Orson Welles is photographed on location for "Too Much Johnson" in 1938.

An in-depth visit with Orson Welles

It was lost and now it's found, and the world of Orson Welles enthusiasts, which very much includes me, counts itself grateful and amazed.

I am talking about 66 minutes of footage from an endeavor called "Too Much Johnson," which Welles shot in 1938, three years before "Citizen Kane" changed everything. Not only had this material never been seen publicly, it had been presumed gone forever when the villa in Spain where Welles thought it was stored burned down nearly half a century ago.

Discovered in a warehouse in Pordenone, Italy, by local film society Cinemazero and beautifully restored via a collaboration between the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., and the National Film Preservation Foundation, "Too Much Johnson" is ready for its Los Angeles close-up.

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That will take place on May 3 in a program (including an appearance by actor and Welles collaborator Norman Lloyd) put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and...

Elsa the Snow Queen, voiced by Idina Menzel, in a scene from the animated feature "Frozen."

Animated movies sing a happy tune

Considered deeply uncool at one point, music from animated movies is back — and singing along is now not only OK for kids, it's something adults record themselves doing on their phones and share on YouTube.

The boom in popular songs from animated movies comes after a long fallow period when the form yielded few hits in the music world, despite box-office juggernauts like the "Toy Story," "Shrek" and "Ice Age" franchises. Though all incorporated music in their films, it was rarely the kind that had come to define the genre at Disney Animation in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it was making music-driven hits like "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid."

"You had this shift ... where there were very successful animated movies but their soundtracks weren't," said Ken Bunt, president of Disney Music Group. "Their scores were important, but they weren't musicals and the music in them wasn't something that gets played on radio or that you're singing in...

Director Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg adds religious drama 'Edgardo Mortara' to his slate

As Steven Spielberg continues to take his time pondering his follow-up to 2012's "Lincoln," the director has added another movie project to his plate, the religious drama "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara," according to a Variety report.

Spielberg plans to produce and may direct "Edgardo Mortara," which would be a co-production between DreamWorks and the Weinstein Co., but it will not be his next project, the report says.

Based on David Kertzer's nonfiction book, the film will tell the true story of an Italian Jewish boy who in 1858 was taken from his parents by authorities in the Papal States and raised as a Catholic; he later became an Augustinian priest. 

Tony Kushner, who wrote the screenplays for Spielberg's previous historical dramas "Lincoln" and "Munich," is in the early stages of adapting the book. 

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News of the project once again raises the question of when Spielberg will get back behind the camera, and for which film.


Valerie Harper guest stars in upcoming episodes of the Hallmark series, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."

Valerie Harper signs, seals, delivers another role

Valerie Harper is positively radiant these days. There's a sparkle in her eyes and a genuine warmth in her smile. Why not? She's defied the odds.

Early last year, Harper was told she had three months to live. Harper, a non-smoker who had a cancerous tumor removed from her lung in 2009, has a rare form of lung cancer that had spread to areas around her brain.

 "I was supposed to be dead a year ago," said Harper, 74. "We are all terminal, let's face it.  I did the shock and grief. My husband, Tony, took it terribly. He said, 'That's not true. I don't accept that.' " 

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Despite the devastating prognosis, "I kept going," said Harper, who became a TV icon in her Emmy Award-winning turn as the endearing window dresser Rhoda Morgenstern from 1970-78 on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and her spinoff series, "Rhoda." "I thought it was important."

And she thought it was important for her fans, whom she calls her...

Ryan Gosling in "The Place Beyond the Pines."

Cannes 2014: Can Ryan Gosling paddle through a lost river?

When the Cannes Film Festival announced its official 2014 selection Thursday, journalists and film fans immediately took notice of the most intriguing name on the list: Ryan Gosling.

Gosling—that Oscar nominee, versatile talent, universally known movie star and all-around meme king—has accomplished many things in his years in the entertainment business.  But he had never had what is one of the global film world’s highest honors—hearing one’s name as part of the elite group of directors selected for Cannes. That’s changed with the acceptance of his directorial debut, “Lost River,” into the prestigious if not top-tier Un Certain Regard section.

Gosling has been one of the film world’s most enduring enigmas. Emerging as a gritty antihero in the Jewish neo-Nazi movie “The Believer” in 2001, he quickly became a heartthrob three years  later with “The Notebook,” a romantic weepie that, as he once put it in an...


'Cold in July' with Michael C. Hall and Don Johnson heats up new trailer

Don't get confused, but "July" will be coming early with the release of the crime thriller "Cold in July" on May 23. IFC Films just released a trailer for the film.

The retro-flavored movie was one of many genre-twisting entries to emerge from this year's Sundance Film Festival, alongside the recent release "The Raid 2," as well as the upcoming "Life After Beth," "The One I Love" and "The Guest."

Directed by Jim Mickle, "July" is an adaptation of the 1989 crime novel by Joe R. Lonsdale. The screenplay is by Mickle and frequent collaborator Nick Damici, with the pair having become one of the most highly lauded duos on the current independent genre scene. 

