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Summer movie preview: Hollywood stuck on 'repeat'

Handy instructions to make a Hollywood blockbuster: 1) Never kill the dog. 2) Actresses 40-plus play judge/mom/spinster. 3) Franchises skip the Law of Diminishing Returns.

At present, Rule 3 is the key.

The biggest films headed our way this summer (and fall, and winter) aren't creative passion projects. The upcoming epics are not new gambles ...Read more

'Cars can't fly.' Oh, yes, they can. Witness: 'Furious 7'

As chairman of the Movie Truth Police Council, I am pleased to announce an exciting new phase in our mission of combating movie misinformation. We will no longer limit ourselves to films based on true stories -- historical dramas, biopics, Woody Allen movies in which Woody or a Woody stand-in hits on a woman half his age and the like.

Yes, we'...Read more

List of DVD release dates for May 5 and beyond

Following is a partial schedule of coming movies on DVD. Release dates are subject to change:

MAY

5: Selma

5: Black or White

5: Spare Parts

5: The Pyramid

5: Mr. Turner

5: Black Sea

5: The Last 5 Years

5: Against the Sun

5: DCI Banks: Season 3

5: Halt & Catch Fire

5: Lost River

5: LOVE, ROSIE

5: Masters of Sex: Season 02

5: Miss ...Read more

Jack Black juggles his golden nuggets of comedy

Jack Black gets some of his best ideas in the middle of the night.

In his younger days, he would often stay up until dawn, playing Scrabble over the Internet and letting his mind roam to strange places. Now that he's got kids -- sons ages 6 and 8 -- he's had to adjust to a less vampiric schedule. But ideas will still come to him unbidden in the...Read more

Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara and director Anne Fletcher are in 'Hot Pursuit' of laughs and respect

Behind Reese Witherspoon's back, Sofia Vergara was lowering her eyelids in a mock, come hither stare. "You can really tell what Sofia is passionate about," Witherspoon said, earnestly attempting to make a point about Vergara's strong personal brand.

When Vergara started cackling, Witherspoon whipped around. "Why are you making that face? The ...Read more

'50 Shades of Grey' highlights DVD releases

An Oscar-nominated film, movie about race relations and a sexually charged offering top this week's new DVD releases.

"Selma," Grade A-: At the heart of the film are the efforts by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo ) to secure equal voting rights for African-Americans that culminated in a march by thousands through Alabama from Selma to...Read more

Television Q&A: Drinking on 'Blue Bloods,' 'About a Boy' series is done

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: I noticed in the first few seasons of "Blue Bloods," everyone in the family is enjoying lots of scotch and whiskey by the glassful. Then later, they are all drinking beer, and now there is no booze in sight at all. Was there some pressure from anti-drinking corners?

A: For some reason, fans of "Blue ...Read more

Josh Hartnett returns to monstrous role on 'Penny Dreadful'

PASADENA, Calif. -- The first season of the Showtime series "Penny Dreadful" pushed Josh Hartnett to extremes both emotionally and physically. Hartnett portrays Ethan Chandler, an American handy with a six-shooter who is recruited by Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) to help him to deal with all of the evil that roams the streets of Victorian London....Read more

Queen Latifah's rough road to royalty

LOS ANGELES -- Before she became royalty Queen Latifah was a troubled teen far from the kingdom she dreamed of.

At 17 she found herself stranded one night in New York, with no money to get home to New Jersey. "I hopped the turnstile and went to my mom's cousin's house in the Bronx. I knocked on the door at 5 o'clock in the morning and asked her...Read more

Conservative host Michael Medved back on air amid battle with throat cancer

SEATTLE -- Sometimes the most life-changing events come out of the most ordinary moments.

And so it was when Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated, conservative radio host, was getting his teeth cleaned last December.

The dental hygienist noticed a lump in the back of his throat. The dentist took a look and thought it might be a swollen ...Read more

'Django' actress Daniele Watts, boyfriend plead to disturbing peace

LOS ANGELES -- A "Django Unchained" actress and her boyfriend, who accused a Los Angeles police officer of mistreating the actress because she was black, pleaded no contest Monday to disturbing the peace and were ordered to write an apology letter to the sergeant involved in their high-profile detention.

In exchanged for their plea, a lewd ...Read more

Willis family TV show to explore tragedy tied to Illinois governor scandal

The Willis family, who found musical fame years after a van crash killed their family members, will discuss the tragedy that helped expose Illinois corruption in their reality TV series premiere Tuesday.

The first episode of the show, called "The Willis Family," addresses the crash with footage and interviews, said TLC spokeswoman Whitney Bell....Read more

New albums: Shelby Lynne; Action Bronson; Jon Regen

Shelby Lynne

"I Can't Imagine"

(Rounder )

Shelby Lynne was already a veteran when she won the Best New Artist Grammy for 1999's "I Am Shelby Lynne." But the deserved acclaim for that album, which last year was reissued in a deluxe edition, did not translate into long-term mainstream success, and Lynne has settled into a career as an outsider....Read more

Review: Hunt makes her own “Ride” a predictable one

See Helen Hunt surf. Check out how well-preserved Helen Hunt looks in a wetsuit. Remember how good Helen Hunt handles biting, witty banter.

See Helen -- or her character -- try a little pot and get giggly.

Yes, "Ride" is the very definition of a "vanity project." Hunt wrote and directed this pleasant-enough star vehicle, and it shows a ...Read more

Kyle Chandler fishing in new streams with 'Bloodline'

Kyle Chandler is trying to figure out the game plan.

The actor is hoping for insight on the Netflix manner of doing things. The family thriller "Bloodline," in which he stars, unloaded its 13-episode first season on the streaming service about two weeks before this meeting in late March -- and it feels as if all the air has been let out of the ...Read more

Mumford & Sons returns with 'Wilder Mind' and a new balance

LOS ANGELES -- Belief is big in the world of Mumford & Sons.

It figures into the British quartet's music -- consider "Believe," the first single from the forthcoming "Wilder Mind" album -- but it's also a key element of the way Marcus Mumford, Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane approach their whole career, and in particular, the ...Read more

Michaelangelo Matos discusses how electronic dance music got its wattage

From its humble American beginnings as house music in Chicago, techno in Detroit and rave music in England, the genre now known as electronic dance music has become a billion-dollar business. Superstar DJs earn tens of millions of dollars annually; corporations such as Live Nation have EDM departments run by first-generation ravers gone ...Read more

Webby Awards: It's the Year of the Jimmys

One of the best things about the Webby Awards is that the winners are announced weeks before the awards ceremony, giving them time to prepare their trademark five-word Webby acceptance speeches and sparing the nominees from having to have one ready.

The awards ceremony is May 18. It's hosted by actor/comedian Hannibal Buress and can be watched ...Read more

Remembering Orson Welles at 100

The second child of inventor Richard and opera singer Beatrice Welles was born 100 years ago May 6 in Kenosha, Wis. They named him George Orson Welles, but it didn't take long before he shed George and Kenosha to become one of the best-known showmen in America.

At 21, he shook up the dull, predictable Broadway theater world with an all-black ...Read more

Actor Phylicia Rashad is also a respected director now

Poet Vivian Ayers once told her daughter Phylicia Rashad that being an actress made her one of the "magic" people.

"I said, 'What do you mean, Mama?'" said Rashad. "She said, 'You create so much out of nothing.'"

And for the majority of her career, the 66-year-old Rashad was content being a "magic person." She didn't harbor any secret desire ...Read more