After a stellar run of standout roles, Marsha Stephanie Blake is ready for more

Marsha Stephanie Blake logs onto the Zoom call looking like a million bucks. It’s noon on a weekday in December and the “I’m Your Woman” actress is calling from New York, where among other things this year she’s celebrated virtual movie premieres, attended protests, sewed masks for essential workers, campaigned to get out the vote and filmed a Netflix show inside her home with her family during the pandemic.

Slow down? Never. Ryan Seacrest says he’s busier than ever

Most folks have slowed down in the past nine months, but Ryan Seacrest says he’s been juggling more than usual during the pandemic.

Movie Review: ‘Let Them All Talk’ is a pleasing, meandering ride

It’s safe to say this isn’t a great time for the cruise ship industry.

Review: Photos of ‘Attention Servicemember’ challenge how Americans viewed War on Terror

'Attention Servicemember,' made up of photos and essays, is a reminder that what really sticks out to a lot of veterans are the strangest moments of war.

Movie Review: George Clooney dazzles in front of — and behind — the camera in ‘The Midnight Sky’

Set in the year 2049, in the immediate aftermath of an unspecified global calamity that appears, based on scant but at times scary evidence, to be both environmental and technological — perhaps even financial, political and cultural — “The Midnight Sky” only looks like a disaster film. Slyly, and by misdirection that cleverly conceals its true intent until the poignant end, it reveals itself to be a story of regret over a lost opportunity for connection.

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  • Director Soderberg discusses ‘boat movie,’ ‘Let Them All Talk’

    Steven Soderbergh calls it “the boat movie” even though he’s not supposed to call it “the boat movie.”

  • How director Hao Wu got an inside look at the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan

    The resulting film, "76 Days," offers an alternately harrowing and inspiring look inside four hospitals in Wuhan during the country's two-and-a-half-month lockdown as it became the world's first COVID-19 epicenter. Co-directed by Wu and two Chinese filmmakers — Weixi Chen and a state-run-media reporter who is remaining anonymous so as not to run afoul of the government — the film premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be released Friday in more than 50 virtual cinemas nationwide.

  • Ang Lee on 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' 20 years later

    It's physically impossible to get to the forest fight scene that hovers atop slender bamboo trees in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and not say out loud "Whoa."

  • ‘Half Brothers’ shows immigration from a Latin perspective

    In a journey that takes us from the grassy hills of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to the urban landscape of Chicago to the deserts of El Paso, Texas, “Half Brothers” is a film that breaks studio barriers and shatters stereotypes of Latino characters. It’s the story of Renato, a successful Mexican aviation executive, who is shocked to discover he has an American half brother named Asher.

  • Vince Vaughn takes a stab at horror with 'Freaky'

    Vince Vaughn has been starring in movies for a quarter of a century, ever since his breakout as a swaggering wannabe actor in the 1996 indie comedy "Swingers." But in these strange and stressful times in which we find ourselves, his life is perhaps not as different from yours as you might imagine.

  • Songwriter Ingrid Andress finds her voice on ‘Lady Like’

    In a songwriting session with a group of rappers, which Ingrid Andress was attending to help write a hook, the conversation turned to immature guy talk about “all the different girls they had.”

  • TV

    Kaley Cuoco isn’t just ’the girl next door.’ And she’s out to prove it

    Kaley Cuoco kicked off her last birthday in a rooftop pool with Michiel Huisman, surrounded by floating candles, champagne flutes and a sweeping view of Bangkok, Thailand. She was on location for the pilot episode of "The Flight Attendant," her first live-action role since "The Big Bang Theory" ended and the project that launched her production company.

  • From escaped con to God, 7 roles in which Morgan Freeman shines

    If you grew up in the 1970s, there’s a good chance you think of Morgan Freeman as a hippie who dug words, man.

  • ‘Captain America’ star Chris Evans says online political platform is ‘landscape of competing ideas’

    So you’re Tim Scott, the Republican senator from South Carolina who opposes Roe v. Wade and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and you get a call from Chris Evans, a Hollywood star and lifelong Democrat who has been blasting President Donald Trump for years. He wants to meet. And film it. And share it on his online platform.

