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January 25, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
In the midst of television's last golden age, a creepy and effective telling of the infamous Lizzie Borden case blew out the walls of both the TV movie and the historical crime drama. "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" starred Elizabeth Montgomery, who in 1975 was firmly entrenched in American hearts as the sweet-faced, nose-twitching Samantha Stephens from "Bewitched. " To see her as a grimly corseted spinster sweltering under the heat of a New England summer and her family's penny-pinching morality was shocking enough.
January 18, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
Referring to a movie or filmmaker as “genre” is often a subtle way to undermine them, placing them in a specific, confined box and leaving them there. This, of course, overlooks the ways in which many of the greatest filmmakers, from Howard Hawks to John Carpenter, have specifically grappled with genre-based storytelling to render something surprising from the seemingly familiar. When filmmaker Jim Mickle's new “Cold In July” premieres Saturday evening as part of the dramatic competition category at Sundance it will mark an unusual move, as just last year Mickle was in Sundance's midnight section with his cannibal horror/family drama hybrid “We Are What We Are.” It is a rare leap for a filmmaker from the confines of the midnight section to the prestige of the festival's competition.
January 16, 2014 | By Yvonne Villarreal
It's a tale of monsters and men. “Penny Dreadful,” Showtime's upcoming psychological horror thriller from John Logan (“Skyfall”),  centers on an American (played by Josh Hartnett) who finds himself trapped in the darkest corners of Victorian London amongst some of literature's iconic monsters. It's a world that Logan, who was promoting the show Thursday during Showtime's session at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, says he was destined to take part in, having grown up watching “Groovie Goolies” and eating Frankenberry.
January 6, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
The first week of January has been an auspicious time for horror movies. Industry types would say it's the lack of fresh box-office competition, though it's also always seemed just as likely that the aftermath of the holidays are ripe for a good slasher picture. Two years ago on the same weekend “The Devil Inside” scored an eye-popping $33 million, blowing away expectations. Last year “Texas Chainsaw 3D” - a sequel to a lesser horror property than some of its '80s counterparts - managed a $22-million opening despite being just the third movie in the series over the last 15 years.
December 24, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
In "Lone Survivor," filmmaker Peter Berg has finally found the right war to fight and the right cast to fight it. Based on Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's memoir of a failed military operation in Afghanistan, the action is led by Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana. Whether it will be your kind of war depends. "Lone Survivor" is as much a paean to machismo as to the ultimate sacrifice of troops in the line of fire. That kind of unfiltered and excessive test of body, mind and spirit is characteristic of the muscular moviemaking Berg favors.
December 19, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - Dozens of people in Britain were injured, seven of them seriously, when the ceiling or part of the balcony collapsed at a theater in London's West End during the busy holiday season. The incident occurred about 8:15 p.m., less than an hour into the acclaimed production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, near Piccadilly Circus. The London Ambulance Service said in a statement that it treated more than 75 people with minor injuries.
December 17, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Spike Jonze has a knack for disturbing our peace, and his new film "Her" does that with a vengeance. A different and daring futuristic tale starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, "Her" is a look at the pleasures and perils of new technology that's a smart entertainment and a subtle warning, a love story and a horror show. Acerbic, emotional, provocative, it's a risky high dive off the big board with a plot that sounds like a gimmick but ends up haunting, odd and a bit wonderful.
November 21, 2013 | By Martin Tsai
Writer-director Eric England's "Contracted" can best be described as "Contagion" meets "Blue Is the Warmest Color," without all those explicit sex scenes. After falling out with her girlfriend, the distraught Samantha (Najarra Townsend of "Me and You and Everyone We Know") spirals into self-destruction, albeit somewhat unintentionally. She goes to a party and very hesitantly gets wasted. Much like the heroine in that NC-17-rated French lesbian sex spectacle, Samantha switches teams and takes up with a stranger to alleviate her domestic ennui.
November 19, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko
MOSCOW -- In a country that is no stranger to horrific crimes, this one stood out: On Nov. 4, 2010, someone killed 12 people --  Server Ametov , members of his family and several guests -- in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, then tried to burn down their house with the bodies inside. The investigation and criminal case that followed was equally remarkable, with its blend of killing, kidnapping, rape, illegal arms possession and political corruption. The case came to an apparent end Tuesday with the sentencing of a flamboyant former lawmaker with the  ruling party and members of a criminal organization known as the Tsapki gang to stiff prison terms.
November 6, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The most prominent example of Obamacare victimization being offered at the moment comes from Edie Littlefield Sundby of San Diego, a businesswoman who related in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this week how Obamacare is threatening her life by depriving her of access to her cancer doctors. “I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky,” she wrote, explaining that she has survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer for seven years through treatment by doctors at Stanford, UC San Diego and Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
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