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'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

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

Can 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' boost a sluggish box office?

Hollywood's attention will be squarely focused on the Oscars this weekend, where "Green Book," "Roma" and "A Star Is Born" will vie for the top prize. At the same time, the cinema industry is hoping Toothless, the dragon, breathes some fire into the box office.

"How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" is expected to top the domestic charts ...Read more

Review: 'Prosecuting Evil' makes a rightful case for honoring Nuremberg Trial icon Ben Ferencz

Ben Ferencz should be a household name. That idea is effectively and energetically argued in the documentary "Prosecuting Evil," directed by Barry Avrich. 98-year-old lawyer Ferencz is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, and an icon of international criminal justice. At 27, he prosecuted and won his first case -- the biggest ...Read more

Redbox's Top 10 DVD rentals

The top 10 DVD rentals at Redbox kiosks for the week of Feb. 11:

1. Bohemian Rhapsody -- Fox

2. Dr. Seuss' The Grinch -- Universal

3. Nobody's Fool (2018) -- Paramount

4. Widows -- Fox

5. The Girl in the Spider's Web -- Sony

6. Hunter Killer -- Lionsgate

7. First Man -- Universal

8. Night School -- Universal

9. The Nutcracker and the ...Read more

These books-turned-movies — including 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' — are coming to screens near you

The worlds of books and movies collide daily on my desk -- and on the 2019 movie release schedule, which is full of adaptations of classic and current novels. Here's a sampling of what's coming soon, to whet the literary appetite:

"The Aftermath." Rhidian Brook's 2013 novel is set in 1946, and presents a British colonel and his wife living in ...Read more

The sublime poetry of Michel Legrand's film music

In 1964, a French television interviewer asked composer Michel Legrand if writing for film is "sort of like selling your soul."

The occasion was the release that year of director Jacques Demy's "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," with Legrand's impeccably crafted, poignantly moving score.

At first, Legrand deflected the insulting question, ...Read more

Former Trump aide to lead CNN's 2020 election coverage

NEW YORK -- CNN, a frequent target of President Donald Trump, hired a member of his administration to be its new political editor and oversee 2020 election coverage.

Sarah Isgur Flores will join CNN next month, according to the network. Over the past two years, she was a spokeswoman and senior counsel at the Justice Department. Previously, she ...Read more