Pop Cult

Thoughts, ideas and videos from the world of movies, music, TV and everything else pop culture.

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Rafer Guzman

Rafer Guzman is Newsday's film critic. He has also been Newsday's rock critic, a travel writer at The Wall Street Journal and music editor at the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

He has a master's degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism and a B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. His interests include movies, music, writing about movies and music, and the search for some other kind of meaningful hobby.

Nick Frost, in 'Cuban Fury,' embraces his girth with comedy and confidence

Nick Frost in "Cuban Fury."

(Credit: Entertainment One)

In movie jargon, the villain is called the "heavy." These days, however, that term applies more and more to the hero.

"Cuban Fury," released Friday, stars Nick Frost as an overweight man whose secret passion is salsa-dancing. Its comedic potential comes built-in thanks to Frost, a British actor who stands five-foot-seven-inches and weighs what looks like 250 pounds or more. If the film sounds...

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'Frozen' is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, report says

A 4-year-old girl named Ella loved the Disney

(Credit: AP)

The Disney film is now the highest-grossing animated film of all time, according to The Hollywood Reporter, having earned $1.072 billion worldwide.

That total surpasses the previous record-holder, Disney-Pixar's "Toy Story 3," which earned $1.063 billion worldwide.

"Frozen" broke the record over the weekend thanks partly to a good run in Japan, where it took in $50.5 million. It is the...

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'Under the Skin' soundtrack now streaming

Scarlett Johansson, seen attending the London film premiere

(Credit: Getty Images / Anthony Harvey)

Scarlett Johansson is the most recognizable face in the new science-fiction film "Under the Skin," about an alluring alien who preys on Earthling males, but the movie's other star is its soundtrack.

Composed by Mica Levi, leader of the indie-rock band Micachu and the Shapes, the soundtrack for "Under The Skin" is a rarity in movies these days. It's extremely distinctive, made mostly of sawing...

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New 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' trailer

A scene from the second trailer for "X-Men:

(Credit: X-Men Movies via YouTube)

The second “official” trailer for the upcoming “X-Men” movie has been released, offering glimpses of franchises favorites such as Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan and Jennifer Lawrence, along with newcomer Peter Dinklage as scientist Bolivar Trask.

“You have to go into the past,” says Ian McKellan as Magneto, but the new trailer skimps on the period details (aside from the wide lapels of James McAvoy's...

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Hal Douglas dead; 'Forrest Gump,' 'Coneheads' movie voice-over king was 89

Legendary voice-over artist Hal Douglas, whose sonorous delivery

(Credit: Megalomedia)

You've probably never seen him, but you've heard him more times than you know. Hal Douglas, whose low, resonant voice graced the trailers of motion pictures for decades, died last Friday.

Douglas's trailer credits included movies as diverse as “Forrest Gump,” “Philadelphia” and “Coneheads.” Along with Don Morrow, the voice of the “Titanic” trailer, and Don LaFontaine (the man most closely...

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'Divergent' tickets go on sale

"Divergent," set in a dystopian future in which

(Credit: Jaap Buitendijk)

Advance tickets are on sale now for "Divergent," the first movie in what could be another young-adult sci-fi franchise along the lines of "The Hunger Games."

Those who purchase tickets today through the movie's website, DivergentTheMovie, or through online ticketers Fandango or MovieTickets, will receive a free Amazon download code for the Kindle eBook version of the popular novel "Divergent,"...

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Karen O to perform 'Moon Song' from 'Her' at Oscars 2014

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs performs live

(Credit: Getty Images)

The last musical shoe has dropped with the Academy's announcement that Karen O will perform her Oscar-nominated track “The Moon Song,” from the Spike Jonze film “Her,” during the awards ceremony. The other Oscar nominees for best original song, whose appearances have already been confirmed, include Pharrell Williams (“Happy,” from the animated film “Despicable Me”), U2 (“Ordinary Love,” from the...

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'Noah' studio exec Rob Moore says Christians 'will embrace it'

Russell Crowe's "Noah" was filmed partly in Oyster

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

In the wake of early negative reactions from Christian audiences to the Biblical film "Noah," director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures are now publicly reassuring faith-based audiences, but also managing their expectations.

In a lengthy feature posted on The Hollywood Reporter's website Tuesday, the director and Paramount vice chair Rob Moore openly discuss the difficulties of selling...

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Idina Menzel singing at Oscars ceremony

Idina Menzel attends a special "Frozen" screening at

(Credit: Getty Images / Slaven Vlasic)

The Tony-award-winning actress from Woodbury will perform "Let It Go," from the animated Disney musical "Frozen," at the 86th Academy Awards ceremony next month. "Let it Go" is nominated for best original song, while "Frozen" is up for best animated feature. The performance will mark her first time performing an Oscar-nominated song at the awards show. News of Menzel's appearance followed...

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Fox host calls Lego movie 'anti-business'

LEGO mini-figure Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) in

(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

On the heels of accusing "The Muppets Movie" of brainwashing children into far-left ideology, Fox Business today denounced the new animated film "The Lego Movie" for pushing an "anti-business" message.

Charles Payne, on the Fox Business show "Varney & Company," suggested that the movie's character of Lord Business, a tyrranical CEO voiced by Will Ferrell, resembles Mitt Romney. Though...

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