November 15, 2012 |
"Silver Linings Playbook" is rich in life's complications. It will make you laugh, but don't expect it to fit in any snug genre pigeonhole. Dramatic, emotional, even heartbreaking, as well as wickedly funny, it has the gift of going its own way, a complete success from a singular talent. That would be the gifted writer-director David O. Russell, whose triumph with "The Fighter" two years ago marked a return to form after a spate of lean years. Russell, whose early successes include "Three Kings" and "Flirting With Disaster," always brings intensity and passion to the proceedings: We aren't coolly observing life in his films, we are compelled to live it full-bore along with his characters.
October 26, 2012 |
Twelve years after his death on tax day 2000, Edward Gorey - writer, illustrator, Victorian aesthete born half a century too late - has earned an adjective all his own: "Goreyesque. " The word is used, increasingly, to refer to anything that manages to be amusingly lugubrious, in an arch sort of way. In recent years, Gorey's eccentric shadow has only lengthened across pop culture, his influence apparent in Tim Burton's gothic whimsies; the Lemony Snicket books by Daniel Handler; the emergence of the Gorey tattoo as a hipster fad; crowds thronging to the traveling exhibition of his work, "Elegant Enigmas"; and the resurrection of out-of-print Gorey tales Three Gorey titles have just landed on bookstore shelves.
October 7, 2012 |
Panorama City A Novel Antoine Wilson Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 292 pp., $24 In fiction, when country naifs ship off to the big city to reinvent themselves, they go to New York or Paris. On the off chance they end up in Los Angeles, they usually skulk around muggy corners in Hollywood hawking scripts. They do not often go to the outer San Fernando Valley, unless they are perhaps looking for employment in the field of cinematic sexual stamina. That's where Oppen Porter, the 28-year-old narrator of Antoine Wilson's second novel, "Panorama City," winds up on a quest to become a "man of the world.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 23, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown had been plowing through the hundreds of bills on his desk, many involving what he calls the "vast tracts of unknown" in state bureaucracy, when one caught his eye. It was the "Google Car" bill to regulate driverless vehicles. "I said, 'Wow. This sounds kind of Moonbeam," Brown recalled. "I want to look at this a little more carefully.'" These days, the man tagged "Gov. Moonbeam" nearly four decades ago for his plan to launch state satellites doesn't have the luxury of playing the wide-eyed futurist.
July 28, 2012 |
Olympic opening ceremonies tend to be orgies of nationalistic sentiment, choreographed with the propagandizing artistry of a Las Vegas-styled Leni Riefenstahl. “Marvel at our unparalleled history,” said the Greeks at the 2004 games in Athens. “Stand in awe of our multitudinous might,” said the Chinese at the 2008 competition in Beijing. The British pageant had to tread more carefully given the country's imperial history and modern self-consciousness. Too much muscle-flexing in this post-colonial era wouldn't have advanced Britain's 21st century image as a deluxe global marketplace, welcoming to all who have the financial wherewithal to get past security.
July 2, 2012 |
All the best stories are told in the kitchen - even the darkest ones. Think of Hélène Cixous' “Oy!,” now at the Actors' Gang, as the rise and fall of the Third Reich as told by your eccentric aunts, who happen to be whipping up liver pâté and a little gossip. Octogenarian sisters Selma (Mary Eileen O'Donnell) and Jenny (Jeanette Horn) have just returned from their hometown in Germany, where they were asked to speak about the Nazi era. Cooking up some nosh, they admit to each other that they didn't exactly tell the whole truth in public.