March 25, 2014 |
Simon Schama, the British historian and television personality and name-in-the-title host of "Simon Schama's History of Britain," "Simon Schama's Power of Art," "Simon Schama's Shakespeare" and "Simon Schama's Obama's America," is back with "Simon Schama's The Story of the Jews. " Premiering Tuesday on PBS, it attempts to distill 3,000 years of Jewish history into five hours of TV and does a fine, if necessarily incomplete, job of it. Like many British documentaries - the series originally aired in September on the BBC - "The Story of the Jews" comes with a personal touch.
March 2, 2014 |
Will it be "American Hustle," "12 Years a Slave" or "Gravity" -- or perhaps an underdog from the nine-film field -- for best picture at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday? And will Ellen DeGeneres and a more c lassic telecast erase memories of the awkward spectacles of years past? Join L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan and L.A. Times columnist Robin Abcarian on latimes.com on Sunday for commentary and analysis as you watch the show, which starts at 5:30 p.m. PST on ABC. Turan and Abcarian will weigh in during the commercial breaks and give you the back story on the winners and other news as it unfolds.
February 12, 2014 |
ESPN bills itself as the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Based on that, women's basketball is bigger worldwide than the Winter Olympics. Nothing against the Connecticut Huskies, but do they really warrant more airtime than Bode Miller, the U.S. women's hockey team, 3,000 Olympians from 88 countries and Bob Costas' valiant battle with pinkeye? If a Martian just landed anywhere in America that has cable, it would sure think so. Then it would fly to Sochi to have dinner with Jeremy Schaap, who must be feeling pretty lonely.
November 6, 2013 |
President Obama is slowly extricating the U.S. from its Bush-era fixation on the Middle East. But he is turning his attention in the wrong direction. Europe, not Asia, should be his main focus. The future of liberal democracy will depend on its ongoing success in its Enlightenment heartland. If it can overcome current troubles and thrive in Europe and the Americas, this will inspire the worldwide democracy movement over the long run. If it fails in the West, no amount of Asian realpolitik will compensate for the collapse.
October 15, 2013 |
"Think for a moment about the term 'Redskins,'" NBC Sports commentator Bob Costas exhorted viewers during his halftime tirade of Sunday's Cowboys-Redskins game. "Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed [at] African Americans. Hispanics. Asians. Or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, 'Redskins' can't possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. "It is an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent," Costas continued.
July 19, 2013 |
History took a giant step forward in June with the Supreme Court's watershed rulings on marriage equality, and naturally it will take artists, even those notoriously quick-off-the-mark filmmakers, a bit of time to transform such momentous news into meditative reflection. But at this year's Outfest Los Angeles, the 31st annual LGBT Film Festival that concludes its 11-day run Sunday, there was one film that piercingly conveyed the imperative of this civil-rights breakthrough: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's "Bridegroom," a work that puts front and center its concern for the "personhood and dignity" of gay and lesbian couples, to borrow the ringing language of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's federal Defense of Marriage Act decision.