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Family drew Amy Adams and Glenn Close to 'Hillbilly Elegy.' (Family, and Terminators.)

Glenn Close's turn as the ornery, larger-than-life and fiercely loyal grandmother Mamaw in "Hillbilly Elegy" wasn't even fully unleashed into the world before it took on a life of its own. A friend of Close's daughter, the actress Annie Starke, dressed up as Mamaw for Halloween. This friend, it should be noted, was a man, who donned a curly wig,...Read more

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Philip Glass and 'Einstein on the Beach': How one opera changed everything

Easily the most important opera of the last half century, "Einstein on the Beach," at least at first, meant far more to those who witnessed it than to the art form itself, which couldn't have cared less. Almost nothing about what composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson put onstage was opera.

"Einstein" has no narrative. "Einstein" has ...Read more

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7 movies with the best debut performances ever, from Alan Rickman to Lupita Nyong'o

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and actors typically have little say in what that chance is.

Early in their careers, actors are near the bottom of Hollywood's power structure, which is why the first credits of most of our biggest stars seem unworthy of the talents they will become. Tom Hanks debuted in the shocker "He Knows ...Read more

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What to stream: Thanksgiving picks

Although the Thanksgiving movie isn't the same cultural behemoth as the Christmas movie, there's something a bit more nuanced and bittersweet about the Thanksgiving-set film, more rueful and winsome. And while you can find all sorts of holiday-themed fare, especially on Hallmark and Lifetime at the moment, here are a few Thanksgiving movies to ...Read more

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My worst moment: Julia Stiles and the grocery thief who was actually her costar

For the first two seasons of the conspiracy thriller "Riviera" on the Sundance Now streaming platform, the setting was true to its title: The glamorous Cote d'Azur in France, with Julia Stiles as an art curator and widow of a billionaire who left behind a scheming ex-wife and adult children who are ... complicated.

At the start of Season 3, ...Read more

How safe is it to go to indoor movie theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Remember what it was like going out to see a movie?

Even though movie theaters have implemented protocols to protect guests and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of the measures have been met with praise from experts, the exhibition industry remains in a state of crisis. Indoor theaters have been closed in Los Angeles County since ...Read more

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Bad Bunny tests positive for COVID-19 but is 'OK' after skipping AMAs

Bad Bunny didn't get to perform at the American Music Awards Sunday night after he, like so many others in the U.S., tested positive for COVID-19 and had to stay home.

Instead, the Puerto Rican artist announced the favorite female Latin artist winner — the trophy went to Becky G — and accepted two AMAs virtually while safely quarantined.

...Read more

Finally, Hallmark's holiday fare makes a gay couple 'part of the family'

When Jonathan Bennett was first sent the script for "The Christmas House," his initial thought was, "Who's my love interest? Who's my girl?"

It's an understandable instinct. After all, the project hails from Hallmark Channel, whose annual "Countdown to Christmas" lineup of original movies — a seasonal mainstay both lucrative and beloved — ...Read more

Kaley Cuoco takes a dark turn in 'The Flight Attendant'

That sweet Nebraskan Penny fresh off "The Big Bang Theory" suddenly finds herself walking on the wild side. And it's all her fault.

Kaley Cuoco, who played Penny for 12 years, is not only starring but is producing her latest series, "The Flight Attendant," premiering on HBO Max Thursday.

And this is not the Penny we grew to love.

In this dark...Read more

Album reviews: The War on Drugs, Nick Cave, Tanya Tucker

The War on Drugs

"Live Drugs"

(Super High Quality (ASTERISK)(ASTERISK)(ASTERISK) 1/2)

Adam Granduciel is a perfectionist, a studio obsessive who builds up the War on Drugs' atmospheric music from painstakingly layered guitars and keyboards on songs that cast a hypnotic spell as they embark on journeys of discovery.

Acclaimed albums like 2014...Read more

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What Viola Davis learned from Ma Rainey: 'She was unapologetic about her worth and her power'

Viola Davis has collected an Academy Award, an Emmy, two Tonys and dozens more acting kudos, and now another powerhouse role has propelled her to the top of the 2021 best actress Oscar race: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, the unapologetically brash real-life Southern blues singer at the center of a tempestuous 1927 Chicago recording session in the August...Read more


How Pete Docter and Kemp Powers brought the first Black Pixar protagonist to life in 'Soul'

In 1963, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock was playing a show with Miles Davis when, during Davis' solo, he played the wrong chord.

Shamed, he froze for about a minute. "Miles paused for a second and then he played some notes that made my chord right," Hancock recalled. "(He) was able to make something that was wrong into something that was right ...Read more

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How the trans icon that Spain 'didn't want to see' inspired TV's newest global smash

It's unlikely that the vice president of the United States would stan a trans icon of the 1990s.

The second vice president of Spain, however, did just that.

"Last night I finished watching 'Veneno,'" Pablo Iglesias, third in line for the presidency, tweeted in Spanish last month, shortly before the series' conclusion. "It makes you cry, laugh,...Read more

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These aren't model Mormons. Inside the absurd, surprisingly profound new 'Housewives'

The stars of the latest series in the "Real Housewives" franchise are an assortment of over-the-top, attention-seeking personalities straight out of Bravo central casting.

There's a tequila entrepreneur who picks up family dinner at Taco Bell in her Porsche. A baby-voiced blond who celebrates her wedding anniversary with a spin on the stripper ...Read more

Review: Restore your faith in humanity with Disney's alien talk show, 'Earth to Ned'

I was stumbling recently through the thicket we call television when I came upon the sunny clearing that is "Earth to Ned," streaming since September on Disney+. Having already written about the year's two previous Muppet-related series — "The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo" on HBO Max" and "Muppets Now," also on Disney+ — it seemed only right,...Read more


Review: Excellent voice performances, smart jokes and eye-popping animation power 'Croods: A New Age'

Note: We are continuing to review theatrical film releases during the COVID-19 pandemic, though please be aware that indoor moviegoing does carry risk during this time. Please follow every health and safety guideline outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as guidelines provided by local health officials in your area. ...Read more

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Sia is under fire for how her film portrays autism. But she's the one feeling 'FURY'

Australian pop singer-songwriter Sia is known for hits such as "Chandelier" but also for protecting her privacy, often concealing her identity with larger-than-life wigs.

It might come as a surprise, then, that the nine-time Grammy nominee engaged directly with critics of the new trailer for her upcoming film, "Music."

The project, which she's...Read more

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Review: Riz Ahmed drums up awards attention as musician battling hearing loss in 'Sound of Metal'

"Sound of Metal" is an act of empathy, and like a lot of empathy, it does not come easily.

Although he's a fascinating medley of contradictions, lead character Ruben (Riz Ahmed, who's sensational) is not particularly likable. A recovering addict who has been sober for four years, he lies to the most important people in his life.

As the movie ...Read more

Review: In 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,' Chadwick Boseman gives his final and finest performance

Where to begin? It seems an appropriate question to ask of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," the gale-force whirlwind of a film adapted from August Wilson's 1982 play. Sweepingly directed by George C. Wolfe and incisively adapted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, it's a story of Black lives and Black music in the early 20th century that has lost little of its...Read more

Mary McNamara: So many lives would be different if we'd had 'The Queen's Gambit' 50 years ago. Including mine

The Netflix chess epic "The Queen's Gambit" has entered the stage of cultural ascendency in which people choose via Buzzfeed quiz or personal inclination which character "you are." Sexy Benny ("Love Actually's" Thomas Brodie-Sangster), the chess cowboy who thinks for five minutes or so that he is better than prodigy Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy)...Read more