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March 4, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
The death of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, whose body was found in a water tank atop a Los Angeles hotel, has inspired the plot of a Hollywood horror movie. Lam, 21, was found dead  in a water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel on Feb. 21, 2013. Her odd behavior in the hours before her disappearance sparked fears and  conspiracy theories  about how she died. Deadline Hollywood reported that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Matt Tolmach Productions acquired rights to the screenplay “The Bringing,” speculatively written by Brandon and Phillip Murphy, which focuses on a detective's mysterious encounters as he investigates Lam's death.
February 27, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Though it comes to Los Angeles as a two-part film, "Generation War" began its life as a three-part German TV series (originally called "Our Mothers, Our Fathers") that was a sensation in its home country. Eight years in the making, 4 hours, 39 minutes long (and needing two separate admissions during its weeklong run at Landmark's Nuart), "Generation War" attracted millions of viewers on German TV. Its story will be familiar and unfamiliar to American viewers, which is why it holds our interest even when it is not at its best.
February 25, 2014 | By Karin Klein
You would have thought that after 45 states leaped forward to adopt the Common Core curriculum standards for their schools, the only issue going forward would be how to make this big change happen in the smoothest and most successful way. Instead, the standards, which call for covering less academic territory but covering it more deeply, and challenging students to think about the concepts and processes rather than just follow directions, are...
February 21, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
Kevin Drum wonders whether there's a single genuine Obamacare horror story out there, given that virtually every yarn promoted by Republicans or conservatives about people hurt by the Affordable Care Act has deflated like a pricked balloon on the merest examination.  It's a very good question, inspired by the latest horror story bloomer -- the tale of one Julie Boonstra of Michigan , wholesaled by the Koch-founded conservative organization Americans...
February 13, 2014 | By Jon Healey
Can your cable or broadband service get any worse? That's the question that comes to mind when reading the doom-and-gloom coverage of Comcast's $45-billion purchase of Time Warner Cable. One of the most common predictions from critics: the new company will push cable and broadband prices even higher than Comcast or Time Warner Cable have been able to do separately. That's because of the leverage Comcast will gain by acquiring Time Warner Cable. The combined company would hold about 30% of the pay-TV market (and roughly half of all customers served by a cable operator)
February 13, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic, This post has been updated. See note below.
There's a story former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry "Hank" Paulson tells in Joe Berlinger's unsettling new documentary, "Hank: 5 Years From the Brink," about "Goodnight Moon. " His wife, Wendy, suggested that instead of the insistent monotone we grew accustomed to in 2008 as he explained the trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout to Congress, he should read the bedtime story to his children with more emotion in his voice. When he did, they burst into tears - demanding that he read like Daddy.
February 5, 2014 | By Gina McIntyre
Adam Wingard's “The Guest” and Mike Flanagan's “Oculus” are among the horror films set to screen as part of the Midnighters lineup at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, organizers announced Wednesday. This year, the Midnighters section will spotlight 10 genre titles. Wingard's ("You're Next") film centers on a soldier concealing dark secrets about his past who pays a visit to the family of a fallen comrade; it premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival.
January 30, 2014 | By Lydia Millet
As a teenager I used to plunder my father's shelves of dog-eared paperbacks, kept in a dank, low-ceilinged basement room that also held a turntable, an out-of-tune piano and a distinct eau de mold. What excitement lurked in those browning pages with their brittle edges, whose pieces would chip off in my hands - science fiction and fantasy, mainly, with a smattering of mystery and P.G. Wodehouse and military biographies. Reading Jeff Vandermeer's novel "Annihilation" - the first in a trilogy, all to be released this year - I had the same sensation of dreadful, delicious anticipation I used to have as I cracked open one of the books in the basement.
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.
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