains a surprisingly polarizing movie 20...

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N.W.A biopic 'Straight Outta Compton' casts its MC Ren, DJ Yella

"Straight Outta Compton," Universal's biopic chronicling the rise of the groundbreaking gangsta-rap group N.W.A, has cast Aldis Hodge as MC Ren and Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella, the studio announced Tuesday.

The two join previously announced cast members O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube (playing his real-life father), Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E.

F. Gary Gray ("Friday," "The Italian Job") is directing the long-gestating film, which is being produced by Cube, Dre, Tomica Woods-Wright (Eazy-E's widow) and Matt Alvarez ("Ride Along").

Set for release Aug. 14, 2015, "Straight Outta Compton" takes its name from N.W.A's debut album, which burst onto the music scene in 1988 with a controversial but undeniably compelling view of the violence and brutality of gang-ridden South Los Angeles.

The album earned N.W.A a reputation as "the world's most dangerous group" while setting the template for West Coast hip-hop for years to come. It sold more than 3 million copies and was...

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Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito join 'Jungle Book' cast

Hail to the new king of the jungle: Christopher Walken has joined the cast of Disney's upcoming "Jungle Book" movie and will lend his voice to King Louie, the ruler of a troop of monkeys and apes, the studio has announced.

The Oscar-winning actor follows in the footsteps of jazz singer Louis Prima, who played the raucous primate in Disney's 1967 animated version of "The Jungle Book." With any luck, Walken's take on the character will have the same gonzo agility he displayed in the music video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice."

Also boarding "The Jungle Book," the studio said Monday, is Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad"), who will play Akela, the leader of the wolf pack.

Walken and Esposito join a star-studded cast that includes Ben Kingsley as the cunning panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong'o as the mother wolf Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as the hypnotic serpent Kaa and Idris Elba as the fearsome tiger Shere Khan.

Ten-year-old newcomer Neel Sethi will portray Mowgli in the film, which is...

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'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' trailer readies for war

Peter Jackson's epic cinematic journey into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien is finally drawing to a close this year with "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," his sixth film set in Middle-earth, and a new teaser trailer offers a glimpse of what's in store.

The somber two-minute clip, which you can watch above, opens with a grave-sounding Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) promising, "One day I'll remember — remember everything that happened. The good, the bad, those who survived and those who did not."

Following are images of the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) reducing a town to ashes; armies of men, elves, dwarfs and goblins amassing; and bodies — including a familiar face at one point — lying on the battlefield.

The action is set to a haunting rendition of "A Walking Song" from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the success of which Jackson and Warner Bros. would certainly be happy to duplicate: That film grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and won 11...

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TIFF 2014: Lonnie Franklin, BASE jumpers among doc world premieres

New documentaries about the culture-jamming comedy troupe the Yes Men, the BASE jumping pioneer Carl Boenish and the alleged Los Angeles serial killer Lonnie Franklin will make their world premieres in the documentary section of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, organizers announced Tuesday. Also, there will be a new movie directed by Ethan Hawke about a piano teacher.

British provocateur Nick Broomfield examines Franklin’s story in “The Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” which looks at Franklin, the notorious Southland figure who remains in jail awaiting trial, suspected of killing as many as 10 people (his nickname derives from an apparent hiatus between 1988 and 2002).

Marah Strauch takes a look at Boenish in her new film "Sunshine Superman."  Boenish was an engineer and filmmaker who invented the daredevil sport that has given rise to a few documentaries of late.

And director Laura Nix helps the Yes Men get back to their old tricks with their third filmic effort, a...

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Donna Tartt's Pulitzer winner 'The Goldfinch' lands at Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Goldfinch," The Times has confirmed.

Brett Ratner's RatPac Entertainment has also come aboard to produce with Nina Jacobson ("The Hunger Games") and Brad Simpson of Color Force, who brought the project to the studio. Deadline first reported the news.

Tartt's dense, ambitious novel unfolds over two decades and nearly 800 pages, telling the story of a 13-year-old boy who loses his mother in a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Virtually orphaned, he keeps a tiny Carel Fabritius painting stolen from the site of the tragedy with him as he makes his way through the world, is taken in by a wealthy family and later reunites with the alcoholic father who abandoned him.

"The Goldfinch," published in October, won the Pulitzer for fiction in April and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks.

With the closing of the Warner Bros. deal, which has been in the works for...

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'Lucy': 5 reasons the Scarlett Johansson film ruled the box office

Brains prevailed over brawn at the box office this weekend (in a manner of speaking) as the Scarlett Johansson action-thriller "Lucy" collected $44 million, handily beating Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's sword-and-sandals movie "Hercules," which earned $29 million.

But how did "Lucy," an R-rated European action flick, trounce a PG-13 tent-pole with a proven action hero? Here are five reasons for "Lucy's" success.

A catchy sci-fi hook: Credit writer-director Luc Besson for cannily turning a common bit of pseudoscience — the notion that humans use only 10% of our brains — into an action-ready premise. "Lucy" finds Johansson playing a party girl turned unwitting drug mule who accidentally ingests massive quantities of an illicit substance that expands her mental capacity, blessing her with superpowers including telekinesis, super-intelligence and mind control.

Never mind that the "10% of brain myth" is 100%  false — "Lucy" is a popcorn movie, not a neuroscience documentary.


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