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'Pitch Perfect 2' trailer showcases high notes, low comedy

The Barden Bellas are back to take on the world in the first trailer for "Pitch Perfect 2," the tuneful follow-up to 2012's sleeper hit starring Anna Kendrick as a college student who reluctantly shakes up an old-fashioned female singing group.

The sequel finds the Bellas -- played by Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, newcomer Hailee Steinfeld and others -- headed for the World Championships of A Capella, where trash-talking, black-clad Euro-rivals await and no American team has ever won.

Judging from the trailer, viewable above, "Pitch Perfect 2" will replicate the original film's mix of wacky but undeniably catchy musical numbers, spirited competition, sisterly bonding, slapstick gags and raunchy jokes. (Among the latter two are Kendrick making a fart noise in the crook of her elbow, Wilson careening down the stairs on a makeshift sled, and Wilson and Adam DeVine courting in their own idiosyncratic way.)

Directed by Elizabeth Banks, who also reprises her supporting role as a...

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Mike Nichols: Six of the late director's memorable movies

Mike Nichols, the pioneering director and comedian who died Wednesday night at the age of 83, leaves behind an acclaimed, varied and prolific body of work.

After breaking out as half of a satirical comedy duo with Elaine May in the late 1950s, Nichols found his niche as a director and proved equally adept at theater, television and film. Along the way he became one of the handful of EGOTs — those who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards — an especially rare feat for a director.

Although his filmmaking output was not without the occasional misstep, Nichols crafted his share of groundbreaking movies and was a consummate actors' director -- he directed at least a dozen actors to Oscar nominations. Following are six of his most memorable films.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966)
Nichols made his feature directing debut with an adaptation of Edward Albee's critically acclaimed but controversially profane play about an academic couple's tempestuous relationship. But the casting...

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Mike Nichols, on working with the greats
From 'American Sniper' to 'Wild,' a guide to award-season release dates

As Hollywood's hype machine whirs up for awards season, moviegoers find themselves inundated with prognostications, praise, pans and punditry about the films anointed as Oscar contenders. But for all the buzz generated by these prestige pictures, it can be a challenge for even the most dedicated cinephiles to keep track of them at the multiplex, thanks to studios' labyrinthine schedules of limited releases, gradual expansions and one-week Academy Award qualifying runs. A quick guide to where and when some potential players are scheduled (for now) to open:

“Foxcatcher”
Director Bennet Miller's fact-based drama about the twisted relationship between Olympic wrestlers Dave and Mark Schultz (Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum) and rich benefactor John du Pont (Steve Carell) opened last Friday in six theaters in Los Angeles and New York. The film will expand to a few more markets over the next two weeks, including a considerable footprint in the Philadelphia area, where the film takes place. By...

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'The Goldfinch' movie nets 'Tinker Tailor' scribe Peter Straughan

"The Goldfinch" has found its screenwriter. Peter Straughan is set to pen the adaptation of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller for Warner Bros.

Straughan previously co-wrote "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," based on the 1974 John le Carre spy thriller, with his late wife, Bridget O'Connor. The couple's work earned them an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay.

Straughan's other credits include "The Men Who Stare at Goats," "Frank" and the upcoming "Our Brand Is Crisis."

With "The Goldfinch," Straughan will tackle a dense, ambitious novel that unfolds over two decades and nearly 800 pages.

Published in October 2013, the book tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who loses his mother in a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and becomes virtually orphaned. As he makes his way through the world, he keeps a tiny Carel Fabritius painting stolen from the site of the tragedy with him.

Pulitzer winners come with a strong pedigree and built-in audience, but they don’t...

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'Big Hero 6' actors and directors look ahead to 'Toy Story 4'

Legions of Pixar fans heard news this month that the animation studio plans a fourth installment of the blockbuster "Toy Story" franchise, to be directed by John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation and Disneytoons.

Among those fans are the filmmakers and cast members of Disney Animation's latest movie, "Big Hero 6." In this clip from the Envelope Screening Series, co-directors Don Hall and Chris Williams and voice actors Ryan Potter, Genesis Rodriguez and T.J. Miller talk about their high hopes for "Toy Story 4."

"I actually think it's awesome because [Lasseter] is an amazing filmmaker, and to have a boss that's a filmmaker is sort of the best thing ever," Hall says. "And I do like that he's able to kind of pull back and still make a film in addition to being in charge of Pixar and Disney creatively."

Potter, who voices the main character in "Big Hero 6," says, "'Toy Story' was such a huge part of my childhood that I almost don't want to rob another...

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