Movies Now Film — past, present and future
Video: Alex Garland, Rian Johnson, Graham Moore talk 'Ex Machina'

“Ex Machina,” which writer-director Alex Garland recently referred to as "a sci-fi psychological thriller," has undoubtedly been one of the bright spots of the spring movie season.

Having received largely positive reviews -- Times critic Kenneth Turan called it “a spooky piece of speculative fiction that's completely plausible, capable of both thinking big thoughts and providing pulp thrills” -- the film earned the best limited opening so far this year two weeks ago and opens nationally this weekend.

Last weekend, Garland appeared in a Los Angeles theater for a pair of post-screening Q&As. Moderating one was Graham Moore, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “The Imitation Game,” while the other was moderated by Rian Johnson, writer-director of “Looper” and an upcoming episode of the revitalized “Star Wars” saga.

“This is an ideas movie,” Garland said, while speaking to Moore. “It’s an old-fashioned sci-fi movie in that respect. It proposes questions. Some of the questions it offers an answer,...

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Native American actors walk off Adam Sandler movie; Netflix responds

Adam Sandler and Netflix's satirical western "The Ridiculous Six" has come under fire for its portrayal of Native Americans.

On Wednesday, a group of about a dozen American Indian actors walked off the set of the film over complaints that it contained stereotypical and offensive material, according to Indian Country Today. A cultural adviser also quit the movie, the outlet reported.

Actor Loren Anthony told ICT that the script featured insulting names for Native American characters, such as Beaver's Breath and No Bra. He also said some scenes were disrespectul and inaccurate in their portrayals of American Indian culture, including one with an Apache woman squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe.

Anthony said filmmakers "treated us as if we should just be on the side. When we did speak with the main director, he was trying to say the disrespect was not intentional and this was a comedy."

Starring, produced and co-written by Sandler and directed by his frequent collaborator Frank...

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A Genghis Khan project could follow Netflix's 'Marco Polo'

The Weinstein Co. and the screenwriter John Fusco had a fruitful collaboration with “Marco Polo,” the period epic set during the 13th-century reign of Kublai Khan that Netflix debuted in December.

Now the pair could be taking things back a few generations.

Weinstein executives and Fusco ("Young Guns") have begun early talks on a similarly scoped project about Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire who was Kublai Khan’s grandfather, according to a person familiar with the project who declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of discussions.

The person said there’s no official deal yet, but Weinstein executives are said to be keen on the project. The idea would be to look at the more complex elements of a leader often thought of as a simple barbarian, including how religious tolerance and other freedoms flourished under his rule.

Known as the world's most famous conqueror, Genghis Khan has been wrapped in a thick legend--so thick that even his tomb site is unknown...

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Blake Lively's 'Age of Adaline' is pretty but not timeless, reviews say

New romantic fantasy "The Age of Adaline" stars Blake Lively as a 29-year-old woman who suffers a freak accident in the 1930s and never ages past that point, cursing her with everlasting beauty but emotional solitude.

According to most movie critics, the Lee Toland Krieger-directed drama is rather like Adaline's own life: gorgeous on the outside but not particularly fulfilling.

In a relatively positive review, The Times' Betsy Sharkey says "Adaline" is "a sweeping romance beautifully wrapped in classy couture and slightly suspect in the way it uses metaphysics to manipulate matters of the heart. Not 'An Affair to Remember,' mind you, but a welcome change from the Nicholas Sparks brand of mush that has overtaken the hearts-and-flowers corner of movieland."

One of the film's greatest assets, Sharkey says, is the look: "Clothes do much to make the movie," thanks to costume designer Angus Strathie. Also receiving kudos are the production design, hair and makeup, and cinematography. Sharkey...

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CinemaCon: Five Universal Pictures releases to get excited about

By Thursday, exhibitors had seen so many trailers, teasers and sizzle reels at CinemaCon that Universal Pictures faced an uphill battle as the final studio to present its upcoming slate.

Perhaps sensing that inevitable fatigue, Universal started with a bang. First, studio chair Donna Langley announced that the next two "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequels will be released around Valentine's Day in 2017 and 2018. Then, Vin Diesel came on stage to announce that yes, "Furious 8" is happening. (It'll come out in April 2017.)

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FOR THE RECORD

April 24, 10:35 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequels will open in 2016 and 2017. They will open in 2017 and 208.

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FULL COVERAGE: CinemaCon 2015

Reporters scurried out of the theater to file stories about the announcements, but Universal wasn't done, showing off about a dozen films and bringing out big-name talent such as Elizabeth Banks, M. Night Shyamalan, Seth MacFarlane and Amy Schumer.

...

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VR Watch: Can Stanford's approach work for film?

There is a whole gang of players who want to define how we consume the coming wave of virtual-reality content: start-up tech firms like Jaunt and Oculus, traditional movie outfits like Fox, nontraditional movie outfits like MatterVR and Oculus Story Studio.

One of the entities that's been on the fore of the movement is Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, run by the respected Jeremy Bailenson. The outfit's attitude toward Hollywood has been cautious, to say the least.

At the Tribeca Film Festival this week, the lab's leader made his pitch to consumers and festgoers. ‎ One of the most influential of the VR personalities -- the story of how Mark Zuckerberg came to see him weeks before Zuckerberg would buy Oculus is the stuff of legend -- Bailenson has been practicing, and preaching, the VR gospel for years.

The applications of VR as conceived by the Stanford lab are numerous — a kind of drop-you-in-the-middle-of-the-action approach, in which the actions are everything from coaching football,...

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