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Specialized box office: 'Cantinflas' open strong, 'Chef' hits $30 million

The Spanish-language film “Cantinflas,” a bio-pic of the beloved Mexican film star of the same name, brought in an estimated $2.6 million Friday through Sunday in 382 locations, for a strong per-screen average of $6,872.

The film is the latest release from the company Pantelion, which targets Latino audiences in the U.S. The company had an even larger success this time last year with “Instructions Not Included.”

Another bright spot this weekend was Jon Favreau’s “Chef,” which brought in an estimated $664,000 on 757 screens Friday through Sunday, with an additional $198,000 projected for Monday. That would raise its cumulative total to $30.4 million, making "Chef" only the second specialized title to cross the $30 million threshold this year, after Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

The musical romantic drama “Begin Again” starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, was pushed back into more theaters this weekend, bumping up to 335 locations for $784,000 and a new total of $15.3...

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Telluride: Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' leavens a somber story with humor

Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" is about a deathly serious subject -- the Iranian government's 2009 imprisonment of Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. 

But, as Telluride Film Festival audiences discovered at the political drama's first public screening Friday night, Stewart has brought his distinctive comedic DNA as host of "The Daily Show" into his screenwriting and directorial debut.

With an amusing interrogation scene about erotic massages, some wry commentary about the declining state of the newsmagazine ("There are better ways of doing propaganda," Bahari tells his captors) and no less than three jokes about New Jersey, "Rosewater" walks the same line Stewart's Comedy Central show does in acknowledging both the gravity and the absurdity of world events. Like "The Daily Show," "Rosewater" leavens a somber reality with humor.

"This movie is about the cost of oppression," Stewart said in an introduction before the screening in a middle school gym in the Rocky Mountain town. "This is not...

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'Nas: Time Is Illmatic' trailer: The creation of a hip-hop classic

Twenty years ago, the upstart MC and Queens native Nas burst onto the hip-hop scene with his groundbreaking debut album, "Illmatic." With its deft lyricism, rugged beats and unblinking view of life in the Queensbridge projects, the album was hailed as an instant classic and set the tone for East Coast rap for years to come.

Two decades later, the legacy of "Illmatic" endures — and is set to be burnished by the forthcoming documentary "Time Is Illmatic," which has released a new trailer (watch it above).

Set for release Oct. 1 from Tribeca Film, "Time Is Illmatic" traces Nas' hardscrabble inner-city upbringing, his musical influences (including his jazz musician father, Olu Dara) and the obstacles he faced before signing to a major label at age 20 and changing the hip-hop game.

"I gave you what the streets felt like, sounded like, tasted like," Nas (born Nasir Jones) says in the trailer.

Directed by One9 and written by Erik Parker, the documentary features interviews with Q-Tip, Busta...

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Making-of special 'Story of Frozen' to air on ABC

Disney and ABC are going behind the musical with "The Story of Frozen," a one-hour TV special about the making of the highest-grossing animated movie of all time.

Set to air Tuesday on ABC, "The Story of Frozen" will feature interviews with stars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel; directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee; songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez; Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter; and others. Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in the movie, will host the show.

The special also promises "exciting announcements about the next chapter of 'Frozen,'" according to ABC's news release, and a preview of "Frozen" characters Anna, Elsa and Kristoff on an upcoming episode of the fairy-tale series "Once Upon a Time."

"Frozen," a loose retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "Snow Queen" that centers on the conflict between two royal sisters in a fictional Nordic kingdom, has been a surprise juggernaut for Disney since its release in November.

The film has won Academy...

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Pierce Brosnan's spy skills can't save 'November Man,' reviews say

"Devereaux, Peter Devereaux" just doesn't have the same ring to it as Pierce Brosnan's other super-spy role.

In "The November Man," the erstwhile Agent 007 plays an ex-spook grudgingly drawn out of retirement for one last mission, and although many film critics agree that Brosnan still has some juice, most also say he can't save the movie from a convoluted, cliche-ridden plot.

In a review for The Times, Robert Abele writes, "Brosnan is aging quite nicely as a leading man, but even his residual appeal running around again in agent mode is diluted by [his] character's inconsistencies, a hindrance unaided by the screenplay's silly soup of the gritty and the ridiculous."

Abele adds, "As for the thrills, they're loud but empty. Director Roger Donaldson ('The Bank Job,' 'No Way Out') can be a muscular and kinetic action director when others are mostly chaotic. But this is an intemperate effort, busy and bloody without ever being especially exciting."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Peter...

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First trailer for Jon Stewart's Iranian political drama 'Rosewater'

It takes four walls to imprison a person's body, but the spirit is another matter. Such is the drama at the heart of "Rosewater," Jon Stewart's fact-based political movie about journalist Maziar Bahari's 118-day ordeal in an Iranian jail.

A newly released trailer for the film, above, offers the first in-depth look at "Rosewater," which is based on Bahari's bestselling memoir "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival," cowritten with Aimee Molloy.

Gael Garcia Bernal plays the Tehran-born, London-based BBC reporter, who traveled to Iran to cover the 2009 presidential election pitting incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against reformist opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

In the trailer, Bahari is seen interviewing supporters of both sides, but after filming the riots and accusations of fraud that erupted in the wake of Ahmadinejad's easy victory, he's apprehended by Iranian authorities, thrown in jail and accused of being a spy.