  • Kristin Chenoweth discusses voicing a mouse from her closet for ‘The Witches’, making Zemeckis laugh

    When the Kimmel Center shut down this spring, on March 12, Kristin Chenoweth had been about to bring her For the Girls concert tour to the Philadelphia venue. It was scheduled for March 13.

  • Andersen Air Force Base stars in Netflix film ‘Operation Christmas Drop’

    An upcoming Netflix film, shot largely on an Air Force base on Guam, features an annual Air Force operation that brings donations and supplies to remote islands in Micronesia.

  • Post Malone takes 9 honors at delayed Music Awards event

    Walking into the show with 16 nominations, Post Malone won nine honors at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, where John Legend gave a heartfelt performance that was dedicated to his wife.

  • ‘The Right Stuff’ strips the veneer off America’s first astronauts

    When Hollywood does biopics on musicians, we’re used to lots of saucy tales of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Not so much when it comes to astronauts.

  • Shania Twain reflects on the album that made her a star, changed country music

    The record that turned Shania Twain from a struggling singer-songwriter from Canada into a global superstar also changed country music for years to come.

  • Films tackling slavery have an uphill battle to climb with critics, historians and audiences

    What makes a good slave movie? The very question can feel too light considering the two-ton subject matter, but it’s top of mind this week with the release of “Antebellum,” a thriller by the producers of “Get Out” that uses the horrors of slavery as an allegory for America’s long-overdue racial reckoning. It’s a lot — and yet, not enough.

  • Archie Panjabi takes the lead in Peacock's 'Departure'

    Though she’s making a name for herself, actor Archie Panjabi still gets a kick out of it when strangers ask for her and clearly don’t anticipate what they’re getting.

  • New documentary series re-examines the murder case against a former Green Beret

    Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and daughters at Fort Bragg in 1970. A new documentary series takes another look at the crime.

  • Less singing, more fighting: How Disney’s live-action 'Mulan' differs from the classic animated film

    "The Ballad of Mulan," a poem about a woman who pretends to be a man to take her ailing father’s place in a military draft, dates back more than a thousand years. The Chinese folk story has also been adapted for the screen numerous times throughout the past century. But the retelling most familiar to Americans is just over two decades old, and therefore a staple of many millennials’ childhoods.

  • Movie review: Prepare to marvel at the look of 'Tenet' and not care about much else

    A further complication for those deciding if they feel safe returning to movie theaters for Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster "Tenet": Like many of his movies, you probably need to see this one twice. With a ridiculously complicated scavenger hunt of a plot, multiple villains and a globe-hopping narrative that journeys to half a dozen countries, "Tenet" is like a James Bond movie, except less coherent.

  • Auli’i Cravalho, voice of Moana, stars in first live-action film

    Auli’i Cravalho’s life changed forever at age 14 when she was cast as the voice of Disney’s “Moana.” The Hawaiian native loved singing and acting, but they were just hobbies to her. So were horseback riding, swimming and microbiology, for that matter. A career in Hollywood seemed implausible at best.

  • 'The One and Only Ivan' film explores grown-up ideas, but doesn't condescend

    Katherine Applegate’s children’s novel “The One and Only Ivan” is chock full of big ideas.

  • ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ is a ‘time capsule’ in four parts

    From grappling with big life decisions to a marriage on the brink, a new four-part miniseries tackles relationship struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Mickey Guyton speaks her truth, claims space in country music

    Mickey Guyton is turning a mirror on country music by speaking her truth and reclaiming both her career and identity.

  • Alex Trebek was ’ready to pack it in’ during cancer battle. He opens up in new memoir

    In a public address to “Jeopardy!” viewers last week, Alex Trebek assured fans that he was fine. “Feeling great,” in fact. The treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer was “paying off,” he said, and his numbers were good. Wearing one of his well-pressed blazers, his voice steady as ever, he playfully showed off the goatee he’d grown since the pandemic halted production in March.

