Review: Beyonce reaches new heights on 5th album
Beyonce, "Beyonce" (Columbia Records/Parkwood Entertainment)
Pope Francis bio fills gaps left by 'instant books'
By Tom Heneghan Paris (Reuters) - A wave of "instant books" about Pope Francis rushed into print after his surprise election last March left readers waiting for one that brought more insight into the two seemingly contradictory phases in his past. In "Pope Francis: Untying the Knots," British journalist Paul Vallely fills that gap by showing how the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio went from being the divisive head of the Jesuit order in Argentina in the 1970s to the humble and inclusive pastor he became once made a bishop in 1992. ...
Review: 'Nashville' soundtrack slick and solid
"The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 2, Volume 1" (Big Machine Records)
'Fifth Estate' exposes WikiLeaks in Toronto film festival debut
By Mary Milliken TORONTO (Reuters) - "The Fifth Estate," an unlikely thriller that chronicles the emergence of anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and its enigmatic founder Julian Assange, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday. English actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Assange, called the debut at Toronto the "perfect marriage" of a festival, known for its popular participation, and a film, about what he called "people journalism." The festival is also considered a harbinger of the awards season. ...
Review: Katrina drama is Paul Walker's finest hour
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An ingeniously simple setup is cunningly exploited for maximum suspense in "Hours," a slow-building, consistently engrossing drama set during and immediately after the devastation wrought on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Making a most impressive debut as feature helmer, scripter Eric Heisserer graduates from savvy genre fare ("Final Destination 5") to more mainstream moviemaking with this intense tale of a father's desperate efforts to keep his prematurely born daughter alive in a hospital abandoned after power is knocked out by flooding.
'The Cuckoo's Calling's' back on top of U.S. best-sellers list
NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Cuckoo's Calling," a detective novel written by "Harry Potter" series author J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, regained the top spot on the U.S. best-sellers fiction list on Thursday. It shot to No. 1 on August 1 and stayed there for two weeks but was knocked into second place on August 15 and only came back this week. The list is compiled using data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide. Hardcover Fiction Last Week 1. "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (L.B./Mulholland, $26.00) 2 2. ...
Review: 'The Past' unlocks a domestic puzzle
Asghar Farhadi's domestic drama "The Past" follows his exceptional, Oscar-winning "A Separation" and his very fine "About Elly." Farhadi is a hugely talented filmmaker, a storyteller with an uncommon touch for capturing the dramatic currents that course through families and refract between parents and children.
Book Talk: 'Empty Mansions' reveals life of reclusive heiress
By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - She was one of America's richest heiresses with sprawling apartments, palatial homes and fabulous paintings, but little was known about the reclusive woman when she died in 2011 at the age of 104 after spending decades living in a hospital. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman hopes to change that with his book "Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. ...
Review: Corruption saga 'Hustle' a solid riot
Underscoring deeply conflicted characters, who are on a mission to reconceive their unsatisfying circumstances, has become director David O. Russell's sweet spot. From his raw 1996 film, "Flirting with Disaster," to last year's acclaimed "Silver Linings Playbook," he effectively unravels the disarray.
Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks' a spoonful of sugar
For most scribes who have toiled in the movie industry, portraying Hollywood as a healing paradise is roughly equivalent to regaling a lobster of the soothing properties of a boiling pot of water.
Mexican director Guillermo del Toro to release illustrated book
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mexican writer-director Guillermo del Toro is releasing an illustrated book of notes and drawings from his private journals and filmmaking diaries, his publisher said on Friday. "Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions," which goes on sale on October 29, will give readers a glimpse into the imaginative mind of the director of 2006 fantasy film "Pan's Labyrinth," which won three Oscars, and this year's sci-fi disaster movie "Pacific Rim. ...
Review: The magical, lonely love of 'Her'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — How essential are physical and emotional connections when falling in love? What would you miss — looking into someone's eyes, caressing them, tasting them? In "Her," Spike Jonze's futuristic exploration of a man's relationship with his computer, the filmmaker surveys human disjunction.
Critics savage 'cheap and cheerless' Diana film as tawdry soap
By Paul Casciato LONDON (Reuters) - Film critics have savaged a new movie of the late British Princess Diana's relationship with a Pakistani doctor as an intrusive and embarrassingly cheap soap opera. British-born Australian actress Naomi Watts plays the jilted princess trapped in a gilded cage. English actor Naveen Andrews is heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who gives her the love she craves in "Diana", which held its world premiere in London on Thursday. ...
Top Russian court orders review of Pussy Riot case
By Steve Gutterman MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Supreme Court has ordered a review of the case against two women from punk band Pussy Riot, saying lower courts failed to provide full evidence of their guilt and overlooked mitigating factors in sentencing them to two years in prison. The ruling could potentially lead to shorter sentences for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina or even to a reversal of their convictions, although the latter is far less likely. Tolokonnikova, 24, and Alyokhina, 25, were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing a crude "punk prayer" in a Russian Orthodox cathedral in protest at President Vladimir Putin and his ties with the church. The Supreme Court, in an order posted on its website on Thursday and dated December 10, said the trial court did not provide evidence of a portion of the verdict that says they were motivated by "hatred of a certain social group".
Former agent in settlement deal with 'Mockingbird' author: lawyer
By Erin Geiger Smith NEW YORK (Reuters) - The former agent of Harper Lee, the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," has reached a settlement deal with Lee in her lawsuit claiming that she was tricked into giving away the copyright to her classic 1960 novel, an attorney for the former agent said on Friday. The defense lawyer, Vincent Carissimi, said he expects the entire lawsuit to be dismissed next week, after Lee voluntarily dismissed the two other defendants in the suit. ...