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December 5, 2013 | By James Rocchi
To filmgoers, director Steve McQueen has had a busy five years, bursting onto the scene with 2008's "Hunger," following with "Shame" in 2011 and now this year's "12 Years a Slave. " Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt served as director of photography for all those films - and, as he can explain, his background with McQueen began long before the director leapt from the visual arts to feature filmmaking. "I've been very fortunate to have worked with Steve for 13 years now and started off doing his art installation work.
October 4, 2013 | By Ben Bolch
It was a Christmas gift that never appeared on any star basketball player's wish list. Inside the hefty SAT study guide filled with algebra equations and vocabulary teasers was a letter from one high school friend to another, a message of hope for better days ahead. "It was mostly about he wanted to see me do good in my career and in life," Nick Young recalled recently of the gift he received from Jordan Farmar in December 2003, nearly a decade before the Southern California natives would become Lakers teammates this summer.
September 30, 2013 | By Mark Z. Barabak
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyoming is a vast, beautifully rugged and sparsely populated state. Stick around long enough and you're bound to hear, more than once, its description as “a small town with really long streets.” The vintage is uncertain - the statement is variously credited to former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Democratic Gov. Mike Sullivan, among others - but the depiction helps explain the close-quarters discomfort caused by...
September 29, 2013 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan
CAIRO - One aunt cursed him to hell, another accused him of murder. The intense family passions were roused when Ahmed Samir posted on Facebook his support for Egypt's deadly crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood. The proclamation drew Samir and his irate relatives deeper into the nation's battles over politics and conscience after nearly three years of unrest. "My one aunt calls me a liar and prays for me to go to hell. She says I am covered with blood of those who were killed," said Samir, a customer relations representative for a bank.
September 8, 2013 | Steve Lopez
Building 215 at the West L.A. Veterans Administration medical facility is called the Home for Heroes, and nobody can say the two guys in Room 211 don't qualify. Bernie Tuvman, 90, and Phil Nadler, 87, have stories ripped from the World War II history books. Tuvman, a gunner, bailed over Germany after his B-17 took enemy fire, and he was a prisoner of war for nearly two years at Stalag 17B in Austria. Nadler, a copilot, was on a mission over Manila Bay when an enemy shell hit the nose of his amphibious plane.
September 5, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
A talented quartet of young actors can't surmount the wall-to-wall clichés that comprise "Mission Park," an earnest, not terribly convincing action thriller as generic as its title. Though writer-director Bryan Anthony Ramirez keeps things moving apace, he trots out so many familiar tropes that it's often like watching a highlights reel from a lifetime's worth of urban crime dramas. The movie, set in San Antonio, finds four childhood friends, who as kids were jointly involved in a botched restaurant robbery, reuniting as 20ish adults on opposite sides of the law: Brothers Bobby (a strong Jeremy Ray Valdez)
August 30, 2013 | By Robert Abele
The names are bigger, the flow is smoother, but the voyeuristic aimlessness still prevails in indie stalwart Joe Swanberg's latest film, the breezily charming "Drinking Buddies. " The action - a term used loosely with regards to Swanberg ("Hannah Takes the Stairs," "LOL") - swirls around craft brewery coworkers Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson), cozy chums whose jokey, caring, pint-hoisting closeness has everything a relationship seemingly needs except deal-clinching carnality.
August 8, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
"If I Ever Get Out of Here," Eric Gansworth's first novel for young people, rings true with a sophisticated look at what it's like to be an outsider and what it takes to be a true friend. Lewis Blake has precious little going for him in school; he's smart, sure. But he's super skinny, essentially friendless, his family is dirt poor, and he's from the "rez" in an area that routinely treats his Tuscarora Reservation community with disdain - or worse. The friendship part starts to change with the arrival at school of George, an Air Force kid. Lewis and George share the same experiences many adolescent pals do: eagerness to learn about girls, sneaked beers, campouts.
August 1, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
In Spanish, the long-dead Jorge Luis Borges is a minor Internet star. The Argentine short story writer, who died in 1986, left behind an unlikely legacy on YouTube and other sites: audio recordings and videos of his lectures, many recorded in Buenos Aires during a famous series of talks in 1977. If you understand Spanish, you can listen to Borges expound on topics such as Dante and the Divine Comedy , Buddhism , and his own blindness. Each talk offers a taste of Borges' unique voice, at once erudite and filled with a sense of wonder.
July 6, 2013 | By Peter Slavin
West Virginia is frequently the butt of wisecracks, but it has a champion in Marsha Timpson. She is particularly fond of the people of McDowell County, where she lives, though she couldn't wait to get away when she was young. Other places, she thought, were bound to be more exciting. It would take her time to realize the potential and beauty of the place. Timpson, 59, who grew up in the tiny community of WarriorMine in a family full of coal miners, does not romanticize her state.
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