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The warm December sunshine that fell on Beverly Hills flowed through the windows of the Four Seasons Hotel and landed on E. Annie Proulx. The author shaded her eyes. Almost everything about the place, the weather, the enormous fresh flowers, the uniformed doormen, the minions from Miramax were all about as far away as one could get from the bleak Newfoundland coastline, the wild storms and twisted psyches that defined her Pulitzer-Prize-winning 1993 novel, "The Shipping News."
September 23, 2010 | By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times
French filmmaker Gaspar Noé makes the kind of movies that require warnings. His brutal 2002 revenge drama, "Irréversible," arrived in theaters in England and Canada with a written alert about the possible side effects of a strobe-like sequence: "Some people may experience loss of consciousness or epileptic seizures when exposed to certain light effects or flashes of light. " The writer-director's 1998 debut feature, "I Stand Alone" — about a sociopathic butcher with incest and murder on the brain — carries an even less subtle warning.
October 1, 2010 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
First came the bestselling book, then the sequel, and now comes "Freakonomics" the movie, a kind of victory lap that both celebrates that success and demonstrates why the work of economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner has become an international phenomenon. With the original book selling more than 4 million copies and getting translated into 35 languages, not to mention spending two-plus years on the New York Times bestseller list, Dubner and Levitt's penchant for looking at economic data in adventurous ways and coming up with counterintuitive results has clearly touched a cultural nerve.
October 3, 2011 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
In the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had entered a new phase. It was the era of black power — and universities were actively courting African Americans and other minorities to enroll. It was in this charged atmosphere that the "L.A. Rebellion" was born at UCLA. African American students enrolled at the School of Theater, Film and Television and, over the next 20 years, created a new culture of black films that was far removed from the Hollywood blaxploitation urban crime thrillers of the time, which included such box-office hits as "Coffy" and "Superfly.
March 5, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - In the mid-1980s, Wu Tianming's star was on the rise. With China opening up to the world after the Cultural Revolution and Mao Tse-tung's death, he had found success as director of movies including "Life" and "The Old Well" and as the head of the Xi'an Film Studio. Under his guidance, daring and innovative filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige were bursting onto the international scene with pictures like "Red Sorghum" and "King of Children. " Wu was making a name for himself for his willingness to shake up an ossified state-run studio - and was raising eyebrows for calling out Communist Party bureaucrats who meddled in the arts.
May 14, 2011 | Kevin Thomas
Monte Hellman, the most idiosyncratic of the talented filmmakers mentored by producer Roger Corman in the '60s and '70s, is drawing raves for his latest film, "Road to Nowhere," an intense, romantic movie-within-a movie. Hellman and his longtime colleague, writer and Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos, have taken classic noir elements -- a stunning, seductive young beauty (Shannyn Sossamon), her rich and powerful middle-aged lover (Cliff De Young), a missing fortune and a suicide -- and blurred the line between fiction and reality.
January 23, 2011 | By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
If filmmaker Gregg Araki once described his 1997 movie "Nowhere" as "'Beverly Hills, 90210' on acid," then it might be best to think of the writer-director's newest feature, "Kaboom," as something like "Gossip Girl" gone gonzo. The story of an 18-year-old pansexual film student named Smith (Thomas Dekker), the film boasts all of the hallmarks of Araki's work: Attractive young people work through issues of sexual identity (in part by having a lot of sex in various gender permutations)
February 12, 2013
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been acclaimed not just by critics but by historians as well for its acute and realistic portrayal of the 16th president as he maneuvered to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. But the filmmakers got at least one detail wrong: They depicted two Connecticut delegates to the House of Representatives voting against the amendment when, in fact, all four of Connecticut's House members voted for it in 1865. Now, one of the state's current representatives, Joe Courtney, a Democrat, has written to Spielberg asking if the movie could be corrected before it's released on DVD. In a statement, screenwriter Tony Kushner admitted that he deliberately strayed from fact when he put "nay" votes in the mouths of the two Connecticut congressmen - but only to emphasize the dramatic closeness of the vote.
June 22, 2012 | By Dennis Lim, Special to the Los Angeles Times
It could be argued that the most pivotal chapter ofJean-Luc Godard's shape-shifting career - as well as one of the most neglected - is the period of video-based experimentation of the mid-'70s. Emerging from a militant post-'68 phase, during which he formed the Dziga Vertov Group, in an effort to "make films politically," Godard developed a complex method of merging and pulling apart images, sounds and text - a dense, sometimes dazzling analytic approach that defines a significant portion of his work to this day. New to DVD from Olive Films, "Ici et Ailleurs" (1976)
January 3, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian and Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - After complaining for weeks that the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” erroneously implies that torture yielded key information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a trio of senior senators now want to know whether CIA personnel deliberately misled the filmmakers on that point. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), said Thursday that they had sent two letters to acting CIA chief Michael Morell.
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