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January 7, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - In 1957, when he was nearly 50 years old, Run Run Shaw made a grand bet on his movie dreams. He bought 46 acres of hilly land in a remote part of Hong Kong - paying the British colonial government just 45 cents per square foot because of the poor topography and the Communist threat looming over the border with Mao Tse-tung's China - and set out to build his dream factory. By the time Shaw Movietown officially opened in 1961, the mogul had 1,200 actors, directors and other employees on site, many of them living in dormitories.
January 4, 2014 | By Jeffrey Fleishman
He came in from the rain wearing a scarf, tattered pants, unlaced canvas tennis shoes and a sweater somewhere between the colors of plum and rust. His hair looked like an approaching storm, and he had missed a spot shaving just above the collar. His publicist - he's not crazy about publicists - whispered a friendly warning: "Have you met Stephen before? He can be a bit dry, he has a dry sense of humor. British. " Stephen Frears, the director, walked past the concierge, through a half-lighted, polished lounge at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
December 30, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
Leonardo DiCaprio has followed the fortunes of his latest movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street," since it opened Christmas Day. The film, his fifth with director Martin Scorsese, is based on the autobiography of Jordan Belfort, a broker (played by DiCaprio) who made a fortune selling penny stocks and shamelessly indulged in a hedonistic lifestyle that might give Caligula pause. The movie's exhaustive depiction of Belfort's appetite for sex, drugs and money has divided audiences, to say the least.
December 28, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
In the winter of 1933, in a thatched cottage in Sussex, England, a complicated woman named Pamela "P.L. " Travers began to write "Mary Poppins," the first in a series of novels that would inspire the beloved 1964 Walt Disney movie and supply generations of children with a magical fantasy nanny. The reality of Travers' own turbulent childhood - and her reluctance as an adult to relinquish control over her characters to Walt Disney - are the subject of the movie "Saving Mr. Banks," which has just gone into wide release.
December 24, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
The numerous works of Charles Dickens, perhaps the English language's preeminent storyteller, have been turned into films and television over and over again for more than a century. "The Invisible Woman," however, might be the first film to be made about the great man's private life, and it turns out to be as compellingly dramatic as anything he put on the page. More than that, as directed by and starring the superb Ralph Fiennes as Dickens and splendidly assisted by Britain's Felicity Jones as the title character, "The Invisible Woman" is an exceptional film about love, longing and regret.
December 16, 2013 | Steve Chawkins
Tom Laughlin, a filmmaker who drew a huge following for his movies about the ill-tempered, karate-chopping pacifist Billy Jack, died Thursday at a Thousand Oaks hospital. He was 82. He had been in failing health for several years, his daughter Teresa Laughlin said. Laughlin starred in and co-produced the four films of the 1960s and '70s showcasing Billy Jack, a troubled Vietnam veteran who quietly promotes a message of peace when he's not throwing bad guys through plate-glass windows.
December 12, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" not only won the foreign-language Oscar, it was also the rare foreign-language film to break through to a nomination in a more mainstream category, earning a nod for original screenplay. After also picking up multiple other festival and critics' prizes, the film went on to earn more than $7 million at the U.S. box office. With "The Past," Farhadi has shown that the success of "A Separation" was no fluke, as he has crafted another rich, insightful look at the emotional and psychological bonds of family.
December 10, 2013 | By Lauren Beale
“Transformers” producer Michael Bay has put his estate in Bel-Air on the market at $13.5 million. The three-story contemporary was designed by the late Jack Warner, whose architectural firm did the Bel-Air Country Club. The 7,919-square-foot, museum-like house features high ceilings, a family room with a bar, a home theater, a wine cellar, four fireplaces, four bedrooms and six bathrooms. The nearly one-acre property includes a swimming pool and mature trees. Bay, 48, has produced and/or directed a host of action films including this year's “Pain & Gain,” “Pearl Harbor” (2001)
December 7, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Edgar Quintero swears that he doesn't really know any swaggering narco kingpins. He just impersonates them in his songs. With his bandmates in the group BuKnas de Culiacan, Quintero fires up dance halls from El Paso to East L.A. packed with fist-pumping teenagers and twentysomethings. He's a virtuoso of the narcocorrido genre, accordion-driven, blood-lusting ballads that lionize the exploits of Mexico's brutal drug cartels and their bosses. "With an AK-47 and a bazooka on my shoulder / Cross my path and I'll chop your head off / We're bloodthirsty, crazy and we like to kill," goes one typically sanguinary tune.
December 4, 2013 | By John Horn
At its inception 30 years ago, the Sundance Film Festival was dedicated to low-budget films made outside the studio system, a celebration of fresh cinematic voices telling daring, imaginative stories. Back then Hollywood stars barely factored into the equation. It's this legacy that makes the lineup for this January's festival all the more startling: A-list actors will be as deep in Park City, Utah, as the mountain resort's snow. The shift is a consequence of the tilt of studio slates - where adult dramas have been routed by comic-book adaptations, sequels and remakes - and the economics of independent film financing, where having recognizable performers is often the only way to attract funding.
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