June 8, 2012 |
CHICAGO - Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 painting "Whaam!" shows an American fighter pilot shooting down an enemy aircraft in a dramatic explosion of comic-book color. Among his most familiar works, it turns up in the third room of a wonderfully revealing retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago. But the painting looks very different than it has before - deeper, richer, more bracingly complex. That's one sign of a worthwhile show. "Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective" is huge - more than 100 paintings, plus sculptures and drawings, spanning half a century.
June 3, 2012 |
A few years ago I was having lunch with a friend, when she started going on about a new shopping site she had discovered. "It's totally addictive," she said. "It's like a daily sample sale: You log on at noon and race to put items in your bag before anyone else. I am spending so much money!" The shop was Gilt.com, the New York membership e-commerce site. It combined the idea of the sample sale (an end-of-season, very cut-price, one-off way for high-end brands to get rid of excess merchandise)
May 18, 2012 |
The allure of stardom brings model-handsome wannabe Adam (Matthew Ludwinski) to Hollywood - and down some dubious moneymaking side roads into gay pornography and escorting - in writer-director Casper Andreas' cautionary showbiz tale "Going Down in La-La Land," which is based on a novel by Andy Zeffer. But its Andreas' own attraction to the easy spotlight of warmed-over bitchy humor (courtesy Adam's gal pal roomie, played by Allison Lane), familiar plotting and by-the-numbers characterization that sinks this earnest, gay-contoured take on the evergreen making-it-big melodrama.
May 8, 2012 |
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.
May 3, 2012 |
I very seldom agree with conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg, whose work appears in the Times weekly, but he said something Wednesday morning in an interview on NPR that was dead-on: "Aggravation is a muse. " His interview aggravated me so much, and unintentionally revealed so much about what's wrong with conservatism in general and Goldberg's mindset in particular, that it inspired me to blog about it. Goldberg was on "Morning Edition" to promote his new book, "The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.
April 13, 2012 |
You'd think by now college kids would know better than to head to an isolated cabin deep in the woods for a laid-back weekend of beer, swimming and truth or dare, because… cue spooky music … as everyone knows by now most of them are destined to die, falling to their blood-soaked ends like dominoes: One. By. One. Actually that's exactly what longtime horror-making buddies Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard are counting on - that everyone knows...
February 7, 2012 |
From Cleveland — It's a Vinny Del Negro I do not know. He's at a loss for cliches and coach-speak Tuesday over lunch, pausing to take a deep breath every time he mentions Chauncey Billups' name. The veteran guard has been active in a Los Angeles uniform for only 20 games, but Del Negro says, "People have no idea what he has meant to this group. " Somewhere beyond the half-eaten bowl of soup, small talk and concern about how he might reenergize his team, Del Negro is now on the telephone talking to team trainer Jasen Powell.
February 3, 2012 |
So I'm coming out of Staples the other night, and I look at the fan next to me on the street. "Katzenberg!!!" I yell, when it turns out to be just another one of those steely eyed bald dudes that L.A. produces like pigeons. I avert what could've been an embarrassing moment by skipping down the street shouting out famous names randomly. "Minnie Driver! Donald Duck!" as if suffering from some sort of celebrity-induced dementia. "Mel Gibson! Larry Hagman! Donna Reed!" Which brings us, obviously, to the Super Bowl, where language is also a powerful tool when used correctly, or preferably incorrectly.
October 27, 2011 |
The fact-based story of Matt "The Hammer" Hamill, a three-time NCAA wrestling champion and the first deaf wrestler to win a national championship, the film "The Hammer" looks to tread a fine line between appealing directly (and perhaps strictly) to the deaf community and opening up an understanding of the deaf experience to a broader audience. Directed by Oren Kaplan, making his feature debut from a script by Eben Kostbar and Joseph McKelheer, the film follows Hamill from a small-town Ohio childhood in the late-'70s and early '80s to finding his winning ways in college in the '90s.
June 24, 2011 |
Director Chris Weitz's new drama, "A Better Life," should be a much better movie than it is, but emotions get in the way. It's a quintessential L.A. story of a hard-pressed illegal immigrant family — in this case a father and son — living with the constant fear of deportation. Rather than being compelling, though, the film is weighted down by clichés. A pity, since the issues could hardly be more timely. Weitz, working from a screenplay by Eric Eason ("Manito"), wears his heart on his sleeve in every scene.