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‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ delivers

It’s been 10 years since “Mockingjay,” the third book in the “Hunger Games” series, was published. Yet best-selling author Suzanne Collins manages to pull readers back into the world of Panem with ease. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” rewinds the epic story 64 years before ...

Socially distant concerts signal a reopening for live music

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The last time bassist Jon Jones played a concert with his country group Eli Young Band was March 8. He hopes to hit the stage again in June to launch a new drive-in concert series in his first return to live music with fans since the devastating coronavirus. “This is ...

A night gone very wrong in ‘The Lovebirds’

“The Lovebirds" stars Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani are two of the most exciting voices working in film and television today, as actors, writers and creators. Rae’s “Insecure” and Nanjiani’s “The Big Sick” are both vibrant, stimulating and fresh and rooted deeply in the diversity ...

Movie-related products still hit stores despite film delays

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood pressed pause on releasing most major films in theaters to combat the coronavirus outbreak, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case for toys and merchandise related to those movies. Despite film delays, toy production and gaming companies are often staying on ...

Broadway shutdown extended until at least Labor Day

NEW YORK — The shutdown on Broadway has been extended again — until at least early September. Although an exact date for performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through Sept. 6. “While ...

A grotesque, inglorious look at Capone’s last year

Al Capone lived out his final years on a grand estate in Palm Island, Florida, with his wife, Mae, by his side and grandchildren running around the property. It sounds like a pretty nice end for the notorious Chicago gangster, until you realize that he spent those post Alcatraz years suffering ...

Muppet Elmo readies for his own starry HBO Max talk show

NEW YORK — There was a time not too long ago when Broadway star Ben Platt was interviewed by a monster. A perfectly nice monster, of course. It was Elmo. Elmo asked Platt what was his favorite music to sing. Cookie Monster interrupted to ask what was Platt’s favorite cookie. “Oatmeal ...

No ‘Black Widow’ or ‘F9’ leaves a muted summer movie season

LOS ANGELES — The six-year fan campaign for a standalone Black Widow movie was paying off: at long last, a film would put Scarlett Johansson’s popular Avenger front and center. And, like many of Marvel’s biggest spectacles, it was set to open the weekend of May 1. “Black Widow” was ...

Tribeca programs drive-in series for films, sports and music

LOS ANGELES — Tribeca is taking audiences back to the drive-in this summer. Tribeca Enterprises, IMAX and AT&T said Wednesday that they are partnering to launch “Tribeca Drive-In,” a summer programming series of new and classic films, music and sporting events. It’ll take place in ...

‘If It Bleeds’ gives Stephen King fans 4 new stories

I like to think of Stephen King as a high-paid starting pitcher. Between starts — bestselling novels often thick enough to be doorstops — he works in the bullpen, writing novellas. Over the years, many of those have been made into movies that are now essential parts of the King canon like ...

A grim story freshly told in gang tale ‘Blue Story’

War is futile. War is a waste. War lays ruin to generations of promising young people. It’s the message of so many war films, but even more when the war in question is not between nations but between urban gangs — youths killing each other over petty grievances and turf battles that mean ...

‘How to Build a Girl’ is an earnest, edgy delight

Sixteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein) lives a romantic and exciting life, at least in her imagination. The heroine of “ How to Build a Girl “ has (what she perceives to be) the misfortune of being from Wolverhampton, where everything seems to be dirty and old, where Mr. ...

Fighting back

The pandemic has transformed Christina Blanch, owner of Aw Yeah Comics, into a nightly TV host. Nine times a week, Blanch leads a livestream from the store she lives above in Muncie, Indiana, to sell some comics and interact with regulars. She holds up issues one by one, usually for $5 or ...

Queen, Adam Lambert honor global COVID-19 ‘Champions’

LONDON — Queen and singer Adam Lambert have a message for workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight: “You Are the Champions.” Brian May, Roger Taylor and Lambert recently gathered virtually to record a new version of the Queen classic, “We Are the Champions.” “You Are the ...