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June 15, 2004 | Bettijane Levine, Times Staff Writer
The man who may be the next Hemingway is basically unreachable. At first call, Marc Bojanowski is bike riding down by the Russian River. At the next, he is actually in the river. Fishing. He has no cell phone. Doesn't believe in them. And he has no home. Is temporarily camping at his parents' house. Or maybe in their tool shed (he never says which). The shed is the place from which he eventually calls a reporter's answering machine.
April 24, 2014 | By Robert Abele
A determined historical sweep masks a small-minded bid for easy outrage and heartstrings-pulling in the schematic World War II drama "Walking With the Enemy. " Set in 1944, when the war was essentially over for the Nazis but their reign of terror in occupied territories was still going strong, the movie focuses on the efforts of a young, displaced Hungarian Jew named Elek (Jonas Armstrong) to find his family after escaping from a camp, which turned into a concerted effort to save many Hungarian Jews.
August 15, 2012 | By Susan Brink, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
DENNY CRANE calls it "mad cow," but viewers of "Boston Legal" know William Shatner's character is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Another character on the show, Jerry Espenson (played by Christian Clemenson), has strange tics, can't keep his hands off his thighs, but, despite having obsessive-compulsive disorder, makes his living as a lawyer. Mental illness, long taboo or distorted by the media, is making its way into the fictional lives of television characters. Once, mentally ill people were commonly portrayed as homicidal maniacs, evil seductresses and assorted buffoons.
March 27, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
In the ill-conceived and poorly executed "Awakened," a young woman returns to her hometown to solve the mystery of her mother's death. Audiences will likely ponder a bigger mystery: why experienced actors - or for that matter, experienced moviegoers - signed on to the project. If the ostensible thriller contained a single believable moment, let alone an ounce of suspense, its nonsensical final twist might be grounds for concern. But by the time the Man in Fedora Hat (as he's called in the credits)
November 29, 2012 | By Sheri Linden
With its stock characters and low-expectation high jinks, the German import "What a Man" could have been fabricated on the Hollywood rom-com assembly line. The directing debut of screen star Matthias Schweighöfer, who also co-scripted and plays the lead, fits all too neatly into a familiar mold: In romantic crisis, a milquetoast does a bunch of stupid things on the way to finding true love and locating his spine. The formulaic aspect wouldn't be a problem, though, if the material (co-written by Doron Wisotzky)
Doesn't it make you cringe a little when Dodgers part-time television broadcaster Eric Collins says repeatedly, "He's painting the corners"? As if you haven't heard that before. Or when Angels analyst Rex Hudler says for, oh, about the 100th time, "Mighty Maicer" Izturis after Izturis beats out an infield grounder for a barely-there single as well as after he hits a home run. Kind of cute in April. Just grating in October. Somehow baseball seems to lend itself to fomenting cliches.
January 10, 2009
Re "A staycation from cliches," editorial, Jan. 3 Staycations? There's a perfect storm, throw it under the bus, with all those other overused phrases. Thomas D. Penfield Cardiff by the Sea -- Your list of "hackneyed rhetoric" was truly awesome and amazing. Dan Anzel Los Angeles
August 15, 2001
Your laundry list of cliches barely revealed the tip of the iceberg (editorial, Aug. 11). Further, The Times has a track record of pointing the finger elsewhere when it has egg on its face. I would be curious to know how many cliches slip by the eagle eyes of your proofreaders and make it to print each day. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to make that calculation. A ballpark figure will suit me to a T. To level the playing field for your writers and give some small respite to your loyal and long-suffering readers, I would humbly suggest that you clean up your act and make it an editorial policy that cliches be banned from your pages from now until eternity.
September 20, 2012 | By Gary Goldstein
In "Unconditional," the inspirational tale of a chance, life-altering reunion between grade school friends Samantha "Sam" Crawford (Lynn Collins), a children's author haunted by her husband's senseless murder, and Joe Bradford (Michael Ealy), a kind of Pied Piper of the housing projects, writer-director-editor Brent McCorkle works so hard at being authentic that the results often prove anything but. The filmmaker is clearly well-intended but, along with a rather knee-jerk portrayal of race and racism, his on-the-nose script can't escape the "white savior" trap as the better-off Sam brings light and largesse (she has a horse!
May 8, 2012 | By Dan Turner
Provocative opinion pieces from newspapers around the globe: Michael Gerson in the Washington Post has an interesting take on President Obama's 2012 campaign, which is clearly devoid of the inspirational sparks he ignited in 2008. To Gerson, the "brand" of the Obama campaign is ruthlessness, the kind of class-based, divisive techniques that could be used by any liberal politician. That seems surprising and disappointing, coming from a guy who used to represent hope and change.
March 8, 2014 | By John Penner
When Charles Bukowski died in San Pedro 20 years ago, the obituaries in the next day's papers typically began with some iteration of Time magazine's stock description of the writer as the "laureate of American lowlife. " In the decades since, the drinking, brawling, gambling, whoring cliche has become so entrenched and widely propagated it can be hard to see Bukowski's words for his shadow. The "Barfly" legend, sprouted from the self-mythology Bukowski cultivated in countless quasi-autobiographical works including his celebrated movie screenplay and fed by his real-life drunken bouts of abusiveness, has only grown posthumously.