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The story follows a small-town man (Michael C. Hall) who shoots dead a burglar in his home. That draws him into a complicated underworld involving the dead man's father (Sam Shepard) and a fantastically flaky private detective (Don Johnson), with nothing quite what it seems. The cast also includes...


'Maleficent': Angelina Jolie on the Disney villain's 'legacy' [video]

Two iconic female screen presences will return to the multiplex after an extended absence in "Maleficent," Disney's retelling of "Sleeping Beauty": star Angelina Jolie, and the title character she portrays.

In a new featurette about the film, which opens May 30, Jolie and her fellow cast and crew say the tale will answer questions about the past and future of Maleficent, the sorceress who cursed Princess Aurora into a death-like slumber in the 1959 animated musical version of the classic fairy tale.

"We all know the story of 'Sleeping Beauty,' so we know Maleficent, we know what happened at that christening," Jolie says in the video, which you can watch above. "But we've never known what happened before."

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Screenwriter Linda Woolverton adds that the film also "takes us past that moment [of the curse] from Maleficent's point of view. It's a re-invention, not just a retelling of the same story."

"Maleficent" could also answer some questions about Jolie's...

Johnny Depp in "Transcendence."

'Transcendence': Techno-thriller doesn't compute, critics say

Longtime Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister chose an ambitious film for his directing debut in "Transcendence," a sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Depp as a brilliant AI researcher who uploads his consciousness to a computer after being mortally wounded. While some film critics appreciate Pfister's initiative, most have found "Transcendence" to be plagued by lapses in logic and ponderous storytelling.

In one of the more positive reviews of the film, the Times' Kenneth Turan writes, "'Transcendence' goes pleasingly against the grain." Pfister and first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen don't get everything right: "exposition is not always sharp, emotional connections (with the exception of Depp's outstanding costar, Rebecca Hall) are not its strength, and it does not make memorable use of its Imax format."

But, Turan says, "because the underlying ideas are involving, those problems fade from view, leaving us with an ambitious and provocative piece of work that is intriguingly...

Marlon Wayans in the movie "A Haunted House 2."

No-holds-barred humor is a powerful presence in 'Haunted House 2'

Marlon Wayans is having the last laugh, and we're laughing with him.

He oversaw the fluorescence of the lucrative "Scary Movie" franchise with brothers Shawn and Keenen Ivory, but they all three unceremoniously sat out the third-fifth installments. In "A Haunted House 2," Marlon digs at the post-Wayanses "Scary" sequels and lets it be known that he has scores to settle.

Aside from references to the more current fright films "The Conjuring," "The Possession," "Sinister" and the "Insidious" and "Paranormal Activity" series, "A Haunted House 2" for the most part doesn't reinvent the wheel.

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As with the original "A Haunted House," Wayans' Malcolm moves into a new house with a new girlfriend and proceeds to redefine the term "sex toy" — it's just a different house, girlfriend and toy this time. Notably, the original's gay panic has here been supplanted by hang-ups over interracial dating.

The film's no-holds-barred humor can best be described as "In...

Nicole Kidman stars in "Grace of Monaco" to open the Cannes festival.

Cannes 2014: When choosing films, festival follows its own formula

The Cannes Film Festival can certainly welcome, and boost, movies that aim to be Academy Awards players — the festival has premiered at least one best picture nominee in four of the last five years, including "Nebraska" in 2013.

But as it made clear when it announced this year's official selection Thursday, Cannes also operates independently from the awards machinery of its late-summer and early-fall counterparts, emphasizing such things as returning directors and dues-paying.

As festival director Thierry Fremaux announced this year's selections at a Paris news conference, the returnees were much in evidence. Mike Leigh will come back with his new film "Mr. Turner" — a biopic about the British artist JMW Turner — having brought his last film, "Another Year," to the festival in 2010 and winning the Palme d'Or for "Secrets & Lies" in 1996.

VIDEO: Watch trailers of key Cannes 2014 films

With Irish period piece "Jimmy Hall," the competition will once again welcome Ken...

Images from Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken'

Angelina Jolie breaks the curse of 'Unbroken'

OXENFORD, Australia — Angelina Jolie was ready to step behind the cameras again. Her directing debut, "In the Land of Blood and Honey," hadn't been a box-office or critical hit, but making the 2011 Bosnian war drama had fueled her desire to become a filmmaker. So Jolie started looking for a follow-up movie, knowing she had to choose carefully.

"I was very nervous," Jolie said about transitioning from acting into directing. "It was like starting over. All of the things that were in your favor before are no longer there."

Finally, in late 2012, she stumbled on a talent agency's log line for "Unbroken," a feature adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand blockbuster bestseller about the Olympic runner turned World War II bombardier Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days in a life raft only to be tortured for more than two years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

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Jolie hurriedly took the idea to Brad Pitt.

"Oh, honey," her longtime partner told...



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