Justin Chang

Lebanon's Oscar contender 'The Insult' wages an absorbing but overblown war of words

The spat that kicks off "The Insult" (L'insulte), an engrossingly blunt instrument of a movie from Lebanese writer-director Ziad Doueiri, concerns an …

Entertainment

Jack Black cons his way into the audience's heart in 'The Polka King'

Playing con artists seems to bring out the best in Jack Black.<p>As a scheming music teacher in "School of Rock" and an increasingly desperate …

Entertainment

Indie Focus: Moving ahead with 'Paddington 2,' 'Saturday Church' and 'The Insult'

Hello! I'm Mark Olsen. Welcome to another edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies.<p>It is a busy, busy time on the awards season calendar, with last week’s Golden Globes plus the DGA and BAFTA nominations.<p>We published our spring movie preview this weekend as well. Josh …

Vicky Krieps

Critics cannot stop gushing about 'Paddington 2,' the best-reviewed movie of 2018 with a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

• <b>"Paddington 2" is the best-reviewed movie of 2018 so far, with a solid 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.</b>• <b><br>It was supposed to be distributed by The Weinstein Company in the United States, but producers looked for another distributor following allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein.</b>• <b><br>The</b> …

Entertainment

Willem Dafoe emerges from the shadows with 'Florida Project,' 'Vampire'

“The Florida Project” may not be getting the love it deserves in the various year-end awards derbies, but the one field where Sean Baker’s masterful drama has rightly dominated has been the supporting actor race, where most of the prizes have gone to Willem Dafoe for his wonderfully lived-in …

Willem Dafoe

Movie review: 'Paddington 2' holds comedy and compassion in a big bear hug

At one point in the new film that (ahem) bears his name, Paddington Brown, the Peruvian-born, London-dwelling ursine hero with the blue coat and …

Entertainment

'Paddington 2' and other movie picks for Jan. 12

<i>Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang.</i><p><b>Call Me by Your Name</b> Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer give superb performances as two young men falling in love in the northern Italian countryside in this rapturously beautiful collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and …

Tommy Wiseau

Ben Whishaw on whether 'Paddington 2' is sending an immigration and Brexit message

It may seem surprising now, but Ben Whishaw wasn’t supposed to play Paddington.<p>The adorably furry bear, who returns to his good-natured hijinks in this weekend’s “Paddington 2,” was actually first voiced by Colin Firth. In fact, Whishaw didn’t come onboard the 2014 “Paddington” movie until filming …

Julius Caesar

Michelle Williams found big challenges and even bigger opportunities in 'All the Money'

To say that Michelle Williams did not spend the Thanksgiving holiday as she intended is something of an understatement. The 37-year-old actress was scheduled for a short break from filming the 2018 Sony/Marvel tentpole “Venom” in Atlanta. Instead, she found herself traveling to London and Rome to …

John Paul Getty III

National Society Of Film Critics: Daniel Kaluuya, Sally Hawkins Win Acting Awards

<i>Refresh for updates</i> The National Society of Film Critics has named Daniel Kaluuya (<i>Get Out</i>) best actor, Sally Hawkins (<i>The Shape of Water, Maudie</i>) …

Awards

WGA Awards: More bad news for 'The Post'

Did the Writers Guild of America awards voters just not see the late-arriving “The Post” in enough numbers to reward it? Or is its omission a sign of awards-season trouble for Steven Spielberg’s period drama?<p>Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide …

Award Shows

Is Legal Pot Going Up in Smoke?

The Justice Department puts a cloud of uncertainty over the marijuana business, and states such as California are preparing to fight back.<p><b>TOP STORIES</b><p><b>Is Legal Pot Going Up in Smoke?</b><p>The high didn’t last long. On Day 4 of legal recreational marijuana in California, <b>U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions</b> ended …

Michael Wolff

Ridley Scott's 'All the Money in the World' and Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' offer a revealing study in directorial contrasts

It’s not exactly rare for Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott, two of the most respected and industrious directors in Hollywood, to have new movies in theaters simultaneously. (It happened before in 2015 with “Bridge of Spies” and “The Martian.”) Still, there was nothing ordinary about the …

Steven Spielberg

Five must-see foreign-language films at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

The concept of stargazing in the desert takes on new meaning at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, a celebrity-studded cinematic oasis that unfolds over two weeks every January. That those two weeks (which end Jan. 15) overlap almost precisely with the voting period for Academy Awards …

Phantom Thread

Lin Shaye is a scream, but 'Insidious: The Last Key' doesn't click

With her mesmerizing gaze, her cavern of a mouth and a demeanor that manages to be at once soothing and steely, Lin Shaye isn’t just a scream queen for the ages. She’s one of those character actors you’d gladly follow anywhere: through a dank basement, down a sewer pipe and even into a vehicle as …

