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Everything about David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” opening Friday, is a triumph and a stunner. If there’s any movie that puts an exclamation point to just how wonderful this movie year has been, “American Hustle” is the one. That it’s Russell’s best movie by far means that the often-bumpy – and obnoxious – journey of this wildly talented and tempest…

Movies

Was there ever an actor who aged more gracefully, more beautifully, than Peter O’Toole, who died Saturday at age 81?I know the conventional wisdom is otherwise, insisting that, physically at least, O’Toole bore the ravages of a hard-lived life. I said as much myself writing about 2006’s “Venus,” noting that it was “wrenching” to see his character “sitting o…

LOS ANGELES – The films “12 Years a Slave,” “Captain Phillips,” “Gravity,” “Philomena” and “Rush” received Golden Globes nominations this morning in the best drama category, while “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” were nominated in the best musical or comedy category.Both “1…

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Even after more than 12 (!) hours spent in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth over the course of four films, Peter Jackson still finds ways to surprise us with breathtaking visuals. Meet Smaug, a greedy, paranoid dragon who enjoys lazily sleeping in a sea of gold – and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, no less. The dragon is the most wondrous creature in “The Hobbit: The De…

LOS ANGELES – “12 Years a Slave” and “ Lee Daniels’ The Butler” earned a total of seven nominations Wednesday for the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards, solidifying their status as front-runners as the road to Oscar gold begins in earnest.The films are hallmarks of an extraordinary year for black cinema, rich with critical acclaim and box-office success, and Wedn…

The passing of Paul Walker on Nov. 30 cast a grim shadow over his film work, especially the “Fast & Furious” movies for which he was most famous.Long before he died as a passenger in a fiery auto accident, the sixth movie in the series was set for release on DVD and Blu-ray this week. That release still happened, although the studio, Universal, has said an unspecified …

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Even after more than 12 (!) hours spent in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth over the course of four films, Peter Jackson still finds ways to surprise us with breathtaking visuals. Meet Smaug, a greedy, paranoid dragon who enjoys lazily sleeping in a sea of gold – and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, no less. The dragon is the most wondrous creature in “The Hobbit: The De…

Gusto

Five cast members from the holiday favorite “A Christmas Story” will be in North Tonawanda on Saturday for a 30th anniversary screening of the film. Here’s how you may remember them and what they look like today.Ian PetrellaYou know him as Ralphie’s little brother, Randy Parker. He hates meatloaf but chows it down when Ma Parker asks him to show her “how the pigg…

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Ian Petrella, who played Ralphie’s kid brother Randy in the 1983 holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” has answered the same questions hundreds of times.No, he doesn’t really hate meatloaf. Yes, he owns a leg lamp. No, he doesn’t watch the movie that made him famous. And yes, he can put his arms down.But after all these years, the film’s obsessive fans cannot ge…

When a man loves a city, he’s got to make a movie about it. At least that’s the case for Michael Bolton, whose latest passion project is a documentary about Detroit and its potential for resurgence.The Grammy-winning singer has been spreading an excess of good cheer in his hip new holiday commercials for Honda. But that’s nothing compared to his feelings for the Moto…

I used to think there was no contest, that Martin Luther King was the greatest history-making figure of my lifetime.But, as the life and recent death of Nelson Mandela have shown me, that may be as much American chauvinism as anything else – the unavoidable reality of the ’50s and ’60s civil rights struggle in America coinciding with my childhood and adolescence. The…

Movies

LOS ANGELES – A medical journal that recently concluded that violence in movies rated PG-13 is skyrocketing has a new report showing that almost 90 percent of the highest-grossing recent movies have violent characters, more than three-quarters of which also engage in drinking, smoking or sex.The study in Pediatrics, the monthly publication of the American Academy of Pedi…

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The year is 1992. Nelson Mandela, two years beyond his release from 27 years of political imprisonment and two years before he will be elected president of South Africa, stands before a classroom of Soweto children.A rare moment is being captured by camera and crew: Mandela as actor, rather than activist. Cast in the role of teacher, handed words to speak that are not his …

I haven’t gone to the Market Arcade Theater in years. I can’t seem to find a reason to.We used to go to morning critics’ screenings there frequently. I even knew where the secret truck delivery button was at the back entrance to tell the employees inside that someone needed to be let in. Because of its downtown proximity to The News, it was an enormously convenient p…

Movies

ORLANDO, Fla. – A movie inspired veteran director Jenni Gold to seek a life in Hollywood behind the camera.“Tom McBride played a guy, confined to a wheelchair, in ‘Friday the 13th Part 2,’ ” Gold said. “As a kid, what stood out to me was he was just like me, in a wheelchair. A guy who liked to hang out with his friends. I thought, ‘That’s AWESOME.’ He was…