CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2011 |
For years Cristian Gheorghiu craved the thrill of the chase. Spray-paint can in hand, he lived on the edge, always a step ahead of the law. His canvas was L.A.'s lampposts, brick walls and concrete riverbeds where he scrawled ragged images and his own nickname, "Smear" ? probably thousands of times. The graffiti made him a subculture sensation. Fans compared his art to that of another graffiti artist, the critically acclaimed Jean-Michel Basquiat. But just as the East Hollywood graffiti artist's career was taking off, his past has threatened to overtake him. First came jail and a whopping fine.
March 3, 2011 |
Actor Topher Grace wanted to make a movie that treated the 1980s the way George Lucas viewed the 1960s in "American Graffiti" or Richard Linklater remembered the 1970s in "Dazed and Confused" ? more fond memory than mean-spirited satire. But Grace and his collaborators also believed their "Take Me Home Tonight" couldn't avoid the era's drug use. "You can't do a movie about prohibition," Grace says, "and not show alcohol. " That decision was one of many factors ? including moving to a new studio ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 2009 |
It's now the holiday season, so let's start this by being positive: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver got it exactly right when they named filmmaker George Lucas to their California Hall of Fame. The writer-director-producer is best known for his "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" blockbusters. But for me, a fellow California native, Lucas' most remarkable and entertaining contribution was his breakthrough 1973 hit "American Graffiti." Here's a creative role model who grew up in small-town Modesto in the Central Valley -- cruisin', draggin', listening to Wolfman Jack -- and captured his and millions of California teens' night lives in a semi-autobiographical, iconic flick.
December 9, 2005 |
Autobiographical movies are the most personal of "personal movies," and big U.S. studios rarely champion personal movies of any kind. Noah Baumbach based his corrosive yet empathic new indie, "The Squid and the Whale," on his parents' marital breakup when he was a teenager. It's a welcome addition to the small body of American features that put their creators' lives onscreen with unprecedented directness and intensity.
May 15, 1997 |
The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film & Video Festival, stronger than ever in its 12th year, opens tonight at 7:30 at the Directors Guild with Renee Tajima-Pen~a's delightfully wry "My America . . . Or Honk If You Love Buddha." In it, this notable documentarian attempts to answer the question, "Will we truly ever belong in America?"
August 16, 1996 |
If pizzas or golf clubs were made the way Plymouth is building the Prowler, their CEOs would be munching happy pills at bankruptcy hearings. Chrysler spent $75 million, a pittance these days, to develop and produce a handful of prototypes. But only 3,000 Prowlers will be sold next year for $35,000 apiece. You do the math. Prowler is a growler, a two-seater toy, a throwback of a '40s hot rod with motorcycle front fenders, window sills at ear level and a huge bum. It comes only in papal purple.