The Billboard Music Awards had something to say — and actually said it

How to judge Kelly Clarkson's first time hosting an awards show?

Consider that the singer brought a touch of suspense -- and a deep well of feeling -- to an annual production whose predictable data-based prizes include one for the year's top-selling album.

Welcoming viewers to Sunday's Billboard Music Awards, broadcast live on NBC from the MGM...Read more

Barack and Michelle Obama partner with Netflix to produce movies and TV shows

Barack Obama has long had close ties to Hollywood. Now the 44th U.S. president is officially becoming a Hollywood producer in a new multiyear deal with Netflix that will see the former commander in chief and his wife, Michelle, produce movies, TV series and other content for the global streaming giant.

Netflix announced Monday that the former ...Read more

Even at the Rose Bowl, Taylor Swift forges an intimate bond with fans

PASADENA, Calif. -- As another school year draws to a close, it has to cross Taylor Swift's mind that, on the road to being one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, she sacrificed the formal education that most of her peers have experienced.

When you become a professional songwriter at 14, sign a recording contract at 15 and release your ...Read more

The wonderful, improbable Palme d'Or triumph of Hirokazu Kore-eda's 'Shoplifters' at Cannes

CANNES, France -- On the last day of every Cannes Film Festival, word begins to leak out about which filmmakers from the competition have been called back for the closing-night awards ceremony.

Many of us already knew, going into Saturday night's show, that Alice Rohrwacher's "Happy as Lazzaro," Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," Nadine Labaki's "...Read more

Soft-spoken Carl Lumbly combats shyness with his roles

PASADENA, Calif. -- You'd never guess by watching actor Carl Lumbly in his myriad incarnations on screen, stage and television that he's inordinately shy.

Soft-spoken and pensive, Lumbly says, "I was raised in a wonderful home with three sisters. And my father was very dominant. So I think a lot of air was taken up, and I learned to keep my own...Read more

'Deadpool 2' tops 'Avengers' but fails to surpass its predecessor

LOS ANGELES -- Two Josh Brolin-led Marvel movies dominated the domestic box office this weekend, led by 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool 2."

"It's Deadpool's world and we're just living in it," said Chris Aronson, the studio's president of distribution.

The film opened in first place with $125 million, the second biggest debut for an R-rated film ...Read more

A new-world spin on old tradition

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was grand in many ways, but perhaps the most striking aspect were the myriad collisions of American and British culture.

The wedding was an unprecedented mix of royal pomp, British tradition, black-American culture and Hollywood celebrity. Britain's longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...Read more

'Shoplifters' wins Palme d'Or as Spike Lee takes second place at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

He sat in his seat, perfectly still, as if he couldn't believe the news. And he was not the only one surprised, as master Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda was the unexpected but very welcome winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or for his "Shoplifters."

Kore-eda has been at the festival several times before, most recently with films ...Read more

Japanese director Kore-Eda wins best-film prize at Cannes

CANNES, France -- Hirokazu Kore-Eda Saturday became the first Japanese director in 21 years to win the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or for best film.

Kore-Eda was awarded the prize for "Shoplifters," which tells a heartbreaking story about a family of petty criminals.

The last Japanese director to win the prize was Shohei Imamura in 1997 for...Read more

John Travolta's 'Gotti' had a rocky road to the Cannes Film Festival and the challenges aren't over yet

CANNES, France -- The soiree had all the trappings of an ultra-luxe affair: Guests dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns, wandered the grounds of one of the most expensive hotels in the world, the du Cap-Eden-Roc. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, partygoers sipped champagne until 50 Cent -- who had been flown in to perform a 20-minute set -- ...Read more

The fear is now: How HBO's 'Fahrenheit 451' measures up against TV's most recent dystopian dramas

Democracy has been replaced by authoritarian rule. All books, music and art deemed "inappropriate" are banned. Citizens are controlled by computers and/or robots. Free will is a thing of the past.

The best sci-fi and dystopian fantasies articulate the fears of a grim, future America that's terrifyingly close to the one we live in now, but far ...Read more

With reboots of 'Magnum P.I.' and 'Charmed,' everything old is new again at the TV Upfronts

One of science-fiction's most enduring tales is H.G. Wells "The Time Machine," in which a man uses a vehicle to move backward and forward in time.

No such vehicles were in evidence last week during the broadcast networks' upfront presentations unveiling their new shows and upcoming fall schedules to advertisers in New York. But judging from the...Read more

Album reviews: Playboi Carti, Arctic Monkeys, Brent Cobb

Playboi Carti

"Die Lit"

(AWGE/Interscope )

Atlanta's Playboi Carti would not be the first artist to be looked upon as enigmatic, especially as -- up until the present -- he's released none of his own solo material to show for his long rep as the king of the mumble rappers. Features? He's had a slew of them since 2014, with repetitive, ...Read more

'13 Reasons Why' wades deeper into controversial territory in Season 2

The first season of "13 Reasons Why," an adaptation of Jay Asher's young adult novel of the same name, was a binge-fest for young viewers. But the Netflix series, which centers on the lead-up to a teenage girl's suicide, also became a cultural lightning rod, triggering critical takes on its value and potential danger.

While the first season ...Read more

When Harry Met Meghan: The royal wedding is the perfect Hollywood ending for a very Hollywood story

LOS ANGELES -- In Hollywood, the best love stories are the ones that involve an Unlikely Couple -- two people so divided by family or fate, time or class, personality or geography that it seems impossible they will ever get together.

Saturday's royal wedding provides a happy ending made possible by Hollywood, so it makes sense that it involves ...Read more

P. Diddy revealed as buyer of $21 million painting

CHICAGO -- Hip-hop mogul P. Diddy has been revealed as the buyer of Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall's "Past Times," the work that sold at auction this week for $21 million, a price believed to be near the maximum paid for a living artist.

Marshall's New York dealer, Jack Shainman, told the New York Times that P. Diddy, whose real name is ...Read more

Star cellist, 19, was to perform in L.A., but then Meghan Markle called

LOS ANGELES -- You've heard of a runaway bride. But what about a runaway cellist?

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra learned that it will be left at the altar this weekend -- the altar being the Alex Theatre on Glendale, Calif. For the last concert of its 50th anniversary season, LACO was to perform with 19-year-old British cello virtuoso Sheku ...Read more

Star-packed 'Book Club' a welcome respite from superhero overload

Almost everyone with a pulse would hit movie theaters last week to check out "Deadpool 2," the first film with a legitimate shot to dethrone "Avengers: Infinity War" from the top perch at the box office.

Those looking to escape the summer comic book and blockbuster onslaught would have to settle for "Book Club."

"Settle" may not be an ...Read more

The bracing 'First Reformed,' starring a superb Ethan Hawke, resurrects Paul Schrader's career

In the opening shot of Paul Schrader's new movie, the camera creeps slowly toward First Reformed Church, a small chapel in upstate New York that has welcomed parishioners since 1767. The place has seen better days, and so has its weary reverend, Ernst Toller (a superb Ethan Hawke).

He leads a weekly congregation of about four or five in a ...Read more

'Cold Water,' Olivier Assayas' brilliant 1994 film, finally arrives in the U.S.

There are a few different meanings for the title of the 1994 French youth drama "Cold Water," an early triumph for the writer-director Olivier Assayas that is only now receiving a proper U.S. theatrical release.

An intimate, enveloping tale of romance and rebellion set in 1972, the film opens in a suburb near Paris but soon follows its 16-year-...Read more

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