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Melodrama

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March 16, 1986 | Shari Okamoto
Writers/co-stars Wendy Goldman and Judy Toll must still be giving thanks that director Ivan Reitman and his wife Genevieve Robert decided to attend their "Casual Sex," still playing the Groundling Theatre. Reitman and Robert were so taken with the comedy-musical about two women at a singles resort that they hired Goldman and Toll to write the film. Production is expected this summer--with Robert to make her directing debut. How did they react to the movie offer?
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 2014 | By Robert Abele
Like an A-student with a plum assignment, "Frankie & Alice" star Halle Berry tears into the part of Francis Murdoch with a performance that says, "I got this one": a loose-cannon stripper suffering from multiple personalities, including one who's a racist, haughty, white Southern belle. The '70s-set film is based on a real psychotherapy case, and Berry's portrayal is pure marquee turn, full of hot jazzy light, if rarely anything penetrating, but it's immensely watchable. Even without the virtuosic vocal switchbacks (there's a scared young girl alter ego too)
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2012 | By Sheri Linden
"Hidden Moon" is a two-hour romantic drama that feels like two seasons of a telenovela - not because the story, set in Mexico and Los Angeles, is rich with divergent subplots and intertwining characters, but because the attention it pays to every fluttered eyelash, flared nostril and furrowed brow makes for one long haul of an affair. Devoid of irony or humor, the kind of soapy romanticism that director José Pepe Bojórquez espouses is a tough fit for today's big screen under the best of circumstances.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 19, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
SAN DIEGO - The difficulty of staging "The Winter's Tale" is legendary. Characters are at the mercy of a crazy plot that wildly mixes genres and tones, there is a leap of 16 years between the third and fourth acts and one stage direction (perhaps the most famous in all of Shakespeare) reads "Exit pursued by a bear. " In making his directing debut at the Old Globe with this late romance of Shakespeare's, artistic director Barry Edelstein clearly isn't playing it safe. But he knows the play intimately, having staged it off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company, and in this new production he has enlisted a core group of actors who bring refreshing clarity to what is undeniably a tricky text.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 29, 2010 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Marriage between word and music has never been simple, and is seldom stress-free. Take melodrama. I'm not sure what caused its meaning to change over the years. In the 18th century, melodrama was the genre of spoken word accompanied by — and elevated by — music. Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Richard Strauss were melodramatists. Now Oxford English Dictionary defines melodrama as "a crude appeal to the emotions. " But call it what you will, the genre in its original sense has never lost its effectiveness or appeal, as Aaron Copland's lasting "Lincoln Portrait," with its stirring orchestral score joined to Honest Abe's magnificent words, attests.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 20, 2012 | By Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie A novel Ayana Mathis Knopf: 256 pp., $24.95 In "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," first-time author Ayana Mathis walks upon some of the richest thematic terrain our country's history can offer a novelist. Her protagonist, Hattie Shepherd, arrives in Philadelphia from Georgia in the mid-1920s, one of a legion of travelers in the great migration, that movement of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the promise and relative freedom of the North.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 1989 | CHRIS PASLES
As part of the ongoing Jean Cocteau Centenary Festival, choreographer Tony Clark turned to a problematic art form--the melodrama--for his "Orphee, Oedipus and the Lady With the Red Gloves," seen Friday at the Gallery Theatre in Barnsdall Park. Long associated with musical composition in Germany and France, melodrama is distinguished as a form by the use of an actor who speaks instead of sings. It runs the risk of satisfying neither those interested in dramatic recitation nor those interested in singing--or, in this case, dancing.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 28, 1993 | DON SHIRLEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Alfredo Ramos' "The Last Angry Brown Hat," at Plaza de la Raza, is a standard reunion-and-revelations play, staged with such conviction that it's possible to ignore its formulaic qualities, at least until you're out of the theater. Four former Chicano activists reunite 20 years later, after the funeral of a fifth. They meet in a garage stashed with memorabilia from their Brown Berets days. The set, credited to the "production staff and artists," looks homemade, in the very best sense.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2003 | Lina Lecaro, Special to The Times
It's hard to distinguish one whiny, tattooed pop punk-emo band from the next lately, but a new crop of young rascals is infusing emotional aggression and erratic arrangements into feisty melodies to create something altogether more passionate.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2011 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Revenge," a new soap-thriller from ABC, begins its life Wednesday on a beach at night, during what social power broker Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) will soon describe as "the final weekend of a remarkable summer in the Hamptons. " There's a gunshot, and a body, and just up the way an engagement party. Who's getting engaged is "the lovely and beguiling" Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), seen wiping sand mysteriously from her hand. Her fiance, "tragically privileged" Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
