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Black Humor

April 25, 2012 | By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Early in the movie "Bernie," a character describes the distinct regions of Texas with an on-screen map as a guide, noting that East Texas is "where the South begins. This is life behind the Pine Curtain. " It is against that specific regional identity that the film's darkly comic tale of murder amid the rhythms of small-town life takes place. "Having grown up there, that map is really the spiel I give people when they ask, 'What does East Texas look like?'" said filmmaker Richard Linklater, a lifelong Texas resident who has made films such as "Slacker" and "The Newton Boys" explicitly set in the state.
March 30, 2013 | By Dennis Lim
With his 1947 provocation "Monsieur Verdoux," Charlie Chaplin completed a remarkable transformation from the universally beloved Little Tramp to a vilified monster both on-screen and off. In the most polarizing film of his career, just issued on DVD by the Criterion Collection, Chaplin plays the title character, a bank clerk who loses his job and finds a new business in murder - "liquidating members of the opposite sex," as he puts it. ...
December 9, 2010 | By Sheri Linden
From a certain angle, "Rare Exports" might sound like a typical heartwarming yuletide yarn: It's 24 days till Christmas, and a precocious young boy is determined to prove that Santa exists, while his hard-working widowed father suffers a major business setback. But the nog is spiked with twisted black humor in this frosty Finnish fantasy. The hero is a take-charge kid (Onni Tommila) who lives in northern Finland with his reindeer-hunter father (played by his real-life dad, Jorma Tommila)
June 17, 1990 | CHARLES SOLOMON
Although it doesn't include all of Arthur C. Clarke's stories about Earth ("No Morning After" and "The Nine Billion Names of God" are among the notable omissions), "Tales" offers some of the writer's finest work from the '50s and '60s. "The Road to the Sea" and "The Lion of Comarre" represent early explorations of the link between cultural stagnation and technological advance, a theme Clarke would develop more fully in "The City and the Stars."
August 25, 1986 | KRISTINA LINDGREN, Times Staff Writer
His tear ducts haven't worked since the "Night Stalker" shot him through the forehead a year ago. But Sunday, as William R. Carns Jr. and his fiancee, Inez Erickson, 30, sat in the pew of a Mission Viejo church, it was plain that he was crying. The pastor of St. Kilian Church had just dedicated that midday Mass to them. Head down, shoulders trembling, Carns said little until he returned home that afternoon. "It was very spiritual," he said, his dry eyes reddening.
July 2, 1989
"On one level, 'Falling in October' is a spoof of the art community; on another, it's serious--a feminist post-nuclear story. These two women are facing their own personal apocalypse: living with self-delusion, on the fringe of a major plague. "I give a voice to characters outside the so-called American mainstream: Bohemian artists on the canals of Venice, women in the barrio and the new denizen of Los Angeles, the single mom. The character of a poet and a single mother is black humor in itself.
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