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June 20, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
BERKELEY - On the University of California campus recently, a tour guide told a group of prospective students about the many opportunities open to those studying in the Bay Area - "like getting an internship at Pixar," she said. The Emeryville animation studio is four miles away, but that day Pixar was even closer than the tour guide knew - director Dan Scanlon and three of his colleagues were walking right behind her, on their way to Sather Gate, a bit of Beaux-Arts architecture that had served as creative inspiration for Pixar's new film, "Monsters University," which opens Friday.
June 6, 2013
A Brooklyn man tries to square a checkered past with a grim future in the intimate and observational "Welcome to Pine Hill. " An offshoot of writer-direct-editor Keith Miller's short film "Prince/William," the feature mixes real-life situations and characters with fictionalized narrative threads to create a highly authentic slice-of-life drama. First-time actor Shannon Harper, who Miller initially met on a New York street in a dispute over a dog (that incident, documented in the short, also opens "Pine Hill")
June 5, 2013
The Israeli film renaissance that began more than a decade ago with "Late Marriage" is nowhere near its end. The latest evidence: "Fill the Void," a transfixing, emotionally complex drama that won the Venice Film Festival's lead actress award for Hadas Yaron and captured seven Ophirs (the Israeli Academy Awards), including best picture and directing and screenplay honors for Rama Burshtein. Herself a member of the Haredi, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in which "Fill the Void" is set, Burshtein has spent years making movies only for the women of her largely sexually segregated society.
June 1, 2013 | By Michael Cimarusti
I ate my share of lobsters while spending summers in Rhode Island. My family still talks about the 10-pounder we bought from a shop in Galilee. We spent an hour scouring the neighborhood looking for someone who owned a pot big enough to cook it. Lobster is still one of my favorite foods of summer - that's when it is the cheapest, when they move closer to shore and the fishing conditions are better. A good lobster is something to be relished, eaten with your hands, the buttery juices wiped from your chin and licked from your fingers.
May 18, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times
When Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu opened their Bell restaurant 15 years ago, some customers wondered if they knew how to cook. Accustomed to Mexican food laden with sour cream, melted cheddar cheese and mild salsa that has long been served up in the Los Angeles area, patrons balked at eating La Casita Mexicana's enchiladas covered in pumpkin seed mole, cotija cheese and red onions. Many of the doubters, to the restaurateurs' surprise, were Mexican American. Regional Mexican cooking isn't a tough sell anymore.
April 29, 2013 | By Gerrick Kennedy
Somewhere between Grammy hosting duties, starring on a hit CBS cop drama and thwarting home burglars, LL Cool J has completely lost touch with what launched him into superstardom: rapping. That startling disconnection is what bogs down his 13th album, "Authentic. " His first offering in nearly five years - and first not to be issued through longtime hip-hop powerhouse Def Jam - "Authentic" not only misses the mark, it doesn't even come close. In the nearly 30 years since the Queens emcee first emerged, the lady-killer has become a multi-hypenate force in entertainment.
March 19, 2013 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
This is the first of a series on some of the top character actors in Hollywood. Over the years, Nick Searcy has played everything from a German shepherd in an off-Broadway musical rip-off of "Cats" called "Dogs" to astronaut Deke Slayton in the Emmy Award-winning 1998 HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" to a drag queen who performs as Cher and Christina Aguilera in the 2007 sports comedy "The Comebacks. " It's all in a day's work for a character actor such as Searcy, who can change personas in a flash but always brings a down-home authenticity to all his roles.
March 15, 2013 | By Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times
AUSTIN, Texas - The South by Southwest music festival and conference, now in its 27th year, was once a meeting ground for industry debates and indie artist showcases. Today the festival is a vehicle for promotion for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Prince and Green Day, and afternoon chats with artists are less about realities and more about compromises. Which brand are you willing to partner with and will the association with, say, Taco Bell take something away from your music? But the artists are arguably not even the stars, as a stroll around the 100-plus stages that pepper Austin's 6th Street attests.
January 14, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
"The Mother… With the Hat" is not the actual title of the exhilarating Stephen Adly Guirgis play now at South Coast Repertory, but it's the best I can do without bringing down the strong arm of the censor. Hard as it might be for casual cursers to believe, naughty words still have the power to offend. Guirgis knows this on a deeper level than most. His characters throw the profanity equivalent of Molotov cocktails at one another. They're foulmouthed artists, spinning obscenely colorful invective to inflict as much damage as possible on their targets.
January 12, 2013 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
When mobster Mickey Cohen ruled Los Angeles in the late 1940s, his favorite hangout was the legendary Slapsy Maxie's nightclub on Wilshire Boulevard. It's long gone now of course, so to re-create it for the new film "Gangster Squad" the filmmakers had to be creative. Production designer Maher Ahmad found the right spot for Slapsy Maxie's almost by accident, while driving around with the film's first location manager. They had been looking for a vintage house in a suburban neighborhood when they passed an Art Deco-inspired block of empty businesses in Bellflower.
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