  • Filming ‘Made in Italy’ stirs up memories of late actress, Natasha Richardson, for Liam Neeson and son

    When Liam Neeson sits down with a script, he usually knows within five pages whether he wants to do it. He calls it his “cup of tea” test. If he finds himself eager to get one, it’s not a good sign.

  • Disney to release ‘Mulan’ on streaming service, for a price

    “Mulan” is no longer headed for a major theatrical release. The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that it will debut its live-action blockbuster on its subscription streaming service, Disney+, on Sept. 4.

  • Actress in a limited series or movie becomes the most competitive Emmy category

    The year in television brought a crop of compelling limited series centered on the female experience, including “Mrs. America,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Unbelievable” and “Unorthodox” — and with it a rich array of parts for women.

  • Ellie Goulding pours her pain into her music and finds hope

    Ellie Goulding’s fourth album is a perfectly crafted artsy pop record full of songs built with epic production and layered vocals. But underneath the beats are gems of lyrics: dark, poetic one-liners with a heaviness that might raise your eyebrow.

  • Warner Bros. postpones 'Tenet' in U.S., considers overseas release first

    The saga of "Tenet" took another turn Monday as Warner Bros. said it was taking the anticipated Christopher Nolan thriller off its planned mid-August release date, confirming what many in the movie industry believe: with covid-19 cases surging in California and other large states, no major new films will be released in the U.S. until at least September.

  • Movie review: Hanks heads up another WWII flick in 'Greyhound'

    He’s Forrest Gump. He’s Mr. Rogers. He’s Woody. But with all the famous titles Tom Hanks has owned, few have fit as snugly and as smoothly as “captain” — whether it’s fending off Somali pirates in “Captain Phillips,” landing a plane on the Hudson in “Sully,” finding his way back to Earth in “Apollo 13” or commanding World War II troops in “Saving Private Ryan.”

  • Low-priced Peacock service the newest feather in NBCUniversal’s cap

    NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service debuted nationwide Wednesday, betting that weary consumers will tolerate a few commercials in exchange for a low-priced offering that includes news, sports and thousands of hours of TV shows.

  • The 'Dixie'-less Chicks make a thrilling return with a painfully vivid breakup album

    The Chicks didn’t need to drop the "Dixie" from their name to raise suspicions about their reverence for American tradition. Announced late last month — just weeks before the July 17 release of "Gaslighter," the trio’s first studio album in 14 years — the name change was framed as part of a widespread racial reckoning that’s led many to reconsider words and symbols from the Civil War-era South.

  • Movie review: Unlikely pair can’t escape time loop in romantic comedy ‘Palm Springs’

    We’ve probably all been to a wedding that felt like it would never end. For Sarah (Cristin Milioti), that wedding is her younger sister’s, where she’s drowning herself in red wine and extremely unprepared to give a speech. Now imagine living that nightmarish day again, and again, and again.

  • Movie Review: 'The Outpost' is both a riveting war movie and a cautionary tale

    On October 3, 2009, a group of soldiers stationed at an isolated base in the Hindu Kush endured what would become one of the bloodiest confrontations in the U.S. war in Afghanistan: the Battle of Kamdesh, a punishing 12-hour assault from hundreds of Taliban forces that wound up costing several American lives and becoming a particularly grievous example of poor military judgment, and its most dire consequences for the people forced to carry it out.

  • Eastwood's ankle forced production shift for 'The Outpost'

    An accident requiring two screws in his ankle nearly prevented Scott Eastwood from portraying a real life soldier in Afghanistan in "The Outpost" — a role that required a level of athleticism.

  • The wait is almost over: TV debut of 'Hamilton' near

    The day marking the celebration of our national story is almost upon us. An occasion sure to spread joy throughout the land as Americans reflect on the sacrifices of the Founding Fathers and consider what their labors on behalf of democratic government have wrought. I speak, of course, of that special date, the Third of July. Otherwise known as "Hamilton" Day.

  • ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ will take on Gen Z in Comedy Central revival

    Comedy Central is bringing back MTV’s iconically crude animated comedy “Beavis and Butt-Head” for an additional two seasons through a sprawling deal with producer Mike Judge.

