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January 7, 2013 | By Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
At 9 a.m. sharp, the man in the blue blazer swung a brass bell over his head, a rite that dates back to the Grand Central Market's opening day in 1917. A minute later, nearly every swivel chair at the China Cafe counter was filled, mostly by older men hunched over bowls of wonton soup. "It's not a fancy place," said Concepcion Orellano, 57. "People come here because they are poor. " Owner Rinco Cheung, an experienced restaurateur and Hong Kong native, confided he didn't know what chop suey was until he took over China Cafe from his wife's cousin last year.
December 6, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
In 2008, the screenwriter Mark Boal sought an appointment with a retired special-forces operator. Boal was researching a movie about the fruitless search for Osama bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora six years before, and he wanted insight into how U.S. forces gathered intelligence. The agent agreed to meet, but under strict conditions. Boal would be kept in the dark about where the encounter would take place until just before, when he'd be given directions, via GPS, to what turned out to be a gas station.
October 18, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Simon and the Oaks" is a two-hour theatrical feature that has the kind of emotional and storytelling reach regularly found these days only in cable TV miniseries. It's a warmly done family and personal drama that seems to cover familiar territory, but only up to a point and very much in its own way. Given that "Simon" follows the fortunes of two interlinked Swedish families from 1939 to 1952, it's not surprising that the source material is a bestselling novel, in this case one by Marianne Fredricksson that has been translated into 25 languages and sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
October 11, 2012 | By Robert Abele
"Now, Forager" from directors Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin, takes place in the world of itinerant food workers. The married couple we meet at the beginning, rooting for wild mushrooms in New Jersey's woodlands are beginning to feel the instability of a pick-and-sell, slow-food lifestyle that doesn't fully pay the bills. Lucien (Cortlund, who also wrote) proposes doubling down on their nomadic existence, while Regina (Tiffany Esteb) - to her husband's snobbish dismay - turns to employment in the kitchen of a chic restaurant.
October 11, 2012 | By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
In "Sinister," Ethan Hawke plays a down-on-his-luck true crime writer desperate for a hit, who moves his family into a house in which the previous occupants died under ominous circumstances. That turns out to be a big mistake. He soon discovers a box of old home movies, actual filmstrip movies with the necessary projector even, in the attic that seem to be a series of snuff films, families murdered over decades with only fleeting glimpses of a mysterious, ghoulish figure pointing to who is behind it all. Pursuing the story of those films and whether he has put his own family in the path of whoever made them drive Hawke's writer relentlessly to the brink of madness.
October 7, 2012 | By Jay Jones
It's often said that good writers have to find their voice. If that's so, Samuel Clemens found his in Virginia City, Nev. While working for its local paper in the 1860s, he assumed the name by which he's best known: Mark Twain. Were he alive, Twain would still recognize this town 25 miles southeast of Reno; it hasn't changed much in the last 150 years. The bed Immerse yourself in local lore at the B Street Bed & Breakfast (58 N. B St.; [775] 847-7231) Innkeeper Carolyn Eichin, a former professor of Nevada history, is a walking textbook of information on all things Virginia City and beyond.
September 26, 2012 | By David Ng
A museum in Wales said it has authenticated three paintings by the English landscape painter J.M.W. Turner that had been considered fakes. The works are being featured in a new display at the National Museum Cardiff that opened to the public this week.  The works in question were bequeathed to the museum starting in 1951 by the collectors Gwendoline and Margaret Davies. The sisters donated the paintings as part of a group of seven works, all of which were believed to be authentic at the time.
September 13, 2012 | By Gary Goldstein
The largely engaging class-reunion dramedy "10 Years" allows audiences to pretend they went to high school with the likes of Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Mackie and Kate Mara. But at some point, they are also going to have to pretend the film, written and directed by Jamie Linden (the screenwriter of "Dear John" and the fine "We Are Marshall"), is deeper and more essential than it actually is; there's a lot of been-there, done-that going on. That said, this very distant, slightly more youthful cousin to "The Big Chill" presents a convincing version of a 10-year high school reunion, one that eschews excess and melodrama for a wistful visit with a clutch of decent guys and gals who've chugged forward over the last decade, some more happily - and expectedly - than others.
August 12, 2012 | By Janis Cooke Newman
Adelaide, Australia - Here's what everybody kept telling us, "For great food in Australia, go to Adelaide. " "Not Sydney?" "Adelaide. " "Not Melbourne?" "Adelaide. " Admittedly, all of these people are from South Australia, Adelaide's home state. Still, a lot of people are raving about the food. Deciding that we should check this out for ourselves, my boyfriend, Chris, and I ask our Adelaide hotel concierge where to go for dinner. Because it's only 5 p.m., and we stand a chance of getting in - one of the advantages of a travel-addled internal clock - our concierge suggests Ying Chow.
August 3, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Watching"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"is like experiencing a thrilling unfinished symphony: The story is enthralling, but it's not over, and there's no telling where it's going. Which makes what we see on screen all the more involving. Though he was named the most powerful artist in the world by ArtReview, Chinese provocateur/human rights activist Ai is simply a boldface name to most people, someone whose life and significance we are only vaguely aware of. Alison Klayman's documentary, a Sundance award winner, definitively changes that.
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