March 17, 2013 |
From a distance, wearing plaid and slightly grizzled, Sam Lipsyte looks like a grumpy lumberjack -- although there are not many lumberjacks standing at the gate of Columbia University in Manhattan. And up close, it's clear he's not grumpy at all: Lipsyte has an air of restrained amusement that's perfect for one of America's best satiric writers. His writing often features arrested-development characters similar to Judd Apatow's heroes -- but Lipsyte's guys don't get gorgeous girls or happy endings.
January 15, 2013 |
Kevin Hart's amiable, loose-limbed "Real Husbands of Hollywood," which premieres Tuesday on BET, is not so much a parody of the Bravo franchise, whose name it echoes and structure it borrows, as it is a kind of (mostly) black "Curb Your Enthusiasm. " As with Larry David's HBO comedy, the successful entertainers play themselves as unremarkable, petty, confused, obsessive, argumentative and rarely bothered with actual work. (Which does pretty much describe the cast of any "Real Housewives" series you might name.)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 1, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court, protecting providers of risky recreational activities from lawsuits, decided Monday that bumper car riders may not sue amusement parks over injuries stemming from the inherent nature of the attraction. The 6-1 decision may be cited to curb liability for a wide variety of activities - such as jet skiing, ice skating and even participating in a fitness class, lawyers in the case said. "This is a victory for anyone who likes fun and risk activities," said Jeffrey M. Lenkov, an attorney for Great America, which won the case.
December 6, 2012 |
A playful paean to a movie genre and a prolific career, Ernest Borgnine's valedictory feature is a spaghetti western with a heavy helping of cheese. "The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez" won't be more than a footnote to his life's work, but it is evidence that even at 94, and even in flat surroundings, the late actor possessed undeniable screen magnetism. As with Will Ferrell's "Casa de Mi Padre" this year, the wonderfully spoofy opening-credits sequence promises more genre subversion than the film delivers.
November 7, 2012 |
A pair of otherworldly photos from Superstorm Sandy will be forever etched in my memory of the historic hurricane. The first photo showed up in much of the mainstream media coverage and became a symbol of the storm: A seemingly intact roller coaster poking out of the Atlantic Ocean off the Jersey Shore like the skeleton of a sea serpent. The second image ricocheted around the Internet via social media sites and became a symbol of vulnerability and resilience following the storm: An undamaged carousel inside an eerily lit enclosure completely surrounded by water that looked like a glowing jewelry box floating off the New York City coast.
November 1, 2012 |
Just in time for Election Day comes "Democracy at Work," an amusing farce that takes a wry bite out of the campaign process, partisan politics, talk radio, the Internet and, yes, dentistry. Writer-director Wasko Khouri shows a distinct flair for the kind of silly-dark comedy that's able to skewer a topic without entirely laying it to waste. For the filmmaker, hope - albeit fueled by beloved American opportunism - springs eternal. Set around one chaotic day in a fictional, local election, the movie juggles three separate, sporadically intersecting stories: a dime-turning campaign manager (Michael Scovotti)