  • The Dixie Chicks officially change their name to The Chicks

    The band's social media accounts and website were changed on Thursday to the refer to the new name for the band, which is made up of Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Strayer.

  • 10 movies about fatherhood to watch for Father’s Day

    June 21 is Father’s Day, and some of us might be looking for some movies about fatherhood, in all its complexities -- so here are 10 of my favorites from the past couple of decades. Here’s to all of our dads, on screen and off.

  • Maude Apatow is ready to move out of her parents’ shadow, into the spotlight

    Just before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, Maude Apatow was planning on finally moving out of her parents’ house. She’d found a few apartments that piqued her interest and scheduled times to tour them. But when the city went on lockdown, she put her plans on hold, instead hunkering down in Brentwood, Calif., with her mom, dad and 17-year-old sister.

  • Spike Lee talks ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ his role as an artist in tumultuous times

    When Spike Lee phoned in for an interview last week, New York was still in the throes of demonstrations against police brutality, a lockdown brought on by COVID-19 and the civic unrest and economic crisis that have ensued.

  • Movie review: 'Artemis Fowl' is a regrettable fairy tale

    When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Disney quickly scrambled to cancel or postpone the theatrical releases of their highest profile titles. But with Kenneth Branagh’s "Artemis Fowl," an adaptation of Irish author Eoin Colfer’s fantasy novels, the mouse house decided to dump it onto Disney+ two weeks after it was slated for release. It’s a good decision, offering up some fresh content for kids just out of school, but it’s also wise because "Artemis Fowl" wouldn’t have been worth the wait for the big screen. It’s barely worth the time to stream.

  • Indie artists unite against racism on 90-track album

    Indie music artists are joining in the chorus of voices decrying police brutality on the black community. Phantogram, Jesse Malin, Jay Watts, Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, Bartees Strange, Lonemoon, Rogue Wave, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Crashing Hotels, Nick Andre, Worriers, Sulene, Superchunk and Damon & Naomi are among the acts who have contributed to “Talk - Action = Zero,” a compilation album of previously unreleased music, demos, live recordings and other material now available on bandcamp.com.

  • Improv helps Ben Schwartz move from bit player to star

    Before Ben Schwartz and Thomas Middleditch stride onstage to do long-form improv, the comedy duo, at Schwartz’s behest, always share a hug. “I love you,” Schwartz utters every time. “OK,” Middleditch often responds, not exactly saying “yes, and” to the gesture but sheepishly acknowledging his affection, nonetheless.

  • WWII movie 'Greyhound,' starring Tom Hanks, to open on Apple TV+ instead of in theaters

    "Greyhound," a World War II naval drama filmed aboard the USS Kidd Naval Museum in Baton Rouge, La., will premiere on Apple TV+ rather than in theaters.

  • Concert industry plans socially distant shows as states start to reopen

    The last time bassist Jon Jones played a concert with his country group Eli Young Band was March 8. He hopes to hit the stage again in June to launch a new drive-in concert series in his first return to live music with fans since the devastating coronavirus.

  • New, remixed tunes address realities of quarantine

    NEW YORK — With masks over their mouths and gloves on their hands, country superstar Luke Combs and his band went to a music studio — in separate rooms — and recorded a new song reflecting the mood of a world dramatically altered by the spreading coronavirus.

  • Book review

    ‘If It Bleeds’ reaffirms Stephen King’s skill, creativity

    Stephen King’s affinity for the novella form goes back to the early stages of his long, prolific career. In 1982, King published “Different Seasons,” a quartet of long stories that contained some of his finest work, and eventually led to some memorable film adaptations, among them “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Stand by Me.” Since then, at roughly 10-year intervals, King has produced three similar volumes that have allowed him to play with a wide variety of themes, scenes and settings. The latest of these, “If It Bleeds,” contains four new, exceptionally compelling novellas that reaffirm his mastery of the form.

  • What would Mary Poppins do during the lockdown? Julie Andrews launches a podcast

    “Mom and I are both fans of podcasts, and we had been planning to do one for quite some time,” says Emma Walton Hamilton, Andrews’ eldest daughter and longtime cowriter-collaborator. “It’s a lovely extension of what we’ve already been doing with our own children’s books and children’s programming. And because of the virus, American Public Media was kind enough to fast-track the podcast. It’s kept us very busy.”

