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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.
August 2, 2012 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
In one of the numerous bits of B movie dialogue that pervade "Memphis," the 2010 Tony-winning musical now playing a two-week run at the Pantages Theatre, the show's female protagonist, Felicia Farrell, explains that "Rock 'n' roll is just black people's blues sped up. " But this awkward Broadway hit, set in segregated Memphis, Tenn., in the 1950s, could be called 1980s arena rock slowed down, with songs that rage against racism and plea for tolerance...
June 22, 2012 | By Robert Abele
The SoCal indie "Bro" sends its college-age protagonist, Johnny (Will Chavez), tumbling into seductive illegality with the efficiency of those Direct TV commercials that paint exaggerated worst-case scenarios for cable customers. In this case, it'd be, "When you ask out the cute girl at the gym, you go to her tattooed brother's motocross practice. When you go to motocross practice, you party with gang members who ply you with easy women and drugs. When you cavort with easy women and take drugs …" and before you can blink, Johnny is a straight-up hoodlum.
June 8, 2012 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
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 | By Vanessa Friedman
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, 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 | By Robert Abele
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 | 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.
May 3, 2012 | By Dan Turner
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 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
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...
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