March 6, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Strive as one might for objectivity, certain shows come equipped with viewer expectations. So when Denis Leary announced that USA would be debuting his comedic accompaniment to "Rescue Me," a natural reaction, at least among Leary fans, would have been "Yay. " Then, when the first episode of "Sirens," which premieres Thursday, turned out to be one long (literally and figuratively) penis joke, an equally natural reaction might have been "Gaack. " Which is no doubt why USA sent three episodes for review.
February 6, 2014 | By Robert Abele
Liam Neeson has proved of late how entertainingly potent the one-tough-middle-aged-SOB-against-impossible-odds movie can be. But there's not a lot to be - ahem - "Taken" by, however, in the lo-fi imitation thriller "The Outsider," which stars British slab Craig Fairbrass as Lex, a private security mercenary stationed in Afghanistan who hotfoots it to Los Angeles to investigate the supposed death of his estranged daughter. With all signs pointing to a weaselly, well-protected high-tech firm magnate (James Caan)
February 5, 2014 | By August Brown
One of the big open secrets of contemporary EDM is that many, many DJs just aren't doing that much onstage. Whether picking super-obvious mainstream tracks, using oversimplified beat-matching software or even just playing a pre-mixed set and drunkenly fist-pumping, today's digital-centric DJs have myriad ways to cut corners in the booth. Las Vegas clubs are especially susceptible, with huge easy paychecks for artists playing to tourist crowds who just want to keep the bottles flying.  Over at, Scott T. Sterling notes that one new Vegas club, After, has posted its house rules for DJs, and it amounts to a provocative 95 Theses for modern EDM venues.
January 16, 2014 | By Robert Abele
Cloying and smug when it's not being unfunny and crass, the high school reunion comedy "Back in the Day" hits lows with a frequency that suggests a world-class sharp shooter or free-throw king. With every thudding gross-out gag or mistimed bit of sentimentality, writer-director-star Michael Rosenbaum's movie acts as if it deserves a high-five. Instead, this aggressively clichéd tale of Jim (Rosenbaum), a struggling Hollywood actor attending his Midwestern high school reunion, is about as entertaining as watching two guys vomit simultaneously, to name one of the movie's prouder moments of dreary raunch.
January 10, 2014 | By Martin Tsai
Unspooled in the January dumping ground and not screened for critics, Renny Harlin's "The Legend of Hercules" has preemptively conceded defeat in its duel with Brett Ratner's "Hercules," the other Hollywood project based on the same Greek hero due this year. One of the best-known figures in Greek mythology, Hercules has yet to receive serious cinematic regard. Besides serving as a bit player in films such as "Immortals" and "Jason and the Argonauts," Hercules has been the subject of one wisecracking animated musical from Disney and numerous live-action features straight out of the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" canon.
March 20, 2013 | By Leah Ollman
Depending on your degree of sympathy for his enterprise, Richard Prince is either a savvy mirror, reflecting select tropes of American popular culture, or a ruthless poacher, hunting on visual terrain already claimed by others. One thing his new work at Gagosian makes clear is that he has no more qualms about quoting and requoting himself than he does rehashing the work of others. In sync with the Pictures Generation that emerged in the '70s, Prince started rephotographing ads, including those starring the ruggedly individualistic Marlboro Man. About 10 years ago, he started scanning the covers of pulp novels featuring nurses, painting over and into the inkjet enlargements.
May 14, 1990 | MIKE BOEHM
If the record industry really wants to protect America's impressionable youth, it should adopt a new cautionary sticker that goes something like this: "Warning--cliched lyrics. Contents devoid of original thought or vivid expression. This music may induce mental torpor." They could launch the campaign by slapping a big sticker on Whitesnake.
December 3, 2013 | By Randall Roberts
Like Wile E. Coyote realizing too late that he's walked off a cliff and is standing on thin air, "Britney Jean," the new studio album from Britney Spears, is marked with so many sleights of hand, dubious lyrics and bombastic but boringly simple melodies that the too-rare levitation of its better moments seems an animation trick. Item one: "It Should Be Easy," a song that practically wallows in its own failure. Featuring a cameo by the album's executive producer,, the track casts doubt on his utility, as evidenced by these lazy lines: "Love, it should be easy / It shouldn't be complicated / It should be easy.
September 5, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
A talented quartet of young actors can't surmount the wall-to-wall clichés that comprise "Mission Park," an earnest, not terribly convincing action thriller as generic as its title. Though writer-director Bryan Anthony Ramirez keeps things moving apace, he trots out so many familiar tropes that it's often like watching a highlights reel from a lifetime's worth of urban crime dramas. The movie, set in San Antonio, finds four childhood friends, who as kids were jointly involved in a botched restaurant robbery, reuniting as 20ish adults on opposite sides of the law: Brothers Bobby (a strong Jeremy Ray Valdez)
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