Horror Movies

'The X-Files' is back, less as a revival and more on its own feet

Two years ago, "The X-Files," which ran on television from 1993 to 2002 and jumped to the big screen in 1998 and 2008, returned from narrative limbo …

TV

YouTube star Logan Paul apologizes for video showing dead body in Japanese forest

American blogger Logan Paul apologized Tuesday after getting slammed for a video he shared on YouTube that appeared to show a body hanging in a …

Logan Paul

Hoda Kotb is named co-anchor of NBC's 'Today,' replacing Matt Lauer

Hoda Kotb has been named co-anchor of NBC’s “Today,” taking over the chair of fired co-anchor Matt Lauer.<p>NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced Monday …

Hoda Kotb

Feast on Film Twitter’s Tears

Photo illustration by <i>Slate</i>. Photos by iStock, Twitter. If Oscar winners were chosen based on barrels of tears shed, <i>Coco</i>, <i>Lady Bird</i>, and <i>Call Me by Your</i> …

Emotions

Time to get ready for the new year and the Golden Globes

The Golden Globes are a week from Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be using the long New Year’s weekend to finish watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “SMILF" and a couple of other backlogged shows to make sure I’m caught up before the ceremony.<p>Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter …

Award Shows

Howard Hawks' 'His Girl Friday' and 'Ball of Fire' bring screwball bliss to the Aero

If “The Post” has whetted your appetite for breathless Hollywood portraits of old-school print journalism in action, you could hardly find a better, livelier or funnier specimen than “His Girl Friday.” Much prized for its razor-sharp, mile-a-millisecond dialogue, Howard Hawks’ gender-bending 1940 …

'Hostiles,' 'Happy End' and other movie picks for Dec. 29

<i>Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang.</i><p><b>Call Me by Your Name</b> Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer give superb performances as two young men falling in love in the northern Italian countryside in this rapturously beautiful collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and …

Tommy Wiseau

17 film performances of 2017 that deserve a second look

Twitter SDK Facebook JSDK<p>With the end of a year comes time for reflection. In Hollywood, that manifests itself in the form of an awards season leading up to March’s Oscars ceremony. Along the way, countless film performances inevitably get lost in the shuffle, missing out on whatever it takes to …

Ingrid Goes West

Chinese films dominate China's box office as 'Youth' rules for a second week

Chinese blockbusters took command of China’s box office last week, accounting for the four top films. And even though the country’s film authorities typically reserve the latter half of December for domestic movies, Pixar’s “Coco” hung on to a spot in the top five.<p>The period epic “Youth” dominated …

Movies

Indie Focus: Unraveling truths with 'Phantom Thread,' 'The Post,' 'Molly's Game' and 'In The Fade'

Hello! I'm Mark Olsen. Welcome to another edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies.<p>This week the recent Envelope Roundtable for lead actresses was published, featuring Annette Bening for “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool,” Jessica Chastain for “Molly’s Game,” Diane Kruger …

Award Shows

Event: AirTalk’s FilmWeek: 2018 Oscar preview

On Sunday, February 25, one week before the 90th Academy Awards, KPCC In Person will convene AirTalk’s FilmWeek critics for its 16th annual Oscar …

Charlie Chaplin

'Downsizing' reviews: What critics say about Matt Damon's new film

When nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced on Dec. 11, Matt Damon‘s new film “Downsizing” —about a man who undergoes a …

Movies

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps bring a wondrously perverse love story to life in 'Phantom Thread'

One of the most exquisite moments in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” a film composed entirely from exquisite moments, features a delicious riff on boy-meets-girl.<p>The boy is having breakfast at a country inn; the girl is waiting on him. She trips, charmingly, on her way over to his table, …

Vicky Krieps

Jessica Chastain pulls a winning hand in Aaron Sorkin's incorrigibly entertaining 'Molly's Game'

In the electrifying “Molly’s Game,” Jessica Chastain almost never raises her voice. She speaks with a calm and clarity that pulls you in, conveying intimacy and authority in the same breath. It’s a shrewd tactic that underscores the cool, guarded temperament of her real-life alter ego, Molly Bloom, …

Aaron Sorkin

Matt Damon gets small in Alexander Payne's fascinatingly muddled sci-fi satire 'Downsizing'

There’s a moment late in Alexander Payne’s science-fiction comedy “Downsizing” that balances a gentle burst of heartwarming sentimentality with a precisely timed comic jab. You’ll know it when you see and hear it — the sweet-and-sour combo is something of a Payne specialty — and you may wonder, as …

Alexander Payne