Kurt Cobain documentary gets emotional reception in Seattle

SEATTLE -- Director Brett Morgen ("The Kid Stays in the Picture," "Crossfire Hurricane") brought his new documentary, "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck," to Seattle recently.

The HBO film makes use of home movies from Cobain's childhood, his time with his wife, Courtney Love, and later their infant daughter, Frances Bean. It also relies heavily on ...Read more

VIDEO: Strong looks sharp at White House correspondents' dinner

Whatever Cecily Strong was going to say about President Barack Obama at the 2015 White House Correspondents' Association dinner, there was no way it would sting as much as what he inadvertently said about her.

Trying to establish a bond, Obama hailed the "Saturday Night Live" cast member as a "Chicago girl," but then he called her, repeatedly, ...Read more

Controversial 'Ferguson' play survives premiere with a brand-new cast

LOS ANGELES -- By the time the actorshit the stage, the drama had already happened.

The premiere of "Ferguson," a newplay based on grand jury testimony about the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri, went unexpectedly smooth Sunday in Los Angeles after a cast walkout threatened to hobble the controversial production.

There were ...Read more

Don Mankiewicz, novelist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter, dies at 93

LOS ANGELES -- Don M. Mankiewicz, a novelist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter who grew up in a fabled Hollywood family and went on to create TV's "Ironside" and "Marcus Welby, M.D." has died at his home in Monrovia, near Los Angeles. He was 93.

Mankiewicz's death Saturday was caused by congestive heart failure, his son, John Mankiewicz, said.

...Read more

Movie review: “Iris” celebrates a singular style sensation

She was never a great beauty, a model or magazine editor, never married anybody famous. But somehow, Iris Apfel was anointed a New York "fashion icon."

That Apfel achieved this status, with her vast collection of couture accessories earning a Metropolitan Museum of Art show followed by newspaper profiles and magazine covers, well into her '80s,...Read more

TV review: 'Happyish' a bit too nasty to enjoy

Showtime's "Happyish" is many things: funny, astute, clever and tuned into the perceived tension between depth of thought and shallow sheen. But too often the show's profane excesses get in the way of its better attributes.

"Happyish" was set to star Philip Seymour Hoffman as an advertising executive coping with younger bosses. Hoffman filmed ...Read more

Movie review: Only Howey is worth the visit in “See You in Valhalla”

You see "Valhalla" in the title, you meet a young meth addict who dies "the Viking way." There's a spacey/druggie personal trainer moved to learn archery who hallucinates an order to "build an ark." So unless you're movie-math illiterate, you know where the movie's going, pretty much from the get go.

So it's a tribute to Steve Howey of Showtime...Read more

ESPN files suit against Verizon over 'skinny' programming packages

ESPN sued Verizon on Monday for an alleged breach of contract after the distribution giant moved to offer "skinny" packages of TV channels clustered by genre.

The legal action comes just one week after Verizon rolled out a new offering for its FiOS television service, which allows customers to select smaller, customized packages of TV channels ...Read more

Movie review: A scattershot but important look at women's movement

Once upon a time, help wanted ads were divided into jobs for women and men.

This notice appeared under Help Wanted Female: "Wanted world's best looking exec. sec'y to assist world's most charming boss." No, that did not come from Don Draper.

That reality -- one where women typically were ogled, pigeonholed, underpaid, hobbled by a lack of ...Read more

Stagecoach is now the world's biggest country music festival, with a combined attendance of 210,000 this year

INDIO, Calif. -- Miranda Lambert snagged an opportunity to catch her breath a few hours before she was to hit the stage as a headliner for the 2015 Stagecoach Country Music Festival, an event she's played four times since it started eight years ago.

"Oh, yeah, I started in the 12 o'clock noon spot and now we're finally playing after dark," she ...Read more

Movie review: Spandau Ballet gets its due in “Soul Boys” documentary

Spandau Ballet launched the "New Romantics" movement in pop's New Wave, the music that blended punk and disco and fashion and paved the way for the "hair metal" and hip hop that followed as reactions to it.

But Duran Duran, Culture Club and Rick Astley followed and stole their thunder and outlasted the Islington quintet.

So "Soul Boys of the ...Read more

Movie review: “Skin Trade” rarely rises to the level of “B-movie”

Reputation suggests you could conjure a half-decent B-movie out of Dolph Lundgren and martial arts dynamo Tony "Ong Bak" Jaa. Especially if their supporting cast includes Ron Perlman as a Slavic mobster, Peter Weller as a Jersey-accented cop, Michael Jai White as a Fed and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ("Memoirs of a Geisha,""47 Ronin") as a corrupt Thai...Read more

Sexuality gets tricky in 'Ex Machina'

In his novels "The Beach" and "The Tesseract," in his screenplays "Sunshine" and "28 Days Later" ... , and even in his adaptations of other people's work, like "Never Let Me Go" and "Dredd," Alex Garland wrestles with similarly knotty themes: the corruption of utopian ideals, the intersection where science and human behavior collide, the ...Read more

New albums: Blur; Speedy Ortiz; Michael Des Barres


"The Magic Whip"

(Parlophone 1/2)

Blur had no intention of making a new album when the 1990s Brit-pop stalwarts headed out on a reunion tour of Asia in 2013. But when the cancellation of the Tokyo Rocks festival left them with five free days in Hong Kong, the Damon Albarn-fronted band headed to the studio -- including chief collaborator ...Read more

Kill TV characters if you must — but must you?

I remember 40 years ago watching "MASH" and the feeling of utter shock when Henry Blake died.

McLean Stevenson, who had played Blake on the series since its premiere in September 1972, had decided to leave the acclaimed comedy-drama for what he thought was a better deal. Rather than just let his character leave, as first appeared to be the case...Read more

Music industry, looking to enhance sales, is doing away with traditional U.S. release date of Tuesday

For Kanye West fans, the arrival of a new record is a given. It's got a name, "So Help Me God." Producers are attached. He executed his prerequisite stage-storming, attention-grabbing viral moment at the Grammy Awards. Paul McCartney, we have been informed, is heavily involved. West appeared on Coachella stages twice in two days.

But like many ...Read more

Artistic director of American Ballet Theatre has his own 'Billy Elliot' story

PASADENA, Calif. -- When Kevin McKenzie was only 18 he found himself dancing with prima ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn. While he was just one of the cavaliers, it was a coup for the kid who'd goofed up his tap dancing class when he was in the seventh grade.

It was one long leap that led McKenzie to where he is today: artistic director of the ...Read more

The niche blockbuster: If it's summer movie fun you're after, look to the breakouts, not the pre-ordained hits

Already killing it in England, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and beyond, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" opens in the U.S. with evening screenings Thursday and an official May 1 bow. Expectations couldn't be larger. Its success is predestined; it will be one of those mass-market blockbusters stockholders enjoy so much. Some are predicting an opening weekend ...Read more

'Furious 7' tops US, 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' scores overseas

LOS ANGELES -- "Furious 7" took another victory lap at the domestic box office this weekend, but "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" crushed competitors overseas, launching to an estimated $201.2 million in its first weekend in foreign markets.

That has moviegoers and industry watchers even more geared up for next weekend, when "Age of Ultron" is ...Read more

Odds on whether endangered TV shows will return

If I had the chance to run the networks, "Happy Endings," "Revolution" and "The Neighbors" would still be on the air -- and I'd be out of a job.

There was a time when network executives could justify bottom-dwelling series such as "Cheers" and "Seinfeld," in hopes that audiences would eventually come around.

But in these times of stiffer ...Read more