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Chadwick Boseman's soulful turn powers 'Get On Up,' reviews say

James Brown earned his nickname as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business with passionate performances and relentless touring, so it's only fitting that Chadwick Boseman gives his all to portray the legendary soul singer in the new biopic "Get On Up."

Reviews for the Tate Taylor-directed movie have been positive to mixed, with some critics taking issue with the aggressively non-linear script (by Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth). But what everyone seems to agree on is that Boseman is electrifying as Brown.

The Times' Kenneth Turan says Boseman delivers "a star performance … that's little short of heroic" in "a disjointed film that suffers from having a more ambitious plan than it's got the ability to execute."

He adds, "It's a mark of how galvanizing a star Boseman is that his moment-to-moment performance, the energy and intelligence he brings to his work as a man who ran roughshod over adversity ('I take it and I flip it,' he says. 'I go forward'), convinces you despite...

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'Guardians of the Galaxy': Marvel's space opera gets stellar reviews

With names like Star-Lord, Groot and Drax the Destroyer, the motley band of heroes at the center of Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" don't have near the name recognition of, say, Iron Man or Captain America — but don't brand them the B-team just yet.

Directed and cowritten by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt in the lead role (as Star-Lord, nee Peter Quill), "Guardians of the Galaxy" is racking up excellent reviews.

The Times' Kenneth Turan writes that "one of the most pleasant surprises of the altogether pleasant and surprising 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is that it takes us back to Marvel's roots and the subversive satisfactions those early days provided." The movie, he says, has "a loose, anarchic B-picture soul" and is "irreverent in a way that can bring the first 'Star Wars' to mind."

As a director, Gunn "doesn't allow anyone to take anything too seriously" and is "a fine imaginer of worlds," Turan says. Pratt, meanwhile, brings his character to "insouciant comic life."

The New...

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Comic-Con, Hollywood and the nature of modern fandom

At the annual Comic-Con International expo, pop-culture fandom is elevated to veritable religious status, and the convention's 130,000-odd attendees have countless ways to worship at the altars of their choosing.

Want to dress up as a Stormtrooper? Suit yourself. Want to buy a bobblehead doll of your favorite movie character? Go for it. Want to stand in line for hours for the chance to be in the same room as the stars of your most cherished TV series? Right this way. Want to stand outside the San Diego Convention Center holding a sign that says "Kneel Before Zod"? Knock yourself out.

At this year's Comic-Con, though, there was something new, a particular place where fans could gather to essentially pay tribute to themselves: the first-ever mtvU Fandom Awards, held at Petco Park for a crowd of roughly 4,500 convention-goers. There are other awards shows in which fans vote for the winners: The People's Choice Awards, The Teen Choice Awards, The Kids' Choice Awards, basically anything...

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Sundance Film Festival launches Hong Kong Selects screening series

The Sundance Institute is expanding its international footprint with Sundance Festival — Hong Kong Selects, a screening series of new American independent films to be accompanied by a delegation of filmmakers and festival organizers, the group announced late Thursday night.

The inaugural event will be held across two weekends from Sept. 19 to 28 at the newly opened Metroplex in Kowloon Bay and will feature the Hong Kong premieres of eight films from this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, which took place in January.

The Hong Kong Selects program will be announced in mid-August.

John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, said in a statement, "In our effort to share the best of American independent film with audiences outside the U.S., Hong Kong seemed an excellent location with a rich cinematic history. In partnership with the Metroplex, we look forward to presenting a program of diverse and high-quality American independent films."

Sundance's foray into Hong...

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Universal sets 'The Huntsman' for April 2016, shifts 'The Mummy'

"The Huntsman" is officially moving on without Snow White.

Universal Pictures announced Thursday that its follow-up to the 2012 dark fantasy "Snow White and the Huntsman" will hit theaters April 22, 2016, and will be a prequel focused on Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman and Charlize Theron's evil Queen Ravenna — before they met Snow White, the character played by Kristen Stewart in the original film.

Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption," "The Mist") will direct "The Huntsman" and wrote the current draft of the screenplay, which was previously worked on by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos. The movie marks Darabont's return to features after he created AMC's hit zombie show "The Walking Dead" (and ultimately left) and TNT's short-lived "Mob City."

To make room for "The Huntsman," Universal has moved its reboot of "The Mummy" off that date to June 24, 2016.

Alex Kurtzman, a writer and producer on such blockbuster franchises as "Star Trek" and "Transformers," will direct from a script...

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Jon Stewart's political drama 'Rosewater' set for November release

"Rosewater," Jon Stewart's fact-based political drama about the Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, will open in select theaters Nov. 7, a prime fall release date that signifies awards aspirations.

The film is based on Bahari's bestselling memoir "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival" (co-written with Aimee Molloy), which chronicles his 118 days spent in an Iranian jail. The Tehran-born, London-based BBC journalist traveled to the country to cover the 2009 presidential elections but was arrested, imprisoned and tortured.

Gael Garcia Bernal stars in the film as Bahari, who appeared on Stewart's "The Daily Show" both before and after his ordeal. Stewart also covered the story as it was in progress.

Last summer, Stewart took a three-month hiatus from his hosting duties to make the film, which represents his screenwriting and directorial debut.

He's also a producer on "Rosewater," along with Scott Rudin and Gigi Pritzker. OddLot Entertainment...

