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March 13, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Sarcastic, sanctimonious, salacious, sly, slight and surprisingly sweet, the black comedy of "Bad Words," starring and directed by Jason Bateman, is high-minded, foul-mouthed good nonsense. I had wondered where Bateman's angry itch would take him next. The script, by Andrew Dodge, his first to be produced after many years in the studio trenches, is a good match of man and material. As an actor - whether a victim trying to even the score with Melissa McCarthy in "Identity Thief" or the ruthless top firing dog in "Up in the Air" - Bateman always brings an edge to his work.
March 13, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
There's plenty of blood in the supernatural horror flick "Dark House," but what really defines director Victor Salva's latest effort is flop sweat. A haunted house, psychic powers, a father-son mystery, pregnancy terror, the South's history of lynching - Salva and co-writer Charles Agron reach for pretty much any contrivance that might send a fleeting shiver down audience members' spines with too little consideration for narrative cohesion or thematic nuance. Upon his mother's death, clairvoyant Nick (Luke Kleintank)
March 9, 2014 | By Laura Bleiberg
The classical repertory is a never-ending temptation for ballet choreographers to revise to suit their visions. But something fetid happens when updating “Swan Lake,” to Peter Tchaikovsky's 19th century musical masterpiece. The rare successes notwithstanding (think Matthew Bourne's male swans), each succeeding generation aims low, then sinks lower. The shock values pile up for no purpose other than their own sake. And so this weekend at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, we had “Lac,” Jean-Christophe Maillot's 2011 production with an unrelentingly nasty story dreamed up by Maillot and French author Jean Rouaud.
March 6, 2014 | By Steve Waters
DORAL, Fla. - It was only the first round Thursday, but the 68-player international field at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship got a taste of just how fearsome the new Blue Monster can be. The opening day at Trump National Doral had strong, shifting winds, rain, a storm delay, a tornado watch and a suspension of play because of darkness. As a result, there were plenty of birdies, but also plenty of bogeys, doubles and worse. Only two threesomes completed 18 holes.
February 28, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Katy Perry's “Dark Horse” video has been reedited to remove a quick scene that has generated outcry among some in the Muslim community. The scene in dispute showed a suitor being disintegrated, along with a pendant he was wearing that spelled out “Allah” (the Arabic word for “God”). A petition posted by Shazad Iqbal of Bradford, England, lobbied for YouTube to remove the video. But it was reedited to digitally remove the Allah medallion, and that version is now posted on YouTube and Vevo.
February 27, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
Adam Driver's character on the HBO series "Girls" has been accused of being a cruel, heartless weirdo. Now, Driver could be indulging his dark side further as the villain in "Star Wars: Episode VII. " According to a report in Variety, the 30-year-old Indiana native is close to signing a deal to play the main antagonist in J.J. Abrams' highly anticipated "Star Wars" sequel. Details of the character are unknown, the report says , but he's expected to be in the vein of the iconic bad guy Darth Vader.
February 27, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
There are so many good reasons to bag "The Bag Man. " Where to begin? Director David Grovic, who co-wrote the mobster thriller with Paul Conway, seems to be inspired by the seedy crime-noir sensibility the Coen brothers brought to 1984's cult classic "Blood Simple" or Quentin Tarantino to the brilliant bruising of 1994's "Pulp Fiction. " The filmmaker is also confused by it apparently, because both aforementioned films have believable underpinnings and interesting characters who are put through their twisted paces by artists who actually have an endgame in mind.
February 24, 2014 | Brady MacDonald
A $10-million first-of-its-kind attraction coming to Canada's Wonderland will combine a 4-D interactive dark ride with a roller-coaster track inside the Toronto-area amusement park's decades-old Wonder Mountain centerpiece. Photos: Wonder Mountain's Guardian at Canada's Wonderland Debuting on May 4, Wonder Mountain's Guardian will carry riders up a 60-foot-tall coaster lift hill on the exterior of the man-made mountain before dipping inside a cavern and slowing down for a dark ride experience complete with wind, motion and other special effects.
February 23, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Blue Is the Warmest Color Criterion, $19.95; Blu-ray, $24.95 Available on VOD beginning Feb. 25 For all the controversy over the explicit sex in writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche's three-hour adaptation of Julie Maroh's graphic novel "Blue Is the Warmest Color," the film is ultimately just a sensitive and honest coming-of-age story, showing how a teenager discovers who she is with the help of her older lesbian girlfriend, then has to...
February 20, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
There's an endemic problem in the world of dark crime comedies: filmmakers getting stuck in a self-reflexive loop, more interested in quoting the genre's movie-quoting movies than in telling a story. Between the inevitable nods to Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, fresh riffs are hard to come by. Dutch director Arne Toonen doesn't invent any in "Black Out," but he does corral the requisite collection of "colorful" characters, from the dumb to the deranged, in the desperate adventures of a reformed hood who gets dragged back into the criminal underbelly on the eve of his wedding.
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