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'Beauty and the Beast' tops Friday box office

LOS ANGELES -- It was a tale as old as time at Friday's box office, as Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" once again climbed into the top spot.

The live-action remake of the animated classic starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens grossed $23.9 million, bringing its cumulative box office to more than $300 million and putting it on track to pull in ...Read more

The $30 question: How much would you pay to stream a big new movie?

Would you pay $50 to see a big mainstream movie at home, a month after it hits theaters?

What about two weeks?

What about paying $30?

Let's call this the theoretical $30 question. Earlier this week, Variety's Brent Lang reported on the majority of the major film studios currently negotiating their future releasing strategy, specifically how ...Read more

Kris Kristofferson and the sad, off-key ravages of time

CHICAGO -- Few concert experiences are more dispiriting than watching a proven artist flounder onstage. Especially when the performer happens to be an icon. His glory days behind him, Kris Kristofferson played a 95-minute show Wednesday at a sold-out City Winery that engendered feelings of pity, discomfort and bewilderment. Witnessing the 80-...Read more

Harrison Ford was concerned about other plane's turbulence when he landed on taxiway

LOS ANGELES -- Actor Harrison Ford was concerned about turbulence from a nearby airliner when he narrowly missed a passenger jet preparing to takeoff and landed on a taxiway last month at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, according to air traffic control recordings released Friday.

"I'm the schmuck who landed on the taxiway," Ford told the ...Read more

Director: 'Trainspotting' sequel 'cruel' to its stars

Movies have been preoccupied recently with time and aging -- Richard Linklater with his "Sunrise" trilogy and "Boyhood," even "Logan" with its superhero-in-winter premise.

The latest in that vein (pardon the pun) is "T2 Trainspotting," a chance for Danny Boyle to revisit his 1997 surprise smash, at the time a galvanizing rebel yell for U.K. ...Read more

Movie review: If 'Life' seems familiar, that's because it is

Hey, "Life." 1979 called. It wants its alien-invasion movie back.

"Life" so echoes Ridley Scott's 38-year-old claustrophobic science-fiction classic "Alien," in which a group of space travelers is under attack from a merciless invasive being, that it can only pale by comparison. But, taken on its own creature-feature terms, "Life" has enough ...Read more

Movie review: New 'Power Rangers' isn't very good, but maybe that's the whole point

LOS ANGELES -- In a world where the superhero blockbuster franchise reigns supreme, there are really only two kinds of moviegoers: those who greet the post-credits stinger with gasps of recognition and delight and those who endure it in ignorant, resentful silence.

As someone who usually falls in with the latter group, I found myself in the ...Read more

Carrie Fisher's 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' scenes will not be changed

LOS ANGELES -- "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will not be changed because of Carrie Fisher's death. The actress, who died in December, appears throughout the next installment of the blockbuster series and won't be replaced by a hologram, Walt Disney Co.'s top executive announced Thursday.

Fisher's unexpected death sparked fervent speculation about ...Read more

Movie review: Dax Shepard's 'CHIPS' sacrifices highway for low way

LOS ANGELES -- A subtle difference in capitalization -- the only thing here that can be remotely described as subtle -- separates "CHiPs" the amiable 1977-83 TV show from "CHIPS" the dunderheaded new buddy-cop movie starring Dax Shepard and Michael Pena.

But the all-caps title more or less captures the bigger, more blockheaded approach taken ...Read more

Movie review: Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal star in 'Life,' a close encounter gone very wrong

What is it, exactly, that's alive in "Life," a grim and fairly effective cross between "The Martian" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"?

The "it," nicknamed Calvin, is a squishy, microscopic life form discovered in a soil sample taken from the surface of Mars. If Matt Damon had discovered Calvin in the first 20 minutes of "The Martian," "The ...Read more

Movie review: 'Life' is intense, if not great

Muddled, rudderless, yet graphically impressive and effectively packed with dismay, "Life" is the science fiction shocker that will do until a better one comes along. Is it great? No. Intense? Definitely.

Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson play crewmembers of a multinational space mission. With three other colleagues, they are ...Read more

Jordan Peele amazed at appeal of 'Get Out'

Jordan Peele knew "Get Out" had a shot. The reviews were glowing. The tracking was strong. The buzz was decidedly buzzy. All signs pointed to at least a decent-sized success for a modestly budgeted movie with no major stars.

Still, on the eve of the release of his debut feature, the writer and director couldn't keep his mind from occasionally ...Read more

Drake goes roaming: In 'More Life,' he lets go on one hand and focuses on his pet topics on the other

An album. A mixtape. An audiobook in which he annotates his old scripts from "Degrassi: The Next Generation."

At this point, it doesn't really matter what form a new Drake release takes. The Canadian rapper and singer -- and former teen actor -- is so popular that whatever he puts out is almost certain to attract listeners in record numbers.

...Read more

Q&A: Future of 'Big Bang Theory'; 'The Pinkertons'

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: I am hoping that you can finally clear up the questions about "The Big Bang Theory." Every day I see contradicting articles saying the show is coming back for two more seasons or the actors have decided not to come back and the show will be cancelled. Does anyone really know?

A: Shortly after I ...Read more

Movie review: Supernatural thriller 'Dig Two Graves' has lifeless plot

"Dig Two Graves" is a low-budget, medium-wattage indie thriller, stronger on the acting than on the thrilling. It was filmed in southern Illinois in 2013, and the co-writer-director Hunter Adams exploits the bluffs, ravines and caves of the area known as Little Egypt with a shrewd eye for clammy atmosphere. If only atmosphere were everything!

...Read more

Movie review: Shirley MacLaine gets 'The Last Word'

The feisty Shirley MacLaine has lived her life and spoken her mind on her own terms. That makes her the perfect casting to play Harriet Lauler, a retired take-charge businesswoman in "The Last Word." This is one of those occasions where fact and fiction blur into a thing of creative beauty.

It's good it did because MacLaine is the only reason ...Read more

Movie review: There's a story in 'Wilson,' but not a whole movie

A character, even when he's played by Woody Harrelson, is not a movie. "Wilson," based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, is the story of a grumpy, lonely middle-aged man; the sort who plunks down next to you on an otherwise empty bus and starts asking questions about what you're reading. Needing a jolt, he gets one upon reconnecting with his ...Read more

Movie review: 'Song to Song' is haunting meditation on sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll

There's a feeling of emotional detachment in so many of Terrence Malick's films that they seem more like metaphysical photograph albums. The historic scope of his Pocahontas epic "The New World" and galaxy-encompassing cosmology of "The Tree of Life" are not experiences most viewers feel are connected to recognizable feelings.

It's a bit easier...Read more

Young cast morphs into on-screen 'Power' team

LOS ANGELES -- The '90s TV show "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" has been adapted into a big screen version. This time the "Power Rangers" are more serious and the special effects a lot bigger and bolder.

Just like the original TV series, the actors brought together to play the five heroes from Angel Grove are relative unknowns. The following...Read more

Capsule reviews of feature films

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. 3 stars. Live-action version of the 1991 animated classic, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the title roles. Competently staged by Bill Condon, but does not improve on the 2D Disney original. With Luke Evans and Josh Gad. 2 hrs. 9 PG (action violence, peril) -- Gary Thompson

BEFORE I FALL. 3 stars. Surprisingly dark...Read more

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