Mahershala Ali and Janelle MonĂ¡e on the Oscars rarity of appearing together in two best-picture contenders

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

The most potent acting pair to grace the films nominated for this year’s best picture Oscar  aren’t Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, singing and dancing their way across “La La Land,” or even Denzel Washington and Viola Davis powering through August Wilson’s stage-to-screen prose in “Fences.” That…

What’s it like to hear the L.A. Phil play your music in Disney Hall? Ask these composers, ages 16 to 18

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

Conductor Christopher Rountree stands illuminated by a spotlight on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage. He takes a soothing breath and encourages the 2,100 middle school students seated before him to help perform John Cage’s seminal composition, “4’33”,” which requires the audience and musicians…

The familiar takes a few twists in ‘The Good Fight’

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

“The Good Wife,” which ended last May after seven seasons, has spawned a sequel, “The Good Fight,” carrying over Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo and adding Rose Leslie from “Game of Thrones” to form its central triad. Run as before by “Good Wife” creators Robert King and Michelle King, the pilot will…

Indie Focus: a pre-Oscars break from awards season with ‘XX,’ ‘Kedi’ and ‘You’re Killing Me Susana’

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

Hello! I’m Mark Olsen, and welcome to another edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies.

As this week’s newsletter is hitting inboxes we are T-minus one week away from the Oscars. This year has been so unusual in that many of the top-nominated, most-discussed films — “La…

Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ interview with Milo Yiannopoulos fuels new criticism

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

In the end, it was a non-event.

Which to some people made it a really big event.

Bill Maher’s decision to host controversial blogger Milo Yiannopoulos on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO Friday led to very few on-air fireworks. Maher talked to his guest mostly about free speech, agreeing with…

In ‘Crashing,’ amiable comedian Pete Holmes returns to his early struggles to break into show biz

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

In “Crashing,” a sweet new series created by and starring Pete Holmes, the comedian plays an earlier version of himself, a bottom-rung aspiring comic whose marriage breaks up when he catches his wife in bed with another man. Executive producer Judd Apatow directed the pilot, which premieres Sunday…

How Elvish, comics and rowdy astrophysicists helped Eric Heisserer write ‘Arrival’s’ Oscar-nominated script

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

As far as hit Hollywood movies go, this one couldn’t be more unlikely: A linguist and a physicist are charged with deciphering alien communication while ruminating on the relativity of language and the nature of time. Yet, “Arrival,” the sci-fi drama starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner as a pair…

Playing ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ with this year’s Oscar acting nominees

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

Kevin Bacon pops up in the large-ensemble “Patriots Day,” which failed to gain traction in the annual movie awards race. Still, his welcome appearance gives pause to revive his namesake “Six Degrees of Separation” parlor game. And what better time to play than with this season’s ostensibly disparate…

Essential Arts & Culture: A buoyant ‘Zoot Suit,’ Moholy-Nagy at LACMA, and the power of composer Thomas Adès

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

Fly suits on stage at the Mark Taper Forum. The eternal artistic optimism of a Hungarian refugee of war. And the British composer who is making L.A. his second home. I’m Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, and I’m here with your weekly update of all the best arts and culture…

Oscars: Samuel L. Jackson cheers Denzel’s performance, challenges Viola’s category and offers many other strong opinions about this year’s nominees

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

The evening before he planned to cast his Oscar ballot, Samuel L. Jackson had no doubt as to who had his  lead actor vote.

“I don’t think anyone did a better job than Denzel,” Jackson said of “Fences” star and friend Denzel Washington, who vies for the Academy Award on Feb. 24. “That’s a difficult…

Samuel L. Jackson on Denzel, Viola, this year’s Oscar race and his own ‘Pulp Fiction’ fight

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

The evening before he planned to cast his Oscar ballot, Samuel L. Jackson had no doubt as to who had his  lead actor vote.

“I don’t think anyone did a better job than Denzel,” Jackson said of “Fences” star and friend Denzel Washington, who vies for the Academy Award on Feb. 24. “That’s a difficult…

Brad Grey expected to exit Paramount Pictures in an overhaul of the struggling studio

Read on: ENTERTAINMENT - Los Angeles Times.

Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey is preparing to leave his job, ending months of speculation about his future as Bob Bakish, the CEO of parent company Viacom Inc., moves aggressively to revive the long struggling studio.

Grey, who has led the storied movie company for 12 years, is in negotiations…