  • Thundercat is finally in tune with himself

    They all know Thundercat here: the weathered, seen-it-all counterman who reserves the lanes, the acne-ridden teenager handing out floppy and slick leather shoes, the waiter bringing heaping platters of fruit and bowls of matzo ball soup. To them, the interstellar jazz bassist is practically family. But don't mistake this for "Cheers." The Pinz Bowling Center in Studio City is no insular neighborhood tavern, but rather one of the most popular social nexuses in Los Angeles (at least in pre-pandemic days). It attracts everyone from stoned Valley high schoolers to the Los Angeles Lakers, young working-class families to those old enough to remember when bowling was televised every Saturday afternoon on ABC. And one regular is Thundercat, née Stephen Bruner, who never fails to abide.

  • Phone-only Quibi aims for bite of digital entertainment

    Quibi — a snappy amalgam of “quick” and “bite” — is a mobile phone-only platform that releases its snack-sized installments of movies and TV shows each weekday.

  • Mandy Moore is living out her music dreams

    There was a time not too long ago when Mandy Moore thought the best part of her life might be behind her. Though she once had dreams of being a serious singer-songwriter, she hadn’t made music in years. Her acting career, once thriving, had been left for dead. The unending rejection of an actor’s life had annihilated much of her spirit, and an unhappy marriage had taken care of the rest. She felt unseen. Disposable. She was past 30. She figured her time was up.

  • Hollywood productions react to the coronavirus threat: 'No job is worth endangering people getting sick'

    For decades, films and TV series have served up countless imaginary catastrophes that have brought the planet to its knees, from natural disasters to alien invasions to, yes, rampaging pandemics. But as the world grapples with the rapidly growing coronavirus crisis, Hollywood is finding that reality is far more frightening.

  • Movie review: In 'Bloodshot,' Vin Diesel glowers and growls as a bionic assassin

    In "Bloodshot," former elite U.S. commando Ray Garrison, played by Vin Diesel, dies before the opening credits. He then wakes up on a hospital gurney inside a gleaming skyscraper to find that his body has been donated by the military to science -- specifically the firm Rising Spirit Technologies, whose founder Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce, sporting a bionic arm, two-day stubble and an untrustworthy twinkle in his eye) has resuscitated Ray, turning him into a cybernetically enhanced super-soldier.

  • Michael W. Smith looks back: 'I've got an extraordinary redemption story'

    Michael W. Smith has posted some eye-popping stats over the years. His many accomplishments include releasing 30-plus top 10 albums. That certainly qualifies him as one of the genre’s most successful artists. Yet, he has also triumphed as a crossover act on the pop charts during a solo career that extends back to the early ’80s.

  • The missing parents in 7 Pixar movies, ranked by emotional impact

    Although Pixar does not lean on parental death as storytelling device to the degree that classic animated Disney films do ("Bambi" and "Cinderella" lead a long list), the studio has often disappeared a mom or dad -- either temporarily or permanently -- to further the narrative.

  • Q&A

    Pratt, Holland discuss lending their voices to Pixar's 'Onward'

    Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, who have also shared the screen in the box office juggernauts "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame," spoke to The Los Angeles Times about delving into the "Onward's" emotional depths, embracing nerdy fantasy pursuits and pressing onward through the ups and downs of Marvel superstardom.

  • At Vet Tv, 'don't expect anything to be politically correct, professional or honorable'

    Streaming network Vet Tv is marketed directly to members and veterans of the armed forces. The staff says its crude sense of humor is reflective of a large portion of the military — whether civilians would understand it or not.

  • Meet the soldier competing on 'The Voice'

    Fort Knox-based Army recruiting college instructor Samuel Wilco decided to audition for 'The Voice' because it's his wife's favorite show.

  • Nathaniel Rateliff kicks off solo tour in Minneapolis

    “This isn’t any signal of the Night Sweats being over,” the Denver-based singer/songwriter assured fans of his regular band, who count the Twin Cities among their top markets. “I just needed to do something for myself for a little while.”

