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LOS ANGELES – The biggest prize of the night went to the historical drama “12 Years a Slave,” but with seven Oscars including a history-making best director award for Alfonso Cuaron, the force of “Gravity” exerted itself at the 86th annual Academy Awards. Meanwhile, two of the stars of “Dallas Buyers Club,” Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, took home Best Actor and Best…

When Roma Downey and her husband, Mark Burnett, decided to make a movie about the life of Jesus, the couple’s teenagers had some advice.“They said, ‘Don’t make it lame. Make it cool,’ ” Downey said. So when she and Burnett brought back early footage from the filming, they showed it to the movie-savvy critics at home.“When we sat them down to watch it, they were totally eng…

Featured

It was impossible to imagine that a movie year as superb as 2013 would turn into such an unholy mess of an Oscar race. But so it has. And maybe, in retrospect, that’s a competitive inevitability for such a strong movie year.But all that wretchedness in the nomination process and ugliness afterward may yet result in a moment as dramatic as most of us have seen in recent Aca…

Lifestyles

LOS ANGELES – Forget the celebrity stylists. That persnickety bunch tends to a handful of the highest-wattage Oscar contenders. There are 203 nominees this year.The real behind-the-scenes stars leading up to the Academy Awards on Sunday are the specialists who serve everyone: the florist who delivers dozens of $600 congratulations bouquets on a single morning, the papersmi…

Movies

Some ancient basketball wisdom: “You can’t coach height.” No coach in the world could have coached Shaquille O’Neal, for instance, to be 7 feet 1 inch.It applies to movie stars too – especially in movies like “Non-Stop,” opening tonight. No one could have taught Liam Neeson to be 6 feet 4 inches. Robert Mitchum, it’s true, in his more raffish cocktail-fueled moments used t…

Movies

Some ancient basketball wisdom: “You can’t coach height.” No coach in the world could have coached Shaquille O’Neal, for instance, to be 7 feet 1 inch.It applies to movie stars too – especially in movies like “Non-Stop,” opening tonight. No one could have taught Liam Neeson to be 6 feet 4 inches. Robert Mitchum, it’s true, in his more raffish cocktail-fueled moments used t…

Compared with the soapy family dramas that movie audiences are accustomed to, “Like Father, Like Son” is polished crystal, so clear and personal in its presentation that you feel part of the families it follows, even after the movie has ended.Anyone who has ever been a parent, or a child, can relate to the situation facing the two couples at the center of the story, contri…

Compared with the soapy family dramas that movie audiences are accustomed to, “Like Father, Like Son” is polished crystal, so clear and personal in its presentation that you feel part of the families it follows, even after the movie has ended.Anyone who has ever been a parent, or a child, can relate to the situation facing the two couples at the center of the story, contri…

Movies

Blame Mel Gibson for it if you like, but no Jesus movie these days is worth its salt without an utterly unflinching treatment of his torture and crucifixion. And “Son of God” has stretches where the agony we watch this poor man endure is avert-your-eyes awful. If history ever produced a more excruciating form of punishment, it probably included lions at dinnertime.But “Son…

Movies

Blame Mel Gibson for it if you like, but no Jesus movie these days is worth its salt without an utterly unflinching treatment of his torture and crucifixion. And “Son of God” has stretches where the agony we watch this poor man endure is avert-your-eyes awful. If history ever produced a more excruciating form of punishment, it probably included lions at dinnertime.But “Son…

Featured

It’s 1927, the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs. Movies don’t talk yet. That doesn’t mean that movie people don’t. Douglas Fairbanks, who could no doubt be downright chatty on occasion, was one of those who signed on to this, as one of the purposes of the newly formed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – “to further the welfare and protect the honor and good repute…

Movies

CHICAGO – Harold Ramis was one of Hollywood’s most successful comedy filmmakers when he moved his family from Los Angeles back to the Chicago area in 1996. His career was still thriving, with “Groundhog Day” acquiring almost instant classic status upon its 1993 release and 1984’s “Ghostbusters” ranking among the highest-grossing comedies of all time, but the writer-directo…

Buffalo

Hertel Avenue is about to get its crown jewel back.The North Park Theatre announced Monday that its much-awaited reopening will take place March 7.And when it does, longtime observers can’t help but point out, this will not be your father’s North Park Theatre. Some significant changes are in the offing for the North Buffalo movie house, apart from the extensive renovation …

Movies

We’re one week from the Oscars, which means we’re about one week and 10 seconds away from the first tweet complaining about the show.But why wait?Let’s be clear: We’re not wishing failure on this year’s Oscar telecast or predicting that host Ellen DeGeneres will bomb. When it comes to the Oscars, we’re always hopeful, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin or an L.A. res…

Movies

The story in “Frozen,” the blockbuster Disney musical, did not originally center on two sister princesses. Based loosely on “The Snow Queen” fairy tale, it always had a pair of girls at its core, but it wasn’t until several years into the production process, at a story meeting in the company’s Burbank, Calif., headquarters, that someone suggested that Elsa and Anna be sibl…