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Film — past, present and future
'Nightcrawler' is an effectively creepy thriller, reviews say

"Nightcrawler" may not feature any vengeful ghosts, bloodthirsty demons or chainsaw-wielding psychos, but that doesn't mean writer-director Dan Gilroy's take on the cutthroat business of local TV news isn't suitably creepy for a Halloween release.

According to movie critics, the nocturnal drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a freelance videographer with a missing conscience makes for a stylish, well-acted chiller.

The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan writes: "'Nightcrawler' is pulp with a purpose. A smart, engaged film powered by an altogether remarkable performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, it is melodrama grounded in a disturbing reality, an extreme scenario that is troubling because it cuts close to the bone."

The supporting players are strong too, Turan says: Rene Russo delivers "one of her best roles," Riz Ahmed is "splendid," and Bill Paxton is "expert." On the other side of the camera, "Gilroy's lean, straight-ahead direction pulls us along," aided by brother John Gilroy's editing and...

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AFI Fest: 'Selma' footage to be unveiled at event with Oprah Winfrey

One of the more intriguing entrants to the holiday/late award-season calendar is “Selma,” indie filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s take on Martin Luther King Jr. and three critical months in the civil rights movement circa 1965.

The film, which stars David Oyelowo as King and counts Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt among its producers, doesn’t hit theaters until Dec. 25, when it opens in limited release ahead of a widening in January. But a peek at the movie will now happen at AFI Fest, which will screen 30 minutes of the film on Nov 11, organizers announced Friday.

The event, to be held at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre, will bring the star power too: a post-screening panel will feature DuVernay, Winfrey, Oyelowo and the Pitt producing partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner.

“Selma” comes on the heels of the best picture win for “12 Years A Slave,” also produced by Pitt, Gardner and Kleiner. And it follows more immediately the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in recent months, images of which are hauntingly...

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Alejandro G. Inarritu on 'navigating the labyrinth' of 'Birdman'

Alejandro G. Inarritu's black comedy "Birdman" plunges viewers into the not-entirely-earthbound world of Riggan Thomson, a washed-up former superhero actor played by Michael Keaton who's trying to get his mojo back by mounting a Broadway play.

Along the way, the film blurs the lines between reality and fiction — playing off Keaton's own "Batman" past, for example, or disguising any visible edits — and also explodes them with fantastical imagery and seamless, sometimes disorienting leaps in time.

In an exclusive video, which you can watch above, Inarritu and his cast discuss how they brought "Birdman" to life.

"I wanted the audience to be navigating the labyrinth of what [Riggan] is going through," Inarritu says of the film, which he calls his most challenging project.

Because he employed long takes and couldn't rely on the safety net of cutting, Inarritu had to be precise in staging the film, and his actors had to nail their marks.

"Everything was absolutely meticulously prepared," the...

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At BAFTA event, Emma Watson dedicates award to her long dead hamster

Emma Watson dedicated her Britannia Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles on Thursday to her late hamster Millie.

Honoree Robert Downey Jr. had his pregnant wife, producer Susan Downey, stand up just to show the Beverly Hilton Hotel audience how close she is to her due date.

And the legendary Judi Dench quipped in her acceptance speech that she had a tattoo of producer Harvey Weinstein on her backside.

British comedian Rob Brydon, who starred with Steve Coogan in the British indie hit "The Trip to Italy," hosted the BAFTA ceremony, which got off to a late start; dinner wasn't even served until 8:30 p.m.

"Good evening, I'm Renee Zellweger," Brydon announced. He kept the proceedings moving with jokes, a weak impression of Liam Neeson and a rather misguided bit about nude selfies.

Watson, who came to fame as Hermione Granger in the eight enormously successful "Harry Potter" films, was the recipient of the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year....

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Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak: When comedians go biopic

Like a new iProduct, Sony’s Steve Jobs movie keeps adding the intriguing features. A week after writer Aaron Sorkin confirmed the casting of Christian Bale as the lead character, the Danny Boyle film looks to bring on Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak.

The Los Angeles Times has confirmed that Rogen is in talks for the untitled film. The Wrap first reported the news.

Rogen’s participation in the unconventional biopic is interesting on paper, and it could well generate plenty of talk off the film itself. Wozniak, of course, was for years the other half of the Apple equation, and though the movie focuses on Jobs during three tension-riddled launches — and Wozniak wasn’t a part of two of them — it nonetheless promises to be a role that will invite plenty of buzz (and scrutiny).

The move follows something of a pattern for dramas about real-life genius, namely, of comic actors as supporting players. The earlier, lesser-budgeted Jobs movie, the Ashton Kutcher-anchored "Jobs," featured Josh Gad in...

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With Benghazi film '13 Hours,' Michael Bay could enter political fray

Michael Bay, the four-time "Transformers" helmer, has long been a purveyor of militaristic action draped in apolitical big-budget fantasy. For his next directorial project, however, Bay could be applying his flair for pyrotechnics to an overtly political movie as he recounts a controversial chapter of recent history.

According to multiple trade reports, Bay is in early talks to direct the Benghazi drama "13 Hours" for Paramount Pictures, based on Mitchell Zuckoff's nonfiction book of the same name. (The studio declined to comment on the reports, and a representative for Bay's agency did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)

Chuck Hogan wrote the script for the film, which is to chronicle the terrorist attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, and a nearby CIA compound the next morning. The assaults left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Zuckoff's book focuses on a team of six security operators who fought to repel the...

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