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ENTERTAINMENT
August 30, 2012
'Home Run Showdown' No MPAA rating Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes Playing: At the Rave Motion Pictures 18 & Imax, Los Angeles
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 2, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
The holiday season brings quality cinema entries. But sometimes one leaves the theater thinking, "That was good, but it could have been better" Or perhaps, "That was good, but it could have been better if filmmakers were a little more open to other influences. " Here, then, are a few suggestions for alternate titles, holiday hits that could have been slightly more enjoyable if only their filmmakers had paid attention to a few of the other movies out there. Hollywood executives these days like spinoffs and brand extensions, so we wouldn't be surprised if some of these end up at the multiplex in Christmas seasons to come.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2013
Feeling more like a mid-season episode of some television detective serial than a self-contained film all its own, "Blood" is a dour British crime drama that lacks much of a beating heart. Directed by Nick Murphy from a screenplay by Bill Gallagher, the story is set amid a small coastal town near an island that is cut off when the tides roll in, creating a place where locals often try to store their secrets. That includes a brother detective duo (Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham) who learned their trade from their father (Brian Cox)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Randee Dawn
Here's how director Peter Berg ("Lone Survivor") and art director Tom Duffield bonded professionally: They got kidnapped. The duo, who would go on to work together on three films (including the upcoming "Lone Survivor"), were scouting locations in the Brazilian rain forest for Berg's 2003 film, "The Rundown," and were held for several hours by three armed men who were trying to figure out how to ransom them. "Going through an experience like that and coming out the other side, a real relationship of trust is formed," says Berg.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2012 | By Betsy Sharkey
Director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Tony Kusher and the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis may have done the impossible in "Lincoln": They've given us a politician to love - without reservations. Drawing on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's expansive "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," the filmmaking collective conjures up a portrait of a far more nuanced leader than the stoic country lawyer in a stove-pipe hat. Indeed, the strength of the film rests in the strength of the character - a whimsical raconteur, a brilliant strategist and a troubled humanist.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2012 | By Betsy Sharkey
"The Master" proves an ideal forum for themes that have haunted the work of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. The redeeming and destructive power of religious fervor and man's desire to bend others to his will usually find their way into Anderson's films. The roots were certainly exposed in the visceral "There Will Be Blood," with its power-mad oilman and his fire-and-brimstone nemesis. But in "The Master," the filmmaker gets to the heart of the matter. With stirring performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman as the head of the Scientology-like cult the Cause, Amy Adams as his zealot wife and Joaquin Phoenix as the conflicted acolyte, "The Master" is ultimately a story of self-love and self-hate taken to extremes.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 1, 2012 | By Noel Murray
Beasts of the Southern Wild 20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99 Available on VOD beginning Dec. 4 Part gritty social realism and part fevered post-apocalyptic fantasy, Benh Zeitlin's film is undoubtedly something extraordinary. The grade-school-aged Quvenzhané Wallis stars as Hushpuppy, a girl who lives with her oft-absent father in a water-bound region of Louisiana populated by a mix of people who work the land and teach their kids about the coming floods and the giant, hairy boar-type creatures who will arrive in their wake.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 22, 2012 | By Betsy Sharkey
If you're looking for something light and lovely to finish out the summer before worrisome and weighty films fill theaters this fall, catch"Ruby Sparks"before it floats out to sea. Starring Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, it is a smarter-than-most romantic comedy that begins with writer's block. Dano plays the writer, but Kazan actually wrote the movie. In the real world they're a couple, so it's all kind of sweet. In the film, the block breaks when Calvin (Dano) starts to put the girl he's been dreaming about onto the page.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 16, 2013 | By Noel Murray
Argo Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Tuesday Ben Affleck completes his evolution from movie star to action director with the hit, multi-award-winning and remarkably entertaining thriller based on actual events. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, the CIA agent who came up with a daring plan to extract a group of American Embassy staffers hiding in Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis: He pretended to be a location scout for a Canadian science-fiction epic.
