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Film — past, present and future
'Fury': How does its box office stack up against other WWII epics?

"Fury," writer-director David Ayer's World War II drama starring Brad Pitt as the steely leader of an American tank crew, rolled into a box-office battle over the weekend and emerged victorious once the smoke cleared. Taking in an estimated $23.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, the film beat out "Gone Girl" for the No. 1 spot.

En route to garnering generally positive reviews and an A-minus CinemaScore, "Fury" demonstrated that WWII movies can still bring audiences to the multiplex. Although it's an impressive feat to win the weekend with a serious, R-rated drama — particularly one whose grim violence can be a challenge for viewers — the "Fury" opening does pale a bit in comparison to some other notable WWII military epics. Let's take a closer look.

Michael Bay's blockbuster "Pearl Harbor" opened to $59 million back in 2001 and remains a high-water mark for the genre (unless one counts 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger" with $65 million, and we don't). Compared with "Fury,"...

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Hollywood Film Festival awards for '#ChicagoGirl,' 'Before I Disappear'

In its 18th year and its first outing as a showcase of social-impact filmmaking, the revamped Hollywood Film Festival has honored movies about an American teenager who helped coordinate the Syrian revolution from the suburbs of Chicago, a depressed man looking after his 11-year-old niece and a group of actors with disabilities making a western.

Festival executive director Jon Fitzgerald announced the honorees Monday at a ceremony in Hollywood. The jury prize for best documentary feature went to Joe Piscatella's "#ChicagoGirl," about the young social-media activist Ala'a Basatneh, and the jury prize for best narrative feature went to Shawn Christensen's "Before I Disappear," a family drama based on his Oscar-winning short film "Curfew."

Michael Barnett's making-of documentary "Becoming Bulletproof" was honored with a CineCause Spotlight award for demonstrating "the power of film to create change," as was Andy Landen's narrative film "Sequoia."

Brendan Calder's "Learning to Float" took...

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Key and Peele's first film together will be kitty caper 'Keanu'

The cat is out of the bag. Comic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, best known for their Comedy Central series "Key & Peele," have settled on their first film together and it's about a stolen kitty.

The two are teaming with New Line to make "Keanu," a spokesperson for the Warner Bros.-based company confirmed to The Times. Deadline first reported the news.

Scheduled to start shooting in Los Angeles in April, "Keanu" is to tell the story of friends who pose as drug dealers to infiltrate the criminal underworld in order to rescue a kidnapped feline. Peele penned the screenplay with "Key & Peele" writer Alex Rubens, and New Line is eyeing Peter Atencio, who has directed every episode of the show, to do the same for "Keanu."

Having gained a strong following with their trenchant brand of humor, which frequently skewers racial and cultural issues with viral-friendly sketches, Key and Peele have orbited a number of film projects in recent months, including a "Police Academy" reboot and a...

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'My Little Pony' movie in development at Hasbro

Bronies of the world, rejoice: "My Little Pony" is trotting toward the big screen.

Hasbro Studios is developing an animated film based on the 1980s toy line of plucky multicolored ponies and the magical world they live in, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to The Times. Variety first reported the news.

Since hitting toy store shelves three decades ago, the characters of "My Little Pony" have inspired animated TV series and specials, straight-to-video movies, video games and a 1986 film featuring the voices of Danny DeVito and Chloris Leachman.

In recent years, the popular Discovery Family (nee Hub Network) series "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" has inspired the unlikely pop-culture phenomenon of "bronies," a term used to describe the surprisingly robust contingent of adult men who love the show. (A combination of "bro" and "pony," the word has come to include "Pony" enthusiasts of all stripes.)

Bronyhood is also the subject of the documentaries "Bronies: The Extremely...

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In 'Catch Hell,' Ryan Phillippe examines, and toys with, his image

Skype interviews are weird.

I had one a couple of weekends ago with the actor Ryan Phillippe. It was a Sunday afternoon and he was in New York, doing a day of press to promote his directorial debut, “Catch Hell.” I was in my bedroom in Los Angeles, wondering if he'd judge my duvet cover.

Suddenly, he popped up on my computer screen. He was wearing a white T-shirt and navy ball cap, framed perfectly between two nondescript hotel lamps. He is 40 now, which seems impossible if you’re a millennial like me who grew up watching him in teen films such as “Cruel Intentions” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” He also has two kids with ex-wife Reese Witherspoon -- Ava, 15, and Deacon, 11. So he is very much 40. But he doesn’t look it. He still has a head full of tiny blond curls not unlike 'N Sync-era Justin Timberlake.

Before Phillippe’s face appeared on my laptop, I hadn’t seen much of it in the last few years. Since rising to fame alongside Freddie Prinze Jr. and Josh Hartnett in the late...

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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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