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LOS ANGELES — The delay of major movies from Pixar and Universal. The pirating of “The Expendables 3” and “Annie” before their release. Warner Bros. suffering one dud after another. Cyberterrorists forcing the cancellation of a big Sony comedy.Hollywood does not want a sequel to 2014.For the year, ticket sales at North American theaters w…

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LOS ANGELES – In 1964, Margaret Keane was among the most famous living artists in the country, only no one knew it. Keane was the painter behind the big-eyed waifs that were gracing rec rooms and lounges all across America, the mother of a legion of adorable, forsaken children. Her canvasses were all signed simply “Keane,” and that allowed her husband,…

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ORCHARD PARK – Let’s start with the fact that my grandmother Evelyn Elliott is 107 years old. Add to this that she gave up driving only five years ago, can Skype from her iPad and rode out November’s blizzard stranded in the modest house where she has lived since 1932.Yet these are minor points of family lore when you consider how she spends her Sunday af…

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OSLO – Suleiman Bakhit has made a career of studying heroes.Bakhit, 36, is a Jordanian comic book author and entrepreneur who creates Middle Eastern stories that are an alternative to terrorist ideologies. His field research has inclu ded surveys of children in poor neighborhoods in and around the Jordanian capital of Amman and in Syrian refugee camps.All this, he …

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Out on the sidewalks of the Flatiron district, a Manhattan without melodrama shuffles along. But just inside a building on East 23rd Street, a white-haired man dressed to kill aims his baby blues right where you live, and utters the password to your grand escape.“Hi,” he says. “I’m Robert Osborne.”He says it again and again and again, smi…

Mary J. Blige likes to refer to herself in the third person in interviews. What she’s talking about is not a character but a format, an enterprise.During the last 20 years, Blige has established a hard-shell model of big-personality female R&B: the sort of music, halfway between hip-hop and gospel, that represents real talk and reasonable fantasy; deals with iss…

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The pairing of Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed seems at once too obvious and not obvious enough.Too obvious because both are female writers who happen to have had best-selling books optioned by Reese Witherspoon and made into high-octane, swinging-for-the-fences films.And not obvious enough because Flynn specializes in probing dark, unsavory recesses of the human psyche, …

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The news arrived via a celebrity tweet.Conan O’Brien posted in January that one of the most beloved TV series of the 1960s, an action-packed absurdist comedy about a costumed crime fighter and his youthful sidekick was finally coming to home video: “Batman,” starring Adam West and Burt Ward, would be released sometime in 2014.For decades, nostalgic vie…

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Even the horses were afraid of Steve Carell. When he walked the Pennsylvania estate where he filmed “Foxcatcher,” shrouded by the prosthetics and makeup he wore to play John E. du Pont, the troubled scion and convicted murderer, he could tell the animals were keeping their distance.“I was hoping that would happen naturally,” Carell said, smiling…

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WEST ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – It was still two weeks before Halloween when WEZW-FM, the easy-listening standby of Cape May County, N.J., pushed the Christmas button.Not to miss out on the merriment, two rival stations in Birmingham, Ala., activated their holiday playlists within minutes of each other last week, and by December nearly 500 stations around the country wer…

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One of the few certainties in the music business these days is that if Taylor Swift puts out a new album, it will sell by the truckload. Her last two records, “Red” and “Speak Now,” each sold more than 1 million copies in their first week out, an increasingly rare feat as music sales weaken, and listening habits shift to online streaming services like Spotify and YouTube.…

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“I was not your obvious choice for that kind of role,” Dan Stevens said, discussing his part as a crewcutted homicidal maniac in the forthcoming horror-adventure movie “The Guest.”That is true. Last seen by most people lying dead in a ditch in his guise as Matthew Crawley in the waning, traumatizing seconds of the third season of “Downton…

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Regardless of your feelings about Jason Mraz, you can never doubt his sincerity.Since his first hit more than a decade ago, the meaningful-but-hiding-behind-a-sunny-melody “The Remedy,” Mraz has made hearts swoon with “Lucky,” his Grammy-winning duet with Colbie Caillat, spawned a gazillion homemade YouTube videos with the breezy “Iȁ…

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A newly released video has raised fresh questions about National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence situation.Monday, the Baltimore Ravens terminated the running back’s contract after a graphic video emerged of him punching Janay Palmer – Rice’s then-fiancée, who is now his wife – ins…

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The last time most people saw Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader together, the two were probably wearing wigs while hosting a game show, making out with family members or giving unnecessarily detailed California traffic directions on “Saturday Night Live.”The next time audiences see them together, it won’t be so funny.In the opening scene of the writer-direct…