July 18, 2013
While it's one memory lane some may rather not stroll down, the divisive near-term-and-a-half of America's disgraced 37th president is recounted with economy, focus and, at times, pitch-dark humor in the documentary "Our Nixon. " Director Penny Lane, with an able assist from editor Francisco Bello, offers an absorbing snapshot of Richard M. Nixon's fraught, occasionally triumphant time in the Oval Office, culled largely from more than 500 reels of long-forgotten Super-8 home movie footage shot by Nixon aides - and eventual Watergate break-in conspirators - John Ehrlichman, H.R Haldeman and Dwight Chapin.
April 10, 2013 |
“What would you do if you won Powerball?” No, that's not a news headline; it's from an ad on The Times' website. The Powerball lottery has come to California -- finally -- and though, with its lousy odds, that may not work out for most Californians, at least it means ad revenue (and perhaps job security) around here. So I'm for it. But, in between worrying about North Korea and wondering what's so hard about making background checks mandatory for all gun buyers, I admit it: I started to wonder just what I would do if I won Powerball.
April 9, 2013 |
They were planning to spend nearly $500,000 on a home theater. What was an additional $35,000 to show first-run movies? When Ken and Carol Schultz began remodeling their 10,000-square-foot San Diego-area residence, they spared no expense on a screening room. The couple tricked it out with custom-built armchairs with heat and massage functions, and a Runco 3-D-capable projector with a price of about $100,000. But the most unusual feature of the theater is a $35,000 device that offers 24-hour rentals of first-run movies.
October 11, 2012 |
In "Sinister," Ethan Hawke plays a down-on-his-luck true crime writer desperate for a hit, who moves his family into a house in which the previous occupants died under ominous circumstances. That turns out to be a big mistake. He soon discovers a box of old home movies, actual filmstrip movies with the necessary projector even, in the attic that seem to be a series of snuff films, families murdered over decades with only fleeting glimpses of a mysterious, ghoulish figure pointing to who is behind it all. Pursuing the story of those films and whether he has put his own family in the path of whoever made them drive Hawke's writer relentlessly to the brink of madness.
November 12, 2010
The empty nest looms like the existential void in "The Kids Grow Up," documentarian Doug Block's latest examination of the mysteries of the family. Having explored his parents' marriage in "51 Birch Street," here he focuses his lens at even shorter range as he suffers through the final year at home for his college-bound only child. For those who can get past his self-involvement, "Kids" strikes more than a few deep chords. Block wears his neuroses so guilelessly on his sleeve and organizes his material with such skill, that what might have been insufferable navel-gazing attains poignancy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 17, 2010 |
Normally, it would be a major buzz kill to bust out the home movies at a convivial gathering of strangers. But that was the draw Saturday at the Echo Park Film Center ? a serendipitous journey through personal memories and shared history captured in jumpy, grainy, corny and ultimately engrossing home movies spanning much of the last century. "You have no idea what might turn up," said Sean Savage, a film archivist with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Savage and fellow archivist Brian Drischell organized the film portion of Los Angeles' Home Movie Day . The worldwide event takes place one day a year and pays homage to the small treasures hidden away on old 8- and 16-millimeter film reels and aging videotapes stashed in attics or boxes at garage sales.