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February 20, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman continued his relentless attack on Herbalife, releasing a report that accuses millionaire Herbalife distributor John Tartol of misleading others into selling the company's nutrition products. Ackman's company, Pershing Square Capital Management, said in the report released on its website Thursday that Tartol has made millions of dollars by misleading people into believing they can get rich as independent Herbalife distributors. “What took us that many years to do - 25, 30-plus years - you can all do in the next six, seven, eight years,” Tartol said at a 2011 Herbalife convention in Las Vegas, according to Ackman's report.
February 20, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Part sword-and-sandal spectacle, part disaster epic, "Pompeii" accomplishes its ambitious agenda to largely engrossing effect. Sure, it's not the brainiest of outings, but director Paul W.S. Anderson (the man behind four of the "Resident Evil" films) keeps the action apace and the lava a-flowing with workmanlike energy and sufficient visual dazzle. Set in AD 79, immediately before and during the cataclysmic eruption of southern Italy's Mt. Vesuvius, the script by Janet Scott Batchler & Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson places a star-crossed romance at the center of one of the ancient world's most legendary calamities.
February 19, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
SAN DIEGO - The difficulty of staging "The Winter's Tale" is legendary. Characters are at the mercy of a crazy plot that wildly mixes genres and tones, there is a leap of 16 years between the third and fourth acts and one stage direction (perhaps the most famous in all of Shakespeare) reads "Exit pursued by a bear. " In making his directing debut at the Old Globe with this late romance of Shakespeare's, artistic director Barry Edelstein clearly isn't playing it safe. But he knows the play intimately, having staged it off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company, and in this new production he has enlisted a core group of actors who bring refreshing clarity to what is undeniably a tricky text.
February 14, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
SAN DIEGO - A fascinating experiment is underway at San Diego's flagship theater, the Old Globe. Now under the leadership of Barry Edelstein, the theater is seeking a return to the form of its Tony-winning heyday under Jack O'Brien. Can the Globe's outdoor Summer Shakespeare Festival be reshaped into a national center for the very best in American Shakespeare? That might seem like an overreaching quest, but in appointing Edelstein artistic director, the board of directors has chosen a bona fide Shakespeare expert to lead the charge.
February 14, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
We cannot escape Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. On Thursday, Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with help from the Símon Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, begin an 11-day TchaikovskyFest at Walt Disney Concert Hall that will include the Russian composer's six symphonies along with other orchestral and chamber works. But unlike other festivals - and especially the Mahler Project, Dudamel's concentrated traversal through nine symphonies with the L.A. Phil and his Bolívars two years ago - the TchaikovskyFest has no musical frame.
February 13, 2014 | By Randee Dawn
Alexander Payne is a born director. Not just thanks to his six feature film credits (including "Election," "About Schmidt" and the current Oscar nominee "Nebraska") but because even in a brief meeting he finds ways to assert control - over old misquotes, article angles and declining to put certain topics on the record that are off-message. He's probably smarter than you are and speaks with a thoughtful eloquence that doesn't quite hide that he knows it. Yet he wins Oscars for his scripts ("Sideways," "The Descendants")
February 13, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
In the tradition of hit-and-miss anthology valentines like "Love Actually" (but with less pandering), Chinese writer-director Chen Sicheng has assembled five interlocking tales in "Beijing Love Story. " Each romance focuses on a different stage of life, from teen infatuation through the sometimes-thorny devotion of those long married. Adapting his TV series of the same name for this big-screen spinoff, Chen has an appealing visual style and deploys a sharp ensemble. The uneven movie benefits especially from the magnetism of Hong Kong stars Tony Leung Ka Fai and Carina Lau in the comic-poignant tale of a middle-age couple whose romantic getaway in Greece hits troubled waters.
February 13, 2014 | By Michael Ordoña
Spike Jonze's idiosyncratic risk-taking has been rewarded with broad acclaim throughout his career, including two Directors Guild of America nods and four Oscar nominations (three this year alone for "Her"). Still, he's not immune to doubt. "To be honest, in editing, there's always periods where I feel like the movie is never gonna work," he says. "'It's a noble idea, but ultimately a flawed idea.' Usually it'll go away after a week or so and I'll be excited about the movie again.
February 13, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Filmgoers who've seen “The Lego Movie” since it came out last weekend have no doubt been tickled by the movie's pop-culture shout-outs. Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shaquille O'Neal and Gandalf are among those getting loving (and not-so-loving) homages in the new animated movie. In fact, there are so many outside references in the Warner Bros. film that one can't imagine that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller wanted any other charcaters. But they did, and it's a doozy.
February 11, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Having failed in its initial effort to buy Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications now wants to take over the company's board of directors. On Tuesday Charter announced a slate of directors it will nominate to Time Warner Cable's board at its annual meeting later this year. The 13 nominees include James Chiddix, a former chief technology officer for Time Warner Cable and Lisa Gersh, former president of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Oxygen Media. The hostile move comes about a month after Time Warner Cable rejected Charter's unsolicited offer of $132.50 a share and sets up a proxy fight for the company.
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