February 1, 2014 |
The stereotypical Sundance movie is thought of as something capital-Q quirky, typically a story of family dysfunction or coming-of-age. This year's festival, across its numerous sections, featured a newfound immersion in genre storytelling that pushed the films to places that were familiar but with unexpected and most welcome twists. Gareth Evans' "The Raid 2," for instance, does for the blood-soaked Asian action film what "The Dark Knight" did for the superhero film, injecting it with a seriousness, a depth of characterization and a scope of storytelling that raises it to a new level of legitimacy.
January 30, 2014 |
There is nothing that tugs at your heartstrings more than a beautiful horse. Except, of course, a cute little puppy. Budweiser is using both in its new Super Bowl ad. In the ad, perhaps the cutest puppy in the world becomes friends with a Clydesdale who lives on a farm next to the puppy. The puppy, however, is about to be adopted and taken far away. The Clydesdale and his friends aren't about to let that happen to the puppy. See how I used the word puppy multiple times?
January 30, 2014 |
Animator Floyd Norman vividly recalled the first time he encountered Walt Disney. In early 1956, Norman was one of a few young animators hired for a one-month tryout at the Disney studio in Burbank. A few weeks into its training, the group was told to report to a screening room on the third floor of the Animation Building. Because the room was occupied, they had to wait in the hallway. "We saw this figure step out into the hallway moving toward us," Norman said. "As the figure moved closer, we suddenly realized - oh, my God - it was Walt Disney.
January 27, 2014 |
The producers of Fox's "American Idol" are looking to give the long-running televised singing competition a fresh hook and attract viewers with new interactive features offered through partnerships with Google and Facebook. In a first for Google, people who use its search engine to learn more about the show, its contestants or judges will be able to cast votes directly from within Google's search results. Facebook users, meanwhile, might see their profile pictures displayed during the telecast when they cast a ballot.
January 25, 2014 |
Set on a bluff above the beach and ocean in Long Beach, this Spanish-style villa is rich in architectural details. Trussed and stenciled ceilings in the sunken living room, original wrought iron, classic tile work, interior archways and Moorish alcoves retain the home's 1930 vibe. Location: 7 37th Place, Long Beach 90803 Asking price: $1.625 million Year built: 1930 Architect: Harry Broner House size: Six bedrooms, three bathrooms, 4,435 square feet Lot size: 5,101 square feet Features: Gated street, center hall, den, library/study, breakfast room, family room, wine cellar, French doors, balcony, patio, elevator, three-car garage, ocean and Queen Mary views.
January 24, 2014 |
There were babies everywhere: crying, crawling, pooping. Framed Bible citations and photos of Jesus lined the walls. And no one was using a cellphone. This is what Vanessa Hudgens saw in 2011 when she arrived at New Jersey's Several Sources shelter, a safe haven for young pregnant women and new mothers without homes. And it made her very uncomfortable. "The first thing I did," the actress later recalled, "was run up to my room, call my mom and go, 'What on earth am I doing here?
January 24, 2014 |
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In the film "12 Years a Slave," free black man Solomon Northup dreams of one thing during his long captivity in the antebellum South: returning to his family and home in Saratoga Springs. In the film, as Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, undergoes grueling labor and horrific punishment on a series of Southern plantations, Saratoga Springs becomes a promised land, its name uttered with a sense of longing and hope. Yet mention Northup's name to many locals in modern-day Saratoga Springs or ask about the memoir or movie that tells his story and they'll raise an eyebrow, largely unaware of the man and his legacy.
January 24, 2014 |
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany - I am looking at a piece of the Hindenburg - or, rather, its replica: its lounge, reading and writing room, passenger cabins and smoking room (yes, there was one) and bar. It's part of the Zeppelin Museum, in the former Hafenbahnhof, or Harbor Railway Station, a striking Bauhaus-style building completed in 1933 in Friedrichshafen, the birthplace of the zeppelin. The museum is chockablock with zeppelin memorabilia, but its centerpiece and what drew my wife, Laurel, and me here in October, is this full-size replica of the starboard section of the Hindenburg that's more than 100 feet long.
January 18, 2014 |
When Esperanza Spalding was named best new artist at the 2011 Grammys, not even the most ardent jazz fan dared believe this would usher in a new era for a marginalized genre long left out of the major award categories. Still, there was hope. Beyond the pop cultural footprint generated by Spalding's memorable coif, numerous high-profile performances and cover-ready good looks, there were acres of talent. FOR THE RECORD: Grammy jazz categories: An article about the Grammy Awards' jazz categories in the Jan. 19 Arts & Books section gave 1930s singer-trumpeter Valaida Snow's last name as Smith.
January 16, 2014 |
Winter is coming to Oakton, the fictional city circa 1959 at the center of the new 3-D animated film "The Nut Job. " Unfortunately, the critters who occupy Liberty Park haven't been able to store enough food to survive the season. That's of no concern to the aptly named Surly (Will Arnett), a purplish squirrel who looks out for only himself. When Surly discovers a stash of snacks in a closed nut shop, he makes a deal with peacekeeper Andie (Katherine Heigl) to share the loot with the rest of the park.