Review: 'Flack' puts a new spin on spin doctors and fallen idols

You may have noticed, if you have been awake at all over the last couple of years, that famous and powerful people can be, to put it nicely, a problem. it has been long known that idols have feet of clay, which is why there is that phrase about idols' clay feet, but nowadays, the spin doctors have to twirl twice as fast just to stay in the same ...Read more

With her 'Black Panther' Oscar nomination, Hannah Beachler makes history on multiple fronts

Hannah Beachler's introduction to the high-stakes world of "Black Panther" was a lot less glamorous than one might expect for the relatively new production designer, now an Academy Award nominee for her work on the box-office record breaker.

The 48-year-old, with just six years in the field under her belt, says she put everything she had into ...Read more

Oscars: With the academy at a crossroads, critics should be more thoughtful in their complaints

I come not to bury the academy, but not necessarily to praise it either. Rather I come, with a nod to Jonathan Swift, with a modest proposal for people to cut it a little slack.

I know, I know, mistakes, as the saying goes, have been made. But exactly what were they? What circumstances influenced the decisions? And more to the point, did the ...Read more

UCLA diversity report finds women and minorities still underrepresented in film and TV

The success of films such as "Black Panther" and "Crazy Rich Asians" helped change the conversations around films with diverse casts last year, but Hollywood still has a long way to go.

UCLA released its latest Hollywood diversity report early Thursday, which showed that despite gains in front of and behind the camera, women and minorities ...Read more

Television Q&A: Is there a way to complain about onscreen banners?

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: When I was watching a show for one hour recently, it was interrupted two times with a banner across the bottom of the screen advertising future shows. Is there anyone I can complain to about this? It'll be in the middle of a serious scene when the banner comes and is very distracting.

A: What you ...Read more

'Empire' star Jussie Smollett surrenders to Chicago police after false report felony charge

CHICAGO -- "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has surrendered to Chicago police and is due in court later Thursday to face a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly making a false police report when he said he was attacked in Streeterville by two men who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a noose around his neck.

Smollett, 36, ...Read more

What went wrong for 'A Star Is Born' on the road to the Oscars

Maybe those Oscar obituaries for "A Star Is Born" are premature. Maybe Bradley Cooper's smash-hit romantic remake will make good on more than one of its eight Oscar nominations. Maybe, to use the pitch in Warner Bros.' last-ditch campaign plea, academy members will vote for the movie that makes them feel instead of the movie they simply admire. ...Read more

Showbiz veterans relive glory days before Iran's revolution

LOS ANGELES -- The old man took out his iPhone and scrolled to a black-and-white photo taken 50 years ago on a movie set in Tehran. Mansour Sepehrnia is paunchy and gray now, but then he was slender and his hair jet black. Along with two other men in the photo, he's wearing a tuxedo.

They were filming a comedy and the trio evoked Three Stooges ...Read more

'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' review: Go Vikings! Go dragons!

You never know which trilogy will, in fact, call it quits after round three. After that viciously sentimental and ruthlessly prolonged farewell in Disney-Pixar's "Toy Story 3," for example, you might assume that goodbye means goodbye. But the movie made a billion plus change worldwide, which means "goodbye" is really "why would we leave?" And "...Read more

Capsule reviews of feature films

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. 2.5 stars. Brian Singer directs this tame, cliched biopic on Freddy Mercury and Queen. With Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton and Gwilym Lee. 2 hrs. 15 PG-13 (suggestive material, profanity, drug content) -- Dan DeLuca

CAPERNAUM. 3 stars. An imprisoned boy sues his parents for neglect. Arabic with subtitles. Nominated for a Best ...Read more

What does a movie producer do? No, seriously, who really knows?

When the best picture winner is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, the statues will go to the film's producers. Fundamentally, it's the producers who got the film made.

But what does that even mean? It's not hard to suss out what a director does -- or a costume designer, or a screenwriter or an editor. But a producer? What does a producer ...Read more

'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett goes from victim to accused liar

CHICAGO -- In little more than three weeks, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett went from a sympathetic victim of a racist, anti-gay attack to an accused liar whose allegedly staged assault further roiled divisions across the country.

Smollett, 36, was charged Wednesday evening with disorderly conduct, a felony, for allegedly filing a false police ...Read more

Comparing R. Kelly to Beethoven, lawyer says musician is vacating Near West Side Chicago studio

CHICAGO -- Musician R. Kelly will vacate his Near West Side recording studio because a judge has ordered him "not to be creative between 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.," according to a statement from his lawyer.

The studio is facing 67 building code violations and has attracted controversy and protests since the airing of the Lifetime documentary ...Read more

Chicago police say Jussie Smollett is suspect in criminal probe over alleged attack

CHICAGO -- Chicago police say Jussie Smollett is suspected of filing a false police report about a racially charged attack he says occurred as he walked to his apartment building in the Streeterville neighborhood last month.

"Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation ... for filing a false police ...Read more

Barbra Streisand, José Andrés, Queen Latifah to introduce best-picture Oscar nominees

Oscars producers have provided some clarity on who's doing what during Sunday's host-less Academy Awards telecast and enlisted a roster of diverse movie-lovers to do it.

The fourth round of presenters was announced Wednesday and was billed as "eleven unique talents" who will introduce the best-picture contenders throughout the show. Those films...Read more

State's attorney recuses herself from Jussie Smollett investigation as prosecutors question former suspects

CHICAGO -- In another puzzling twist in the investigation of a reported attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, the Cook County state's attorney recused herself from the case Tuesday as prosecutors in her office began questioning two brothers who had been possible suspects.

State's Attorney Kim Foxx said little about why she made the decision...Read more

'Fighting with My Family' review: Mum, Dad, the WWE and me

The more globally famous the celebrity, the tougher audiences tend to be on a biopic. Unless it's "Bohemian Rhapsody," because, you know. All those hits.

A different sort of hit-making and punishment-taking sets the tone in "Fighting with My Family," based on a true story. It's not a story, or a milieu, I knew anything about going in. In other ...Read more

Review: Stunning 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' will make your heart soar

Writer/director Dean DeBlois skillfully brings the beloved and much-lauded "How to Train Your Dragon" franchise in for a landing with the third film in the series, "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World." Based on the books by Cressida Crowell, audiences fell in love with the relationship between Viking boy Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his ...Read more

Oscars this Sunday: a 7-step survival guide

Suddenly, the Oscars are interesting.

After a series of public pratfalls in its planning stages, I'm genuinely curious about how this Sunday's host-free Academy Awards ceremony turns out. I'm not kidding. I'm interested.

This is what comes from months of format decisions announced, then rescinded. And this is what happens, happily, when even ...Read more

This L.A. couple has seen 'Bohemian Rhapsody' 24 times: 'It's two hours of freedom'

LOS ANGELES -- Karin Dicker and Steven Sarott first saw "Bohemian Rhapsody" on Halloween night. When the credits rolled, Dicker turned to her husband of 22 years and said, "Let's see it again."

They did just that the following Saturday, and they've returned to theaters once or twice a week -- 24 times as of President's Day weekend -- to watch ...Read more