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Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick head 'Into the Woods' in new trailer

"Into the Woods" fans got their wish Thursday with the release of a new trailer for Disney's upcoming adaptation of the Tony-winning musical inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.

The trailer, which you can watch above, provides a glimpse of the heavy duty cast, including Meryl Streep as the witch, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Chris Pine as her prince, Johnny Depp as the wolf, James Corden as the baker and Emily Blunt as the baker's wife.

Though it introduces a host of characters, the video is brief and a bit coy: Depp's face, for example, is hidden from view, and no one is actually heard singing. All that most characters get a chance to say is, "I wish …"

Set for release Christmas Day, "Into the Woods" combines such classic tales as "Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Rapunzel" with an original story about a baker and his wife who have been cursed by a witch. The characters' paths intersect as they head into a dark forest in hopes of making their...

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Lorde to write 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' single, curate soundtrack

"The Hunger Games" is getting the royal treatment.

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lorde will write the first single for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1" and hand-pick the artists for the soundtrack, Lionsgate announced Thursday.

The 17-year-old New Zealand native, whose hit song "Royals" propelled her to international stardom and multiplatinum record sales, would seem to hit the demographic bull's-eye for "The Hunger Games" franchise, which is powered by another young female star in Jennifer Lawrence.

Lorde, who previously contributed a track to "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" soundtrack, said in a statement that she "jumped at the chance" to work on "Mockingjay." She added, "The cast and story are an inspiration for all musicians participating and, as someone with cinematic leanings, being privy to a different creative process has been a unique experience. I think the soundtrack is definitely going to surprise people."

Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer), director of...

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Jamie Foxx eyeing Mike Tyson biopic; could he pull it off?

Jamie Foxx may be preparing to step into the ring to play Mike Tyson in an upcoming biopic, and he has none other than the ex-champ himself in his corner.

Tyson, 48, recently told the Mirror that he has been discussing making a movie about his tumultuous life with Foxx, 46. On Wednesday, Variety followed up with a report that Terence Winter ("The Wolf of Wall Street") will write the script and Rick Yorn, Foxx's manager, will produce.

Yorn's office declined to comment on the reports, but Foxx has long been interested in telling Tyson's story on the big screen. Back in 2009, he discussed the possibility with MTV and said Tyson "has the most interesting story that no one has ever heard."

The prospect of such a film is intriguing, to say the least. Tyson, after all, is one of the most famous and most controversial sports celebrities in recent memory, and his turbulent life has been characterized by dizzying highs and lows. After enduring a rough childhood in Brooklyn, Tyson grew up into a...

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Cinema verite filmmaker Robert Drew dies at 90

Filmmaker Robert Drew, whose documentary work helped capture the lives of subjects who included John F. Kennedy and Jane Fonda, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Drew died shortly after midnight at his Sharon, Conn., residence, his daughter-in-law, Jill Drew, told the Los Angeles Times. 

He died of natural causes, she said, adding that her father "was a fighter."

The veteran filmmaker was one of the leaders of the cinema verite, or observational camera, movement in the United States. His film "Primary" gave viewers an intimate look at Kennedy's pursuit of the presidency and was lauded around the world.

Drew spoke to the Los Angeles Times in 1993 about following Kennedy: "It was an election year, I wanted to do an election story and Kennedy simply appealed to me," he said.

Drew produced more than 100 films, two of which are in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. One of his films, "The Chair," garnered a Special Jury Prize at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival, the family said in a...

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'Interstellar' trailer: Christopher Nolan voyages across the universe

Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi epic "Interstellar" has launched a new trailer that takes star Matthew McConaughey deeper into the far reaches of space and sheds a tiny bit of light on the mysterious movie.

Unveiled on a new website for the film (enter access code "7201969"), the trailer opens on a dry, despairing Earth. Cooper (McConaughey), an engineer and pilot, sets up humanity's grim situation.

"We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars," he says. "Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt."

To save mankind, Cooper joins a space-faring mission (with crew mates including Anne Hathaway and Wes Bentley) to travel through a wormhole and explore potentially habitable worlds. Some of those worlds (or at least one) are glimpsed in the new trailer, as vistas of barren tundra and gleaming seas contrast with dusty images of Earth.

The trailer doesn't shy away from emotion either, playing up the family drama as Cooper is forced to leave behind...

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From the booth to the big screen: Vin Scully's movie appearances

Dodgers announcer Vin Scully made many baseball fans' day Tuesday when he announced he'll return for an unprecedented 66th year in the broadcast booth. It's a wonder that the prolific play-by-play man, now 86, has ever found time to do anything other than call games — but being in Hollywood's backyard, he has managed to make his way into more than a few films over the years. Here are some highlights.

"For Love of the Game" (1999): Scully's biggest movie role came in this Sam Raimi-directed drama starring Kevin Costner as Billy Chapel, a veteran pitcher reflecting on his career and personal life while throwing what could be a perfect game — as well as his MLB swan song.

Though the story is fictional (and Costner's character is a Tiger, not a Dodger), Scully calls the game with all the poetry and drama baseball fans have come to expect over his decades-long career. Of course, Scully is no stranger to perfect games, having called three — by Don Larsen, Sandy Koufax and Dennis Martinez —...

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