Capsule reviews of feature films

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. 2.5 stars. A heaping 156-minute plate of plot spaghetti, as superheroes and supervillains chase six objects across time and space in a bid to control ultimate power in the universe. Just enough moments of humor to keep things watchable, but the movie is overcrowded with Avengers (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chadwick ...Read more

My worst moment: 'Westworld's' Jeffrey Wright and a last-minute schedule change

The making of HBO's "Westworld" is a complicated process that star Jeffrey Wright describes as "a game of benevolent chaos." Multiple units are filming on the same day -- sometimes as many as four might be working on different portions of an episode.

"These many threads come together to create one tapestry and fusing together in ways that I ...Read more

Trump praises Fox News' Tomi Lahren after confrontation at Minneapolis restaurant

MINNEAPOLIS -- President Donald Trump tweeted his full-throated support for Fox News pundit Tomi Lahren early Wednesday in the viral wake of a liquid-launching incident in Minneapolis last weekend.

At 6:22 a.m. Wednesday, Trump's @realdonaldtrump issued the following: "Everybody is with Tomi Lahren, a truly outstanding and respected young woman...Read more

Funny lady Julia Louis-Dreyfus to receive this year's Mark Twain Prize

Move over, Emmy. There's a new accolade in town.

The Kennedy Center announced Wednesday that Julia Louis-Dreyfus will receive the 2018 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, just the latest feather in the 11-time Emmy winner's cap.

"Like Mark Twain, Julia has enriched American culture with her iconic, unforgettable, and outright hilarious brand ...Read more

Film critics look at the highs and lows of Cannes 2018, a festival notable for what happened both on- and off-screen

Much of the discussion headed into this year's Cannes Film Festival revolved around the festival's controversial move to ban Netflix films (or any films not slated to open theatrically in France) from competition and the distinct lack of star-driven titles, particularly from the U.S. Now that this year's edition is complete, Times critics Justin...Read more

Analysis: R. Kelly's fall comes as Chicago, black women finally turn their back on star

CHICAGO -- Award-winning poet, spoken word artist and author Tara Betts didn't think Chicago would ever call out singer R. Kelly about claims of abuse and sexual coercion of young women and girls after years of consistent hits had made him largely untouchable in his hometown.

"I never thought Chicago would get here," Betts said about the local ...Read more

Buddy Guy to receive Americana Assn. Lifetime Achievement Award

Veteran blues man Buddy Guy will add a lifetime achievement award from the Americana Music Assn. in September to his long list of awards and honors.

The association will present the award singling out the 81-year-old blues master's prowess as an instrumentalist on Sept. 12 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville at the group's annual award ...Read more

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' mixes action, nostalgia with likeable characters

I knew the exact moment when "Solo: A Star Wars Story" hooked me -- and no, it didn't take long.

His first-ever interaction with perpetual sidekick Chewbacca is a classic "Star Wars" moment that had me all up in those feelings that gripped me in 1977, as a 12-year-old seeing it for the first time.

The scene captured the nostalgia -- which is ...Read more

August Brown: EDC Las Vegas and the increasing impossibility of escapism

Of all the young fans I talked to over the weekend at Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas -- about Avicii, about the massacre at last year's Route 91 country music festival, and about the music they were here to see regardless -- almost all of them had a similar feeling about the world right now.

It's all falling apart.

I haven't been a teenager...Read more

Grading the first season of ABC's 'American Idol' reboot

When ABC revived "American Idol," just two years after the curtain fell on its 15-season run on Fox, many wondered whether the show would be able to capture its old magic.

The show was years removed from its heyday, when 30 million viewers tuned in weekly to root (and vote) for aspiring singers like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam ...Read more

Movie review: Gender-queer alien cult movie 'How to Talk to Girls at Parties' is the definition of punk

Using a slip of a short story by Neil Gaiman, writer/director John Cameron Mitchell has whipped up "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," a deeply weird gender-queer alien cult environmentalism punk movie that's deeply indebted to the philosophy of yoga. From Mitchell, we wouldn't expect anything less.

Working with co-writer Philippa Goslett, ...Read more

Redbox's Top 10 DVD rentals

The top 10 DVD rentals at Redbox kiosks for the week of May 14:

1. Black Panther -- Disney

2. Fifty Shades Freed -- Universal

3. 12 Strong -- Warner

4. Peter Rabbit -- Sony

5. Den of Thieves -- Universal

6. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle -- Sony

7. Maze Runner: The Death Cure -- Fox

8. The Greatest Showman -- Fox

9. The Commuter -- ...Read more

'Solo' both breaks the mold and pays homage to the 'Star Wars' franchise

Before he became a smug smuggler with a worn, light-speed spaceship and a furry Bigfoot companion, Han Solo wasn't even named Han Solo. And he certainly didn't have a princess as a girlfriend.

Where he began his hoodlum ways, how he crossed the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs and the ways that he adapted to a Galactic Empire full of blaster ...Read more

After R. Kelly is a no-show in court — and his attorneys quit — judge tosses lawsuit

CHICAGO -- After his two attorneys abandoned ship and no one else showed up for a series of court hearings, R. Kelly has lost a lawsuit.

Last April, the embattled Chicago R&B singer filed a federal lawsuit locally against Comcast Spectacor, which runs the Macon Coliseum in Georgia, alleging the venue failed to pay him $100,000 for his concert ...Read more

Movie review: Story, style makes the ride in 'Solo' too bumpy

Much like its protagonist, "Solo: A Star Wars Story" has had a crazy journey. The origin story of a young Han Solo was initially directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, before Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy stepped in to replace the duo with the reliable Ron Howard, who finished shepherding the film to the screen. The result? Well it's a "...Read more

Movie review: 'Mary Shelley' gratuitously sanitizes monster creator's life

The name "Mary Shelley" conjures up images of a lumbering, disfigured, greenish-skinned monster of a man. That monster, now a cultural icon of horror films for over a century, and his mad scientist creator, Dr. Frankenstein, was dreamed up by the teenage Mary Shelley in her 1818 horror/fantasy novel, "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus."

...Read more

Sara Gilbert: The spark that ignited the return of 'Roseanne'

Around this time 21 years ago, "Roseanne," the groundbreaking sitcom about the blue-collar Conner family, came to an end after a successful 10-year run. The notion that it'd be pulled out of retirement more than two decades later and become the success story of the 2017-18 television season would have likely elicited a Roseanne-like cackle from ...Read more

My worst moment: 'Expanse' star Shohreh Aghdashloo and a case of mistaken identity

As the sly and watchful U.N. deputy undersecretary on SyFy's "The Expanse," Shohreh Aghdashloo manages to convey an intimidating blend of steely will (she based her character on Madeleine Albright and Margaret Thatcher) and glamour. The costumes and jewelry alone are showstoppers.

"I owe everything to Joanne Hansen, our costume designer," ...Read more

GLAAD's report on LGBTQ representation in 2017 films finds inclusion trending down

As Hollywood touts great wins for diversity and inclusion with recent films like "Black Panther" and "Wonder Woman" shattering box office records, a new study from GLAAD asserts that representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in 2017 films released by the major studios hit a six-year low.

As a result, the LGBTQ ...Read more

The Sea and Cake rolls with the changes

Sam Prekop was getting so much enjoyment out of making a solo album built on analog synthesizers a few years ago that he couldn't quite wrap his head around the idea of making another guitar-based album with the band he co-founded 24 years ago, the Sea and Cake.

"Once I got into this modular-synth mindset, I couldn't even fathom picking up a ...Read more