NEWS
January 17, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times
In the week since Oscar nominations were announced, we've sat through two award shows - the Critics' Choice Awards, thrown by a group of junketeers who, according to Anne Hathaway at least, can't even spell the names of their winners right, and the Golden Globes, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a wacky bunch of journalists whose news conferences require actors to pose for pictures with each and every member. Both these groups gave "Argo" awards for best motion picture drama over "Lincoln.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 23, 2013
This has been a strong year for documentaries, with fine films running the gamut from "An Act of Killing" to "20 Feet From Stardom," but even in this crowd, "Let the Fire Burn" is something special. It's a brooding, disturbing documentary about an inferno that becomes an enigma and earns its considerable impact by telling an unnerving story and leaving it fundamentally unresolved. The events detailed here are some of the most unsettling in modern American urban history. On March 13, 1985, the Philadelphia police, stymied in a standoff that was the latest manifestation of a bitter conflict with a radical group called MOVE that had sputtered on and off for more than a decade, dropped an incendiary device on the row house that was the group's headquarters.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2013
Feeling more like a mid-season episode of some television detective serial than a self-contained film all its own, "Blood" is a dour British crime drama that lacks much of a beating heart. Directed by Nick Murphy from a screenplay by Bill Gallagher, the story is set amid a small coastal town near an island that is cut off when the tides roll in, creating a place where locals often try to store their secrets. That includes a brother detective duo (Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham) who learned their trade from their father (Brian Cox)
ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2013
"A Hijacking" is as lean, focused and to the point as its title. A cargo ship is hijacked in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and this expertly done, ultra-tense Danish thriller places you in the middle of the action in the most intense way. Gripping from first frame to last, the film unfolds on two fronts: the vessel, of course, but also in the Copenhagen offices of the company that owns it, where the firm's chief executive, Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling),...
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 2013 | By Sheri Linden
The Brit-in-Italy scenario gets an emphatically grungy makeover in "Berberian Sound Studio," a twisted tribute to analog moviemaking and 1970s Italian Giallo horror flicks. Toby Jones plays the innocent abroad - not a traveler headed for a romantic thaw in the Mediterranean sun but a sound engineer who never sees the light of day and who's headed for - or perhaps already in the midst of - a mental unraveling. Jones' reserved Englishman, Gilderoy, has been hired to oversee the soundtrack mix on "The Equestrian Vortex," a piece of psycho-erotic exploitation chock-full of evil priests, tortured witches, secret libraries and the requisite poultry tunnel.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 2013 | By Noel Murray
Twixt Available on VOD beginning Tuesday Francis Ford Coppola's latest venture comes as another late-career trip into indie filmmaking, though more accessible than his previous efforts "Youth Without Youth" and "Tetro. " Val Kilmer plays an alcoholic horror writer who stops off in an eerie small town on a book tour and discovers a murder mystery that involves Edgar Allan Poe, a creepy preacher, a hotel full of dead girls, a grizzled sheriff and teenagers heavily into the occult.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 30, 2013 | By Robert Abele
Ascending British actress Andrea Riseborough's face is an exquisite road map of pain, fear and resolve in "Shadow Dancer," a thriller that explores questions of loyalty against a backdrop of Northern Ireland politics in the early '90s. Riseborough plays Belfast-born young mother Collette, a tragedy-stricken daughter of the Troubles. After she's caught trying to blow up a London subway, an MI5 officer (Clive Owen) taps her to spy on her IRA brothers. Riseborough captures this queasy situation with grimly haunting grace.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 2012 | By Robert Abele
A captivity entree with a side order of grisly, "Serving Up Richard" puts a Wall Street investment banker through the wringer in the hidden dark heart of the suburbs, but the experience is hardly cathartic as either vicarious payback or grindhouse exploitation. Transplanted to L.A. by his firm under iffy circumstances, Richard (Ross McCall) answers an ad for a vintage Mustang, only to wind up the housebound prisoner of anthropologist Everett (Jude Ciccolella) and his sallow-faced, agoraphobic wife Glory (Susan Priver)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
Sunday's Academy Awards will feature many of Hollywood's shiniest stars, including Barbra Streisand, the cast of "The Avengers" and comic Seth MacFarlane. They'll be celebrating a slate of nine best picture nominees that includes six $100-million blockbusters. But the celebrities must do more than hand out awards or sing and dance: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and longtime broadcaster ABC, need their talent to inject new life into a show whose audience has been declining steadily and aging rapidly.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times
Now that Seth MacFarlane has tweeted that he simply can't find the time to host the Oscars again, is it too early to say: "Tina Fey, come on down!" "I think that's too hard," Fey tells The Times over the phone, when asked if she'd take the job. "Too many dresses to try on. " Really, Tina? You're going to go with the whole degree-of-difficulty dress thing as your primary reason to dodge the high-profile opportunity to flaunt your charm and talents in front of an audience of tens of millions of people?
ENTERTAINMENT
May 16, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
Two years, two states. In 2009, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad laid out a plan to end the decades-long territorial stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians. But by 2011, despite Fayyad's efforts, including a successful campaign to improve Palestinians' economic and institutional infrastructure - a kind of "if you build it, statehood will come" - the situation remained deadlocked. This period of hope, progress, frustration and fracture is examined with equanimity and clarity by Israeli filmmaker Dan Setton in the absorbing documentary "State 194. " Setton focuses on the seemingly level-headed, optimistic Fayyad as he navigated the choppy waters of domestic politics and international diplomacy while pressing the United Nations for statehood and to make it its 194th member nation.
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