Spearheading the grueling,...

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Charlie Hunnam crowned King Arthur for Guy Ritchie movie

Watch the throne: "Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam is to play King Arthur in a medieval epic that Guy Ritchie is directing for Warner Bros., The Times has confirmed.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Written by Joby Harold, Ritchie's film is to reimagine the tale of Arthur and his storied Knights of the Roundtable. Given the depth of the Arthurian legend, the movie would seem to have franchise potential.

It could also reunite Hunnam with his "Pacific Rim" co-star Idris Elba, who is reportedly in talks to play Arthur's mentor. Elba previously worked with Ritchie on the London crime thriller "RocknRolla."

Hunnam is best known for his role on the gritty biker series "Sons of Anarchy," which begins its seventh and final season in September. He was previously attached to play the S&M-loving billionaire Christian Grey in the big-screen adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey" but ultimately dropped out of that project.

Hunnam's upcoming movies include "Crimson Peak" and a...

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Oscars 2015: Academy names Governors Awards recipients

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Thursday that it would present Harry Belafonte with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and give honorary Oscars to Jean-Claude Carriere, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O'Hara.

Once part of the annual Oscars telecast, the Governors Awards are now a separate event that has become a popular stop on the awards season campaign trail.

An actor, producer, singer and lifelong activist, Belafonte began performing in theaters and nightclubs in and around Harlem, where he was born. Throughout his career, he shed light on racism and inequality with films such as "Carmen Jones," "Odds Against Tomorrow" and "The World, the Flesh and the Devil." He was an early supporter of the civil rights movement who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1987 and currently serves on the boards of the Advancement Project and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Carriere began his career as a novelist...

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Telluride Film Festival to screen 'Birdman,' 'Rosewater,' 'Wild'

When Hollywood wants to shout about a movie, it travels to Cannes or Toronto. When it wants to launch a few well placed whispers, it journeys to an isolated box canyon in southwestern Colorado.

For the last 41 years, that’s been the home of the Telluride Film Festival, an eclectic affair that has helped launch recent Oscar best picture winners like “12 Years a Slave,” “Argo” and “The King’s Speech.”

This year’s festival, which runs from Friday to Sunday, will feature the first North American screenings of a number of the fall’s most anticipated movies, including Alejandro González Iñárritu’s black comedy “Birdman,” which just premiered to rapturous reviews in Venice, and Bennett Miller’s true-crime tale “Foxcatcher,” a hit in Cannes.

Telluride’s audiences also will be the first in the world to see talk show host Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater”; Reese Witherspoon’s solo journey on the Pacific Crest Trail in Jean-Marc Vallée’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir “Wild”;...

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'Saw' headed back to theaters this Halloween for 10th anniversary

"Saw" will cut a bloody swath back to the multiplex this Halloween, celebrating the 10th anniversary of its original release with a one-week theatrical run.

The horror flick will open nationwide on Friday, Oct. 31, preceded by select screenings the night before, Lionsgate announced Wednesday.

Directed by James Wan from a script by Leigh Whannell, "Saw" tells the story of two men (played by Whannell and Cary Elwes) who wake up in the lair of a demented serial killer named Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and are forced to navigate a series of elaborate traps that require them to do the unthinkable to survive.

Widely credited with — and blamed for — popularizing the "torture porn" subgenre, "Saw" spawned a wildly successful seven-film franchise that has grossed a combined $874 million at the worldwide box office. (Critics regularly panned the movies, with no apparent ill effect.)

Eventually, the "Saw" series petered out and was supplanted in the horror realm by found-footage scarers such as the...

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Hollywood Film Fest unveils socially conscious CineCause lineup

The rebooted Hollywood Film Festival, which gained a new owner and a socially conscious viewpoint earlier this year, has announced the selections for its first round of programming, the CineCause Spotlight.

The lineup includes Justin Arana's documentary "My Name Is Water," about a disillusioned college student confronting the global issue of a lack of access to fresh water; "Boy Meets Girl," Eric Schaeffer's romantic comedy exploring sexual orientation and gender identity; and "A World Not Ours," Mahdi Fleifel's portrait of three generations of exiles in a Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon.

The CineCause Spotlight serves as an extension of Jon Fitzgerald's philanthropic platform CineCause, which connects audiences with the causes behind social-issue films. Fitzgerald, 47, is a festival veteran who came aboard the HFF as executive director in 2013 and acquired the festival outright in March.

"The word 'Hollywood' is synonymous with celebrity and glamour," Fitzgerald said in a...

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'Birdman' flies high with rave reviews at Venice Film Festival

"Birdman" has taken flight, and it could be some time before the Alejandro G. Inarritu-directed black comedy comes back down to earth. The film, which stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero actor struggling to mount a Broadway play, opened the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday to stellar reviews and looks poised to be an awards-season player.

Here's a spoiler-free roundup of what the critics are saying:

—Variety's Peter Debruge writes, "In a year overloaded with self-aware showbiz satires, Alejandro G. Inarritu's fifth and best feature provides the delirious coup de grace — a triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution, that will electrify the industry, captivate arthouse and megaplex crowds alike, send awards pundits into orbit and give fresh wings to Keaton's career."

Debruge continues: "'Birdman' features at least a dozen of the year's most electrifying onscreen moments .... Most films would be lucky to have one scene as indelible as any of these, and frankly,...

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