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Anna Deavere Smith talks about taking on real people and Shondaland

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Anna Deavere Smith has lived many lives as an actress for hire, moving fluidly among stage, film and television. The Baltimore native has inhabited memorable characters in "The American President" and "Rachel Getting Married" and on "Nurse Jackie," "The West Wing" and most recently "black-ish." (She joins the Shondaland ...Read more

'Designated Survivor's' Italia Ricci calls politics stranger than comic book worlds

LOS ANGELES -- One of the biggest mid-season finales among all the network programs was the ABC drama "Designated Survivor," where a deadly car crash took the life of First Lady Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone). When the series returns to original programming Wednesday, 10 weeks will have passed and President Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) and ...Read more

Natalie Portman's savvy sci-fi thriller 'Annihilation' is a real thriller

"Annihilation" is an eerie, ominous and challenging film that is also great. With a stellar cast, state-of-the-art visual effects and excellent direction, it burrows its way into your brain like a parasite and eats it from the inside.

This is a sophisticated science fiction film that takes us to unbearable heights of fear, tension and bleak ...Read more

How Yance Ford's historic 'Strong Island' Oscar nomination is a victory for more than trans filmmakers

On Oscar nominations morning, Yance Ford sat on his couch with his partner, Amanda, watching the telecast. One hundred seventy documentary features had qualified for consideration, and Ford's "Strong Island" had already made it to a pre-nominations shortlist of 15.

As announcement hosts Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish made their way to the ...Read more

Finely wrought new Netflix crime drama 'Seven Seconds' is like a spiritual cousin to 'The Killing'

Veena Sud, who developed AMC's "The Killing," has a new series, "Seven Seconds," 10 episodes to binge on Netflix starting Friday. That is easy to do, graced as it is with well-wrought characters, wonderful performances, a keen sense of place and weather, and the old familiar questions of who gets justice, if anyone gets justice, and who receives...Read more

Movie review: 'Survivor's Guide to Prison' shows a corrupt criminal justice system

Activist and filmmaker Matthew Cooke directs an anti-prison film under the rubric of a prison and justice system guidebook in the arresting documentary "Survivor's Guide to Prison." Actor, producer and former inmate Danny Trejo serves as a guide, along with Cooke, who offers his own direct commentary, fleshing out details and facts. A cavalcade ...Read more

'Black Panther' breakout Letitia Wright is just getting started

"My voice is all gone," said Letitia Wright. "I sound like a hoarse-y man."

While the sentiment was a bit of an exaggeration, Wright was beginning to go hoarse after a week of nonstop press for Marvel's highly anticipated "Black Panther."

In the film (now playing in theaters), Wright shines as Shuri, King T'Challa's 16-year-old sister and the ...Read more

Limited series looks at Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. murders

LOS ANGELES -- Tupac Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996, after being shot four times in a drive-by six days earlier. The Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a drive-by shooting March 9, 1997. It has been more than two decades since these colossal names in music were murdered, but both cases remain unsolved.

The new USA Network 10-episode scripted true crime...Read more

'Living Biblically' team hopes they have a prayer with new comedy

LOS ANGELES -- In the beginning, Patrick Walsh created the new CBS comedy "Living Biblically," and he's convinced it's good. His creation follows Chip Curry (Jay R. Ferguson), a reporter who decides he's going to literally live his life according to the Bible. His spiritual journey toward a more moral life will take some help from his wife, ...Read more

'Ash vs Evil Dead' finds more bloody fun each season

LOS ANGELES -- Bruce Campbell and other members of the cast of the Starz series "Ash vs Evil Dead" have gathered at the London Hotel to talk about the upcoming opener for the 10-part third season. Take a moment to think about that. This is a horror/humor story that started 40 years ago when director Sam Raimi made the short film "Within the ...Read more

Mae Whitman enjoys being one of the 'Good Girls'

LOS ANGELES -- Television shows and films are filled with male anti-heroes who don't mind breaking the law if it's done for a good reason. Having the anti-hero be a suburban mom who spends more time making lunches than planning a heist is something very different.

NBC's new series, "Good Girls," features that offbeat concept. Christina ...Read more

My worst moment: Jason Ritter and the audition for a tough-guy role

Sweet, funny and a wellspring of optimism about human nature, the ABC dramedy "Kevin (Probably) Saves the World" has been one of the brighter spots of the TV season. It stars Jason Ritter as a lost soul who leaves his scummy Wall Street job to move back home to Texas, where an angel (seen only by him) advises him on his quest to help others and ...Read more

List of DVD release dates for Feb. 20 and beyond

Following is a partial schedule of coming movies on DVD. Release dates are subject to change:

FEBRUARY

20: Daddy's Home 2

20: The Star

20: Same Kind of Different as Me

20: The Florida Project

20: American Satan

20: Midnight, Texas: Season One

20: Mom and Dad

27: Coco

27: Murder on the Orient Express

27: Darkest Hour

27: Three ...Read more

How massive is 'Black Panther' at the box office? A record-shattering $235 million

The King of Wakanda reigned supreme this holiday weekend as Disney's "Black Panther" proved to be a pop cultural phenomenon, shattering box office records with an estimated $235 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales for the four-day holiday weekend.

The Marvel Entertainment release, the first global superhero blockbuster with an African ...Read more

Album reviews: Melody Gardot, James Hunter Six, MGMT

Melody Gardot

"Live in Europe"

(Decca 1/2)

Philadelphia's smoky-voiced and nimble-fingered Melody Gardot has been an elastic jazzy presence throughout her handful of studio albums since her 2006 debut, "Worrisome Heart." And the singer and pianist's studio ensembles have also been rubbery, hazy and dynamic. Yet anyone who has witnessed ...Read more

Trolls on Twitter make false claims of being assaulted at screenings of 'Black Panther'

As Marvel's latest superhero movie, "Black Panther," draws praise and rakes in millions of dollars at the box office, Twitter trolls have emerged across the country attempting to stoke racial division by spreading false reports about the film's largely African American fans.

Over the last few days, users have posted false claims that they were ...Read more

David Glasser was the Weinstein Co.'s 'third brother.' Will his firing be enough to save the business?

They called him "the third brother."

For years, Weinstein Co. President David Glasser was the right-hand man to Harvey Weinstein, working as a peacemaker between the volatile movie magnate and Weinstein's brother and partner, Bob. Glasser oversaw the company's operations and was key to building its television business.

That abruptly ended ...Read more

Elyse Levesque loves that 'Messenger' is so timely

"Shoot the Messenger," the new WGN America series starring Elyse Levesque, deals with the kind of issues regarding the complex relationships between the media, the police and the political world that come across as if the scripts were being written only moments before each episode of the dramatic thriller airs.

In actuality, the eight episodes ...Read more

Record-breaking box office, traditional African garb as 'Black Panther' fever takes over LA

LOS ANGELES -- "Black Panther" fever took over Los Angeles and beyond this weekend as the highly anticipated Disney film opened to the kind of fervor typically reserved for the latest offering in the "Star Wars" franchise.

The Marvel Entertainment release took in an estimated $192 million over the weekend domestically, making it the highest ...Read more

'Royal Hearts' would be broken if James Brolin hadn't directed

You would think someone with an enviable acting resume like James Brolin -- which includes two Golden Globes and a Primetime Emmy -- would be content with the professional life he's had. The Southern California native is 77 years old but keeps adding to his credits, not only starring in the CBS comedy "Life in Pieces," but also as the star and ...Read more