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Gena Rowlands wins career achievement honor from L.A. Film Critics

Gena Rowlands will be honored next year with the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Career Achievement Award.

Best known for her work with her late husband, director and actor John Cassavetes, the 84-year-old Rowlands will be feted at the association's award dinner Jan. 15 at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City.

"In her collaborations with her late husband, John Cassavetes, and in many other memorable performances for film and televison over the last 55 years, Gena Rowlands gave us women who lived every moment with a fierce, sometimes terrifying individuality," association President Stephen Farber said in a statement.

He added, "In doing so, Rowlands revolultionized the art of screen acting, particularly for the female actors who followed in her footsteps."

Rowlands was nominated for an Academy Award for her leading roles in Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence" and "Gloria." Other credits include "Faces," "Another Woman," "Tempest" and "The Notebook."

She is a three-time Emmy...

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'Fury' takes the lead over 'Gone Girl' at the box office

Brad Pitt's World War II epic "Fury" has roared to the top of the weekend box office so far, topping the previous two-week winner, "Gone Girl," and beating out two other new high-profile entries, "The Book of Life" and "The Best of Me."

"Fury" pulled in $8.8 million in 3,173 locations Friday, according to estimates. Though the film, which received largely positive reviews, is expected to make more than $24 million for the weekend, it apparently will fall short of the $30 million it was projected to make.

"Gone Girl," the Ben Affleck thriller which has delighted audiences and critics the past two weeks, came in second Friday with an estimated $5.5 million in 3,249 theaters. Entering its third weekend, the drama has earned $94.8 million to date and is expected to pass $100 million this weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.

"The Book of Life," an animated film with a Day of the Dead-flavored storyline, is in third place with $4.9 million in 3,071 locations. The film is the only new entry...

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Actress Misty Upham dies: Five notable film roles

The life and career of Misty Upham has been cut tragically short, with authorities in Washington state positively identifying a body found at the bottom of an embankment as that of the Native American  actress.

Upham, 32, was neither a major star nor a prolific screen presence, but in her time earned a measure of recognition and worked with such talents as Meryl Streep, Quentin Tarantino and Benicio Del Toro. Here are five of Upham's notable film roles.

"Frozen River" (2008). Upham earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for supporting actress with this crime drama written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, stars Melissa Leo as a desperate woman in upstate New York who begins smuggling illegal immigrants across the border with an outcast from the local Mohawk reservation (Upham).

"Django Unchained" (2012). Upham had a cameo in Tarantino's neo-spaghetti western starring Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who teams with a German bounty...

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'Birdman': Critics flock to praise Michael Keaton black comedy

"Birdman," Alejandro G. Inarritu's black comedy starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero actor trying to get his mojo back with a Broadway play, has been in fine feather since debuting to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival in August.

Now playing in New York and Los Angeles, "Birdman" is garnering another round of praise, with critics commending Keaton's bravura performance and Inarritu's precise yet dynamic direction.

The Times' Betsy Sharkey says Keaton and Inarritu "know precisely how to calibrate this flight of fancy for maximum effect," and the resulting "surrealist portrait of modern times and the cult of celebrity is brilliant on so many levels that even the occasional downdraft can't keep 'Birdman' from soaring."

The film has "an incredible troupe of supporting players" — among them Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis — Sharkey says, but "'Birdman' belongs to Keaton. It is one of those performances that is so intensely truthful, so eerily in the moment,...

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'Fury': Brad Pitt tank drama carries out its mission, reviews say

Writer-director David Ayer takes his gritty explorations of masculinity and violence to the battlefields of World War II in "Fury," starring Brad Pitt as the hardened leader of an American tank crew behind German lines.

Movie critics largely agree that "Fury," like the crew it depicts, accomplishes what it set out to do with unflinching violence and skilled execution — though not without its share of casualties.

The Times' Kenneth Turan writes, "If memorable war movies mean something to you, open that book to a new page and add 'Fury' to the list. It belongs there." Even if you're not keeping a list, he says, "it's hard not to be impressed" by what Ayer, Pitt and "an exceptional below-the-line team" have accomplished.

Turan adds, "What makes this film distinctive is the adroit way it both subverts and enhances old-school expectations, grafting a completely modern sensibility onto thoroughly traditional material."

The New York Times' A.O. Scott says Ayer "has a way of filming violence...

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Shawn Levy in talks to develop, direct 'Minecraft' movie

How do you turn "Minecraft," the popular but plot-lite video game about building structures out of tiny blocks and avoiding nocturnal monsters, into a coherent movie? That challenge may be answered by Shawn Levy.

The director of the recent dramedy "This Is Where I Leave You" and the upcoming family film "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" is in talks to develop and direct Warner Bros.' film adaptation of "Minecraft," the Los Angeles Times has confirmed. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

Created by the Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson in 2011, "Minecraft" is an open-world game with a blocky 8-bit aesthetic; players create avatars, roam around, collect material, create tools and edifices, and survive monsters and other perils.

Despite its lack of a structured narrative, or perhaps because of it, "Minecraft" is an incredibly popular game, played by tens of millions of children and adults worldwide. It's also big business: In September, Microsoft announced it would...

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