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Album reviews: The Last Poets, Snail Mail, Joshua Hedley

The Last Poets

"Understand What Black Is"

(Studio Rockers )

Many artists lay claim to being rap's first voices, but, from their searing, socio-political charged poetry to their dense, rhythmic flow, the Last Poets aren't just boasting. Touched by jazz, funk, and reggae through different periods of the band's 50-year career, Jalal Mansur ...Read more

'The Band's Visit' sees big uptick on music streaming sites since the Tony Awards

"The Band's Visit" may have claimed 10 trophies at the Tony Awards last week, but it also scored a big win offstage as well: a bump in music streaming.

Since the June 10 ceremony, streaming of tracks from the original Broadway cast recording has soared, according to Nielsen Music, which analyzes consumption for the music industry. On the Friday...Read more

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' is an improvement, which doesn't make it necessary

Dinosaurs: Keep them alive or kill them off? It's a question that haunts the human characters in between fireball-dodging cardio workouts in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the spectacularly ho-hum new entry in Hollywood's longest-running parable about the fatal idiocy of messing with Mother Nature. At this point in the game -- five films deep...Read more

The new 'Queer Eye' guys have love in their hearts — and plenty of tips — for guys (and gals)

Browse the Instagram feeds of any of the "Queer Eye" hosts and see their comments to each other, and it'll be hard not to question the depth of the friendships in your own life. The new Fab Five -- Bobby Berk (design), Karamo Brown (culture), Tan France (fashion), Antoni Porowski (food and wine) and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) -- post such ...Read more

'Incredibles 2' smashes record with biggest opening ever for animated film

LOS ANGELES -- The Pixar superhero movie "Incredibles 2" made 14 years of anticipation worth the wait for Disney, as the follow-up to 2004's "The Incredibles" smashed the record for highest animation debut of all time with an estimated $180 million in ticket sales for the U.S. and Canada, according to the measurement firm ComScore.

"Pixar has ...Read more

Chris Hardwick wiped from Nerdist website amid abuse accusations

Chris Hardwick's name no longer adorns the Nerdist website he founded, after abuse accusations were levied against an unnamed person by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra.

Legendary Entertainment, which acquired Nerdist Industries in 2012, issued a statement on Friday, addressing Hardwick's absence.

"Chris Hardwick had no operational ...Read more

Elvis Presley's drummer D.J. Fontana set the beat for rock 'n' roll's future

D.J. Fontana accomplished more with a snare drum, cymbal and sticks than the Who's Keith Moon did with a 20-piece kit.

With snaps, thumps and pows that six decades later are a standard foundation of pop music, he help define rock 'n' rolls' rhythmic patterns. Starting in the mid-1950s, the influential drummer for Elvis Presley played on hits ...Read more

Giuliana Rancic is returning to 'E! News' as a co-host

"E! News" will soon welcome a familiar face: Giuliana Rancic is coming back this fall as a co-host.

Rancic, who did the job from 2005 to 2015, is the first new host since Maria Menounos was diagnosed with a brain tumor and left the show in July 2017.

Returning is "every bit as thrilling to me today as it was 16 years ago" when she started with...Read more

Apple signs deal with Oprah Winfrey as it pushes into original programming

Apple Inc. has struck a multiyear deal with Oprah Winfrey to produce original content, the technology giant announced Friday.

The iPhone maker has been looking to diversify its revenue beyond the devices it makes and apps produced by other developers.

Winfrey, famed for her talk show and acting roles, is also chief executive of the Oprah ...Read more

Sundance and Toronto film festivals pledge increased access for underrepresented critics

LOS ANGELES -- Brie Larson roused the entertainment industry Wednesday when she used her platform at Women in Film's Crystal + Lucy Awards to drop sobering statistics from a recent USC study about the lack of diversity in film criticism. It's a field so disproportionately skewed that white men wrote 63.9 percent of reviews aggregated by Rotten ...Read more

'Gotti': John Travolta's new one will remind you of other, better mob movies

Editor's note: The review copy of the film provided by the studio did not contain the final music cues.

In "Gotti," we hear the title character praise his son for standing his ground in a bar brawl.

"Never take a backward step," declares John Sr., played ferociously by John Travolta, whose jutting chin and bristling tone suggest the alpha ...Read more

Vivienne Westwood rules over the engaging documentary 'Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist'

You might think that having a documentary film made about your life was a good thing, that having awed folks calling you a cultural avatar and far-seeing visionary was worth a little trouble. You might think all that, but Vivienne Westwood does not.

The subject of "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" is introduced dressed in funereal black with an ...Read more

'En el Séptimo Día' (On the Seventh Day) shines a light on the everyday lives of Mexican immigrants

Writer-director Jim McKay has a way of making the everyday seem exceptional, of seeing the absorbing drama in what can sound like ordinary lives.

"En el Septimo Dia" (On the Seventh Day) is McKay's first theatrical film in more than a decade, and it is gratifying to have his particular sensibility back on the big screen.

It's not like McKay ...Read more

How the stars re-aligned for 'Incredibles 2,' a sequel audiences actually want to see

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- The buzz was enthusiastic verging on ecstatic. The tracking suggested a potentially record-breaking opening. But days before the release of the long-awaited Pixar sequel "Incredibles 2," writer-director Brad Bird was feeling less incredible than simply relieved.

"Before I made films, I thought these moments would be ...Read more

Chrissy Teigen celebrates Trump's birthday with $288,000 donation to ACLU

Happy birthday, Mr. President.

For his 72nd birthday on Thursday, social media star Chrissy Teigen and her husband John Legend spent a whole lot of cash on a gift Donald Trump won't like -- nor one that he can return.

The pithy model, who was famously blocked on Twitter by the president for constantly trolling him and his policies, marked the ...Read more

Amazon Studios partners with Nicole Kidman's production company

LOS ANGELES -- In another significant production deal that is intended to strengthen its position against Netflix and other competitors, Amazon Studios has signed a first-look agreement with Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman's production company, Blossom Films, for theatrical, television series and digital content.

The deal announced Thursday...Read more

'Incredibles 2' is the superhero family saga we need right now

The Incredibles are back, and all is right with the world.

Well, maybe not all. Superheros are still illegal, just as they've been for a decade and a half, and evildoers like the Underminer ("I am always beneath you but nothing is beneath me!") are still eager to empty the bank vaults of Municiberg and manufacture havoc wherever they go.

But ...Read more

Female showrunners gather to discuss representation in the writers' room

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Women of all ages and races crowded into the communal area of Twitter's Santa Monica offices Wednesday night for "An Evening With Female Showrunners," a pair of panel discussions hosted by Liz Hannah, screenwriter of "The Post."

Created in response to the Variety-sponsored "Night in the Writers' Room," a panel last week ...Read more

Google's retreat from AI contract is unlikely to cool the Pentagon's love for Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley's cutting-edge work increasingly has made it an attractive place for the Pentagon to look for a defensive edge. That's why military officials recently opened an outpost in Mountain View, Calif., to build relationships with technology start-ups and major players.

The Pentagon's enthusiasm to build those tech partnerships is ...Read more

William Shatner's new enterprise: A solar-powered bitcoin mining farm in southern Illinois

Captain Kirk might be able to discuss the properties of dilithium crystals and give directions to Rigel XII, but don't ask him to explain bitcoin.

"The concept is so, I guess the word is bizarre," Kirk's alter ego, William Shatner, said by phone Wednesday. "You have to blank your mind and say, 'What is blockchain, again? How does mining operate...Read more