Dinosaurs, turkeys and a 'Rocky' spinoff: What movies hit or didn't hit over the Thanksgiving weekend?

Thanksgiving weekend is a strong one for moviegoing--between the spate of studio releases and the post-turkey fleeing from homes and families, multiplexes tend to be filled. Of course, the glut of films--from Pixar to "Peanuts" to "Spotlight" to Rocky Balboa--means not every studio is equally satisfied; for every strong opening or hold there was...Read more

If you bought an album last week, it was probably Adele's '25'

Nearly half the albums sold last week in the United States were by Adele.

That's an especially dramatic way of looking at the success of the British singer's "25," which sold 3.38 million copies in its first seven days of availability, according to Nielsen Music -- an enormous number that few in the struggling record industry likely thought ...Read more

Reviews of new albums: Justin Bieber; Chris Isaak; Rick Ross

Justin Bieber


(Def Jam )

It's pretty tough to deny the power of Justin Bieber (or at least of his singles). The August-released "What Do You Mean?" is an earworm that became as immediately ubiquitous as Adele's "Hello." And "Sorry," with its tropicalia and house flavors mashup, has just as much potential for suffocation. "Purpose" ...Read more

Mike Vogel: from plumber to TV star

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Though actor Mike Vogel has moved to Tennessee, his neighbors in Los Angeles still phone him in a crisis. "Hey, my toilet's backed up." "Hey, I need help hanging this cupboard." "Hey, we need to ..."

Though he soft-plays it, Vogel is one dandy handyman. He learned the tricks of the trade from his father, a plumber. He ...Read more

How the makers of 'The Spymasters' got all 12 living CIA directors to talk

NEW YORK -- In the opening act of the documentary "The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs," former Director Leon Panetta admits to authorizing a 2010 drone strike that killed an al-Qaida member implicated in the deaths of seven CIA operatives.

"Those decisions are never easy," Panetta says of approving the strike that resulted in unintended ...Read more

TV review: 'Superstore,' a so-so new workplace comedy in Aisle 9

Perhaps to take advantage of what remains of your Thanksgiving weekend tryptophan overload and whatever other holiday indulgences may have left you sleepy and impressionable, NBC has scheduled a preview Monday of its midseason sitcom "Superstore," whose official premiere is not until January. That it will have "The Voice" as a lead-in might also...Read more

A talent agent working on the fringes of Hollywood, and a trail of unhappy clients

LOS ANGELES -- The top Hollywood talent agents have artwork by Annie Leibovitz and Ed Ruscha on their walls, armies of sharp young assistants at their beck and call, and Porsches gleaming in their parking garages.

Then there's Lynn Venturella.

She works out of an office with barred windows near homeless shanties and a medical marijuana ...Read more

Video games are hot but playing to the same old crowd. Where's the future?

The newest "Call of Duty" title raked in $550 million globally in its first three days on the market, a figure that its publisher, Activision Blizzard, touted as the largest entertainment launch of the year -- bigger than any movie or album. Days later, game studio Bethesda Softworks said its new "Fallout 4" could bring in sales topping $750 ...Read more

'Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans' documents actor's drive to complete ill-fated 1971 film

Steve McQueen could do no wrong in 1970. Known as the King of Cool, McQueen ruled the box office thanks to such memorable films as 1963's "The Great Escape," 1966's "The Sand Pebbles" -- for which he earned his only Oscar nomination -- and 1968's "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "Bullitt."

It was in 1968 that McQueen, a well-known car racing ...Read more

Alicia Vikander digs deep for sympathy in transgender film 'Danish Girl'

Alicia Vikander was 15 when she moved away from home. She didn't know how to do her own laundry. But she wanted to be a ballerina, and the best dance school was in Stockholm, a four-hour drive from the city where she'd grown up in Sweden.

So she found a flat to rent -- there weren't any dormitories at the Royal Swedish Ballet School then -- and...Read more

Movie review: 'Carol' is a story of the power of love

Therese (Rooney Mara) is a quiet young woman who has landed a job in the toy section of an upscale Manhattan department store for the holidays. Carol (Cate Blanchett) is a wealthy older woman who is shopping for a Christmas present for her daughter. Their eyes lock across the bustling crowd of shoppers -- the sort of moment you've seen a million...Read more

'Hunger Games' finale retains top spot over newcomers 'Good Dinosaur,' 'Creed'

LOS ANGELES -- Thanksgiving audiences stuffed themselves with helpings of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2" at the weekend box office. The finale of the young adult movie series led ticket sales for a second weekend, beating out newcomers "The Good Dinosaur" and "Creed."

The second installment of the "Mockingjay" arc grossed an estimated...Read more

TV picks for the week of Nov. 29

Deck the walls with flat screen TVs, fa la la la la la la la la! Pay TV and network freebies, fa la la la la la la la la! Christmas is here, on television anyway. Here's what caught my eye this week:

Sunday: "A Prince for Christmas" 8 p.m., ION: A foreign prince gets cold feet on his way to his wedding and heads to America seeking a bride with ...Read more

Around the remote: "The Wiz Live!", "The Walking Dead" midseason finale, more

DON'T MISS: "The Wiz Live!" -- It's time to ease on down the yellow brick road as another live stage spectacular comes to television. This adaptation of the 1975 acclaimed Broadway musical arrives stuffed with well-known personalities, including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, David Alan Grier, Common and Amber Riley. But the coveted role ...Read more

50 years later, Charlie Brown turns out to be a 'Christmas' winner after all

LOS ANGELES--When they finished making "A Charlie Brown Christmas" 50 years ago, the producers sat back and looked at their work. And they thought: Good grief.

"We just thought it was a little slow, and it was certainly not a traditional Christmas show," said Lee Mendelson, the producer who persuaded "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles M. Schulz to ...Read more

Poland's ruling on Roman Polanski all but ends US case

LOS ANGELES -- In January 1978, Roman Polanski bought the last seat on a British Airways flight to London and never came back.

The celebrated director of "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" was out of jail after a 42-day psychiatric evaluation. He faced a likely 48 more days to complete his sentence after a guilty plea to having sexual ...Read more

Will audiences turn out in record force for 'Star Wars'?

How far will "Star Wars" go?

The betting has begun on just how big Walt Disney Co.'s new space opera, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," will be when it hits theaters in mid-December.

The film is expected to gross $175 million to more than $200 million in the U.S. and Canada in its opening weekend, according to people who have seen prerelease ...Read more

George Harrison's 'All Things Must Pass' still inspires 45 years later

What kind of contrarian would single out 1970 as his favorite year for Beatles music? That was, after all, the year the Beatles disbanded and broke the hearts of millions around the world.

"We got something like 14 Beatles records that year: Not only the 'Hey Jude' and 'Let It Be' (Beatles) albums, but solo albums from Paul, George, John and ...Read more

Getting 'Creed,' a 'Rocky' spinoff, made was a real underdog story for Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler, the director of the new "Rocky" spinoff film "Creed," wasn't even born when "Rocky" came out in 1976. For that matter, he wasn't born when "Rocky II," "Rocky III" or "Rocky IV" came out either.

Still, for as long as he can remember, Sylvester Stallone's perennial-underdog boxer Rocky Balboa has always had a special meaning to him ...Read more

Restored James Baldwin documentary timely as ever

When I sat down last week to watch "James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket" (in a digitally restored version of the 1989 documentary), it was one day after the terror attacks in Paris -- the city where Baldwin found his confidence and professional footing -- and at the end of a week of college campuses publicly grappling with racism both subtle ...Read more