  • Film Review: Inventive twist on 'The Invisible Man' empathizes with heroine’s domestic abuse horror

    To reinvent H.G. Wells’ 1897 story, which is best known as the 1933 James Whale classic horror film, director Leigh Whannell has flipped the notion of invisibility. In this take, invisibility is no superpower, and no affliction, like the bandage-wrapped Claude Rains, but rather, it’s a threat.

  • 'I kind of got forced to apologize': Pete Davidson addresses Dan Crenshaw controversy in new comedy special

    In a new Netflix stand-up special, Pete Davidson appeared to take a new stance on the controversy that prompted his surprising mea culpa.

  • Movie review: Human performances bring literary dog film 'Call of the Wild' to life

    Much like our furry friends, movies about man's best friend come in all shapes and sizes: lost dog movies, talking dog movies, military dog movies, reincarnated dog movies. "The Call of the Wild," directed by Chris Sanders and based on the classic novella by Jack London, is what one might call a literary dog movie, even if there is technically no actual dog in it. The star of "The Call of the Wild," Buck, is a CGI creation. And it's only through the technology that his dangerous and harrowing adventures in the Alaskan wilderness during the Gold Rush, as outlined by London, could be realistically brought to the big screen, for better or for worse.

  • Why Blumhouse flipped the '70s TV classic 'Fantasy Island' into a modern thriller

    Sooner or later, everything old is new again. Especially when you’re in Hollywood. Across television and film, remakes, reboots and revivals have dominated popular culture over the last decade, most noticeably across the horror genre. The latest reimagining (but surely not the last) is Blumhouse’s "Fantasy Island," a PG-13 thriller that transforms the comparatively tame 1970s series into an ensemble horror movie.

  • Movie review: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' is a surprisingly good time

    "Sonic the Hedgehog," the adaptation of the popular '90s Sega video game, is actually good. Expectations have been low since the movie's rocky rollout, but it is legitimately funny, heartwarming and entertaining.

  • Movie Review: 'The Photograph', Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield take a good long look at love

    The problem with movie trailers is: A) They're necessary, apparently; B) Too many beans get spilled; and C) Often, a movie without much overt intrigue or plot machinery becomes packaged in a gently deceptive fashion.

  • Night of ‘Parasite’: South Korean film the first foreign-language movie to win Oscars' best picture

    In a surprise upset and a historic milestone, director Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” — a darkly comic class satire about two families, one rich and one poor, whose lives become entangled — won best picture Sunday night at the 92nd Academy Awards, becoming the first foreign-language film ever to win the film academy’s top prize.

  • Movie Review: "Birds of Prey" lets a Joker-free Harley Quinn shine

    Harley Quinn becomes a self-made antiheroine who, with a little help from her friends, can shoulder the weight of her own adventure.

  • Shows canceled as virus outbreak spooks Asian entertainers

    Concerts and shows are being canceled, not just in China but across much of Asia, as a virus outbreak that has killed more than 300 people and reached more than 20 countries spooks the entertainment industry.

  • Movie review: Star-studded cast elevates war drama 'The Last Full Measure'

    In the Gettysburg address, President Abraham Lincoln paid tribute to those who fought and died for their cause, to which they "gave the last full measure of devotion." Lincoln’s description of the ultimate sacrifice provides the title for Todd Robinson’s "The Last Full Measure," which depicts the long quest to award Air Force pararescue medic William Pitsenbarger the Medal of Honor 34 years after he perished in the Vietnam War.

  • Movie review: 'The Assistant' masterfully shows abuse, complicity in Weinstein-inspired power structure

    It’s the specificity that devastates in Kitty Green’s starkly damning quotidian drama "The Assistant." It’s in the quiet efficiency with which our unnamed protagonist (credited as "Jane," played by Julia Garner) speaks and moves as she performs her menial yet seemingly crucial duties in a job we will come to discover is both harrowing and highly prized.

