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ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 1996 | KENNETH TURAN, TIMES FILM CRITIC
"Set It Off" is pulp with a purpose, a heist film with more than guns and ammo on its mind. Like the characters it presents, this film ends up with dreams it can't deliver on, but just having the desire to do something different makes it a project worth paying attention to.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2009 | Greg Braxton
Since breaking out in the mid-'90s with the hip-hop-flavored "Friday" and the young-women-robbing-banks urban thriller "Set It Off," F. Gary Gray has established himself among the handful of former music video directors who graduated to helming big-budget projects. But after a steady career that included the back-to-back crunch of directing 2003's "The Italian Job" and 2005's "Be Cool" -- two films with more than their share of physical and creative demands -- Gray seemed to vanish, prompting some to wonder about his professional future.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 9, 1998 | Amy Wallace, Amy Wallace is a Times staff writer
The setting was elegant, which was odd, considering the guest list. Between them, the three directors, one writer and one writer-director were better known for big explosions than for dainty table manners. Yet there they were in West Los Angeles the other day, circling a huge table at the Four Seasons Hotel's garden restaurant, sipping from crystal goblets and talking about the cinema of mass destruction. Michael Bay, Steven E. de Souza, F.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 9, 1998 | Amy Wallace, Amy Wallace is a Times staff writer
The setting was elegant, which was odd, considering the guest list. Between them, the three directors, one writer and one writer-director were better known for big explosions than for dainty table manners. Yet there they were in West Los Angeles the other day, circling a huge table at the Four Seasons Hotel's garden restaurant, sipping from crystal goblets and talking about the cinema of mass destruction. Michael Bay, Steven E. de Souza, F.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2009 | Greg Braxton
Since breaking out in the mid-'90s with the hip-hop-flavored "Friday" and the young-women-robbing-banks urban thriller "Set It Off," F. Gary Gray has established himself among the handful of former music video directors who graduated to helming big-budget projects. But after a steady career that included the back-to-back crunch of directing 2003's "The Italian Job" and 2005's "Be Cool" -- two films with more than their share of physical and creative demands -- Gray seemed to vanish, prompting some to wonder about his professional future.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 31, 2008 | Geoff Boucher; Chris Lee; Mark Olsen; Rachel Abramowitz; Scott Timberg; Patrick Day; Kenneth Turan
The 25 best L.A. films of the last 25 years "Los ANGELES isn't a real city," people have said, "it just plays one on camera." It was a clever line once upon a time, but all that has changed. Los Angeles is the most complicated community in America -- make no mistake, it is a community -- and over the last 25 years, it has been both celebrated and savaged on the big screen with amazing efficacy. Damaged souls and flawless weather, canyon love and beach city menace, homeboys and credit card girls, freeways and fedoras, power lines and palm trees . . . again and again, moviegoers all over the world have sat in the dark and stared up at our Los Angeles, even if it was one populated by corrupt cops or a jabbering cartoon rabbit.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 15, 2003 | R. Kinsey Lowe
"The Italian Job," which tooled along most of the summer on its way to more than $96 million to date, will shift to a Labor Day weekend sprint, with Paramount boosting its dwindling theater count to between 1,500 and 2,000 venues. The well-reviewed film had done modest but steady business following its debut May 30, but competition for screens from newer wide releases since mid-July has reduced the number of theaters still showing the movie to 217.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2005 | Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
Ten years ago, the amusing "Get Shorty," based on the Elmore Leonard novel, introduced John Travolta as Chili Palmer, a Miami loan shark and movie fan, who on a trip to L.A. became convinced the motion picture business was a snap compared to wheeling and dealing in the underworld. Palmer is back in "Be Cool," and although Travolta is as smooth as ever, the picture is a bust, a grimly unfunny comedy with no connection to reality, and worst of all, running on and on for two dismal hours.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 30, 2003 | Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
A helicopter shot picks up six men standing on a snowy mountaintop, presumably in the Alps, celebrating the perfect heist of $35 million in gold ingots that provides the jaw-dropping opening of the breezy caper movie "The Italian Job." Each member of mastermind Mark Wahlberg's gang muses about what he's going to do with his share of the loot except for daring "inside" man Edward Norton, and that's because he's about to snatch all the loot for himself.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2011
SERIES Celebrity Ghost Stories: Loretta Lynn is featured in the season finale (6, 7 and 10 p.m. Biography). Friday Night Dinner: Jackie (Tamsin Greig) coerces her husband (Paul Ritter) to throw away his old science magazines, but he plans to keep them in this new episode (8:30 p.m. BBC America). MOVIES The Italian Job: Mark Wahlberg plays the mastermind behind a Venice gold robbery that goes like clockwork — until one team member (Edward Norton) turns traitor in director F. Gary Gray's energetic 2003 update of a 1969 heist tale.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 1996 | KENNETH TURAN, TIMES FILM CRITIC
"Set It Off" is pulp with a purpose, a heist film with more than guns and ammo on its mind. Like the characters it presents, this film ends up with dreams it can't deliver on, but just having the desire to do something different makes it a project worth paying attention to.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 16, 2009 | Glenn Whipp
We know that Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) loves his daughter because in the opening moments of "Law Abiding Citizen," we see him happily making bead necklaces with her. Then there's a knock on the door, a baseball bat to the head and Clyde watches helplessly as his wife and little girl are raped and murdered during a home invasion. Clyde, understandably, wants justice, and when he doesn't get it from the system, he wants revenge on everyone involved. Because of that "Law Abiding Citizen" spends a lot of time paying lip service to the inequities of a broken judicial system where "some justice is better than no justice at all."
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2003 | Kenneth Turan, Times Staff Writer
Now that there's a real war going on, the euphemistic war on drugs that has taken up so much screen time seems more and more meaningless, and movies about it, like the current "A Man Apart," feel increasingly anachronistic. We may still be, as the film's voice-over doesn't let us forget, the No.
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