December 3, 2013 |
For all the high-profile actors assembled in the upcoming drama "August: Osage County" - including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch - the real star of the film may be the language, written by Tracy Letts, who adapted his own Pulitzer-winning stage play. At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series , director John Wells and some of his cast talked about the importance of language in the Oklahoma-set family drama. "My concern was that the best possible actor for each part be in the part because the material is complicated, it's difficult," Wells said.
December 3, 2013 |
Until a month ago, Ricardo Sanchez was flying high as Los Angeles' top-rated local morning radio host. Then the Spanish-language radio personality known as "El Mandril" disappeared from his slot on KLAX-FM (97.9), the Los Angeles station owned by Spanish Broadcasting System. Now details are emerging concerning the 47-year-old radio host's eviction from L.A. airwaves in early November. He's still going to work every day, but his show is no longer being broadcast. The question is, why?
November 21, 2013 |
Academic and author Noam Chomsky is a creative but very structural thinker, stringing ideas together like dominoes. One thought progresses to the next, carefully placed with a logic and precision born of years of linguistics analysis shoring up each one. Filmmaker Michel Gondry is a creative thinker as well, though he's more deconstructive in his methods. Enthralled by the process of pulling ideas apart, he's not content with tipping a single domino, but crashing the entire pile, then setting about to make sense of the jumble.
November 19, 2013 |
Today's cars have turned into traveling towers of Babel. Car infotainment systems freeze. Phones don't always sync. Bluetooth sound quality is poor. And simple tasks take too many touches and clicks. At the core of the problem: The cars and devices speak different languages, with no common standard for operating systems or software. "We have to make this work better," said Philip Abram, chief infotainment officer for General Motors Co. "We have to make this easier for our customers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 18, 2013 |
In the 1970s, Syd Field's job in Hollywood was reading scripts all day and picking out the gems that might make it to the screen. In one two-year period he figured he read 2,000 screenplays - and turned down 1,960 of them. The rejects were an "amorphous goo" of confusing plot lines and poorly developed characters that often caused him to close his office door at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and go to sleep. But eventually he figured out what distinguished the winners from the losers. The answer was crystallized in "Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting," Field's 1979 bestseller that today remains the bible of scriptwriters.
November 9, 2013 |
Humans speak many languages, but we may be united in our confusion. A new study examined languages from around the world and discovered what they say could be a universal word: "Huh?" Researchers traveled to cities and remote villages on five continents, visiting native speakers of 10 very different languages. Their nearly 200 recordings of casual conversations revealed that there are versions of "Huh?" in every language they studied - and they sound remarkably similar. While it may seem like a throwaway word, "Huh?"
November 8, 2013 |
For anyone interested in the politics of left and right -- and in political journalism as it is practiced at the highest level -- George Orwell's works are indispensable. This week, in the year marking the 110th anniversary of his birth, we present a personal list of his five greatest essays. The winner and still champ, Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" stands as the finest deconstruction of slovenly writing since Mark Twain's " Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses . " Orwell's essay, published in 1946 in Cyril Connolly's literary review Horizon, is not as sarcastic or funny as Twain's, but unlike Twain, Orwell makes the connection between degraded language and political deceit (at both ends of the political spectrum)
November 6, 2013 |
People who spoke two languages developed dementia 4 1/2 years later than those who spoke just one -- even in people who were illiterate, said scientists who reviewed the records of hundreds of dementia patients. The study is the largest to date to document the delay of dementia in bilingual people and the first to suggest that education level alone can't explain the difference, the researchers said. The researchers also controlled their results for age, sex, occupation and rural versus urban living.
October 31, 2013 |
The cryptic pull of masterful French filmmaker Claire Denis ("Beau Travail," "White Material") - stories told through faces, time rendered elliptically, visuals and sound in dreamlike sync - betrays a noirish stain in her unsettling new film, "Bastards. " Tanker captain Marco (Vincent Lindon) is called back to Paris to attend to a family disaster involving a wrecked business, a distraught sister (Julie Bataille) whose husband has committed suicide, and their traumatized daughter (Lola Créton)
October 21, 2013 |
Young people looking to escape their surroundings have been a thematic staple of issue-conscious filmmakers around the world since Fellini's seriocomic masterpiece "I Vitelloni. " Now Pakistani writer-directors Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi address their own country's significant population of twentysomethings itching to immigrate to the West in the feature "Zinda Bhaag," Pakistan's first submission for the foreign-language Oscar in half a century. Visions of international gold hang over the movie's trio of young, vibrant, lower-middle-class friends from bustling Lahore.