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November 15, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"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 | By Mark Dery
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 | By August Brown, Los Angeles Times
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.
September 23, 2012 | By Evan Halper and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
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 | By Charles McNulty, Losa Angeles Times Theater Critic
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 | By Charlotte Stoudt
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.
June 29, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"The Matchmaker" is a surprise. It sounds like a throwback to an earlier, more traditional style of Israeli filmmaking but it instead provides a view of that country that's as satisfyingly eccentric and unexpected as anything we've seen. Written and directed by the veteran Avi Nesher, nominated for seven Israeli academy awards and winner of the lead actor and actress prize, "The Matchmaker" is set largely in 1968 and presents itself as the familiar coming-of-age story of a 16-year-old boy. But, as it turns out, the boy's story is only a part of a larger, more compelling dramatic mosaic and what he learns about the vagaries and perplexities of the human heart is only interesting because of the complex, unusual adults he learns it from.
June 8, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
It is one of the great classified ads of our time, and it leads to an unexpected and endearing film that is as deliciously off-center as the words that ignite it: "WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before. " The film is"Safety Not Guaranteed,"and its success is both delightful and unlikely. As sweet as it is eccentric - and it is wildly eccentric - this is a warm movie in cynical disguise, a story that takes a handful of thoroughly modern characters, places them in a classic screwball comedy plot, and lets nature take its course.
March 25, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Metta World Peace proudly brags about his hometown of Queensbridge, N.Y. So much so that he even asked TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager to say "Queensbridge" after a post-game interview. But during the Lakers' film session on Saturday, World Peace mimicked what many Angelenos do when it's not a perfect beach-weather day. They freak out. And in World Peace's case, well Pau Gasol's explanation via Twitter explains it all. "How about @MettaWorldPeace jacket!?!" Gasol tweeted . "He was cold and he put it on for a video session!
October 30, 2011 | By Matt Diehl, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Assessing Chris Holmes' place in popular music often results in cinematic comparisons. "He has a Zelig-like ability to insert himself into any event that matters," explains Greg Kot, music critic for the Chicago Tribune. "He's Forrest Gump for all these little subcultures," notes Brian Liesegang, former member of alt-rock hitmakers Filter and Nine Inch Nails and Holmes' current partner in the band Ashtar Command. Holmes agrees. "I've lived my life on the sidelines of all this stuff that's happening" he says.
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