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PUTTING THE POP
IN POPCORN


A number of films hitting screens as the holidays kick in star music artists in key roles. Perhaps none has aroused the curiosity of biz peeps like Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson’s return to the ’70s San Fernando Valley nostalgia of Boogie Nights and Magnolia. The picaresque flick stars Alana Haim (of Columbia’s sibling troupe HAIM) alongside Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, a staple of Anderson’s earlier films).

Licorice Pizza takes its name from a once-mighty record-store chain that ruled the Valley back in the day; we can still remember the heady smell of incense and possibility emanating from the outlet at Laurel Canyon and Victory. Tom Waits is also in the cast, as are Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly and Bradley Cooper (who established his music bona fides in A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga).

Speaking of Gaga, she’s earning great reviews for her lead role in House of Gucci, though notices for the film itself have been mixed. But she is a powerful, authentic presence onscreen, radiating old-school star power. Fellow musician Jared Leto also stars, turning in a controversial performance that one critic described as “a Mario Brother from hell.”

Just as we absorb the loss of musical-theater giant Stephen Sondheim, a new generation of filmgoers will discover his brilliant lyrics for West Side Story, now opening in a lustrous new version helmed by Steven Spielberg. Ansel Elgort, Corey Stoll, Rita Moreno, Ariana DeBose and Ana Isabelle feature in the cast.

A more mainstream entry that’s top-heavy with music stars is Marry Me, a high-concept rom-com starring the eternally radiant Jennifer Lopez and Latin breakout Maluma. Owen Wilson plays the schlub whom J.Lo’s humiliated pop star spontaneously decides to wed.

Of course, our eyes have been fixed for days on a six-hour-plus documentary that stars four musicians from Liverpool. Perhaps you’ve heard about it.

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(NO FOOLIN')
Vegas, baby. (1/12a)
COACHELLA LINEUP: HARRY, YE, BILLIE AND THE WHOLE THING
The poster has been printed. (1/13a)
UTA: A YEAR OF MOMENTUM
Agency reshuffles the deck. (1/14a)
I DON'T WANNA WORK
I just wanna bang on my drum all day.
I HAVE A HANGOVER
I like to call it "2021."
I DON'T WANNA HAVE A MEETING
My Zoom backgrounds are all outdated.
I MISS CHRISTMAS
When's the next holiday that involves eggnog?
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