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April 19, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
In this age of try-anything television, it's difficult to understand why Lifetime chose to cram the Terry McMillan novel "A Day Late and a Dollar Short" into a single made-for-TV movie. Rich with plot and pathos that address difficult issues, including addiction and sexual abuse, the story could easily have sustained an abbreviated miniseries or two-part "special event. " As a movie, however, it just wastes the considerable talents of its cast by force-feeding the audience a hard-to-swallow meal that is by turns bitter and treacly.
April 18, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Watching Annette Bening perform the monologues of Ruth Draper at the Geffen Playhouse put me in mind of that lovely music tradition born out of reverence for the past: the tribute album. One doesn't expect a replica on these recordings - no two voices are ever the same. And part of the interest is seeing how one sensibility interprets another, how the greatness of the original is illuminated by the talent of the one paying homage. The rewards of these offerings naturally depend as much on the performance as on the auditor's expectations.
April 17, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Perhaps at some point it will again be possible to write the name Woody Allen and go from there. But after a year marked by artistic highs and controversial lows for the filmmaker, it seems impossible. To address the elephant in the room, all you'll find on the docket today is a look at "Fading Gigolo," an amusing indie film that includes some of Allen's finest work as an actor in years. Written and directed not by Allen but John Turturro, "Fading Gigolo" is something of a tart meditation on romance and morality through the prism of the oldest profession.
April 15, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
SAN FRANCISCO -- Yasiel Puig remained silent Tuesday about the Los Angeles Magazine article that told a story of his escape from Cuba and the death threats he purportedly received last year from human traffickers under control of a major Mexican drug cartel. Manager Don Mattingly said he has spoken to Puig to check on his mental state. Asked how Puig seemed, Mattingly replied, “Fine.” Mattingly said he hadn't read the article but had heard about it. He said he wasn't worried about the team's safety.
April 15, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
Gary Vitti's workspace at the Lakers' training facility is surrounded by a life-size skeleton, detailed charts of the human muscular system and books about tendons and ligaments. Lots of books. The medical library came in handy this season as the Lakers suffered a continual string of injuries, the worst in Vitti's 30 years as their trainer. A few days before his 60th birthday, Vitti sat down with The Times for a candid interview on how Kobe Bryant will look next season, why the Lakers were ailing all season and the recent outbursts of angry Lakers fans.
April 12, 2014
La Taverna di Moranda in Monticchiello, Italy, is our favorite restaurant in the Tuscany and Umbria region. After eating there for the first time, we made a reservation for a second night. When we returned two years later, we stayed nearby just to be near Monticchiello. We had the Florentine steak twice and the lamb twice. Both were amazing. The restaurant is very romantic; it looks like a wine cave. La Taverna di Moranda, 17 Via di Mezzo, Monticchiello; 011-39-0578-755145, Julian and Mary Cangelosi Tustin
April 11, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin, This post has been updated
Commissioner Bud Selig is considering whether to fine the New York Yankees for tampering, the result of an investigation triggered by Yankees President Randy Levine's comment last winter that he would offer Angels outfielder Mike Trout a 10-year contract. The potential fine was disclosed by two people with knowledge of the matter but not authorized to comment about it. The amount of the possible fine was not disclosed. The Angels were furious Levine dropped Trout's name into a December interview about why the Yankees declined to match the 10-year contract the Seattle Mariners offered to 31-year-old second baseman Robinson Cano.
April 10, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Don't let the cheesy title deter you. "Cuban Fury" is a thoroughly engaging crowd-pleaser - sweet, quite amusing and even a tad inspiring. British funnyman Nick Frost ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") makes for an especially root-worthy hero as Bruce Garrett, an earnest lathe salesman who reconnects with an old love: salsa dancing. Bruce may come off to friends and co-workers like a bit of a schlub; he's a self-described 2 on the 1-to-10 scale. But beneath that pudgy exterior lies the heart of a champion salsa dancer, which in fact he was as a kid until a humiliating incident dubbed "Sequingate" caused Bruce to burn his dancing shoes (literally)
April 10, 2014 | By Aamera Jiwaji
An Israeli court has punished a Palestinian prisoner whose semen was smuggled from jail. Abdul Karim Rimawi was fined about $1,499 Thursday and deprived of family visits for two months, according to a statement by the Palestinian Prisoner Club Assn. The emailed statement read, "The punishment of Rimawi is the first such kind of punishment in the history of courts. " Rimawi, who has served 12 years of his 25-year sentence, helped smuggle his semen from jail two years ago. Eight months ago, his wife gave birth to a boy.  Clandestine in-vitro fertilization is viewed as the latest form of resistance by Palestinians.
April 10, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
For a while now, Nicolas Cage has seemed more punch line than artistic force. More memorable for stopping by "Saturday Night Live" in 2012 to join the "In the Cage" satire, a none too flattering impression perfected by the very funny Andy Samberg , than for dreadful films like "Ghost Rider" that inspired it. Classic Cage, the kind of performances that graced 1987's "Moonstruck" with such moody romantic charm, or 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas"...
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