  • Movie review: 'The Rhythm Section' brings imperfect but fresh cadence to action/thriller genre

    Award-winning director and cinematographer Reed Morano has tackled dystopian futures in "The Handmaid’s Tale," the end of the world in "I Think We’re Alone Now" and devastating grief in "Meadowland." Her third feature film, "The Rhythm Section," combines a bit of all these themes, though it has a bit more kick to it than her prior indies. Starring Blake Lively as Stephanie Patrick, "The Rhythm Section" is adapted from the series of thriller novels by Mark Burnell, with a screenplay by Burnell himself. If Jason Bourne were a grieving trauma survivor, you’d end up with Stephanie, and the film serves as her gritty origin story.

  • How Ron Howard earned the right to document Paradise, California’s destruction and rebirth

    Ron Howard has already dealt with fire, lots of it. (The 1991 drama "Backdraft" was nominated for three Oscars, including sound and visual effects.) And he’s made documentaries, more than one. But this time it was different. This time it was personal. This time it was for real.

  • Movie review: In 'The Gentlemen,' Guy Ritchie returns to his raunchy, rambunctious roots

    There isn’t much that’s especially gentle about "The Gentlemen," the new Guy Ritchie movie that the filmmaker’s long-suffering fans will be glad to hear is a return to what he does best: a funny, violent, rambunctious shaggy-dog story of a crime caper featuring an ensemble cast studded with colorful characters played by name actors.

  • Movie review: 'The Turning' less about answers, more about gothic horror to savor

    At the end of Floria Sigismondi’s "The Turning," after all the credits had rolled, some members of the audience at a press screening were visibly and vocally upset. They were seemingly enraged at the film’s unwillingness to offer up a single definitive answer about the perceived haunting in this take of Henry James’ 1898 novella "The Turn of the Screw," joining a century’s worth of questioners who have puzzled over the story of a young governess bedeviled by ghosts at her new job. Are these ghosts real, or is she just crazy? It’s an age-old question, but Sigismondi is confident simply not answering it, as frustrating as that may be.

  • Movie Review: 'Bad Boys for Life’ refreshing tribute to '90s action cinema

    After turning in the first two greatly beloved, operatically souped-up action opuses in the "Bad Boys" franchise, everyone’s favorite gearhead maximalist auteur Michael Bay is no longer behind the camera for the third, "Bad Boys for Life" (though he is in front of it, briefly). Not to worry though, as Belgian filmmaking duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, clearly devoted students of Bay’s style, craft a wonderful facsimile of his greatest hits, from his swirling low-angle dolly shots to capturing the glorious clash of sunset and neon that screams Miami. From the very first sequence of a screeching Porsche burning up the streets of South Beach, El Arbi and Fallah prove that as directors, they have the horsepower to match Bay, if not the grace yet. Nevertheless, their first major American feature outing is a loving and skillful tribute to pure ’90s action cinema, and it’s a hoot for fans of the franchise.

  • Movie Review: Take two aspirin and avoid seeing this malpractice of a movie ’Dolittle’

    Everyone knows that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Less well known is the adage "You can’t publish a movie review that is entirely blank."

  • 'Joker' leads Oscar noms; '1917,' 'Irishman' close behind

    Female filmmakers were shut out, “Parasite” made history and “Joker” just edged out “The Irishman,“ “1917” and “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” in Monday’s Oscar nominations.

  • ’Joker,’ explained: How the movie went from divisive debut to Oscars darling

    What a difference a good awards season can make. Just four months ago, the comic-book movie "Joker" was muddied in controversy, as critics questioned whether 2019 was the right time for a movie about an urban sociopath who goes on a killing spree. In 2020, though, "Joker" has become the billion-dollar film that cleans up well. On Monday, the superhero-universe movie certainly cleaned up at the Oscar nominations announcement, receiving a field-leading 11, including best picture.

  • Movie review: Death row drama 'Just Mercy’ tells a tale both shattering and satisfying

    The stirring, stylish legal drama "Just Mercy" feels familiar on several levels. The story of a wrongly accused man sent to death row, it joins such films as "Dead Man Walking" and the more recent "Clemency" as an affecting examination of how justice is confused with inhumane retribution.

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