The most beautiful depiction of war ever rendered on film might be found in the first six minutes of "Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. " In the third installment of four films rebooting the anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion," the fate of the universe depends on giant robots that blast across magenta-orange sunsets, shooting comets of turquoise, emerald and amethyst. It's splendor on steroids. Unfortunately, the battle wages on for 20 more minutes, a gorgeous tangle of explosions, sexy-sleek visuals and nonsensical dialogue delivered in screeches.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 26, 2013 | By Martin Tsai
"Hollywood Seagull" isn't the first movie adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull. " Nor is novelist-turned-filmmaker Michael Guinzburg the first to think of updating the classic Russian play. The film's conceit of reimagining 19th century playwrights as modern-day filmmakers has likewise been beaten to the punch by Claude Miller's 2003 treatment of the same manuscript, "La Petite Lili. " Guinzburg's effort skews toward the old. He appoints the protagonist's frail grandfather - originally an uncle per Chekhov - as the narrator.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 16, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
The year's first serving of Oscar bait has arrived on a silver platter in the form of "Lee Daniels' The Butler," a star-studded historical drama starring Forest Whitaker as an African American butler working at the White House through multiple administrations, set against the arc of the civil rights movement. Thus far the film has earned positive, if somewhat ambivalent reviews, with critics praising the strong ensemble cast for helping to ground writer-director Daniels' melodramatic flair.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2012 | By Sheri Linden
"Hidden Moon" is a two-hour romantic drama that feels like two seasons of a telenovela - not because the story, set in Mexico and Los Angeles, is rich with divergent subplots and intertwining characters, but because the attention it pays to every fluttered eyelash, flared nostril and furrowed brow makes for one long haul of an affair. Devoid of irony or humor, the kind of soapy romanticism that director José Pepe Bojórquez espouses is a tough fit for today's big screen under the best of circumstances.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 20, 2012 | By Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie A novel Ayana Mathis Knopf: 256 pp., $24.95 In "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," first-time author Ayana Mathis walks upon some of the richest thematic terrain our country's history can offer a novelist. Her protagonist, Hattie Shepherd, arrives in Philadelphia from Georgia in the mid-1920s, one of a legion of travelers in the great migration, that movement of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the promise and relative freedom of the North.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2012 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - For most of the last two decades, director Lou Ye has angered Chinese authorities by making movies that touch on sensitive subjects like sex and politics and then by screening them at foreign festivals without official approval. He's had multiple films banned, and was barred for years from even practicing his craft. His newest work, the dark melodrama "Mystery," looked like a chance for the 47-year-old to come in from the cold. Lou received approval from China's censorship body before screening his movie at the Cannes International Film Festival in May. After the festival, he registered the $2.6 million noirish tale, made with 20% French financial backing, as an official French-Chinese co-production.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 12, 2012 | By Robert Abele
Before his death last August, Raoul Ruiz's "The Mysteries of Lisbon" earned just praise as a late masterpiece of epic, sumptuous formalism from the prolific Chilean filmmaker. His English-language thriller, "Blind Revenge," completed a few years ago, won't necessarily harm the eccentric director's reputation and, in fact, its pockets of weirdness and the familiar Ruiz theme of the inconvenience of the past might draw the curious. Others will likely shrug. Slapped with a new, more exploitative title after originally released in the U.K. as "A Closed Book," writer Gilbert Adair's "The Servant"-meets-"Sleuth" scenario has newly blind, grumpily witted British critic Sir Paul (Tom Conti, sporting black shades)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 1, 1998 | LAURIE WINER, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
You learn within minutes that one of the Felderman sisters works in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Two more sisters are employed there by Act 3. You can count down the minutes till disaster, and you can be pretty sure it will strike soon after mother Rebecca (Eileen T'Kaye) offers up a toast to America: "Because we know only good can come to us here."
ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2012 | By Laura Hudson
"Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" performs an act of what superhero comics fans might term "retcon" - or retroactive continuity - by returning to the beginning of the superhero industry and telling the tale again with a number of previously invisible heroes suddenly added to the story: the men and women who created superhero comics. Superhero comics has always been a bit of an oddball, a niche genre with a small but fiercely devoted fan base and a penchant for stories about flawed, outcast heroes who struggle not only to save the world but find their place in it. Sean Howe's book traces the byzantine histories of the colorful characters on the comics pages and in the Marvel offices, from the inception of the superhero in the 1930s through the modern era, and finds the real and the fictional equally laced with epic triumphs, tragic reversals of fortune, backstabbing and melodrama.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2012 | By Dennis Lim
In many ways, Robert Aldrich was an independent filmmaker before the notion existed. Born into New England old money, he spent much of his life and career chafing against the system. From early on he insisted on being his own producer, and the success of "The Dirty Dozen" (1967) allowed him to set up his own Aldrich Studios, where he made some of his most adventurous work, up until the commercially disastrous "The Grissom Gang" (1971), his eccentric Depression-era tale of a kidnapping-turned-Stockholm syndrome romance.
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